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In retrospect, my opinions have changed slightly since writing this. I still do not agree with John Kerry's Foreign policy, but my criticisms would likely take a different tone. My foreign policy views now are very similar to those described here.
John Kerry and Foreign Policy
by Travis Snyder
Table of Contents: Kerry and Vietnam, Kerry and South America, Allies and Alliances, Kerry and Israel, Kerry and North Korea, Iran, Kerry and Taiwan, Kerry and Haiti, Communism, UN, Conclusion, Kerry on Blogs*, Kerry on Welfare Reform*. (* = not part of original piece)
I have been asked to write a brief article that summarizes my thoughts in this coming Presidential election. I have received many inquiries from independents, non political types, and those just becoming interested in politics. For whatever reason, I have found that people don't know much about Kerry, or have serious misconceptions about his record. This is an attempt to fairly define the Democratic Presidential Nominee via the single issue of Foreign Policy. Foreign Policy was chosen because it is (rightly) of utmost importance to many voters in this election. Also, Kerry has sat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his whole Senatorial career and is basing a good portion of his present campaign on foreign policy issues. It follows, therefore, that the reasonings and thinking patterns we discover in Kerry's foreign policy record will represent his general worldview and provide insight into his entire candidacy. I will cover eight different areas of foreign policy and document Senator Kerry's views and actions in each section. References are listed at the bottom for those interested in sources. Exact quotes are in red. Please leave me a comment if something is inaccurate.
Vietnam and South Asia
After graduating from Yale, Kerry, by most accounts, served bravely (earning a silver star, a bronze star, and three purple hearts) and honorably (although briefly) in the Vietnam war. Purportedly he had feelings against the war before serving his time in Vietnam and while he was there. After returning to the United States, he joined the group 'Vietnam Veterans against the War'. Becoming their spokesmen, he famously testified on national television before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, headed by Liberal Democratic Senator William Fullbright.
At this time, American prisoners of war were being held in atrocious conditions by the North Vietnamese. Subject to daily torture, starvation, and disease, they were forced to sign confessions of war crimes and were subjected to continuing propoganda by the North Vietnamese. Senator John McCain, who spent 6 years in captivity, wrote in the May 14, 1973 issue of U.S. News & World Report:
"All through this period," wrote McCain, his captors were "bombarding us with anti-war quotes from people in high places back in Washington. This was the most effective propaganda they had to use against us."
"They used Senator Fullbright a great deal." (1)
Testifying before the committee Kerry said:
I would like to talk on behalf of all those veterans and say that several months ago in Detroit we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged, and many very highly decorated, veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia. These were not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.
They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country. (2)
War is hell and in any prolonged engagement in the midst of a civilian population there are going to be some atrocities and civilian casualties, and there are documented instances of American atrocities (My Lai), but certainly nothing was occurring that remotely resembled what Kerry reported to the nation. In the United States military, if a soldier witnesses a war crime, he is required to report it to his commanding officer. If Kerry witnessed (or committed) war crimes he never reported them to his superiors. Thirty years later in Iraq, Kerry and his surrogates have similarly played up the relatively isolated misconducts by American soldiers in the Abu Graib prison. In fact, Kerry called for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld resignation over the scandal.
In reality, American forces generously built schools, hospitals and roads to try to win the 'hearts and minds' of the South Vietnamese people and attempted to minimize civilian casualties. North Vietnamese P.O.Ws were generally treated humanly. Kerry's comments were widely played throughout the media. Public opinion, already turning against the war, began to shift even faster. Moral plummeted on the front lines. Returning soldiers were asked by friends and family if they had committed war crimes, veterans seen in uniform were sometimes booed and occasionally even spit upon (68), 69). This deep resentment and feeling of betrayal is why only 4 out of 20 swift veteran captains who served with Kerry support his candidacy. Hundreds of swift boat veterans, including all of Kerry's surviving superior officers formed a '527' organization, 'Swift Boat Veterans For Truth' to run ads against Kerry during his run for the presidency.
Subsequent military, FBI, and journalistic investigations found that a number of the 150 VVAW veterans whose testimony Kerry cited were not even veterans and some, including a co-founder of VVAW, had apparently never even seen combat. The investigations were unable to corroborate any of the testimonies (65) and a significant number were discredited (61) (62) (64). Hundreds of Americans were prosecuted for war crimes committed in combat, but none of those who testified for the VVAW has ever (reportedly) been charged. (63) Kerry has never apologized for his actions, but has said he regretted his word choice.
In 1970 Kerry traveled to Paris to visit with two Communist North Vietnamese peace delegations. This action may have been illegal according to US code 18 U.S.C. 953, which states that a U.S. citizen cannot go abroad and negotiate with a foreign power. The penalty for violation is a maximum of three years imprisonment. (28) Kerry has never been charged.
A few years after Kerry's Paris trip, the United States and the North Vietnamese Communist government signed a peace agreement and the United States withdrew from South Vietnam. The Communists immediately violated their agreement, attacked South Vietnam, and entered Saigon on April 30, 1975.
When asked about possible repercussions against the South Vietnamese Kerry answered:
"Having done what we have done to that country, we have an obligation to offer sanctuary to the perhaps 2,000, 3,000 people who might face political assassination or something else."
That same week, he appeared on the Dick Cavett show. "There'd be no interest on the part of the Vietnamese to start massacring people after the U.S. has pulled out," Kerry told Cavett. (5)
In his testimony to the Senate Kerry said:
"[Y]es, there will be some recrimination, but far, far less than the 200,000 a year who are murdered by the United States of America.." (60)
Prior to 1975 the North Vietnamese Communists had already killed between 50,000-100,000 of their own citizens in purges, terrors and 'land reforms'. (3) Upon reuniting their country, the North Vietnamese killed or sent to labor camps hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese citizens. Millions of refugees have since fled Vietnam. Known as 'the boat people', they sought refuge wherever they could. At least 100,000 people drowned fleeing the Communists. Others were attacked by pirates, or were repatriated to the hellish labor camps of Vietnam. Today, over 1.2 million South Vietnamese refugees live in the United States. Yet Kerry seemed to believe the primary threat to the Vietnamese people was that posed by the armed forces of the United States.
In December 1975, just months after Saigon fell, the government of neighboring Laos fell to a Vietnamese backed Communist force. Hundreds of thousands were killed in war, famine and political assassination (3). The Hmong tribespeople, loyal American allies before the pullout, were decimated, an estimated ten per cent of them were killed by Communist forces. (6)
On April 17th, 1975 the Khmer Rouge, a Communist guerrilla group led by Pol Pot, overthrew the US backed government (weakened by the US withdrawal) with the help of the North Vietnamese government and China. They forced all city dwellers into the countryside and to labor camps. During their rule, it is estimated that 2 million Cambodians died by starvation, torture or execution. 2 million Cambodians represented approximately 30% of the Cambodian population during that time. (7)
In sum, the American withdrawal left over 3 million dead and caused millions more to flee their homes. Today South East Asia is still impoverished and undemocratic. Growing up, we are taught that the 'domino effect' was a foolish, flawed theory. In reality, it was a perfect predictor of what came to pass. South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia fell to the Communists within a year. Burma battled Communists insurgencies, even while embarking on an even harsher form of socialism that starved it's population. Communist insurgencies, although not ultimately successful, increased in intensity in Thailand. It's possible that Communism could have spread even further and the insurgencies been more successful if the newly formed Communist nations hadn't turned on each other in another orgy of violence.
As these events unfolded, America suffered a terrible weakening of our national pride and our moral leadership in the world was shaken. We were not defeated on the battlefield, we were defeated by weak national leadership and by public opinion here at home. Kerry has never apologized for his actions or testimony, although he admitted he 'used a poor choice of words'.
