Kerry, Bush, and War Leadership

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wanted to chime in on the whole Bush National Guard issue.

First to address the Post Article by Richard Cohen that the Minister of Agriculture quoted extensively below. Logical fallicy. Cohen is arguing that because HE did precisely the things that the Kerry/Terrry McAuliffe/Democratic Operative people are saying about Bush; then Bush did the same things. Or, at least, Cohen strongly infers that because it was easy to sign up for the Guard, skip service, and still get paid; that it was easy to do and Bush could have done the same thing. But the thing Cohen doesn’t do is provide any proof whatsoever that Bush’s National Guard record is anything less or more than the President has said it is. Cohen relates an interesting and topical anecdote and wants the reader to join him in his own preconceived notion of the nature of the President’s Guard service. It’s an enjoyable and well-written column that means nothing. (Like much of the “Oh look at me I’m a progressive! Niether a liberal nor a conservative; just progressive!” blather that the Minister of Agriculture blogs from time to time…)

Next, and more importantly, what is the point of all of this carrying on about Bush’s time in the National Guard. The point(s) appear to be 1) Bush lied! Just like he lied about Iraq! 2) Bush is unfit to be Commander in Chief because he never served in battle (and had the opportunity) 3) Bush’s National Guard service makes Kerry’s heroic war record look even more heroic and presidential.

Let’s deal with these items. Bush lied. Did he? For years all your Maximum Leader ever heard was that he was in the National Guard and flew fighter/interceptors. And so he did. He got paid for service. He also said he was honourably discharged. All these things are true. The Dems are saying that there is a period where he was AWOL, and this makes him a liar. While Bush has released a considerable portion of his records from the Guard, he did seem to bungle the release “everything” stage. It is the job of the Press to assume that that which was not released somehow is proof of him covering up something nefarious. Of course, in reality, we just don’t know. Your Maximum Leader is sure that more records will be released. And more people will come forward saying how great Lt. Bush was in Guard. And for every faithful Bush-adherent, there will be a feckless Bush-detractor who will directly contradict everything everyone on the other side said. In the end the Dems are hoping to get the “Bush lied” moniker to stick. They hope to create linkage between this “lie” and the “Iraq WMD lie.”

Since your Maximum Leader brought it up. Let’s just touch on the “Iraq WMD lie,” shall we? The Dems are saying that Bush lied about the Iraqi situation as a means of setting up an invasion and occupation of Iraq. Why invade and occupy Iraq? A host of different Dem reasons. They range from “Its all about Oil” to “I gotta finish off that evil man who tried to kill my daddy.” Your Maximum Leader will allow you to choose your own imbecillic conspiracy theory. Your Maximum Leader’s dim view of human nature (and the American attention span and the simplistic nature of the press corps) is once again confirmed. During the whole “Prelude to War” period the various member of the Bush Administration went to all the major news outlets to build support for the war. They all were prone to give highly detailed lists of reasons why invasion was in the national interest. Upon beginning a laundry list of reasons to invade Iraq the Administration official would be asked by an insipid reporter “It’s all about weapons of mass destruction isn’t it?” Whereupon the Administration person would say, “Yes, that’s part of it.” And then the follow-up questions would all be about WMD. All the questions about the war were posed from the position of WMD. Since the press was asking about it, the Administration kept talking about it. Now and again they would try to talk about the other points. But it seemed as though all anyone wanted to talk about were WMD. So that is all that was fed to us through the media. Your Maximum Leader realized that there was more to it than that. Your Maximum Leader’s trusted Ministers believed there was more than that. But all anyone wanted to know about was WMD. Now that we haven’t found WMD it is all “Bush lied.” Your Maximum Leader wonders how many reporters have gotten the intelligence briefings the President (and key members of Congress) got? He wonders how many raw intelligence feeds the reporters got? He wonders how many raw intelligence feeds the President (and key members of Congress) got? (Not many he suspects.) Intelligence is often wrong. (Go back and read about the spy wars of WWII. Remember, the Germans didn’t counter-attack on D-Day because their intelligence told them that the real attack was coming at Calais and not Normandy. How wrong they were.) If the intelligence seemed shaky at the time no one seemed to think so. No one in the Administration, and no one in Congress. (Both the Senate and the House have intelligence committees that received briefings.) Now… Al the press does is parrot “Where are the WMD?” As if that is all the war was about. Your Maximum Leader will not go on at length here about the benefits of the war, but he thinks they are many.

