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By Keith D. Cummings
web posted September 27, 2004

Last Tuesday, following the President's speech at the United Nations, John Kerry again went on the attack. "The president really has no credibility at this point," the senator said in a news conference. "He has no credibility with foreign leaders who hear him come before them and talk as if everything is going well…" Not content to attack Bush alone, Kerry went on to attack arguably one of the U.S.'s most committed allies in the war on terror, Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi following Allawi's address to Congress.

No one can deny that things aren't ideal in Mesopotamia. Certainly Allawi and his cohorts in the provisional government would prefer not to be under the constant threat of death by bomb or bullet. While it may be true that Bush and Allawi are focusing on the good news out of Iraq, it's in part because so little good news makes it into the daily papers.

Since the end of the war, oil production has returned to pre-war levels, been hindered by terrorist attacks, and restored again. The coalition in Iraq has achieved in eighteen months the kind of change that Saddam Hussein wouldn't consider during 30 years in power. Schools, businesses and even a free press are growing and flourishing in the war torn region.

The overwhelming majority of districts in Iraq are ready, even eager, for January's elections. While this means that many Iraqis may not be able to, or feel safe voting, one freely cast vote in Iraq in 2005 is one more than was ever cast under Saddam.

The crux of Kerry's argument, that George W. Bush has no credibility with foreign leaders, is absurd. No one expects that Bush is going to travel the world focusing on his mistakes; even presidents make some. Bush is going to play up the good news and play down the bad, because that's human nature. Of course, John Kerry needs bad news to succeed. He focuses only on the bad, does that damage his credibility?

To John Kerry, being credible to someone is the same as agreeing with him. While France, Germany, Russia and China didn't approve of Mr. Bush's launch of hostilities in Iraq last year, not one of these nations claimed that Iraq wasn't a clear threat to the world. They all voted for more than a dozen resolutions in the UN before the outbreak of war.

In fact, Mr. Bush is still viewed as a highly principled and credible world figure. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish Prime Minister who stole victory from the jaws of defeat when terrorists helped him oust U.S. ally Jose Maria Aznar, still believes the president, while not always agreeing with him. He has stated that he agrees with Bush on the importance of defending liberty and freedom while disagreeing on other matters, like the war in Iraq.

The Bush doctrine, laid out in a simple statement in 2001 says, "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." His position on terrorism, Iraq and the global war hasn't shifted in the 36 months since the war was thrust upon us. People of good conscience are free to disagree with Mr. Bush, but to say he has no credibility on the issue is fallacious.

By contrast, the Kerry doctrine seems to be a little harder to decipher. He's said he opposed the war, but supported the troops. He supported the troops before he opposed supporting the troops. He voted for the war, but didn't vote for the war. Even his exit strategy, a four-point plan he presented last week, is nothing more than the President's stated plan. In short, the Kerry doctrine states that we will do whatever we must do, unless doing what we must do is a difficult thing to do and some people don't like it in which case we will consult with them and determine if there is a more indirect way with which we can do what must be done; unless we can decide it doesn't need to be done, in which case we won't do it.

Who has the credibility problem?

Keith D. Cummings is the author of Opening Bell, a political / financial thriller. His website can be found at http://www.keith-cummings.com.

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