Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 30, 2004
POLITICS/WAR: But, Will He Fight?
On the big questions - would Kerry come out as an anti-war candidate or as a guy who stands by his vote for the Iraq war - and its practical significance (does he embrace the idea of an offensive strategy, including preemption and sometimes having to move without French and German allies), Kerry, unsurprisingly, didn't give an answer and tried to have it both ways. I've perma-linked this at the top; you owe it to yourself, in examining Kerry's views on this issue, to watch the RNC's devastating video on his contradictory positions over the years.
Where do we start?
Of course, Kerry himself cited Saddam's WMD in voting for the Iraq war. But hey, nobody watching at home remembers that, do they?
In theory, I agree with that, but "have to" means many different things to many different people. Was Iraq part of the larger war, which no one should dispute is one we have to fight?
In other words: threat has to be imminent. Initiative has to belong to the enemy. That's a "no" on voting for the Iraq war.
Here is the reality: that wonít happen until we have a president who restores Americaís respect and leadership ó so we donít have to go it alone in the world.
We all know this is hokum - the major European powers have neither the will nor the means to project more than token military support into Iraq. Kerry knows this, and does not care.
"[B]efore they get us"? Sounds like we're back to preemption and being willing to go on the attack.
Oh, only if we're attacked first. As if there was any doubt that Kerry would respond to an attack. Well, unless - as is almost invariably true - the intelligence is fuzzy on exactly who attacked us, where they are located, and who their patrons are.
Sounds nice, but if you really mean the stuff before about needing allies, eventually there are times when the only realistic choice is to go with only ten or twenty of them or to wait for the whole world to get on board, resulting in inaction.
We will add 40,000 active duty troops - not in Iraq, but to strengthen American forces that are now overstretched, overextended, and under pressure. We will double our special forces to conduct anti-terrorist operations. We will provide our troops with the newest weapons and technology to save their lives - and win the battle. And we will end the backdoor draft of National Guard and reservists.
Note how quick to say "not in Iraq." So much for the idea that we need more troops there. Also, Kerry doesn't exactly have the best record of voting for "the newest weapons and technology."
Which sounds good, but I note also that nearly nobody at this convention talked about the sicknesses of jihadism and anti-Semitism and tyranny in the Muslim and Arab worlds. You'd think the problem was just a few renegades.
Actually, I'd like a president who is willing to say that today.