Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Right Message - Wrong Messenger!

A broken clock is right twice a day; John Kerry was right twice in 2004.

In the recent bust of the London plot against civil aviation, Bush-Cheney have an opportunity to rediscover and co-opt the position which John Kerry inadvertently stumbled upon in 2004, and to claim it was theirs all along.

What did Kerry say?

In a candidates' debate in South Carolina (Jan. 29, 2004), Kerry said that although the war on terror will be
occasionally military. . . primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation that requires cooperation around the world.
In an interview with Matt Bai published in October, responding to a question about what it would take for Americans to feel safe again, Kerry said
We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance. As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.

Thus, Kerry displayed a much less apocalyptic world view than Bush-Cheney.

One of the reasons why this interview is important intellectual turf is that it is the source of Senator Kerry’s stated use of the word nuisance in discussing world terrorism. This statement spawned a whole genre of Republican attacks alleging an emasculated or minimalist approach to the GWOT on Kerry’s part. This was dismissed by the Bush league as "the swatting of flies".

It has been persuasively argued that Bush-Cheney avoided swatting one of the mothers of-all-flies, Abu Musab Zarqawi, three times because they didn't want to upset the marketing of the un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI).

In pursuing the
UULUIUOI, Bush and Cheney usurped the established and successful American policy of deterring Saddam Hussein and instituted the most catastrophic blunder in American foreign and military history.

Any objective assessment of the terrorist threat, after completion of the destruction of the Taliban and th capture of Osama bin Laden "dead or alive", would have indicated it would be best addressed by intelligent international police work.

I am basically saying that progressives have, in this Kerry formulation, a defensible alternative approach to combating terrorism, qualitatively different from the Bush-Cheney model. All they had to do was to articulate it and repeat it, and attack Bush-Cheney's model of endless, seamless militarism. It was one of Kerry's and Liberalism's flaws that he failed to do this.

We need Progressive candidates who will hammer this point home.

11 Moderated Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/15/2006 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger M.D. said...

No more has-beens. Fresh faces, please!

8/15/2006 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

The funny thing for me is that while Bush and Cheney were able to shape the overall campaign to their ends. Kerry ran circles around a dumbfounded and confused Bush in all three of their debates.

8/15/2006 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger Messenger said...

Beach Bum, in some (many?) demographics across the U.S.A., winning a debate disqualifies one for (high) public office.

8/18/2006 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger M.D. said...

Pramatic people in government. That would be refreshing.

I hope people get sick of the ideologues and their ratcheted-up rhetoric soon.

The "War on Terror" makes no sense anymore.

8/18/2006 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

Yeah, Messenger it would seem so.

8/18/2006 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger LTE said...

So the Democrats are going on offense in the war on terror. It's about time. Consider this:

Are we safer from a preemptive war based on false premises still putting American troops in harm's way?

Are we safer as an occupying power in the Middle East, trapped in an Iraq on the verge of civil war?

Are we safer by sitting out the Israeli-Arab conflict until it reached a crisis threatening world peace?

Are we safer spending more than $250 billion to date to "rebuild" Iraq, unsuccessfully, while our ports are porous and our airlines at risk?

Are we safer with [Osama] Bin Laden still on the loose five years after 9/11?

The questions answer themselves.


Al Meyerhoff (Studio City)

8/18/2006 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger LTE said...

Terrorists are civilization's cancer. President Bush's Iraq fiasco has metastasized this cancer.

C. Martin Vincent (Rancho Palos Verdes)

8/18/2006 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Malfrat said...

NoTreason has a diary,

Defense Wins Chamionships which, using a sports analogy, supports the Kerry strategy.

8/19/2006 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

As I have posted elsewhere, the militarization of the GWOT has multiplied the hazards of international politics.

I would argue what was once merely an nihilistic rebellion by interests vested in antiquity against in inexorable march of technology and modernity was instantly supplanted by the clash of civilizations.

9/01/2006 09:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Karl F. Schmid said...

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is correct — we should not appease terrorists. Unfortunately, he is fighting the wrong war. What we are doing in Iraq does nothing to stem terrorism — never has and never will. But it is surely killing a lot of people, destroying an entire nation's infrastructure and actually giving our enemies more reasons to attack us.

The British and Germans have done more in the fight against terrorism than we have in Iraq when they recently broke up terrorist cells in their countries. In the end that is how we too will have to do it: one cell at a time.

9/06/2006 09:27:00 PM  

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