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Quantum Leap - John Kerry On Losing The War

This is the first in a series of thoughts on the war from John Kerry, the man who is running for President based on his actions in the late 60's and early 70's.

We rationalized destroying villages in order to save them. We saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted very coolly an Abu Ghraib and refused to give up the image of American soldiers who hand out chocolate bars and chewing gum.

We learned the meaning of free fire zones, shooting anything that moves, and we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of Iraqis.

We listened while month after month we were told the back of the enemy was about to break. We fought using weapons against "insurgents" with quotation marks around that. We fought using weapons against those people which I do not believe this country would dream of using were we fighting in the European theater or let us say a non-third-world people theater.

Each day to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Iraq someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn't have to admit something that the entire world already knows, so that we can't say that we have made a mistake. Someone has to dies so that President Bush won't be, and these are his words, the second President to lose a war."

We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to dies in Iraq? How do ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? But we are trying to do that, and we are doing it with thousands of rationalizations, and if you read carefully the President's last speech to the people of this country, you can see that he says, and says clearly:

But the issue, gentlemen, the issue is terrorism, and the question is whether or not we will leave that country to the terrorists or whether or not we will try to give it hope to be a free people.

But the point is they are not a free people now under us. They are not a free people, and we cannot fight terrorism all over the world, and I think we should have learned that lesson by now.


TV fans may remember the series Quantum Leap staring Scott Bakula and Richard Stockwell. Bakula's character "leaps" into the bodies of people throughout history (generally from the last half of the 20th century) and tries to save them from some mysterious bad fate. That's the best explanation for what I'm trying to do her, though I do have the leap direction reversed. The public life of John Kerry is documented well enough that as a writer I can fill his past with words from today and vice versa.

Comments (17)

John Kerry: the "make Amer... (Below threshold)

John Kerry: the "make America weaker worldwide" candidate.

Especially after reading an article (found on Drudge) that says that certain countries worldwide prefer Kerry to Bush...and that their reasons are that they prefer "a weaker America".

No mention of Italy, Russia or Japan, however, among those allegedly polled. Which I found interesting.

You know what, S? I bet you... (Below threshold)

You know what, S? I bet you if Sen. Kerry would adopt a "make American weaker" platform and stick with it for the next two months, he'd end up doing substantially better at the polls.

There are just too damned many Americans who wish America were weaker, weaker economically, weaker culturally, weaker politically, weaker militarily.

"There are just too damn... (Below threshold)

"There are just too damned many Americans who wish America were weaker, weaker economically, weaker culturally, weaker politically, weaker militarily."

So true.

And, after having gotten four years of that program under Bush, they're voting for four more years of continuing weakness in a Bush second term.

Like Reagan asked:

"Next Tuesday all of you will go to the polls... and make a decision. I think when you make that decision, it might be well if you would ask yourself, are you better off than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was? Do you feel that our security is as safe, that we're as strong as we were four years ago?"

And, just like Carter was thrown out for being 0 for 6 on Reagan's check-list, Bush should be thrown out for the same.

He actually said that, huh?... (Below threshold)

He actually said that, huh? You did a great job on that Kevin, it even sounds like his monotone on everything he talks about. He has 5 new people on his staff, one alone to keep him "disciplined." His words echo the same words that he said during and after the Vietnam war. Again, his attitude is that the troops in Iraq, especially, are fighting the wrong war, at the wrong time, for the wrong reason and he's making their sacrifices there worthless.

I saw something on tv today, possibly c-span where 5 soldiers who came back from Iraq and they were talking about their experiences in front of a congressional committe. One said that he could not watch tv news because he would go ballistic over things he heard. He noted that 98% of the Iraqi people were glad the American's were there, despite the "insurgency." He also noted that the Iraqi people are better off having had an invasion that took Saddam Hussein down; that they were grateful to the Americans and coalition forces for all the good that was taking place in Iraq. And there is a lot of good going on that we hardly ever hear about. He said watching news on television upset him because he knew better than what was being said and the unfairness of the American Soldier; that in his experience there, nothing but good came from his time in Iraq but that the media and others are NOT talking about all the good they are doing there. He called it a Liberation and that now, they are there only to help, to train and to do what the Iraqi Governing Council requested of them. He made it very clear we were not occupying Iraq and the news is very slanted. I had to applaud him and the other 4 others with him testifying in front of this congressional committee.

