Friday, July 30, 2004
I took a quick swing through the big bloggers this morning, and thought I would pass along the most interesting observations in something of a link dump:
From Andrew Sullivan, who has recently teetered on the edge of endorsing Kerry, much to the irritation of Spoons, Allah and others. Writing that Kerry's goal is obviously to "bring the troops home," Sullivan quotes what he says is the entire passage on the war on terror and concludes:
No mention of democracy in Iraq or Afghanistan. No mention of the terrorist forces that are amassed there. No reference to the elections scheduled for January. No mention of Iran. And the whole point is about process - about how to wage a war, not whether it should be waged. This is a man who clearly wants the U.S. out of the region where our future is at stake, and who believes that simply by taking office, other powers can somehow pick up the slack. Memo to Kerry: no other powers can pick up the slack. They don't have the troops or the technology or the will. His strategy is pure defense. This sentence is his strongest threat: "Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response." So let's wait, shall we?
Hugh Hewitt makes much the same point.
The Kerry Doctrine: Once we get clobbered, I'll try and figure out how to strike back.
Lileks jumps ugly on one of Kerry's strangest sentences:
"I defended this country as a young man, and I will defend it as President."
This really intrigues me. I agree that Vietnam was a defense of the United States, inasmuch as we were trying to blunt the advance of Communism. So: only Nixon can go to China. (Only Kirk can go to Chronos, for you Star Trek geeks.) Only Kerry can confirm that Vietnam was a just war. This completely upends conventional wisdom about the Vietnamese war, and requires a certain amount of historical amnesia. Why does this get glossed over? The illegitimacy of the Vietnam war (non-UN approved, after all) is a key doctrine of the Church of the Boomers; to say that service in Vietnam was done in defense of the United States is like announcing that Judas Ischariot was the most faithful of the disciples. Imagine if you were a preacher who attempted such a revision. Imagine your private thrill when everyone in the congregation nodded assent. The past was more malleable than you had ever expected.
Michelle Malkin tags Kerry for repeating the "bake sale for body armor" myth, and points here for the debunking of that nasty MoveOn urban legend. Malkin also serves up a conspiracy theory, suggesting in a detailed fisking that Theresa helped write the speech.
Atrios links to a union hall, complete with hardhats nodding away over "jobs" and "middle class" tax cuts.
Brendan dumps a lot of photos, and thinks that Kerry did a great job.
Virginia Postrel makes a very snarky comment about how ugly the delegates are! She's right, by the way, but it is also quite safe to predict that the average attractiveness of the people in Manhattan in late August will decline catastrophically with the Republicans in town.
Dan Drezner wrote a thoughtful post, and is now leaning Kerry (although barely). He says that "this is the section that the Bush team will have to rebut":
Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn't make it so. Saying we can fight a war on the cheap doesn't make it so. And proclaiming mission accomplished certainly doesn't make it so.
As President, I will ask hard questions and demand hard evidence. I will immediately reform the intelligence system - so policy is guided by facts, and facts are never distorted by politics. And as President, I will bring back this nation's time-honored tradition: the United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to.
The rebuttal, it seems to me, is obvious: we had to. That is obviously open to argument, and it is a topic I will take up here in detail before the election, but no thoughtful supporter of the Iraq war believes that we had a real choice in anything other than its timing.
Kerry's emphasis on foreign policy will ultimately be self defeating. His party has Vietnam disease and hasn't recovered from it. His nomination reflects the disease. As a result, they are intellectually incapable of leading the country at war, which the US plainly is. The US renewed war with Iraq as a consequence of 9/11. The US initiated war with Afghanistan as a consequence of 9/11. The connection to Al Qaeda in the latter instance was easy to demonstrate. The connection to the former is less clear, but nonetheless clear enough. Saddam's Baathist regime clearly had a constructive relationship with Al Qaeda. His regime was the enemy of the US, sought and used dangerous weapons; nobody should doubt that had he possessed WMD, he would have used them against us and delivered them with any tool at his disposal, including Al Qaeda.
That this even requires significant explanation demonstrates to me Kerry's weakness and timidity, not to mention unrelenting bias and ignorance in the mainstream press. He was on the Intelligence Committee, the moron! His vote in 1991 against PG I is the best evidence of his attitude. No war, period. Dennis Kucinich's reference to non-violence and no war is the true reflection of Democratic foreign policy management. Their lesson from Vietnam is avoid war at all cost. Kerry embodies this lesson, having returned after 4 months in Vietnam and become an anti-war protester.
Well guess what, folks. War has served this country pretty well in defense of its values, particularly freedom, democracy and tolerance. Furthermore, when the moral imperative of those values aligns with the strategic importance of the Persian Gulf region, and you suffer an atrocious attack on your homeland by a group, you respond by going to war. And it won't be over until the fascism of Islamist theocracy is committed to "the ashheap". Which means Iran is next.
The longer we delay, the more dangerous it gets. They may develop nuclear capability. Who knows? We can be sure that the totalitarian regimes in the Persian Gulf region share with Al Qaeda fear of and enmity for the US. It won't be reversed. So we need to follow through.
And Kerry is not capable of leading the country through this. He and his party simply don't get it. They used to...FDR and Truman were pretty effective at waging war. But since LBJ, they lost it. And Carter was just unbelievably incompetent - much of this trouble is due to his non-response to Iran's seizure of our embassy. Clinton tried, but ultimately lacked the wherewithal and credibility to deal with this.
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