Ladies and gentlemen, John Kerry:
To be successful in Iraq, and in any war for that matter, our use of force must be tied to a political objective more complete than the ouster of a regime. To date, that has not happened in Iraq. It is time it did.
I’m confused. There hasn’t been a regime change in Iraq? Saddam is in a cage somewhere, the Sunni Ba’ath Remnant has mostly given way to Shia terrorists, Sunni dead-enders, and a remarkably responsible (and quite autonomous) Kurdish region. Well, them and to CENTCOM.
Or did Kerry mean we have yet to do something more than change the regime? In that case, there’s the increasingly reliable electrical supply, the increase in Iraqi oil output, ongoing infrastructure improvements, the end of systematic torture and rape, new schools, the return of water to the Marsh Arabs marshes, etc.
Or did Kerry mean — as he explicitly said — that “any war” must have goals beyond regime change? Apparently, Mr. Kerry has never heard of punitive expeditions. Sometimes, the best a nation can do is go in, kick some butt, teach the needed hard lesson, then go home. Now, I hope we don’t get to the point where we have to give up on Reconstruction, and limit the goal of the Iraq War to a mere punishment and example-setting. But even if that’s all we end up accomplishing, it will still have been worth it.
But to argue, as Kerry does, that such things never have and never will work, is to ignore an awful lot of history. Punitive expeditions — such as the response to the Boxer Rebellion, the 1986 air raid on Libya, the Grenada invasion, etc. — have a long history of success.
That was an awful lot of rebuttal for an opening paragraph, I know. But it’s rare for a Presidential candidate to demonstrate so much ignorance, of both history and clear writing, in such a small space.
So let’s continue:
In the past week the situation in Iraq has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. While we may have differed on how we went to war, Americans of all political persuasions are united in our determination to succeed.
Unless, of course, that American is Kerry’s biggest (literally and figuratively) supporter, Ted Kennedy. Kennedy has already called Iraq “Bush’s Vietnam,” which is less of an accurate description than it is an attempt at self-fulfilling prophecy. This isn’t another Vietnam unless we become convinced that we can’t win — and Kennedy is trying to convince us. Clearly, not all Americans want us to succeed. What a shame it is that one of them is so close to Team Kerry.
The extremists attacking our forces should know they will not succeed in dividing America, or in sapping American resolve, or in forcing the premature withdrawal of U.S. troops. Our country is committed to help the Iraqis build a stable, peaceful and pluralistic society. No matter who is elected president in November, we will persevere in that mission.
Does this imply that Kerry will soon stop taking advice from a certain Scotch-scented blowhard? If so, then kudos to Kerry — and he ought to tell the Distinguished Driver from Massachusetts to shut up already, if Kerry wants a shot at winning next Fall.
But to maximize our chances for success, and to minimize the risk of failure, we must make full use of the assets we have. If our military commanders request more troops, we should deploy them.
Unless, of course, the military commander is named Westmoreland. After all, this isn’t Vietnam.
Progress is not possible in Iraq if people lack the security to go about the business of daily life. Yet the military alone cannot win the peace in Iraq. We need a political strategy that will work.
If rebuilding a war-ravaged nation from scratch and attempting to give a trampled people a taste of constitutional republicanism isn’t a “political strategy that will work,” then just what does Kerry think will?
Fact is, we might fail in our attempt to create the Arab world’s first decent nation. Would President Kerry be ready for that, since Candidate Kerry has already declared that anything less is a total failure?
Over the past year the Bush administration has advanced several plans for a transition to democratic rule in Iraq. Each of those plans, after proving to be unworkable, was abandoned.
And in the last 200 years, France has had three Empires and five Republics — yet Kerry considers that nation a worthy role model. Political progress comes in fits and starts; ask any regretful Nader 2000 voter.
The administration has set a date (June 30) for returning authority to an Iraqi entity to run the country, but there is no agreement with the Iraqis on how it will be constituted to make it representative enough to have popular legitimacy.
And to think we fought and won out Revolution without first getting permission, much less a written Constitution. As a further outrage, imagine that the Kurds (driven from their homes by the Sunnis), and the Shias (drained out of their swamps by the Sunnis), and the Sunnis themselves (who would reallt like to get back to kicking around the Kurds and draining out the Shias) don’t yet get along!
Kerry has already stated that under his Administration, our military will stay, in whatever numbers they request, to try and keep the peace for as long as needed. As long as needed for what? Why, to give the Sunnis and Shias and Kurds a chance to learn to live together.
If anyone can tell me how that differs from the current Administration, I’ll print this fisking out on some really heavy stock paper, and eat it.
Because of the way the White House has run the war, we are left with the United States bearing most of the costs and risks associated with every aspect of the Iraqi transition.
And we were going to get France and Germany on board how? There was no popular support in those countries, and less political support. Sorry, Mr. Kerry — you might be sauve enough to marry a rich heiress, but she still made you sign a pre-nup. So you think you’re going to seduce 145 million overweight Germans and stinky Frenchies into getting off their doles and into a mess like the Middle East? Bill Clinton could barely get them to sign on to Oslo, and that didn’t involve putting any troops on the ground.
We have lost lives, time, momentum and credibility. And we are seeing increasing numbers of Iraqis lashing out at the United States to express their frustration over what the Bush administration has and hasn’t done.
