Where does John Kerry stand on the war in Iraq today? Where did he stand yesterday? The week before? Where will he stand between now and November? What does he really believe about it?
This isn't just another superfluous column on Kerry's wishy-washy-ness. After all, foolish consistencies are apparently the hobgoblin of little Republican minds. No, I'm not even going to get into Kerry's recent admission that we still might find WMD in Iraq. (Memo to John: We just did). Nor will I expect an apology from the senator for repeatedly calling the president a liar about WMD: "He misled every one of us."
I also won't emphasize Kerry's bizarre turnaround saying he would now consider appointing pro-life justices to the Supreme Court when a few months ago he made it clear he would apply a pro-abortion litmus test for his judicial appointments.
No, the point here is not to demonstrate Kerry's vintage vacillation in general, which is no more difficult than shooting ducks in a barrel. Rather, it is to call your attention specifically to his obvious uncertainty about what we should do in Iraq and just how scary that is for a man who is but a red state or two away from the Oval Office.
While Kerry's felicitous flip-flopping facility should give us pause over his leadership credentials, its particular application to his policy toward Iraq is sobering. Do we ever stop to think just how serious our mission in Iraq is and how difficult it will be to accomplish even with a resolute, decisive commander in chief?
Well, what if in November we wind up with a new president who isn't even convinced we should be in Iraq, much less that we ought to stay there? Forget Kerry's squalid squishiness - just tell me what he believes about Iraq and about American security.
Not long ago he acknowledged, perhaps reluctantly, that we had to stay the course in Iraq. He even suggested he might send in more troops to get the job done.
Granted, I could never square his newfound hawkishness with his competition with Howard Dean during the primaries to prove which was the most anti-war candidate. But in the last few days we see that he's reverting to form, hinting at a possible pullout of our troops from Iraq. Maybe his recidivism can be traced to his recent meetings with his new best buddies Ralph Nader and Howard Dean.
During an interview with Associated Press reporters, after first lambasting President Bush for the umpteenth time for his "unilateralism," which just makes me nauseous, frankly, he gave us yet another "nuanced" position on Iraq.
In a knee-jerk, anti-Vietnam-like, deja vu moment, the enlightened senator and best friend of Ted Kennedy, promised to avoid a quagmire in Iraq, saying, "It will not take long to do what is necessary" there.
Then, doing an unwitting impersonation of the man (Richard Nixon) all Democrats continue to loathe almost as much as President Bush, Kerry said, "It will not be like Vietnam. I will get our troops home from Iraq with honor and with the interests of our country entirely protected." Hold it - isn't that exactly like Vietnam was supposed to be? Vietnamization, anyone?
Disturbingly, ominously, Kerry referred to Iraq as the "death zone." "I'm not going to tell you we won't shift deployments from one place to another, but we're not going to be engaged in an active kind of death zone the way we are today," said Kerry.
Chew on that for a minute. We can conduct war from distant ships that fire cruise missiles or from bombers 30,000 feet over enemy terrain, but we will not put our troops in harm's way.
I challenge you to find some coherency in John Kerry's approach to terrorism and Iraq. If our cause in Iraq is important, wasn't it worth pursuing despite our failure to persuade every last one of the nations Kerry deemed indispensable to the coalition, like France and Germany, to join us?
And shouldn't we continue until we complete the mission, rather than allowing the antiwar voices at home to prevail - as Senator Kerry and his ilk did 30 years ago?
At this point in our national history, nothing is more important - apart from spiritual things - than how we provide for our national security. With President Bush, at least, we know where we stand. We know where he stands.
We know he has the courage and leadership to steer the ship of state in the direction of the nation's best interests during this time of war. With John Kerry, we truly don't have a clue.