Next, Bush’s National Guard service (as opposed to active duty front-line service) makes him less prepared for being Commander in Chief. Kerry’s war service, on the other hand, makes him more fit. Your Maximum Leader will cite two examples of how front-line service doesn’t a Commander in Chief make. The two people are Winston Churchill (the Greatest Man of the 20th Century - and one of the greatest ever to have lived) and Adolph Hitler (the most Evil Man of the 20th Century - and one of the most evil to have ever lived). Both saw action in battle. Churchill in India and Africa and WWI. Hitler in WWI. Churchill was a junior officer in India and Africa. He was a Colonel in WWI. Hitler a Corporal in WWI. Neither man’s service helped him at all lead their country in war. In Churchill’s case, he couldn’t apply anything he did directly to leading Britain’s war effort. He did have firsthand knowledge of the suffering of the common solider. But being a late-19th century cavalry officer didn’t help him think strategically during WWII. He drew upon other talents for that. He was a great war leader because he had the vision it took to motivate others to win the war. He was not made a great war leader by killing Dervishes in the Sudan. Hitler on the other hand believed his military service and his suffering in WWI made him more competent as a war leader. So much so that he directed much of the German war effort. Corporal Hitler was not a strategic visionary; but he was a meddler. Thank God for that.

Neither Bush’s service in the National Guard, nor Kerry’s service in Vietnam, qualify them (or disqualify them) in any way to be Commander in Chief. What matters is their strategic vision. We know what Bush’s is. We also know what Kerry’s is. Bush is going to try to get international support for an aggressive take-the-fight-to-the-terrorists war. And if he can’t get that support, he will act in what he believes is the best course for our national security. Kerry has said he is an internationalist; and would act only in accord with our “allies” and with the sanction of the “United Nations.” (Quick - What are the nations united for in the United Nations? They are united in opposition to the US! Two marks to everyone who got the correct answer. Your Maximum Leader applauds you.)

So really, the Guard issue is a non-issue if you look at it from the perpective of how would each man lead our national foreign policy. Bush will take a high-risk “go-it-alone-and-do-what-is-best-for-us approach.” And Kerry will take a higher-risk “only-with-our-buddies-the-French/German/Russians/UN” approach. If you haven’t thought of it before my minions. Think now. Realize that THERE ARE NO LOW-RISK PATHS IN OUR FOREIGN POLICY FOR THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE. You aggressively fight the terrorists, you incite people who want to kill us and destroy our way of life and nation. You don’t fight the terrorists, they continue to want to kill us and destroy our way of life and nation. You try to take the middle path and only act with broad international support against terrorists, they continue to want to kill us and destroy our way of life and nation. Hummm… Do you see a trend my minions? Don’t tell me your Maximum Leader was the first to point this out. In this way your Maximum Leader is like Barry Goldwater. In your heart you know he is right.

So the last issue really seems to be Kerry is a war hero and Bush isn’t. Well, no argument from your Maximum Leader on that one. Kerry is a war hero. He is a very brave man, who gallantly led his men through things that many men couldn’t. He deserves our thanks and the gratefulness of the nation for that. Bush is not a war hero. Does being a war hero make you look more presidential? Maybe. Your Maximum Leader is impressed by war heros. (At least American and British ones.) But hedoesn’t equate heroics with presidential leadership.

And do war heros come back and bash the war they faught in? Well, some do and that is their right to do. But your Maximum Leader is not impressed by Kerry’s anti-war message and congressional testimony during the 1970s. He testified to congress about how US soliders raped and pillaged villages in Vietnam. He testified about how US soliders committed atrocities against Vietnamese. Your Maximum Leader is not so naive as to believe that it didn’t happen. But if Kerry had firsthand knowledge of these things, and did nothing to stop them; then he is a criminal. If he just heard about these things and repeated the stories to congress, he did nothing to help end the suffering caused by renegade soliders.

So… Where does that leave us on Bush and Kerry and the future of the War on Terror? Exactly where we were before we started to worry about National Guard service and who is the decorated war hero.

Carry on.

UPDATE FROM MAXIMUM LEADER: Added link to text of Kerry’s comments to Congress. Thanks to Hugh Hewitt.

Carry on.

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