Jewish World Review Nov. 1, 2004 / 17 Mar-Cheshvan 5765
I'm still waiting
If John Kerry wins the presidential election, he can thank Donald Rumsfeld. The secretary of defense truly believed Iraqis would rise up and help the U.S. pacify their country and therefore did not plan adequately for the guerrilla war that began after Saddam Hussein was toppled.
That war has put President Bush on the defensive and is, perhaps, the defining issue in the campaign.
Kerry has done an effective job of pointing out the mistakes of the Bush administration, and a sympathetic media has aided him every step of the way. That's a potent one-two punch; the Kerry challenge echoed by network news broadcasts and major urban papers like the Los Angeles Times and New York Times. Together they are pounding home a simple message: Iraq is screwed up; Kerry can do better.
But the Kerry challenge stalls after leaving the Iraq issue because the Massachusetts senator has not defined himself to the American people. Many of us simply do not know how he will handle complicated problems and how he has arrived at his belief system.
Washington Post assistant managing editor Bob Woodward, the Watergate guy, recently appeared on my TV program saying that Kerry would not give him an interview even though Woodward submitted his questions to the candidate in advance! Woodward and I agreed that we have no idea where Kerry stands on the following:
How would he pay for the massive government medical insurance he says he will provide? Taxing the rich cannot cover the trillions of dollars that will be needed.
How many new troops will he send to Iraq, and where will they come from?
What will he do to prevent more than 3 million illegal immigrants from crossing the border from Mexico each year?
And why does he oppose gay marriage when he voted against the Defense of Marriage Act signed by President Bill Clinton?
In addition, I would like to know why, in 1991, Kerry voted against removing Saddam's army from Iraq by force in light of the fact that at least 5,000 Kuwaiti women were raped by Saddam's brutalizers, according to the European Journal of International Law.
I'd also like to know what he would say to Gen. Tommy Franks about Osama Bin Laden. Franks has said Kerry is flat-out wrong to accuse the Bush administration of "outsourcing" to "warlords" the job of catching Bin Laden in the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan. According to Franks, U.S. Special Forces were embedded with Afghan locals in the hunt for Bin Laden. Who's right, Franks or Kerry?
Kerry has also been a staunch supporter of legalized partial-birth abortion. Why does he think 64 senators voted to ban the procedure?
All these questions remain unanswered by the senator. Thus, his challenge is really built on the chaos in Iraq, not a publicly stated clear and present vision.
I've known John Kerry for 25 years, and he's always been a hard man to read. If he becomes President of the United States, there's no reason to believe he will not remain that way.
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© 2004 Creators Syndicate