Monthly Archives: August 2004

The Swift Boat Smear

What Brit Hume calls the old media has declared the charges of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to be politically motivated smears against their candidate John Kerry. Thus, the old media hopes to kill this story and render anyone who brings it up as a right wing nut of the black helicopter variety.

Regardless of whoever financed the initial, small ad campaign, the members of this veteran group have, among them, more than 20 years of residence in the Hanoi Hilton. That means nothing to the New York Times and its herd of independently thinking followers.

Why won’t the Times and the others call for Kerry to release all of his war records and all of his war time journals, as they did for Bush’s military records? Why not choose a couple of public figures with a reputation for integrity and fairness, one from each party, to review the material and redact irrelevant information. Maybe this wouldn’t completely resolve the issue of who’s telling the truth (the “fog of war” and all that), but it would give the public a better chance to judge the candidate’s credibility.

Of course, Kerry will not release his records and journal as long as the old media continues to do his bidding by declaring “the swifties” smear artists.

The Importance of Vietnam

Many feel it ridiculous that Vietnam has become a big issue in this campaign; why are they talking about what happened 35 years ago, the argument goes, when they should be debating the issues we face today? I disagree. What happened in Vietnam 35 years ago leads directly to what happened on 9/11.

It is now a cliché to talk about the lessons of Vietnam, by which it is usually meant that America should not go to war without public support, an exit strategy, and so forth. Rarely do observers refer to the lesson of Vietnam absorbed over the last 3 decades by the various third world revolutionaries like Osama bin Laden, who believe that the United States will when attacked either not respond or respond limply and then withdraw when the casualties mount.

Bin Laden and the other jihadists are students of America’s withdrawal from Vietnam and the subsequent three decades of American passivity in the face of Islamist murder of Americans abroad and at home in the first World Trade Center bombing. They have seen us flee Beirut and Somalia when our soldiers were killed during humanitarian missions. They observed our feckless response to attacks on our embassies and naval vessels. They believe time is on their side, and they depend on leaders like John Kerry to do their bidding.

Kerry’s making Vietnam the centerpiece of his campaign has brought to the surface the conflict between those who consider the 1960’s peace movement the jewel in the crown of the smartest, most sensitive generation in human history and those who consider that movement a betrayal of men, like John McCain, who were fighting and dying while people like Kerry maligned them. But more than that, a Kerry victory will confirm the jihadists’ belief that Vietnam will repeat itself in Iraq and the war on Islamist terror.

I’d rather vote for Rudy Giuliani or John McCain (although his behavior in this campaign is a little too cute for my taste) than George W. Bush. But I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say a Kerry victory would be a triumph for the murderers working to destroy us all.

A Semester Abroad

I’m happy Charles Krauthammer picked up on the New York Times editorial criticizing Bush for proposing to move troops out of Europe and Korea. What I found most revealing, and unintentionally hilarious, was the Times’ contention that such a move would deprive young Americans of the opportunity to experience a foreign culture.

Clearly, the yuppies who work at the Times haven’t a clue about the military’s mission. To them it’s like spending a sememster abroad during your junior year at Yale.

The Vietnam Boomerang

As usual, the Wall Street Journal editorial page nails Kerry for his shameless Vietnam exploitation. As Bob Dole said, Kerry wasn’t the only guy in Vietnam

Moral Equivalence

Former Middle East envoy Dennis Ross was on cspan this morning promoting his new book on the Arab-Israeli negotiations conducted during the Clinton administration. He was very clear that Arafat was responsible for the failure of the negotiations. Ross noted that Arafat has been lying about what the Arabs were offered and the Israelis accepted at the end of Clinton’s term – a contiguous state on 97% of the West Bank, a consolidation of Israeli settlements on 3% of the West Bank with the Arabs getting a commensurate swap of pre-1967 Israeli territory. Ross compared a map of what Arafat claims was the Clinton plan with the real map Clinton proposed in January 2001.

Meanwhile, former New York Times Middle East bureau Chief James Bennet was on NPR yesterday making the moral equivalence argument favored by the liberal media. He says that both sides have “their versions of the truth.” What nonsense. The truth is the Arabs have not given up their dream of destroying Israel, the evidence for which is starkly demonstrated in Dennis Ross’ book. Perhaps now that the Israelis have defeated the terrorists by constructing a security fence and relentlessly pursuing terrorist leaders, the Arabs will turn their attention to the real cause of their problems – the corrupt, repressive regimes that rule them.

The Seared Senator

Good Mark Steyn piece on Kerry’s slippery grip on the truth.

The Loony Liberals

The other day I was riding my bike through Gladwyne, and I noticed a pro-Bush sign on a front lawn. The word Republican had been crossed out in red spray paint and the word Facist(sic) scrawled above it. The adjacent mailbox was defaced with a large swastika.

Two questions came to mind: would pro-Bush people do that to the property of a Kerry supporter and what kind of lunacy has gripped the Left? I don’t think there is anything comparable on the Right to the Bush is Hitler mentality that has gripped the left wing of the Democratic Party and has to one degree or another infected Democrats in general.

In part, this fever is a product of the hanging chad Florida election and its aftermath. I hear people previously considered free of dementia ranting about how the election was “stolen,” when it’s clear that the problem was the amazing closeness of the vote count rather than any conspiracy on the part of Republicans.

Was there fraud in the 2000 election? Sure, but no more than usual. A large number of votes were thrown out in Cook County Illinois and more people voted in St. Louis than were registered to vote. And does anyone think the election in Philadelphia was scrupulously honest? A former colleague of mine let it slip that he votes in two precints: once in his old neighborhood in Northeast Philadelphia and again in his present suburban address. It didn’t matter there because the results weren’t close enough to make a difference. Still, none of that matters to apparently sentient liberals I know.

