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Old 06-28-2004, 11:44 PM   #1
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John Kerry = Bush Lite?

In recent months the more I've heard John Kerry speak and the more I've read stories quoting him, the more I've begun to think of him as "Bush Lite."

An editorial that appeared in the L.A. Times a week ago Sunday echoed and answered some of my thoughts and questions about Kerry.

I honestly don't think I can vote for this guy.

To me, he has no clear vision for the future except for regurgitating the themes and refining the policies of our current president.

He sounds more like another warmonger rather than someone who has a heart for peace. To wit:

He intends to continue Bush's policy of preemptively striking perceived “evil-doer” powers and principalities across the globe. Wonderful.

He will institute -- as stated by the author of the Times editorial -- "a new domestic intelligence agency and a vastly beefed-up homeland security program." My response to that is "Are you fucking kidding me?"

More:

“Preventing terrorists from "gaining weapons of mass murder" is [Kerry’s] No. 1 security goal, and Kerry says he would strike first if any attack "appears imminent. " The senator promises to "use military force to protect American interests anywhere in the world, whenever necessary." On May 27 in Seattle, he promised to "take the fight to the enemy on every continent…"

Ugh. This guy is honestly the son of Bush.

But that’s the way it is in America. In this conservative nation, centrism (which here is much more conservative than liberal) is the platform on which most politicians struggle to stand, as they believe it’s the only way to get elected -- and they may be right.

So we’ve got two centrists (read “conservatives”) from which to choose. And in this case even the less conservative guy is espousing ideas and values that fall far to the right. So in consequence, yet another U.S. election has – for many of us -- come down to voting for the lesser of two evils.

Thing is, as much as I think Mr. Bush virtually committed a war crime with his lunacy-inspired invasion of Iraq, I cannot vote for another lousy candidate in the name of de-throning Bush, especially when said candidate might be just as bad – and deluded -- as the incumbent.

I might not be able to vote for a president at all.

For those of us who are looking to see a degree of sanity restored to the U.S. Presidency, I guess we’re fucked.

----------------------------------------------------------
Kerry: a Lighter Shade of Bush

By William M. Arkin, William M. Arkin is a military affairs analyst who writes regularly for Opinion.
E-mail: warkin@igc.org

SOUTH POMFRET, Vt. — Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry got a boost last week when 27 retired U.S. diplomats, admirals and four-star generals, including a number of prominent Republican appointees from former Bush and Reagan administrations, publicly urged Americans to vote President Bush out of office.

They did not explicitly endorse Kerry, but the old warriors and insiders find themselves far more comfortable with the Massachusetts senator than with Bush when it comes to their favorite subject. Not only has Kerry firmly surrounded himself with Clinton standard-bearers on foreign policy and defense, but he has espoused his own brand of warmongering.

I would love nothing better than to see Bush out of office, but Kerry is a gloomy alternative. Worse yet, in the short term, his "me too, only better" approach to the war on terrorism could actually serve to make the United States less safe.

Kerry's defense plans might be a slam-dunk for the atherosclerotic set in the national security community, but here is the alternative that the senator offers to Democrats and people of liberal values in November:

• no plan to withdraw from Iraq, not even the kind of "secret plan" the late President Nixon offered on Vietnam, and no change in Afghanistan;

• continuation of Bush's preemption policy;

• a larger military with many more special operations units, plus accelerated spending on "transformation," which in today's defense jargon means creation of greater capability to intervene around the world on short notice;

• a new domestic intelligence agency and a vastly beefed-up homeland security program.

Kerry's defense advisors see much of this as innocuous rhetoric to protect the Democratic candidate's flanks from traditional conservative accusations of being soft on national security. At the same time, it represents a calculated strategy to "keep your head low and win.

"In his stump speeches, Kerry stresses a spirited dose of alliances, the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and a return to what he calls an "America that listens and leads again." He roundly criticizes the Bush administration on Iraq, Afghanistan and homeland security. He promises as commander in chief that he will never ask the troops "to fight a war without a plan to win the peace."

