« Clinton's upcoming surgery | Main | WaPo's Dobbs stumbles farther off the track »

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Thanks, Gen. Franks, for thanking our coalition partners

I'm not sure whether anyone else at the Republican National Convention made this same point or not, but I was extremely pleased to hear Gen. Tommy Franks deliver these lines:

And we have not been in this fight alone. President Bush has built the largest coalition in the history of the world — nations united together against terrorism.

Some have ridiculed the contributions made by our allies, but I can tell you that every contribution from every nation is important.

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in thanking our Coalition partners for being there when America and the world needed them most.

The only thing that could have made this better would have been a more explicit reference to Sen. Kerry calling the allies who've joined us in Iraq a "fraudulent coalition" and, even worse, "some trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted."  This latter wasn't an off-the-cuff remark, but a carefully crafted — even word-smithed — insult.  I don't know how Sen. Kerry failed to throw in, for good measure, that all of their mothers wear army boots with heels rounded at the back.  I suppose Sen. Kerry can deliver such barbs in several different languages to give them their full effect — and doubtless his unblushing bride could translate them into a few more. 

On second thought, I suppose that Gen. Franks had the taste, decency, and diplomacy not to repeat these insults even for the purpose of condemning their maker.  But I continue to wonder how Sen. Kerry expects to do such a fabulously better job of international diplomacy than Dubya when Kerry's gone out of his way to insult the countries that, by definition, have been our most steadfast allies.  Tony Blair might have the manners to pretend not to have noticed — but I'm sure he did, as did the leaders, and people, of a great many other countries whose soldiers are putting it on the line every day along with our own forces in Iraq.

Update (Sat Sep 4 @ 8:30am):  I just watched my videotape from Thursday night of Dubya's acceptance speech, and I'll swear he was reading my mind, even if he left out "bought and extorted" from the Kerry quote. 

As a result of that speech, there are some tough hombres from El Salvador who are nodding their close-shaved heads and slapping palms with their brothers in uniform and shouting — well, whatever their equivalent for "Hoo-ah!" is.  Their mothers are saying, "That's my son he was talking about!  My son, he's been fighting for freedom!"  In some small town you or I have never heard of in Italy, there's someone who maybe has had second or third thoughts about her country's support of the Coalition in the past, but who is telling her husband over breakfast this morning, "That needed to be said, what the President said ... and did you hear, did you hear, what that Kerry called us?"  An icy Heineken or three will be hoisted in Rotterdam for the President of the United States; an icy vodka shot glass or four will pound down empty atop a Gdansk tabletop, and the words "Reagan" and "Bush" will be heard. 

And Tony Blair will have his poker face on, but I'll bet you when he watched the speech, he nodded and pointed his finger at the screen and thought, maybe even said under his breath, something inscrutably British and definitely approving about cowboys and honor and friendship.

Posted by Beldar at 01:31 AM in Global War on Terror, Politics (2006 & earlier) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Thanks, Gen. Franks, for thanking our coalition partners and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) See-Dubya made the following comment | Sep 4, 2004 2:06:16 AM | Permalink

Dude, Beldar, Bush was all over the "coalition of the bribed" thing in the acceptance speech. One of his best lines. Thanked the countries, thanked their leaders, finished up with Tony Blair to great applause.

(2) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 4, 2004 3:24:50 AM | Permalink

Ah, good. Have it on tape, gonna watch it shortly, but good to hear!

(3) Birkel made the following comment | Sep 4, 2004 7:01:51 AM | Permalink

Say it with me:
Secret plan.. LOL.. repeat.

(4) Al Bee made the following comment | Sep 4, 2004 1:29:12 PM | Permalink

Tommy Franks, like Creighton Abrams, is a soldiers general. I am overjoyed General Franks was invited to speak to the convention. An excellent soldier, he will add much to the election drive.

I remember Westmoreland, when he made his first star and, took over the reginmeental combat team. . He had more crap than a Christmas goose. He looked like soldier, but the resemblance to Franks and Abrams was superficial. It as a big ME, first and foremost. A Kerry man!

(5) sponson made the following comment | Sep 4, 2004 3:54:04 PM | Permalink

As we all know, Franks said on Meet the Press recently that Kerry was "absolutely" qualified to be the Commander in Chief, and told Sean Hannity that the atrocities described in Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony definitely did take place in Vietnam, and too often as well.

As for "coalition partners" - the Salvadorans are LEAVING, as are and have many of the other countries in the shaky "coalition" including staunch ally Poland, who said that his country was "taken for a ride" by Bush, not Saddam, on WMDs. These are just the facts.

(6) John Van Laer made the following comment | Sep 4, 2004 4:12:10 PM | Permalink

Modest proposal to Kerry's SecState in case JFK2 has the misfortune--and I do mean bad luck--to be elected.

Send around a simple multiple-choice test to the heads of state/chiefs of government of the remaining members of Bush's Coalition:

In joining the Coalition of the Willing, were you (A) bribed (B) coerced (C) bought (D) extorted (E) None of the above.

If you chose alternative (E) please explain succinctly, in not more than 250 words, the considerations that led you to such a tragically stupid decision.

That should do wonders to get Kerry's diplomacy off to a roaring start.