Reading what Kerry says here only reminds me of what he said about Vietnam, so again, he is putting down our troops, making them out to be the bad guy and that is not going to sit well with the troops when they hear this kind of talk. It's like all the deaths were for naught.

Sure, Al Qaida and other terrorists want us to vote Kerry into office because they are afraid of George Bush. With Kerry in office, we become fair game to any and all terrorists.

Jeff: Kerry already has ad... (Below threshold)

Jeff: Kerry already has adopted that "make America weaker" campaign. Based upon him as the preferred candidate among those who prefer a weaker America. I think "Hal" here is providing a great sampling of the "make America weaker" crowd.

Something that I realize most conservatives recognize that the Left among us and in other nations never seems to get about their own perspectives, is that, they WANT America to fail. They gather together in happiness with others who want America to fail. They rejoice and praise failures and denigration of anyone in the Country who rallies in support of America, who protects and attempts to defend America.

I can understand why the French revile the U.S. -- competitive economics, but mostly the French have always reviled creative competitions from anyone, much less the U.S. -- but it mystifies me why the American Left enjoys and finds pleasure in this sort of blackness (which word I use here to describe bleakness, not racial coloring or cultural perspectives).

The music preferred by the Left, the clothing, the "entertainment," the politicians...all bleak, all emphasizing negatives, all rallying the darkness, all despising anyone who holds values not among those that they rally.

The Dark Arts...no wonder they prefer someone like Kerry, who has campaigned and still is upon DISHONESTY. I read the press this morning and last evening and the dark voices are all yelling out from somewhere resembling Gehenna to my read. They hate George Bush. They hate Republicans. They hate.

It is that they hate that sets them apart. It is that they hate that makes them "Left".

Must pray more.

I was looking for a comment... (Below threshold)

I was looking for a comment on W flip-flopping on his position on the national intelligence director. Last month he was strongly against the director having any control over the budget. Yesterday, he came out for full budget authority.

There are many in America t... (Below threshold)

There are many in America today who prefer a weak America. Most are lefties and Liberals. But a big factor is the moron constituency which usually favors the Democrats. For instance, the moron contituency make up the bulk of Democrat voters in New Jersey. It boggles the mind.

Why is KF changing the subj... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Why is KF changing the subject? Troll?

Kerry is the candidate of t... (Below threshold)

Kerry is the candidate of the Hate-America crowd and their cousins the Blame-America crowd. Ever notice how their favorite was/is the Vietnam War. It's the one we lost. They have no use for a war America won. So they pray and pray we lose in Iraq and even lose the War on Terrorism (Islamofascism).

I think the left is on a de... (Below threshold)

I think the left is on a death mission, hoping we get attacked again so they can say "I told yu so," criticize Bush & say they would do a better job. That would really be disgusting.

Another reason Bush will win!


Did he actually make a side... (Below threshold)

Did he actually make a sideways remark that Iraqis are third-world people? Talk about someone who has no regard for the lives of the people of Iraq! The title of the book says it all: Unfit for Command

This is amazing - you make ... (Below threshold)

This is amazing - you make up a statement based on Kerry's 1971 testimony, and then ridicule it. Some people are reading this thinking it is actually a Kerry statement!!

Can't you find a real statement and try to dispute that, or is that too hard for you?

And you are right, that is the big secret, the left wants to be controlled by islamofacists because we hate America, we hate freedom and we hate all those damn liberties.

Gee, you are so smart.

I love it. I use my first ... (Below threshold)

I love it. I use my first and last name, easily Googlable, and I get scare quotes around my name as if it's a pseudonym... From somebody going by "-S-".

Fortunately, I support anonymity online, as in print, and remember the Founders, the authors of the Federalist Papers, and Cincinnatus fondly.

But, in case you didn't get it: I oppose Mr. Bush because I think he is, today, weakening American defense far more than the alternative. Indeed, his attitude towards the military appears to be nothing but contempt. Some examples (a condensed list, believe it or not):

* Evicting the families of currently serving Air Force air tanker pilots from base housing.

* Allowing our aircraft carrier fleet -- which numbers 12, and usually has 3 carriers out in the water at any given time -- to dwindle down to only one ship afloat, back in the March-April timeframe. This was mostly because we'd kept our carriers out too long during Op. Iraqi Freedom. The situation has since been remedied, but only by such measures as sending the Lincoln back into the water a year ahead of schedule. This Administration's record is going to wreak havoc with our deployment schedule for years to come.

