Friday, April 30, 2004

Inside Kerry’s Character

Joan Swirsky
Thursday, April 29, 2004

During his primary campaign, John Kerry traveled on private jets, ate lavish dinners with his ever-present and presumably loving spouse, was spared any criticism from his competitors and was lionized by a leftist media.
To recover from the extreme “stress” of this routine, the senator took a week’s vacation at his wife’s multimillion-dollar getaway in Idaho.

Every eligible American voter must now ask:

If simple campaigning made Kerry snap at a man who asked him who the foreign leaders were he claimed were supporting him, get testy over a question about his vote for the Iraq War but against money to support our troops, and after his vacation get defensive and nasty when a small group of protesters (among a throng of fans) flapped flip-flop shoes in a symbolic gesture of the senator’s flip-flopping record, how will he react to the urgent stresses of national and international leadership?

What makes for a low tolerance to stress?

It’s usually what people used to refer to as being “spoiled.” Kids who have a sense of entitlement cannot tolerate circumstances that don’t go their way and invariably cope by having tantrums. When they grow up, they may be successful in their chosen careers, even philanthropic, and, if they’re honest, may go through life escaping scrutiny.

Not so of elected politicians who we hope and trust are dedicated to representing what we, the people, expect of a leader.

Do Americans want anyone to be president of the United States of America whose tolerance for stress runs out after a few months on the campaign trail and picks up so shortly after a vacation? Who can’t control his outbursts, puts his foot in his mouth until it reaches down to his tonsils and spews epithets on vacation?

Even on the ski slopes, Kerry attributed his spill to “the son of a bitch” Secret Service agent sworn to take a bullet for him. His staff explained that Kerry says things he doesn’t mean when he gets tired. That’s reassuring, considering that the presidency is a 24/7 job that deals with far more urgent issues than photo ops, canned speeches and skiing gaffes.

By now the entire country knows that Kerry has a bad temper, which perfectly explains his ardent embrace of Bill Clinton, the United Nations and countries like France and other regimes that have always depended on the passage of time to forgive and forget their ego-driven posturing and defects of character.

What makes for a bad temper?

In Kerry’s case, it appears to be a snobbish, condescending intolerance for dissenting opinion that he has arrived at honestly, being a son of rich and indulgent parents, privately schooled, catered to by servants, married to not one but two heiresses and, in true born-to-the-purple fashion, contemptuous of “the masses” he purports to represent.

Like those other immensely rich leftists Ted Kennedy, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton – who have spent the Bush years shrieking, flailing and generally “losing it” in public forums – Kerry has demonstrated a skin so thin that even legitimate questions provoke his anger.

Do Americans want anyone to be president of the United States of America whose bilge and bile are already – six and a half months away from the election – out of control?

Imagine Kerry meeting with Democracy-loving heads of state who tell him they support America’s global war on terrorism and hate appeasement. If he’s true to his character, it’s a good bet he will lash out, reminding them that his “philosophy” is more in tune with the U.N. and France (and other enemies of the U.S.) whose ideas about “protecting” America appeal to him more.

But if they sneer or glare at him, Kerry – who never says what he means or means what he says – is apt to change his tune. After all, for his entire tenure in the Senate, he has worked hard on a please-everyone persona, which explains why he has been both for and against every important issue facing our country for the last 19 years.

What makes for a passion to please?

In a word, insecurity, which means that deep down he doesn’t know what he really stands for and so always tries to play both ends against the middle.

Take “special interests,” which Kerry, in his practiced I-dare-you-to-challenge-me fashion, has said he will “stand up” to.

But according to former two-term governor and current Democratic senator from Georgia Zell Miller, Kerry is “the Olympic Gold Medalist when it comes to special-interest money.” Even former Vermont governor Howard Dean, Kerry’s rival during the primaries and now his Cheshire-cat-smiling supporter, said he was “outraged” that Kerry “has raised more money from paid lobbyists than any other senator during the past 15 years.”

So either Miller and Dean are lying or Kerry is lying. But even a cursory look at the record shows that … oops…guess who is lying!

Then there is Kerry’s either real or phony outrage over “outsourcing,” i.e., sending American jobs abroad.

If it’s real outrage, then just like charity it should begin at home. But oops again! That would mean that he’d have to have the character to decry the fact that his Ketchup-heiress wife gleans her fortune from the Heinz Corporation that has 57 of its 79 plants in foreign countries, and the fact that his hero Bill Clinton just outsourced $160 million worth of cabinetry for his Little Rock library to Scotland.

If, however, Kerry’s outrage is phony and he secretly appreciates the need for American companies to remain competitive by outsourcing a relatively small percentage of jobs to countries outside the U.S., then he’d have to have the character to admit this.

But in the world of moral relativism in which Kerry and his left-wing supporters live, it is unlikely that he will clarify this clear conflict of interest, hoping that the public he considers so stupid will not be able to determine whether he is lying about hating outsourcing or lying about not hating it. What makes people lie?

It is not only an innate allergy to the truth – usually driven by the desire to please or deceive – but also the arrogant belief that people are so dense that they will forget what you said in the first place.

While Kerry wants Americans to believe that he will defend our nation against terrorists, his record contradicts this. In 1994, the year after the first attack on the World Trade Center, he voted to cut $1 billion from the counterterrorism budget. In 1995, he proposed a $1.5 billion cut in intelligence funding. And he has also voted against every weapons system that is currently defending our country against the terrorists whose most passionate goal is to destroy us.

These include, among others, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the M-1 Abrams Tank, every Aircraft carrier since 1988, the Aegis antiaircraft system, the F-15 strike eagle, the Block 60 F-16, the P-3 Orion upgrade, the B-1, the B-2, the Patriot anti-missile system, the FA-18 and the F-117.

Yet Kerry still wants us to believe he’s interested in America’s defense!

Even during his campaign, Kerry lied about his prostate cancer condition, admitting to it only under pressure. And he still refuses to release his complete medical records for the four months he served in Vietnam, during which he won a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. How come? Is it because the records will reveal no scars, no internal injuries, no “therapy” and no surgery? In fact, not even one day off to “recover”?

Clearly, Kerry does not believe that “the truth” is the path to set one free but rather a relative thing to be used selectively to gain the popularity he craves.

What makes for the need to be popular?

Basically, an insatiable need for acceptance that seems only to be fulfilled from outside affirmation and not from within.

Unfortunately for Kerry, his popularity lies exclusively with only two groups: the ultra-liberal voters of Massachusetts and our country’s last remnants of enraged leftist Democrats who, to this day, are rankling unto delirium over the Bush victory in 2000.

Kerry hopes that his bandwagon of Bush bashers won’t notice that his vote for the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform law that restricts soft money contributions and, as he said, “reduces the power of the checkbook,” was violated … by guess who? Kerry wants the stupid voters and corporations to have restrictions, but when he needed cash for his campaign, he whipped out his checkbook and wrote himself a $6.4 million check!

In the same way, he wants Americans to believe that he supports our longtime relationship with that other beleaguered democracy, Israel. Again, he hopes that the stupid voters won’t remember that he described the terrorist Yasser Arafat as a “statesman” or notice that he thinks longtime critics of Israel like entrenched Arabist Jimmy Carter would best represent his administration – God forbid! – in the Middle East.

