April 26, 2004
Missing the Point
The hoopla over a minor story like whether John Kerry threw medals or ribbons over a fence in 1971 misses a bigger point. Wasn't his action thoroughly despicable? Doing what he did is on par with burning an American flag, legal but reprehensible. The day before, Kerry had his chance to petition his government by speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He told of rapes, torture, and other war crimes. But being the center of American news wasn't enough for Kerry. He had to shock the public. By throwing medals and ribbons he thumbed his nose to the government he admirably defended. He also thumbed his nose to those people (including fellow veterans) who supported the government and felt Vietnam was a noble and necessary cause.
After Bill Clinton's two terms we know character is an important aspect for whoever wants the Presidency. Hyper-defensiveness on comments from 20 and 30 years ago is understandable. I might not be able to defend stuff I've written two years ago. The more important question surrounding Kerry and his Vietnam War protests is does he still support his statements and actions? If he could step into the way-back machine what would Kerry change? From what he told CNN, he wouldn't change a thing:
I'm not going to back down one inch on what I've fought for and what I've stood for all of these years.
Here we get to the crux. Kerry didn't support the war then, and doesn't regret anything he did to protest it. No regrets for calling soldiers war criminals. He doesn't regret calling the U.S. "paranoid" about "so-called communist monolith." If he wasn't serious about the threat of expansionistic communism then, how can we trust him to combat the relentless death cult of Islamism? After all, in January, Kerry said fighting terrorism was "primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation."
UPDATE: Steven Taylor [via OTB] writes of Kerry's muddling of the medals issue: "The issue is that a candidate who is already perceived by many as a waffler, now appear incapable of setting forth a simple, clear statement on an event that ought to be quite easy to describe." Steven then goes on to write, "In short: if Kerry can't get this right, is it any wonder we are all unclear on his Iraq policy?"
It's more than muddled thinking and bad communication. With Kerry it's just coming to poor conclusions. For example, Kerry wants a greater role for the U.N. in Iraq. That won't happen until the country is better stabilized. Plus, with the stench coming from that institution because of its awful handling of the Oil-for-Food progam no reasonable person would trust it to build a free Iraq.