Another reason for liberal lunacy is the war. Today’s Democratic Party is a product of the 1960’s when pro-defense Democrats were driven out of the party by the anti-Vietnam War radicals (Most of the pro-defense Democrats formed what is now known as the neoconservative movement.). Today’s Democrats are reflexively anti-war. They also usually consider military power to be evil and military weakness a virtue. They do support military action when it’s on the side of the putative weak as in the Balkans, but not when it’s used to defend Americans and American interests.Thus, they side with the Arabs against Israel because Israel is militarily strong and the Arabs weak. They were patriotic after 9/11 until the minute it was clear the administration was going to use military power in Afghanistan (although many who then were critical of the war now claim they supported it).

Today’s New York Times editorial reflects the true views of the Democratic Party towards the Iraq War. It criticizes Kerry for his recent “nuanced” statement that he would have voted for the war even if he’d known there were “no wmd.” Kerry is struggling to maintain at least the facade of a strong defense posture, while the august media arm of the Democratic Party pushes him back to his and their natural inclination to appease rather than fight.

As Christopher Hitchens in today’s Times Book Review noted (with irony): Kerry would make a decent peace time president.

Hitchens quoting Kerry

” ‘If we hadn’t voted the way we voted, we would not have been able to have a chance of going to the United Nations and stopping the president, in effect, who already had the votes and who was obviously asking serious questions about whether or not the Congress was going to be there to enforce the effort to create a threat.’

And all smart people know how to laugh at President Bush for having problems with articulation.”

Christopher Hitchens quoting John Kerry and commenting in the New York Times Book Review, August 15.

Bush the Moron

Is Kerry “smarter” than Bush? No question, Bush is not an “intellectual.” Kerry, like his idol Jack Kennedy, portrays himself as a “nuanced” deep thinker. (We were told that Kennedy wrote his Pulitzer Prize winning book Profiles in Courage, only to find out many years later Ted Sorenson ghostwrote it.)

Kerry promises a “sensitive” war on terror, a tremendously appealing word to all the “progressives” out there who think the problem is that Bush doesn’t understand the “complexity” of foreign relations. Of course, this is not the image Kerry wishes to project right now as the militaristic Democratic convention showed. Problem is that Kerry also likes to contrast his ability to speak fluently without notes with Bush’s weakness in that area. Yet, Kerry gets into trouble when he does this, as we saw in his now famous remarks about how he voted for and against the $87 billion war appropriation. Now he reveals himself as reflexively anti-war with his Freudian slip about a sensitive war on terror.

This isn’t the first presidential contest in which one candidate claims to be intelligent and implies his opponent is a moron. I remember that the now revered Harry Truman was derided as a “tie salesman.” I recall sitting in a college lecture hall in 1961 listening to a history professor describe Truman as an uneducated, vulgar mediocrity whose entire tenure was spent proposing legislation Truman knew would never be passed so that he could run against the “do nothing Congress.” I also remember that Dwight Eisenhower was labeled the “golf pro at the White House” who did nothing as President.

The liberals’ darling of that era was Adlai Stevenson, the John Kerry of his time. Stevenson’s supporters, like Kerry’s, loved Stevenson’s nuanced, complex views while his critics complained Stevenson was incapable of making a decision. Jack Kennedy, in a sop to the Eleanor Roosevelt wing of his party, appointed Stevenson to the UN post and then later complained that Stevenson, during the Cuban Missle Crisis, was completely useless when it came to providing advice. His thinking was too “nuanced” for Kennedy who needed to act.

Eisenhower made Bush sound like Abba Eban when it came to speaking extemporaneously. The phrase used to describe Ike’s press conference ramblings was “fractured syntax.” There are some who believe Eisenhower’s inarticulate performances were on purpose. One story describes the press calling for Eisenhower to meet with them over the U2 crisis before an administration response had been formulated. Eisenhower told his press secretary not to worry, that he’d meet with the press and just “confuse ’em.”

And we all remember Ronald Reagan, that “amiable dunce” (in the words of Clark Clifford), on whose watch the Soviet Union collapsed.

Aid and Comfort

I just heard Maureen Dowd being interviewed on NPR. I wonder whether widely read journalists like Dowd ever think about the consequences of their campaign, as Andrew Sullivan once described it, to infantilize the people responsible for our safety. At the risk of inviting charges of McCarthyism, I believe Dowd and the other Bush debunkers give aid and comfort to the folks who are working every day to kill us.

What do the Islamicists want? They want a Middle East run by jihadist governments. They have one in Iran, and they also have a regime in Syria that allows the terrorists to operate from their territory. They’d like to get unabashedly jihadist regimes in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the rest of the region. They’d like to transform all of these places into pre-war Afghanistan, from which they could plan and launch attacks on Israel, Europe, and the United States.

The Islamicists believe that the United States will eventually be forced to leave Iraq, a belief well supported by history. After all, we abandoned our South Vietnamese allies 30 years ago, something that the radical cleric Sadr often refers to in his exhortations. We did nothing when the Iranian mullahs held our hostages; we left Beirut when Hezbollah murdered our Marines; we ran when thugs dragged the bodies of dead Marines through the streets of Mogadishu; we left Saddam Hussein in power after the Gulf War; and we encouraged Iraqi Shiites to rise up against Saddam and then did nothing while he slaughtered them. So it’s not for nothing Islamicists believe that their triumph is inevitable .

And they will certainly consider a John Kerry victory a big step forward. Kerry voted against the Gulf War, and his record is clearly anti-war. This may play well among the blue state Democrats whom Maureen Dowd, among others, gives voice to; but it also plays well with the jihadists.