My symposium entry
Q. "If you are elected, given Paul Bremer's remarks, and deteriorating conditions as you have judged them, would you be prepared to commit more troops."Hugh Hewitt asks, "What do Kerry's answers to today's press inquiries tell us about Kerry's worldview and character?"
A. "I will do what the generals believe we need to do without having any chilling effect, as the president put in place by firing General Shinseki, and I'll have to wait until January 20th.
I don't know what I am going to find on January 20th, the way the president is going. If the president just does more of the same every day, and it continues to deteriorate, I may be handed Lebanon, figuratively speaking. Now, I just don't know. I can't tell you. What I'll tell you is, I have a plan.
I have laid out my plan to America, and I know that my plan has a better chance of working.
And in the next days I am going to say more about exactly how we are going to do what has been available to this Administration that it has chosen not to do. But I will make certain that our troops are protected.
I will hunt down and kill the terrorists, and I will make sure that we are successful, and I know exactly what I am going to do and how to do it.
Q. Duelfer also said that Saddam fully intended to resume his weapons of mass destruction program because he felt that the sanctions were just going to fritter away.
A. But we wouldn't let them just fritter away. That's the point, Folks! If You've got a guy who's dangerous, you've got a guy you suspect is going to do something, you don't lift the sanctions, that's the fruits of good diplomacy. This Administration...I beg your pardon?
Q. You just said [Bush] fictionalized him [Saddam] as an enemy. Now you just said he's dangerous?
A. No. What I said. I said it all the time. Consistently I have said Saddam Hussein presented a threat. I voted for the authorization, because he presented a threat. There are all kinds of threats in the world, ladies and gentlemen. Al Qaeda is in 60 countries. Are we invading all 60 countries? 35 to 40 countries had the same --more-- capability of creating weapons, nuclear weapons, at the time the president invaded Iraq than Iraq did. Are we invading all 35 to 40 of them? Did we invade Russia? Did we invade China? The point is that there are all kinds of options available to a president to deal with threats and I consistently laid out to the president how to deal with Saddam Hussein, who was a threat. If I'd been president, I'd have wanted the same threat of force. But as I have said a hundred times if not a thousand iin this campaign, there was a right way to use that authority and a wrong way. The president did it the wrong way. He rushed to war without a plan to win the peace, against my warnings and other people's warnings. And now we have the mess we have today. It is completely consistent that you can see him as a threat and deal with him realistically just as we saw the Soviet Union and China and others as threats and have dealt with them in other ways.
They tell me that he's dishonest. His claim that Shinseki was fired is a lie. He also lies about what the Duelfer report contains, and for all his accusations that Bush is "too stubborn" it is Kerry who continues to repeat that UN Sanctions were working and would still be working if we had achieved the "fruits of good diplomacy."
This "chilling effect" he refers to, supposedly intimidating the generals advising the president recommendations strikes me as much more likely to happen with Kerry, who thinks that his time in Vietnam makes him a greater warrior than anybody alive. Bush has been careful to let the generals tell him how to run a war. Kerry is the one who testified so negatively about the officers in Vietnam, whom he charged with war crimes. He's saying that this wouldn't phase anyone in the Pentagon when he discusses his options with him. Yeah, John. Now pull the other one.
He really is a foggy thinker. He can't seem to make a single coherent point. Instead he makes scattershot conflicting assertions: I will hunt down and kill the terrorists, but I will protect our troops. Again: I Now, I just don't know. I can't tell you. but What I'll tell you is, I have a plan. I have laid out my plan to America.
Does anybody know what his plan is? All I've heard him say is that he will return to the U.N. like the prodigal son and ask for its help in the war. Does that mean in Iraq? Probably not, because he considers Iraq as a diversion from the GWOT instead of center to it.
That's not a plan; it's a fantasy. Anybody who has been paying attention to the blogosphere knew long ago that Saddam had used sweetheart oil contracts and the Oil for Food Program to buy off the UN and several permanent members of the Security Council. Now that the Duelfer report is out, you don't even have to have read any blogs. If better diplomacy is his cunning plan, powerful enough to solve problems he doesn't even know about, he's either a moron or he thinks we are. It wouldn't have worked and it can't work now. How do we know? Because Bush tried it and was rebuffed by the countries who had been paid off by Saddam. Now that they are exposed, how likely are they to join the war?
Kerry operates on the presumption that actually fighting back is an admission of failure. This is Clinton lite. Even Clinton bombed Serbia.
Furthermore, does he really think that the countries who typically send troops to U.N. "peacekeeping duty" would be willing to commit troops who might actually have to fight?
And, of course, none of this addresses the real importance to making democracy work in Iraq, which is essential to defeating terrorism at its roots.
Kerry seems to think that if he makes idiotic statements (like his "global test" remark in the first debate) with conviction and a touch of anger, it will not be challenged. I suspect that the reason Bush didn't nail him on this during the debate is that it was goofy in so many respects that it was hard to know where to start.