In his first visit to a war zone since 1969, Senator John Kerry visited troops in Iraq last week. “(Kerry) wants to personally thank our troops for their service, focus on the steps that must be taken to achieve success in Iraq and hear from experts in the region,” Kerry spokesperson April Boyd said. (Boston Globe, Jan 4, 2005). There is no truth to the rumor, however, that he rammed his unarmored Humvee into a barricade full of terrorists, shot a young man wearing a loin cloth and came back to the States with another Purple Heart and a trunk full of war hero videos directed by Michael Moore.
Call it the liberal’s “Demoralization Tour 2005.” Democratic senators Hillary Clinton and Jack Reed completed a similar “fact finding” trip to Afghanistan and Iraq over Thanksgiving 2003 addressing our men and women on the battlefield and pointing out the many problems with the Bush-Rumsfeld war plan. Sitting over a turkey dinner, Clinton and Reed pointed out that the outcome of this war was “not assured,” that these soldiers’ commander-in-chief had a personal vendetta with Saddam Hussein, and that the Pentagon “tried to make do with as few troops as possible??¢â???¬ ¦and didn’t fully appreciate the conditions we could encounter.” These young men and women were thousands of miles from family, lonely on a day to give thanks, and were subjected to liberal doom and gloom.
The San Francisco Chronicle (Jan 6, 2005) headlined the left’s latest effort to use our military forces as a bully pulpit as “Kerry Cheered in Baghdad, Decries Bush Team’s ‘Blunders.'” One wonders if it were American troops cheering or the insurgents.
In several instances, Kerry charged the Bush administration with “horrendous judgments” and “unbelievable blunders.” “No insurgency is defeated by conventional military power alone,” he said. “What is sad about what’s happening here now is that so much of it is a process of catching up from the enormous miscalculations and wrong judgments made in the beginning.”
There is a time and place for anti-war dissent and political discourse. Kerry campaigned last year on just that. Taking it to the troops on the front line, though, does nothing to “support” them and everything to undermine them. It does everything to prop up murderers and thugs in spider holes across the region.
As I documented in my recent bestseller Reckless Disregard, General Vo Nguyen Giap, the North Vietnamese military commander and master strategist, wrote in his memoirs, published in 1985, that if it weren’t for the war protesters and the lack of American resolve, Hanoi would have surrendered to the United States thirty-five years ago. Ho Chi Minh concluded, “We don’t need to win military victories, we only need to hit them until they give up and get out.”
And that’s precisely what Osama, al Zarqawi and the boys are hoping for. They’ve read the book and they’ve seen the movie. And today’s liberal politician plays right into their hands.
Our troops thrive on positive messages, encouragement, motivation, and the knowledge that their sacrifices are recognized and supported at home. Their morale comes from their pride in being America’s defenders of freedom. It’s key to what keeps them going when the going gets tough, and the primary obligation of leadership is to strengthen morale.
What our soldiers in combat continue to hear from liberal politicians and the main stream media is that their president was wrong to employ them, that he did so for selfish political gain, that he has not provided the proper resources, and that their buddies’ lives may have been lost in vain. Being told you might die for a war that was a mistake is not a stimulant for unit morale.
Just as the Kerry campaign faults their own strategy vis a vis the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth and not their candidate’s lack of core principles such as honor, character and integrity, so too does Kerry completely miss the point.
This war will be won on the backs of America’s greatest generation. Not that of our World War II ancestors but of today’s young men and women, in uniform, sacrificing life and limb for liberty. It can be lost on the streets of Washington, D.C., Boston, and San Francisco. Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it.
On his way westward, Kerry paid a visit to Damascus, Syria and President Bashar Assad. There is no truth to the rumor, apparently, that he was on his honeymoon. “I think we found a great deal of areas of mutual interest, some common concerns,” Kerry told reporters. President Bush has recently warned Syria and Iran against involvement in the affairs of Iraq. As Kerry departed Damascus, a 13-year old Syrian boy approached him and said, “I wish you were the president.” “Thank you very much. So do I,” Kerry said. (AP, Jan 8, 2005)