rm On Friday, July 23, Sen. John Kerry took the first significant substantive act of what would be a Kerry presidency: It was a cynical, possibly dangerous, political stunt. Within an hour or two of the 9-11 Commission releasing its final report, Mr. Kerry called for the immediate, comprehensive passage of the report's intelligence reorganization findings -- although he stated that he had had his initial briefing on that important report only that morning.
The report was 567 pages long -- so obviously neither he, nor his expert advisers, had had a chance to even read, let alone inwardly digest and consider, the full report. The report envisions by far the most fundamental re-ordering of our intelligence process since the 1947 act that created the CIA. If he should get elected president in November, he would be stuck with these historic changes -- since he has called for their immediate passage before the election.
Given the centrality of intelligence -- as never before in warfare -- to the war on terror in which he is seeking to lead our country, one would have hoped that he would take such a disrupting reform deadly seriously. But he chose to use the report -- which may or may not be the basis for effective reform -- as simply one more political arrow to shoot into the air.
Such serious men as Democratic Sen. Carl Levin (ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee) and Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel (Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees member), among other experts, have raised doubts about some of the recommendations and have urged careful deliberation prior to passage. Sen. Levin strongly opposes President Bush, and Senator Hagel has repeatedly criticized the president -- but on this momentous matter they are statesmen before they are politicians. Regretfully, Sen Kerry has shown himself to be a politician first.
As Sen. Hagel wrote this week in the Washington Post: "if we allow the current national consensus for intelligence reform to become a tool in the partisan rancor of presidential politics, we risk doing enormous damage to our intelligence community. We must not allow false urgency dictated by the political calendar to overtake the need for serious reform ..."
While both the speaker of the House and the president received the report respectfully (the president went to his ranch with his experts to read the report in full that weekend), John Kerry frivolously endorsed the report -- unread -- and went on the political attack. This abdication of responsibility tells us much about how unseriously Sen. Kerry takes his martial responsibilities as commander-in-chief.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.