Monday, September 20, 2004

More on Kerry's big speech

I've already hit the highlights of his "four-point plan" in my earlier post today. Since that was the supposedly the crux of his speech, I wanted to comment on those at my first available time. Now I get to go a little deeper into the other things he said. I must warn you, this could get looooong:

-- Early on, he pledges to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 commission. And I have no doubt that he would try to do such--I just don't believe that all of the recommendations are the right way to go. But that's just me; as for Kerry, he has never really addressed the recommendations on a remotely individual basis. It stands to reason that some of them are more logical and pressing than others. I would like to see him "break these out" in some manner, just to let the public know that he actually READ the recommendations, rather than just said "hey, look, it's a decision critical of the administration that is already made for me! Let's move!"

-- he states that "The greatest threat we face is the possibility Al Qaeda or other terrorists will get their hands on a nuclear weapon." That is true--but it is far from the only threat we face. Remember the damage wreaked by a couple of innocent-appearing airline planes? I think this line of attack is foolish for Kerry to pursue: it's obvious, and it seems to make his "scope" appear too narrow. I, for one, am not as worried about nuclear weapons as I am of a Breslan-type event happening in the U.S. That is a threat that ALSO deserves the calling-on of the totality of America's strengths, which Kerry apparently would only use in the fight against nuclear weapons.

-- at least 2 separate lines devoted to the "the war in Iraq kept us from getting our true enemies" story. And yet, he doesn't mention how he himself voted to authorize the President to fight that war.

-- I love this one: referencing Bush's statement that "freedom is on the march", Kerry says "the administration’s own official intelligence estimate, given to the President last July, tells a very different story. According to press reports, the intelligence estimate totally contradicts what the President is saying to the American people" (emphasis mine) Sen. Kerry, I can't take you seriously in Iraq until you take Iraq seriously. Relying on press reports to tell you what the intelligence estimate stated--especially an estimate from 2 months ago--is just plain lazy.

-- Another good one: "But most Iraqis have lost faith in our ability to deliver meaningful improvements to their lives. So they’re sitting on the fence… instead of siding with us against the insurgents. That is the truth" You wouldn't mind sharing your sources with us, would you? "Most Iraqis" implies a majority. . .and I just don't think that's the case.

-- This is too good to leave alone: "It is never easy to discuss what has gone wrong while our troops are in constant danger." But that hasn't stopped me from doing so before! "But it’s essential if we want to correct our course and do what’s right for our troops instead of repeating the same mistakes over and over again. I know this dilemma first-hand. After serving in war, I returned home to offer my own personal voice of dissent." Too bad I used that voice to speak untruths that were told to me rather than witnessed in-person. "I did so because I believed strongly that we owed it those risking their lives to speak truth to power. We still do" How again do you think the Vietnam Vets feel about the "truths" you spoke to power?

-- Too easy: "By one count, the President offered 23 different rationales for this war. If his purpose was to confuse and mislead the American people, he succeeded". Yes, and your position, Senator, has been the epitome of consistency. I can hear the counting going on already. . .

-- More lies made into policy: "His two main rationales – weapons of mass destruction and the Al Qaeda/September 11 connection – have been proved false… by the President’s own weapons inspectors… and by the 9/11 Commission" Where to begin? Oh, I'll save it all for a later post. It's easiest that way.

-- An interesting anecdote about our relationship with the French as recently as the Cuban missile crisis, culminating in the line, supposedly spoken by DeGaulle: "The word of the President of the United States is good enough for me.” Kerry asks: "How many world leaders have that same trust in America’s president, today?" I think the better question is: how many corrupt and backdoor-dealing head statesmen "allied" with the U.S. did Kennedy have to deal with? It's awful easy to be trusting when you've got the same interests at heart. I think it's safe to say that all the countries involved in the UN Oil-for-food scam did not have the same interests as the rest of the international community at heart, rendering "trust of the American president" as a non-issue in their decisions of how to deal with Iraq.

-- He talks about how Iraq "wasn't" a part of the war on terror, but then he speaks about how it has become a haven for the terrorists to operate in. I'll credit his intentions here: if we had left Iraq alone, it would still be led by a madman deserving of his own place in hell (reference sound bites from Kerry's speech), but at least there wouldn't be all these darn terrorists there. There's more than one problem with that angle, but I'll follow this line for now: it doesn't solve the here and now. In attacking Bush's judgement, he still doesn't paint himself as the answer to the problems there. He's still living in the past--granted the recent past, but it still isn't a talk about the future.

-- Kerry states, talking about the vote to authorize the war in Iraq: "The power entrusted to the President gave him a strong hand to play in the international community. The idea was simple. We would get the weapons inspectors back in to verify whether or not Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And we would convince the world to speak with one voice to Saddam: disarm or be disarmed" Yes, a simple idea--that Saddam had no part of playing in. How could we get the inspectors in and allow them to do a "real" inspection? And that "one voice" had actually happened a couple times before--they were called U.N. resolutions. You might have heard about them?

-- Kerry stated in fairly clear terms (at least 3 times during his speech) that, had he been President 3 years ago, Saddam would still be in power in Iraq. Forget the flip-flop that this represents from his statement of about a month ago--let's see how long this stance lasts in the future! (My bet: gone by the end of the first debate)

-- Kerry states: "I would have concentrated our power and resources on defeating global terrorism and capturing or killing Osama bin Laden. I would have tightened the noose and continued to pressure and isolate Saddam Hussein – who was weak and getting weaker -- so that he would pose no threat to the region or America." Hussein pictured as isolated, weak and getting weaker. Yes, that's what he claims was the reality of the situation. Never mind the fact that he was dealing closely with France, Germany and Russia, just to name a few. UNDER THE NOSE OF THE U.N! Yes, trusting in the U.N. makes for great foreign policy, doesn't it?

-- In sum (because it's getting late), Kerry paints the election thusly: "the choice in this election (is) clear: more of the same with President Bush or a new direction that makes our troops and America safer" I don't really get, however, how the new direction makes our troops or America safer. Kerry doesn't really spell out how he would accomplish this. Yes, he comes up with 4 points--but he doesn't talk about how he'd accomplish them. Or how he'd accomplish them better than the current administration, which apparently is ALSO seeking to accomplish the 4 things (here's a hint: it's because it's pretty darn obvious what those four things are!)

So the choice, really, is this: more of the same, so-correct-that-Kerry-would-do-them-too ideas with President Bush; or a new direction. . .


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