All that is to the good. Yet when Kerry describes the contemporary world, and the challenges that the U.S. faces, he sounds just like the president, the vice president and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Terrorism, he says, "present[s] the central national security challenge of our generation." Preventing terrorists from "gaining weapons of mass murder" is his No. 1 security goal, and Kerry says he would strike first if any attack "appears imminent. " The senator promises to "use military force to protect American interests anywhere in the world, whenever necessary." On May 27 in Seattle, he promised to "take the fight to the enemy on every continent" (I guess that probably doesn't include Antarctica).

Beyond rhetoric, Kerry proposes to add 40,000 troops to the Army and to double the "Special Forces capability to fight the war on terror," presumably jumping from the current 48,000 to 96,000.

On homeland security, there isn't a constituency that Kerry doesn't pander to. National Guard, local government, police, firefighters, public health services, even AmeriCorps — the modest domestic equivalent of the Peace Corps — all should be beefed up, he says, to "protect America." He even proposes a new "community defense service" of homeland security wardens à la civil defense in the Cold War, which would surely be the looniest club that ever existed.

Even his serious proposals are problematic. The homeland security plan is defeatist and out of control. On the Army, though it sounds as if adding active-duty troops would solve the current overburden in Iraq and relieve the National Guard and reserves, the reality is that adding 40,000 to the end strength would take two or more years, according to one of Kerry's own advisors. Special Forces are even more difficult and time-consuming to manufacture.

But the biggest problem is that the basic premise of military growth is that we will continue to fight at the Bush pace. And relying more on special operations? That's the Rumsfeld doctrine: fast and light, covert and unaccountable. But anyone who is not an administration toady must recognize by now that ninja magicians can do only so much and that the cost of not having enough regular soldiers on the ground is a theme that runs from Tora Bora and the postwar insurgency in Iraq to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

Special-ops troops tend to get you involved in, well, special operations. Making them a centerpiece of U.S. military planning and force structures builds a bias into the decision-making process that favors covert action and the unfortunate belief that we can prevail over terrorism by killing terrorists faster than they are recruited.

Kerry proposes these buildups because he accepts the central premise of the Bush administration: Terrorists are so threatening that we must sacrifice our liberties, change our government and military and, ultimately, our way of life in order to fight them.

In this 60th anniversary year of D-day, I find it astounding that anyone could be so callous and ahistorical as to point to the threat we faced from a Nazi foe that truly had the capacity to destroy our way of life and compare it to a few thousand or even a few tens of thousands of terrorists who, at their worst, can do no more than threaten to panic Western society with random bloodshed. It is equally absurd to compare the war on terrorism to the Cold War, when the United States could literally have been destroyed by thousands of nuclear weapons (a possibility, though not a threat, that persists today from Russian and Chinese nukes).

Challenge the Hysteria

Intelligent people, and I assume that includes Kerry, must begin to challenge the basic premise behind the post-9/11 hysteria. Terrorists may be a growing threat, and we may be unprepared to deal with the challenges they pose, but they have no hope of destroying our society. Only we can do that.

By overstating the threat and overreacting to incidents, we not only give terrorists exactly what they seek, but we seem to create a panicked environment that clouds our judgment when it comes to intelligence, propels us into military adventures abroad and distorts our priorities at home.

Americans should demand a certain level of competence and accountability from their government to protect them, but the Bush (and Kerry) approach is not securing a peaceful future. In fact, the entire war on terrorism, based on the false assumption that it is a war for our survival, seems to be feeding hatred and aggravating the fault lines.

We need to rethink this problem, pure and simple, and Kerry needs to unburden himself from the conventional wisdom.

Otherwise, for many in the Islamic world, Kerry's adoption of the Bush administration's worldview and strategies merely reinforces the idea that the United States is indeed the problem, that there is a clash of civilizations that only might can resolve and that Islam will be an American target no matter who is president. If reducing terrorist attacks is the goal, I can't imagine more dangerous perceptions to foster.

The United States would be safer with a Democratic political platform that demonstrated fundamental disagreement about our current course.

