We're All Pro-War Now
John Kerry’s debate performance seems to have revived his prospects and made the campaign for president a race once again.
How did he do it? What did he say on Thursday that was different from everything he had been saying to little effect up until then?
Kerry appeared to be taking a harder line than Bush. Kerry said he would win the war in Iraq, level Falluja, kill Osama bin Laden, negotiate unilaterally with North Korea, expand the military and strike preemptively whenever and wherever he chooses.
Now suddenly he’s more popular and I’m all for it.
I suspect that of the 35% or so or Americans who say they are concerned about the war, half of those are concerned that the war isn’t being prosecuted with enough vigor. There is no significant anti-war movement in the United States. We want to win,
Kerry’s caveats negate most of the aggressive stances he took on Thursday evening but just hearing him talk tough was enough for his image to improve.
The good thing about this is that now Kerry is applying pressure to Bush from the right where he is the most disappointing. Falluja should have been the Islamofascists' last stand and it should have been months ago. Similarly, Sadr’s Mahdi Army should have been defeated once, decisively, and driven out of Najaf months ago. Instead, they back came from dead and may do so again. Hopefully, Bush will take notice and unleash the Marines rather than hold them back.
Kerry thinks Osama bin Laden should be the focus of our military efforts. I disagree.
No one has seen bin Laden's face in three years. I doubt he has one anymore. In any case he’s inconsequential. Capturing or killing Osama won’t conclude this war any more than capturing Gavrilo Princip would have ended World War I. Osama was just the trigger man for a conflict that had been growing and festering since the late 1960s. You could even say that Bobby Kennedy, murdered by a Palestinian, was one of the first casualties of this war.
Kerry’s insistence that the war in Iraq is somehow unrelated to the 9/11 attacks is, of course, bizarre. It takes a conscious and determined effort to believe nothing would justify the shattering of the Saddam short of a copy of Mohammad Atta’s travel voucher signed by Saddam himself.
The question is not what justifies the overthrow of a brutal fascist dictatorship but rather what justifies the existence of failed states like Saddam’s Iraq, or Kim’s North Korea, or Assad's Syria? Are these states legitimate by some definition? Or do they exist because we allow them to exist?
I’d like to hear some candidate articulate that view. Unfortunately, I don’t think Kerry could even conceive of it.