Jewish World Review July 14, 2004 / 25 Tamuz, 5764

Peter A. Brown

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

PSST, pass it on, Kerry & Crew no longer think Iraq war was a mistake. Really! | Let me get this straight.

First, John Kerry voted for the Iraq war but since has spent his presidential campaign criticizing George W. Bush's handling of it.

Now, Kerry is orchestrating the writing of a Democratic platform - the document that enunciates the official party line - that doesn't even call the invasion a mistake.

It would even put the Democrats in full support of Iraq becoming a symbol of U.S. anti-terorrism efforts.

Kerry & Crew have likened Bush's doctrine of pre-emptive defense against terrorists as a warlike mentality unfit for a nation with peaceful motivations. However, the document that his minions are drafting reportedly would not rule out such action in a Democratic administration, if their president thought it would be necessary.

Well, if the Democrats don't think Iraq was a mistake and want the option of making pre-emptive strikes themselves, what are their big complaints with this president? Clearly, Bush doesn't think attacking Iraq was a mistake, and he took pre-emptive action only as a last resort.

So are Democrats just nit-picking Bush's foreign policy? Do they hope that voters won't realize that, despite all their sound and fury, they don't really have any seriously different, new or better answers about how to fight terrorism?

Even for a presidential candidate who disputes that he changes positions as often as his underwear, Kerry is showing incredible chutzpah. It underscores just how scared he must be of being seen as unwilling to use U.S. military power when necessary, despite his efforts to make sure every voter is aware of his record of serving in Vietnam.

In effect, Kerry is saying he is more worried about being considered just another Massachusetts liberal - a description many, many millions of Americans see as implying an aversion to the military - than he is that voters will think he can't make up his mind.

Apparently, he would rather remind voters of Jimmy Carter's shortcomings than Michael Dukakis'.

Donate to JWR

But then, given the extent of the anti-Bush sentiment among core lefty voters - and the Democrats' concerted effort to keep Ralph Nader off as many ballots as possible - Kerry's strategy might be smart.

Kerry figures the large number of anti-war types - a majority of self-identified Democrats tell pollsters they want U.S. troops home soon regardless of the situation in Iraq - will vote for him because they have no place to go. And besides, no one pays attention to party platforms anyway.

He may be right, although one wonders how members of the Michael Moore/Howard Dean wing of the Democratic Party, who decry Bush for attacking Iraq and supposedly stripping away civil liberties through the Patriot Act, can look at themselves in the mirror if they vote for Kerry.

After all, Kerry backed giving Bush the power to go to war and the Patriot Act in the days when he was in the Senate to vote and viewed his post as more than a part-time job that looks good on his presidential resume.

But it is a remarkable demonstration of cynicism by Kerry, and of political expediency by those Democrats, who apparently believe that enough Americans can be made to believe that their party actually stands for something other than wanting to win the White House.

So the Democratic platform, whose wording is being dictated by Kerry's hand-picked authors, not only doesn't dispute the wisdom of the Iraq war but also says nothing about the need to bring home American troops quickly.

The document decries the notion of pre-emptive strikes and states that they should be used only as a last resort. And just how would that differ from the Bush administration policy?

Actually, there is one rather large foreign-policy difference between the Kerry-draft platform and Bush's foreign policy. The Democrats, although hedging their bets too, want greater cooperation with other nations in formulating policy.

It is clearly true that Bush has less faith than do the Democrats in the wisdom of international organizations such as the United Nations in deciding when, where and how the United States should defend itself.

But, as for the other big questions regarding U.S. foreign policy, it is hard to see, beyond nuances, how a Kerry administration would do things any differently than the current group calling the shots.

Of course, that's if you believe that Kerry and the Democrats would do what they say - or whether they are trying to placate enough voters skeptical of their national-security bona fides to get elected.

Peter A. Brown is an editorial page columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. Comment by clicking here.


06/29/04: Hostile media, prickly president — a troubling mix
06/22/04: With Kerry's choices, you'd want McCain, too
06/04/04: A debt unpaid to D-Day warriors
05/25/04: America has a bad attitude!
05/20/04: Surprise! A thank you to Bill Clinton
05/06/04: Corrupt U.N.? Shine a light
04/28/04: Kerry not weak on defense — just wrong
04/22/04: No attacks in U.S. since 9-11: Why?
04/16/04: Schools should focus on boys — now
03/16/04: Scalia recusing could give Kerry a bruising
03/04/04: Abortion, gay marriage show hypocrisy
03/01/04: Politicians can't repeal economic laws
02/19/04: The question prez, Kerry won't debate
01/21/04: Dems trying oh so hard to keep tired issue alive
01/21/04: Can whiners ever see positive side?
12/23/04: UN proves yet again it's dangerously misguided
11/18/03: U.N. oversight of Internet: Dumb idea
11/11/03: Absent change, GOP trend continues
10/28/03: Soft-on-defense stereotype — no wonder
10/22/03: Bet on Bush and the economy
09/23/03: France's time to decide: Friend or foe
09/16/03: Alabama no fluke in rejecting tax hike
09/03/03: Why Bush, Dean will win big in California recall
08/12/03: Hypocrisy from anti-death-penalty crowd
08/05/03: The rule of law or the Golden Rule?
07/22/03: A cautionary tale for those who naively believe that political posturing can override the laws of economics
06/24/03: Let seniors make their own choices
06/03/03: Bush bucks NRA to woo soccer moms
05/28/03: Bail out states? It's not D.C.'s job
05/20/03: Lawyers' party hits a new low
05/13/03: Bush mimics Nixon, Reagan by going against the political grain

© 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services