Frank Gaffney
If the conventional wisdom is correct, today?s presidential election will be tightly contested and ultimately decided by the electorate?s concerns about winning the war against terrorists bent on our destruction. If the second indeed proves to be uppermost in the minds of American voters, however, this should not be a close election at all.

The truth of the matter is that John Kerry is woefully ill-equipped to wage this war. To be sure, he served in the military in Vietnam. His experience as a junior officer thirty-five years ago would be more of a credential for the role of Commander-in-Chief had he not spent virtually every moment subsequently disqualifying himself ? and doing so in ways that are directly relevant to today?s struggle.

For example, upon leaving Vietnam, Mr. Kerry made himself a leader of the effort to divide and demoralize the American people, allowing the North Vietnamese to win on our home front what they could not achieve on the battlefield. To this day, museums in Communist Vietnam reportedly pay tribute to the contribution the future presidential candidate made to the North?s victory.

Regrettably, Senator Kerry?s current political ambitions have caused him to reprise this anti-war role in his current bid for the White House. In the process, he has fed expectations at home that, if elected, he will bring the troops home from ?the wrong war? in Iraq. He has once again emboldened our adversaries to believe that they will prevail over an America that lacks the moral convictions or will to vanquish them.

While Messrs. Kerry and Edwards glibly talk about how much they ?support the troops? even as they demean their mission and leadership, such behavior can only have a negative effect on the armed forces? morale and performance. In a deeply moving ? and non-partisan ? address to the Center for Security Policy last month, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, observed that the one thing the troops want to know as they put themselves in harm?s way for their nation is: ?Are the American people behind us?? Senator Kerry must take no small measure of responsibility for imparting the invidious impression that nearly half the country is not.

Frank Gaffney

Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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