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July 31, 2004

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The whole premise of this post is what beguiles me. I can only assume something like this is written as camouflauge when the real question is: What has our current President done right where foreign policy is concerned?
This has been 4 years of bad ideas and worse execution, followed by a groundswell of dislike (and worse) from the world community. Am I safer than I was a year ago? - in what alternative universe? Al Qaeda has GROWN, subdivided and gone deeper underground, not shrunk while our military has become depleted and exhausted. North Korea is more problematic than it was 4 years ago and AIDS has continued it's mushrooming swath across the world unabated.
I trust Kerry's daughters with foreign policy before I would consider 4 more years of this gang that can't shoot straight. The question posed in your article Sebastian should be : Could Kerry possibly be worse than Bush?

ZZZZzzzzz....

"We cannot win the War on Terror through military power alone. If I am President, I will be prepared to use military force to protect our security, our people, and our vital interests.
But the fight requires us to use every tool at our disposal. Not only a strong military -- but renewed alliances, vigorous law enforcement, reliable intelligence, and unremitting effort to shut down the flow of terrorist funds."

"To do all this, and to do our best, demands that we work with other countries instead of walking alone. For today the agents of terrorism work and lurk in the shadows of 60 nations on every continent. In this entangled world, we need to build real and enduring alliances.

Allies give us more hands in the struggle, but no President would ever let them tie our hands and prevent us from doing what must be done. As President, I will not wait for a green light from abroad when our safety is at stake. But I will not push away those who can and should share the burden."

Noce job on this Sebastian. At a certain point we need to assume that questions about Kerry are not partisan and really do want better information about his plans. That is all part of the campaign process. I would hope Kerry would learn as he goes and even change his mind if he realizes his focus was off kilter.

We cannot now leave Iraq to chaos--and that is exactly what would happen if we pulled out any time in the near term (and by that I mean 5-10 years minimum). So either Kerry is unrealistic about bringing the troops home, or he is unrealistic about the consequences of bringing them home.

I think Kerry has said more or less the same thing you note in your first line. I trust him to not bring the troops home too early. I also trust him to bring them home as early as he can and still meet that first goal.

"Noce" is not a word I know....I meant "Nice"

"The only thing I care about in Kerry's Speech is foreign policy. I think that ought to be the key question in this election, and I think it is important enough to trump almost anything else."

I'd love to see Bush and Republicans follow this line of thinking (especially considering the past electoral success of elder Bush's neurotic focus on foreign policy), which is apparently shared by 39% of the public.

Time Poll conducted SRBI Public Affairs. July 20-22, 2004. N=1,000 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"Which of the following issues is most important to you in deciding how you might vote for president in November? . . ."

The economy 28 %
The situation in Iraq 21 %
The war on terrorism 18 %
Moral values issues, such as gay marriage and abortion 16 %
Health care 12 %
Other (vol.) 2 %
Unsure 3 %

Sebastian,
You should not worry so much about the tone or the emphasis or the focus of a single speech or a single paragraph. The war on terrorism and the Iraq War pose a variety of problems and policy questions, and so Kerry will have to address more than one issue. I don't see how you can fault Kerry, for instance, for making the true statement that we should be doing more to protect our chemical and nuclear plants. If you listen to the rest of his sentences, it's clear that he does not have a defense-only plan for dealing with terrorism.

You may agree more with Kerry's focus on Iraq on his website, where he says "John Kerry and John Edwards will make the creation of a stable and secure environment in Iraq our immediate priority in order to lay the foundations for sustainable democracy." He goes on to promote greater participation of allies in Iraq as means to "end the continuing perception of a U.S. occupation" and "provide real security for the Iraqi people" (via training of Iraqi security forces), among other things.

Also, you should be sure to examine Bush's intentions for Iraq just as critically. Has he given any indication that he believes that we will need to keep our troops in Iraq for "5-10 years minimum"?

I'm pretty much in reasonable agreement with what you've said here, Sebastian. (I'm weasel wording because I'm pained, tired, and not obsessively analyzing every phrase -- you know, like normal.)

But, while I anticipate voting for Kerry, I think your cautions are, as I scan them, valid.

I don't know what Kerry will do, and I have some fears. I also don't know what Bush will do, and based upon performance, I have greater fears.

I think Gary just wrapped up the sentiment that will bring Kerry this election.
"I don't know what Kerry will do, and I have some fears. I also don't know what Bush will do, and based upon performance, I have greater fears."

Many moderates, both liberal and republican, and independents seem to be coming to a similar conclusion.
Incumbents have the job to lose. Often times, challengers just need to show they can handle the job.

I'm not surprised by Gary's comments, although I think he lacks a litte sense of history. Notwithstanding, the Kerry Doctrine

The United States of America never goes to war because we want to; we only go to war because we have to.

Some where Henry Wallace is smiling whereas Harry Truman is turning in his grave.

The United States of America never goes to war because we want to; we only go to war because we have to.

You need to parse "have to" a bit here to imagine the outcome you suggest Timmy.

We "had to" invade Afghanistan. Our security demanded it. We "wanted to" go to war in Iraq, our security did not demand it.

I think Truman would get that.

Harry S. Truman, Radio Broadcast to the American People, September 1, 1950

"Seventh: We do not believe in aggressive or preventive war. Such war is the weapon of dictators, not of free democratic countries like the United States. We are arming only for the defense against aggression."

"My name is General Tony McPeak.
I'm a fighter pilot, a Vietnam veteran and was our Air Force Chief of Staff during Desert Storm. There is absolutely nothing I take more seriously than the safety of our soldiers and the security of our country..."
...
"This is deadly serious work and you may be wondering why I'm so sure John Kerry is the man for the job. After all, when I retired from active service, I registered as a Republican. In 1996, I played a role in Senator Dole's Presidential campaign in Oregon. And, as I said, in 2000 I was a Veteran for Bush. By the way, I have now re-registered as an Independent, but anyway, for me, the security of our country is not a partisan issue...
...
"War is a team sport. We built the team that won World War II. We put together the great team that won the Cold War. That's why what has happened over the last three years is such a tragedy, such a national disaster. Rebuilding the team won't be easy."
http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=102-07312004

Does General McPeak hate America?

Carsick, Who said anything about hating America? Other than the Islamists anyway? BTW we did not as a country build the team that won WWII. We resisted until bombed by the Japanese.

Dan, "If you listen to the rest of his sentences, it's clear that he does not have a defense-only plan for dealing with terrorism."

That is exactly what is not clear. In fact I quoted almost the entire foreign policy section of his speech and most of it is defense oriented, as I outline above. And that is what deeply worries me. This can't be won on defense. It can't be won with a primary focus on defense. A free society protect itself from this kind of threat defensively. Hiding away in the corner (even if we could) wouldn't make the Islamist terrorists go away. And we can't protect everything all the time. It just isn't possible.

Edward:

We cannot now leave Iraq to chaos--and that is exactly what would happen if we pulled out any time in the near term (and by that I mean 5-10 years minimum). So either Kerry is unrealistic about bringing the troops home, or he is unrealistic about the consequences of bringing them home.

I think Kerry has said more or less the same thing you note in your first line. I trust him to not bring the troops home too early. I also trust him to bring them home as early as he can and still meet that first goal.

Do you agree that it is highly unlikely that we can both bring the troops home and meet that goal anytime in the next four years? If yes, and Kerry knows that, why does he make so many statements that suggest otherwise?

Sebastian
Are you saying that WWII was being won before we got involved? I just posted the general's comments so you'd have to argue your point with him but your statement implies that WWII was being won before we got involved yet the general's comment seems qualified by the "team that won".
Maybe just semantics.

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