And millions more who appreciate what the Bush Administration has done. And what you, Mr. Kerry, wouldn’t have done. Or did your Yes vote on the Use of Force resolution actually mean Yes this time?
In recent weeks the administration — in effect acknowledging the failure of its own efforts — has turned to U.N. representative Lakhdar Brahimi to develop a formula for an interim Iraqi government that each of the major Iraqi factions can accept. It is vital that Brahimi accomplish this mission, but the odds are long, because tensions have been allowed to build and distrust among the various Iraqi groups runs deep.
That’s right: One President Kerry is greater than 1,000 years of mutual hostility — which three years of President Bush created.
This man’s knowledge of basic history is incredibly low, even grading on the generous Presidential Candidate Curve. I remember Candidate GWB talking foreign policy during the 2000 race, and all I could think was, “Well, at least he’ll have Colin Powell at his ear.”
John Kerry has Ted Kennedy.
The United States can bolster Brahimi’s limited leverage by saying in advance that we will support any plan he proposes that gains the support of Iraqi leaders.
In other words, John Kerry would give veto power over any plan, no matter how reasonable, to any leading Shia cleric, no matter how unreasonable. How do you spell “nuance?” S-T-U-P-I-D.
Moving forward, the administration must make the United Nations a full partner responsible for developing Iraq’s transition to a new constitution and government.
This is the same United Nations which ran from Iraq at the first sign of trouble last summer. The same UN which feathered its nest with Iraqi petrodollars. The same UN which wouldn’t support its own resolutions.
If we end up needing to bring in the UN as a bit of cover, to lend “legitimacy” to our actions, then by all means, let’s do so. But to make that corrupt body a “full partner” is to destroy any chance we have at building a decent Iraq.
We also need to renew our effort to attract international support in the form of boots on the ground to create a climate of security in Iraq. We need more troops and more people who can train Iraqi troops and assist Iraqi police.
Whose boots, Mr. Kerry, would provide a climate of security? The same French or Danish boots, which ignored ethnic slaughter just a few miles down the road in Bosnia? Spanish boots, which said they’d run home after a single attack? German boots, which we fought two world wars against, exactly so they wouldn’t go marching all over the world?
We should urge NATO to create a new out-of-area operation for Iraq under the lead of a U.S. commander. This would help us obtain more troops from major powers.
We might also urge rabbits to start attacking wolves — we’d have about the same luck, and with about the same effect.
NATO armies — other than the Anglo-American ones — have atrophied to the point where they’re almost useless for anything more than simple peacekeeping. They can barely keep themselves trained and armed, much less try to train and arm new recruits in an environment like postwar Iraq.
It doesn’t matter that the Europeans hate Bush and love Kerry. It doesn’t matter which man is President. The sad truth is, NATO won’t go, because they can’t go — not without massive American financial and material support. So much for burden-sharing, no matter how you slice it.
The events of the past week will make foreign governments extremely reluctant to put their citizens at risk.
See my last point. NATO is just no damn good at fighting anymore.
That is why international acceptance of responsibility for stabilizing Iraq must be matched by international authority for managing the remainder of the Iraqi transition. The United Nations, not the United States, should be the primary civilian partner in working with Iraqi leaders to hold elections, restore government services, rebuild the economy, and re-create a sense of hope and optimism among the Iraqi people.
When soldiers show up wearing the Stars and Stripes on their shoulders, people know what to expect. And depending on who they are, they will feel either relief or fear. What do people feel when they see UN white helmets, Mr. Kerry? A sense of “hope and optimism?”
Not on this planet.
The primary responsibility for security must remain with the U.S. military, preferably helped by NATO until we have an Iraqi security force fully prepared to take responsibility.
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen — John Kerry’s view of foreign relations, wrapped up in a single sentence written by the man himself. And what is that view? Other people get to make the decisions, and Americans get to do the bleeding.
Are we sure Kerry is gunning for W’s job, and not for Kofi Annan’s?
Finally, we must level with our citizens. Increasingly, the American people are confused about our goals in Iraq, particularly why we are going it almost alone. The president must rally the country around a clear and credible goal. The challenges are significant and the costs are high. But the stakes are too great to lose the support of the American people.
In that case, Kerry should tell every Democrat but Zell Miller, Joe Lieberman, and Sam Nunn to just shut up about Iraq until, one way or another, we’re finished there.
Whether you agree or not, Bush has been crystal clear about what we’re doing in Iraq — even if he wasn’t completely honest in his justification for getting us there in the first place. If there’s confusion in the American people, it’s been sown by Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean, Jimmy Carter, and, yes, by John Kerry.
This morning, as we sit down to read newspapers in the comfort of our homes or offices, we have an obligation to think of our fighting men and women in Iraq who awake each morning to a shooting gallery in which it is exceedingly difficult to distinguish friend from foe, and the death of every innocent creates more enemies.
If they’re having trouble telling friend from foe now, just wait until the UN is in charge of the place. And if you think too many innocents are dying now, wait until President Kerry won’t let our boys shoot back without authorization first from Chirac, Schroeder, and Annan.
We owe it to our soldiers and Marines to use absolutely every tool we can muster to help them succeed in their mission without exposing them to unnecessary risk. That is not a partisan proposal. It is a matter of national honor and trust.
Kerry is exactly right on that last point. And since trust and our national honor are at stake, I can’t vote for a man who would turn such precious assets of ours over to the United Nations.