The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Friday, May 21, 2004


Tom Maguire -- a charter member of TFM's prestigious "righties who seem civil" blogroll -- tries really, really hard to present some form of contradiction on the part of John Kerry regarding abortion.

The evidence he cites is this AP account.

There are a great many reasons for any Democratic senator to regret the confirmation of Scalia, going far beyond just his stance on abortion. The thrust of Kerry's point, anywhere you quote him, is that when an appointment comes up (and he'll be nominating and not advising/consenting as a Senator does) that has a direct impact on the future of legal choice for women, he will be the one at the wall, a la Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men.

Maguire also takes a moment to highlight the Iraq portion of the AP piece:
"It will not be like Vietnam," Kerry said. "I will get our troops home from Iraq with honor and with the interests of our country properly protected."

How soon? "It will not take long to do what is necessary. I'm not going to give you a specific date, but I'll tell you that I have a plan and I will put that plan in place." Republican Richard M. Nixon used similar language during the 1968 presidential race, but the war dragged on for years after his election.
Stop the presses! Suddenly comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam are valid! And this happened right when one detrimental to Kerry's candidacy came up! What a shocking coincidence!

Look, Kerry of all people does not need to be lectured by a wire service about Richard Nixon; he knows all about the man. And for AP's (and Tom's) analogy to hold true, Kerry would have to commence bombing campaigns in Syria, Jordan and Iran.

Iraq is similar to Vietnam in some respects, and dissimilar in others. One way in which it is dissimilar is the tone of the mission to which we aspire, at least our announced one: Democracy, pluralism, individual freedoms, and so on. (by contrast, our goals in Vietnam had more to do with the containment of Communism first, and the promotion of anticommunist values second) Sure, it was a cabal of neocons who got us into this and subsequently fucked it up so badly, but now we need to clean up that mess.

The "honor" to which Kerry refers means more than "not being perceived as losing a war". It means continuing our efforts in a manner that respects the inalienable rights of every human being, and not approving secret policies to abuse, torture, rape and humiliate the very people we currently occupy. It means no more bullyish, exclusivist acts that piss off our allies and divide the world, and no more sweetheart no-bid giveaways. It means no more trying to win on the cheap. Kerry has consistently called for more troop strength in Iraq, while Bush has kicked and screamed and fought hard against even minimal increases for a long time.

Lost in the silliness of AP's "plan" observation is that aside from repeating the arbitrary "June 30! June 30!" over and over, with a side order of "stay the course", our current President has not given us any real indication of having a plan of his own.

By the way, how did Nixon phrase it? Oh yeah: "Secret plan to end the war". And gee, I could swear that one of Kerry's recent campaign ads began with him saying "Let me tell you exactly what I would do to change the situation in Iraq..."

In the process of writing this post, the clock struck midnight, and my "link to righties" project swiftly turned into a pumpkin.


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