Kerry soon quit Vietnam Veterans against the War, but there is dispute over whether he attended a meeting where the assassination of pro-war southern United States senators was discussed. Kerry has denied attending this meeting. Kerry also threw 'a military decoration' over the white house fence at an anti-war rally. It's not quite certain what exactly it was and he has since made various competing claims, all on camera, that he threw his medals, his ribbons, or someone else's medals over the fence. As a Senator, Kerry co-chaired a commission investigating claims that American prisoners of war were still being held in Vietnam. By almost all accounts he completed this task professionally and diligently.
Communism and South America
Kerry was elected to the Senate in 1984 running on a platform of arms reduction and nuclear freeze. He was a bitter opponent of Ronald Reagan calling Reagan's presidency one of "moral darkness" (8). Luckily, Reagan dismissed this talk of a nuclear freeze and built up a strong defense. Kerry voted against nearly all of these defense bills. He attacked Reagan's buildup as wasteful and counterproductive. "[The] biggest defense buildup since World War II has not given us a better defense," Kerry intoned. "Americans feel more threatened by the prospect of war, not less so." (14)
Negotiating from a position of strength, Reagan was able to pass the most comprehensive nuclear weapons reductions ever. Reagan strongly denounced the Soviet Union and dared to call it evil. The Soviet Union, China and Cuba had been actively supporting Communist insurgencies all over the world. Reagan recognized the evils of Communism and worked aggressively to combat the Soviet influence.
Kerry worked against Reagan. The best example is when he and Democratic Senator Tom Harkin traveled to negotiate with Communist Nicaraguan Dictator Daniel Ortega. Ortega, head of the notorious Sandinista party, seized power in a coup in 1979 and quickly consolidated power. Torture, prison, and the execution and imprisonment of thousands of Nicaraguans soon followed. Private property was seized and media, banks and factories nationalized. The Sandistas were especially brutal towards some of the native Indian tribes, liquidating their leadership, imprisoning, and displacing them. In 1984 Ortega held a fraudulent Presidential election and claimed victory, but the opposition boycotted the election and began armed resistance. Before and during his revolution and rule Oretega was supported by Communist Cuba and the Soviet Union. (9) The Sandinistas also began supported the Communist revolution in neighboring El Salvador. From 1980 to 1992 over 75,000 people died in El Salvador.
As this civil war began, the opposition, known as the Contras, were partially funded by the United States, secretly via the CIA. Kerry pronounced himself "alarmed that the Reagan administration is repeating the mistakes we made in Vietnam." (14) For unknown reasons, Kerry and other Democrats in Congress began to rouse support for a bill blocking the CIA funding. The American Spectator reports:
After Kerry met with Ortega, he returned to Washington waving a promise from Ortega that the Communist leader would moderate his policies. "We believe this is a wonderful opening for a peaceful settlement without having to militarize the region," Kerry said. "The real issue is: Is this administration going to overthrow the government of the Sandinistas no matter what they do? This opportunity puts this to the test." The normally cautious Secretary of State George Shultz was so flabbergasted by Kerry's shilling for Ortega that he denounced Kerry publicly for "dealing with the communists" and letting himself be "used" by Ortega.
Kerry's diplomacy blew up in his face. As Kerry was reassuring his colleagues that Ortega wouldn't establish Soviet and Cuban bases in Nicaragua, Ortega (a few days after he met with Kerry) was flying to Moscow to arrange a $200 million transfer of Soviet monies to Nicaragua. Kerry's sales pitch for the Sandinistas -- "I see an enormous haughtiness in the United States trying to tell them what to do. Our economic squeeze on them is very sad. The whole population is suffering" -- worked in Congress. It voted against aid to the Contras, even as Ortega was collecting aid from his Soviet bosses. (10)
Some in the Reagan administration recognized the dangers of Communism and were determined not to abandon our allies like we had in Southeast Asia. They went around the obstructionist Congress and managed to get aid to the Contras anyway. This led to the Iran Contra scandal, but American support, hard economic times in Cuba and the Soviet Union, and fading public opinion began to topple the Communists and Ortega sued for peace.
Ortega and the Sandinistas have not held office since and were defeated in internationally mediated and monitored national elections in 1990, 1996 and 2001. Ortega has never been tried for his crimes. Kerry has never apologized for his actions, apparently because he never realized he has been mistaken. In the Democratic primaries he spoke of Reagan as a nasty force that he was right to oppose: "I'm proud that I stood against Ronald Reagan, not with him, when his intelligence agencies were abusing the Constitution of the United States and when he was running an illegal war in Central America." (14)
Kerry even tried to link Bush with Reagan. In an interview with Vogue last year he said: ''They have managed him the same way they managed Ronald Reagan," Kerry contended. ''They send him out to the press for one event a day. They put him in a brown jacket and jeans and get him to move some hay or drive a truck, and all of a sudden, he's the Marlboro Man." (15)
However, after Reagan's death and after Kerry clinched the Democratic nomination, he began to attempt to utilize Reagan's revitalized popularity. Perhaps his advisors thought it would make him appealing to moderate and independent voters. In the first two presidential debates Kerry said things like:
I'm going to run a foreign policy that actually does what President Reagan did, President Eisenhower did, and others. We're going to build alliances. We're not going to go unilaterally. We're not going to go alone like this president did.
We need to rebuild our alliances. I believe that Ronald Reagan, John Kennedy, and the others did that more effectively, and I'm going to try to follow in their footsteps.
Now, I'm going to add 40,000 active duty forces to the military, and I'm going to make people feel good about being safe in our military, and not overextended, because I'm going to run a foreign policy that actually does what President Reagan did, President Eisenhower did, and others.
We're going to build alliances. We're not going to go unilaterally. We're not going to go alone like this president did. But I know, as I think you do, that our country is strongest when we lead the world, when we lead strong alliances. And that's the way Eisenhower and Reagan and Kennedy and others did it. We are not doing that today. We need to. (14)
Of course, this is all completely disingenuous and the height of hypocrisy. Kerry opposed Reagan at every corner, from tax cuts to government spending to foreign policy. And our allies? Kerry must have forgotten the massive street protests that rocked Europe when Reagan inserted Pershing missiles to counter the Soviet nukes (an act which Kerry opposed). Kerry was even against missile defense, saying it was "a dream based on illusion, but one which could have real and terrible consequences" (14) The Bush campaign claims he voted 53 times against missile defense funding.
With North Korean missiles able to reach the coast of California, perhaps he should apologize. Not a chance. Again, he doesn't appear to believe he was wrong. Kerry and his advisors have nuanced/moderated his present opposition to missile defense with contradictory statements. Most experts believe he would slash funding for it at minimum. (18) (19) Kerry supported US military action to remove Panamanian dictator and drug dealer Manuel Noreiga. I could find no information on whether he supported US action in liberating Grenada; many Liberals were strongly against this action, so it would be surprising if Kerry was not opposed to it in some way.
Iraq and the War on Terror
In 1991, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. His continual aggressions and genocides of his own people were horrific. Over a million Iraqis, Iranians and civilians had been killed in Saddam's 20 year reign. His armies now threatened Saudi Arabia and were already disrupting oil supplies around the world. UN resolutions were passed and 34 countries were assembled to force Saddam out of Kuwait. Kerry voted with 47 Senate Democrats against the war. In speeches before the vote he said:
But my belief through every fiber of my body, Mr. President, is that our impatience with sanctions and diplomacy does not yet warrant accepting that horror -- and my fear is that our beloved country is not yet ready for what it will witness and bear if we go to this war.
There is a rush to war here. There's a rush to have this thing over with. (59)
But I said then it must be when the Nation as a whole has decided that there is a real threat and that the Nation as a whole has decided that we all must go. I do not believe this test has been met. There is no consensus in America for war and, therefore, the Congress should not vote to authorize war.
