Going to Turtle Bay

Charles Krauthammer:

"In 1952, a presidential candidate running against an administration that had gotten the United States into a debilitating and inconclusive war abroad pledged: 'I will go to Korea.' He won. A half century later, a presidential candidate running against an administration that has gotten the United States into a debilitating and (thus far) inconclusive war abroad, pledges: 'I will go to the U.N.'

"Electrifying, is it not? And Democrats are wondering why their man is trailing a rather wounded George Bush not just overall, but on Iraq -- and precisely at a time when Iraq is going so badly.


"This is an Iraq policy? Never has a more serious question received a more feckless answer. Going back to the U.N.: What does that mean? It cannot mean the General Assembly, which decides nothing. It must mean going back to the Security Council, of which there are five permanent members.

"There are five permanent members. We are one. The British are already with us. So that leaves China, indifferent at best to our Middle East adventure, though generally hostile, and Russia, which has opposed the war from the very beginning. Moscow was so wedded to Saddam that it was doing everything it could to prevent an impartial Paul Volcker commission from investigating the corrupt oil-for-food program that enriched Saddam and, through kickbacks, hundreds of others in dozens of countries, including Russia.

"That leaves ... France. What does Kerry think France will do for us? Perhaps he sees himself and Teresa descending on Paris like Jack and Jackie in Camelot days. Does he really believe that if he grovels before Jacques Chirac in well-accented French, he will persuade France to join us in a war that it has opposed from the beginning, that is now going badly, and that has moved Iraq out of the French sphere of influence and into the American?

"The idea is so absurd that when Tim Russert interviewed Kerry and quoted Democratic foreign policy adviser Ivo Daalder as saying that handing political and military responsibility to the U.N. and other countries is not realistic, Kerry simply dodged the question. There was nothing to say.


"Kerry's political problem is that he supports Bush's Iraq objective and differs only on the means. Unfortunately for Kerry, 'I will go to Turtle Bay' is not the stuff of legend. Unless he comes up with something better, Kerry may lose the war issue that was his for the taking."


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