He also hopes that the stupid voters won’t notice that his wife’s Tides Foundation has financially supported, among other left-wing causes, numerous anti-war groups, including The International Action Center of Ramsey Clark (that’s right, the same Ramsey Clark who offered to defend Saddam Hussein); the National Lawyers Guild, a communist front a few years ago whose member, lawyer Lynne Stewart, was arrested for helping Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (the instigator of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) communicate with terror cells in Egypt after he was arrested; and the Council for American-Islamic Relations, whose leaders have close ties to terrorist groups such as Hamas and others to which the foundation has reportedly given over $1 million.

Kerry pretends to have the best interest of the U.S. at heart, but in issue after issue – and for his entire career – invariably has aligned himself with our country’s most vicious antagonists.

What accounts for a preference to side with America bashers?

In a word: Hate. Kerry, through his votes and public statements, has made it clear that he hates large corporations, tax breaks for all citizens, our military and intelligence services, campaign finance reform (except for himself), accountability for teachers, the sanctity of human life … the list goes on and on.

Recently, he defended Shiite imam Muqtada al-Sadr as a "legitimate voice" in Iraq after this terrorist led an uprising that killed 20 American Marines. In the next breath – predictably – he changed his mind, acknowledging that indeed al-Sadr had “aligned himself with both Hamas and Hezbollah, which is a sort of terrorist alignment." Sort of?

And then – what a surprise! – he changed his mind again, saying that he would not support al-Sadr’s arrest if his terrorism were “an isolated act.”

When four American civilians were incinerated in their car a few weeks ago, all Kerry could do was insult President Bush, while offering nothing better than his tired suggestion that the corrupt U.N. get involved. “Within weeks of being inaugurated,” he said last week, “I will return to the U.N.” Isn’t this just the kind of decisive leadership America needs? The leadership of a man who can’t decide if a murderous thug who orchestrates the deaths of American soldiers should be arrested?

And just two weeks ago, when Kerry was fund-raising in New York City, a professor in the audience accused him of being “the same” as President Bush because he said he’d “stay the course” in Iraq. The professor went on to call America “imperialistic” and to say that our heroic soldiers are destroying hospitals, killing civilians, blah, blah, blah.

Did Kerry protest these blasphemous accusations and defend the U.S. and its fighting forces? Quite the contrary! He placated what he clearly recognized as a fellow America basher, spinning a say-nothing answer that both a kindergartener and a Ph.D. would reject.

Fortunately, the rest of the country is now learning about this self-glorifying poseur and that – notwithstanding his robotic rhetoric and terminal waffling – the one absolutely consistent quality Kerry has demonstrated throughout his political career is inconsistency!

Don’t Americans deserve more than a man who is riddled with character flaws and who also has a proven low tolerance to stress, a bad temper, a predilection to lying and a passion to please and be popular at any cost?

President Bush is a study in opposites, having a sterling character and none of Kerry’s neurotic qualities. Through thick and thin, he has proven to have a high level of grace under pressure, an even temper and amiable temperament, an absolute aversion to lying and, most important, a passion to please only the will and needs of the American people.

No contest!

Joan Swirsky is a New York-based journalist and author who can be reached at

If Kerry is stressed out just campaigning, what will the rigors of being President do to him? Considering he has no message that is clear and consistant, how can he ever resolve those critical issues he will face as President? The man has no character, his only core beliefs are that America is always wrong and that America needs to get the approval of the UN to defend herself. He is driven by ambition and ambition only, as evidenced by his saying to each group he is in front of what they want to hear.

I shudder to think what he will do when tired and stressed the first time a major issue, such as a terrorist attack within the US occurs. This is not a man that can lead this country. He is not qualified by demeanor, vision or conviction. - Mark

Terrorists Cheer Kerry's Rhetoric

Insight Magazine

By J. Michael Waller | April 30, 2004

Exploiting the liberties of free societies, terrorists are using the mass media to sow divisions among and within the democracies, terrorism experts report. The March bombing of the Madrid subway proved that low-budget terrorist attacks could be used to influence democratic elections and, by virtue of Spain's sudden military withdrawal from Iraq, to drive wedges between the staunchest allies in the international antiterrorism coalition. Senior Spanish and U.S. officials now believe al-Qaeda will plan more attacks in the United States to try to force President George W. Bush from office.

Playing directly into the terrorists' hands is Bush's increasingly shrill challenger, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.). Democracies long have been vulnerable to manipulation by hostile foreign powers. President George Washington foresaw this in his Farewell Address of 1796. Though the popular notion is that the main point of the address was to warn against entangling alliances, the most persistent theme of Washington's speech was to warn against foreign subversion of America's democratic process. In his words, "It is easy to foresee that from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken, many artifices employed," to undermine the national identity and sense of purpose. Specifically, Washington feared that foreign adversaries would use the new democratic system to turn Americans against themselves.

Even now, external enemies are attacking the political fortress of the United States and its democratic allies through propaganda by word and deed. In his taped statement aired on the Wahhabi satellite TV network Al-Jazeera on April 15, Osama bin Laden not only sought to divide Europe from the United States by offering a "truce" with European countries that pull out of the coalition in Iraq, the al-Qaeda leader also explicitly feasted on the feeding frenzy among bickering American politicians about whether President Bush was to blame for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Good propagandists will turn their enemies' words against them, and the best will sow suspicion and division among them. This is happening now in the United States, where the terrorist enemy and its allies are using the rhetoric of the current presidential campaign in their jihad against the nation. Previous cautions against rash campaign words that provide aid and comfort to the enemy were thrown out the window long ago. Kerry steadily has become more and more shrill in his denunciations of the president as a leader, a man and a politician. Straying from legitimate policy differences with Bush or a healthy national debate about how best to fight the terrorist enemy, the Democratic nominee in waiting has yanked off the safety and fired full auto at the president.

Al-Jazeera and other anti-U.S. propaganda outlets have been quick to magnify whatever Kerry says in an attempt to show what a failure the United States has become under the Bush presidency. Kerry's increasingly strident and careless statements on the campaign trail reverberate abroad. His foul-mouthed interview with Rolling Stone became part of an Al-Jazeera feature on March 16. Although Kerry voted to let the Iraq war go forward, the Wahhabi-owned TV network noted, "He has suggested Bush's handling of the campaign is 'f-ed up.'"

"Bush misled Americans on the degree Iraq posed a threat," Kerry said in the Al-Jazeera broadcast, and the president is not "working closely enough with the international community." Bush's exclusion of France and Germany from competition for U.S. taxpayer-funded contracts to rebuild Iraq, Kerry said, was "dumb and insulting." Al-Jazeera rebroadcast, in Arabic, Kerry's allegation that in combating terrorist structures inside the United States, Bush and the Department of Justice have smeared "innocent Muslims and Arabs who pose no danger."

Such words, one of Kerry's former Senate colleagues says, grind down the image of the United States abroad and damage Washington's efforts to maintain allies and supporters in the Arabic-speaking world. With near-daily doses of extreme and careless quotations from the anti-Bush camp, Arab audiences are led to believe the worst about U.S. intentions and policies in the war on terrorism. Rather than helping the war effort with positive alternatives to counterterrorist policies they consider flawed, Kerry and other politicians are fanning the flames of hostility in the Islamic world.

The government-controlled press in Syria generally ignored President Bush's State of the Union address in January, "but on its front pages highlighted criticism that came in its wake, particularly Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's calling Bush's [foreign] policy 'arrogant and inept,'" according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which monitors Middle Eastern news and propaganda organizations and publishes translations and analyses in English. Even in Jordan, an Arab kingdom that has been an ally in the war against the terrorists, the editor of the Al-Arab Al-Yaum newspaper commented, "When President Bush gave his address, to hearty applause by his party in Congress, the Democrats shook their heads in condemnation."

