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The antiwar left and its profound negativity

By Carol Devine-Molin
web posted September 27, 2004

John Kerry, stop talking about war!

What war? Any war or wars -- the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, the Persian Gulf War, the Clone Wars, the War against the Goa'uld, the War on Terror, etc. We're talking about war in the generic, the particular, the hypothetical or the fantasy realms. Simply put, John Kerry must face the fact that war in any context is a losing proposition for him. But has he listened? No. In fact, John Kerry's recent attempts to cast aspersions on the embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi only continue to expose him as a petty, graceless candidate that fails to grasp the meaning of statesmanship. But more about this specific incident later.

Let's just quickly review the key reasons why John Kerry is a certifiable dud when broaching war issues: First and foremost, Kerry rates a big, fat zero in the overall arena of national security, as demonstrated by his atrocious Senate record on intelligence and defense. Second, as underscored by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, John Kerry returned from Vietnam only to slander our troops before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and to secretly meet with communist delegates at the Paris Peace Conference. Even after thirty years, Kerry's awful behaviors still upset many Americans who believe that he is unfit to become commander-in-chief. Third, Kerry cannot politically compete against President Bush on the subject of war. President Bush owns the war issue in this campaign, and his bona fides on the subject have been well established since 9/11. Fourth, Kerry has already squandered his credibility on the Iraq War by repeatedly switching positions and confounding the public. Is the Iraq War a "quagmire" or is it "winnable"? Do we need to pull our troops out of Iraq or increase troop strength? For Kerry, the answers to these and other war related questions depend on the yin and yang of any given week.

As reported throughout the media, John Kerry disparaged Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi after his speech before a joint session of Congress, where Allawi heartily thanked America for liberating his nation from the clutches of Saddam Hussein, underscored Iraqi optimism since "the Iraqi people can look forward to controlling their own destiny", and noted that essentially 15 out of 18 provinces reflect sufficient stability for elections. Allawi also reassured the lawmakers that Iraq's elections would be held as scheduled this coming January, despite ongoing terrorist activities in some areas.

In response, Senator Kerry made several comments, with this being particularly quotable: "The prime minister and the president are here obviously to put their best face on the policy, but the fact is that CIA estimates, the reporting, the ground operations and the troops all tell a different story." President Bush didn't like what he heard -- He vowed to hang tough and complete the difficult work in Iraq. Moreover, President Bush rightfully criticized John Kerry for sending the wrong signals to our enemies, and Vice President Cheney was appalled by the "complete lack of respect" that Kerry extended the Iraqi Prime Minister. It's vital to remember that Allawi endures daily death-threats and peril in Iraq. And he previously survived an assault by axe-wielding thugs sent by Saddam Hussein.

John Kerry and his camp thought nothing of questioning the veracity of the Iraqi leader, which is certainly indicative of Kerry's very negative approach throughout this campaign season. Sadly, Kerry doesn't care one iota if he's demoralizing our troops in the process. However, no candidate can achieve victory in a presidential election with negativity alone. Where's the upbeat message? That's Kerry's fundamental problem: He's not delineating an optimistic vision for improving America and the world. If Kerry wants to talk about war and his disenchantment with the status quo -- and that's clearly his prerogative -- he must offer up better ideas to conduct the Iraq War and the larger war on terror. Well he's not even attempting to accomplish that. Instead, Kerry exhibits constant flip-flops and significant incoherence on issues related to Iraq, which will never impress or capture the imagination of the American people.

Mind you, former president Bill Clinton is a brilliant political strategist in his own right, and told Kerry to concentrate on domestic policy such as Social Security reform, Medicare, health care coverage, and education. It's on domestic policy that John Kerry might have the opportunity to successfully assail Bush and hone a positive message capable of resonating with the public. Bill Clinton didn't mind giving the advice, since he knows full well that John Kerry is a pompous know-it-all that's not going to listen anyway. To date, it appears that Kerry's criticisms of Iraq still represent the centerpiece of his campaign. That said, it's increasingly evident that John Kerry's candidacy is going down in flames, which will pave the way for Senator Hillary Clinton to garner the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. But that's another story, for another time.

In a nutshell, John Kerry has always been at the vanguard of the Left's antiwar -- peace at any price -- movement, which consistently fails to properly assess the dangers facing this great nation and, concomitantly favors the gutting of intelligence and defense funding. Kerry's Senate record is proof-positive of this Leftist mindset. Moreover, it's perfectly understandable why candidate Kerry has been unable to float any alternative ideas for the execution of the Iraq War and the war on terror – Intellectually and emotionally he's opposed to warfare. For Kerry and others of his ilk, dealing with terrorism is perceived as a law-enforcement rather than a warfare issue. And hardcore Left-wingers are more than patently naïve -- they really lack proper respect for the military and abhor the use of force by America, whether it's justifiable or not. Invariably, this crowd wants to defer to the judgment of the United Nations (corrupt and inept as it is), thereby depriving the US of its rightful sovereignty. In other words, they want America to cease being a unique superpower, with our nation being relegated to a status on par with all other nations. I doubt that the majority of Americans share in this philosophy.

Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.

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