Jewish World Review Oct. 12, 2004 / 27 Tishrei, 5765

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly
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We can lose there only if we lose our will | Two of the four elections which will determine the outcome of the war on terror were held last weekend. The results are encouraging.

Afghanistan held its first elections ever. It will be some time before the results are known, as ballots the size of posters are trekked by donkey from remote villages to counting stations, and there have been reports of irregularities.

But turnout was high, and there were only sporadic incidences of violence. This gives the lie to assertions by Teresa Heinz Kerry and other Democrats that the Taliban has reasserted control over most of Afghanistan.

In fact, it would be harder to have a more graphic illustration of the relative weakness of the Taliban and al Qaida in Afghanistan than the long lines of voters at polling stations throughout the country, and the inability of the terrorists seriously to disrupt voting anywhere.

"After months of what proved to be empty threats, military commanders and ordinary Afghans Sunday said the vote was a serious setback for the holdouts of the hard-line Islamic regime that was driven from power by U.S. bombs almost three years ago for harboring Osama bin Laden," ABC News said.

In Australia, the government of Prime Minister John Howard was returned to power with an increased majority. Howard's Coalition even took control of Australia's senate, which had eluded it for the eight years in which Howard has been in power. The opposition Labor party, which opposes Australia's role in the war on terror, had been slightly favored going into the election.

When it appeared as if the Labor Party was likely to win, the New York Times said Australia's participation in the war in Iraq was a major issue. But now that strong Bush supporter Howard has won a much larger than expected victory, the Times has concluded that the race was decided on domestic issues, with Iraq only a negligible factor.

The two most important elections are our presidential election Nov. 2, and the Iraqi national elections scheduled for January. Iraq has become the central battlefield in the war on terror, and we can lose there only if we lose our will. As the recent fights in Najaf and Samarra indicate, the terrorists can't stand up to our military might, and the vast majority of Iraqis are against them.

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John Kerry's cluelessness about the war on terror was illustrated graphically in an interview he gave to the New York Times magazine, which was published Sunday.

Kerry told interviewer Matt Bai that he is against "imposing" democracy, as if the elections in Afghanistan would have occurred if the Taliban were still in power, or that there could be elections in Iraq if Saddam Hussein were still in power. We "imposed" democracy in Germany and Japan after World War II. It's worked out pretty well.

President Bush thinks Islamic terrorists are a dangerous enemy who must be crushed. Kerry "has a much less apocalyptic world view," Bai said.

"We have to get back to the place where we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance," Kerry told Bai. "As a former law enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to the level where it isn't on the rise."

Many Americans will find Kerry's comparison of terrorism with prostitution and gambling to be perverse. No prostitute has ever flown an airliner into a skyscraper, and no gambler has machine gunned school children.

Bush's priority is to hunt down and kill terrorists wherever they are found. But for Kerry, it's more important that Americans be liked than that Americans be safe. He told Bai that what's most important in the war on terror is "restoring America's reputation as a country that listens, is sensitive, brings people to our side, is the seeker of peace, not war."

Kerry's says the war in Iraq is a mistake, but he'd fight it better than Bush has.

Marine Lt. Kevin Brown, now in Iraq, isn't buying. In an email to his father, he said: "You can't support the troops and protest their mission. Eventually the charade will be played to its natural conclusion, and neither the troops nor the mission will be supported."

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

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