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Published by David French -- Harvard Law grad, former lecturer at Cornell Law School, author of books no one reads, master of the three point shot, constant critic of Duke Basketball, Playstation2 addict, owner of a cool new Sony DCRTRV25 MiniDV Digital Handycam, father of two and husband of one extremely hot wife


The Culture Curve
Friday, February 13, 2004  
THE CASE FOR BUSH. In recent days, I've been trying to figure out how I'd make the case for Bush's re-election -- how I'd distill my arguments into a few hundred words that were fact-based and persuasive. As part of that effort, I put together an imaginary "stump speech" -- the speech I would write for the President if I were running his campaign.

While not every eloquent (it was off the top of my head), I think it makes some compelling points:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to take you back in time, for a moment, to January, 2001, the day I took the oath of office. The challenges we faced were daunting:

The economy had just entered a recession;

The stock market bubble had burst and Americans were losing billions of dollars in personal savings and retirement;

Several major corporations were committing massive fraud on investors and had been doing so for some time; and

Congress was at an impasse -- and had been for 15 years -- in providing seniors with needed prescription drug benefits.

In addition to these domestic issues, problems were looming on the world stage:

The Middle East peace process was dead as Israel was besieged by near-daily suicide bombings;

Saddam Hussein was defying the United Nations by working to develop weapons of mass destruction, slaughtering his own people, shooting at American soldiers and supporting terrorists;

Libya was working diligently to develop nuclear weapons;

The entire nation of Afghanistan served as a training camp for terrorists while the Taliban instituted a regime of medieval oppression; and

Most ominously -- in a development unknown to the Clinton administration or to my administration -- a terrorist named Osama bin Laden had planned and put into motion a devastating terrorist attack that would change America forever.

The September 11 attack was a defining moment for our country. 3,000 civilians were killed in the worst attack against an American city since Washington D.C. was burned to the ground in the War of 1812. Economic losses from the attack reached hundreds of billions of dollars as towers fell, airlines faltered and our nation's largest city was paralyzed for days on end. By the evening of September 11, we faced an historic choice. Were we the same country that united to expel foreign invaders almost 200 years ago? Were we the same country that responded to the Pearl Harbor attacks by launching a military effort that ended two of history's greatest tyrannies? Or were we different? Had prosperity, peace and the bitter legacy of Vietnam permanently weakened our resolve? Were we so self-critical that we worried more about what others thought of us than we did about protecting our homes and families?

I believe we have answered these questions. I believe America has risen to the challenge of September 11, and America has risen to the challenges of recession, of stock market slumps and of basic care for its seniors. We have met these challenges as Americans do, with courage, with optimism and with respect for human dignity and freedom. So, where are we now? Domestically, we are recording the highest levels of economic growth in 20 years, the unemployment rate is steadily shrinking, the stock market has come back strong, corporate criminals have been caught and vigorously prosecuted, and we have broken the Medicare impasse and provided a prescription drug benefit. All of these accomplishments are indisputable. All of these accomplishments are improving the lives of Americans all over this country.

On the world stage, al Qaeda is decimated, and Osama bin Laden is either dead or on the run, incapable of directing his shrinking army. Afghanistan is liberated, and -- for the first time in a generation -- its children can look to the future with hope. Saddam Hussein is in custody, his regime is destroyed, his weapons programs terminated, and one of the Middle East's great nations is enjoying its first taste of freedom in decades. The liberation of 50 million afghans and Iraqis and the continued war against terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq has cost us dearly, but the results are obvious. Libya has terminated its weapons of mass destruction program, Iran has agreed to an international inspection regime, and we are beginning to see the stirrings of democratic revolution not just in Iran but also in Syria.

But even in the midst of war, we have found the time and resources to reach out to the world's poorest and weakest citizens. This administration's Africa AIDS initiative has done more to address and combat that deadly plague than all other previous government actions combined. We are now the world leaders in providing funding and treatment for children and adults who previously suffered without solace and without hope.

