"(He is) decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent." Does anyone come to mind? Those were actually Winston Churchill's words describing the Hitler appeasers leading the British government prior to WW II. But it is an uncannily evocative description of John F. Kerry on the matter of Iraq in 2004.
In the last few months, Mr. Kerry has been for more troops and less troops, for believing the war was necessary (even knowing everything we now know), and for believing it is the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. He has stated that anyone who thinks removing Saddam Hussein was not good and necessary was not fit to be president, and that removing Saddam was a mistake. He has said that we must succeed in Iraq, no matter how many resources it takes, and that he will substantially reduce our troops in the first six months of his presidency and almost completely get out by the first four years.
At any given moment John Kerry sounds decided, resolved, adamant and powerful in his convictions. But just as the appeasers against whom Churchill railed seven decades ago, Mr. Kerry soon undecides his decisions, revokes his resolution, drifts away from his adamance, liquefies his solidity and gelds the potency of his previous conviction.
Anyone with such a recent record of ludicrous reversals and re-reversals would not be taken seriously enough to be quoted by the national press if he wasn't the standard bearer for a great party's presidential quest.
Now, let's try a few more quotes. "Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction." "I hear it said that West Berlin is militarily untenable -- as so was Bastogne, and so, in fact, was Stalingrad. Any danger spot is tenable if men -- brave men -- will make it so." Those were the words of John F. Kerry's hero, John F. Kennedy. It's amazing what a difference changing just four little letters in a last name can mean.
Jack Kennedy would "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe." For John Kennedy: "Only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility -- I welcome it."
It is ironic that in this time and in this place, the direct descendent of those words, and the virile passions they convey, can be found coming from the mouth and heart not of the Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry, but of his opponent, the Texas Republican George W. Bush.
Yesterday, addressing the den of jackals, thieves, petty dictators and other international flotsam -- which goes by the name of the United Nations General Assembly -- President Bush echoed the brave, necessary words of the once Prince of Camelot.
"We are determined to destroy terror networks wherever they operate ... We are determined to end the state sponsorship of terror ... we are determined to prevent proliferation and to enforce the demands of the world ... .The work ahead is demanding. But these difficulties will not shake our conviction that the future of Afghanistan and Iraq is a future of liberty. The proper response to difficulty is not to retreat, it is to prevail ... The advance of freedom always carries a cost -- paid by the bravest among us ...
"Let history also record that our generation of leaders followed through on these ideals, even in adversity. Let history show that in a decisive decade (we) did not grow weary in our duties, or waver in meeting them ... I am confident that this young century will be liberty's century. I believe we will rise to this moment ... I have faith in the transforming power of freedom."
None of us may predict what men from another time would think of our age. But it is hard to imagine that John Kennedy, a man who would -- and did -- "pay any price and bear any burden" could be heartened to see his near namesake and party son twist and turn, evade and avoid, rally and retreat on the supreme issues of war and peace in a desperate and unprincipled political hunger for high office. It is doubtful that JFK-1 would support JFK-2.