(7) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 4, 2004 7:38:02 PM | Permalink

Ya know, Sponson, you prove my point. The Salvadorans are departing because their sponsoring country, Spain, was induced into pulling their troops by the Madrid bombing, not because they wanted to leave. From what I've read, some of the Salvadorans were absolute kick-ass warriors who reflected incredibly well on themselves and their country in fighting terrorists in Iraq. So why do you feel the need to dis them?

I can only see one answer — that you're so desperate to elect anyone but Bush that you'll impugn brave soldiers who've served in the field with our own. Why can't you — and why can't John Kerry — just say, "Thanks for your help, we appreciate it!" How can you say, "We should have had a larger coalition," and then insult the countries who did join us?

As for Gen. Franks: If you got the impression that he was saying Kerry's 1971 Fulbright Committee testimony was fair and accurate, you're high on your own fumes. But I expect Gen. Franks himself may have some public and very pointed comments on that topic soon.

(8) stan made the following comment | Sep 5, 2004 4:28:59 AM | Permalink

Australians were with the US in Iraq and Vietnam. I guess we've been insulted twice by Kerry (and the Democrats who repeat his lies).

(9) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 5, 2004 9:46:15 AM | Permalink

Stan, I was glad to see Dubya mention Australian Prime Minister Howard in his speech, and was definitely remiss myself in not including the Aussies in my examples above. Your country has been the most fierce and consistent foe of the terrorists on your entire side of the globe, and a consistent friend and partner of our country for many, many decades. Thanks for the reminder!

(10) sponson made the following comment | Sep 5, 2004 5:22:35 PM | Permalink

Kerry is not insulting the countries involved in the coalition, but instead the way in which they were recruited. El Salvador by the way is known for it's "kick ass warriors," there is no doubt about that. Just ask the 50,000 plus unarmed Salvadoran civilians killed by them in the 1970s and 1980s. Bush meanwhile has insulted the hell out of the "Old Europe," which happen to be the biggest and most important countries in the world outside of China. Which is a bigger mistake? I'm willing to agree that Kerry doesn't do the U.S. any good if he says something that insults an ally; I have yet to see any evidence that this has caused any major problem, whereas Bush's actions have the whole world in an uproar. Why? Because they said don't go into Iraq without better proof of WMDs. And guess what? There were none. None.

(11) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 5, 2004 5:49:29 PM | Permalink

Sponson, you're just flat wrong on every count.

The Salvadorans were fighting to resist a communist overthrow of their government. Perhaps you've forgotten that it was in resisting America's efforts to assist them and pro-democracy forces in Nicaragua that Sen. Kerry came up with his "seared — seared" Christmas in Cambodia tale. As in most insurgency and counter-insurgency campaigns in which it's hard to tell friend from foe, there were indeed unarmed civilians killed. There were also a lot of armed communists killed as well, however, and your blanket indictment of El Salvador is absolutely typical of your candidate's lack of "nuance" when nuance is indeed important.

Dubya hasn't ever insulted "Old Europe," although Sec. Rumsfield did use that phrase and make some snarky remarks about Germany and France. I defy you to point me to anything that President Bush or anyone in his administration has said that is remotely as insulting as calling someone "bribed, coerced, bought, and extorted."

And that wasn't Kerry just blaming the way Bush "recruited," that's a direct slam on the coalition members themselves.

Finally, we did indeed find WMDs in Iraq, and capabilities to ramp up their production, but not the stockpiles we and everyone else (including Germany and France, and including Sen. Kerry) expected and feared that we'd find.

Zero-for-four, Sponson. Feel free to keep trying, though, as long as you keep it civil and nonprofane.

(12) sponson made the following comment | Sep 5, 2004 7:49:21 PM | Permalink

I'd love to hear what these "found WMDs are," the "liberal media" must have hidden them from me. But that's beside the point. Bush and Powell et al. claimed direct knowledge and location of huge stockpiles of WMD, which is exactly what I was in fact referring to when I said "none were found." Nothing short would have justified the war, according to Bush's own official rationale for the war. I would suggest civilly and nonprofanely that you are practicing an artful dodge here, because the rift between the majority of the world and the Bush Administration had to do with exactly that, the shakiness of his WMD claims and his haste in insisting a pre-emptive attack with no credible evidence. And given that no stockpiles were found, it would be pathetic indeed to try and call their evidence "credible." The very "evidence" used to convince the Democratic Senators, including Kerry and Edwards, was in fact the forged Niger documents, they were Exhibit A in the closed door hearings. Less than two weeks later, Tenet warned Bush off from mentioning them in a public speech (this was on October 8, 2002) because they were too shaky. Good enough to "hook" Kerry in a position he is still being lambasted for today (authorizing the use of force), not good enough for Bush to say in public (and later proven forged and false).

(13) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 5, 2004 8:08:01 PM | Permalink

Sponson, the reason they call them weapons of mass destruction is that a little bit can go along way. I'm not going to do your homework for you, this stuff has been in the mainstream media. Do a Google search for "sarin 'artillery shell'" for example, and you'll find out about the improvised explosive device our guys disarmed that contained enough sarin to kill ten times as many people as died in 9/11. Then read the 9/11 Commission Report on the "sixteen words" meme, you seem to have been asleep for the last two months, sir.

But I'm glad to see you managed to post a comment without insulting another American ally. I count that as progress.

The comments to this entry are closed.