They will ask why there was such a rush to so much death and destruction when it did not have to happen.
I personally believe, and I have heard countless of my colleagues say, that they think the President made a mistake to unilaterally increase troops, set a date and make war so probable. (12)
Kerry spoke in favor of giving sanctions more time and giving diplomacy a chance and exchanged jabs with Secretary of State Jim Baker during Baker's testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He also questioned whether we could even win in Iraq and if we would get bogged down. Meanwhile, in Kuwait thousands of Kuwaiti citizens were being robbed, raped, tortured, and killed. After the coalition succeeded, and national pride and support for President Bush (Sr) was at an all time high, Kerry said something amazing:
"If the president had told me that there would be only 100 casualties and it would just take a week, I would have voted in favor of using military force." (13)
This odd Kerry penchant for Monday morning quarterbacking was repeated on September 20th of this year when Kerry said:
"Is he [Bush] really saying to Americans that if we had known there were no imminent threat, no weapons of mass destruction, no ties to al-Qaida, the United States should have invaded Iraq? My answer is resoundingly no because a commander in chief's first responsibility is to make a wise and responsible decision to keep America safe." (57)
As president Kerry will not be able to remake decisions after he has made a decision...
It has been estimated that the 'crash nuclear program' Saddam initiated during the first Gulf war could have resulted in a nuclear weapon in only a few years if the coalition had not invaded.
After the first gulf war, Kerry became both a hawk and a pacifist at different times. Despite his vote to give the President authorization to go to war, he has had so many contradictory statements on the subject of Iraq that it is pointless to even begin to list them all. During the Democratic primaries Kerry slammed Howard Dean for being too weak on Iraq and the President for being too strong.
In a similar sense, he has again 'nuanced' his positions in the war on terror. He has a record of being against the death penalty, but said in the first presidential debate said he will 'hunt down the terrorists and kill them wherever they are" (16). He talks about a strong America and winning the war on terror, yet, he and his advisors have said that President Bush's reckless actions have created more terrorists. He has both supported and condemned President Bush's policy of preemptive action. He has spoken as if advocating a return to the failed policy of treating terrorism as a 'law enforcement issue'. However, he has been clear in stating that he doesn't consider Iraq to be part of the 'war on terror' and accuses Bush of 'taking his eye of the ball' by ignoring Al Qaeda in Afghanistan (despite the fact that elections were just held in Afghanistan and that over 75% of Al Qaeda's top leadership has been killed or captured).
In taking this position, Kerry ignores the various contacts Iraq has had with terrorists. Abu Nidal, the head of the group which recently killed the US ambassador to Jordan was in Baghdad before the war, as was Abu Abbas, the terrorist who planned the hijacking of an American cruise liner during which a wheelchair bound American Jew was shot and thrown overboard. Kerry also ignores the $25,000 dollars Saddam paid to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and other support Iraq gave to Palestinian terror groups in Israel. Kerry and his surrogates have also decried the connection of Al Qaeda to Saddam Hussein. While there is no evidence of Iraqi corroboration regarding the September 11th attacks, there were clearly high level Iraqi contacts with Al Qaeda, as even the 'oft cited' 9/11 commission pointed out. One of these contacts was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Of course, reading the New York Times you would never know any of this. On October 10th the New York Times ran a lengthy story that mirrored the Kerry campaign rhetoric:
However, fresh doubts about Mr. Zarqawi's ties to Iraq were raised by American intelligence officials last week in a report prepared for Mr. Cheney. The Central Intelligence Agency determined that there is no conclusive evidence Saddam Hussein's regime provided safe haven to Mr. Zarqawi in the months leading up to the American invasion of Iraq. This assessment follows a similar finding in June by the Sept. 11 Commission, which concluded that there was no "collaborative relationship" between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's regime.
While much about Mr. Zarqawi's operations remain unknown, some senior intelligence officials in Europe and the Middle East, as well as some terror experts, argue that the United States has purposely overstated Mr. Zarqawi's importance, turning him into an almost mythic figure. This portrayal may have enhanced his aura with young recruits, helping his organization entice new jihadists in Europe and the Middle East to join his group's ranks, they say.
Mr. Zarqawi sees himself not as a disciple of Mr. bin Laden but as a rival, some officials and analysts said. Mr. Zarqawi's group often competes for recruits with Al Qaeda, particularly in Europe, they say.
"Zarqawi was never part of the leadership of Al Qaeda - he has never sworn allegiance to bin Laden," said a senior German intelligence official, who refused to be identified. "He has been an independent agent, with his own network and ways of doing things that are distinct from Al Qaeda's way of doing things." (42)
Amazingly, in the same New York Times story, this reporter concludes that an intercepted Zarqawi message to Bin Laden, pleading for reinforcements that would "work under your banner" in Iraq, is evidence supporting the notion that Zarqawi is not part of Al Qaeda.
A week after this New York Times story, Zarqawi stated (possibly reiterated?) his allegiance to Bin Laden:
"allegiance . . . to the sheik of the mujaheddin, Osama bin Laden." It adds, "When you give us orders, we will obey. If you forbid aught, it will be forbidden" (41)
President Bush offered a more accurate portrait at an October 18th rally in New Jersey:
The terrorist leader we face in Iraq today, the one responsible for beheading American hostages, the one responsible for many of the car bombings and attacks against Iraq is a man named Zarqawi. Before September the 11th, Zarqawi ran a camp in Afghanistan that trained terrorists in the use of explosives and poisons, until coalition forces destroyed that camp. (Applause.) He fled to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, where he received medical care and set up operations with some 2,000 terrorist associates. He operated in Baghdad and worked with associates in northern Iraq. He ran camps to train terrorists, and conducted chemical and biological experiments, until coalition forces arrived and ended those operations. (Applause.) With nowhere to operate openly, Zarqawi has gone underground and is making a stand in Iraq.
Here, the difference between my opponent and me is very clear. Senator Kerry believes that fighting Zarqawi and other terrorists in Iraq is a "diversion" from the war on terror. I believe that fighting and defeating these killers in Iraq is a central commitment in the war on terror. (Applause.)
If Zarqawi and his associates were not busy fighting American forces in Iraq, does Senator Kerry think they would be leading productive and peaceful lives? (Laughter.) Clearly, these killers would be plotting and acting to murder innocent civilians in free nations, including our own. By facing these terrorists far away, our military is making the United States of America more secure. (Applause.) (40)
The United States intercepted a purported message stating that Al Qaeda was reducing aid to ex Taliban in Afghanistan in order to concentrate on American forces in Iraq. On December 15th 2003 (months before the New York Times story), Newsweek reported:
During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, three senior Qaeda representatives allegedly held a secret meeting in Afghanistan with two top Taliban commanders.
At that meeting, according to Taliban sources, Osama bin Laden’s men officially broke some bad news to emissaries from Mullah Mohammed Omar, the elusive leader of Afghanistan’s ousted fundamentalist regime. Their message: Al Qaeda would be diverting a large number of fighters from the anti-U.S. insurgency in Afghanistan to Iraq. Al Qaeda also planned to reduce by half its $3 million monthly contribution to Afghan jihadi outfits. (45)
The terrorists know that a free and democratic Iraq would alter the landscape of the Middle East and strike them a vicious blow from which they would not recover. But don't just take my word for it; according to a 54 page Al Qaeda handbook intercepted in July 2004 and verified by western intelligence agencies:
It called for striking US forces in Iraq on a daily basis in order to force them "to disperse on the territory, weaken their efficiency and strike the morale of the soldiers."
"This would be [a US victory in Iraq] the first step toward the eradication of hardline Islam in the entire world," it said. (43), (44)
Despite what the New York Times and John Kerry say (most recently Kerry said Iraq was "the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time" (46)), both the terrorists and the Bush administration understand the stakes in Iraq. Iraq is part of the war on terror and it is utterly irresponsible to try to separate the two.
