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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Kerry to troops: Your life is worthless unless UN blesses the fight

From a front-page story in tomorrow's WaPo (boldface added):

NATO and the United Nations appear to be touchstones for the Democratic nominee, not just the troublesome hurdles that they appear to be to President Bush. In speeches over the years, Kerry repeatedly has denounced unilateral action.

Kerry's belief in working with allies runs so deep that he has maintained that the loss of American life can be better justified if it occurs in the course of a mission with international support. In 1994, discussing the possibility of U.S. troops being killed in Bosnia, he said, "If you mean dying in the course of the United Nations effort, yes, it is worth that. If you mean dying American troops unilaterally going in with some false presumption that we can affect the outcome, the answer is unequivocally no."

The simplest reading of this weird statement is that the cause an American soldier fights and dies for is worthwhile if — but only if — it's been duly blessed by the United Nations.  One presumes he means the Security Council — meaning we'd only have to get unanimous approval from the Brits,  French, Russians, and Chinese to convert our solders' sacrifices from worthless to worthwhile.

Is there "nuance" here that I'm missing?  I frankly can't make any sense of the phrase "false presumption that we can affect the outcome."  In John Kerry's lifetime, there hasn't been a fight where the American military couldn't "affect the outcome," whether acting unilaterally or not. 

The Vietnam War-era Kerry said American troops should only be deployed at UN direction.  The 1994-era Kerry said whether American deaths are worthless depends on UN approval.  The 2004-era Kerry said there's a "global test" and "we ought to pass a sort of truth standard."  This seems pretty consistent to me.

Consistently wrong.

Posted by Beldar at 10:49 PM in Global War on Terror, Politics (2006 & earlier) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Kerry to troops: Your life is worthless unless UN blesses the fight and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» Does John Kerry Listen to Himself? from The Key Monk

Tracked on Oct 20, 2004 11:10:51 AM

» Round-up from Lead and Gold

Tracked on Oct 20, 2004 11:38:36 AM

» And Yet Again, Kerry Renders Me Speechless from House Of The Dog

Tracked on Oct 20, 2004 12:21:07 PM

» Kerry's global test defined from Media Lies

Tracked on Oct 20, 2004 10:07:47 PM

» John Kerry and the United Nations versus the Value of Life? from Apologies Demanded

Tracked on Oct 24, 2004 4:28:48 PM


(1) Curtis made the following comment | Oct 19, 2004 11:19:17 PM | Permalink

That's simply appalling. There is no way he should be elected.

(2) perfectsense made the following comment | Oct 19, 2004 11:27:04 PM | Permalink

In Vietnam, Kerry left the battle, abandoned his sailors and went home early. Due to Kerry’s anti-war efforts in the early 70s, the communists won at the negotiating table what they could not win on the battlefield. If Kerry is elected, he will cut and run from both Iraq and Afghanistan, thereby being instrumental in losing three American wars! Under Kerry, America will be known as “burger eating surrender monkeys.”

(3) BigFire made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 12:09:06 AM | Permalink

Kerry appears not to have evolved his opinion of how to deploy American Troops abroad beyond his 1970's vision (which BTW, is identical to this non-sense).

(4) JP Dawson made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 12:40:33 AM | Permalink

The only way that the Balkans would become another Vietnam, he added, would be through a "lack of resolve and pursuit."
This comment Kerry made about the Air War in the Balkans makes so much sense. That's why, in regard to his stance on our mission in Iraq, I can't stand him. Concerning Iraq, he's all about "lack of resolve and pursuit." Didn't he talk a few weeks ago about cutting and running if he "inherits a Lebanon" ??


(5) Kalle (kafir forever) made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 12:42:17 AM | Permalink

I believe all evidence of the last 30+ years strongly supports a hypothesis that Kerry is a marxist/communist. I suspect Teresa is a marxist too, based on her history, behaviour, and statements.

In the fantasy world of marxists, individuals (such as unrugged Americans are) never "affect the outcome" -- they are merely helpless dust kicked around by the materialist forces of history.

