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Wall Street Journal calls out Mr. Kerry

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  • Wall Street Journal calls out Mr. Kerry


    Kerry and Spain
    March 17, 2004; Page A16

    John Kerry could well be the next President of the United States. How his administration would fight the war on terror -- especially in Iraq -- is therefore of paramount importance to voters as they decide between him and George W. Bush next November.

    Yet this would-be-leader of the free world has yet to tell Americans how he'd manage the war -- other than that he wants the United Nations more involved, somehow. Mr. Kerry voted for the war in Iraq, and even though he opposed the $87 billion to finish the job he insists the U.S. can't afford to "cut and run." That's nice to hear, but voters want to know if he means it.

    A golden opportunity to show that he does occurred this weekend with the Spanish election results. Spain is a key U.S. ally in Iraq, yet the incoming Spanish Prime Minister says he'll withdraw his country's forces there by June 30 -- just in time for the sensitive handover to Iraqi control. The loss of 1,300 Spanish troops is a major setback for U.S. policy. Even worse, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has spent two days claiming that U.S.-British policy was built on "lies," that the occupation has been a "disaster," and that his goal is to shift Madrid's allegiance back toward France and Germany.

    All of this is a splendid chance for Mr. Kerry to step up and defend American interests. At the very least, he might call Mr. Zapatero's remarks unfortunate. He could express sympathy for the Spanish people but go on to say that all Americans, no matter what their party and differences on strategy, stand united in fighting terrorism and won't be stampeded by threats. He might also note that the war on terror will require help from all nations and urge Mr. Zapatero to reconsider his intention to separate Spain from the U.S.

    Alas, so far these are all might-have-saids. Here is what Mr. Kerry did say about Spain in a speech Monday to a firefighters union. We quote in full:

    "I think this Administration has it backwards. President Bush says we can't afford to fund homeland security. I say we can't afford not to. When it comes to protecting America from terrorism, this Administration is big on bluster and short on action. But as we saw again last week in Spain -- real action is what we need. The Bush Administration is tinkering while the clock on homeland security is ticking. And we don't have a moment to waste." Mr. Kerry then renewed his call for the federal government to hire 100,000 new firefighters.

    That's it. That's the sole reference in the speech to what is arguably the largest setback in the war on terror since 9/11. Instead of addressing the issues at stake in Iraq, his instinct was to dodge them. Instead of conviction, there was the whiff of opportunism. Senator Kerry placed Spanish events not in the context of U.S. foreign policy but of American homeland security -- as if the main lesson of Madrid is that we must better protect our railways.

    Can't some sober Democrats out there get their candidate to do any better than this? Not only for the good of the country but for his own political sake. If Senator Kerry does become President, he won't find it easier to succeed in Iraq if our allies have cut and run. And while Spain may be able to move down on the list of al Qaeda targets, the U.S. will always be target one. A President Kerry would hardly want terrorists concluding that they can determine the outcome of democratic elections with a few well-placed bombs.

    In purely political terms, Mr. Kerry needs to start sounding more like a leader if he wants any chance to win. The latest New York Times/CBS poll found that just 33% of respondents have confidence in Mr. Kerry's ability "to deal wisely with an international crisis," compared with 53% for Mr. Bush. Asked whether the candidate "is likely to protect the country from a terrorist attack," 61% said "yes" for Mr. Kerry while 78% believed Mr. Bush would do so. Mr. Kerry has a big image problem on national security.

    If he wants voters to trust him with the White House, Mr. Kerry will have to do more than say the right thing about fighting terror. He will have to show that he recognizes U.S. interests and is willing to fight for them. The flap this week over Mr. Kerry's invocation of support from foreign "leaders" is so damaging mainly because it suggests the Senator puts his own electoral prospects above those interests. Spain can afford a leader who exploits a wartime setback for political gain; the world's only superpower cannot.