Allies and Alliances
Kerry has derided our allies, while criticizing the Bush administration for not gathering enough allies. He has called countries that stand with us in Iraq "window dressings" and a "coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted.” (20) (25)
When Prime Minister Allawi made his first visit to the United States and said, "Thank you America" and "Your sacrifices were not in vain" to a standing ovation to both houses of Congress, Kerry called a news conference 30 minutes later and said:
The prime minister and the president are here obviously to put their best face on the policy, but the fact is that the CIA estimates, the reporting, the ground operations and the troops all tell a different story," the Democratic nominee told reporters in Columbus.
"I think the prime minister is, obviously, contradicting his own statement when he said, 'terrorists are pouring into the country,' " Kerry said.
Kerry also took issue with Allawi's comment that elections could take place in Iraq in January. "The United States and the Iraqis have retreated from whole areas of Iraq," Kerry said. "There are no-go zones in Iraq today. You can't hold an election in a no-go zone." (21)
Kerry's Vice Presidential Candidate said,
"Prime Minister Allawi's trip to the United States was filled with all the wrong lessons, lessons from an administration that just can't seem to tell the truth when it comes to Iraq." (22)
The Washington Times reported:
The ugliest treatment of all came from Mr. Lockhart [senior Kerry advisor], the former Clinton White House spokesman. After the Allawi-Bush press conference Thursday, Mr. Lockhart said that "The last thing you want to be seen as is a puppet of the United States, and you can almost see the hand underneath the shirt today moving the lips." (22)
Imagine you were Allawi. What would you think? So, after all this, Newsday rather humorously reported that:
On Sunday, Biden [a senior Democratic senator] rushed to the cameras to "guarantee" that Kerry supports Allawi just as much as Bush does. (48)
Besides disheartening our allies, the Kerry camp has disparaged the reasons for the war.
Kerry's wife, Teresa recently said, "John
will never send a boy or girl in a uniform anywhere in the world because of
our need and greed for oil," (23)
In the first Presidential Debate Kerry said:
That's exactly where we find ourselves today. There's a sense of American occupation. The only building that was guarded when the troops when into Baghdad was the oil ministry. We didn't guard the nuclear facilities.
When you guard the oil ministry, but you don't guard the nuclear facilities, the message to a lot of people is maybe, "Wow, maybe they're interested in our oil." (16)
Just recently Diana Kerry, Kerry's sister, who is in charge of 'Americans Overseas for Kerry', the arm of the Kerry campaign that works at getting the vote of Americans living abroad, told The Weekend Australian:
"Australia has kept faith with the US and we are endangering the Australians now by this wanton disregard for international law and multilateral channels," she said, referring to the invasion of Iraq.
Asked if she believed the terrorist threat to Australians was now greater because of the support for Republican George W. Bush, Ms Kerry said: "The most recent attack was on the Australian embassy in Jakarta -- I would have to say that." (24)
Australians responded by reelecting one of America's strongest allies in the war on terror, Prime Minister John Howard, to a 3rd term in a historic landslide, giving his coalition control of the Senate for the first time since 1981.
Another American ally, Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski, slammed the Democratic Presidential nominee's rhetoric as 'immoral':
In the interview for a Polish channel TVN, President of Poland, Alexander Kwasniewski expressed his admiration and full support for President George Bush for his leadership in the war on terror. As a comment to the Bush-Kerry debate, President Kwasniewski said that “President Bush performed like a truly Texan gentleman who was able to notice and fully appreciate the presence and sacrifice of the Polish ally in the war on terror in Iraq. “
“I find it kind of sad that a senator with 20 year parliamentary experience is unable to notice the Polish presence in the anti-terror coalition.”, Kwasniewski commented John Kerry’s stance.
“I don’t think it’s an ignorance.”, said Kwasniewski. “Anti-terror coalition is larger than the USA, the UK and Australia. There are also Poland, Ukraine, and Bulgaria etc. which lost their soldiers there. It’s highly immoral not to see our strong commitment we have taken with a strong believe that we must fight against terror together, that we must show our strong international solidarity because Saddam Hussein was dangerous to the world.
“That’s why we are disappointed that our stance and ultimate sacrifice of our soldiers are so diminished”, President Kwasniewski commented Kerry’s speech during the debate.
“Perhaps Mr Kerry, continues Kwasniewski, thinks about the coalition with Germany and France, countries which disagreed with us on Iraq. (55), (56)
Kerry has not apologized or retracted any of his statements or condemned the rhetoric of those in his campaign.
Finally, Kerry's positions on international treaties are equally confusing. He has criticized the Bush administration for not supporting the International Criminal Court and the Kyoto global warming treaty, but without committing himself to joining either. Rather, it appears he would seek to modify the treaties to take into account American objections. What terminology he uses to explain his positions seem to depend on what interest group he is talking to and whether he is in the Democratic Primaries or in the general election.
The Israeli Palestinian Conflict
In the Middle East, especially regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Kerry is as contradictory and convoluted as his Iraq positions. For example, CBS News reports:
In October 2003, Kerry said Israel’s unilateral
construction of a security fence was “a barrier to peace.”
“I know how disheartened Palestinians are by the decision to build the barrier off the Green Line," he told the Arab American Institute National Leadership Conference. “We don't need another barrier to peace. Provocative and counterproductive measures only harm Israelis.”
But less than a year later, in February 2004, he reversed himself, calling the fence "a legitimate act of self-defense," and saying "President Bush is rightly discussing with Israel the exact route of the fence to minimize the hardship it causes innocent Palestinians.” (38)
Although Kerry has a fairly strong pro-Israel voting record in the Senate, there is 'supposed' disappointment in some Jewish quarters over the appointment of Martin Indyk as Kerry's Middle East advisor. Indyk is associated with Clinton's failed attempt to negotiate with Arafat. The numerous Israeli concessions given during the Clinton administration are now seen as only having increased the terrorist attacks. One wonders if Kerry would have backed Sharon's current 'unilateral disengagement' plan if he was President (now, on the campaign trail and mindful of the Jewish vote, he supports it)? President Bush was vehemently criticized by the Editorial boards of the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times for this decision. Judging by Kerry's past record of appeasement, his penchant for negotiation, and his close agreements on matters of foreign policy with the Editorial boards of these newspapers, we can only guess what his response might have been... (39)
Both the current Israeli government and the corrupt Palestinian Authority know the stakes in this election. On October 19th, CNSnews reported:
Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority on Monday gave its
first public indication of which candidate it would like to see in the White House next year.
"If [President] Bush wins, he said he would renew efforts to resume the peace process," PA foreign minister Nabil Shaath told the BBC in London. "However, with the staff that surrounds him and with his current opinions, it doesn't look promising."
Under a Kerry administration, however, "it would be likely that several staff members during Clinton's administration would return," Shaath said. "That would be a good thing, but it could take at least a year before a policy is formulated."
Elaborating on the PA's unhappiness with the incumbent, the Palestine Media Center -- an official PA institution -- said Palestinians held the Bush administration responsible for Israel's isolation of Arafat since the end of 2001. "Bush's refusal to deal with Arafat was interpreted by Palestinians as another "green light'' for Israel to impose and to maintain the siege on Arafat," it said.
The comments add substance to an assessment last July by Israel's military intelligence chief, Major-General Aharon Ze'evi, who was quoted as telling the cabinet: "Arafat is now waiting for the month of November in the hope that President Bush will be defeated in the presidential election and turned out of his office."
The PA view on the election contrasts sharply with that of Israeli leaders, who have echoed the words spoken by former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Washington in 2002: "There has never been a greater friend of Israel in the White House than President George W. Bush."