There is no other, coherent way to read Kerry's actions. He has always spoken in favour of communist regimes, and has always attacked American policies that were opposed to communism. Look it up.

(6) jack risko made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 5:22:22 AM | Permalink

I think this is a tactical piece requiring a response by Kerry prior to the WaPo endorsing him. See:


thanks, jack Risko

(7) Cap'n DOC made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 6:29:30 AM | Permalink

"I think this is a tactical piece requiring a response by Kerry prior to the WaPo endorsing him."

You mean the WaPo is playin' Flip to his Flop?

I thought so.

(8) Jim Davis made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 6:46:26 AM | Permalink

In Kerry's world, a nuisance seems to be a nuance trying very hard to digest an issue.

(9) Dave Schuler made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 8:18:15 AM | Permalink

Over the course of the last 200 years there has been a transition from justification based on a cause being right to justification based on a cause being legitimate to justification based on authenticity (being consistent with your personal narrative). Mr. Kerry's statement fits securely within the second paradigm.

(10) Neo made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 9:06:16 AM | Permalink

A couple of points to add.
First, the Bosnian adventure is supported by NATO, but not the UN.
Second, the real nuance to this is that Bush, as current President, can't speak the whole truth without worrying about their immediate and near-term effects. This leaves him a bit underpowered to explain the whole truth, leaving him at the mercy of a fickle press to explain the truth.
Based on second, the American people don't really have a whole picture of the politics of the Middle East and Iraq that include, but are not limited to, the UN OFF program, arms sales (illegal and legal), dual-use sales (illegal and legal), etc. Once any sane person examines the on-the-ground realities, it becomes obvious that Bush had the biggest coalition of nations possible, as the others were either unwilling for political reasons or simply saw a cash advantage of sitting it out.
I challenge Kerry to name a single country that could, let alone would, provide any significant number of troops in Iraq. A simple inventory: China no, Germany never, Russia unlikely few, France too busy intervening in former colonies otherwise too few. Bush getting Japan to send "police" was probably the most underreported accomplishment.

(11) Neo made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 9:15:23 AM | Permalink

For anyone who misunderstood what "immediate and near-term effects" means, it refers to pissing off countries by rubbing their noses in the reality of any matter. Just because someone, say the French, are off on one matter, doesn't mean they won't help on another matter. So dwelling on anything, while possibly good in the realm of domestic politics, doesn't cut it at the State Department. Even Kerry isn't stupid enough not to know this.

(12) Kalle (kafir forever) made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 10:48:23 AM | Permalink

In the US military, there is no greater purpose and honour than defending the American liberties guaranteed by your Constitution and Bill of Rights.

In the Swedish army, where I served before the fall of the Soviet Union, there was no greater honour than being selected to serve for the "Blue Helmets" -- i.e. the United Nations.

Think about it. For what type of country are Kerry's ideas fitting?

(13) MD made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 11:03:05 AM | Permalink

Good comments. Kerry's mind is indeed in a time warp, circa 1970. He's a guy who never grew up. For a man supposedly steeped in nuance, complexity, and thoughtfulness, it appears his mind is extremely rigid and limited. He is incapable of absorbing change or the currents of history; hence, his awkward attempts to corral our current historical situation into paradigms, metaphors, and thought patterns that are no longer relevant, and his obvious longing to return to a world that no longer exists.

I do have one question, a question I wish had been asked at the debates: Do Kerry's positions on the application of American force, and its relation to the UN, nullify the Monroe Doctrine? And, if so, what replaces that doctrine?

(14) Swede made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 1:39:16 PM | Permalink

It's clear that one of the few consistencies in Kerry's philosophy of government is the intention to subordinate America's foreign policy interests to the United Nations - and a thoroughly corrupt United Nations at that. To elect this man president would be to surrender a not insignificant portion of our national soverignty to a governing body made up overwhelmingly by entities that mean us harm.

(15) Adam Sullivan made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 2:18:43 PM | Permalink

Kosovo would qualify as both failing the global test and the UN standard. Both Russia and China were steadfast against Kosovo.

