Monday, August 09, 2004

Repeat-Viet Nam is Kerry's Measuring Stick

What makes Kerry tick? I will be exploring that more in the next week, but I have already pointed out the obvious, Viet Nam, with all it's angst and controversy, continues to be Kerry's measuring stick, the thing that defines his policies today.

In brief, Kerry felt betrayed upon his tour of duty in Viet Nam. He can talk it up as doing his patriotic duty and that he would always do his patriotic duty, but the reality is, he was pre-disposed to believe it was a fallacy before he went, but he went out of what he calls his "sense of duty." When he arrived, he spent two years assigned to a non-combat billet in the Navy. He was not going to get out of the Navy faster if he did not have his combat time, so he pushed for re-assignment.

When he got that re-assignment, the reality of combat was not the glorious idealism of his youth, of the JFK (Kennedy) experience, but a rough and always harsh assignment where the enemy was hard to identify and even harder to fight. This increased his belief that the war was a lie. A betrayal of his idea of the US as a benevolent power. That this power was being abused. His sense of betrayal has motivated him from the first moment that he contemplated using the "3 and out rule" to leave the service, through his anti-war actions with the VVAW, testimony to the Senate on the same subject, etc. His political career has been fraught with movements and votes to counter act what he feels was the governments continued betrayal of the people, of it's power. This includes his 1985, freshman Senator actions in self determined negotiations with Ortega in Nicaragua, believing that the US was involving itself inappropriately and would result in "another Viet Nam" and he makes those statements himself.

It includes his subsequent investigations into the Iran/Contra affair, the CIA alledged drug smuggling, voting to strip the CIA budget (he feels they are the most reprehensible part of the US government and interferes, still, inappropriately in other governments activities), votes against Grenada, Gulf War I, military funding, Gulf War II. I can list them forever, and will attempt to do a more reasoning explanation in the future. However, it is the point that Viet Nam has shaped him and continues to shape his policies based on his belief that the US over steps it's bounds continuously and he will seek to reel it in.

He has, so far, offered two policies that are blatant restructuring of his Viet Nam reaction. The first, I have spoken of twice, and that is his belief that we would be better served by taking Iran's current government at face value, providing it with nuclear materials with a guarantee of inspections and removal of waste, when it is already known that Iran is looking to create "duel use" uranium and push their nuclear abilities forward. This is similar to his proposals to Viet Nam and, later, Nicaragua in which he believes those governments to be acting above board and attempts to push through agreements that would more than give the house away.

Today, he is now discussing his true plans for Iraq. Regardless of his supposed support for Iraq, his plan largely resembles his belief, that like Viet Nam, this is a losing situation and it is better to pull the troops back now and not sacrifice another life, than to hold on and attempt to stabilize the situation at what would surely be a continued cost in US soldiers lives and money. His plan is basically an immediate withdrawal of troops, within 6 months of his possible tenure in office. The same thing he demanded on the steps of the capitol. The same thing he demanded in his book, The New Soldier, in which he believes it is a crime to have soldiers continue to die for a cause that cannot be supported, making their deaths in vain.

And his recommended policy will continue that belief:

Speaking to reporters from the Powell's Landing on the rim of the Grand Canyon above a mile-deep drop, Kerry also said reducing U troops in Iraq significantly by next August was "an appropriate goal."

"My goal, my diplomacy, my statesmanship is to get our troops reduced in number and I believe if you do the statesmanship properly, I believe if you do the kind of alliance building that is available to us, that it's appropriate to have a goal of reducing the troops over that period of time," he said.

On that timetable, Kerry's aim would be to pull out a large number of the 138,000 U troops in Iraq in the first six months of his administration.

"Obviously, we'd have to see how events unfold," he added. "I intend to get more people involved in that effort and I'm convinced I can be more successful than President Bush in succeeding in doing that. It is an appropriate goal to have and I'm going to try to achieve it."

He may speak all he wants of internationalizing the forces there to a greater extent and allowing the draw down of US forces. The truth is, those that were going to help are already there. The others are already stating that such an increase or involvement of troops in not only highly unlikely, but a very foolish idea to base his policies on.

His total belief, why he embraces people like Michael Moore and other anti-war groups, is that, like his belief about Viet Nam, the government lied and that there is nothing in Iraq that is worth spending American lives:

Kerry challenged Bush to answer some questions of his own -- why he rushed to war without a plan for the peace, why he used faulty intelligence, why he misled Americans about how he would go to war and why he had not brought other countries to the table.

There are four not hypothetical questions like the president's, real questions that matter to Americans and I hope you'll get the answers to those questions, because the American people deserve them," he told reporters.

It's the same belief he had in 1971 and it's his belief today that there is something wrong with the government. That it continues to betray the public. The reality is, he so wants to white wash the American power structure, he will leave it gutted and barely capable of reacting.

He is planning to abandon Iraq, just as he abandoned Viet Nam so long ago. And he will do it, regardless of the outcome for the Iraqi people, because he feels the initial action was predicated on a lie and, therefore, no good can come of it. Better to cut it off now then try to turn it into a positive action for the US. That was Viet Nam. This is Iraq. To him, they are the same.

Kerry would have approved force in Iraq, but would have done it "right"

I think it's obvious that Mr. Kerry is truly a Wilsonian Isolationist hidden in a hawks clothes.


Pat in NC said...

Again, a good series of posts. If you have not as yet, read this article.
Sorry, I have yet to master posting links.

ALa said...

Kat -thank you SO much for your help with Rab the other day. I was away and upset about how obnoxious that he was. JustRose called me and told me that you had given him hell and I was able to put it aside and enjoy some time with the family! Thanks!