Other polls in Israel have indicated that a majority of Israelis are grateful to Bush for going to war against Iraq and toppling Saddam Hussein, a sworn enemy of the Jewish state. (47)
North Korea and Iran
North Korea is another brutal communist regime. In the past decade or so up to 3 million or 12% of the total population has died from preventable famine. (66) Subhuman gulags and death camps dot the land. Millions more have either fled or been imprisoned, tortured, and/or executed. In 1994 Madeline Albright traveled to North Korea and shook the dictator's hand. The Clinton Administration reached an agreement with Kim Jung Ill. The agreement called for the freezing and eventual dismantling of the North Korean nuclear weapons program, in exchange for two 1,000-megawatt pressurized light-water reactors. In the interim, about 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil was to be supplied to North Korea. The Korean dictator never honored his agreement, accepted the free US aid, continued to starve his people, and built a nuclear weapon right under Clinton's nose. When some of the early troubles began, and indications emerged that the North Koreans might not be following the agreement, Clinton canceled a planned visit to the Communist state. No one knows exactly when the nuclear weapons were made, but on January 10, 2003, the rogue nation withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
After North Korea admitted they had nuclear weapons, the Bush administration refused to negotiate with them and instead attempted to bring China, Japan, Russia and South Korea into six party talks to attempt to further isolate the North Koreans and bring pressures to bear.
Kerry's line of reasoning is completely ridiculous. He blamed the Bush administration for "letting a nuclear nightmare develop." (26) and said, "That happened on this president's watch." (16)
In the first presidential debate Kerry said he would open direct talks and continue the bilateral talks. As President Bush said, "The minute we have bilateral talks, the six-party talks will unwind. That's exactly what Kim Jong Il wants." (16)
On October 20th The World Tribune reported:
North Korea has put off further negotiations on its nuclear program with five other nations until after the Nov. 2 U.S. presidential elections, intelligence officials say.
The North Koreans believe they will have an easier time negotiating with a new administration headed by Sen. John F. Kerry, who has said publicly he would begin direct U.S.-North Korea talks if elected president. The Bush administration has rejected bilateral talks with Pyongyang, based on North Korea's violation of the 1994 Agreed Framework, which was a product of similar one-on-one talks.
There are concerns that North Korean may conduct a missile flight test or some type of military activity to try to affect the outcome of the elections. (53)
I was unable to find any of Kerry's comments or quotations from 1994 but, judging by his past record and current proposals, we can infer he supported the Clinton deal. It is amazing that he is so willing to try something again that has already failed so miserably and then to spin and distort Bush's record. Kerry has also said he is against the redeployment of US troops from South Korea and Germany. It is unclear why he is against it; the troops are stationed in archaic Cold War formations.
Even more incredulous is Kerry's statement about Iran, which is judged by many parties to be pursuing nuclear weapons. In the first presidential debate Kerry said:
I think the United States should have offered [Iran] the opportunity to provide the nuclear fuel, test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes. If they weren't willing to work a deal, then we could have put sanctions together. The president did nothing. (16)
There already are US sanctions on Iran. Kerry has basically said that he would pursue the exact same policy that failed in North Korea. Al-Jazeera reported on October 22nd:
Analysts have said Iran will wait until after the US elections to respond to a European offer to avoid possible UN sanctions by indefinitely suspending uranium enrichment.
Samore said he thought the Iranians were "waiting for the US elections" on 2 November, with different calculations depending on whether incumbent President George Bush or his challenger John Kerry wins.
The Iranians might try to take advantage of a Kerry victory by agreeing to a three-month full extension from November until when Kerry takes office in January.
"I think if Kerry wins, Iran would strike a compromise that would essentially delay the issue until early next year," Samore said. (58)
In 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected, Iran immediately released American hostages it had been holding for 444 days. Could something opposite happen with a Kerry election? And should we elect a leader on whom Iran and North Korea are pinning their hopes?
One of the most dangerous areas in the world is the Taiwan strait. China has vowed to reunite with the Taiwan, using military force if necessary. Taiwan and the United States are in favor of the so-called 'one China policy', but both worry about how China might abuse Taiwan's democracy if the two countries are reunited.
Under President Bush, the United States has stepped up arms sales to Taiwan and issued warnings to both Beijing, about the consequences of aggression, and Taipei, about provoking China with rash declarations of independence. China's massive armed forces have undergone mock invasions of Taiwan, including contingency planning for engagements with US forces rushing to aid Taiwan. President Bush was interviewed on ABC in April 2001:
When asked whether the United States would use "the full force of the American military," Bush responded, "Whatever it took to help Taiwan defend herself."
Bush's comments represent the strongest and most specific language a U.S. leader has used, and an apparent shift in U.S. policy, since it has been implicit, but never stated during previous administrations, that the United States would defend Taipei if it was attacked by Beijing. (36)
As expected, Kerry has been less clear. The Democratic Party Convention platform consisted of a just two sentences, compared to the two paragraphs of much stronger committed language of the Republican platform:
We are committed to a one-China policy and will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-Straits issues that is consistent with the wishes and best interest of the Taiwanese people. (37)
The Associated Press reported:
Kerry has also fueled worries by saying in January that Washington should push Taiwan to accept a "one-China, two systems" unification model, which is China's policy and extremely unpopular in Taiwan.
Under the plan, Beijing would rule Taiwan but the island would be given wide autonomy. But most Taiwanese fear the Communist leadership would be unable to resist meddling in the island's democracy.
Taiwanese officials say the Kerry campaign told them the candidate simply misspoke.
But June Teufel Dreyer, a political science professor at the University of Miami, said the platform and Kerry's remark don't bode well for Taiwan.
"The differences of emphasis in the Republican and Democratic platforms are meaningful," she said. "I do not think it was just a slip of the tongue when Kerry said one country, two systems was the way to resolve the cross-strait issue." (37)
Kerry's past support of Dictatorships and Communist governments and his record of opposing US military action may embolden China and escalate tensions on the strait. After all, Kerry has acted against the interests of our South Vietnamese allies, our allies in Laos and Cambodia, our Contra allies, our Iraqi allies, and our current coalition allies. Judging Kerry's record, an ally of the United States is not a great thing to be.
In 1991, former priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected president of Haiti with 67% of the vote. Less than a year later, as he began to consolidate power and persecute political opponents, he was overthrown by a military coup. During his years in exile Aristide spend millions of Haitian funds lobbying the United States to return him to power.
In 1994, Aristide was returned to office by President Clinton and the military leadership of Haiti resigned. Aristide completed his term in 1996, but was prevented from running again under US pressure and via legal interpretations of the Haitian constitution. However, Arisitide gradually took back power anyway through the, often fraudulent, election of his supporters to the Haitian Senate and his control of his presidential successor. In 2000, Arisitide ran in a presidential election that was boycotted by the opposition and claimed victory with 91.8% of the vote. Aristide again cultivated the support of brutal street gangs and lined his pockets with drug money. Aristide's henchmen were known to execute political opponents via a process called 'necklacing' - placing a burning tire around the head of their victims. A self-proclaimed Marxist, Aristide advocated class struggle and devastated Haiti's economy through corruption and misguided leftist economic policies. The Washington Times reported that Aristide's regime had spent $7.3 million between 1997 and 2002 lobbying in Washington, D.C. (29)
After the rigged 2000 Haitian election, the Clinton Administration cut off $500 million in economic aid and Europe followed suit. In 2003, the street gangs that Aristide relied on to suppress political dissents turned on him and the United States and France jointly pressured him to flee and moved in with troops to restore order. As the rebels closed in on Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital, the French Foreign Minister, Dominique De Villipan, echoed US Secretary of State Colin Powell saying:
"It's for President Aristide, who bears a heavy responsibility in the current situation, to draw the conclusions from the impasse," (31)
Kerry, however, took the opposite position, saying he would have sent American troops in to back Aristide! The Wall Street journal reported:
John Kerry has now decided, retrospectively, that he would not have gone to war to remove Saddam Hussein. But he would have put U.S. troops in harm's way to shield Haitian strongman Jean Bertrand Aristide from a revolt of his own people in February. "I would have been prepared to send troops immediately, period," Mr. Kerry told the New York Times on March 4. (32), (33)
However, Kerry admitted to the New York Post that: he's not "a big Aristide fan." (30)
General Heleno, a Brazilian, who is currently the commander of the UN peacekeepers in Haiti blamed Kerry's comments for contributing to chaos in Haiti. The BBC reports:
Eight months ago the Bush administration withdrew all support for Mr Aristide and made it clear he should leave Haiti. John Kerry called that "short-sighted" and said he would have sent troops to protect Mr Aristide, who was an elected leader.