The Kerry campaign, meanwhile, is reported to have e-mailed messages to foreign media outlets, pledging to "repair the damage" that President Bush allegedly has inflicted on the world. The Tehran Times, an English-language newspaper in the Iranian capital, reported Feb. 8 that unnamed Kerry staffers sent an e-mail to the Tehran-based Mehr News Agency apologizing for the conduct of the United States in the war on terrorism and saying that Kerry is the man to make things new again. "Disappointment with current U.S. leadership is widespread, extending not just to the corridors of power and politics but to the man and woman on the street as well," the message said. "We also remain convinced that John Kerry has the best chance of beating the incumbent in November and putting America on a new course that will lead to a safer, more secure and more stable world."

The Kerry campaign has claimed that all of this was the work of overseas Democrats and cannot be laid at the door of its candidate.

But recent statements from Sheik Moqtada al-Sadr, the extremist Iran-backed Shiite cleric whose guerrilla army has been killing U.S. soldiers and Marines, appear to echo this and some of Bush's other Democratic critics. Within 48 hours of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's (D-Mass.) first major characterization of Iraq as "another Vietnam," al-Sadr picked up the theme.

Soon after Kerry denounced Halliburton, the oil company formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, bin Laden singled out the firm. "I stopped briefly at a gas station," Kerry said on March 30. "If prices stay that high, Dick Cheney and President Bush are going to have to carpool to work. Those aren't Exxon prices, they are Halliburton prices." In his recording released two weeks later, according to a MEMRI translation, bin Laden denounced major corporations but named only Halliburton: "This war makes millions of dollars for big corporations, either weapons manufacturers or those working in the reconstruction [of Iraq], such as Halliburton and its sister companies."

Former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) observed in a recent Washington Post commentary: "Instead of trying to chart a path of progress, many of the president's critics have devoted themselves to fomenting public despair over a war, which they keep repeating, should never have been fought. At the same time critics of the Bush administration insist it should have done more to combat al-Qaeda in Afghanistan before Sept 11." Thompson added, "They miss the more profound lesson that national tragedy should have instilled: that the only deterrent to terrorism is strength and that weakness - real and perceived - is an incitement to further attacks."

The steady, daily attacks on the war and the motivations behind it, Thompson warns, risk undermining the strong international position of the United States and turning it into one of weakness.

"Weakness is when America's leaders compare Iraq to Vietnam, announcing to the world a faltering resolve to see our mission through." This signal, Thompson argues, causes wartime allies to lose heart. "To our allies in the Middle East and beyond, these predictions of defeat send a clear and chilling message to hedge their bets, because the United States cannot be counted on. And to our enemies, they can send an equally clear message: You can win."

Neither Kerry nor his ally Kennedy seems to have learned from his own Vietnam experiences, say critics, when both used extremist rhetoric to sow defeatism at home even though U.S. and South Vietnamese forces were destroying the communist enemy on the ground.

As in Vietnam, the Kerry camp seems not to care. The very day bin Laden's tape was broadcast, Kerry stood in East Rutherford, N.J., accusing the president of manipulating the war for personal political gain. "Everything he did in Iraq, he's going to try to persuade people it has to do with terror even though everybody here knows that it has nothing whatsoever to do with al-Qaeda and everything to do with an agenda that they had preset, determined," Kerry said.

Islamist forces are not alone in using Kerry's words against the United States. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, whose regime is on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism, also favors a new American president. The regime's mouthpieces, including the Communist Party daily Rodong Sinmun, have been using Kerry's statements as propaganda to discredit the U.S. government.

"North Korea has been paying keen attention to the U.S. presidential election in recent weeks, reporting Democratic presidential primaries and various opinion polls through its state media," the English-language Korea Times, published in Seoul, reported in February. "Most of the reports are focusing on the criticism against Bush and Sen. John Kerry's surge as viable presidential candidate." Rebecca MacKinnon, former Beijing bureau chief for CNN and now a media fellow at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, says that North Korea's state-controlled media have been portraying Kerry "in a positive light."

As the Financial Times reported in February, "In the past few weeks, speeches by the Massachusetts senator have been broadcast on Radio Pyongyang and reported in glowing terms by the Korea Central News Agency [KCNA], the official mouthpiece of Mr. Kim's communist regime. ... 'Senator Kerry, who is seeking the presidential candidacy of the Democratic Party, sharply criticized President Bush, saying it was an ill-considered act to deny direct dialogue with North Korea,' said the news agency. ... Pyongyang's friendly attitude toward Mr. Kerry contrasts with its strong anti-Bush rhetoric."

Like other wartime enemies of the United States, al-Qaeda is relying on presumably unwitting allies in the international peace movements. In his April 15 tape, bin Laden called the antiwar demonstrations a "positive interaction" and cited "opinion polls which indicate that most European people want peace." He appeared to view the Spanish public's ouster of conservative Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar in favor of an anti-U.S. socialist, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, as a sign of weakness in the West.

That component of strategy is nothing new. The North Vietnamese regime relied heavily on American antiwar protesters to undermine the national will and defeat the U.S. military through political means, in ways that Hanoi could not win on the battlefield. The present North Korean regime is following suit, propaganda specialists say. Providing the ideological inspiration for a strong section of the antiwar movement through its loyal political allies in the United States and elsewhere, the regime of Kim Jong-il continues to use the old Soviet active-measures model of international political warfare. The Workers World Party (WWP), a small, numerically insignificant but organizationally superior group based in New York City, slavishly supports the policies of the North Korean government, and its leaders frequently visit Pyongyang. One of its front groups, International ANSWER, coordinates the largest peace protests in the United States [see "Marching for Saddam," March 4-17, 2003].

Pyongyang continually exhorts the peace movement around the world. On Feb. 4 the official North Korean Communist Party paper Rodong Sinmun said, "The antiwar struggle is the main form of the struggle for world peace at present and its principal target is the United States."

The paper continued, "It is impossible to avert a war and achieve the world peace without a struggle against the U.S. imperialists. ... The people of all countries of the world should lift their antiwar, anti-U.S. voices and bind Yankees hand and foot to keep them from starting a war." Later in February, in a more subdued tone, Rodong Sinmun cited Kerry as a more preferable leader than Bush. U.S. national-security leaders have long recognized how the terrorists exploit our democratic system, but have been slow to counter it effectively. Insight obtained a copy of a U.S. Army intelligence briefing titled Al-Qaeda's Use of the Mass Media in Infowar/Netwar. Referring to information warfare (IW) - the use of information and information systems as instruments of conflict - and the social or societal IW medium called netwar, the Army report is based on two years of assessments of more than 200 documents.

Little secret intelligence is needed to understand al-Qaeda's strategy. Open-source information can meet up to 85 percent of the terrorists' intelligence-information needs, according to the report. Public information "provides understanding of strategic plans and intentions [and is] especially useful in forecasting cultural turmoil and societal upheavals, and in planning/conducting IW operations," according to the Army briefing. "AQ [al-Qaeda] is familiar with the art of war, but U.S. military has ignored past lessons in favor of technology, and is ignorant of its current foe," the report says.

Part of al-Qaeda's "counterpropaganda strategy," according to the Army report, is to "turn people's eyes toward their leaders to put enemy [U.S. and coalition partners] on defensive, and take the initiative to affect public opinion."

