September 28, 2004

Kerry's True Multilateralism

Safire has a great editorial on the terrorists newest, most ghastly propaganda weapon, their current ritual of kidnapping/ransom demand/publicized murder.

Safire notes:

responsible journalists should consider the wisdom of allowing media-savvy terrorists to play them like a violin.

Sensationalism sells; on TV, "if it bleeds, it leads." Audiences are surely drawn to tearful interviews with worried spouses and children. Bloggers get "hits" from posting the most gruesome pictures. Cable ratings rise by milking the pathos in the drama created by the Zarqawi network: First comes the kidnapping report; then televised pleas from the kneeling, doomed innocents; then coverage of marches and vigils to plead for the payment of ransom; finally, in one case out of four, the delivery of dismembered bodies and gleeful claim of blame.

Do we have to become conduits for this grisly, real-death kidnap choreography? We are obliged to report it, but we need not go along with the terrorist propagandists in milking the most horror out of it.

We know that the primary purpose of the kidnap weapon is to drive the coalition forces out of Iraq and to prevent a free election there.

It is, indeed, a pure propaganda effort on the terrorists' part.

Comes John Kerry - soon-to-be electoral footnote and multilateralist with no demonstrated talent at diplomacy. But he's performing admirable outreach, doing his best to magnify the efforts of the butchers in Iraq:

John Kerry, who has evidently decided to replace Howard Dean as the antiwar candidate, has helped to magnify the terrorists' kidnap weapon. In a scheduled commercial Kerry personally approved, just before charging that George Bush had no plan to get us out of Iraq, the Democratic campaign underscored the message Zarqawi has been sending: "Americans," said Kerry's announcer, "are being kidnapped, held hostage, even beheaded."

Though undoubtedly accurate, that paid evocation of horror by a political candidate is a terrible blunder.

Terrible, stupid blunder, one that directly undermines the cause of freedom in the Middle East.

If the terrorists were paying a PR firm for the publicity their campaign was getting (rather than merely butchering people for it), Kerry's moronic ad would have justified every dime of the campaign.

It's bad enough for some thoughtless media outlets to become an echo chamber for scare propaganda; it's worse when the nominee of a major party approves its use to press his antiwar candidacy.
It's not just "worse"; for a candidate whose supposed cachet is his foreign policy and diplomatic chops, it's grotesquely stupid. John Kerry has shown that he is not the man to set and lead US foreign policy; he is one to let foreign governments, even our enemies, set our agenda.
We are dealing with the most brutal propaganda weapon yet devised. Strong governments counter it by refusing to pay money or policy ransom.
Make no mistake; John Kerry is not strong.

But this action is of a piece with his actions after Vietnam; he was not above exploiting the suffering of the Vietnamese people and his fellow veterans to further his political career, his nation be damned. He wasn't above selling out the MIAs for votes. And today, he's not above exploiting the murder of innocent people, and leveraging thugs' propaganda, to try to eke out a few more.

Forget that John Kerry would be a disastrous president. He's a disastrous candidate, not only for his own party, but for the nation as a whole.

Posted by Mitch at September 28, 2004 06:09 AM | TrackBack

Amen. Safire (and Mitch) are right on the money. Kerry's ad is loathsome. His mission in life seems to be doing the work of America's enemies. One of three things is true:
1) Kerry does not understand the critical role of propaganda in the success or failure of the war on terror
2) Kerry understands the role of propaganda but cravenly chooses to ignore it in order to score cheap political points
3) Kerry understands the role of propaganda but legitimately feels that both the Vietnam War and Battle of Iraq (as part of the greater war against Islamofacism) are such grave mistakes by our government that he is compelled to speak against them even at the price of victory.
We are constantly reminded how brilliant he is, so rule out #1.
Some people, in good faith hold #3 to be true. It is a principled position. Horribly and tragically misguided, but principled. But if Kerry truly held this position in good faith he would have voted against the use of force in the first place, and wouldn't have spent the first half of the primary season ripping on Dean for holding positions Kerry has now adopted for himself. To hold position #3 in good faith you need to be consistent (such as a Wellstone) or had an epiphany of some sort. No so Kerry.
Therefore we can only conclude that Kerry knows and understands full well he is providing aid and comfort to our enemy and endangering our troops and more civilians.
This is why I am cheering for a complete and utter landslide. It would be the most forceful message that could be sent to the enemy (and old Europe) of our resolve, and the most dispiriting thing that could happen to them.

Posted by: chris at September 28, 2004 12:39 PM

For me, the tipping point, the point when I resolved I would not, could not vote for John Kerry, came about when one of his campaign spokesmen openly called Allawi a Bush puppet. That was it. He was off my list. Whether I vote for Bush, or whether I leave the Prez slot unchecked on the ballot remains to be seen, but Kerry definitely lost any chance of my vote on that one. Frickin' moron.

Posted by: Ryan at September 28, 2004 01:44 PM

This is not exactly on the topic because I couldn't find a suggestion box.

Has anyone else noticed the resemblance between John Kerry and Guy Smiley from Sesame Street? My wife brought it to my attention and I spent the next hour giggling to myself.

If you e-mail me, I'll send you 2 pictures I found that show the likeness.

Posted by: gitchigumi at September 28, 2004 04:38 PM

I thought Kerry looked more like an Ent from Lord of the Rings.

Posted by: mike b at September 28, 2004 05:03 PM