Friday, January 28, 2005

And I Didn't Even Mention Mary Jo

I have, on occasion, mocked the junior Senator from Massachusetts. Truth be old, he's a pompous blowhard whose political beliefs I question, and whose conduct upon his return from his duty in Vietnam I find reprehensible. But to be fair, while there are questions about his service, he served his country, and continues to serve his country and his constituents. And while he has his personal peccadillos, I think he probably qualifies as an okay guy and a decent human being.

I can't say any of that for the senior Senator from Massachusetts.

Yesterday, this "public servant" threw out a speech at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies where he suggested that we begin leaving Iraq. The general proposal is one an honorable person can make -- that we have failed in Iraq, and that our continued presence is a problem that can only be solved by withdrawal. I don't think the facts bear this out -- but one can make an honorable stab at such an argument.

Senator Kennedy -- whose status as a "senior statesman" within his party says a lot about his party -- chose a route that, to be charitable, displays an appalling disconnect from reality. His obsession with turning this war into another Vietnam is evident in the opening...

Forty years ago, America was in another war in a distant land. At that time, in 1965, we had in Vietnam the same number of troops and the same number of casualties as in Iraq today.

We thought in those early days in Vietnam that we were winning. We thought the skill and courage of our troops was enough. We thought that victory on the battlefield would lead to victory in the war, and peace and democracy for the people of Vietnam.

We lost our national purpose in Vietnam. We abandoned the truth. We failed our ideals. The words of our leaders could no longer be trusted.

In the name of a misguided cause, we continued the war too long. We failed to comprehend the events around us. We did not understand that our very presence was creating new enemies and defeating the very goals we set out to achieve. We cannot allow that history to repeat itself in Iraq.
As I've noted in the past, I am sick and tired of 60's-obsessed liberals dredging up Vietnam every time an American soldier burps on the soil of a foreign country. But perhaps I should expect this from Senator Quagmire. What's really bad about the speech is that the opening, while exactly the sort of drivel one might expect, isn't the part that offended me. Neither is the statement that the U.S. military is now "part of the problem, rather than part of the solution." Way to buck up the troops, you putz.

But here's the part of Kennedy's speech that made my blood boil...

Beyond the insurgency’s numbers, it has popular and tacit support from thousands of ordinary Iraqis who are aiding and abetting the attacks as a rejection of the American occupation. It is fueled by the anger of ever-larger numbers of Iraqis – not just Saddam loyalists - who have concluded that the United States is either unable or unwilling to provide basic security, jobs, water, electricity and other services.

Anti-American sentiment is steadily rising. CDs that picture the insurrection have spread across the country. Songs glorify combatants. Poems written decades ago during the British occupation after World War I are popular again.

The International Crisis Group, a widely respected conflict prevention organization, recently reported, “These post-war failings gradually were perceived by many Iraqis as purposeful,… designed to serve Washington’s interests to remain for a prolonged period in a debilitated Iraq.”

We have the finest military in the world. But we cannot rely primarily on military action to end politically inspired violence. We can’t defeat the insurgents militarily if we don’t effectively address the political context in which the insurgency flourishes. Our military and the insurgents are fighting for the same thing – the hearts and minds of the people – and that is a battle we are not winning.
Can someone get this guy a hanky and clean up the puddle by his feet?

Seriously, send him to France. That speech is obscene for any number of reasons, but the stench of defeatism is so absurd that it boggles the mind. Kennedy seems to believe that the insurgency -- people who are rolling through the streets threatening to murder men and women if they go vote -- are winning hearts and minds. By this standard, Charlie Manson and Ted Bundy must be adored in California and Florida. Kennedy's talking about, at best, 40,000 militants and sympathizers... in a country of over 17 million people. Yeah, that's hearts and minds. Idiot.

Do liberals even think when they spew this stuff? Or is "hearts and minds" just a standard phrase people use? And can someone get Kennedy committed?


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