That is nothing new to students of history and statecraft. George Washington devoted much of his Farewell Address to the need to defend the country against foreign subversion designed to corrupt the national identity. He recognized the difficult situation that "real patriots" who resist foreign intrigues "are liable to become suspected and odious," while those espousing "pretended patriotism" - what he called "tools and dupes" of foreign interests - "usurp[ed] the applause and confidence of the people to surrender their interests."

J. Michael Waller is a senior writer for Insight.

Cause and Effect

Patterns of Global Terrorism -2003
Released by the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
April 29, 2004
United State Department of State

The Year in Review

There were 190 acts of international terrorism in 2003, a slight decrease from the 198 attacks that occurred in 2002, and a drop of 45 percent from the level in 2001 of 346 attacks. The figure in 2003 represents the lowest annual total of international terrorist attacks since 1969.

A total of 307 persons were killed in the attacks of 2003, far fewer than the 725 killed during 2002. A total of 1,593 persons were wounded in the attacks that occurred in 2003, down from 2,013 persons wounded the year before.

In 2003, the highest number of attacks (70) and the highest casualty count (159 persons dead and 951 wounded) occurred in Asia.

There were 82 anti-US attacks in 2003, which is up slightly from the 77 attacks the previous year, and represents a 62-percent decrease from the 219 attacks recorded in 2001.

Thirty-five American citizens died in 15 international terrorist attacks in 2003:

Michael Rene Pouliot was killed on 21 January in Kuwait when a gunman fired at his vehicle that had halted at a stoplight.

Thomas Janis was murdered by Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia terrorists on 13 February in Colombia. Mr. Janis was the pilot of a plane owned by Southern Command that crashed in the jungle. He and a Colombian army officer were wounded in the crash and shot when the terrorists discovered them. Three American passengers on the plane -- Keith Stansell, Marc D. Gonsalves, and Thomas R. Howes -- were kidnapped and are still being held hostage.

William Hyde was killed on 4 March in Davao, Philippines, when a bomb hidden in a backpack exploded in a crowded airline terminal. Twenty other persons died, and 146 were wounded.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) denies any connection to the suspected bomber who claimed he was an MILF member.

Abigail Elizabeth Litle was killed on 5 March when a suicide bomber boarded a bus in Haifa, Israel, and detonated an explosive device.

Rabbi Elnatan Eli Horowitz and his wife Debra Ruth Horowitz were killed on 7 March when a Palestinian gunman opened fire on them as they were eating dinner in the settlement of Kiryat Arba.

The deadliest anti-US attack occurred in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on 12 May when suicide bombers in boobytrapped cars filled with explosives drove into the Vinnell Jadewel and Al-Hamra housing compounds, killing nine US citizens. Killed at the Vinnell compound were: Obaidah Yusuf Abdullah, Todd Michael Blair, Jason Eric Bentley, James Lee Carpenter II, Herman Diaz, Alex Jackson, Quincy Lee Knox, and Clifford J. Lawson. Mohammed Atef Al Kayyaly was killed at the Al-Hamra compound.
Alan Beer and Bertin Joseph Tita were killed on 11 June in a bus bombing near Klal Center on Jaffa Road near Jerusalem.

Howard Craig Goldstein was killed in a shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Ofra on 20 June.

Fred Bryant, a civilian contractor, was killed on 5 August in Tikrit, Iraq, when his car ran over an improvised explosive device.

Three Americans were among the victims of a deadly truck bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad’s Canal Hotel on 19 August. They were Arthur Helton, Richard Hooper, and Martha Teas. UN Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello was also among the 23 fatalities.

Five Americans were killed in Jerusalem on 19 August when a suicide bomber riding on a bus detonated explosives attached to his body. They were Goldy Zarkowsky, Eli Zarkowsky, Mordechai Reinitz, Yessucher Dov Reinitz, and Tehilla Nathansen. Fifteen other persons were killed and 140 wounded in the attack.

Dr. David Applebaum and his daughter Naava Applebaum were killed on 9 September in a bombing at the Cafe Hillel in Jerusalem.

Three Americans were killed on 15 October in Gaza Strip as their US Embassy Tel Aviv motorcade was struck by an apparent roadside blast. They were John Branchizio, Mark T. Parson, and John Martin Linde, Jr. All three were security contractors.

Lt. Col. Charles H. Buehring was killed on 26 October in Baghdad during a rocket-propelled grenade attack on the Al-Rasheed Hotel. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz was staying at the hotel at the time of the attack.

Two Americans, William Carlson and Christopher Glenn Mueller, were killed in an ambush by armed militants in Shkin, Afghanistan, on 27 October. Both were US Government contract workers.

Most of the attacks that have occurred during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom do not meet the longstanding US defi nition of international terrorism because they were directed at combatants, that is, US and Coalition forces on duty. Attacks against noncombatants, that is, civilians and military personnel who at the time of the incident were unarmed and/or not on duty, are judged as terrorist attacks.

They're heroes to me

Oliver North
April 30, 2004

Ar-Ramadi, Iraq -- Three weeks ago, Andy Rooney, a syndicated newspaper columnist and commentator for CBS News' "60 Minutes," wrote a column titled, "Our Soldiers in Iraq Aren't Heroes." Rooney is part of a team of "journalists" at CBS News who, especially over the past few weeks, have gone out of their way to protest the administration's policies in Iraq and the war on terror. Interviews with former White House adviser Richard Clarke and Washington Post editor Bob Woodward to promote their respective books were nothing more than forums to condemn and criticize President Bush and the war in Iraq. While it is unfair and disappointing, such bitter behavior is expected from those who have long been openly contemptuous of this president.

But for Rooney to sit atop his ivory tower in New York City, where this war on terror began, attack our young men and women in uniform, and essentially question their patriotism, is about as low as it gets.

Rooney, who to my knowledge hasn't been to Iraq to visit the troops, nonetheless smeared them by charging, "You can be sure our soldiers in Iraq are not all brave heroes gladly risking their lives for us sitting comfortably back here at home." I've spent the last three weeks with Marines and soldiers in Iraq, and they're pretty damn heroic as far as I'm concerned. I can't imagine that Rooney's viewpoint from Black Rock is somehow clearer than here in ar-Ramadi.

Not heroes, Andy? Meet Lance Corporal Conyers, a member of Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines. On April 6, Conyers was on patrol with his squad when they became engaged in a firefight. "I was out in front at an unlucky moment and took a round to the chest," Conyers told me, "then one ricocheted off the light pole next to me and hit me in the leg." The corpsman rushed to Conyers side and treated him, and Conyers stayed in the fight.

In his column, Rooney insists that our troops "want to come home," and says if he had the chance to interrogate our guys in uniform to prove his point, he would ask them, "If you could have a medal or a trip home, which would you take?"

What do you think Conyers chose, Andy? The bullet Conyers took in the chest was fired from an AK-47. It was inches from his heart and could have killed him. But because of the plate of armor he was wearing -- armor that critics told us would not work -- Conyers is alive. The wound Conyers received to his leg, a "through and through" wound, was his ticket home. But did Conyers take it? Of course not. Of the wound, he told me, "That won't keep me down," and said he owes it to his squad to "continue on and fight."

Lance Corporal Conyers is just one of hundreds of Marines and soldiers who, while fighting to defend the American public and liberate the Iraqi people, have been shot, hit, wounded and treated, only to stay on the battlefield and with their units instead of going home. These are remarkable young Americans.

