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Jewish World Review Oct. 29, 2004 / 14 Mar-Cheshvan, 5765

Diana West

Diana West
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Gut-check time | Ever since John Kerry's presidential nomination was sealed with a scream (Howard Dean's), certain revelations about the Life of Kerry have set off buzzers within me that say there's no way this man will be president.

For example: There's no way this man who threw away his medals in protest — but now says he didn't throw away his medals in protest — will be president. There's no way this man who promoted a Viet Cong plan for U.S. surrender will be president. Those things.

I'm calling these Kerry Gut-checks, simple facts and personal traits undecideds should think about before they pull the lever.

1) Think about John Kerry's lucky hat. John Kerry keeps an old camouflage hat in his briefcase, The Washington Post reported last year. Kerry says this "good luck hat" was "given to me by a CIA guy as we went in for a special mission in Cambodia."

Forget about the "global test"; this tale one doesn't even pass the smell test. Kerry has repeatedly spoken of his 1968 Christmas in Cambodia ("seared, seared" in his memory, as he said in the Congressional Record), but not one crew member, not even the ones who support him for president, corroborate his story of venturing into Cambodia — not at Christmas, not ever. Richard Nixon couldn't even have sent him there, as Kerry has claimed, because Richard Nixon wasn't yet in office. There's no evidence, official or even anecdotal, that John Kerry was ever in Cambodia. All of which makes that moldy old hat of his look pretty scary on a potential commander-in-chief.

2) Think of John Kerry's Vietnam re-enactments. When I learned that John Kerry, during his four months in Vietnam, would routinely return with his crew to scenes of skirmishes and re-enact them for a Super 8 camera (or, as his campaign prefers: "return to various locations to film one another"), I really thought the race was over. Sure, the films make ducky campaign footage — although the part where the ex-naval officer is dressed like an infantryman is plain weird — but such vain calculation is too hollow for presidential timber.

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3) Think of John Kerry's annulment. A little-known fact of Kerry life is the senator's decision to seek an annulment from his first wife of 18 years, Julia Thorne (divorced 1988) in 1996, one year after his second marriage to Theresa Heinz. Julia Thorne, mother of Kerry's two daughters, learned of the annulment proceeding in a letter from a Catholic Church official, and told the Boston Globe in 1997 it was "disrespectful to me, it was aloof to any emotional issues, and devoid of any sense of the humanity of what this means to me and the children." On "Imus in the Morning," former altar boy Kerry joked about the proceeding, adding, "It doesn't affect the status of the child at all. It's just in the eyes of the church."

4) We've all tried to parse John Kerry's indecisive wordiness. But think about his dodgy silence. Bob Woodward has been trying since June to ask John Kerry how he would have fought the Iraq war differently. He even sent his questions to the candidate. "I interviewed President Bush and he answered hundreds of detailed questions," Woodward told Fox's Bill O'Reilly this week. But not Kerry.

5) Think about having a U.N.-poodle for president. There's one thing that justifies the loss of American life, Kerry believes, and that's service to the United Nations, not the United States. "If you mean dying in the course of a United Nations effort, yes, it is worth that," Kerry said in 1994. "If you mean dying American troops unilaterally going in with some false presumption that we can effect the outcome, the answer is unequivocally no." Such non-American thinking puts the nation at risk in a post-9/11 world.

6) Think of John Kerry's supporters. From Kim Jong-Il to Yasser Arafat, from the Tehran Times to the Syria Times, John Kerry has already passed quite a global test. Recently, Malaysia's former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad openly urged American Muslims to vote for Kerry. Remember Mohamad? As prime minister, he offered to support the United States and Britain in an international coalition against "terrorism" after 9/11. But only, as he put it, "if they wanted to take action against Israel."

With friends like these, who needs ... a Kerry presidency?

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JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2004, Diana West