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Lady Liberty

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

"Senator, one more of you in front of the canyon. Can you back up a little bit more? A little more ..."
posted by Tom

You can probably tell I get a kick out of interpreting liberal Demo-speak. Except perhaps “interpret”, which denotes establishing a meaning, isn’t the right term. Cutting through the crap is probably more accurate.

Case in point is John Kerry's recent response to the following challenge from President Bush:

"Now, there are some questions that a commander in chief needs to answer with a clear yes or no. My opponent hasn't answered the question of whether, knowing what we know now, he would have supported going into Iraq. That's an important question and the American people deserve a clear yes or no answer."
With the Grand Canyon looming behind him, an apt metaphor not only for his campaign but the entire Democratic Party, Kerry said, "I'll answer it directly. Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it is the right authority for a president to have but I would have used that authority effectively."

This is interesting for many reasons, not the least of which is it reveals Kerry is a schizoid. Basically, what he just said is that as a senator he would have voted to grant himself as president the authority to use force against Iraq. We can only presume that after casting his vote on the Senate floor, he would have run (or biked) back to the White House to issue the invasion order.

Or, maybe not.

[As an aside, the fact this was a response to a direct question posed by Bush demonstrates how unfair Kerry is in implying that the president is pessimistic. Who but the most cockeyed optimist would ask John Kerry a direct question and expect a direct answer?]

In this first part of his “direct” response, it's unclear whether Kerry is talking about Iraq at all. Note his belief that the authority to use force is the right one for a president to have. Why the rhetorical switch from the specific authority to use force against Iraq to a general “authority” the president should have? Iraq has already been invaded and Saddam deposed. Kerry is asked if giving the president (himself?) the authority to do that was the right thing irrespective of whether or not WMD would be found. We’ll never know, because Kerry isn’t talking about Iraq, which was the subject of the question, and the reason is obvious.

First, let's acknowledge that Kerry keeps attaching riders to the force resolution that weren't there:

1. The French, Germans, and Russians must be part of any coalition.
2. Any new government in Iraq must be up and running within 24 hours of the fall of Hussein's regime
3. All, or at least a significant number of US forces (to be determined by the Democratic minority based upon how the campaign season is going for them) must be withdrawn from Iraq no more than 24 hours after that.
4. There will be absolutely no post-war insurgency or terrorist activity.
Gee, I'm sorry, a slight exaggeration. Still, he drops any mention of Iraq in his "direct" answer because the authority to use force against that country means that Kerry, a man for whom nuance is a religion, had to have weighed all of the consequences of Bush acting on the authority he would be granted, which includes any post-war difficulties that may have arisen. I mean. come on, he was in Viet Nam, journied to the heart of darkness, blah, blah, blah. He knew what could happen when a conflict was ill-planned, didn't he? Either he mulled over all of those consequences and came to the conclusion that overthrowing Saddam Hussein was worth whatever consequences and whatever cost resulted, or he had to believe that the Bush administration was blowing smoke up everyone's ass regarding any invasion of Iraq being a "cakewalk", that Bush guaranteed France, Germany, and Russia, in addition to Britain, were on board, and that any post-war hostilities would be swiftly and effectively dealt with. Anyone with a shred of common sense knows that if Kerry had any evidence by way of video or transcripts or whatnot that the Bush administration made false promises about all of the above to the Senate before the vote was taken, it would be included in as many campaign commercials as he could afford. The fact of the matter is Kerry voted to authorize force because 1) the polls told him to; and 2) craven opportunist that he is, he knew Bush would bear the sole blame for any difficulties or outright disasters resulting from the actual use of that force. Once again, the slimey senator who has the gall to call himself a "hero" of a war he denounced tried to position himself to come out smelling like a rose. He smells all right, but not of any flora.

Did Kerry authorize the use of force because he truly believed Hussein possessed WMD? If so, he had to assume, before casting his vote, the worst-case scenario of American troops walking into a chem-bio slaughterhouse. If this is the case, he has, as Ricky Ricardo would say, some 'splainin' to do regarding how he would have "effectively" sent troops to face agonizing injuries/death from sarin and mustard gas, as well as biological weapons. If he was relatively certain based on intelligence he was privy to that there weren't any WMD deployed in Iraq, so there was little or no chance of American troops dying by the hundreds if not thousands when they invaded, then he could not have been "misled" by the Bush admnistration before casting his vote, and we are back to the original issue of whether Kerry considered what an occupation (which necessarily had to follow any defeat of Hussein) would entail. If he really and truly believed there could be no successful outcome in Iraq without France, Germany, and Russia, then Kerry should have insisted the President assure the Senate and the American people that those countries were on board. Without that assurance, Senator Nuance would vote no.