But Rooney complains in his column, "We don't learn much about what our soldiers in Iraq are thinking or doing." Well, now you know -- they're fighting heroically. Want to know more?

They go on patrol -- wearing 21-pound flak jackets and 4-pound helmets. They carry another 30 to 40 pounds of weapons and ammunition. If they go on a long hike and need to carry all their gear, they're carrying up to 70 pounds on their backs. By day, they are America's diplomats -- canvassing the neighborhoods to befriend the local Iraqis, conducting intelligence operations, and bringing supplies and gifts to Iraqi families and children. By night, they use the intelligence they gathered from Iraqis who want the terrorists out of their neighborhoods and conduct raids to root them out.

And they're having a great deal of success. "When we first got here," 2nd Lieutenant Tim Mayer told me, "things were a little challenging. But everyday, the situation seems to get a little better. We're getting weapons and (improvised explosive devices) turned in by the local people, and they are happier that we are here."

A lot of the Marines who are here now were also here for the first semester of the war. Many, including those in Conyers' unit, which was in Okinawa this time last year, have been away from home and their families for the better part of 18 months over the last two years. Yet their motivation and morale are high.

From the perspective of this old Marine, these young soldiers, Marines, sailors, airmen and guardsmen are doing a great job. They are making sure that this enemy -- which is part criminal, part foreign terrorist and part homegrown -- doesn't affect the ability of this country to gain a democracy. But to Andy Rooney, they "are victims, not heroes."

May 1 marks the start of Military Appreciation Month. Millions of Americans will show their gratitude for the troops in a variety of ways. When Lance Corporal Conyers appeared with me the other night on Fox News's "Hannity & Colmes," Sean Hannity showed his appreciation to Conyers by promising to buy him a big, thick, juicy steak from Ruth's Chris steakhouse when he gets home. What are you going to do for them, Andy, other than criticize? One thing you could do to show your appreciation for our troops who are defending your right to speak is to shut the hell up.

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, host of the Fox News Channel's War Stories and founder and honorary chairman of Freedom Alliance.

I have already sent an e-mail to CBS chastising Rooney over his remarks. I suggest anyone reading this blog do so as well. Perhaps it is time for Rooney to be retired.


New York Post

April 30, 2004 -- IN 1972, America was in rotten shape. U.S. forces were being pulled out of Vietnam, and it was clear that in the long term, Communist victory was inevitable. Inflation was spiraling out of control, and the wage-and-price controls imposed by the government to stop it weren't working. Cities were wracked by waves of violent crime never before seen.
Yet the sitting Republican president, Richard Nixon, won 61 percent of the vote in November 1972 against Democratic nominee George McGovern.

It's important to remember 1972 when considering the course of events in 2004. Not because the situations are analogous - they're not - but because there's an idea commonly held across the political spectrum that bad news in an election year is automatically a problem for the incumbent president.

The 1972 example suggests just how wrong this idea is - and why John Kerry has an uphill climb against George W. Bush.

Nixon's colossal victory over George McGovern was due to a variety of factors. Nixon dominated the news throughout 1972 with major initiatives like a secret trip to China and the signing of an arms-control treaty with the Soviet Union. And he bullied the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Arthur Burns, into a dollar-printing spree to keep economic growth rates high through the November election.

(The Watergate dirty tricks that would bring down his presidency in 1974 had nothing to do with his win, but they do help shed light on the sort of blackmailing techniques Nixon and his henchmen used to get Burns to do their bidding.)

More important, though, McGovern was an astonishingly weak candidate whose major issue was the defeat of the United States in Vietnam. But rather than seeking to prevent that defeat, McGovern embraced it as the nation's fate and its just deserts. "Come home, America" was his campaign slogan.

Now, God knows Nixon wasn't exactly Mr. Cheerful, but he wasn't a defeatist. He was terrifically ambitious, at least when it came to foreign policy, and he moved ahead aggressively on many fronts at the same time. He was doing things.

Yes, much of what Nixon did turned out to be bad news for the country in the years to come. By forcing the Fed to print money, he helped create the stagflation of the 1970s. His détente policies caused the Soviet Union to become vastly more aggressive in pursuit of its imperialist aims throughout the decade.

But the fact remains that faced with crisis, both abroad and at home, Nixon acted. And that fact not only saved what might otherwise have been a doomed presidency, but it gave Nixon the second-largest margin of victory in the history of American presidential elections.

Contrast this tale with the stories of two subsequent presidents who did not win second terms - Jimmy Carter and George Bush the Elder. The world was coming down around Jimmy Carter's ears in 1980 - hostages in Iran, Soviets in Afghanistan, sky-high interest and inflation rates. And he did . . . practically nothing. He stayed inside the White House, authorized a single lame effort to rescue the hostages and consulted his pre-teen daughter Amy about the danger of nuclear weapons.

In 1992, Bush the Elder was running with an economy in lousy shape, and he just tried to wait it out. He offered no major initiatives of any kind during that election year, and did nothing dramatic. He thought he was going to be OK because his treasury secretary had told him to reappoint Alan Greenspan as Fed chairman because Greenspan assured him the Fed was going to help Bush the way it had helped Nixon. But Greenspan didn't flood America with printed dollars, and the Elder Bush got 38 percent of the vote.

What does all this suggest about the current election season? President Bush needs to keep moving forward. He is most successful when he is most bold, and he must continue to pursue bold policy aims throughout the year. If he can reinforce the perception that he is an energetic leader, he will be nearly unstoppable - even if the news continues to be problematic.


Thursday, April 29, 2004

The New ‘New Breed’

Geoff Metcalf
Monday, Apr. 26, 2004

"It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."
--Teddy Roosevelt

Duty, Honor, Country are more than just words. They are a foundation of principles…principles that are more important than fame, fortune, or life.

It is the same stuff that compelled the framers to write, "…with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

Much is being written about the tragic death of former NFL star Pat Tillman. That’s a good thing. However, Pat Tillman was not the Lone Ranger … although he WAS a Ranger. That, too, is a good thing … that eagles do occasionally flock … and that when they flock, they flock to places like Fort Benning, Quanitico, Fort Bragg and Coronardo.

There is a lot of quoting going on in the wake of “Tilly’s” death. One of my favorites is General Barry McCaffrey, "As a company commander in combat . . . crawling around in the mud with an enemy machine gun hammering over my head . . . the crotch ripped out of my uniform . . . constipated . . . hungry . . . huge bug bites under my eyes .. .exhausted with days of intermittent sleep . . . I could always comfort myself by saying . . . 'it could be worse . . . I could be back in Ranger School.'''

Those who have survived the testosterone rich, sleep deprivation, physical exhaustion and mental challenge of Fort Benning’s resort for masochists will understand … those who don’t won’t.

What some see as Pat Tillman’s sacrifice of fame and fortune for martial hardship and anonymity seems odd. It isn’t odd … it is a personification of Duty, Honor, Country. We are a nation blessed that what some would deride as an anachronism has morphed into a new ‘new breed.’

Owen West was a Marine officer who ‘plays’ at extreme sports ( Link ) says, “Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be. One-hundred-percent and then some.”


Charles M. Province wrote a poem called ‘The Soldier’ (Link) The last line is “IS THIS STILL THE LAND OF THE FREE AND HOME OF THE BRAVE?”

You damn betcha!

9/11 and the belatedly acknowledged war on terrorism did not just spark an epiphany for Dennis Miller … and it did not just awaken a spark in Owen West, Pat and Kevin Tillman.