  • #2

    A golden opportunity to show that he does occurred this weekend with the Spanish election results. Spain is a key U.S. ally in Iraq, yet the incoming Spanish Prime Minister says he'll withdraw his country's forces there by June 30 -- just in time for the sensitive handover to Iraqi control. The loss of 1,300 Spanish troops is a major setback for U.S. policy. Even worse, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has spent two days claiming that U.S.-British policy was built on "lies," that the occupation has been a "disaster," and that his goal is to shift Madrid's allegiance back toward France and Germany.

    All of this is a splendid chance for Mr. Kerry to step up and defend American interests. At the very least, he might call Mr. Zapatero's remarks unfortunate. He could express sympathy for the Spanish people but go on to say that all Americans, no matter what their party and differences on strategy, stand united in fighting terrorism and won't be stampeded by threats. He might also note that the war on terror will require help from all nations and urge Mr. Zapatero to reconsider his intention to separate Spain from the U.S.
    Talk about a disconnect. Paragraph 1 deals with the war in Iraq. Paragraph 2 talks about the war on terror. Are people that dense that they don't understand the rest of the world separates the two?

    Now if Zapatero came out and said the US should pull its forces out of AFGHANISTAN, the WSJ might actually have a point.

    What Kerry should say is that while he understands that some Spaniards might not think the war in Iraq was the right thing to do, we must all stand together, see this thing through, and work together on a different approach next time we are confronted with a toothless dictator and that the sooner we get Iraq stabilized, the sooner we can all devote full resources to attack the terrorists where they are hiding. Which wasn't Iraq.
    Dude. Can. Fly.

    Comment


    • #3
      Instead of addressing the issues at stake in Iraq, his instinct was to dodge them. Instead of conviction, there was the whiff of opportunism. Senator Kerry placed Spanish events not in the context of U.S. foreign policy but of American homeland security -- as if the main lesson of Madrid is that we must better protect our railways.
      I guess you missed that.
      Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

      Comment


      • #4
        More BS.

        Mr. Kerry voted for the war in Iraq, and even though he opposed the $87 billion to finish the job he insists the U.S. can't afford to "cut and run."
        Republicans are willfully ignoring the way the legislative process works. Just because Kerry voted against a bill that included the $87, that doesn't mean he voted against the $87. He would have voted for the funding bill if the Republican controlled Senate hadn't loaded the bill with other objectionable items.

        In essence, the Republicans determined whether the funding would not go though, not the Democrats.
        2005 Mandatory Loyalty Oath: I love America, our troops, baseball, Moms, and certain pies. I want no harm to come to any of those institutions, nor do I take any glee in their demise.

        Comment


        • #5
          Sure Triggy.
          And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

          -The Artist formerly known as King in KC

          Comment


          • #6
            Why didn't he sponser a more adequate bill then?
            Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by lazydaze@Mar 17 2004, 11:16 PM
              Why didn't he sponser a more adequate bill then?
              To make the occupation and rebuilding an international effort and "take the targets off our troops" calls more for diplomacy than it does another bill in congress.
              Damn these electric sex pants!

              26+31+34+42+44+46+64+67+82+06 = 10

              Bring back the death penalty for corporations!

              Comment


              • #8
                Sure.

                We just destroyed France's export market.

                They're going to step in and help pay.

                LOL
                And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

                -The Artist formerly known as King in KC

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by dredbyrd+Mar 17 2004, 11:23 PM-->
                  QUOTE (dredbyrd @ Mar 17 2004, 11:23 PM)

                • #10
                  I'm willing to be wrong but I don't recall where Bush's budget included adequate armor.
                  Damn these electric sex pants!

                  26+31+34+42+44+46+64+67+82+06 = 10

                  Bring back the death penalty for corporations!

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    But I'm definitely NOT wrong that Bush sent 30-40,000 troops into a combat situation without adequate armor.
                    Damn these electric sex pants!

                    26+31+34+42+44+46+64+67+82+06 = 10

                    Bring back the death penalty for corporations!

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by lazydaze+Mar 17 2004, 11:29 PM-->
                      QUOTE (lazydaze @ Mar 17 2004, 11:29 PM)
                      Originally posted by [email protected] 17 2004, 11:23 PM
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