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The Deadly Contradiction of Being John Kerry
by Kim Petersen
July 30, 2004

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"After decades of experience in national security, I know the reach of our power, and the power of our ideal. We need to be looked up to and not just feared. The future doesn’t belong to fear, it belongs to freedom."

So spoke Senator John Kerry at the Democratic National Convention. The erstwhile defender cum anti-war activist now seeks to become the next war president. He boasted of “decades of experience in national security” and yet all this experience was for naught in analyzing intelligence that would determine whether or not a country destroyed by genocidal sanctions was a threat to the US. The experienced senator asserted, “I will be a commander-in-chief who will never mislead us into war.” In other words the self-admitted misled now wants to lead.

Kerry is a man who obviously wants to have it both ways. At the Democratic Convention Kerry declared, “I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as president.” Yet his testimony at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 22 April 1971 belies fighting in defense during the Vietnam War. Kerry then stated, “We found that not only was it a civil war, an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever, but also we found that the Vietnamese whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image were hard put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from.” Transparent from this statement is that the Vietnamese were no threat and hence the US was not in Vietnam defending the homeland.

Kerry is not ignorant of Iraq or which Americans are fighting in the “national interest.” He knows the propaganda about fighting for freedom. Of the Vietnam War, Kerry said, “We saw first hand how money from American taxes was used for a corrupt dictatorial regime. We saw that many people in this country had a one-sided idea of who was kept free by our flag, as blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties.”

Kerry’s speech at the convention caused the New York Times to gush in a headline on the “Strong Show of ‘Strength.’” Kerry will not shirk from using that strength. “Let there be no mistake. I will never hesitate to use force when it is required.” It was a speech predicated on the US “national interest,” which would determine when to wage war -- not much different from the path of President George Bush’s administration. One facet of US might is its ability to wreak destruction in the world but this might is seriously challenged when it seeks to rule the most minor of developing states as evidenced in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Kerry seeks reverential respect for and fear of the US. But the world’s respect is something to be earned and not through ganging up its overwhelming military might with vassal nations and unleashing it on helpless developing nations from a safe distance. The immoral and farcical attempts to occupy and dominate poor intrepid desert fighters reveals the limits of US strength and fear. In a world where people wish to live unfettered by war, only when the US can demonstrate that it is a force for peace may it lay claim to being a “beacon on the hill.”

Now American and Iraqi lives are being lost so that the US can exercise the incredible arrogance of liberating the Iraqis into the American fold. Kerry promises to strengthen the US military, bolster troop numbers, and to maintain the occupation of Iraq. To the would-be next Commander-in-Chief a most appropriate question would seem to be: “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Iraq?”

Kim Petersen is a writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. He can be reached at:

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