We are not perfect … but despite our warts, blemishes, tragic flaws, and myriad shortcomings, we remain the best country on the planet.

Don’t you dare ever forget, “It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”

Sua Sponte!


Historian's 'Duty': PR for Kerry?

By Alex Beam, Globe Columnist | April 29, 2004

What kind of a historian is Douglas Brinkley anyway?

These days Brinkley is acting a lot less like a historian and a lot more like a PR flack for John Kerry, the subject of Brinkley's flattering bestseller "Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War." Brinkley proclaims his independence from the Kerry campaign -- "This is my book, not his," he writes in "Tour" -- but he's become a major player in the Kerry agitprop machine.

On television, in magazines, and on Kerry's website, Brinkley functions as a dependable surrogate for the candidate, quick to testify to Kerry's unflinching qualities of heroism and leadership. "I don't quite see it that way," Brinkley says. "Yes, I think Kerry will make a good president, but this book could have gone either way. After Iowa, instead of going kinetic, the book might have been remaindered."

(Bias alert: I played a bit role in preparing the Globe's recently published "John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography," which differs significantly from Brinkley's authorized, triumphalist tome.)

In "Tour of Duty," Brinkley makes much of how Kerry shared all his Vietnam records, and of the extra research the author brought to the book. And yet, just a few months after publication, here are three examples of lazy puffery in Brinkley's tome.

Brinkley told the Atlantic magazine, which excerpted a portion of the book, that he interviewed "every single one" of John Kerry's crewmates on the so-called swift boats that Kerry captained in Vietnam. But in fact he did not interview crew member Steven Gardner, and -- surprise! -- Gardner turned out to be the only one of Kerry's crewmates who disliked his former commander. "I would have talked to Gardner, but I couldn't find him," Brinkley says now.

It gets worse. After the Kerry campaign learned that the Globe had interviewed Gardner for its Kerry biography, Brinkley called Gardner. The presidential historian -- Brinkley has written about Franklin Roosevelt and is a disciple of the late historian and biographer Stephen Ambrose -- warned Gardner of a "firestorm" if the vet went public with his doubts about Kerry, and then hacked out an article attacking the former gunner's mate on Time magazine's website!

Hilariously, Kerry declined to talk to the Globe about Gardner's criticisms, but graced Brinkley with his opinion -- uncritically relayed by the historian -- that Gardner's stories were "made up."

Who needs opposition research when Doug Brinkley is on the case?

Despite his claim to have reviewed Kerry's Navy records, Brinkley didn't interview Lieutenant Commander Grant Hibbard, the commanding officer who likened the wound for which Kerry was awarded his first Purple Heart to a scrape from a fingernail. Kerry declined to talk to the Globe about this incident. In his role as aggrieved Kerry factotum, Brinkley ginned up a quick article for Salon magazine condemning Hibbard as a "blowhard" and dumping on the Globe for reporting Hibbard's comments. Brinkley could have spared himself the heavy breathing if he had bothered to interview Hibbard for his book.

Predictably, Brinkley toes the current Kerry party line on the controversial medal-throwing incident of April 1971, reporting that Kerry threw his ribbons, and other servicemen's medals, away during an antiwar demonstration. But the historian seems blissfully unaware that the party line has changed several times since Kerry threw away, or did not throw away, his medals -- or his ribbons, or other people's medals.

"His explanation seemed fairly logical," is how Brinkley justifies printing the latest version of this much-discussed event. Isn't it relevant, I asked, that Kerry has answered questioners differently about this incident over the years? Brinkley: "His answers are a different story."

Brinkley and publisher William Morrow plan to release a revised edition of "Tour of Duty" in two weeks. "I started realizing, `I've got to fix this,' `I've got to fix that,' " Brinkley says. "Nobody believed we would get to this point where every aspect of the book is being dissected."

Call me old-fashioned, but I can remember a time when historians wrote books that didn't have to be revised after sitting on the shelf for just four months.

Alex Beam is a Globe columnist. His e-dress is

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

My take on the 9/11 Failures

Over the years of my military service, I, at times had gathered intelligence and done some analysis. My take on 9/11 is best describe with this analogy.

What we have is a giant jigsaw puzzle. Several people have the pieces to that puzzle (FBI, CIA and others intel gathering groups). Of course before an event such as 9/11 occurs, we do not know what the puzzle actually looks like. Now to complicate matters, some people have some of the same puzzle pieces. So as the puzzle gets closer to completion, one person says the picture is one thing, another says no it is this. Finally when the event occurs, we have the true picture and the puzzle pieces fall into place fairly easily.

Now, that is not to say, that investigations are not wothwhile. On the contrary, they do help in assesing what can be done to improve the likelyhood that an event such as 9/11 does not occur again, but does not guarentee it will not. No one can make that guarentee.

In my humble opinion, the failure of intelligence agancies to share data, (the puzzle pieces), it the one glaring failure in this whole issue.

Also, I think on all sides, no one really came to grips with the possibility that such a well co-ordinated and planned attack could be carried out against the mainland US. Sure in retrospect it can dealt with, but even I was surprised at the magnitude and organization.

G.O.P. Protesters Plan to Infiltrate Convention as Volunteers

April 28, 2004

New York Times

It is accepted as an article of faith among protesters planning to demonstrate against the Republican National Convention this summer that agents seeking to undermine their efforts have infiltrated their ranks. But now the protesters are talking about infiltrating the convention to undermine the event itself.

"Really?" said Kevin Sheekey, president of the New York City Host Committee, when told that protesters were talking about flooding the ranks of volunteers to disrupt convention operations.

The city is obligated to find a total of 8,000 New Yorkers to volunteer to help things run smoothly, and would-be protesters are hoping that by signing up, they can work from the inside during the convention, scheduled Aug. 30 through Sept. 2.

"A lot of people are talking about it in general," said William Etundi Jr., a founder of, a Web site that serves as a bulletin board for anti-convention activities. "The Republicans are coming to New York City, so maybe the real New York should come to them."

Until now, the host and the guest have been treating each other with kid gloves, each insisting that it is a relationship of choice that benefits everyone. As the convention preparations quicken and the organizers reach out beyond the city leadership with the volunteer drive, that sense of mutual advantage may be revealed as more wishful than actual.

It is hard to know exactly how much traction the idea of protesters posing as volunteers will have.

Still, there is evidence that the idea of volunteering, then not showing up, or showing up and using anti-Republican language has interested many people.

The biggest public proponent of the idea is a 37-year-old computer consultant from Philadelphia, David A. Lynn, who has created a Web site called It is calling on protesters to volunteer at both the Republican convention and the Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Boston earlier in the summer. Mr. Lynn has issued press releases, and tried to sell his idea across the Internet, where it has picked up some momentum.

Boston appears largely immune to the tactic since the host committee there had signed up 12,000 volunteers by the end of March, the host committee said.

But New York, which has a long way to go to reach its target, has so far registered only about 1,400 potential volunteers. Marilyn Shaw, director of volunteer services for the host committee, said all volunteers would be vetted by law enforcement before they are signed up. She also said volunteers would be expected to attend many meetings before getting their volunteer shirts.

"I'll be honest with you," she said. "We meet and greet them so many times they become our best friends."

Some people are thinking more Trojan horse than friend.

"I think they don't understand either just how much of New York City is not prepared to welcome them," said Amanda Hickman, who described herself as a community gardener from Brooklyn. "I don't think that has clicked."

