Debra J. Saunders

 Never in my lifetime has a presidential campaign tried to get a candidate elected by insulting America's best allies, even as they are putting their sons' lives on the line. That's exactly what Sen. John Kerry has been doing for months now. And, as he has slid in the polls, Kerry's band of spinners has ratcheted up its ally bashing.

 Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi came to Washington last week to assure Congress that progress in Iraq is real and that elections will occur as scheduled. So the reaction of Joe Lockhart, a Kerry-campaign honcho? "The last thing you want to be seen as is a puppet of the United States, and you can almost see the hand beneath the shirt today moving the lips," said Lockhart.

 Cute. Allawi is Iraq's No. 1 terrorist target. He may not be a Boy Scout, but he is risking his life in order to bring democracy to his country. And Joe Lockhart chooses not only to insult Allawi but to do so in a way that, if anything, makes Allawi's job harder by undermining his credibility.

 Maybe Lockhart is too nuanced for me, but it seems odd to call a man a "puppet" for pushing for an outcome that is in his interest. Of course, Allawi would prefer the leader who talks about establishing an autonomous Iraq over the candidate who talks about his plan for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq. Allawi doesn't need a puppet master to know who is better for him.

 U.S. Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who is training Iraqi forces, wrote in The Washington Post this weekend that "more than 700 Iraqi force members have been killed, and hundreds of Iraqis seeking to volunteer for the police and the military have been killed as well." I'm curious. Are those 700-plus Iraqis puppets, too?

 Earlier this month, Kerry's sister, Diana Kerry, who is head of Americans Overseas for Kerry, told the Weekend Australian that Australia's support for the United States in Iraq is "endangering the Australians now by this wanton disregard for international law and multinational channels." Apparently, Camp Kerry thinks it can win new allies by bashing a government that has helped America in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 Listen to Kerry himself. The senator has said that, unlike Bush, he would build "a legitimate international coalition," implying that the U.S.-led coalition is illegitimate. Kerry also has dismissed the coalition as "unilateral" -- despite the fact (also missed by his sister) that 31 other countries have sent troops to Iraq.

Debra J. Saunders

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