Tuesday, December 06, 2005

When Senator Kerry Is On, They Should Call It "Disgrace the Nation"

Captain Ed pointed out yesterday, these remarks by Senator John Kerry on CBS’ Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer:

SCHIEFFER: All right. Let me shift to another point of view, and it comes from another Democrat, Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. He takes a very different view. He says basically we should stay the course because, he says, real progress is being made. He said this is a war between 27 million Iraqis who want freedom and 10,000 terrorists. He says we're in a watershed transformation. What about that?
Sen. KERRY: Let me--I--first of all, there is so much more that unites Democrats than divides us. And Democrats have much more in common with each other than they do with George Bush's policy right now. Now Joe Lieberman, I believe, also voted for the resolution which said the president needs to make more clear what he's doing and set out benchmarks, and that the policy hasn't been working. We all believe him when you say, `Stay the course.' That's the president's policy, which hasn't been changing, which is a policy of failure. I don't agree with that. But I think what we need to do is recognize what we all agree on, which is you've got to begin to set benchmarks for accomplishment. You've got to begin to transfer authority to the Iraqis. And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the--of--the historical customs, religious customs. Whether you like it or not...
Sen. KERRY: ...Iraqis should be doing that. And after all of these two and a half years, with all of the talk of 210,000 people trained, there just is no excuse for not transferring more of that authority.

Captain Ed noted in particular (emphasis his), the portion in which Kerry referred to our troops as “terrorizing kids and children, you know women” in his assessment that Senator Kerry thinks of our troops are terrorists in Iraq.

I second Captain Ed in his emphasis. I can’t begin to match his analysis, but in reviewing the transcript I found some additional remarks by Senator Kerry that I found disturbing.

Here’s the first question and answer:

SCHIEFFER: ...the election. Senator, I want to go directly to what I think is the core question here. When the secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, was here three weeks ago, I asked him would the security of the American people, not the Iraqi people, but would the security of the American people be endangered if we brought home our American troops over the next six months? His answer was, `Absolutely,' and one of the
things he said was, `Turning Iraq over to the terrorists who behead people would make for a more dangerous world.'

How do you answer the question?

Sen. KERRY: Well, to begin with, I'm amazed Secretary Rumsfeld is still there. I believe Secretary Rumsfeld has misconducted this war in the most extraordinary way from the first decisions about when and how to go in through the last two-and-a-half years. And if there was ever a lack of accountability, it is the lack of accountability on the secretary. In fact, just this last week, General Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had to publicly correct the secretary of Defense about torture. The secretary of Defense said, `You don't report--our troops have no obligation to do anything except report torture.' And General Pace publicly countermanded him and said, `No, Mr. Secretary, they have an obligation to stop it.' I think we need a secretary of Defense who thinks like John McCain, not like Dick Cheney...

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well...

Sen. KERRY: ...and that's the starting point.

This section piqued my interest, but not for the obvious reason that Kerry didn’t answer the question. If you’ll note, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is quoted as saying “Turning Iraq over to the terrorists who behead people would make for a more dangerous world.”

Senator Kerry’s initial reaction to beheading is to make a reference to torture by our military as if the two topics are somehow comparable.

Schieffer again asks the question:

SCHIEFFER: Do you think the American people's security would be endangered if we withdrew our forces over the next six months?

Sen. KERRY: I believe that you have to begin with the fundamental truth of the ground in Iraq. That fundamental truth has been set forth by none other than General Casey, the commander of our forces. He has said that the large presence of American forces in Iraq feeds the notion of occupation and it delays--this is critical--delays the willingness and ability of the Iraqis to stand up for themselves. Now that truth from our commanding general, you take it on its face. Then you have to operate on that which means you begin to reduce the number of troops.

No one that I know of even on a six-month basis believes that that's going to leave us in a more exposed basis. Why? Let me tell you. We're not fighting World War II, Bob. The dangers in Iraq on a day-to-day basis to our troops are what basically, fundamentally, IEDs, improvised explosive devices, and suicide bombers. You don't need troops trained on the level of World War II or NATO troops and others in order to be able to do what we need to do, provide security in Iraq. And our troops could redeploy, pull back into a more garrisoned rear position. They don't need to leave totally so that you have no ability to intervene in the event that Iran played their games or Syria or others. We can provide for the security of our country but it begins with the understanding that success in Iraq is predicated on an exit strategy.

Senator Kerry is simply misleading here by implying things that were not stated by General Casey.

For the sake of argument, I’ll concede the point that the presence of our troops possibly “feeds the notion of occupation” if Kerry will concede that the absence of them does not eliminate the terrorist threat. I seriously doubt that is a concession Senator Kerry would be willing to make.

First of all, I’m not sure whether General Casey’s statement was taken in context or not. I’m basing my analysis on Senator Kerry’s statement, having been unable to find the full content and of General Casey’s remarks.

I don’t believe General Casey is making the argument that the Iraqi security forces are ready to handle their own security, and I firmly believe that General Casey considers that readiness to be the primary yardstick on which to base any withdrawal.

He is right about one thing, however: We aren’t fighting World War II. This is World War III. You simply can’t lessen the importance of the War on Terror just because the tactics are different.

