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"I defended this country as a young man, and I will defend it as president," says John Kerry. But if one checks his Vietnam-War-era past, the logic implied in his statement may lead to a different conclusion.
A Campaign of Tortured Arguments
-- by Robert M. Liu
"I defended this country as a young man, and I will defend it as president. We need a strong military. We need strong alliances," says Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. While these words refer to the fact that Kerry went to Vietnam as a soldier in 1969, it does not include his entire Vietnam-War-era history.
Apparently, the Kerry campaign has sensed that the American public wants a strong Commander- in-Chief to lead the U.S. military and win the global War on Terror as well as the remaining battles in Iraq. Hence, it now paints Kerry as a Vietnam-War-era hero.
You would think that John Kerry must have been a strong supporter of the Vietnam War, if you swallowed the above-quoted statement without checking what Kerry did after he returned from a four-month tour in Vietnam. According to media reports, Kerry actually became an anti-Vietnam- War activist who roused the FBI's suspicions.
As we now know, much of the global anti-Vietnam-War movement in those days was funded by the KGB of the Soviet Union. Understandably, Kerry fell under suspicion. Did he go to Vietnam in order to get his war credentials so that he could use them to strengthen the voice of the anti- war movement?
At the time, John Kerry wanted Americans to believe that U.S. troops were committing war crimes in Vietnam "on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." Whether this was an innocent exaggeration or a deliberate lie calculated to weaken home-front support for the war, Kerry's Vietnam credentials lent credit to his false story. At least, it doesn't sound like an endorsement of the Vietnam War.
While there is no knowing whether the KGB was behind his anti-Vietnam-War activities, Kerry's conduct clearly contributed to the home-front breakdown that undermined the morale of the U.S. military. Intentionally or unintentionally, John Kerry served the interests of America's enemies. So there is another aspect -- in fact, an ugly aspect -- to Kerry's Vietnam-War-era past: There is no denying that as a young man, Kerry undermined the morale of the U.S. military.
Does it mean that as president, Kerry would undermine the morale of the U.S. military too? Ironically, if you take the logic embedded in his own statement ("I defended this country as a young man, and I will defend it as president") as seriously as the Kerry campaign hopes, the answer would be a definite yes. Should American voters elect a man with a record of undermining U.S. military morale as Commander-in-Chief in the middle of a global war?
In the meantime, if you please, you can take Kerry's statement to mean that he, John Kerry, participated in the Vietnam War in order to "defend this country" against Communist expansion, but the Vietnam War itself was not an effort to defend America against Communist expansion.
This would be a tortured argument. But Kerry's people have been running a campaign of tortured arguments from the outset. They don't seem to believe that the American public is intelligent enough to do logical thinking.
Is John Kerry for the Iraq War or against the Iraq War? This is a simple question. Yet, even at this late stage of the presidential election process, it remains unclear. John Kerry is evasive, not decisive.
The fact that he voted against the $87 billion to fund the war effort is unlikely to convince the public that he is serious about having a strong military. As we all know, money is the lifeline for the military. Kerry wants it cut off . That is no way to build a strong military. Kerry's deeds make his words sound hollow.
His vote against the $87 billion for the military may have been a strategic move to appeal to America's anti-war, left-wing forces. If so, Kerry must be a very calculating politician whose priority is how to energize the political left, not how to energize the U.S. military. Voters should take a close look at the man and ask: Who the dickens is he?
Based on his various statements such as: Bush "shouldn't have rushed to war without a plan to win the peace;" "His doctrine of unilateral preemption has driven away our allies and cost us the support of other nations;" the Bush administration's policy "encourages the recruitment of terrorists;" "We shouldn't carry the burden alone;" "I would never mislead America into war" etc., one would think Kerry is now against the Iraq War.
The Kerry camp seems to suggest: (1) America shouldn't have taken military action against Iraq without the approval of traditional allies like France and Germany; (2) Because Bush's "doctrine of unilateral preemption" displeased allies like France and Germany, America is now left carrying the burden alone; and (3) Only he, John Kerry, can rebuild strong alliances with allies like France and Germany and make them share the burden with America. Well, well, can you believe this myth?
