Monday, February 23, 2004

Why Kerry is in Trouble in 2004

yes, kerry did serve in 'Nam, which is something bush never did. yes, he actually served well, and did his job for his country...but he has been all downhill since. check out the carnage from the best of the web today.

Monday, February 23, 2004 3:29 p.m. EST

The Emperor's New Uniform
"I'd like to know what it is Republicans who didn't serve in Vietnam have against those of us who did," John Kerry said in a statement over the weekend. He even wrote a letter to President Bush:

Over the last week, you and your campaign have initiated a widespread attack on my service in Vietnam, my decision to speak out to end that war, and my commitment to the defense of this nation. Just today, Saxby Chambliss--a man elected to the US Senate on the back of one of the most despicable campaigns ever conducted against Max Cleland, a true American Hero--was carrying this attack for you.

Hey, did you know that John Kerry served in Vietnam?

What's going on here? Well, for one thing, as we've said before, John Kerry is awfully thin-skinned. As the Associated Press points out, what Chambliss said is that Kerry has a "32-year history of voting to cut defense programs and cut defense systems."

This overstates the case slightly, since Kerry didn't actually go to Congress until 1985 (before that, he was an antiwar activist, district attorney and Michael Dukakis's lieutenant governor), so he's been in a position to vote against defense for only 19 years. But as Joshua Muravchik points out in today's Washington Post, Chambliss is otherwise on target:

The litany of weapons systems that Kerry opposed included conventional as well as nuclear equipment: the B-1 bomber, the B-2, the F-15, the F-14A, the F-14D, the AH-64 Apache helicopter, the AV-8B Harrier jet, the Patriot missile, the Aegis air-defense cruiser and the Trident missile. And he sought to reduce procurement of the M1 Abrams tank, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the Tomahawk cruise missile and the F-16 jet. Time and again, Kerry fought against what he called "the military-industrial corporate welfare complex that has relentlessly chewed up taxpayers' dollars."

Kerry also backed communists in Central America. "I see an enormous haughtiness in the United States trying to tell them what to do," the haughty, French-looking Massachusetts Democrat, who by the way served in Vietnam, said of Ronald Reagan's Nicaragua policy--which, despite the efforts of Kerry and other congressional Democrats, produced free elections in 1990. He voted against the liberation of Kuwait and has been all over the map about the liberation of Iraq.

So no wonder Kerry would rather talk about his Vietnam service, which ended in 1969, than about anything he's done during the intervening 35 years.

There's something else going on as well. Kerry, remember, is still running for the Democratic nomination, and he is playing to his party base, which has bought into a self-defeating mythology, according to which any Republican criticism of a Democrat's national-defense record amounts to questioning the latter's patriotism, and this GOP approach works only because Democrats don't "fight back."

Like the grown-ups in "The Emperor's New Clothes," Democrats have persuaded themselves that Kerry's service in Vietnam is sufficient to shield him from scrutiny on his defense record. That's why they think he's "electable." Partisan Democrats want to believe they can beat President Bush, so they're happy to avert their gaze from unpleasant truths about Kerry's record in the Senate. The centrist voters Kerry would need to win in November are unlikely to be so forgiving.

Kerry Runs From Vietnam Record--II
Look again at that Kerry statement: "Over the last week, you and your campaign have initiated a widespread attack on my service in Vietnam, my decision to speak out to end that war, and my commitment to the defense of this nation." True enough, Republicans have questioned Kerry's commitment to America's defense by examining his voting record, which is perfectly legitimate. But Kerry is awfully defensive about his Vietnam service and his antiwar activity.

Indeed, as we noted Friday, he has already lied about the latter, claiming that he never accused American troops of war crimes, when in fact he did just that in his April 22, 1971, testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (link in PDF format). He told CNN's Judy Woodruff last week that he was only "accusing American leaders of abandoning the troops."

The New York Post's John Podhoretz further debunks this claim, reporting on Kerry's activities with Vietnam Veterans Against the War:

Kerry was present at [VVAW's New York] offices in September 1970, when the group decided to write then-Mayor John V. Lindsay and demand that the city refuse to welcome another organization, one dedicated to representing other American servicemen.

The group John Kerry and his associates were protesting was The National Guard Association, which had its 1970 convention in New York at the Americana Hotel (now the New York Sheraton) from Sept. 13 to Sept. 17. Kerry's group set up a picket line in front of the Americana, and staged a protest rally against the Guard on Sept. 17, 1970 at 5:30 pm.

Why would they do such a thing? Here's the sort of rhetoric Kerry and Co. used to gather anti-war forces in a mimeographed flyer:

"The National Guard Uses Your Tax Dollar:
"To support the military-industrial complex
"To honor war criminals--Westmoreland, Laird, Nixon, etc.
"To applaud campus murders by National Guard units
"To encourage armed attacks on minority communities"

The decision to stage this defamatory protest against the National Guard--which then comprised 409,412 Army Guard and 89,847 Air Guard personnel--was made in John Kerry's presence and with his full knowledge. Executive-committee minutes for Vietnam Veterans Against the War note that among the six "members attending" a meeting to plan the protest was "John Kerry-NE Rep."

Now, Kerry and others will tell you that Vietnam Veterans Against the War was a group dedicated to advancing the interests of American servicemen--protecting them, bringing them home, helping them. The group's protest against the National Guard Association demonstrates that this claim is revisionist history with a vengeance.

Blogger John Henke notes this passage in a June 2003 Boston Globe piece on Kerry, describing a June 30, 1971, debate between Kerry and pro-war veteran John O'Neill on "The Dick Cavett Show":

Again and again, the question was asked: Did Kerry commit atrocities or see them committed by others? Kerry stuck to his script.

"I personally didn't see personal atrocities in the sense I saw somebody cut a head off or something like that," Kerry said. "However, I did take part in free-fire zones, I did take part in harassment and interdiction fire, I did take part in search-and-destroy missions in which the houses of noncombatants were burned to the ground. And all of these acts, I find out later on, are contrary to the Hague and Geneva conventions and to the laws of warfare. So in that sense, anybody who took part in those, if you carry out the application of the Nuremberg Principles, is in fact guilty. But we are not trying to find war criminals. That is not our purpose. It never has been."

Is John Kerry really a war criminal? Or did he just make this up for propaganda purposes? Either way, one begins to understand why Kerry might be on the defensive over his Vietnam-era record.


Cannon Fodder for an election war. All Bush's past has come out 4 years ago. Kerry is going to go through 8 months of electoral hell when the voters get wind of this stink. Taranto didn't even mention the time when Kerry throughout his war medals (sorry, someone elses' war medals) in a "we hate vietnam" ceremony...or how he hung out with jane fonda....the list goes on.

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