February 10, 2004


Mark Steyn on John Kerry’s credibility:

The question for anyone who thinks Kerry has "credibility" on national security is a simple one: who do you think Iran, North Korea, Syria, al-Qa'eda's Saudi paymasters and the rogue elements in Pakistan's ISI would prefer to see elected this November?

Or we could ask Daily Mirror columnist Tony Parsons:

John Kerry will be the next President of the United States.

And what is really beautiful is that George Bush, who has posed for so long as a hard man, is about to get his clock cleaned by the real thing. Kerry fought in Vietnam as a young man, and fought prostate cancer as a grown man.

Wonder if he threw his PSA test over the fence at the White House. Or maybe it was someone else’s PSA test.

The unholy mess in Iraq would not have happened if Kerry had been in the White House. Tony Blair, our armchair Churchill, and George Bush, the Patton of the sports bar, should look at John Kerry and blush to the roots of their worthless heads.

These lying bastards would not have been so gung-ho about Iraq if either of them had ever heard a shot fired in anger.

This line of reasoning always puzzles me. It isn’t difficult to locate people who’ve fought in previous wars and who supported the war in Iraq. In fact, Kerry was one of them:

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force -- if necessary -- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
- Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real."
- Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

(The above are from a list of “Dems for the war” quotes circulating the internet and forwarded by reader Hugo Williams. Snopes provides the full list, and includes additional context for several.)

Posted by Tim Blair at February 10, 2004 11:25 PM

I was interested to read in the accompanying column that this shit-head thinks there are Ostriches in the Australian jungle. Will somebody tell him?

Posted by: sue at February 11, 2004 at 12:24 AM

All those years in Texas, and yet Bush never heard a shot fired in anger?


Posted by: Joe Geoghegan at February 11, 2004 at 12:27 AM

Yes, war veteran Presidents are renowned for their pacifist qualities. Truman, Kennedy, Bush 41....

Posted by: gaz at February 11, 2004 at 12:32 AM

Well, it's certainly obvious to me that a record of having actually experienced combat is a crucial advantage in Presidential elections. Just ask Presidents Bob Dole, Bob Kerry, and John McCain.

Posted by: Patrick Phillips at February 11, 2004 at 12:51 AM

Interesting. So, the fact that Bill Clinton never fought in vietnam is conveniently forgotten. I seem to remember something about Haiti, the Balkins, and cruise missles raining down on Iraq, aspirin factories and a chinese embassy during the Clinton terms. Suddenly the democrats have a real live war hero and now, only former military can understand and use military force. Hey, whatever works.

They do have a point. Remember that guy in a wheelchair? A democrat I think....whatshisname who somehow managed to muddle through a little war that took place in the 40's. The guy couldn't walk, never served in the military. How could he of all people understand what the grunts went through landing on a beach in Normandy? He had a lot of nerve sending young men into battle, something he could never experience. I think he was living vicariously through the troops he was sending off to die.

Posted by: KellyW. at February 11, 2004 at 01:43 AM

They're right about how we wouldn't be in a war if Kerry or Gore were at the helm. After all, this should just be a criminal matter. That's the way Clinton handled terrorism and that's the way Kerry would like to handle terrorism. Just a few missles shot randomly into the Afganistan hinterland and problem solved. NOT.

Posted by: rabidfox at February 11, 2004 at 03:02 AM

Yeah, and that wheelchair dude first sent troops against German forces in -- not Germany but North Africa. Yet the Nazi killing machine was headquartered in Berlin. All those needless deaths at Kasserine. And you know he timed the North African campaign for mid-term to minimize its impact on the '44 elections.

Posted by: Tongue Boy at February 11, 2004 at 03:08 AM

Suddenly the ""peace at any cost" party loves a veteran? I thought we were all babykillers?! Of course this is the same party who thought the way to fight the Cold War was to twice send half a million men to Asia, lose 100,000, and come away with a tie and a loss. Meanwhile Reagan gets a win by pre-empting in Grenada, moving a few missiles around, merely suggesting SDI and standing up to Gorby and somehow the GOP are the "warmongers". Amazing isn't it?

Posted by: John at February 11, 2004 at 12:26 PM

The chickenhawk/armchair general meme staggers from its grave... You think it would have had the decency to stay dead after Hitchens gutted it and made a g-string of the entrails.

There's even a passage for the Weirdly Prescient Desk:

It is said, for example, that someone like former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey has more right to pronounce on a war than someone who avoided service in Vietnam. Well, last year Kerrey was compelled to admit that he had led a calamitous expedition into a Vietnamese village and had been responsible for the slaughter of several children and elderly people. (He chose to be somewhat shady about whether this responsibility was direct or indirect.) Do I turn to such a man for advice on how to deal with Saddam Hussein? The connection is not self-evident, more especially since, as far as I am aware, Kerrey knows no more about Iraq than I know about how to construct a chess-playing computer.

One hopes that the next implication is inadvertent, but the clear suggestion is that there ought not to be civilian control of the military. What—have callow noncombatants giving brisk orders to grizzled soldiers? How could Lincoln have fired the slavery-loving Gen. George B. McClellan, or Truman dismissed the glorious Douglas MacArthur? During the defense of Washington, Lincoln became the first and last president to hear shots fired in anger. Donald Rumsfeld was at his desk in the Pentagon when the plane hit, but probably is no better and no worse a defense secretary for that.

A related term is "chicken-hawk." It is freely used to defame intellectual militants who favor an interventionist strategy. Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska made use of the implication recently, when he invited Richard Perle to be first into Baghdad. Someone ought to point out that the term "chicken-hawk" originated as a particularly nasty term for a pederast or child molester: It has evidently not quite lost its association with sissyhood. It's a smear, in other words, and it is a silly smear for the reasons given above, to which could be added the following: The United States now has an all-volunteer Army, made up of people who receive fairly good pay and many health and educational benefits. They signed up to a bargain when they joined, and the terms of the bargain are obedience to the decisions of a civilian president and Congress. Who would have this any other way? If the entire military brass and rank-and-file opposed a war with Saddam, they would be as obliged to keep their opinions to themselves as they would if they favored nuking Basra. Colin Powell hugely exceeded his authority as chairman of the Joint Chiefs when he wrote articles against the military rescue of Bosnia; he would have been just as open to criticism if he had called for invading Serbia. This is a wall of separation that must not be breached, for the sake of the Constitution. (Mind you, I have the impression that if the "armchair" arguers got their way and asked only war veterans what to do about Saddam Hussein, there would have been a rather abrupt "regime change" in Iraq long before now.)


Posted by: Craig Ranapia (Other Pundit) at February 11, 2004 at 12:27 PM

Whoa, this Parsons guy is so full of shit when he dies they can give him an enema and bury him in a shoebox. He knows not of what he speaks and yet, like a moron, he speaks anyway. I don't know what audience Parson's is trying to influence with this journalistic tripe because Brits can't vote in American elections and most sensical Americans really don't give a shit what he thinks. He's just an angry socialist and is wasting a lot of his seemingly unending hot air.

Posted by: Harry at February 11, 2004 at 05:35 PM