Of course, as any serious person knows, the Democratic candidates' current positions--no to the Iraq invasion, yes to the U.N., Bush is "distracted" from the war on Al Qaeda--are newly minted. Bush's policies previously were backed by both Kerry and Edwards. But forget the flip-flops for now--the issue is whether the Kerry/Edwards alternative would work.
Not a chance.
- Kerry's "allies" aren't acting in America's interests. Liberals--politicians and performance artists alike--insist that global opposition to U.S. anti-terrorism demonstrates Bush's approach is wrong. Nonsense, says Claudia Rosett in the WSJ:
Apart from rare spells of relative world peace, or joyous interludes in the immediate aftermath of American troops liberating nations such as France, or more recently Afghanistan, the answer from various quarters over the years has often been no. The worst friction tends to come at precisely those times when America stands up for its own principles, looking less to win love than to defend liberty.In particular, Democrat nostalgia for the "peace" of the Clinton years is a dangerous mirage--Clinton's failure to confront Islamic terrorism cost American lives in embassies and ships, and emboldened Al Qaeda to attack us at home. America unquestionably is safer today because Bush rejected the same passive foreign policy now promoted by Kerry.
- Kerry's "allies" can't be persuaded. So far, Kerry's been a lousy diplomat--he's angered practically the entire anti-terror coalition, especially Iraq and Australia. And Kerry's specific plans already got a "thumbs down" from France and Germany. Even Kerry concedes his approach has failed.
So the left is left claiming the Administration's angry unilateralism poisoned the well. This too is a fantasy--France, Germany and Russia opposed the U.S. because they were bribed by Saddam according to several recent investigations:
The report largely implicates France and Russia, whom Saddam Hussein targeted as he sought support on the UN Security Council before the Iraq war. Both countries were influential voices against UN-backed action. . . . The report, marked "highly confidential", also finds that the private office of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, profited from the cheap oil. Saddam's regime awarded this oil during the run-up to the war when military action was being discussed at the UN.According to the Times of London, "Saddam 'bought UN allies" with oil." In the face of billions in bribes diverted from the Iraqi people, no diplomacy--Republican or Democrat; no matter how sweet--could work.
- Kerry's "allies" can't help. Terrorism is a serious and global threat. And only America--with a defense budget bigger than the next ten nations combined--can lead the fight, as Bill Whittle explains in a masterful two part essay:
Europe, ruler of the world in the first war, had become a military freeloader by the end of the third. Europe was not able to muster the military muscle or political will to extinguish a genocide within Europe - and things have gotten worse since then. . .Defense, not Don Quixote, is the answer.
An alliance would be nice - if the allies could shoulder some of the burden. But the sad, inconvenient, disappointing fact is that there is only one army on the face of the earth that can fight on the same battlefield with the United States; whose forces, technology and training rival ours in quality if not in scale, and whose trust has been forged by three world wars when we have stood alone, together. That country is Great Britain, one of the members of [what Kerry calls] the "trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted." . .
An alliance of European powers is a chimera that no longer holds any significant value. That is a critical point. It is an essential point of delusion embedded in Senator Kerry's world view. He waits for rescue from a knight long dead and moldering, sitting beneath a withered oak tree in rusted armor.
- Even non-allied nations disagree with Kerry. Bush's diplomacy has worked elsewhere, most notably persuading Libya to drop its WMD program. The President abandoned Clinton's failed unilateral approach to North Korea. John Kerry favors returning to the prior one-on-one strategy. Yet China disagrees, preferring George Bush's five country talks. And Iran already rejected Kerry's proposed solution to their dangerous nuclear build-up.
- Kerry's plans can't survive the recent Iraq Survey Group report. Never mind the biased press spin (WaPo--report "contradicts nearly every prewar assertion made by top administration officials"), the ISG results confirm the President's policies:
Although they found no evidence that Saddam had made any WMD since 1992, they found documents which showed the "guiding theme" of his regime was to be able to start making them again with as short a lead time as possible."The ISG report demonstrates that re-constituting a WMD would have been easy, according to Powerline:
Saddam was convinced that the UN sanctions - which stopped him acquiring weapons - were on the brink of collapse and he bankrolled several foreign activists who were campaigning for their abolition. He personally approved every one.
A major theme of the ISG report is Saddam's continuing determination to acquire WMDs. This passage is typical:The strategy of the left--further negotiations or sanctions, or the repeal of sanctions--would have aided Iraqi deployment of WMDs. As Tony Blair concluded today:
Saddam asked in 1999 how long it would take to build a production line for CW [chemical weapons] agents, according to the former Minister of Military Industrialization. Huwaysh investigated and responded that experts could readily prepare a production line for mustard, which could be produced within six months. VX and Sarin production was more complicated and would take longer. Huwaysh relayed this answer to Saddam, who never requested follow-up information. An Iraqi CW expert separately estimated Iraq would require only a few days to start producing mustard - if it was prepared to sacrifice the production equipment.If Saddam could produce mustard gas within a few days, or at most a few months, then the existence or non-existence of stockpiles is a moot point.
Imad Husayn 'Ali Al 'Ani, closely tied to Iraq's VX program, alleged that Saddam had been looking for chemical weapons scientists in 2000 to begin production in a second location, according to reporting.
Just as I have had to accept that the evidence now is that there were not stockpiles of actual weapons ready to be deployed, I hope others have the honesty to accept that the report also shows that sanctions weren't working.Confounding liberals' assumption about his candle power, Bush--like Blair--"gets it" in a more accurate reading of the ISG report:
[W]e were right to take action, and America is safer today with Saddam Hussein in prison. He retained the knowledge, the materials, the means, and the intent to produce weapons of mass destruction. And he could have passed that knowledge on to our terrorist enemies. Saddam Hussein was a unique threat, a sworn enemy of our country, a state sponsor of terror, operating in the world's most volatile region. In a world after September the 11th, he was a threat we had to confront. And America and the world are safer for our actions.The bottom line according to the BBC:
Saddam Hussein never abandoned his intentions to resume efforts in chemical weapons when UN sanctions were lifted and conditions were judged favourable.Charles Johnson is right: "Mainstream media is universally spinning the Duelfer Report against George Bush, but the report is far more damaging to John Kerry." Ignore the biased headlines, advises Glenn Reynolds; the ISG report represents "the complete collapse of John Kerry's foreign policy case."