[Marxism] "Kerry deals away his ace in the hole"
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Thu Aug 19 23:12:31 MDT 2004
I am submitting this because I think that the antediluvian journalist
Helen Thomas, like Patti Smith although I think probably reflect
different people, is somebody who actually reflects thinking that is
going on much more broadly. Perhaps Kerry's endorsement of Bush on the
war is one reason why the GOP-backed attacks on his war record have had
a resonance -- even though they seem to be plainly fraudulent -- that is
greater than one would expect. Maybe Kerry, despite and maybe partly
because he is trying to ride his war record rather than his antiwar
record into the White House, is beginning to look like just another
chicken-hawk to the person in the street.
Helen Thomas, an old fashioned national treasure. Happy to send it on.
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Kerry deals away his ace in the hole By HELEN THOMAS HEARST NEWSPAPERS
WASHINGTON -- It appears American voters have little choice between the
presidential candidates in the November election when it comes to the
disastrous war against Iraq.
Both President Bush and his rival, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., seem to
think it was worth the 932 American lives (so far) and thousands of U.S.
wounded to get one man behind bars -- Saddam Hussein.
There also are the untold thousands of Iraqis dead and wounded as well.
But, as one Pentagon spokesman told me, "They don't count."
Kerry has made a colossal mistake by continuing to defend his October
2002 vote authorizing President Bush's invasion of Iraq.
Last week at the Grand Canyon, Kerry said he would have "voted to give
the president the authority to go to war" even if he had known there
were no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction -- Bush's original
justification for war on Iraq.
Kerry explained that he believes a president should have the "authority"
to go to war, and he voted accordingly. But he insisted that Bush
subsequently misused the authority by rushing headlong into combat based
on faulty intelligence about Saddam's weapons arsenal.
Kerry is mistaken on a key point. Under the U.S. Constitution, the
president does not have that sole right to declare war. Despite its
mindless default, that right still belongs to Congress.
Kerry has passed up several chances to distance himself from the Iraqi
debacle. But instead he has left himself wide open to Bush's ridicule.
What's he got left -- stem-cell research?
Bush had a field day smirking and mocking his political rival and
telling the nation that he was "right" to attack Iraq, absence of
Bush has sarcastically told cheering Republican rallies, "After months
of questioning my motives and even my credibility, Sen. Kerry now agrees
"We did the right thing," Bush bragged. "And the world is better off for
The senator should have called Bush's hand months ago and laid it on the
line after so much official deception. How could he say he would have
voted for the 2002 war resolution after he and the whole world learned
the rationale for the war was based on falsehoods?
Does Kerry realize that the U.S. invasion of Iraq without provocation
violates the U.N. Charter and the Nuremberg Tribunal principles?
Kerry has a weak fallback position-- that he would have planned things
differently before going to war and would have lined up more European
allies. Knowing what they know now about the Bush fiasco, France and
Germany are congratulating themselves for having the good sense to stay
out of Iraq.
So Kerry has blown it big time, rising to Bush's bait and throwing away
his ace in the hole -- Bush's shaky credibility on the profound question
of war and peace.
Bush has yet to apologize for misleading the nation or to explain why he
needed a war when Saddam's regime was tightly contained with sanctions,
weapons inspections and U.S. patrolling of the "no-fly" zone.
Bush has no exit strategy or timetable for a troop withdrawal even under
the facade of Iraqi sovereignty.
Kerry has talked about drawing down American forces and an eventual
But he could learn something from two previous wartime Republican
presidential candidates who had a better take on the public pulse and
won the White House.
In 1952 during the Korean War, Dwight D. Eisenhower made a campaign
promise that he would "go to Korea" and end the bloodshed. He did go to
Korea and the war ended with a cease-fire standoff months after his
In 1968, Richard Nixon said he had a "plan" to end the Vietnam War and
the voters, wanting peace, bought it. Nixon -- in part forced by
Congress -- reduced the U.S. troop commitment to Vietnam, but U.S.
forces were still there when Nixon was forced to resign from office in
1974 because of the Watergate scandal. But the war ended the following
These were not triumphal solutions but they did give Americans some hope
of eventual escape from the two quagmires.
In 1964, a Los Angeles Times cartoon by famed Paul Conrad showed a
pollster knocking on a door. A woman sticks her head out of a window and
the pollster asks her voting preference: "President Johnson or Sen.
Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz.?" She replies: "Who else have you got?"
That may be the fix some Americans are in again. Helen Thomas is a
columnist for Hearst Newspapers. E-mail: helent at hearstdc.com. Copyright
2004 Hearst Newspapers.
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