On arrogance, Iraq, CBS, Vietnam, Teresa, I-me-my, etc.

Ross Mackenzie
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Posted: Sep 28, 2004 12:00 AM

A smorgasbord of items affecting the presidential campaign, particularly the Democratic challenger. . .

In declaring he is "taking the gloves off" and going on the attack against President Bush, John Kerry says the president is wrong in stating about Iraq - as he told the United Nations Wednesday - that "the advance of liberty is the path to a safer world." Kerry stands over there in the same camp with the U.N.'s Kofi Annan, who terms the war "illegal" because it lacks U.N. sanction. Kerry also says Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi is wrong not only about the good flowing from the war but also about how the war itself is going. Kerry calls Bush and his policies "arrogant." The better question: In this face-off over Iraq, who is the locked-on leader and who the patronizing patrician?

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Kerry carries the politician's penchant for arrogance to new extremes. A comparison of the use of "I," "me," or "my" in presidential nomination acceptance speeches produced some interesting numbers. Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 - 69 times in a 4,300-word speech; Harry Truman in 1948 - 56 times in a 2,700-word speech; Ronald Reagan in 1980 - 40 times in a 4,700-word speech; George W. Bush in 2004 - 96 times in a 5,044-word speech; John Kerry - 124 times in a 5,161-word speech.

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What Kerry is saying now about Iraq differs diametrically from what he said on "Meet the Press" on Jan. 11 when he was disagreeing with Howard Dean:

I think the judgment of a nominee who doesn't understand that having Saddam Hussein captured will make it extraordinarily difficult to be able to beat an incumbent wartime president who captured Saddam Hussein. . . . Saddam Hussein took us to war once before. In that war, young Americans were killed. He went to war in order to take over the oil fields. It wasn't just an invasion of Kuwait. He was heading for the oil fields of Saudi Arabia. And that would have had a profound effect on the security of the United States. This is a man who used weapons of mass destruction, unlike other people on this Earth today, not only against other people - but against his own people. This is a man who tried to assassinate a former president of the United States, a man who lobbed 36 missiles into Israel in order to destabilize the Middle East, a man who is so capable of miscalculation that he even brought the war on himself. This is a man who, if he was left uncaptured, would have continued to be able to organize the Baathists. He would have continued to terrorize the people, just in their minds, because of 30 years of terror in Iraq.

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Regarding the bogus Rather memos, some questions the CBS anchor might have insisted on answers to before his fall: (1) Where had the memos been during the many times the Guard story had been investigated during George Bush's political career?; (2) Were there other memos from the period that looked similar?; (3) Where were the originals?; and (4) Who - name and Social Security number - was the original source?

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Talk about ideological arrogance: Just a week or so ago the pre-humbled Rather was saying:

(a) "My colleagues and I at '60 Minutes' made great efforts to authenticate these documents and to corroborate the story as best we could. . . . I think the public is smart enough to see from whom some of this criticism is coming and draw judgments about what the motivations are;."

(b) "Powerful and extremely well-financed forces are concentrating on questions about the documents because they can't deny the fundamental truth of the story. This is your basic fogging machine, which is set up to cloud the issue, to obscure the truth."

And (c) "I don't back down. I don't cave when the pressure gets too great from these partisan political ideological forces."

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The Democrats have been all over Bush's Guard service like flies on honey. Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe insists: "It has become crystal clear that the president has lied to the American public about his military service." For his part, Bush has not reciprocated the rhetoric. Never mind that Kerry refuses to authorize the release of all his military records to the public. About Kerry's time in the military, President Bush - one of 19 presidents who served in the National Guard and received an honorable discharge - says, "I think Senator Kerry served admirably."

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When Kerry returned from Vietnam and joined Jane Fonda on the peacenik ramparts, some of the things he said - about "war crimes" and "war criminals" in the U.S. military - are still reverberating. Less well known is this, from his early 1970s book "The New Soldier" (which Kerry will not authorize for re-publication): "We (Vietnam Veterans Against the War) are probably angriest about all that we were told about Vietnam and about the mystical war against communism."

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Such statements against the anti-communist enterprise in Vietnam emboldened the enemy. Several years ago The Wall Street Journal carried this comment by Bui Tin, who served on the general staff of the North Vietnamese Army and received South Vietnam's unconditional surrender on April 30, 1975:

Support for the war from our rear was completely secure, while the American rear was vulnerable. Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9 a.m. to follow the growth of the anti-war movement. Visits to Hanoi by Jane Fonda and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses. We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she was ashamed of American actions in the war and would struggle along with us. . . . Those people represented the conscience of America - part of its war-making capability - and we turned that power in our favor.

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Kerry's wife may have given part of the game away when she explained her three names: "My legal name is still Teresa Heinz. Teresa Heinz Kerry is my name - for politics."

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"Source Denies Story of Drugs in Bush Book" read a recent headline in The New York Times. The ensuing news story noted that on page 575 of Kitty Kelley's anti-Bush tract, a man is quoted as saying Laura Bush in her college days at Southern Methodist University "not only smoked dope (marijuana) but she sold dope." The man - Robert Nash - said in a September 15 e-mail that (according to The Times) "his remarks were taken out of context" and "he had no firsthand information about any drug-related activity by Mrs. Bush."