France was for it. So was Kerry.

The security council has one member that Kerry hopes to please. It is the only nation whose support matters to him, if you examine the record. That nation is France. God help us.

(16) Porcell made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 3:11:55 PM | Permalink

Ah yes, let us give up our lives for Kofi Anan. Kerry shall windsurf while America burns.

(17) Terry Gain made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 5:26:04 PM | Permalink

"...unilaterally going in with some false presumption that we can affect the outcome,.."

It's impssible to improve on the posts of Neo and MD but here's my two cents worth.

The key words are "unilateral" and "false presumption". How can America expect to "affect the outcome" without international approval..without passing the Global Test.

Details of the Kerry plan are now complete. Call a summitt and ask others to help out in Iraq. When others refuse to join the coalition, as they will ... withdraw... after all what is the point of American soldiers dying if ...acting unilaterally.. they can't affect the outcome- and when the international community has spoken.

So despite all the flip flopping the defeatist attitude that was so prominently on display 33 years ago is still there. As Kerry might say "plus ca change plus qu'il reste la meme." He was a pacifist internationalist then and he's a pacifist internationalist now. Meanwhile the SAY ANYTHING camapign will continue for another two weeks.

(18) perfectsense made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 6:34:44 PM | Permalink

At great expense to America, Kerry can and will build a coalition with France, Germany, Russia, China, etc.

These countries would love to have American combat units under their command, their companies looting, I mean rebuilding, Iraq and to have Kerry rubberstamping their sophisticate proposals to reinstall a dictatorship that pays bribes to France, Germany, Russia, China, etc.

(19) Little Twig made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 9:35:00 PM | Permalink

Two nitpicks. One, Germany is not a permanent member of the Security Council, so it does not have a veto. Two, it is Security Council, with an 'i,' not counsel. Love your blog.

(20) MaxedOutMama made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 10:17:14 PM | Permalink

I agree with your basic conclusion, but Kerry's remarks were tendered in a specific context. I'm not sure it's fair to generalize from them. IMO, it is fair to generalize from his stance on the Gulf War, which he didn't approve of even though a firm international coalition was in place. Certainly the balance of Kerry's record tends to show that he is unlikely to launch any aggressive military action, whether UN-approved or not.

Little Twig is correct that Germany is not a member of the security council, but membership in the Security Council is one of their highest priorities. I have no idea whether they will succeed or not. Here's an English-language link:

(21) Beldar made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 11:36:00 PM | Permalink

Little Twig, thanks for your corrections. I've revised the original post to incorporate them.

(22) Neo made the following comment | Oct 20, 2004 11:40:16 PM | Permalink

"Little Twig" reminds me that Germany isn't on the Security Council. Allow me to add Germany never should be on the Security Council, as most likely Japan will never be either. Both are incapable of enforcing a security matter (i.e. application of force). The Japanese but constitutional requirement and the Germans by default. In an era of economic boycotts, just gone by, the financial strengths of Germany and Japan would be a factor, but no more.
If I were to have my arm twisted to select a new member, I would select India. This is a country too big and too populated to ignore. I believe India could help itself onto the Council if it were a bit more proactive in peacekeeping matters.

(23) MD made the following comment | Oct 21, 2004 8:23:50 AM | Permalink

There has been talk of a Security Council change, centering on India. Many support the idea of including the "world's largest democracy" on the Council as a permanent member. This proposal is sometimes joined with the proposal that India should REPLACE France, given that France is not really a major player like Russia, China, and the US, and its position on the Security Council is an historical oddity.

(24) dick made the following comment | Oct 21, 2004 2:37:31 PM | Permalink

To MD,
Kerry would definitely abrogate the Monroe Doctrine. Look at his stance on Nicaragua just as an example. No question about it. This man just cannot be permitted to witn the presidency. He is IMNSHO the most flawed man nominated by a major party that I can recall and I date back to FDR. I personally find him totally disgusting.

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