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John Kerry's Cops and Robbers

By Doug Patton
October 11, 2004

"We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance." - John Kerry

John Kerry's candid admission to The New York Times that he wants to go back to treating terrorism as a law enforcement problem, much as Bill Clinton and Janet Reno did for eight years, should surprise no one, since this thinking now permeates the thinking of Democrats.

No Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt has shown a willingness to fight a war all the way to victory. Clinton bombed aspirin factories in Africa to cover an Oval Office peccadillo while sending National Guard troops to Bosnia, where many remain to this day.

Jimmy Carter blustered at the Soviets and withheld our Olympians in 1980, while wringing his hands over our hostages in Iran and talking of "malaise." Lyndon Johnson managed to lead the nation into a quagmire in Vietnam, and then walked away from the presidency, leaving a half-million men still in harm's way.

Even Harry Truman, who is so lionized today for his willingness to drop the bomb on Japan in order to finish FDR's war, allowed Korea to become a UN "Police Action" with no satisfactory conclusion. Fifty years later, North Korean wacko Kim Jung Il threatens the stability of the world while terrorists clamor to get their hands on nuclear weaponry.

John Kerry's campaign is being waged in the tradition of all these Democrat failures. His insistence that Iraq is "a grand diversion" from the hunt for Osama bin Laden is his only hope of winning on this issue.

His "plan" for Iraq is no different from what George Bush is already doing, and only the most partisan Bush-hater could possibly think that Kerry's hair-splitting ("I voted for the use of force, but not to actually go to war" or some such nonsense) is, in itself, anything but, well, a grand diversion. Add to that the notion that President Kerry (even writing it gives me chills) would have any success bringing France, Germany or Russia on board for "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time" is simply ludicrous.

Kerry's statement to The New York Times that he would like to return to the good old days of Bill Clinton's America, where domestic issues reigned supreme and terrorism was just "a nuisance," tells us volumes about his incompetence to be commander-in-chief. Although the Kerry campaign is trying to make the war the central issue of the race, the truth is that both John Kerry and John Edwards would like to get back to promoting the big government domestic programs with which they feel so comfortable. They don't really believe the military is to be used to fight and win wars. Like their Democrat predecessors, they think U.S. Armed Forces are to be used as global cops. Secretly, they would probably prefer them to be armed only with nightsticks like British Bobbies.

President Bush did a reasonably good job pointing out the folly of a John Kerry presidency during their town hall debate in St. Louis, but there were some key issues he missed. John Kerry opposes the death penalty for terrorists. He also voted against the first Gulf War, which means that if Kerry had had his way, Saddam Hussein would not only still be reigning terror upon his own people in Iraq, he would still be in control of Kuwait and probably Saudi Arabia as well — which would put him in control of most of the world's oil.

George W. Bush vows to wage war on terrorism, killing terrorists on the battlefield wherever he finds them. John Kerry wants to play cops and robbers with al-Qaida, prosecuting them in court and putting them in jail — maybe. This should not be a tough election decision.


Doug Patton is a freelance columnist who has served as a speechwriter, policy advisor and communications director for federal, state and local candidates, elected officials and public policy organizations. His weekly columns are published in newspapers across the country and on selected Internet websites. Readers can e-mail him at dpatton@neonramp.com.