Another Miscellany

Peter Robinson, at National Review Online, on John Kerry:

Woe be unto us if we elect a president for whom the central intellectual and emotional fact is a war that we lost three decades ago.


A Newsweek poll says Kerry will kick Bush’s ass if Kerry wins the Dem nomination. Wishful thinking? Or is government provided health care, a whopping tax increase, a French veto over U.S. security measures, just what the doctor ordered? No, really, I’m not asking this as a partisan. You really think we’ll be safer and more prosperous by putting the government in charge of your health care, sending more foreign aid to the Islamists, withdrawing troops from the middle east, and consulting the French on when and how we can defend ourselves and check people at the airport?
So some middle eastern looking chap was recce-ing a chemical plant with a camera, an shot a guard. Big deal. I’m sure it has nothing to do with terrorism. Islam means peace, after all. Better call Jacques Chirac, and find out whether we can hire an extra guard for that plant.
Once again, and as always, the Islam Question remains: Do we have a duty to extend democratic rights and to remain tolerant of people whose stated intention upon gaining a ruling majority is to slaughter us stupid, tolerant fans of democracy?
Andrew Olmstead argues that when it comes to the Bush-AWOL allegations, less is more. In other words, the less you know, the more plausible it seems. Reserve officer Olmstead examines the facts, and says it’s more likely Bush was dropped from the roles; either way, there’s a lot of paperwork that’s missing. Regardless, not showing up for drill isn’t desertion, and it isn’t AWOL; it’s just grounds for being dropped from the roles of the reserves. Not a good thing, but not exactly the high-treason-deserting-your-unit-under-fire incident that Michael “have you seen my feet lately?” Moore said, and Wes “Almost Started WW III” Clark apparently agreed with.

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7 comments

  1. Alan K. Henderson

    Robinson is wrong about one thing. We didn’t lose the war. We left during the middle of a war under the assumption that a brokered peace settlement was genuine. There’s a difference between loss and betrayal.

  2. Al Maviva

    I believe in the narrow, technical sense of “winning” or “losing” that we lost, and the Vietnamese Communists won.
    Whether it was caused by breaking our will to fight, breaking the will of our leaders to fight, or simply outlasting the U.S. until our attention wandered elsewhere, the communists managed to achieve their strategic objective of a unified, communist VietNam.
    True, we didn’t lose even a single battle, but as all great military thinkers from Sun Tzu to Clausewitz to Liddel-Hart to Patton to R. Lee Ermey could tell you, war is a contest of wills – and our leaders, along with a vocal and substantial minority (remember – no presidents during this period were anti-war) lost the will to keep fighting.

  3. Major Sean Bannion

    Colonel Harry Summers from his book, “On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War”, recounting an incident from the Paris peace talks where he was an aide.
    Summers: “You know, you never beat us on the battlefield.”
    Colonel Tu (North Vietnamese Army): “That may be so, but it is also irrelevant.”

  4. Dave J

    It’s rogue poll; you don’t see anything remotely like that in any of the other polls. Moreover, the Dems in general and Kerry in particular are currently getting a bounce from all the primary coverage. In other words, it’s meaningless.

  5. Al Maviva

    I hope so, Dave. Insty cites Matthew Hoy today on Kerry’s dissection of the 34 nation “Coalition of the Willing” – which Kerry calls a “fraudulent” and “illegitimate” coalition. Hoy asks what Oz, Mother England, Poland, Italy and Spain must think about that, and what kind of a president we’d have if only France can lend legitimacy to U.S. actions.
    Come to think of it, Louis XIV would have said the same thing – only France can lend legitimacy. And by France, Louis meant the King, the political ruler of France, not French public opinion, or a vote by the legislature. But before you give Kerry too much credit for being deeply conservative here, St. Looey also thought he was appointed by God to lead the world, that the Pope oughta get in line with France’s plans, and that gold makes a fine material for toilet seats…

  6. M. Scott Eiland

    Polls like that make me nostalgic for the salad days of August, 1988 and the polls that had giddy Democrats planning for the upcoming Dukakis Administration (“He’s seventeen points up over a guy with the charisma of a lint brush–he can’t lose!”). Not to mention the one four years earlier that had Mondale/Ferraro dead even with Reagan/Bush in July. The aftermaths of those train wrecks weren’t even worth gloating about–they tended to provoke sad head-shaking and polite withdrawal to let the mourning take place in peace.
    GWB isn’t home free–but it’s his race to lose. John Kerry isn’t going to beat him without a lot of help from external events.