It's tough in a campaign season to stop worrying about the polling booth and start thinking afresh about national security. So here is one final argument against Kerry's muscle-bound "me-too-ism," an argument rooted in domestic, not foreign, policy concerns: For young people energized by the Howard Dean campaign, for liberals and the silent majority, Kerry's carbon-copy campaign conveys the impression that political involvement doesn't matter. Whether you back Kerry, stay home, vote for Ralph Nader or stick with the Bush team, the result will be the same.

If revitalizing American democracy and reinforcing its most precious values are our key objectives, I can't imagine a worse message for a Democratic presidential candidate to be sending.
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Old 06-29-2004, 12:07 AM   #2
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Kerry is Bush-like no doubt, but I'd rather have Kerry as prez.
If Bush is re-elected...err.....steals the election again, this country
will go back to the stone age.
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Old 06-29-2004, 12:31 AM   #3
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Son of Bush...never, Bush lite I find insulting. Now he's more moderate and closer to Bush than I would actually desire, but you have to take the times into the equation. I think if he spoke too much about specifics and didn't speak about security then he'd lose a lot of ground.

Bush and Kerry are not woven from the same cloth and that I'm glad for. They may be too close to each other but it comes down to a lesser of the evils, it's a sad state of affairs.
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Old 06-29-2004, 12:32 AM   #4
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The Democrats appear to have no balls. If Kerry differed too much from Bush on terrorism/evil doers etc he'd be labelled as weak on security and he'd be f*cked by a population who for the most part don't care for the details, just the soundbites, headlines and propaganda.

Kerry looks like a terrible choice. But I think he's way better than 4 more years of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld with a 'nothing to lose' attitude.
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Old 06-29-2004, 10:24 AM   #5
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His only real platform is that he's not Bush. That's not good enough, as he could be worse than Bush. He thinks he can sneak in based on people's dissatisfaction with Bush. Well, show me a real good reason he is so much better, I don't see it. Let's hear what he is about, what he wants to do with our country, not just that he isn't Bush! I don't know why so many of you are on his bandwagon. He hasn't even said he'd change a thing in Iraq. I don't see anything great about him, and I will not vote for someone just to get rid of Bush, I don't hate Bush that bad. I don't like him, but I don't see Kerry as any improvement. I don't like or trust any career politician
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Old 06-29-2004, 10:41 AM   #6
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It's not a good situation. The real problem is, if Kerry were more liberal, he'd be in trouble from negative ads from Republicans, and a populace that's more interested in thirty second soundbites on the evening news than substance. He'd be getting assailed as "another Dukakis", "soft on terrorism", etc, etc. I think that Kerry is basically a "centrist" in the context of Democratic party politics, and Bush is a good bit more to the right. I don't think Kerry would have Ashcroft or Rumsfeld in his cabinet. All political candidates have their faults, and Kerry is certainly no exception. I will listen carefully to his acceptance speech in Boston next month. I'm the kind of person who likes to look on the bright side of things. I just hope there *is* a bright side to this situation. I'm not sure that there is, to be perfectly honest. Oh well, one can always hope.
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Old 06-29-2004, 11:09 AM   #7
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Interesting. I have yet to see someone articulate why Kerry is the leader they would follow.

Seems like he is only the best alternative to Bush.
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Old 06-29-2004, 11:36 AM   #8
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
Interesting. I have yet to see someone articulate why Kerry is the leader they would follow.
Kerry himself cannot even articulate why he would be a leader worth "following."
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Old 06-29-2004, 12:08 PM   #9
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Originally posted by pub crawler


Kerry himself cannot even articulate why he would be a leader worth "following."
I used to joke that I wanted to steal Vaclav Havel from the Czechs to be President of the U.S. Now that he's retired I can't even plot to steal a good foreign leader.
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Old 06-29-2004, 01:56 PM   #10
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Originally posted by verte76


I used to joke that I wanted to steal Vaclav Havel from the Czechs to be President of the U.S. Now that he's retired I can't even plot to steal a good foreign leader.
That just reminded me of a thread I wanted to start. Thanks.



