March 9, 2004

Kerry Flip-Flops on Arafat

In an interview with the Associates Press, John Kerry backpedaled away from his 1997 assertion that Yasser Arafat was a "statesman" who was a role model for aspiring leaders of oppressed people:

In a 1997 book, Kerry described "Arafat's transformation from outlaw to statesman." But in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday he said he no longer views Arafat favorably. "Obviously, Yasser Arafat has been an impediment to the peace process," said Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee-in-waiting. "He missed a historic opportunity and he's proved himself to be irrelevant." ...

Referring to the Palestinian leader as a statesman would be potentially damaging in Florida, which has a heavy Jewish population and a Democratic primary Tuesday. Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas also hold primaries Tuesday.

"He was (a statesman) in 1995," Kerry said, recalling frequent White House meetings between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in search of peace in the Middle East.

For those who aren't clear on the context, John Kerry wrote a book that he published in 1997 titled The New War, explaining his worldview on many global issues, and one to which Kerry points as evidence of his foreign-policy expertise. Unfortunately for Kerry, he's been proven mostly wrong. Kerry asserted that the primary national-security threat facing the US after the collapse of the Soviet Union would be global crime syndicates, whose terror threat would be criminal in nature, not military and political. His book failed to predict the rise of Islamofascist terror, even though Islamofascists had been attacking US interests since 1979, and never mentions Osama bin Laden, as TNR's Michael Crowley noted in January (reprinted by CBS News):

... he failed to acknowledge even the possibility that those threats could be military. That view showed in the positions Kerry took in the mid-'90s, questioning the size of America's defense and intelligence budgets -- positions that may also stem from his innate suspicion of the covert military and CIA operatives best-suited to fight terrorists (the sort of people Kerry exposed in his Central American investigations and who committed some heinous acts in Vietnam).

Kerry probably kicks himself for it today, but in 1997 he apparently didn't have much to say about Islamic fundamentalism. The name Osama bin Laden does not appear in The New War, even though, by the time Kerry wrote his book, bin Laden had become a notorious figure (as evidenced by an August 1996 New York Times front-pager identifying bin Laden as a frightening anti-American terrorist with ties to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing).

Nor was Kerry alone in his admiration for Arafat. Despite decades as the world's most notorious terrorist, the Clinton administration insisted that Arafat be treated as a legitimate negotiator for peace, foisting him on the Israelis who would otherwise have cheerfully seen him dead. In this, Kerry's support has helped to create the so-called intifada that currently rages in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This calls into question Kerry's judgment (not to mention Clinton), because Arafat was no cipher -- he was known to have headed the organization that 20 years earlier, gunned down two US diplomats in cold-blooded murder, and evidence existed that Arafat himself planned and ordered their execution:

On this day 30 years ago, two American diplomats were machine-gunned to death at the Saudi embassy in Sudan by Yasser Arafat's Black September organization. Details of the brutal executions filled the front pages of newspapers around the world for several days in early March 1973. ...

Two years ago, James J. Welsh told WorldNetDaily of virtually irrefutable evidence that Arafat himself planned, directed and ordered the murders of U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel, U.S. Charges d'affaires George Curtis Moore and Belgian Guy Eid on March 2, 1973.

Audio tapes made in Cyprus and U.S. embassies in Beirut and Khartoum left no doubt that it was Arafat's voice directing the operation from Feb. 28 the day before the men were kidnapped to their execution two days later, Welsh said in an interview with WND on Friday.

While it's entirely possible that Kerry had no idea that Arafat personally directed the mission that murdered two diplomats, it was well known since the killings that Black September was responsible and that Arafat was the head of Black September. The Clinton administration therefore insisted on creating a diplomatic partnership with the man responsible for murdering US diplomats, and John Kerry in 1997 considered him a "statesman" and supported that initiative. It's not like this was a youthful passion for freedom fighters, either, like a teenager's philosophical crush on Che Guevara; in 1997, Kerry had just been elected to his third term in the Senate.

This demonstrates the bankruptcy of John Kerry's "vision" in foreign affairs, a naivete that would be charming if it wasn't so deadly. In a world where seriously deadly people want to kill Americans by the thousands, we simply can't afford to have that level of ineptitude in the White House.

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John Kerry, the Viet Nam war hero, as we have learned all too well, has no real opinions. He simply blurts out the first thing that pops into his mind that he feels will go over well with the group [Read More]

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