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Kerry's mistake.

Ruth Conniff covered the Democratic Convention for us, and she returned from Boston impressed by the show of unity, the positive tone, and the concern for ordinary Americans. She is predicting, as I am, that Kerry will prevail.

But she makes a good point in her piece this month: Assuming Kerry wins, then what? Most of you reading this probably think that is a problem of secondary importance, but I think it's legitimate.

My criticism of the Democrats in Boston is that they didn't accentuate their differences with Bush, especially on the Iraq War.

But how could they have? Kerry now has almost the same approach to Iraq as Bush does, a concession that even Howard Dean made on PBS.

John Edwards, for his part, said in his speech that the United States was actually going to "win this war" in Iraq.

How is that going to happen? And how many more Iraqis and U.S. soldiers are going to die or be wounded as a result?

Edwards did a bad Bush impression when he said, of Al Qaeda: "You cannot run. You cannot hide. And we will destroy you."

Kerry did his own Bush impression when he said, "I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security."

That is the worst kind of mindless U.N.-bashing. There is nothing in the U.N. Charter that prohibits countries from defending themselves when their very survival is at stake.

I was relieved to hear Kerry say he would "never mislead us into war." That was a good, fair shot at Bush. So, too, was Kerry's vow never to go to war because we want to, but only because we have to. (Kerry did engage in some historical distortion, however, when he said the United States has a "time-honored tradition" of fighting wars of necessity. How about the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, Korea, Vietnam, and the first Gulf War, just to name a few?)

The irony of a Kerry Presidency would be if this Vietnam vet who became famous for his criticism of that war presided over a remake of Vietnam. Kerry said to Congress in 1971: "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" He may end up asking a lot of men to be the last to die for a mistake. Bush's mistake would then become his own.

Kerry's victory is by no means assured. Bush has plenty of tricks up his sleeve, some of which we discuss in our Comment this month. And a dirty campaign is guaranteed.

The smear on Kerry's military record is a case in point. Just as columnist Ann Coulter has minimized the injuries that triple-amputee Max Cleland received as a soldier, other Republican mudthrowers are now trying to tarnish Kerry's medals.

That is no easy task. Kerry received not one, not two, but three Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star, and the Silver Star.

As Bill Clinton joked at the Democratic Convention, what are these slanderers saying? That Kerry deserved only two and a half Purple Hearts, not three?

Though the men Kerry commanded swear high and low about his courage and leadership, some Republican vets are running an ad that says Kerry "betrayed the men he served with." Financing the ad is none other than a Houston developer and major Republican contributor named Bob Perry, who coughed up a hundred grand for this hatchet job.

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, denounced the ad as "dishonest and dishonorable." Those adjectives characterize the policies of the Bush Administration in toto.
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Title Annotation:Editor's Note
Author:Rothschild, Matthew
Publication:The Progressive
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2004
Previous Article:How the CIA missed Jihad.
Next Article:Conniff wrong about Greens.

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