August 02, 2004

Trust Me

According to the Washington Post, John Kerry has a secret plan for withdrawal from Iraq (and thus for likely US catastrophe, but the article doesn't mention that). A secret plan? Let's not even start with the comparisons with Nixon, whose secret plan for US withdrawal from Viet Nam was to sell out our allies and snatch political defeat from the jaws of military victory. Let's look instead at what is known, or at least what is conveyed in the article, about Kerry's plan:

John F. Kerry pledged Sunday he would substantially reduce U.S. troop strength in Iraq by the end of his first term in office but declined to offer any details of what he said is his plan to attract significantly more allied military and financial support there.

In interviews on television talk shows, the Democratic presidential nominee said that he saw no reason to send more troops to Iraq and that he would seek allied support to draw down U.S. forces there.


"I've been involved in this for a long time, longer than George Bush," he said. "I've spent 20 years negotiating, working, fighting for different kinds of treaties and different relationships around the world. I know that as president there's huge leverage that will be available to me, enormous cards to play, and I'm not going to play them in public. I'm not going to play them before I'm president."


Kerry previously has discussed his desire to reduce U.S. forces in Iraq but declined to attach any timetable to that goal. He spoke more extensively about Iraq after his acceptance speech, suggesting he has an exit strategy.


The Massachusetts senator said the administration had failed diplomatically, and he asserted that a change in presidents would produce more international support for the United States in Iraq.

"I think that a fresh start changes the equation . . . for leaders in other countries who have great difficulty right now associating themselves with our policy and with the United States because of the way this administration has burned those bridges," Kerry said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

Kerry defended his and Edwards's votes against an $87 billion authorization for military and reconstruction costs in Iraq and Afghanistan, which the Bush campaign has used repeatedly to question Kerry's commitment to U.S. forces. Kerry said he learned in Vietnam that presidents should not get a blank check for policies that do not work.

"We voted to change the policy," he said on CNN's "Late Edition." "We voted in order to get it right."

Kerry supported an amendment that would have paid for the $87 billion by reducing some of Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. The amendment did not require significant policy changes.


On domestic issues, Kerry gave a "rock hard" pledge not to raise middle-class taxes if he becomes president, though he said a national emergency or war could change that.

Reminded that the country is at war already, Kerry said, "We're going to reduce the burden in this war, and if we do what we need to do for our economy, we're going to grow the tax base of our country."

In principle, it's reasonable that a presidential candidate would not want to spell out many details in public, particularly when this involves possibly sensitive negotiations with other nations. It's also necessary, though, that the candidate convince the electorate that his policies are sound. In order to do so, the candidate must answer all of the following questions:
  • How does my policy differ from that of my predecessor?
  • What are the problems with my predecessor's policy?
  • What parts of my predecessor's policy are improved on in my policy?
  • How does my policy ensure that it does not result in worse outcomes than my predecessor's policy in other areas?

How does Kerry answer these questions? Not well, if at all. And when his answer is clear, it is frightening.

What the above makes clear is that John Kerry has no intent of winning the peace in Iraq. His goal is to withdraw our forces without regard to the end state in Iraq (that is what "exit strategy" means as distinct from "strategy to win the war"), to use disagreement with France and others as the rationale for this policy ("seek allied support to draw down U.S. forces" can have no other meaning, since we need no support to pull out or add our own forces and since France, et al, have no forces to add and no will to add them; only diplomatic cover about what good puppies we are can be forthcoming), and to blame President Bush for the inevitable defeat Kerry would have created ("Kerry accused President Bush of misleading the country before the war in Iraq, burning bridges with U.S. allies and having no plan to win peace.").

Kerry plans to lose, and the only reason he is saying it obliquely instead of outright is that he knows saying it outright would win him no votes and would lose him many. This is in easy accord to his past as a Viet Nam war protestor and with his past votes on military and intelligence matters, so it's not terribly surprising.

It would be terrible, though, if carried out, because we would have lost any chance of victory in the Terror Wars for a long time to come: our allies would not trust us any further, so forget about all of the countries currently contributing troops; opposing neutrals (like France, Germany and Russia) would give us nothing but scorn and contempt; our enemies would be proven right, and new terrorists would flock to the cause; our potential allies in any future intervention in the Arab/Muslim world would melt away, knowing they would be betrayed in the end.

That is why Kerry's answers to the four questions above amount to, "Trust me." Because if Kerry said what he plans in plain language, he would be finished politically.

This November, vote as if your life depends on it.

Posted by Jeff at August 2, 2004 05:39 PM | Link Cosmos

And, of course, now he has a great economic plan that he can't reveal. You gotta love this campaign strategy. The audacity of 'having' plans but not revealing them to the public. He is trying to get elected, isn't he? Are his plans so bad , so impalatable, that going this route is the better option? Things are looking grimmer and grimmer for Kerry.

Some bumper sticker suggestions for Kerry:

I know, but I'm not telling.

If you want to know where I stand, elect me and I'll tell you.

and my favorite:

Elect me, I have a cunning plan.

Posted by: Brian on August 4, 2004 06:36 PM
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