Now General Heleno, says those comments have offered hope to Aristide's supporters that should Mr Kerry win the US election in November the former Haitian president might be restored to power.
General Heleno said any hopes of an Aristide comeback were "completely unfounded". Speaking to Brazil's state news agency the UN commander was trying to explain the recent upsurge in violence in Haiti. (34)
More explicitly, the General told the Brazilian news agency:
"Statements made by a candidate to the presidency of the United States created false hopes among pro-Aristide supporters," Ribeiro told the agency. "His (the candidate's) statements created the expectation that instability and a change in American policy would contribute to Aristide's return." (35)
Over 50 people have died in scattered violence across Haiti in clashes between pro-Aristide gunmen, Haitian police, and government groups. Kerry has not recanted anything he has said, nor I suspect will he. After all, if he speaks against Aristide to help stop the violence he might be labeled as a flip-flopper, which could hurt his election chances.
It is difficult to find the right adjectives to fairly describe the pattern we see in 20+ years of Kerry foreign policy. Perhaps it was said best at the Republican Convention in New York by Georgia Democratic Senator Zell Miller:
"For more than twenty years, on every one of the great issues of freedom and security, John Kerry has been more wrong, more weak and more wobbly than any other national figure." (49)
Hopefully from what I have written you can see that this is not an exaggeration. In fact, Kerry has consistently found himself on the same side as America's enemies. He has supported the Anti-American positions of Ho Chi Minh, Communist China, the Soviet Union, Castro, Ortega, Kim Jong Ill, Saddam Hussein, Aristide and Arafat. I don't question Kerry's patriotism or his intentions, but we do need to question the judgment of a politician who seems to always end up arguing on the side of dictators, thugs, and failed ideologies.
Most disturbing is Kerry's position on Communism. Communism is the greatest evil that man has ever known. It is responsible for more than 100 millions deaths (more than all the wars in history combined), millions and millions of refugees and the subjugation and slavery of over 2 billion people since WWII (70). Communist regimes always follow a similar pattern. A Communist regime has never been elected, so first Communists must orchestrate a revolution, often with the support of funding from preexisting Communist regime. Next, Communists dissolve private property, nationalize media and begin a brutal purge of political prisoners and the upper classes. To conduct it's class warfare and maintain control of the revolting people, the state will militarize, establish a large secret police presence, and create horrific labor/reeducation camps. The economy collapses, failed farm policies result in starvation, refugees flee, and the government begins to export Communist revolution abroad. How far the government is willing to push the Communist philosophy will directly equate with the severity of these events and the suffering of their people. This exact pattern has come to pass in the Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, North Korea, Angola, Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Cuba. A few countries on this list have not experienced the true hell of Communism because the governments either didn't last long enough to take full root, or total Communist policies were not pursued in earnest. (67)
Kerry failed to stand against Communism and was ignorant of it's true nature. As history has proven time and time again, one cannot appease or negotiate with Communists or dictators, yet that is precisely the stance Kerry has taken throughout his career. His reliance on the United Nations is also misguided. In 1970 he told a Harvard newspaper:
“I’m an internationalist,” Kerry told The Crimson in 1970. “I’d like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations.” Kerry said he wanted “to almost eliminate CIA activity. The CIA is fighting its own war in Laos and nobody seems to care.” (50)
I realize that it is somewhat disingenuous to hold these statements from 30 years ago against him, especially when he has recently said he would act unilaterally, if necessary, to defend America. But his recent statements sound quite different from his opposition to the first gulf war when 34 countries and numerous UN resolutions authorized the removal of Saddam Hussein from Kuwait and Kerry still didn't vote to authorize the use of American troops. In other words, his campaign rhetoric does not match his record. Besides, more recently, in a 1994 televised interview Kerry said:
In 1994, discussing the possibility of U.S. troops being killed in Bosnia, he [Kerry] said, "If you mean dying in the course of the United Nations effort, yes, it is worth that. If you mean dying American troops unilaterally going in with some false presumption that we can affect the outcome, the answer is unequivocally no." (52)
Despite this, the UN did not pass any resolutions supporting the NATO involvement (Russia threatened a Veto), but Kerry still supported the US effort. How strange then to use the lack of support in the United Nations as an argument against the current action in Iraq.
Even more disturbing, during his aforementioned verbal jousting with Secretary of State Jim Baker before the first gulf war, Kerry argued for putting US troops under UN command:
KERRY: It's one thing to be in the Persian Gulf on a
ship that is somewhat removed from the first line and another to be up there in the desert bearing
that heat and the immediate risk, and I would like to know what we can expect with respect to allies
on the ground and whether or not you think it might be helpful because of the long-term staying
power issue and patience issue to perhaps look to see the ground effort or the overall effort put
under the umbrella of the United Nations directly.
BAKER: I don't think that at this juncture it would be a good idea to put the overall effort under a UN command. We have been successful in -- it's not just, again, the United States being successful, but the world community has responded in a very positive way to this crisis. Twenty-six countries have sent military assets of one form or another. (59)
Like Communism, his knee jerk propensity to support the UN shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the institution. The UN can be useful in some ways, humanitarian work, peacekeeping, and the occasional diplomatic breakthrough. But, the UN is also used by tyrants and dictators to perpetuate their regimes and to keep the United States and other freedom loving countries of the word from action. Israelis know this better than anyone. The UN gives legitimacy to these regimes in the eyes of their people and helps spread paralyzing propaganda to countries with free presses. The United States has spread freedom to more people and more countries than any other nation in the history of the world. Japan, Germany, Taiwan, South Korea, France (twice), and, most recently, Eastern Europe, Afghanistan and Iraq have all been either liberated or occupied by US forces. During the recent US military reorganizations, South Korean and German officials came to the United States to lobby against the removal of US troops. When has this happened in the history of the world? In Eastern Europe, citizens feared the Red Army of the Soviet Union and cheered when Soviet troops finally withdrew (Russia is currently occupying Georgia against the wishes of its president). All over the world, many countries not only welcome, but often proactively seek to draw American troops to their countries. For example, in the past week US defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited Romania:
a sign of Romania's eagerness for Americans to use the facility, officials renamed one street on the
base "George Washington Boulevard," honoring the first U.S. president. If yes, the
move would signal closer U.S. ties with its NATO ally and funnel millions of dollars into the
Romanian economy. "I hope so, but it's not in our hands," Pascu [Romanian
Defense Minister] said. (51)
The United States has defeated Communism, Nazism, and Fascism and in all three instances freed vast swathes of the world from horrifying regimes. US troops have rebuilt and made prosperous multitudes of countries throughout the world. US troops do not have imperialistic aims and do not plunder or demand tribute as other armies have done throughout history. They are certainly are not in Iraq for oil, as Kerry and his campaign suggest. Historically, America has offered hope and freedom to the oppressed and stuck fear into the heart of tyrants. The United States of America has been the only steady force for good in this world. Kerry doesn't seem to see it this way. He seems to think our actions in South East Asia, Central America and Iraq were 'ill-advised'.