* Speaking of carriers, holding the men and women of the Abraham Lincoln, coming home from the longest carrier deployment in history, away from their families for an extra week for a campaign photo op.

* Policies regarding military pay and benefits called by the Army Times an "Act of Betrayal".

* A Department of Justice so incompetent at trrying terrorism-related cases that, even with the USA PATRIOT Act, John Ashcroft admits he's only getting a 57% conviction rate. To give you an idea of perspective, most District Attroneys assume a conviction rate of about 85% is a bare minimum to get re-elected. A conviction rate of 50% is equal to deciding guilt or innocence by the toss of a coin.

* The lowest re-enlistment rates in the history of the all-volunteer armed services. The creeping pseudo-draft of "stop loss" orders.

* Bush's finger is now on the nuclear "Button". However, during his service, he may have had his flight status yanked by the Air Force because he wasn't judged reliable enough to have that responsibility.

* The soldiers who were left standing, cold and alone, because they got shut of the mess hall during Bush's surprise Thanksgiving 2003 visit.

* Leave aside the seven minutes in Florida on 9/11 when Bush was frozen, at a complete loss as to what to do next. Look at what he did do next -- scurry off to an underground nuclear-resistant shelter, the former headquarters of the Strategic Air Command. This might sound prudent -- after all, we might have been under all-out nuclear attack -- except for the fact that the VC-25, the 747-derivative that Air Force One is based on, is also designed as a nuclear-resistant headquarters. The President has access to all communication facilities while on board, and can be re-fueled in mid-air . And, of course, being a moving target, it's harder to hit than a stationary one. One can only conclude Mr. Bush wanted to be underground for, um... personal reasons. {cough}

* Bush himself feels ashamed of his record. How else to explain his relecutance to appear at the funerals of the men and women who have died under his command. How afraid of their families he must be.

* Iraq had no WMD, but Saddam Hussein was a personal foe of the Bush family -- off to war we go. Iran and North Korea almost certainly do have WMD, due to Bush's inaction... and nary a peep from the coward.

* And, just to spell it out: George W. Bush is not America. Criticizing Mr. Bush is not the same thing as criticizing America. Indeed, thinking America is so weak, so unsteady, so unsure that protecting Mr. Bush even when he's demonstrably wrong and it's against the interests of the country... Well, frankly, that sounds a heck of a lot like "blaming America first" for being the strong, willful, contentious place that it is.

I used Reagan's check list for a reason. I thought it obvious that, by the standards of the greatest conservative of recent times, Bush comes up wanting. Given just how weak Mr. Bush is when one looks at his record not with a political eye, but with an eye towards protecting the country... Well, if you want four more years of Bush's weakness, Bush's indecisiveness, Bush's cowardice, Bush's contempt for our proud fighting men and women... That's your call.

I am too old to be a blogge... (Below threshold)
John St. John:

I am too old to be a blogger. The idea that we need, (thirteen not twelve)aircraft carriers to fight terrorists; blows my mind. If we see a terrorist--what do we do? Nuke him? My general and president Ike Eisenhower warned us about the military industrial complex. It is now gobbeling up 400 billion bucks a year and we have almost as many generals as we have PFCs.

When I went into the army in 1941 we were up aginst two powerful, modern, dictatorships with all of the latest warmaking paraphenalia. Within a year we began to outproduce them, and in two yers we had them on the run. People ask me why I don't talk about the war. The reason is that in WWII just about everybody was in it, and my service was no big deal. Their favorite question was, "did you ever kill anybody". This is too dumb to answer.

If the Kerry we have today was the young Kerry that showed real courage in opposing the Viet Nam war, I would be happy to vote for him. I am going to vote for him anyway, but just to get rid of Bush and Rumsfeld and Rove and Cheney and the horde of oil company executives that compose the cabinet.

America weaker? Don't make me laugh.

