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Kerry's War


Bush's War has been discredited — by the lies, the missing WMDs, the prisoner torture, and all the rest. At CounterPunch, David Vest writes:

It is harder and harder for Bush to find a safe audience, no matter how tight the screening. How will he campaign if he dare not appear in public? Will he speak exclusively at fund-raisers or before military audiences ordered to applaud him? The networks didn't bother to carry his most recent speech on Iraq. This fact, plus recent polls and Senator John Kerry's pronouncements on national security (he will bring the troops home "with honor"), all suggest that the shift is already happening. Iraq is fast becoming Kerry's War. ("Welcome to the Hundred Year Quagmire / Get Ready for Kerry's War," May 29-31, 2004)

A large part of the Democratic Party is antiwar, but Kerry was for the war and is for the occupation. Vest writes: "Kerry has already made it clear that he intends to 'stay the course.' He will do the same thing, but better, he vows."

The Washington Post's Harold Meyerson observes that, at present, Kerry differs with Bush on "just about everything, in fact, except the future of the Iraqi occupation." Meyerson continues: "The line between Kerry's [war] policy and Bush's is a lot less clear than millions of Democrats would like it to be." But antiwar Democrats still support Kerry. It appears that "most Democratic doves seem satisfied that Kerry would not have gotten us into this war, and are willing to play down criticism of his plan (what is it again?) to get us out." ("The Sound of Democrats Not Fighting," June 2, 2004)

Vest believes that Kerry will be faced with stiff protests when he begins to direct the war. He writes that

it is not far-fetched to imagine that masses of people who were reluctant to take to the streets in protest of Bush's War will have no such hesitation with Kerry sitting in the White House. Those who "settled" for Kerry and voted for him, not because they believed in him, but because they thought he could beat Bush, will want to bring forth the issues they suppressed during the campaign. Their ranks will be swelled substantially by Republicans who don't want to appear disloyal to a Republican president. They are telling each other privately today that Bush's War is a disaster. They will go public against Kerry in a way that will make Clinton look like a GOP icon by comparison.


My own thinking on this is quite different. I believe that Kerry could give new life to the war, at least for the short term. Bush has been discredited except among the diehards and the non-thinking "patriotic" bloc. More-intellectual, more-respectable folk who take their cues from the Washington Post, New York Times, and the major TV networks could return to supporting a liberal war. Being considered a more humane administration, Kerry and his national-security team might even have enough leeway to engage in tougher policies than Bush, once Kerry's "more humane" approach was rejected by Iraqi "terrorists" (resistance fighters). More of the liberal foreign policy elites might justify such a harder line if pursued by Kerry.

The end result, of course, would be not a democratic Iraq but rather a more inflamed, more anti-American Middle East. It would be nice to believe that the American populace would ultimately turn so strongly against the war as to force a withdrawal, but I believe that a Kerry victory in the election would delay any such development.

That, of course, must not be taken as an endorsement of Bush's re-election.

June 8, 2004

© 2004 by WTM Enterprises. All rights reserved.

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