View Full Version : Now even the Left are confused about Kerry.

04-19-2004, 08:35 PM
So this is Kerrys strategy, be vague as possible so nobody can guess what he believes in. Maybe he has no true beliefs himself.
John Laughland: If it's war you want, then go Democrats

April 20, 2004
AS the Bush administration comes under increasing fire for its decision to attack Iraq, Democratic contender John Kerry is profiting from his perceived status as a critic of George W. Bush's foreign policy.

A patrician grandee with a pleasing mix of liberal and patriotic views might seem to many Americans a welcome relief from the bellicose Texan with his faux swagger and his team of men who seem to have military-industrial complex written across their menacing foreheads. But if anti-war Americans do elect Kerry for that reason, they will have duped themselves. Warmongering will be worse under Kerry than under Bush and real peaceniks should therefore vote for Dubya. Bush and Kerry agree on almost everything in foreign policy but, where they disagree, Kerry is more hawkish.

Kerry's statements on foreign policy and homeland security, for example, have attacked Bush as a wet. Kerry said in February: "I do not fault George Bush for doing too much in the war on terror. I believe he's done too little."

Kerry voted for the war on Iraq and continues to support it wholeheartedly. He said last December that those who continue to oppose the war "don't have the judgment to be president -- or the credibility to be elected president". Kerry does not even say that Bush has jeopardised US security by attacking Iraq instead of facing down the al-Qa'ida threat; he is not Richard Clarke. Instead, Kerry says: "No one can doubt that we are safer -- and Iraq is better -- because Saddam Hussein is now behind bars."

On December 17, Kerry lent credence to the loony theory that Iraq was the author of the September 11 attacks, something Bush has done at least twice. Yet in February Kerry attacked Bush for planning to hand back power to the Iraqis too quickly -- what he called "a cut and run" strategy -- even though Bush intends the US embassy in Iraq to be the biggest US embassy in the world and even though 110,000 US troops are to remain stationed there indefinitely.

Above all, Kerry is, like Bush, committed to the world military supremacy of the US. "We must never retreat from having the strongest military in the world," says the possible future president. Kerry claims that Bush has weakened the military and so he has promised 40,000 more active-duty army troops.

Kerry is more hawkish than Bush about the threat from Islam in general and about Saudi Arabia in particular. Both of these are favourite neo-conservative themes. While Bush has often emphasised that the US has no quarrel with Islam, Kerry happily speaks about the specific danger to the US from the Islamic world, using language that is not substantially different from that in the latest neo-con manifesto, An End to Evil by Richard Perle and David Frum.

Kerry explicitly lists certain populations as representing a special danger to the US - Saudi Arabians, Egyptians, Jordanians, Palestinians, Indonesians and Pakistanis - and he reproaches Bush's grandiose plan to democratise the entire Middle East not for its overweening ambition but for its timidity.

Kerry has attacked the Bush administration for adopting a kid gloves approach to the Saudi kingdom, which he has repeatedly accused of complicity in the funding of Islamic extremism and terror, and he has said the Saudi interior minister is guilty of "hate speech" and of promoting "wild anti-Semitic conspiracy theories". This recalls Frum and Perle's surprising classification of Saudi Arabia as "an unfriendly power". Serious neo-cons, indeed, might be calculating that the bungling Bush is more of a liability than an asset for their desire to remodel the Middle East and to consolidate the US's unchallenged military power.

Kerry might be just what they need to draw the sting of that left-wing anti-Americanism around the world and in the US that inspires so much anti-war feeling. The Kosovo war showed that a war for human rights and against oppression, fought by a slick Democrat, plays far better with world public opinion than all that red-neck bull about dangers to national security. It will be far easier for president Kerry to fight new wars than for the mistrusted and discredited Bush. So to those who think that the election of a Democratic president will put an end to US militarism, I say: You ain't seen nothin' yet.

John Laughland is a trustee of the British Helsinki Human Rights Group. A longer version of this appeared in The Spectator.