Diana West

Maybe Kerry yearns for Saddam's Iraq because he also believes, as he told us this week, "Iraq is a profound diversion from ... the battle against our greatest enemy, Osama bin Laden and the terrorists." According to Kerry, the war in Iraq might as well be an extraterrestrial expedition for all it has to do with the global war (World War IV) provoked by the Al Qaeda attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The president knows better: "Coalition forces now serving in Iraq," George W. Bush told the U.N. General Assembly this week, "are confronting the terrorists and foreign fighters, so peaceful nations around the world will never have to face them within our own borders." Britain's Tony Blair, also this week, described the conflict in Iraq as "the crucible in which the future of this global war on terrorism will be decided."

After all we have learned about interlocking, overlapping Islamic terror groups spanning the globe, John Kerry's truncated analysis shows -- and I just hate to say it -- a troubling lack of nuance. How do you cordon off jihadist war in Iraq from jihadist war in the rest of the world? Kerry should realize that our enemies are linked by something stronger than politics or blood or nationality. They are linked by a belief that in fighting, beheading and killing non-Muslims, they are doing Allah's work. This belief took them to New York City. It took them to Beslan. It took them to Madrid. It takes them all the time to Jerusalem. And it's taking them to Baghdad.

And in Baghdad they await the results of our presidential election. In a way, this draws another line between John Kerry's past and present. In the early 1970s, Kerry did much to further the aims of the anti-war movement, a movement credited by, among others, General Vo Nguyen Giap, commander of North Vietnam's armed forces, with helping the North Vietnamese to victory. As a presidential candidate, Kerry has become the anti-war candidate. What does his message, that Iraq was a mistake, convey to our foes in the field? Not American resolve, that's for sure. More like a mega-attack of Vietnam Syndrome. And that doesn't help anyone in the crucible.


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).