Kerry prevokes criticism

Lileks:

...

...Later tuned in to some highlights from the Kerry speech. He said he would respond if America was attacked. Well, duh. I take something else from this distinction: he will not attack if America is provoked.

"I defended this country as a young man, and I will defend it as President."

This really intrigues me. I agree that Vietnam was a defense of the United States, inasmuch as we were trying to blunt the advance of Communism. So: only Nixon can go to China. (Only Kirk can go to Chronos, for you Star Trek geeks.) Only Kerry can confirm that Vietnam was a just war. This completely upends conventional wisdom about the Vietnamese war, and requires a certain amount of historical amnesia. Why does this get glossed over? The illegitimacy of the Vietnam war (non-UN approved, after all) is a key doctrine of the Church of the Boomers; to say that service in Vietnam was done in defense of the United States is like announcing that Judas Ischariot was the most faithful of the disciples. Imagine if you were a preacher who attempted such a revision. Imagine your private thrill when everyone in the congregation nodded assent. The past was more malleable than you had ever expected.

"The future doesn't belong to fear; it belongs to freedom."

A passive platitude. Try this: “The future cannot belong to fear. It must belong to freedom.” Because that tells me you intend to shape history, not sit back on the couch and see how it all turns out. In any case, the two are not necessarily symmetrical; it is possible to be fearful and free, for a while. Ask the Brits in WW2. And just saying that the future belongs to freedom does not make it so, I fear. I think this is an appeal to those who believe that the administration has created a climate of fear so they can take away our freedoms. You know, the neocons who danced a jig of joy on 9/11 because they saw an excellent opportunity to subpoena library records.

And so on. All the stuff about restoring trust and credibility is nice, but note how no one is questioning the trust and credibility of the Brits, the French, the Russians and the UN, all of whom shared the same opinions about Iraqi capability. What it says to me is this: if John Kerry had been president after 9/11, he would have looked at all the intel about Iraq, studied its history, examined its strategic value, shaped up the nature of its leadership, and declined to depose Saddam.

Fine; I understand that position. I understand that he defended America by serving in Vietnam.

One question: did Vietnam attack America?

Ah! The Gulf of Tonkin incident and subsequent resolution made it seem as if they had. So he fell for that, as everyone did. He voted to wage war against Iraq because he fell for that, as everyone did. He's learned. Next time he needs hard proof, like a smoking crater in New York.

Make that another smoking crater in New York.

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