Edit: I just made the thread now.

http://forum.interference.com/showth...threadid=93315
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Old 06-29-2004, 04:26 PM   #11
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Originally posted by U2Kitten
His only real platform is that he's not Bush. That's not good enough, as he could be worse than Bush. He thinks he can sneak in based on people's dissatisfaction with Bush. Well, show me a real good reason he is so much better, I don't see it. Let's hear what he is about, what he wants to do with our country, not just that he isn't Bush! I don't know why so many of you are on his bandwagon. He hasn't even said he'd change a thing in Iraq. I don't see anything great about him, and I will not vote for someone just to get rid of Bush...
I couldn't agree more. You've articulated the problem perfectly.
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Old 06-29-2004, 06:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Kitten
His only real platform is that he's not Bush. That's not good enough, as he could be worse than Bush. He thinks he can sneak in based on people's dissatisfaction with Bush. Well, show me a real good reason he is so much better, I don't see it. Let's hear what he is about, what he wants to do with our country, not just that he isn't Bush! I don't know why so many of you are on his bandwagon. He hasn't even said he'd change a thing in Iraq. I don't see anything great about him, and I will not vote for someone just to get rid of Bush, I don't hate Bush that bad. I don't like him, but I don't see Kerry as any improvement. I don't like or trust any career politician
Well being that he's not Bush is not only good enough for some, but a very welcomed relief for many.

One thing about Iraq that Kerry has said time and time again that I agree with and hope to see happen is that he want's to build a true coalition with troops and $$$. This "coalition" we have now is a joke. At least Kerry recognises this, he's not coming into the White House with the arrogance that this "war" on terror can be fought with a facade of a coalition and the bridges to our allies burning all around us. Just the fact that he even recognises that this is how this should be approached is good enough for me, that's how bad I believe Bush fucked up this thing.
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Old 06-29-2004, 06:51 PM   #13
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


Well being that he's not Bush is not only good enough for some, but a very welcomed relief for many.

One thing about Iraq that Kerry has said time and time again that I agree with and hope to see happen is that he want's to build a true coalition with troops and $$$. This "coalition" we have now is a joke. At least Kerry recognises this, he's not coming into the White House with the arrogance that this "war" on terror can be fought with a facade of a coalition and the bridges to our allies burning all around us. Just the fact that he even recognises that this is how this should be approached is good enough for me, that's how bad I believe Bush fucked up this thing.
Good points. They've done the "handover" of power in Iraq, but the killings are continuing. There were two attacks and several killings in Iraq today. I'm afraid that the Wahhabist terrorists are going to continue their attacks. It's a mess. There's nothing to keep Wahhabists from Saudi Arabia and perhaps Deobandis from Pakistan out. Both these groups are Sunni, and the new Iraqi leader is a Shia Muslim. Wahhabists in particular hate Shias. These people are extremist nuts. We just can't pull all of our troops out of there now. The new leaders don't want that, for one thing. These new Iraqi leaders are going to need help to succeed. I certainly wish them success in their endeavors. The Iraqis deserve no less.
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Old 06-29-2004, 07:03 PM   #14
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When I was watching the debates on TV just before the 2000 election, I had a hell of a time telling the difference between Bush and Gore. To me Bush actually seemed somewhat of a moderate compared to what he has turned out to be in office. Let's face it, there's no way we can really tell what a candidates are truly going to be like as president until they actually move into the White House. They just say whatever they think will get them elected. And that's true of Kerry as well. Maybe it's a bit of a gamble voting for him, but I like the odds with him better than I do with Bush.
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Old 06-29-2004, 07:07 PM   #15
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People in Canada just voted for the lesser evil because they did not want Bush Part Deux here. And their voices were heard. Do not underestimate people's revulsion of Bush.

I don't know what Kerry stands for either and I would not vote Dem anyway, since they're far too right for my liking. But I find Bush to be so incredibly offensive on every possible level that I can completely understand people wanting to vote for anyone but him.
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