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Monday, September 20, 2004

Kerry's Patriotism

Instapunk has a lengthy post in which he examines and criticizes John Kerry's patriotism. Normally I would not link to such a thing, but Instapunk did explored this criticism in a thoughtful, respectful manner, and his analysis is worth looking at. I do not believe that John Kerry is unpatriotic precisely. I believe he is wrong about a number of issues. I also feel that he is put his ambitions ahead of his patriotism on a number of occasions. There is one paragraph from Instapunks post that I think is especially interesting.

The major singled out the media for criticism, but it is impossible to avoid the realization that Kerry is a leading participant in the "negativity" about Iraq, even if it is impossible to determine his preferred policy. When he says that Iraq was "the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time," he is telling the Iraqi people, and our troops, that they can't rely on continued support from the U.S. government if he is elected. When he says that George Bush spent $200 billion on Iraq that should go to prescription medicines or schools in the U.S., he is fueling the Iraqi fear that we will "cut and run." When he hints that he will set a definite timetable for bringing U.S. troops home, he is telling the insurgents to keep fighting until America leaves and he is telling the Iraqis not to help the American troops because a definite day will come when the insurgents can take their revenge on "collaborators."
I wish that the dynamic of this campaign was different. In a perfect world there would be a bi-partisan agreement that America having decided through the constitutionally approved process to invade Iraq and attempt to establish a democracy in the middle-east was now fully committed to success in Iraq and that victory was the exit strategy. The parties could fully debate domestic plans, and debate differing methods and options for winning the War in Iraq and elsewhere in the War on Terror, but both sides would be equally committed to success. Sadly, this is not the case. Even if one give John Kerry the benefit of the doubt here (and that is a large gift) it is clear that a substantial portion of the democratic party disagrees with the war and even now thinks we should simply leave Iraq. If one gives John Kerry the benefit of the doubt on this issue, it is obvious that this faction of the Democratic party is having a strong effect on how the political campaign is run and is instrumental in shaping this debate. It is impossible to believe that this influence would disappear after Kerry wins the election. Obviously, it is equally plausible to believe the John Kerry is in fact anti-war and views the current conflict in Iraq in much the same was that he viewed the conflict in Vietnam. Regardless of whether or not you agreed with the decision to make Iraq the main front in the war on terror, that decision was made. It was made in a legal manner with the full approval of congress. We are now committed. Even if you think this was a mistake, it seems obvious to me that failure in Iraq would be a huge setback. If Iraq fails, any hope of democracy in the Arab world is set back at least a generation. Radicalism and Fundamentalism will increase with and we will feel the effects here at home, possibly in ways that are almost to terrible to contemplate. The Iraqi people have been brutalized for 30 years. Saddam taught them that if you stick your neck out to do what is right, your head will be lopped off. In this climate the only way they will prevail against the brutal thugs allied against them is if they have full confidence in the unwavering support of the United States. It is easy it assume that both the Iraqi people and their terrorist enemies view John Kerry's commitment to democracy in that nation to be tepid at best. If I were an Iraqi, I would have grave concerns for the future of my country if John Kerry wins the election in November. In this climate I would be reluctant to help out the coalition forces, fearing I would be abandoned as happened, to our shame, in 1991. If I was a terrorist I would do everything in my power to cause casualties and present Iraq as a failure to the American people, knowing that a 2 month offensive right now could win this war for me. The way John Kerry has conducted this campaign in relations to the War in Iraq has helped our enemies and discouraged our friends in that country. This is the simple truth. Even if John Kerry had been a strong supporter of the war or even if George Bush wins in November, I cannot of course guarantee we will achieve our goals in Iraq. This will, in the end, depend on the Iraqi people. But the best chance for success is if the Iraqi people know that America will do everything in its power to assure success. I believe strongly that Iraq represents the best hope of the Arab world. That democracy can change a region for the better. I wish John Kerry agreed with me. Update: My friend Naomi sent me this post from a combat medic in Mosul. He expresses similar sentiments with much more impact than I ever could. We owe a great debt to men like him, and especially his friends who have sacrificed everything for our freedom.


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