Hard feelings or not, the city host committee is going ahead with its recruiting efforts. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg called last week on a predecessor, Edward I. Koch, to help recruit volunteers. But officials said they never considered the prospect that the effort might be co-opted by protesters.

"Those sort of things would harm the city," Mr. Sheekey said. "Those wouldn't be anti-R.N.C. protests. Those would be people protesting New York City."

Sept. 11 will act like a third convention for Republicans
Dick Morris

Since 1960, each political party has realized an average bounce in the polls of 10 points after its party convention. Frequently, these gains cancel one another out, but sometimes one party gains more than the other and takes an augmented stature into the general election campaign.

In 1992, for example, the Republicans got almost no gain from their convention while the Democrats moved up 10 points, setting the stage for Bill Clinton’s victory.

During the next election cycle, the GOP’s gain was the expected 10 points, but Clinton moved up 17, giving him a lead he kept until the Chinese fundraising scandal knocked him back to the nine points by which he ultimately won. In 2000, Al Gore gained more than George W. Bush from his convention, amassing a lead that he then lost after falling short in the three debates.

This year, the Democratic convention in early August and the GOP answer at the end of the month may cancel one another out or leave one party or the other holding a key edge going into the final two months of the race. But this year, the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks will likely act as if it were a third party convention, giving the Republican ticket an extra boost it would not normally receive.

In a mirror image of the Madrid bombings, the anniversary of Sept. 11 should give President Bush high marks as the nation contemplates, in gratitude, the absence of any terrorist attack during the preceding three years (knock on wood).

Even if there is another incident, the very focus on terrorism will stand Bush in good stead.

The experiences over the past two months have demonstrated the underlying truth of the observation that this is not an election between two parties, two men or even two ideologies. It is a contest between two issues. If the topic du jour is terrorism or Iraq or Afghanistan or any other variant of the threat from rogue nations or al Qaeda, then Bush benefits.

Overwhelming majorities of the electorate give him as much as a 2-1 advantage over Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in handling this range of issues. Events such as the Richard Clarke testimony at the Sept. 11 hearings or the Bob Woodward book may give Kerry a momentary bounce, but it soon fades amid the deeper reality that any coverage of terrorism works to Bush’s advantage.

On the other hand, if the focus is on any other issues — the economy, Social Security, Medicare, prescription drugs for the elderly, the cost of medicine or the environment — Kerry will benefit. The flip side of the damage the Clarke testimony did to Bush in the short term is that good economic news helps Bush and hurts Kerry at the moment it comes out. But the broader fact that the coverage was about the economy, not about terror, helps the Democrat.

Iraq and taxes pose special questions. High casualties in Iraq made early April a disaster for the president. But as soon as the killings abated, Bush bounced back, recovering the ground he lost and even adding to his gains. Why? Because the subject matter favored Bush and the absence of coffins let Bush’s negative ads against Kerry cut more deeply into his image.

Taxes are the flip side of Iraq. While accusations that Kerry will raise taxes help the GOP, the subject itself aids Kerry. Asked in the Fox News poll of April 2004 if their taxes are too high, only 50 percent answered yes while 44 percent said they were about right and 6 percent were masochists who complained that they were too low.

So the Sept. 11 anniversary will help Bush enormously — even if there are new incidents. No matter how good or bad the actual news is (within limits), the subject matter remains the key. If it is about terrorism, it helps Bush. Anything else benefits Kerry.

Dick Morris is the author of Off With Their Heads: Traitors, Crooks, and Obstructionists in American Politics, Media, and Business.

Seems there are some lefties planning to infiltrate the GOP Converntion in NYC. I will post that article soon. This just goes to show the desperation that in growing within the Dem party. They know they now have a weak candidate. - Mark

Tuesday, April 27, 2004


John Podhoretz
New York Post

April 27, 2004 -- THE conventional wisdom is that the presidential election will be close. It's a 50-50 country, so the CW goes, just as it was in the year 2000.
The problem is that the conventional wisdom hasn't taken a proper accounting of John Kerry. Here's the truth that Democrats don't want to admit and that Republicans are fearful of speaking openly because they don't want to jinx things:

Kerry is a terrible, terrible, terrible candidate.

It's not so much the policies he proposes, although they don't add up to all that much. The problem is Kerry himself. He no sooner opens his mouth than he sticks first one foot and then the other right in there.

Yesterday, Kerry went on "Good Morning America" to try and clear up a controversy about the Vietnam medals and ribbons he threw over a fence in 1971 as part of an anti-war protest to "give them back" to the U.S. Congress. Instead, he only made himself look worse.

Since 1984, Kerry has said he only threw ribbons over that fence (as if throwing ribbons away wasn't powerfully meaningful in itself). But ABC News dug up a TV interview Kerry gave to a Washington, D.C., station 33 years ago. In it, he said he "gave back the others" - by which he clearly meant he had thrown his own Bronze Star, Silver Star and three Purple Hearts over the fence.

In 1971, he wanted people to think he had thrown away his medals. In 1984 and ever since, he has wanted people to know he had kept his medals.

But Kerry's interviewer yesterday actually saw him on that day back in 1971: "Senator, I was there 33 years ago, and I saw you throw the medals over the fence," Charlie Gibson of "Good Morning America" said point-blank.

"No," Kerry said, "you didn't see me throw the, Charlie, Charlie, you are wrong. That's not what happened. I threw my ribbons across . . . After the ceremony was over, I had a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart given to me, one Purple Heart by a veteran in the V.A. in New York and the bronze star by an older veteran of World War II in Massachusetts. I threw them over because they asked me to."

ABC reporter Brian Ross uncovered the 33-year-old interview. But Kerry tried to blame the controversy on George W. Bush instead: "This is a controversy that the Republicans are pushing," he raged, "and this comes from a president and a Republican Party that can't even answer whether or not he showed up for duty in the National Guard. I'm not going to stand for it."

Kerry mentioned Bush's National Guard service not once, but twice, during his five minutes with Charlie Gibson. So now we have the Democratic candidate for president himself making the accusation that the president of the United States was a deserter.

You don't have to be a Bush fan to think this is spectacularly stupid. The issue isn't Bush or his campaign. The issue is Kerry and a series of statements he made on the record in the media dating back more than 30 years. Trying to change the topic to Bush's service simply smacks of cornered desperation.

And that is Kerry's great weakness as a candidate - a weakness that will be hard for him to overcome, because it appears to be a character trait. The man who said "I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it" is a man filled with the conviction that he can talk himself out of a tough situation.

Sometimes, it's better just to be silent, take the hit and move on. But Kerry seems constitutionally incapable of doing that.

Kerry has been the presumptive Democratic nominee for two months now. Ask yourself: Aside from fund-raising success, has he had a good day? Has he come up with a winning soundbite? Has he made a policy proposal you've heard people talking about?

Bush has had about as bad a time as he could have had these past two months, and he's not only still standing, but doing better than he was a month ago. And why? Because when he takes center stage, as he did in the press conference last week, he usually helps himself.

Not so for Kerry. To put it mildly.

Yes, he has time, plenty of time, six months' worth of time. Kerry will surely get better, but that's only because he can't get much worse.

Here's the conventional wisdom: The margin on Election Day will be razor-thin because only 7 percent of the electorate hasn't made up its mind yet whom to support. So the entire campaign will be a fight over that 7 percent, and the whole business will come down to a few battleground states - Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Mexico - where polling now suggests the race is neck-and-neck.