Another interesting exchange:

SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you this, because that is the basis of your plan, and the headline of your plan was draw down 20,000 troops over the holidays.

Sen. KERRY: Well, I also want to draw down more...

SCHIEFFER: But let me just show you what the secretary of Defense said...

Sen. KERRY: Sure.

SCHIEFFER: ...when he was here three weeks ago.

Sen. KERRY: Absolutely.

(Excerpt from November 20, 2005)

Secretary DONALD RUMSFELD (Department of Defense): We're now at 159,000. We're going to stay that size roughly through the December 15th election. We're clearly going to go back down to 138,000 after the election. And, as the president has said, as the Iraq--as we keep passing off responsibility to the Iraqi security forces, we have the prospect of bringing down the numbers of coalition forces.

SCHIEFFER: So you are...

(End of excerpt)

SCHIEFFER: So there you have it. He's saying exactly what--you're criticizing the president and saying...

Sen. KERRY: That was indirectly--that was...

SCHIEFFER: ...`Here's what he ought to do'; well, they're saying they're going to do that.

Sen. KERRY: That had never been said until it was said that Sunday, which followed almost directly on the speech I gave at Georgetown University, where I called on the drawdown and told them precisely why they could do that.


Sen. KERRY: That was the first time publicly they acknowledged what I had said. Now I believe the president needs to reiterate it, but it's not all he needs to say. He needs to make clear what this administration has never made clear: We will have no permanent basing and no permanent interest in Iraq. And part of the problem that feeds the insurgency today is that we are, like it or not, the inheritors of the legacy of both the British and the French. It is not a pretty legacy in that part of the world. And so the president needs to make it clear: 20,000 troops are coming out. We intend to shift additional responsibilities with a series of benchmarks- political, economic benchmarks, military benchmarks. And as those benchmarks are met, then we withdraw. And that negates what the secretary and the president have said. It does not make Americans more threatened.

It, in fact, improves the situation for Americans, because it will empower us to do more with respect to Syria, Iran, the region, the peace process, as well as free us up to do what we always should have been doing, which is getting Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.

(Emphasis mine)
Senator Kerry actually thinks the post-election troop drawdown is his idea! It seems ironic to me that Senator Kerry will go to such great lengths to point out how poorly the administration has planned and managed the war, yet he will take every available opportunity to take credit for parts of that same war plan.

As much as I hate to trample on Senator Kerry’s fragile ego, this was not his idea. Note the following from GlobalSecurity:

More than 1,500 paratroopers from the 2nd BDE, 82nd Airborne Division began arriving in Iraq on December 4, 2004 in order to help provide security for the upcoming elections. This is a separate deployment from the scheduled OIF rotations.

The 2nd Brigade's 3rd Battalion, 325th AIR has been attached to the 1st Cavalry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team. The Second Battalion has been attached to the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

The Washington Post reported on February 4, 2005, that Pentagon authorities, in response to the success of the Iraqi elections, have decided to start reducing the level of U.S. forces in Iraq next month by about 15,000 troops. The reduction reportedly involves units whose tours were extended in light of the elections and the 1,500 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne who were rushed to Iraq for election security.

In February the Army's 18th Airborne Corps took over as the Mulitnational Corps Iraq headquarters. The Multinational Corps commands all coalition forces in country with the exception of special operations forces, the Multinational Transition Security Command Iraq and coalition forces involved in detention operations.

As a result of the January 2005 Iraqi elections, the deployment of a number of units taking part in OIF 2 was extended in a manner similar to units which took part in OIF 1; this time in order to boost the number of troops in Iraq in time for the elections. The extension combined with regularly scheduled deployments and reinforcements boosted the US force in Iraq from 17 to 20 brigades and to an official and approximate figure of 153, 000 troops. That number is expected to dwindle down to 135,000, as units get rotated out of Iraq, including units whose tour had been extended.

As far as the President not making his intentions clear as to our long term intentions in Iraq, perhaps this will refresh his memory:

The United States has no intention of determining the precise form of Iraq's new government. That choice belongs to the Iraqi people. Yet, we will ensure that one brutal dictator is not replaced by another. All Iraqis must have a voice in the new government, and all citizens must have their rights protected. (Applause.)
Rebuilding Iraq will require a sustained commitment from many nations, including our own: we will remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and not a day more. America has made and kept this kind of commitment before -- in the peace that followed a world war. After defeating enemies, we did not leave behind occupying armies, we left constitutions and parliaments. We established an atmosphere of safety, in which responsible, reform-minded local leaders could build lasting institutions of freedom. In societies that once bred fascism and militarism, liberty found a permanent home.

These are but a few examples, but I think it demonstrates how completely out of touch Senator Kerry is with reality. He seems to have no qualms whatsoever about selling his country down the river so long as the end result fits his political interests.

I can’t end without pointing out what I think is the most telling quote by Senator Kerry of them all:

“What I'm proposing is a strategy for success, and I think it begins with withdrawal. The
president will not accept that reality.”

The reason the president won’t accept that reality, Senator Kerry, is because it is simply not realistic.

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