It almost seems as if he is suspicious of US power. He thinks bunker busting nuclear weapons (which he would cancel) and a missile defense system create more dangers then protections. Bunker busting nukes might provide the only viable option to eliminate new hardened underground facilities that countries such as Iran and North Korea are using to construct weapons of mass destruction. Possession of these weapons will increase our negotiating power with these rouge regimes and most likely actually decrease the chance of war. Japan, Australia and European countries have all signed on to be placed under the protection of the US 'missile defense shield'. Remember when the Soviet Union didn't believe Ronald Reagan's offer that we would share our missile defense technology?
Kerry is in favor of a banning weapons from space. This would be like Franklin Roosevelt agreeing to ban tanks. The United States may agree not pursue these weapons, but other nations surely will. Would you feel safe if China or Russia had the ability to destroy all US satellites and thus a clear military advantage over the United States? It is foolish to even consider embarking on this course.
In Senator Kerry's eyes, a strong United States is an arrogant, foolhardy United States. He seems to believe we just can't be trusted with these new dangerous weapons or provocative new defenses. In reality, the exact opposite is true. We are the the country that should be trusted with these weapons. In a dangerous world, strength brings peace.
"To be prepared for war, is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace."
George Washington, First Annual Message, January 8, 1790
"History teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap."
If Kerry had a little more pride in the United States and a better understanding of the history of this country, then maybe he would realize that the best hope for peace in the modern world is a strong, heavily armed United States military. Perhaps this is why liberals are so defensive about being labeled 'unpatriotic'. It is wrong to call them unpatriotic because they are not, but there is this sense that they don't really understand what the United States represents, or what makes this country great [strong property rights]. To side with dictators and Communists, defer to the UN, and fight any attempt to use the US military to liberate oppressed populations, especially when it is vital to our national security, defies any explanation. This is not the message any future commander in chief should send to our citizens, our allies, and our men and women in uniform.
Some might argue that some of Kerry's decisions over the past 20 years are not as cut and dry as I've made them out to be; and I'll accept that. I recognize that Violetta Chamorro, Samoza, General Thieu, Boniface Alexandre, Allawi, Lao King, Lon Nol, and, Fulgencio Batista were all leaders with flaws. Sometimes atrocities were committed by our allies and America has had to make tough choices. But it is unequivocally true that all of these leaders and governments were better then the alternatives. Better for our National Security and better for the populations of those countries. This isn't just me postulating, we have witnessed the gruesome and horrific results when we have followed John Kerry's misguided policies. Contrary to popular opinion, 'right wing' dictators that respect private property are always more benevolent then Communist regimes. (67)
Kerry's arguments were not all flawed. For example, many Vietnamese mistakenly viewed the war as a struggle for Vietnamese independence from colonialism - a point Kerry often argued and policy makers should have considered. President Johnson and his defense secretary Robert McNamera blatantly lied to the American people about Vietnam and terribly mismanaged the war. President Nixon, hamstrung by campaign promises and changing public opinion, offered no real solutions either. Criticism of either Administration was certainly more than justified.
The Somoza regime of Nicaragua was a corrupt dictatorial oligarchy, which did not have the support of the people. The Reagan administration's failure to pressure for reform could have been blamed for setting the stage for the Marxist takeover. However, I was unable to find any statements from Kerry attacking the Reagan administration for this.
I'd also like to make clear that I am not stating or suggesting that Kerry was personally responsible for our withdrawal in Vietnam, or our troubles in these other global hotspots. Actually, he often played only minor roles. Senator Fullbright would probably have drudged up some other schlub to testify before the Senate and the Liberals in Congress would still have had their flirtations with Ortega. But the point in all of this analysis is to extrapolate Kerry's positions from the past in order to make predictions on how he would serve as President. As President, Kerry will play a large roll in charting the course of history for the most powerful nation on earth. Should we elevate a man to the Presidency who was not only on the wrong side of all these issues, but, even now, with the facts in his hands, still believes he was right?
If all this is so, and if John Kerry was so wrong on every single major national security decision in the past 20 years, we need to then ask, why is the election so close? Why don't the voters, who profess foreign policy and national security as top issues, see his record? Why doesn't Bush win in a landslide? There are a few answers.
First, the media is loathe to portray his record as it is. National Newspapers, besides the Wall Street Journal, historically back the Democratic candidate. In some surveys upwards of 80% of national reporters identify themselves as liberals. You may be surprised or shocked, even if you are a regular digester of news, that you have not heard many of the things you have read in this piece (I assure you I have fact checked each bit of info thoroughly and even altered some of the language upon reader feedback). The blame lies with the media.
Second, President Bush and his campaign have not aggressively questioned Kerry's past record. Bush's lackluster performance in the debates blew most of his formerly substantial lead.
Thirdly, and most importantly, Kerry has deliberately hidden his record by basing his campaign around his Vietnam service. The 527 'Swift Boast Veterans for Truth' may have hurt Kerry politically, but have also kept the focus of the campaign on Kerry's military service in Vietnam.
Fourthly, Kerry has played politics with almost every issue and has assumed his newest positions will negate his past actions. In the Senate, the Democratic Primaries, and the general campaign, Kerry has switched, nuanced, and argued, almost every side of every foreign policy issue in such a convoluted way that it is difficult to nail down exactly where he stands or stood. At different times he has argued both sides of the First Gulf War, the current Iraq war, the Israeli-Palestinian fence, Cuba, preemptive action, timetables for withdrawing troops in Iraq, UN mandates, and the list goes on and on.
Fifthly, helped by the press, Kerry has aggressively attacked the President's foreign policy in an attempt to put the focus on the record of the incumbent. Among other things, Kerry has condemned President Bush for:
for not supplying the troops in Iraq (although Kerry voted against the 87 billion to do so), for nixing the capture or killing of Osama Bin Laden in Torah Bora (although the Commander in Chief of US Central Command who was running the operation, General Tommy Franks, said in an October 19th Op/Ed in the New York Times that "the senator's understanding of events doesn't square with reality.(54)), for not being aggressive enough on Venezuelan 'President' Hugo Chavez (although Chavez has accused the United States of attempting to orchestrate a coup in his country and Kerry has opposed US support for anti-Communist rebels in the past), for not building strong alliances (although he has condemned the war he'll ask our allies to fight and disparaged the 30 countries that make up the coalition in Iraq and our Iraqi allies), for disregarding international treaties (although he has said he too wouldn't sign either the Kyoto or ICC treaty in their present form), for high gas prices (although he then condemned Bush for making 'secret election year deals with the Saudis to lower oil prices'), all aspects of the President's North Korea policy (although his solution is to return to the policy that let the North Koreans acquire nuclear weapons), and all of this excludes the many multi-pronged criticisms thrown at the President regarding Iraq.
Sixthly, members of the Democratic party are holding their tongues and not speaking their minds. True, many of the more Liberal Democrats advocated the same policies as Kerry, but some of the more moderate members of the Democratic party are not too thrilled with Kerry's selection. Senator Zell Miller (D-Ga), New York Mayor Ed Koch (D), Rep. Rodney Alexander (D-La.), Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.), Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.), Saint Paul Mayor Randy Kelly (D), a few scattered state representatives, a smattering of other small town Democratic mayors, and a sprinkle of small historically democratic newspapers have all broken ranks to endorse President Bush, or have publicly declined to endorse Senator Kerry. Even so, the lack of initiative and leadership among prominent Democrats is troubling. The choices have never been starker for the country, yet some Democrats are surely choosing their party over their conscience.