Despite these accomplishments, our work is not yet complete. The battle continues in Iraq -- with our troops in daily combat. The remnants of al Qaeda and the Taliban lurk in the Afghan countryside, eager to exploit any weaknesses. Our enemies have been weakened, but they have not yet suffered final defeat. So, they wait and hope . . . they hope for America to repeat the mistakes of the past, to give up on its allies, to shy away from the blood and toil of war. But so long as this administration exists, they will wait in vain.

At home, we must work hard to complete the economic recovery. My administration began the long road to economic recovery with a simple argument: Americans will spend more when they have more money to spend. So we cut taxes -- not just for the rich, but for everyone. And those tax cuts worked. Our economy is gaining strength every day. The stock market is going up, unemployment is down and the prosperity of the American family is increasing.

So what must we do now? We must stay the course. We cannot roll back the tax cuts. The recovery will not be completed by taking money back out of the hands of Americans and placing it in the hands of the government. We must also reduce the deficit, a deficit that has grown as we've fought through war and recession to liberate millions and restore economic growth. In my next term, we will use the fruits of prosperity to hold the line on spending and reduce the deficit by more than half. In my next term, we will make our tax cuts permanent, so that Americans will have greater resources to spend on their families and their futures.

My opponent, unfortunately, disagrees with this agenda. My opponent wants to turn back the clock. Believing that the terrorist threat is exaggerated, he wants to view our fight against terrorists not as a war but as a police matter, an issue for law enforcement. This policy has been tried before, and it failed. The ruins of September 11 bear witness that a law enforcement approach is perceived as weakness and that police actions do nothing to destroy terrorist sanctuaries and do nothing to deter or defeat rogue regimes. For decades, America treated terrorists as criminals rather than enemies and for decades terrorists grew in strength. We must not return to the failed strategies of the past.

My opponent wants to turn back the clock in foreign policy. The last three years have taught us that we cannot delegate our national security responsibilities to others. American security is an American responsibility, and we cannot expect the French or the Russians or the Germans to either understand our security needs or to endorse our security actions. We will continue to reach out to all our friends, but we reach out not for permission but for cooperation. My opponent wants to return to the days when America did not act unless all of its allies agreed it should act. Terrorists and rogue regimes were not impressed or intimidated by this deference and instead viewed the inevitable delay and indecisiveness caused by accommodating all viewpoints -- no matter how unreasonable -- as an opportunity to plot, to plan and to kill.

Finally, my opponent wants to turn back the clock on domestic policy. Once again, we hear the call for higher taxes. Once again we hear scare tactics about Medicare and social security. This administration succeeded where others failed and passed a needed prescription drug benefit for seniors. I remind you, for eight years before my administration, the Democrats were unable to enact a prescription drug benefit. Do we really want to return to a time when the rhetoric of compassion was apparently more important than the reality of action? What kind of vision does my opponent offer? A vision dominated by fear.

I say we shed the fear and press on. Press on to prosperity and justice at home, to victory in war and to freedom for the oppressed people of the Middle East. Now is not the time to turn back. This administration has demonstrated its resolve, and no one can doubt America's strength. But we need four more years. Four more years to strengthen our families and to confront our enemies. Four more years make America stronger, more free and more just than it has ever been. Four more years of compassion and four more years of courage.

Thank you, and may God continue to bless America."

2:42 PM

KERRY AND THE PEACE MOVEMENT. John Kerry is a war hero. No reasonable person -- no matter how partisan -- can dispute that fact. He served his country honorably and showed incredible bravery under fire. Very few Americans can even imagine what it's like to be engaged in combat, with friends dying around you and with your own life hanging by a thread. I honor John Kerry for his service. We all should.

However, we are not electing a swift boat commander. We are electing a president -- a political leader -- and it goes without saying that courage under fire does not necessarily translate into outstanding political leadership, nor does it insulate a person from criticism for the political positions they take after the shooting stops. Our two greatest wartime presidents -- Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt -- either had negligible military experience or no military experience, while their foremost wartime opponents (the Confederacy's Jefferson Davis and Germany's Adolph Hitler) were both combat veterans of previous wars.

