Jewish World Review Feb. 26, 2004 / 4 Adar, 5764
The Kerry Doctrine
Sen. John Forbes Kerry laid out what might be called the Kerry doctrine
that no one who did not serve in Vietnam has the right to criticize
voting record on national security issues in remarks to reporters Feb.
21, and in a letter to President Bush the same day.
"I don't know what it is about what these Republicans who didn't serve in
any war have against those of us who are Democrats who did," Kerry told
Kerry had taken umbrage at a statement made the day before by Republican
Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia. Chambliss predicted political trouble
Kerry because of Kerry's "32-year history of voting to cut defense
and defense systems."
Chambliss was engaging in hyperbole. Kerry wasn't elected to the Senate
until 1984, so he only has a 19-year history of voting to cut defense
programs and defense systems.
But what a history it is. In those 19 years, Kerry has voted to cut the
tank, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the Apache helicopter, the B-1 bomber,
the B-2 bomber, the Tomahawk cruise missile, the Patriot air defense
missile, the Navy's F-14 fighter, the Air Force's F-15 fighter, the
Harrier, the Navy's Aegis cruisers, the MX missile, and national missile
defense. There is scarcely a weapon system that brought us victory in
Operation Iraqi Freedom that Kerry didn't oppose.
Kerry also opposed the liberation of Grenada, the liberation of
the first Gulf War, and President Clinton's intervention in Bosnia. Not
mention the Vietnam war.
What is at issue is not Kerry's patriotism, but his judgment. Kerry would
be the first war veteran the Democrats have nominated for president since
George McGovern in 1972. But though Americans honored McGovern for his
service as a bomber pilot in World War II, they found his judgment on
national security issues to be questionable.
As on so many other things, Kerry wants to have it both ways on Vietnam.
touts his war service, and he and other Democrats have maligned that of
President Bush. But Kerry wants to declare off limits any examination of
his record as an anti-war protester, when he falsely accused his fellow
Vietnam veterans of routinely committing grisly war crimes.
Samuel Johnson was wrong. Patriotism isn't "the last refuge of
The last refuge of a scoundrel is to try to shut off debate on the public policy positions he has taken by falsely accusing those who raise legitimate questions of maligning his patriotism.
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