Abstract Musings

Documenting the random thoughts of a cluttered mind

Quicklinks: National Review Online

Here are a few items from National Review Online, I had meant to post sooner:

In the heart of even the most ardent liberal lies a dormant but still alive desire for victory, and in every strutting hawk there lingers the fear of abject defeat. Had we secured Iraq by June 2003, the sputtering Kerry candidacy would by now have been faulting Bush for not going into Iran. But blink, falter, and witness beheadings and hostage-taking on television, and Kerry can reinvent himself as the apostle of peace all along – and a bizarre group of creepy people come out of the woodwork professing Biblical wisdom about George Bush’s purported catastrophes.

In short, the more sophisticated, the more technological, the more hyped and televised war becomes, the more pundits and strategists warn us about “fourth-generational,” “asymmetrical,” “irregular,” and “new dimensional” conflict, the more we simply forget the unchanging requisite of the will to win that trumps all other considerations. John Kerry has no more secret a plan than George Bush – because there is no secret way to pacify Iraq other than to kill the killers, humiliate their cause through defeat, and give the credit of the victory, along with material aid and the promise of autonomous freedom, to moderate Iraqis. Victory on the battlefield – not the mysterious diplomacy of “wise men,” or German and French sanction, or Arab League support – alone will allow Iraq an opportunity for humane government.

Meanwhile, we all vote. One candidate urges us to return to the mindset of pre-September 11 – law enforcement dealing with terrorists as nuisances. He claims the policies that have led to an absence of another attack at home, the end of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, idealistic efforts to extend freedom, and radical and positive changes in Pakistan, Libya, the West Bank, and the Gulf have made things worse. In contrast, the other reminds us that we are in a real war against horrific enemies and are no longer passive targets, but will fight the terrorists on their home turf, win, and leave behind humane government. No choice could be clearer. It is America’s call.

Whatever Bush’s faults, the one thing a majority of Americans are confident of is that he wants to win the war on terror in Iraq and around the world, no matter what. About John Kerry they just can’t be too sure. That’s why I think Bush will win, and why I think he should.

Jonah’s analysis is spot on. Kerry has gone to great lengths to obscure his stand on the war in Iraq and that war’s place in the greater conflict with global terrorism. In doing so, he has come out both for and against the war in Iraq in an obvious attempt to appeal to both his base, which doesn’t support the war in Iraq, and those voters for whom intervention in Iraq was a necessary part of the larger war on terrorism. For some, like Andrew Sullivan and Daniel Drezner, the duplicity of this stand has worked; never mind, that Kerry hasn’t shown a spine in his 30 years in the Senate. They believe we should trust that Kerry is only pandering to his base when he sounds off against the war. Only his Senate record leads me to the conclusion that he really is a dove at heart, and the hawkish noises he occasionally makes are the aberration. Those who support the war and are supporting John Kerry are doing so at the peril of this nation, because they believe that he has no choice but to see the war in Iraq through. But in a post September 11th world, what if he faces a tough choice, and what if he makes a poor one?

Yesterday, I referenced a Boston Globe editorial that criticized Kerry’s lack of political courage. What if Kerry’s tendency to make the politically expedient choice shows itself (as I believe it will) when he is confronted with a hard choice? Simply put, I think Kerry is not a man of principle (or at least a man with not enough principle). Kerry’s lack of principle sets him apart from George W. Bush, whose defining quality in this area is that the President is a man of his convictions, for right or wrong, and will act upon those convictions even when the option to do otherwise is popular or easy.

This election is going to be seen abroad as a referendum on the Bush administration’s approach to terrorism and sponsoring states. Has the President and his staff made mistakes? Absolutely. Should they be given a chance to see this thing through and have time to correct them? I can’t help but think of the old saying, “Dance with the one what brung ya.” All right, I’ve said my piece, so I’ll wrap-up by telling you that I’ve already made my choice: I voted for Bush in early voting the first chance I had. Tomorrow, we’ll see if America agrees with me.