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October 8, 2004
Kerry Calls Military Leadership Cowards, Lies About Shinseki Again

Hugh Hewitt is holding a virtual symposium on John Kerry's impromptu press conference yesterday, which Hugh has transcribed on his site. The entries have already begun arriving, and I thought I would toss my two cents in before the big trip to Notre Dame.

Right from the outset, with the bald and obvious lie about General Eric Shinseki being fired and the Bush administration having a "chilling" effect on career line officers, Kerry reveals his lack of insight into the military and his propensity to believe (or at least spread) the wildest conspiracy theories. We've seen this before, with his insistence that Republicans are conspiring to steal votes from millions of black people, or that they did that in 2000.

However, since Kerry is running to become Commander in Chief, this lie is especially egregious. Does he truly believe that career general officers in the US Armed Forces are so craven that they would gladly trade the lives of their men in order to suck up to the President? If he really believes that, you can bet that the first action he will take will be to purge the highest levels of command in order to correct this defect, which will set back our efforts to fight Islamofascists for years. And if he doesn't believe it, which is more likely, then deliberately lying about Shinseki and our military leadership for political gain is breathtakingly stupid and cowardly, and should present the electorate with a disqualification on this alone.

Here's what Kerry said:

Q. "If you are elected, given Paul Bremer's remarks, and deteriorating conditions as you have judged them, would you be prepared to commit more troops."

A. "I will do what the generals believe we need to do without having any chilling effect, as the president put in place by firing General Shinseki, and I'll have to wait until January 20th.

As Hugh notes from an RNC press release, that allegation is completely false. And if you don't like the source, you can check here at CNN for a confirmation from Jamie McIntyre, their senior Pentagon correspondent:

MCINTYRE: Now, Secretary Rumsfeld is fond of saying that everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own set of facts. And the fact that the Army chief of staff was not fired or forced to retire early is just that, Judy. It is a fact.

It's also a fact that Kerry wants to continue spreading lie after lie in order to get elected, and that would be bad enough if he had just stopped there. However, in the very next breath, Kerry announced that he would return to the pre-9/11 strategy of running from any difficult military position just as soon as he came into office, quite literally:

I don't know what I am going to find on January 20th, the way the president is going. If the president just does more of the same every day, and it continues to deteriorate, I may be handed Lebanon, figuratively speaking.

We notoriously bugged out of Lebanon, a rare foreign-policy mistake by Ronald Reagan that convinced the region that America had no stomach for military action. This impression, which only got reinforced under the Clinton Administration's "law enforcement" strategy to repeated and escalating provocations in the 1990s, directly led to the 9/11 attacks and Saddam's calculations in bribing the permanent UNSC members (see below). "Being handed Lebanon" communicates a hopeless situation where withdrawal becomes the only solution -- which would result in a disastrous collapse of our tactical and military credibility in the region and around the world.

In fact, it is the clearest communication yet from Kerry that he intends on surrendering, and quickly, once in office.

I'm out of time. Be sure to read through the other symposium entries, and read the rest of the press conference. John Kerry exposed himself as not just an empty suit, but a moral coward in his remarks yesterday.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 8, 2004 4:57 AM

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