George Will

WASHINGTON -- Mr. Kerry, in your convention speech you threw caution to the wind and endorsed what you called ``one of the oldest Commandments: `Honor thy father and thy mother.''' Oldest? Were they not all published together?

     Here are some other questions:

     You invoke the Commandment to explain why you ``will not cut'' Social Security benefits. Does that include raising the retirement age, which Congress set at 65 in 1935, when the life expectancy of an American male was 62?

     Regarding military action, your platform says ``we will never wait for a green light from abroad when our safety is at stake.'' But the platform's preceding paragraph denounces President Bush's ``doctrine of unilateral pre-emption.'' If unilateralism is wrong, are you not committed to some sort of ``green light from abroad''?

     Are you glad that in 1981 Israel set back Iraq's nuclear weapons program with a unilateral pre-emptive attack on the reactor near Baghdad?

     Your platform says: ``A nuclear-armed Iran is an unacceptable risk.'' But Iran's radical Islamist regime is undeterred by diplomatic hand-wringing about its acquisition of nuclear weapons, which may be imminent. Is pre-emptive military action against Iran feasible, or are its nuclear facilities too dispersed and hardened? What would you do other than accept Iran as a nuclear power?

     Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian says, ``We have reached an internal consensus that insists on Taiwan being an independent sovereign country.'' Beijing's military chief recently said Taiwan will be reunified with the mainland by 2020, the first reunification deadline ever set. On an island physically similar to Taiwan, Beijing recently simulated an invasion. Would you respond with force -- unilaterally, if necessary -- to defend Taiwan?

     The Clinton years were, you say, glorious because ``we were not at war and young Americans were not deployed.'' Did not the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, followed by the attacks on the Khobar Towers, the USS Cole and the East African embassies mean we were at war but were uncomprehending? Have not scores of thousands of young Americans been deployed, ashore and on ships, since 1942?  

     You supported humanitarian military interventions in Somalia, the Balkans and Haiti. Would you intervene militarily to stop the accelerating genocide in Sudan?

George Will

George F. Will is a 1976 Pulitzer Prize winner whose columns are syndicated in more than 400 magazines and newspapers worldwide.
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