"I know the power of my own diplomacy..."

Besides repeating, “I was in Vietnam,” in every speech, another one of Kerry’s constant refrains is that Iraq is a failed Bush policy. A quagmire. A failure, because of a ‘phony coalition’ that utilizes too many US troops. How exactly does Kerry arrive at the conclusion that any war would become more winnable if only there were less US troops in it?

For me, Kerry's vision on Iraq is blurry. He says we have too few troops in Iraq, but is adamant that no more US troops will be sent under his leadership. He says that he'd vote for the war today knowing what he knows now, but then says it was 'the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time'. He says he was for regime change, but then says he didn't like the way it was carried out, therefore it's a failure. He says we must not fail in Iraq, and then says we will pull out in six months if he is elected President. He says that Bush has insulted allies and failed in creating a broader coalition, then denigrates the coalition partners we have as being 'phony'.

Kerry's sole consistant refrain has been that he, in contrast to Bush, will somehow create a 'more effective' coalition with, "the power of my diplomacy." (Read that with both your fists on your hips and sling your voice real low...) That he would fight a 'smarter' war on terror. But few may realize that Kerry voted against the first gulf war that had arguably the biggest and most effective coalition in history, and that Kerry denigraded that coalition as well!

In 2002, he voted for the resolution authorizing Bush to go to war unilaterally, but then became one of Bush's harshest critics for having done so. Kerry, in his floor speech before the vote, warned Bush to build an international coalition through the United Nations, but the resolution did not require the president to gain U.N. approval before going to war. Kerry later said he was voting not for the use of force but for the threat of force.

...In his 1991 floor speech, Kerry accused President George H.W. Bush of engaging in a "rush to war" -- language similar to that he used in criticizing the current president on the eve of the Iraq war a year ago. Kerry argued in 1991 that there was no need to pass the resolution to send a message threatening force against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, although that was his justification for supporting the 2002 resolution.

Before and after last year's war on Iraq, Kerry criticized the president for failing to assemble the kind of coalition Bush's father put together in 1991. But in his 1991 floor statement, Kerry was dismissive of the elder Bush's coalition. That effort, he said, lacked "a true United Nations collective security effort," and he was critical of the then-president for trading favors for China's support and cozying up to Syria, despite its human rights record.

"I regret that I do not see a new world order in the United States going to war with shadow battlefield allies who barely carry a burden," he said then. "It is too much like the many flags policy of the old order in Vietnam, where other countries were used to try to mask the unilateral reality. I see international cooperation; yes, I see acquiescence to our position; I see bizarre new bedfellows and alliances, but I question if it adds up to a new world order." washingtonpost.com

Is Kerry seeing the world as it is or as it should be-- with him at the helm? Kerry may actually be suffering from his own internationalism. Kerry once said, "I'm an internationalist. I'd like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations." He may not be aware that the rest of the world doesn't have the number and quality of forces the United States has. Most of Europe is in fact already on the dole regarding military resources. Meaning that we are their defense forces.

The real question for Kerry is when would he get to the point where he is forced to ask the question, "How do ask a man to be the last man to die in Iraq?" When does a President Kerry pull out of Iraq like he lobbied and protested for us to pull out of Vietnam?

In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam, nothing which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to use the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart. c-span

How does Kerry expect that he will be able to create a broader coalition than Bush already has? Indeed how does he think that with nothing else being different, that solely due to his personality and personal diplomacy, that nations with no interest, and electorates less than inclined to allow it, that he will get 100,000 or so troops from European nations to replace our own?

What's even more puzzling to me is why he thinks that French and German troops will succeed where ours, apparently (in his opinion), have failed.

Stripes: As a hypothetical, what happens if these old allies dont come back? Or if they dont want to go into Iraq in substantial numbers?

Kerry: Well, Im not going to deal with hypotheticals. This is not a hypothetical. Im working on knowledge I have, indicated to me from colleagues in the Senate whove traveled abroad and talked to people. I know the power of my own diplomacy and I believe, and Im confident to say I can do a better job of bringing people to the table and reducing the burden on American troops. I know I can do it.

Stripes: So you can guarantee that well have a substantially reduced force within a year? Two years?

Kerry: I can guarantee that the goal is in my first term that within my first term I will have a substantial reduction in troops, yes. stars&stripes

But European allies are already signalling that they still want nothing to do with sending their soldiers to this, 'failed Bush policy quagmire'. Perhaps Kerry is already a victim of his own propaganda, succeeding in painting Iraq as a failure for Europeans ready to believe it. Why would they want to share in the cost in dollars and lives especially for a President that says himself that it is, "the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time".

"Some Europeans are rather concerned that Mr. Kerry might have expectations for relief [from abroad] that are going to be hard to meet," said one senior European diplomat in a statement echoed in several capitals.

The French and German governments have made clear that sending troops is out of the question. British officials have made no such categorical statement, but they have expressed concern that their troops are overstretched.

Although Japan has supplied a 550-member noncombat force as a symbol of its international commitment, analysts there see little chance the nation would agree to send more.

Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Andrei Denisov, ruled out a commitment of troops. "We are not going to send anybody there, and that's all there is to say," Denisov said.

"From the major European countries, there's simply not a lot of available troops out there, for both practical and political reasons," said Christopher Makins, president of the Atlantic Council of the United States, which supports U.S. engagement abroad.

Many allied countries have a limited number of troops suitable for the Iraq mission, and most of those are already deployed on other missions, including in the Balkans, Afghanistan (news - web sites) and Africa, Makins said.

Dana Allin of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London said, "I think there's no question, in general, you'll find it easier to get cooperation from allies if there is a new [U.S.] administration." But Allin added that if new troops were to be sent to Iraq "it's unclear where they would come from."

Kerry has at times said he would particularly like to bring in troops from Arab countries. But diplomats, including those from Arab nations, say they consider the scenario unlikely. The Iraqi interim government has for months excluded the possibility of any peacekeeping troops coming from immediate neighbors, in part because the Iraqi people would be suspicious of neighbors' intentions.

The recent collapse of a Saudi proposal to bring in peacekeeping troops from other Arab and Muslim countries also indicates the long odds against the idea.

Senior Iraqi officials told U.S. officials this summer that they opposed the idea of bringing in additional troops from any foreign country.

Campbell, the British lawmaker, added that Kerry "has to overcome the very considerable barrier of the fact that he himself voted for military action in support of President Bush."

Analysts said, moreover, that if the United States was able to reduce its military by substantial numbers in Iraq, at least one or two major nations such as France or Britain would have to accept a lead role. story.news.yahoo.com

Where does this leave Kerry with his smarter-ness and more-effectiveness? Right where Bush is I'm afraid. Right where reality ought to bring Kerry if he had an honest grip on it.

Posted by Eric Simonson at September 6, 2004 11:53 PM