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Jewish World Review July 12, 2004 / 23 Tamuz, 5764

Joel Mowbray

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See no terror


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | In his speech announcing the selection of John Edwards as his VP pick, perhaps the most important news was what presidential wannabe John Kerry didn't say.


Not one mention of the enemy we are fighting, or how he plans to lead us in that fight.


And not only did Kerry not mention Iraq, he didn't even utter the words "al Qaeda" or "radical Islam." Nor did "terror" or "terrorism" pass through his lips.


His sole line relating to anything international suggests that Kerry would like to return to the failed foreign policy that helped create the world before 9/11.


In one of Kerry's most-hyped and best-covered speeches of his entire political career, the Democratic challenger spelled out what would be important to a Kerry-Edwards administration.


There were obligatory discussions of overcrowded schools, "the great divide in America," and about creating good-paying jobs to replace those lost to free trade. There was an apparent call for socialized health care, and Kerry chastised what he saw as the construction of too many prisons. And what would a speech by a Massachusetts liberal be without a plea to expand Head Start?


Kerry did talk about "fighting" and the need to "liberate" — but he wants to fight for "jobs" and "common sense" and the country he felt needed liberation was the United States, from Middle East oil.


His one knowing nod to Iraq was a remarkable rip at Bush, implying that the Commander-in-Chief intentionally lied about Iraq before "sending young America's sons and daughters into harm's way."


What Kerry neglected to add was that he was privy to the same intelligence Bush had before voting to authorize the war in 2002. Was Kerry suggesting that Bush somehow forged or exaggerated intelligence, even though none of the myriad commissions or panels has even hinted at that? That's one of the few logical inferences, and he did nothing to dispel such an impression.

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For a window into Kerry's political soul, look at the following quote: "(John Edwards) shares my unshakable commitment to restoring old and rebuilding new alliances that make America stronger."


This was not simply a dig at the "coalition of the willing," a favorite target of the anti-war crowd, but it was a hat tip to the so-called "realism" embraced by career diplomats at the State Department.


For the man with self-proclaimed "better hair," his Tuesday speech was merely the latest in a series of declarations of support for State's worldview. In the Washington Post last Sunday, he wrote longingly of his desire for a foreign policy "that finally includes a heavy dose of realism."


While the surface appeal of "realism" is undeniable — who wants to support an "unrealistic" policy? — the reality of it is not.


"Realism" can best be summed up by another buzzword loved by the diplomatic set: stability.


Stability is a wonderful goal for the United States, Ireland, South Korea, Israel, or any other free society. But not for a tyranny that terrorizes its own people or openly supports or harbors terrorists.


Such a substantive distinction as stability in a free versus an unfree society, however, is beyond the concern of the Foreign Service — and apparently, John Kerry.


Consider the history of State's pursuit of "stability." In the late 1980's, the U.S. ramped up its support of Saddam — after he had killed some 100,000 Kurds in 1988. Why? According to a now-declassified top secret January 1989 memo, State urged new President George H.W. Bush to embrace the madman because he was a bastion of "stability."


Nor did State learn its lesson. After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, the U.S., because of State, was only one of four countries on earth to no longer recognize the fallen Rabbani regime. It was a clear policy of tilted neutrality in favor of Osama bin Laden's protectors. State believed the Taliban represented the best shot at "stability."


Last month, Kerry blasted Bush for his focus on spreading freedom and democracy. But what exactly is preferable about supporting thugs like the Saddam and the Taliban?


It's easy to take potshots at Bush's boldness in attempting to liberate peoples who have never known freedom. But the goal is not liberal do-gooderism. It's security.


Free states might have foreign policies that placate terror sponsors — look at France with Saddam and much of the Arab world — but they don't launch offensive wars against other nations, and they don't actively support terrorists.


Nor has any free society unleashed chemical weapons in the modern era, but an Egyptian dictatorship did against the North Yemenis and Saddam did against Iran, as well as against his own people. And it will probably — terrifyingly — be a question of when, not if, al Qaeda attempts to attack a U.S. target with chemical or biological WMD.


Fomenting freedom is not easy, and it's inevitably messy. But it's undeniably necessary.

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JWR contributor Joel Mowbray is the author of "Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Endangers America's Security". Comment by clicking here.

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