Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hawks versus Doves

Yesterday we received a number of hits from Real Clear Poltitics where their blog warned, Doves Don’t Become President in Times of War. There is no doubt that there is some truth to this. Running against a sitting President during time of war was a difficult task for John Kerry in 2004.

One reason for this is the misconception as to what a hawk and dove really is in relation to terrorism. Real Clear Politics makes their argument appear more sensible by confusing Iraq and terrorism. If we really look at terrorism, and we define hawk positively here to be the one willing to take on the fight, John Kerry has a far greater claim to being the hawk on terrorism than George Bush.

John Kerry wrote about the dangers of terrorism well before 9/11. George Bush ignored all pre-9/11 warnings. Post 9/11 John Kerry wanted to concentrate on fighting al Qaeda with Democrats united in their support for action against those responsible for the terrorist attacks. George Bush quickly dropped the ball in Afghanistan, allowing bin Laden to escape, in order to use 9/11 to falsely justify his previous desires to invade Iraq. Besides dropping the ball on al Qaeda, George Bush has ignored many recommendations to improve homeland security from John Kerry and other Democrats.

Not having the facts on their side, Real Clear Politics resorts to once again attempting to Swift Boat John Kerry by distorting his Vietnam testimony. They took Kerry’s reports as to the testimony of other soldiers at the Winter Soldier Investigations out of context to give the false impression Kerry was attacking fellow soldiers for committing atrocities. There’s no mention of the real message delivered by Kerry to Congress in defense of his fellow veterans who were placed in an unjust situation.

This blog post does highlight some major differences between liberals and conservatives. The post suggests that the author believes that to testify about atrocities committed by Americans is in itself wrong, regardless of the validity of the testimony. While this is a mischaracterization of Kerry’s testimony, if Kerry had witnessed atrocities why would it be wrong for him to mention them in testimony before Congress? To the conservative mind it appears Americans can do no wrong. To mention isolated cases where Americans have done wrong is met by conservatives with false claims that liberals hate America and that liberals always believe American has done wrong.

Just as they appear to believe that any American act is justified, even if illegal under international law (such as with the free fire zones Kerry complained about in his testimony), to the conservative hawk it appears any war is a good war. To criticize either Vietnam or Iraq is wrong, even though both wars were ultimately harmful to our national security.

To blindly support the war might be an easier position for Democratic politicians to win on, but this is not what we need from leaders. Fortunately a majority of Americans are questioning the wisdom of the war. We need Democrats to speak out on how the Iraq war was a senseless distraction from protecting us from terrorism, helping al Qaeda and Iran while harming our national security.

The real question put to the voters must not be who is the hawk and who is the dove, but which party will really improve our national security and protect the nation. Republicans have failed us. The party which won two world wars in the 20th century, and first showed firmness against Communism, must now show that they are the ones better prepared for the dangers of the 21st century.


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