While there is no question that Kerry's military service was more impressive than President Bush's (though one should never denigrate the value of flying F-102's for Air Defense Command), there is also little question that Kerry's post-Vietnam behavior was repugnant. As many people know, John Kerry -- upon his return from Vietnam -- allied himself with Jane Fonda and became a leader of Vietnam Veterans against the War, a left-wing anti-war group that never represented a significant percentage of Vietnam Vets. In the midst of mainstream media's nostalgic whitewash of the antiwar movement, we forget what John Kerry said and what the organization he helped lead did to destroy American morale at home and to slander men and women who were still fighting for their lives in Vietnam.

Vietnam Veterans against the War was an extreme antiwar group and did much to persuade America that our war in Vietnam was unjust (more than unjust -- an atrocity). Kerry, other VVAW members, Jane Fonda and other prominent antiwar types organized the so-called "Winter Soldier Investigation" which featured a parade of (purported) combat veterans testifying about war crimes committed by U.S. Soldiers. These veterans made it appear that war crimes were a matter of U.S. policy and that the My Lai massacre, far from being the tragic exception from the rule, was actually representative of normal American conduct. The "Winter Soldier Investigation" triggered a formal military investigation into its claims.

What did they find? That the Winter Soldier Investigation was built on a foundation of falsehoods. Not only was the most lurid testimony found to be false, but many of the "veterans" testifying were discovered to be fake witnesses who had appropriated the names of real veterans. Other veterans were discovered not to have served in the roles they claimed (for example, noncombatants claiming to have experienced combat and witnessed atrocities). The Winter Soldier Investigation was a fraud.

Kerry also helped organize demonstrations in Washington that featured veterans marching under the Vietcong flag, desecrating the American flag and throwing their Vietnam medals over a fence onto the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. (For many years, Kerry claimed that he threw his own medals over the fence. He has since admitted that he threw away SOMEONE ELSE'S medals). These demonstrations (organized in part by Kerry) also featured VVAW members organizing fake "search and destroy" missions and staging fake massacres of civilians. Kerry and other leaders of the VVAW demanded that America concede to Vietcong demands and presented a "peace proposal" that was entirely appropriated from the Vietcong proposal then pending at the Paris peace talks.

Additionally, Kerry testified before Congress and repeated many of the false claims made at the Winter Soldier Investigations. His testimony also contained this nugget:

"In our opinion and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart."

Given the horrific facts of Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian communism -- which resulted in the deaths of literally millions -- can Kerry actually say that American lives were not lost fighting for freedom? Given the experience of the South Vietnamese in the Tet Offensive, when thousands upon thousands were summarily executed by the Vietcong, could Kerry have honestly said (as he did) that Vietnam was "ravaged equally" by "American bombs" and "Vietcong terrorism?" He also repeated known falsehoods like blacks constituted the "highest percentage" of U.S. casualties in Vietnam.

Kerry even wrote a book, the "New Soldier" (by "John Kerry and Vietnam Veterans Against the War") whose cover is a parody of Marine flag-raising on Iwo Jima and features a rag-tag bunch of fatigues-wearing protestors holding an American flag turned upside down. This book repeats many of the false claims of the fraudulent Winter Soldier Investigations.

In response to these facts, columnist Mark Steyn summarized Kerry's post-war actions perfectly:

"The only relevant lesson [regarding the War on Terror] from Vietnam is this: Then, as now, it was not possible for the enemy to achieve military victory over the US; their only hope was that America would, in effect, defeat itself. And few men can claim as large a role in the loss of national will that led to that defeat as John Kerry."

Men were still dying in Vietnam when Kerry condemned them as a gang of rapists and murderers. Kerry was instrumental not only in advocating for American military withdrawal but also in cutting off all American aid to South Vietnam -- an act that led directly to South Vietnam's defeat and the loss of an entire nation to the darkness of a totalitarian regime. When Kerry was elected to the Senate, he was a consistent advocate of drastic cuts in military spending and in spending on intelligence.

The bottom line: John Kerry was an outstanding soldier, but there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- in his political record that indicates that he has the necessary political resolve to lead a nation in war. In fact, all available evidence indicates the opposite. The lies of the Winter Soldier Investigations resonate even today and help falsely brand America's war in Vietnam as an atrocity. While American soldiers undoubtedly did commit some atrocities, there is no question -- looking at Vietnam then and now -- that the good guys lost, and the bad guys won.

And John Kerry helped them win.

2:33 PM

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