Every piece of information you've just read is true. But there's a strong possibility the conventional wisdom is wildly wrong.

Events over the past week suggest that Bush may win a substantial victory in November, and for this reason alone: Kerry's performance may seriously depress Democratic turnout. Or drive Democrats to vote for Ralph Nader, just as George Bush the Elder's performance in 1992 drove millions of Republicans to vote for Ross Perot.

Guys, you should have gone with John Edwards.


Here again we see how weak a candidate Kerry is. While some suggest that Kerry moved to the left to win in the primary, I suggest he was more comfortable there then more to the center of left. I think we are begining to see evidence of this, especially with the medals flap. Do check out the Winter Soldier site. Kerry's testimony before the Senate Committee is posted there. - Mark

Village Voice - John Kerry Must Go

Mondo Washington
by James Ridgeway
Village Voice

John Kerry Must Go

Note to Democrats: it's not too late to draft someone—anyone—else

WASHINGTON, D.C.— With the air gushing out of John Kerry's balloon, it may be only a matter of time until political insiders in Washington face the dread reality that the junior senator from Massachusetts doesn't have what it takes to win and has got to go. As arrogant and out of it as the Democratic political establishment is, even these pols know the party's got to have someone to run against George Bush. They can't exactly expect the president to self-destruct into thin air.

With growing issues over his wealth (which makes fellow plutocrat Bush seem a charity case by comparison), the miasma over his medals and ribbons (or ribbons and medals), his uninspiring record in the Senate (yes war, no war), and wishy-washy efforts to mimic Bill Clinton's triangulation gimmickry (the protractor factor), Kerry sinks day by day. The pros all know that the candidate who starts each morning by having to explain himself is a goner.

What to do? Look for the Dem biggies, whoever they are these days, to sit down with the rich and arrogant presumptive nominee and try to persuade him to take a hike. Then they can return to business as usual—resurrecting John Edwards, who is still hanging around, or staging an open convention in Boston, or both.

If things proceed as they are, the dim-bulb Dem leaders are going to be very sorry they screwed Howard Dean.


Additional reporting: Alicia Ng and Phoebe St John

Just a note here. The Village Voice is one of New York City's most left wing papers. If they are calling for a candidate other then Kerry, Kerry should be worried!

Kerry and the Winter Soldiers

Here is an insightful look at John Kerry's anti war escapades.
Winter Soldier
Explaining Liberal Anger

By Keith Burgess-Jackson Published 04/27/2004
Tech Central Station

Why are liberals such as Paul Krugman, Michael Moore, and Howard Dean so angry and aggressive? I like to think that I have insight into this matter, since I was a liberal for a long time. If you haven't been a liberal, you may be puzzled by what you hear and read from them. They may seem -- dare I say it? -- insane, or at least discombobulated.

The first thing you must realize is that liberals have a program. They are visionaries. They envision a world in which everyone controls the same amount of resources. Nobody is born to privilege or disadvantage; or, if anyone is, it is swiftly neutralized by the state. To allow disadvantage, they believe, is to become a participant in it. Society, to the liberal mind, is a massive engineering project. Most of us distinguish misfortune and injustice. Not the liberal. No misfortune goes unaddressed by the social engineers. It is presumed -- conclusively, without evidence or argument -- that disparities in wealth are the result of morally arbitrary factors (accidents of birth or circumstance) rather than individual character, effort, discipline, work, or merit.

As the philosopher John Kekes has pointed out so eloquently (see here), liberals disregard or discount concepts that loom large in the thinking of most of us, such as personal responsibility and desert. Most of us believe that responsibility and desert should play a role in the distribution of benefits and burdens. Liberals disagree. Deep down, liberals deny that anyone is responsible for anything. What we are, in terms of personal character, is a function of circumstances beyond our control. How we behave depends solely on our environment. Our very choices are determined, not free. Liberalism dissolves the person. To the liberal, we are loci of movement rather than initiators of action, patients rather than agents, heteronomous rather than autonomous beings. Liberals will deny this, of course, but look at their beliefs and policy prescriptions.

Liberals, unlike conservatives, are zealous. Like all zealots (true believers), they are eager to implement their program, but when they attempt to do so, they meet resistance. This resistance frustrates them immensely and eventually leads to anger toward and aggression against those who stand in their way (or are perceived as standing in their way). Ideally, liberals would rationally persuade those who resist in the hope of bringing them around. But this doesn't work. Belief in personal responsibility and desert is widespread and entrenched. Time and again, liberals run up against it. Since it seems obvious to them that the belief is baseless, they tell themselves a story about why it's pervasive.

It's a multifaceted story. First, the liberal imagines that the belief in question is rooted in ignorance. Opponents of the liberal program simply don't know the facts about responsibility and desert. But when liberals try to convey these "facts," they get no uptake. Indeed, they get denial. This leads to the stupidity hypothesis. Opponents of the liberal program aren't so much ignorant of facts as incapable of reasoning from and about them. In other words, they're stupid or unintelligent. They're incapable of thinking clearly or carefully, even about important matters such as equality, justice, and fairness. This explains the liberal mantra that conservatives, such as Presidents Reagan and Bush, are stupid. (See here for an explanation of this false liberal belief.) Note that if conservatives are stupid, liberals, by contrast, are intelligent. It's all very self-serving.

Deep down, liberals know that conservatives are no less intelligent than they are. It just makes them feel good to say as much. So they attribute the pervasive belief in responsibility and desert to greed. Opponents of the liberal program are greedy. They won't admit the truth because they don't want to share the wealth. They take the positions they do, on matters such as affirmative action and welfare, to solidify their social position. Greed is bad, of course, so if you reject the liberal program, you're evil. You put self-interest ahead of justice.

Here, in one neat package, we have all the liberal platitudes. Conservatives are ignorant, stupid, and evil, or some combination of the three. Either they don't grasp the obvious truth or they're incapable of thinking clearly or they don't give a damn about anyone but themselves. Liberals, of course, are the opposite of all these. They're knowledgeable, intelligent, and good. Note that if you believe your opponents to be stupid or evil, you don't try to reason with them. Stupid people, like animals and children, need guidance by their superiors. Evil people need suppression. It's often been remarked that liberals are less adept than conservatives at arguing for their views. Now you see why. They don't practice.

That, in a nutshell, is the liberal mentality. It explains why liberals are so angry, hateful, and spiteful and why they resort to courts rather than to legislatures to implement their vision of the just society. They have given up hope of engaging their adversaries on rational ground. They know that they can't muster a majority for their causes. To liberals, only the outcome matters, not the process. Without power, their egalitarianism is mere fantasy. But conservatives should be careful not to dismiss it as such, for liberals have demonstrated that they will do whatever it takes to secure and retain power. We saw it in the case of Robert Bork. We saw it in the case of Bill Clinton. We see it in the case of war in Iraq. To the liberal, the end justifies the means. Take it from me, a former liberal.

Keith Burgess-Jackson, J.D., Ph.D., is a frequent contributor to Tech Central Station. He is Associate Professor of Philosophy at The University of Texas at Arlington, where he teaches courses in Logic, Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, and Philosophy of Law. He has two stinkers, Sophie and Shelbie, and two hyperactive blogs: AnalPhilosopher and Animal Ethics.

I am a retired sailor living in the high desert of Fabulous Las Vegas. I will be posting my sometimes rambling thoughts on the War on Terror, Presidential Politics and a whole host of other issues. Liberals be forewarned, you will not like what I have to say, but you will need to get over it.