John Kerry, Unvarnished
I’ve refrained since 2004 from discussing anything Senator Kerry says because I believe he is ancient history, but his unbelievable comment Monday – and even more unbelievable comments Tuesday inspired some great postings by other blogs that I decided to bring to you. Of course, if you only watch network news or read the major newspapers, you didn’t get it.
October 31, 2006
Why Did He Do It?
“John Kerry's gaffe yesterday was a self-inflicted wound, greatly compounded by his refusal to apologize and his bizarre attack on the Republicans, as if they had somehow made him stick his foot in his mouth. One wonders what possessed Kerry to say that soldiers are both dumb and lazy: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq." And not only to say it, but to stand by it at considerable political cost.
It seems clear that the roots of Kerry's blunder--like so much else where Kerry is concerned--go back to Vietnam. It was an article of faith among liberals (and many others) at that time that the Army consisted largely of the poor--kids who couldn't get into college and thereby obtain a deferment. It was also an article of faith that non-white Americans died in disproportionate numbers in Vietnam. That turned out not to be true, and I confess that I was astonished to learn, only within recent years, that there was no such ethnic disproportion in the Vietnam dead.
The stereotype of the poor, dumb soldier is firmly entrenched among liberals of the Vietnam era. We often see it repeated by younger liberals today, even though the stereotype has no application whatever to our current volunteer army, which is demonstrably equal, at least, to the civilian population in talent and accomplishment.
Why are liberals so determined to hang on to these discredited stereotypes of the past? I suspect it is because the young men and women who serve in the armed forces are a constant reproach to liberals' facile, politically-motivated pronouncements on foreign policy. Iraq is a disaster (never mind that I voted for it)! But the young men and women who are stationed there don't think so. They re-enlist in remarkable numbers; a large majority beieve in their mission; and they are working hard, risking their lives, and making considerable progress on many fronts. So it's helpful for liberals to think: what do they know? They're only soldiers--they must be dumb!”
“If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook." Democrat Spinner
...But of course, in real life, "a veteran" did exactly that: one Lt. John Forbes Kerry, just returned from Vietnam, attacked his fellow crewmen and commanders of swift boats for war crimes, mass murder, cutting off body parts as trophies, raping, pillaging, and looting, and in general, behaving like "Genghis Khan," whatever that was supposed to mean.
I think that last comes from the common expression (common even in the early 1970s) that so-and-so is "to the right of Genghis Khan." I suspect Kerry mistakenly thought Genghis Khan was a Republican conservative Christian, possibly from rural Maine.
As the e-mailer to Power Line put it, "You bet your *** we think you'd slur the military because you've done it before." (I don't know whether the e-mailer wrote the asterisks or whether Paul Mirengoff edited.)
This goes to a larger point. Kerry clearly shares with many of his fellow Democrats, including fellow Democratic veterans, like John Murtha, Jimmy Carter, and Max Cleland, the notion that people in the military are just dummies. Most especially, this view is shared by the elite media and chickendoves like Howard Dean and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco, 100%).
How much does that anti-soldier attitude distort their understanding of the war in Iraq and how well or poorly it's going? If the media especially think of soldiers as uneducated rubes, rural hicks, and lazy slobs, mightn't that make them rather more willing to believe that they're screwing everything up?
And if they associate "military idiots" with "Southerners," then it makes perfect sense that they would lump Bush in with the rubes, hicks, and slobs, and be more than willing -- even eager -- to believe that Bush just bumbles everything.
Something of that ilk must be in play; because no matter how finely you slice it, it's just not possible to rationally believe the Iraq war is an unmitigated disaster, as clearly the Left and their cohorts in the media do:
• We overthrew Saddam Hussein in record time;
• We brought about several free elections in which the great majority of voting-age Iraqis participated (and their votes were counted);
• We've lost fewer than 3,000 people, even after three years and seven months;
• 16 of the 18 provinces of Iraq are relatively peaceful (as peaceful as any typical Arab country, that is);
• We have so far prevented terrorists from turning Iraq into another Somalia;
• Much of Iraq's economy and infrastructure is better today than it was before the war;
• And we have trained close to 300,000 Iraqi soldiers and national police, the vast majority of whom are serving honorably to protect their fledgling democracy;
• We haven't not been attacked since 9/11 by terrorism anywhere but where we're in combat.
Neither is it an unalloyed victory:
• We have failed to shut down the anti-democratic insurgency;
• There are still Salafist terrorists and Iranian-backed theocrats fighting in Iraq, in addition to the Saddamist insurgency;
• There is still a lot of killing in the two "bad" provinces (Anbar and Baghdad), in which a huge chunk of the population lives;
• There is still the potential -- though not yet the actuality -- of civil war in Iraq; it's still in the "gangland massacre" stage, but the possibility of expansion still exists.
The only rational conclusion is that the Iraq war currently has achieved mixed results, like the Korean war after the retreat down the Chosen and after we had begun battling our way back up the peninsula, but before the truce finally ended the war with an Allied victory. (No, Korea was not a "draw;" the victory condition for the North was to conquer the South, but the victory condition for the South was to survive as an independent nation, free of dominance by the crazy Maoists up north: that means that the good guys won in Korea.)
But if one believes that our soldiers, at all levels from raw recruit to the Commander in Chief, are complete incompetents and dolts... well, then obviously the problems in the second list are insurmountable; and the victories in the first list (to the extent the elite media even believes they happened) are attributable to the Iraqis themselves -- we had nothing to do with it. After all, how could Southern racists and ignoramuses possibly have achieved any of that?
This all flows out of what Thomas Sowell calls the Vision of the Anointed, from his book of that title. The subtitle says it all: "Self-Congratulation As a Basis for Social Policy."
Liberals don't merely believe their ideas are better than those of conservatives; they believe they are better than conservatives: intellectually and morally. This explains the repeated attempts this year to run on the theme of "the culture of corruption," notwithstanding that Democrats are as apt to be corrupt as Republicans: "even when we take money from lobbyists or diddle the pages," they argue, "we're actually doing so to serve a higher moral purpose -- so it's totally different!"
Perhaps Liberals hate the military because they see them as stupid, inept, lazy, and inferior; therefore, like fairy-tale ogres, they break everything they touch. They despise Southerners for the same reason, and Westerners, and... well, basically everyone who doesn't share "the Vision" that Sowell discusses. Only the "anointed" -- liberal Democrats -- can be trusted with the levers of power.
And I believe that is what we just saw slip out of John Kerry's mouth when he wasn't listening (thereby joining the tens of millions of others who never listen to what he says): more than anything else, he is annoyed by menials questioning the wisdom of their betters.
Sure, Kerry himself might "criticize the more than [500,000] heroes serving in [Vietnam]" when he returns from that war; but that was totally different, not to be questioned... not by the likes of you lot. Remember, in this context, his response to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and their campaign against him: rarely did he try to argue with them, point by point; he left that to subordinates and his natural allies in the antique media.
Rather, he bitterly attacked his accusers for being the wrong class of veteran... not good ones like himself, but bad ones who don't share the Vision, hence should simply be dismissed.
That has been the liberal Democratic position for decades now, going all the way back to Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal of the 1930s. After more than seventy years of failure, they still haven't learned their lesson: like all religious faiths, the Vision is not to be questioned. Ever.”
Finally, yesterday, Kerry flipflopped and issued an apology after vowing that he would not (Now what does that remind me of?). This was after many leading Democrats criticized him, some refused to be seen with him, and his friend, Imus, told him to knock it off. His original statement was almost certainly inadvertent, but totally revealing of his true attitude toward the American military.