Jewish World Review Sept. 23, 2004 / 8 Tishrei, 5764

Thomas Sowell

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A blank resume | If someone applied to you for a job but didn't want to talk about what he has been doing in the last 20 years, wouldn't you be suspicious? Might you not think he was insulting your intelligence by expecting you to hire him on the basis of what he did decades ago?

Yet for the most important job in this country — indeed, the most important job in the world — Senator John Kerry has applied by talking about what he did in a wholly different job back in the 1960s.

Never mind that people who were actually there with him in the 1960s dispute what a great job he did then. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that he did all the things he said he did and none of the things that eyewitnesses in Vietnam said he did. How does that qualify anyone to be President of the United States?

The Kerry campaign and the liberal media want to make this election a referendum on President Bush, especially as regards Iraq. That too is an insult to our intelligence.

If the same job applicant who won't discuss his own qualifications just keeps complaining about the performance of someone whose job he wants to take, would you think that was enough reason to hire him?

Anybody can complain. Anybody can make great promises. And anybody can insult your intelligence by expecting you to vote for him on that basis.

Has the war in Iraq gone according to plan? No! But name any war that did.

Even World War II — the "good war" of "the greatest generation" — didn't go according to plan. The invasion of Normandy was a historic feat but lots of things went wrong.

Our paratroops who were dropped behind enemy lines were dropped in the wrong places. Intelligence reports about the big gun emplacements our troops were supposed to knock out turned out to be wrong.

Our own bombers accidentally dropped bombs on American troops, killing over a hundred men. We got caught completely by surprise by the German counter-attack that led to the Battle of the Bulge. But we won the war — and that's the bottom line.

Any Civil War buff can spend hours telling you all the mistakes that were made on both sides. Robert E. Lee, whom many regard as the greatest general in that war, was so mortified by one of his disasters that he offered his resignation.

Mistakes in war are not new. What is new is a widespread lack of realism about war, especially among people who have never been in the military, who are like the proverbial little kid on a trip who keeps asking: "Are we there yet?"

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This is the constituency that Senator Kerry is appealing to with his reckless attacks on the President and his loud assertions that he could do better. But just what has Senator Kerry actually done better during his long political career?

Not national defense, with his record of having voted repeatedly to cut the military budget and the budget of the intelligence agencies. The whole gambit of making Vietnam the centerpiece of the Kerry campaign makes sense only as a way of enabling his spinmeisters to say: "How dare you question his record on national defense, when he has defended this nation in battle?"

Nor do Senator Kerry's denunciations of the intelligence agencies mean that he would do a better job in that department. As a member of the Senate committee on intelligence, John Kerry missed three-quarters of its public meetings.

Confronted with this, the Kerry camp replied that this does not count what he did in the closed meetings of the intelligence committee. Moreover, his spinmeisters added, he was vice-chairman of that committee.

But Senator Kerry refused to give permission for the committee to release his attendance records at the closed meetings. And, as far as being vice-chairman, that was Senator Bob Kerrey.

How many times must John Kerry insult our intelligence before the voters get it? Incidentally, have you noticed how both the Democrats and the liberal media avoid referring to him as "Senator"? Using that title would raise the awkward question of what John Kerry has actually done in the Senate. Not much.

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JWR contributor Thomas Sowell, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, is author of several books, including his latest, "Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One." (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) To comment please click here.


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