Liberally Conservative

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free....... ~Ronald Reagan~

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Will The Real John Kerry Please Stand Up

Democrats have had their hip-hooray and ballyhoo in Boston and are now embarked on the serious business of trying to make their Batman and Robin -- sorry, John Kerry and John Edwards -- the future defenders of Western civilization. Watchers of the Boston party may have learned that Sen. Kerry served in Vietnam, his chief credential for becoming commander in chief. Sen. Edwards fought all his battles in law courts, but won enough to become very rich. Difficult as it is, it must be kept in mind that presidential elections are a serious business, particularly in a time of war. It was hard to keep all that in mind while listening to Mr. Kerry's rambling acceptance speech, going through the usual Sears catalog of pie-in-the-sky promises and occasionally inserting a snide, oblique remark about the performance of the sitting president. At least Mr. Kerry and his handlers acknowledged one thing, that the country is at war. The differences between what Mr. Kerry espouses and what the Bush administration already is doing are not easy to discern. He promised a major anti-proliferation effort, but Mr. Bush already has enlisted dozens of allies to help intercept shipments of nuclear materials or equipment that might be used for bomb-making. The Pakistani nuclear supermarket has been shut down. He promises to win more cooperation from our "allies," presumably meaning France, since the others are behaving rather well. But even though socialist France might warm up to a Democrat who learned French in a Swiss boarding school, it will not be easy to break a French tradition of noncooperation stretching back to Charles de Gaulle. Then there is the French habit of making business deals with rogues like Saddam Hussein. But Sen. Kerry's past positions stretching back 35 years raise doubts about how much dedication he would bring to fighting the fanatics struggling to replace liberal democracy with the rigid social strictures of radical Islam or some other tyranny. His record is not one of constancy. In response to 9/11, George W. Bush also has acted boldly, also inviting criticism from the timid, by making war on two supporters of Islamic terrorism, Mullah Omar in Kabul and Saddam Hussein in Baghdad. He thus established two strategic Western beachheads in the crescent of Muslim violence that stretches from the Mediterranean to the western border of China. In the second stage of these twin wars, the difficult task is to establish institutions that can withstand subversion by absolutists like Osama bin Laden and the mullahs of Iran. This task will not be easily or quickly accomplished. If John Kerry becomes president he will have no choice but to join this battle. He was trying to persuade listeners Thursday that he is up to the job. The viewers are entitled to some doubts, based on his past record. In a minor way, Mr. Kerry was an instrument of the Truman Doctrine when he went to Vietnam to command a "swift boat" in combat against the Soviet effort to spread communism throughout Southeast Asia. But after his brief service and his return to the U.S. he set about to undermine containment by campaigning against the war. He thus played a role in the home-front breakdown that was a major factor in bringing about the U.S. defeat. As to the new war, he is both for and against the effort in Iraq. It's hard to find out who John Kerry really is. Perhaps the answer is that he is just another agile politician. But the U.S. had one of those (Bill Clinton) in the long snooze of the 1990s that culminated in the 9/11 holocaust.

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