Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The Wrong Vote on the Right War at the Right Time

Hugh Hewitt has asked for submissions on why one might vote for George W. Bush and not John Kerry. I thought about this all day today and I've settled on a titular reason to explain my decision regarding this election.

In 1991 Saddam Hussein tried to wipe the country of Kuwait off the map. Then President George H. W. Bush led the largest coalition ever assembled with the permission of the U.N. in an effort to forcibly remove Saddam's forces from Kuwait.

John Kerry voted against this effort to save a helpless country from a brutal aggressive dictator.

This effort clearly passed the "global test" and yet John Kerry failed to support this defining foreign policy decision.

I believe Kerry voted this way because the first Gulf War was the first "hot" war this country has faced since Viet Nam. Back then it was much more fashionable to be "anti-war". I remember the week the war started because it was my honeymoon. We were driving into San Francisco and couldn't cross the Golden Gate Bridge because an anti-war protest had closed down the bridge. This kind of sizable protest was common back then. This created tremendous political pressure on a Senator from Massachusetts to reflect this anti-war sentiment. So John Kerry voted, I believe, with his heart and with his constituency.

This was morally and politically wrong. Voting against the first Gulf War was a cruel neglect of Kuwait and the interest of most Persian Gulf countries. It also was in defiance of the International community and the will of the American People. John Kerry failed this test of moral and political credibility.

But it gets worse. John Kerry supported using force in the current Iraq war. How could he do this given his track record on the first Gulf War, a war that had much more moral and political clarity? I believe John Kerry did not have the political courage to oppose the current Iraq war. Why? Because of 9-11.

9-11 changed the attitude of the country toward war in general. Viet Nam soured the country on war in general. 9-11 reminded us that war is sometimes a necessary means to secure peace, protect the nation and bring justice to evil doers, particularly when they murder 3000 people on our own soil.

John Kerry could read the change in the mood of the country. So he abandoned his anti-war track record (and I believe, his heart) and supported the war (at least for a time).

I cannot trust a candidate for President who does not have the moral and political courage to remain consistent on the major moral and political questions of our time.

One thing we have learned in the last two decades is that it is impossible to predict the foreign policy issues a Commander In Chief will face. No one knew the Berlin Wall would fall as soon as it did. No one knew that Saddam Hussein would invade Kuwait. No one knew that Al-Qaeda would try to decapitate our economic, military and political institutions.

I don't believe anyone knows what John Kerry will do in the face of unknown crises this nation faces in the future. I don't believe he knows.

A while back my then 8 year old son found himself playing ultimate Frisbee with a group of patient college students. My son was allowed to play on my team so he could participate. A funny thing happened when the other team took the lead. My son took off his shirt and joined the 'skins' team because they were winning. Then when they fell behind he put his shirt back on and rejoined the 'shirts'. I was not thrilled with this 'fair weather' loyalty to the winning side. This kind of wavering loyalty in the face of adversity is a sure sign of immaturity.

This is excusable in an 8 year old, but not in a U.S. Senator,

or a potential President.

1 comment:

Reaganesque said...

You have a great blog. I found the link on Hugh Hewitt's site. I hope you come on by and take a look at mine :)

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