September 30, 2004


Kerry's Shaky Take on the War: He's missing the big picture. (Max Boot, September 30, 2004, LA Times)

Now that he's decided to close the campaign as Howard-Dean-with-a-Silver-Star, John Kerry is claiming that the war he voted to authorize in Iraq is a "profound diversion" from the things that really matter — Al Qaeda, Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, even an alleged lack of firehouses in the United States. The implication is that if only we hadn't gotten involved in Iraq, the rest of the world would be in much better shape. This is a highly debatable proposition, and it is an area where President Bush should try to pin down his slippery adversary.

Part of what Kerry says is sheer demagoguery. He castigates Bush for spending $200 billion (actually $130 billion, but who's counting?) in Iraq and not spending it at home for schools, healthcare, firefighters and no doubt free treats for good little girls and boys. Yet in the next breath, Kerry attacks Bush for being profligate, period. Which is it? Is Bush spending too much or too little? It's hard to believe Kerry is serious in any case; this is merely pandering to leftist isolationism.

Kerry is on firmer ground when he suggests that Bush has allowed "the urgent nuclear dangers in North Korea and Iran … to mount on his presidential watch." True, and if one advocated a get-tough policy with Pyongyang and Tehran, the fact that 130,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq might be an impediment. (Or they might help boost the pressure on next-door Iran.) But Kerry doesn't advocate such a policy. He wants to sign a generous deal that would pay these rogue states not to produce nukes. Appeasement hardly requires military muscle.

What of Kerry's claim that Bush was so focused on Iraq that he let Al Qaeda run wild? Actually, two-thirds of Al Qaeda's senior leadership has been caught or killed. And the U.S. is getting more cooperation in fighting terrorism now than it did before 9/11, even from states that aren't fans of the Iraq war. Look at the big roundups of Al Qaeda suspects recently in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. As French Arabist Gilles Kepel argues in a new book, the jihadists are losing their war to gain control of the Muslim world.

What could be more delightful than the reliance of the War Party on a Frenchman?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 30, 2004 7:35 AM

Seems to me that what we have is "The Prince Who Turned into a Frog."

Posted by: Uncle Bill at September 30, 2004 9:06 AM

On second thought, you are thinking Bush and I'm thinking Kerry.

For me both views work.

Posted by: Uncle Bill at September 30, 2004 9:08 AM

Gilles Kepel.

Posted by: oj at September 30, 2004 9:18 AM

You do and you'll clean it up.

Posted by: Uncle Bill at September 30, 2004 9:29 AM

"I was a football star in high school. Once I scored three touchdowns in one game!"
-- Al Bundy, Married with Children

"I was a war hero in Vietnam. I scored three Purple Hearts in one tour!"
-- Teresa Heinz-Kerry's Cabana Boy (Did you know he Served In Vietnam?)

Posted by: Ken at September 30, 2004 12:34 PM