John Kerry's beautifully articulated incoherence
JOHN KERRY performed beautifully in the Presidential debates. He was
relaxed and polished, and he delivered his lines perfectly. It's apparent
that he put in a lot of time preparing and his preparation paid off in
the performances. Unfortunately, the performances masked an absence of
debating skills invariably looked much better on the TV screen than they
did on the printed page of the next day's morning paper. In each debate
Kerry's performance was an exercise in well-articulated incoherence. He
said, "I know I can do a better job in Iraq. I have a plan to have a
summit with all of the allies, something this President has not yet achieved,
not yet been able to do to bring people to the table."
a recurring theme of his, that he would be better at building alliances.
But what we have for evidence of his diplomatic skill are his disparaging
remarks directed at the allies who have stood with us. He calls them a
"fraudulent" coalition of the "bribed and the
coerced." For more evidence we get his accusations that Iraq's interim prime minister gave
misleading, overly optimistic assessments of conditions in Iraq,
while at the same time Kerry allowed his campaign manager to call the
prime minister a puppet with President Bush pulling the strings. This is
craving for international approval has surfaced again and again. It
appeared most glaringly when he talked about having to pass a
"global test" before he would take action as
commander-in-chief. He is like a socialite whose standing rests on being
invited to the right parties. His entire opposition to the war in Iraq now
rests solely on an absence of approval from the right countries.
is quite a climb down from earlier statements of his that claim Bush
misled us into war. It used to be about weapons of mass destruction and
cooked intelligence, but he's had to concede that he's seen the same
intelligence and his vote in favor of our use of force is based on it.
Now that he agrees that it was right to use military force to disarm Iraq, he
claims that diplomacy had not been exhausted. Translation: France
did not grant permission, therefore Kerry was opposed. It's become so
obvious that this is his position, he's been forced to declare, "Let
me just make it clear: I will never allow any country to have a veto over
our security." I am not reassured.
Bush and Kerry say the single most serious threat to the national
security of the United
States is the possibility of nuclear
weapons in the hands of terrorists. Kerry went on to say: "Right
now, the President is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to
research bunker-busting nuclear weapons. The United States is pursuing a
new set of nuclear weapons. It doesn't make sense. You talk about mixed
messages, we're telling other people, you can't have nuclear weapons, but
we're pursuing a new nuclear weapon that we might even contemplate using.
Not this President. I'm going to shut that program down, and we're going
to make it clear to the world, we're serious about containing nuclear
intention "to shut that program down" affirms those core
beliefs that are at the root of his 20 years of Senate opposition to
defense projects, and it contradicts his promises from the stump for a
What's worse, by saying that U.S. weapons research will
send a mixed message, he confers legitimacy on the terrorists, as if he
intends to negotiate disarmament with them. Does he think the terrorists
will be won over by American unilateral disarmament? What exactly does he
have in mind, nuclear test ban treaties with terrorists?
style cannot mask the substance of what Kerry has said and done. His
tough rhetoric on the campaign trail and in the debates is not supported
by his record of votes in the Senate. A closer scrutiny of what he has
said argues that his actions as commander-in-chief will reflect the
Senate record, not the campaign rhetoric.
Tom Bowler is a
business analyst for Sungard Securities
Finance. He lives in Nashua.
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