John -- First off, here's a... (Below threshold)

John -- First off, here's a list of currently active carriers:

CV 63 Kitty Hawk
CVN 65 Enterprise
CV 67 John F Kennedy
CVN 68 Nimitz
CVN 69 Dwight Eisenhower
CVN 70 Carl Vinson
CVN 71 Theodore Roosevelt
CVN 72 Abraham Lincoln
CVN 73 George Washington
CVN 74 John Stennis
CVN 75 Harry S Truman
CVN 76 Ronald Reagan

If you're aware of a 13th, both the Navy and myself would be fascinated to hear about it. :)

As to needing that many to fight terrorism... No, of course not. But, first, this Adminstration has completely ignored fighting terrorism since the initial flush of success in Afghanistan in 2001 (preferring to go after personal enemies), and second, there are other threats in the world than terrorism. Some possibilities, for example:

* North Korea decides to invade South Korea. If the Kitty Hawk, which is our sole forward deployed carrier, in Yokosuka, Japan, is being repaired, then what?

* Pakistan and India decide to start rattling sabers, and nukes. Do we sacrifice air cover in Iraq to project force, if our sole carrier alfoat is in the Gulf?

* China and Taiwan start yelling at each other. Same basic scenario -- how do we project force if our sole carrier is in the Gulf?

Remember what I said earlier -- usually we have only three carriers afloat and deployed at any given moment. The Navy basically does a four-step process, of which deployment is only one. When the schedule gets jiggered that means that to go back to normal standard takes one of two things -- either cutting back on maintenance, or cutting back on training. Neither of those options makes for solid fighting.

For example, the Abraham Lincoln just got redeployed a year ahead of schedule. This after having previously served the longest carrier deployment in US history (see above). One can argue that battle is the best training... But I'd still have preferred giving her crew more time off, to get them fresher. (And I'm aware of the oddity of saying "her" in reference to a ship named for a man, but there you go. :)

Like I say, when I see how this Administration handles fighting a war, I'm reminded of Casey Stengel: "Doesn't anyone here know how to play this game?"

John: And I don't want to s... (Below threshold)

John: And I don't want to skip your basic points about our warfighting capability overall. Yes, the officer to enlisted ratio is terrible (especially in the Air Force). I'm not so sanguine about our ability to out-produce the world anymore -- we've given up a lot of our industrial capacity for no good reason.

And when it comes to the "military-industrial complex"... Well, let's face it. From their point of view the really bad thing about fighting the USSR in the Cold War was... The bastards gave up. Surrendered. Mr. Cheney was quoted at the time as saying, "Let's not get euphoric." And you could see what he meant, if you wanted the US to be on a permanent war footing.

You'll notice they're not making the same mistake this time. No, the great thing about a "War on Terrorism" is that it steals a fundamental idea right from LBJ: Let's make a Big Government Program that can never be dismantled. Who will surrender on behalf of terrorism? How will we ever know we've won? Where will the limits be on what is asked of us?

Joe Stalin would be proud. Or Orwell. "America is fighting terrorism. American has always been fighting terrorism."

You'll notice Bush let the cat out of the bag about this a couple of weeks ago, when he said he didn't think we'd ever win. What he didn't mention is, we'll never lose, either. And that's the point. The "War" goes on forever, just like the "War on Poverty".

Whats an air-craft carrier ... (Below threshold)
John St.John:

Whats an air-craft carrier between freinds? And don't forget the "war on drugs" That is also a loser. It would seem to me that the first act of defense for a nation would be to quit selling arms to anyone with the money to buy. We are by far the biggest arms-dealers in the world, and in the case of Israel we have given them forty billion dollars to buy them with.

That isn't you and me. Thats the corporations that run our government. Under Terry McAuliff it looks as though the two party system has already become a one party system. Corporations were adjudged legal persons by the same Supreme Court, (Santa Clara Vs The Southern Pacific)that adjuged Dred Scott, a runaway slave, a non person to be returned to his master. The logic was that because a corporation was not owned it was a person, and because poor Dred was owned he was a non-person. The real fact is that no one owns a corporation. Stockholders are investors and have no say about running the business. By hiring an employee called a CEO to do the dirty work the Board is releived of liability for whatever their "Chain saw Al" does. The corporation business form is a scam and illegal under any interpretation of ownership liability under common law.

The sad truth is that we have allowed these gigntic predators to control every aspect of our lives in exchange for jobs and the goodies they produce. They now control our government and when this happens it is called fascim. Without Ford and General Motors as well as Krupp and Thysen Adolph Hitler would have been nothing more than a psychotic screaming his obscenities on the Hochplatz.






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