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February 11, 2004
Kerry Senate Testimony Discovered

Hugh Hewitt dedicated tonight's program to the transcripts of John Kerry's Senate testimony on the Vietnam War in 1970. The document is fascinating as a historical snapshot of the times in which it occurred, but also a very disturbing insight into what drives John Kerry in politics. Hugh has covered some of the more ridiculous items, and Power Line goes over quite a few more, which I'll touch on in a moment. I'm more interested in Kerry's philosophy, not so much how wrong his analysis of the situation wound up being, although that's important, too.

For instance, there's this nugget on page 195:

I think that politically, historically, the one thing that people try to do, that society is structured on as a whole, is an attempt to satify their felt needs, and you can satisfy those felt needs with any kind of political structure, giving it one name or another. [emph mine] In this name it is democratic; in others it is communism; in others it is benevolent dictatorship. As long as those needs are satisfied, that structure will exist.

Think about what Kerry said in his testimony in the Senate, in the halls of the greatest experiment in self-government in human history. In a few phrases, Kerry breezily equated the oppression of communism and "benevolent" dictatorship (any examples, Senator?) with democracy, and asserted that the differences were a mere matter of semantics. This is emblematic of the leftist moral relativism that instructs people that the West is not special, that a system of freedom and liberty is no better than systems that consciously and deliberately starved millions to death for political purposes. It's not hard to see from this quote why Kerry couldn't be bothered about the results of our pullout from South Vietnam; in fact, during his entire testimony, he argues for an immediate and unilateral withdrawal, joking with the panel that the North Vietnamese would be more likely to carry our bags to the airport than our allies in the South. I wonder if he still finds that funny.

Later, when Kerry is asked about his statement that Congress didn't really represent the people, Kerry replies with the arrogance of the ignorant (page 201):

CHAIR: ... all these people get here because of support back home, as you know. They are simply representative of their constituents. You do accept that, I believe.

KERRY: Partially, not totally ... As someone who ran for office for 3 1/2 weeks, I am aware of the many problems involved, and in many places, you can take certain districts of New York, the structure is such that people can't really run and represent necessarily the people. People don't care. The apathy is so great that they believe they are being represented when in fact they are not.

Typically, Kerry assumes that he has a complete perspective after a whopping 25 days on the campaign trail, and also assumes that support for politics he opposes springs from apathy rather than agreement. If only the poor benighted masses would just wake up, they'd all be Kerry supporters.

And then there is this, at page 190, an echo of the type of argument that was given to oppose action in 1991 and 2003, and really every single effort we've made since Vietnam:

KERRY: ... I think at this point the United States is not really in a position to consider the happiness of those people as it pertains to the army in our withdrawal. We have to consider the happiness of the people as pertains to the life which they will be able to lead in the next few years....

The war will continue. So what I'm saying is that, yes, there will be some recrimination but far, far less than the 200,000 a year who are murdered by the United States of America, and we can't go around -- President Kennedy said this, many times. He said that the United States simply can't right every wrong, that we can't solve the problems of the other 94 percent of mankind. We didn't go into East Pakistan; we didn't go into Czechoslovakia. Why then should we feel that we now have the power to solve the internal political struggles of this country?

Once again, we're given the defeatist argument that since we can't solve every problem everywhere simultaneously, we should do nothing instead and only "help other people in an altruistic fashion commensurate with our capacity," whatever that meant. But at least at the start of the conflict, it was no more an internal power struggle than was the Korean War. In both wars, the Russians and Chinese were involved in trying to drive all other forms of government except Stalinist/Maoist communism from the Asian continent. South Vietnam was a separate nation as recognized by the UN at the time and an ally of the US. Distinctions such as these didn't move the young Kerry at the time despite his self-description as an "internationalist". It points out a tremendous question as to whether a President Kerry would honor mutual-defense agreements when circumstances invoke them, even if they fit into his international model, as did the original Gulf War in 1990/91 -- and Kerry voted to oppose action to repair the international order, even with UN support.

Hugh and Power Line do a great job in pointing out Kerry's fatally mistaken understanding of global politics, and their analyses are spot-on, especially Big Trunk's series of examples where the left's identical approach resulted in well-meaning but fatal disaster. What Kerry's record demonstrates to me is that Kerry's philosophical approach hasn't changed at all, and that means that if elected, he will lead us on another string of foreign-policy appeasements and retreats, making the world a much more dangerous place.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 11, 2004 10:30 PM

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» Overslept the quiz from SCSU Scholars
Hugh Hewitt gave a question for the NA on whether Kerry's behavior in his 1971 testimony, which just about everybody and his mother-in-law has read by now. I dunno; in my view the way Kerry should handle this is pretty simple. A one-sentence answer: [Read More]

Tracked on February 12, 2004 4:19 PM

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