But first, a little background. I recently wrote a column addressing Kerry's apparent reversal on Iraq after President Bush demanded that he tell us whether he would have voted for the Iraq war resolution given what we know now about our failure to find WMD stockpiles there.
Kerry said he would answer the question "directly," and then proceeded to answer it indirectly. Yes, he would still vote for the resolution authorizing President Bush to attack Iraq.
Silly me. I took him at his word and wrote a column pointing out how inconsistent this "clarification" was with his convention speech promise that we'd only go to war "if we had to," not because we wanted to.
Kerry's handlers immediately said Kerry didn't really mean that he would have approved of going to war with Iraq, just that he would still have voted for the resolution authorizing President Bush to attack Iraq. The difference, you see, is that Kerry believed Bush would only go to war as a last resort and, then, only after he'd exhausted all efforts to build a larger coalition, to include those nations who hate America.
It appears that Kerry was splitting hairs again, engaged in another dodge that would permit him to continue threading the needle between well-grounded Americans who want to know their president will safeguard America's national security interests and the Michael Moore nutcases that constitute at least five of the six carburetors of Kerry's presidential campaign engine.
Perhaps President Bush, understanding Kerry's inability to stay put on any issue, should have added more qualifiers to his question. He should have asked him, "Would you, Senator, have voted to allow me to attack Iraq knowing that 1) we were not going to find WMD there and 2) I was not going to wait for Saddam to violate another 17 U.N. resolutions, correct his 12,000-page report of lies or shoot down some of our jets over the no-fly zone, and 3) I was not about to wait for the permission of France, Germany and Russia?
But forget the indirection, nuance and semantics. Given that this war on terror is going to persist for years, how would Kerry approach another rogue state -- such as Iran -- in the face of strong evidence that this nation constituted, say, a "gathering threat" to our national security?
Actually, pondering such questions is what scares me most about a Kerry presidency during these dangerous times. His worldview seems to make him impervious to certain moral distinctions among nations and the nature of the threat some might pose to our national security.
Kerry has been consistent on a few things over the years. He has been slow to recognize America's enemies. He was oblivious to the nature and threat of global communism. He still does not comprehend the nature and threat of terrorism. And he has always wanted to play "Mother, may I," with our "allies."
Just go back and read his 1971 Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony, set out in Chapter 6 of "Unfit for Command." He peddled the Communist propaganda that Vietnam was engaged in a civil war, that the Vietnamese people "didn't even know the difference between communism and democracy" and that America's actions were morally equivalent to the Viet Cong's. (In 1971, Kerry also described as "ludicrous" predictions that there would be a bloodbath if we were to withdraw. Yet the Communists killed an estimated 3.5 million people in their post-war purges and placed possibly a million in "reeducation camps" when we withdrew.)
And, in a foreshadowing of his obsession with "multilateralism," Kerry said, "We found also that all too often, American men were dying in those rice paddies for want of support from their allies."
This consistent pattern provides a glimpse into Kerry's soul, where we find a man who simply doesn't sufficiently grasp the profound differences between freedom and tyranny, between a benevolent power and the evil forces that want to destroy it.
If Kerry is elected president, we honestly don't know whether he would clearly perceive threats to our national security. He voted against the first Gulf War. He's been all over the board with the second one. He even thought it was necessary to assure us that he would indeed respond if America were attacked! Now that's reassuring.
The main reason Kerry has been inconsistent on the Iraq question is that he's been trying to fit a square peg (his antiwar DNA) into a round hole (the nation's awareness that we are in a dangerous war). America can't afford to take the risk of electing him.