Friday, August 20, 2004

I realize Kerry has his magic wand and he says he will make France and Germany fall in line, but, all joking aside, why can’t he take our national security seriously? I’m thinking of his reaction to Bush’s realignment plan. Consider what Kerry said in January of this year about the need for re-posturing. He was for it then, but when Bush proposes re-posturing, Kerry is suddenly against it, as he expressed before a group of veterens:

“Finally, I want to say something about the plan that the President announced on Monday to withdraw 70,000 troops from Asia and Europe. Nobody wants to bring troops home more than those of us who have fought in foreign wars. But it needs to be done at the right time and in a sensible way. This is not that time or that way.

“Let’s be clear: the President’s vaguely stated plan does not strengthen our hand in the war against terror. And in no way relieves the strain on our overextended military personnel. And this hastily announced plan raises more doubts about our intentions and our commitments than it provides real answers.

“For example, why are we unilaterally withdrawing 12,000 troops from the Korean Peninsula at the very time we are negotiating with North Korea – a country that really has nuclear weapons? As Senator John McCain said, “I’m particularly concerned about moving troops out of South Korea when North Korea has probably never been more dangerous than any time since the end of the Korean War.” This is clearly the wrong signal to send at the wrong time.

“With al Qaeda operating in 60 countries, we need closer alliances in every part of the world to fight and win the war on terrorism. So, as president, I will be a commander in chief who renews our alliances based on shared interests and a common vision for a safer world. For more than 50 years, our allies have joined with us to say: the future doesn’t belong to fear; it belongs to freedom.”

Where to begin? How is it that the time was right in January for rearranging, but not now? Condi Rice makes a stronger case when she suggests that it makes no sense to maintain a Cold War posture while fighting a war on terror.

Also, an announcement following a three-year study on troop placement is about as “hasty” as a two year march to war is a "rush." The main reason for the plan is to enhance our ability to maintain our commitments, not compromise it.

Kerry takes particular issue with withdrawing troops from S. Korea:

“For example, why are we unilaterally withdrawing 12,000 troops from the Korean Peninsula at the very time we are negotiating with North Korea – a country that really has nuclear weapons?”

How is Kerry so sure that N. Korea has nuclear weapons? Has he forgotten his own criticisms about Iraq and our intelligence deficiencies? N. Korea says they have a bomb, but does that make it so? Kerry rakes our intelligence over the coals in Iraq, but then absolutely assumes that nukes in N. Korea are a fact. I’m all for assuming that they have bombs, but I’m hesitant about stating it as fact given what we know about Iraq. (And I’m someone who doesn’t think American intelligence has be an absolute failure) Kerry is making the same mistake that he so harshly charges Bush as making. He is reckless on both claims. If he’s elected president using his current rhetoric about the certainty of nukes in N. Korea, and it turns out that N. Korea did not yet have a device, then will he have misled us?

Second, how are 12,000 troops going to defend against a nuclear attack? I think Rumsfeld made a good case about reducing our manpower while increasing the lethality of our forces there. Capability will be what the N. Koreans pay attention to, not just the number of bodies. Rumsfeld’s logic is that a streamlined force positioned away from the DMZ line and armed with precision weaponry increases our agility and ability to respond. But Kerry is content to leave 12,000 unnecessary troops that will be of minimal usefulness according to Rumsfeld and Meyers. And, in case of a nuclear attack, this excess could potentially become 12,000 extra casualties. This must be what Kerry means when he says, “As president, I will always remember that America’s security begins and ends with the soldier, sailor, airman, Marine and Coastguardsman.”

Kerry says that he will get large numbers of troops from countries that have hitherto been against the liberation of Iraq & that he will significantly reduce US troops from Iraq & that this will reaffirm our commitment to fighting the war on terror. However, re-posturing our Cold War footing is going to bring doubts to our commitment? If I was a terrorist, I’d be licking my chops over a Kerry victory.

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