Seventhly, and lastly, some people do see the past record. In polls, Bush scores highest on National Security issues and on who would best handle Iraq. The Conservative stances Kerry is attempting to adopt on National Security and other issues is a testament to the leadership of President Bush and other Conservatives in changing public opinion, not being changed by it. Note that before the Republican Convention, Iraq, terrorism, and national security ranked behind jobs and the economy in voter priority. After the Republican Convention these issues surged to the forefront of voter concern. This is leadership. Even if Bush looses, he will have succeeded in shifting public opinion to the point where Kerry will be hard-pressed to repeat his past mistakes. With 12 days before the election, Bush maintains a slight but steady lead in the polls.
In final conclusion, I do think this may be one of the most important election of our lifetime. Tyrants, terrorists, fence sitters, and our allies all hold their breath expectantly, each praying for different results. President Bush has a solid record of defending American Security and spreading freedom around the globe. From what I have written, hopefully you can see that John Kerry's past record consists of nothing but a jumbled mess of pessimism, defeatism, appeasement, confusion, and politicking. Perhaps you disagree with President Bush on certain economic, domestic, or social issues. I also disagree very strongly with the President on many issues. However, I recognize that foreign policy is the most important issue in this election. Our country is at a crossroads, we can either go forward, or turn back. John Kerry does not understand the insidious nature of Communism, the corruptibility of the United Nations, or the exceptionalism of the United States. And he has shown he does not understand terrorism either. Let's move forward. As Ronald Reagan said, "Because that's what America does".
Please pass along and feel free to leave a Comment.
The Osama Litmus
New York Times David Brooks puts out a great piece on Osama Bin Laden inserting himself into our Presidential race.
Sources 60-65 was added.
2/21/05 US News World Report. Michael Barone writes a piece comparing the leftist and rightist blogs. On the left there is one large dominating blog, which is operated by a Democratic consultant who received money (which he disclosed) from the Dean campaign. The Democratic Internet constituency was and is motivated by one thing more than anything else: hatred of George W. Bush. <..> But the right blogosphere was different from the left. There was no one dominant website and no one orthodoxy. <..> The focus of hatred in the right blogosphere is not Kerry or the Democrats but what these bloggers call Mainstream Media, or MSM. They argue, correctly in my view, that the New York Times, CBS News, and others distorted the news in an attempt to defeat Bush in 2004. I wonder if it is a coincidence that the blog structure seems to match ideology (top down versus bottom up)...
These blogs are playing an increasingly influential roll in elections. According to a recent poll: Reliance on the Internet for political news during presidential campaigns grew from 3 percent in 1996 to 18 percent in 2004. Although only 24% of those using the Internet for political news used blogs, this number is rapidly growing. James Miller from Tech Station writes in The coming War on Blogs that elements of the political elite and the media are likely to make attempts to use government to squash their competition and further their political agendas. There is already talk of applying the totally failed and unconstitutional Campaign Finance reform laws to the Internet.
It is easy to determine which side is being hurt by an increase in freedom of choice and the disintegration of the Mainstream Media monopoly. Here is Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry:
"We learned," Kerry said to the gathering, "that the mainstream media, over the course of the last year, did a pretty good job of discerning. But there's a subculture and a sub-media that talks and keeps things going for entertainment purposes rather than for the flow of information. And that has a profound impact and undermines what we call the mainstream media of the country. And so the decision-making ability of the American electorate has been profoundly impacted as a consequence of that. The question is, what are we going to do about it?"
So the stupid American public need to be protected from influences outside the liberal mainstream press. What are you going to do about it Senator?
Maybe Kerry is upset because people like me will continue to call him out on his continuing contradictory and revisionist statements:
(9/30/04) (First Presidential Debate)
There's only 25 percent of the people in there. They can't have an election right now. The president's not getting the job done.
(10/8/04) (Second Presidential Debate)
There's chaos in Iraq. King Abdullah of Jordan said just yesterday or the day before you can't hold elections in Iraq with the chaos that's going on today.
(1/30/05 on Iraqi election day) (Meet the Press)
"It is hard to say that something is legitimate when whole portions of the country can't vote and doesn't vote," <..> "No one in the United States should try to overhype this election."
WOODRUFF: Is the situation in Iraq better now than what you had predicted during the campaign, given
on the recent elections there and moves toward democracy?
KERRY: No, I think it's what I said it would be. In fact, when I came back from Iraq about a month and a half ago before the elections, I said that that we ought to have the elections that the Iraqi people want a vote and they're going to turn out in significant numbers.
Or perhaps Kerry doesn't appreciate attention being brought to his Senate activities, such as his recent sponsorship of a statement honoring W.E.B. Du Bois, a former socialist presidential candidate who renounced his American citizenship and joined the communist party. Human Events reports: After the outbreak of the Korean War (in which 54,000 US troops died to liberate South Korea), Du Bois contended in 1950 that "the North Koreans are fighting exactly the things for which Americans fought in 1776." (in the past decade an estimated 12% of their population has died of starvation as the dictatorship built nuclear weapons) Three years later, he eulogized Stalin (the greatest mass murder and enslaver in the history of the world) as a "great" and "courageous" man, "attacked and slandered as few men of power have been." Not surprisingly, The Soviet Union awarded W.E.B. Du Bois the Lenin Peace Prize. Maoist China staged a national holiday in his honor in 1959. Du Bois was also (twice) kicked out of the NAACP (which he helped found) for advocating racial segregation and was critical of Martin Luther King's nonviolent approach to civil rights. The Maoist International Movement still celebrates Du Bois's birthday stating:
Shortly before death, Du Bois said, "Today my resentment at the doctrine of race superiority, as preached and practiced by the white world for the last 250 years, has been pointed to with sharp criticism and contrasted with the charity of Gandhi and of the colored minister [Dr. Martin Luther King] who led the recent boycott in Alabama. I am quite frank: I do not pretend to 'love' white people. I think that as a race they are the most selfish of any on earth. . . . I refer to the white world as a whole. We are come to a time when the sins and mistakes of the whole group must be considered and judged, not simply small localities or single individuals.
Or maybe Senator Kerry believes the Mainstream Media is right not to point our that what he constantly claimed was a "a dream based on illusion, but one which could have real and terrible consequences" (14), is no longer a 'dream' or an 'illusion' and could now have the 'terrible' consequence of protecting us from a North Korean nuclear missile attack. Kerry spent his career attacking missile defense on the absurd grounds that it would never work and/or fuel an arms race. He was wrong on both counts, and it is now operational:
U.S. 'can shoot down N. Korea missiles now'
3/16/05 World Net Daily: If nuclear missiles were suddenly fired at the United States from North Korea, the U.S. is ready to shoot them down. That's the opinion of Major Gen. John Holly, head of the missile-shield program for the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency. "If directed, we could provide a limited defense against an attack out of Northeast Asia," Holly told Alaska lawmakers, according to the Associated Press.
I guess the last thing Senator Kerry would want is to have any of these bothersome facts impacting the "decision-making ability of the American electorate"...
Sources 68 and 69 were added
John Kerry and Welfare Reform (posted 4/25/05)
An excerpt from 'Welfare; History, Results, and Reform', now also linked to at the end of 'John Kerry and Foreign Policy'. It really needs to have more context. It assumes you've read or are familiar with the titanic political struggles that took place during Welfare Reform.
To illustrate some of the still present controversies and revisionisms raging over Vietnam here are some links and reactions to stories saying that Vietnam veterans were never spit on. These are both posted in a Conservative Forum. One and Two. And another reaction of a Vietnam Vet to a more accurate historical portrayal of the Vietnam war.
Communist Body Count
12/4/06 Scott Manning
Top Ranked Atrocities
See also 'Communist Musings'
(60) http://www.cwes01.com/13790/23910/ktpp179-210.pdf (pg 190)
(67) The Black Book of Communism, Various
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