John Kerry voted for the Iraq War based on the same intelligence information as George W. Bush had, which showed that Saddam Hussein's regime was a growing danger and was in defiance of all U.N. resolutions. But now he blames Bush for enforcing the 2002 Congressional resolution on Iraq, the 1998 Iraqi Liberation Act, and the United Nations' relevant resolutions.
Congress (which includes John Kerry) authorized President Bush to take military action against Iraq -- with or without U.N. approval. The United Nations adopted U.N. Resolution 1441 which provided for "serious consequences" (a term that means military action in geopolitics) in the event of Iraqi defiance. The regime failed to account for the Weapons of Mass Destruction documented by the U.N. in defiance of U.N. Resolution 1441, triggering the Iraq War. What else would it take to go to war?
Kerry says if he were president, he would use the Congressional war authority differently and would not rush to war. Sounds as if he would use the Congressional war authority as a decorative wall paper and let the villain off the hook. Needless to say, he wouldn't rush to war without France's approval.
So, if Kerry were president, Saddam Hussein would still be in power with WMD program capabilities, torture chambers and mass graves, as well as vast financial resources, which he could use to fund international terror groups' attacks on U.S. interests or to purchase Yellow-Cake uranium from Niger to fulfill his nuclear ambitions.
As to Kerry's claim that Bush's Iraq policy "encourages the recruitment of terrorists", one would wonder whether we should fight state sponsors of terror like Saddam Hussein's Iraq or not, WMD or no WMD.
The truth is that if America invades a terror-sponsor state, the remnants of its terror apparatus would recruit and retaliate. That is exactly what is happening in Iraq right now.
But if America leaves a state-sponsor of terror alone, its terror apparatus will recruit, grow and then attack at some time unknown to the intelligence community, as the September 11, 2001, tragedy has taught us. Just look at Iran, where anti-U.S. terrorist forces are recruiting, growing and incubating nuclear weapons.
In the late 1970s, Jimmy Carter's incompetent Democratic administration idly watched the government of America's long-time ally, the Shah of Iran, collapse -- without doing anything to help him stabilize the Iranian situation and regain control of his country and its oil fields. Now, America has to face the serious consequences of Carter's inaction.
America's enemies are not static. They would recruit, grow, and then... They would certainly not allow a President Kerry to have the luxury of a fool-proof plan to win the peace. It is demagogic of Kerry to tell the public that the Bush administration does not have a plan to win the peace. It certainly has a peace plan which, however, may not be fool-proof.
Whether America fights a state sponsor of terror or not, there are risks either way. Inaction could entail as many risks as action. In certain instances, inaction could entail even more risks than action.
Saddam Hussein's Fedayeen militia and security/intelligence apparatus are terrorist outfits organized long before the Iraq War. Their members are still active today. This means the U.S.-led coalition has not been able to exterminate them all. Had the Iraq War not been launched, these terrorists would have remained as Saddam Hussein's terror enforcers. The regime, if allowed to continue, would have facilitated terrorist recruitment.
Although the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq includes more than thirty countries, Kerry and his Democratic colleagues keep carping about the Bush administration's "unilateralism" on the ground that some of America's traditional allies like France and Germany have refused to send troops to Iraq.
So, what is Kerry's "multilateralism"? If America must not act without France's or Germany's approval, wouldn't that amount to an abdication of U.S. security responsibilities to foreign countries? The debate should be over whether it was right to enforce U.N. Resolution 1441. If it was, then, France's opposition was wrong, Bush's "unilateral preemption" was right, and by extension, Kerry's "multilateral" inaction would have been wrong too.
Whenever there is a good cause, America should carry it through -- even if it has to do so unilaterally. Such "unilateralism" demonstrates conviction, determination, decisiveness, strong leadership, willingness to protect America's global security interests, and refusal to let foreign countries veto America's security decisions. These are essential qualities patriotic American voters should demand in their Commander-in-Chief. Clearly, John Kerry lacks them.
Various opinion surveys in Iraq indicate that Iraqis favor George W. Bush over John Kerry by a big margin. This means that even people in a country as far away from the United States as Iraq have the wisdom to figure out whose policy will benefit them in the long run. It also shows the Iraqi people repudiate John Kerry's claim that Bush's Iraq policy "encourages the recruitment of terrorists", because they can see that it kills terrorists -- one at a time.
[August 10, 2004]