It's security, stupid
Over the past couple of months, John Kerry has discovered that the undecided voters he's been trying to convert to his cause won't buy his domestic policy line until they believe his foreign policy line.
"Yeah, ok, we know the eeeevil Republicans hate gays, dump toxic waste into pristine lakes and rivers for fun, and want to turn control of every woman's uterus over to Dick Cheney. Spawn of Satan, yadayada. We get it.
But what the hell are you going to do about Al-Qaeda and Iraq?"
Well, the DNC has finally woken up to the fact that "it's security, stupid" and put JFK on the warpath. Today's speech is a good start:
In fighting the war on terrorism, my principles are straight forward. The terrorists are beyond reason. We must destroy them. As president, I will do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat our enemies.
National security is a central issue in this campaign. We owe it to the American people to have a real debate about the choices President Bush has made... and the choices I would make... to fight and win the war on terror.
That means we must have a great honest national debate on Iraq. The President claims it is the centerpiece of his war on terror. In fact, Iraq was a profound diversion from that war and the battle against our greatest enemy, Osama bin Laden and the terrorists. Invading Iraq has created a crisis of historic proportions and, if we do not change course, there is the prospect of a war with no end in sight.
In the dark days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy sent former Secretary of State Dean Acheson to Europe to build support. Acheson explained the situation to French President de Gaulle. Then he offered to show him highly classified satellite photos, as proof. De Gaulle waved the photos away, saying: "The word of the President of the United States is good enough for me."
How many world leaders have that same trust in America's president, today?
Think about it for a minute. Consider where we were... and where we are. After the events of September 11, we had an opportunity to bring our country and the world together in the struggle against the terrorists. On September 12th, headlines in newspapers abroad declared "we are all Americans now." But through his policy in Iraq, the President squandered that moment and rather than isolating the terrorists, left America isolated from the world.
Kerry's at his strongest when he attacks the Bush administration's planning, its diplomacy, and its focus, because all have been horribly flawed.
But here's the problem: Kerry's got no real plan either. Oh, he talks with considerable 'nuance' on the subject, but when it comes right down to it, the essence of his plan is as follows:
We must make Iraq the world's responsibility, because the world has a stake in the outcome and others should share the burden.
OK, good plan. What happens when the rest of the world refuses to go along with it? Because that's what they're going to do.
Don't believe me? See Darfur. It's a clear-cut humanitarian nightmare. It's in the public eye. Sudan is a breeding and hiding ground for terrorists, and it has oil. All the ingredients are here for Left and Right, Europe and America, all the colours of the frickin' rainbow to come together in an international-UN-hug-fest consensus and do something. And the vaunted 'international community' is doing precisely nothing.
So don't expect any different in the exponentially-more-complicated Iraq. The question for John-John is "what's your Plan B?" Because if he gets elected - and I'm still hoping he doesn't - that's what we'll be stuck with.