So, did Kerry think about these things and vote yes, anyway, in which case he can't criticize Bush for his handling of the occupation, or did he simply vote yes without a thought of anything other than how it would have looked on the evening news had he voted no when everyone else, particularly the guy who held the job he coveted, (correctly) perceived Hussien as a threat to the US, its allies, and interests?

So much for direct answers to direct questions.

But Kerry, once he starts obfuscating, can’t seem to control himself. Take his claim that he “would have used the authority (he voted himself, lest we forget) effectively.” This can only mean one of two things: Either Kerry a) believes Bush's use of the force authorized by Congress was totally ineffective; or b) literally means he would have used the authority more effectively. Choice b) doesn’t make one iota of sense in response to a question the average eight year old knows referred to the actual use of the congressionally authorized force against Iraq. If a truly intrepid reporter who wasn’t planning on voting for Kerry thought that option b) was Kerry's intended meaning, he would have asked a follow-up question seeking an explanation from this wanna-be Commander in Chief as to how one goes about using “authority” effectively apart from actually exercising it. In the case of an authority to use force, it’s the effectiveness of the force itself that one must judge. Bush’s victory over Iraq and Hussein was quick, with minimal casualties. Hussein was deposed and is no longer a threat to us or the region. Can’t get more effective than that based on the authority Bush was granted, so choice a) is obviously incorrect. We are left with choice b) – i.e., Kerry makes no sense.

At this point, non-Viet Nam Veterans for Kerry are whining: "The conqueror of Southeast Asia was referrring to the post-war occupation that Bush has botched because he didn't serve in 'Nam and only traveled overseas three times!"

Maybe, but then we're off the subject of the question again. Kerry's promise of a direct answer is again broken.

Kerry then says reducing U.S. troops in Iraq significantly by next August (i.e., 2005) is "an appropriate goal." Wow, I was wondering whether or not a wanna-be Commander in Chief of the U.S. armed forces deems it appropriate to bring those troops home at some point, and Kerry wants us to be absolutely sure that

"... my goal, my diplomacy, my statesmanship is to get our troops reduced in number and I believe if you do the statesmanship properly, I believe if you do the kind of alliance building that is available to us, that it's appropriate to have a goal of reducing the troops over that period of time."
It’s difficult to ignore what the Kerry friendly press would have done to Bush had he uttered such ridiculous malapropisms as are found in this statement. Or maybe Kerry is just taking the adage “When you can’t dazzle ‘em with brilliance baffle ‘em with bullshit” to new heights. If you “do statesmanship properly"? Hey, I know the guy pandered to the democrats’ African American constituency by saying he wanted to be thought of as the "second Black president” (Bill Clinton being the first), but this is a little absurd. And note the tautology: Kerry’s “statesmanship” is to reduce the number of US troops, and if you do the “statesmanship” (i.e., reduce the number of US troops) properly, then it’s an “appropriate goal” to reduce the number of troops.

Heh?

Your goal is to reduce the troops, which is "appropriate", and if you accomplish that goal successfully, then it’s an appropriate goal?

Uh, sure. Thanks.

And Kerry assures us he is not one of those lone cowboy types like Bush. He acknowledges that he cannot singlehandedly accomplish his goal in order to determine that it is an appropriate goal. He intends “to get more people involved in that effort and I'm convinced I can be more successful than President Bush in succeeding in doing that” because it is – in case you forgot – “an appropriate goal to have and I'm going to try to achieve it."

So, there you have it: John Kerry didn't authorize Bush to use force against Iraq, but to use the authority to use force against Iraq, which he used very ineffectively by using the force against Iraq, and now a President Kerry is going to have to get more people involved in “doing the statesmanship” that will accomplish his goal of determining that he has established an appropriate goal. Evidently, Bush not only misused his authority, he doesn’t have enough people involved to help him accomplish the appropriate goal of establishing appropriate goals.

Any questions?

[Update: The New York Times finds Kerry's response to President Bush's question problematic to say the least. Its editors feel compelled not only to assist Kerry supporters in denouncing the political trap Bush set for him, but to evoke sympathy for the difficulty the senator faces in having to simultaneously pander to his left-wing, anti-war, anti-American base and thinking persons who understand that we have to be alive to work, to require health care, and to purchase prescription drugs, and the war against Islamic fanatics and the tin horn dictators supporting them takes precedence over all the other issues that lulled the self-centered electorate to sleep in the 1990s. Granted, the article's tone suggests that even the Times acknowledges the success of Bush's trap depended on Kerry stupidly falling into it. What the Times won't concede is that Kerry, being Kerry, could do nothing else.]

posted by Tom | 8/11/2004 09:17:00 AM
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