Friday, October 01, 2004

A Quick Reading (OK, maybe not as quick as I intended)

Sean at Everything I Know Is Wrong is correct....a closer reading of the transcript definitely raises your eyebrows. I am not sure if it is the distraction of watching the debate (Kerry's expressions were what distracted me, not Bush's), or how quickly it went, but further scrutiny really brings out some interesting points:
Kerry: I believe in being strong and resolute and determined. And I will hunt down and kill the terrorists, wherever they are. But we also have to be smart, Jim. And smart means not diverting your attention from the real war on terror in Afghanistan against Usama bin Laden and taking if off to Iraq where the 9/11 Commission confirms there was no connection to 9/11 itself and Saddam Hussein, and where the reason for going to war was weapons of mass destruction, not the removal of Saddam Hussein. This president has made, I regret to say, a colossal error of judgment. And judgment is what we look for in the president of the United States of America.
Hm. Let's see, he saw the same intelligence reports, agreed with the administration that Hussein was a threat, and voted for the power to go to war. If the President made an error, then so did our fine Senator. What the hell is he talking about?!
Kerry: I'm proud that important military figures who are supporting me in this race: former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili; just yesterday, General Eisenhower's son, General John Eisenhower, endorsed me; General Admiral William Crown; General Tony McBeak, who ran the Air Force war so effectively for his father -- all believe I would make a stronger commander in chief. And they believe it because they know I would not take my eye off of the goal: Usama bin Laden. Unfortunately, he escaped in the mountains of Tora Bora. We had him surrounded. But we didn't use American forces, the best trained in the world, to go kill him. The president relied on Afghan warlords and he outsourced that job too. That's wrong.
This man has played too many video games, where the final round is to fight the "big lord" enemy to win the game. One man did not start terrorism, fund it, plan it, engage it, and continue its fight. It takes a lot of money to obtain weapons, recruit people, get cover, and move covertly. One man, a single, ugly, skinny dude was the only one involved? I don't think so. It is like watching those movies where the good guy is running from an organized crime mob, and there is one guy, or a couple of guys, who are out to get him. When these bad guys die, the good guy has to figure out a way to tie the hands of the evil organization, or else they will come after him and finish the job. Killing the antagonist gives the audience, and the protagonist, satisfaction, but you have to stop the organization behind the antagonist or else the fight continues. Kerry needs to watch the Godfather, or The Firm. I can't believe I'm recommending Hollywood production to give this man a reality check, but nonetheless....
Kerry: First of all, he made the misjudgment of saying to America that he was going to build a true alliance, that he would exhaust the remedies of the United Nations and go through the inspections. In fact, he first didn't even want to do that. And it wasn't until former Secretary of State Jim Baker and General Scowcroft and others pushed publicly and said you've got to go to the U.N., that the president finally changed his mind -- his campaign has a word for that -- and went to the United Nations. Now, once there, we could have continued those inspections. We had Saddam Hussein trapped.
We did? A couple of old guys in a white van, who had already offered up an itinerary of their country-wide tour of Iraq, had Hussein trapped? When we had given them notice we were sending in inspectors? In a country the size of Iraq? Oh, yeah, I'm sure Hussein was shaking in his palace. He could have left a trail the size elephant dung, and the inspectors would have had to be in the right place at the right time in order to see it. This was like a cat and mouse ploy - and Hussein was the cat.
Bush: My opponent says help is on the way, but what kind of message does it say to our troops in harm's way, "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time"? Not a message a commander in chief gives, or this is a "great diversion." As well, help is on the way, but it's certainly hard to tell it when he voted against the $87-billion supplemental to provide equipment for our troops, and then said he actually did vote for it before he voted against it. Not what a commander in chief does when you're trying to lead troops.
If I were a soldier in the U.S. military, and heard someone saying this is the "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time," I would feel disheartened, or worse yet, that the sacrifice of my life would not even mean anything to the very people I thought I was protecting. Just imagine how that must feel. Kerry may have been in Vietnam, perhaps he fought bravely, but it is clear the only experience he took from it was his fight against Vietnam when he returned. He brings the same dishonor on today's troops that he did when he returned to Vietnam and stood up against the war and against his peers. It pains me to say something this harsh against anyone, but he disgusts me. He absolutely offends me. I hope there is a warm corner in the afterlife for him....a very warm corner.
Kerry: I understand what the president is talking about, because I know what it means to lose people in combat. And the question, is it worth the cost, reminds me of my own thinking when I came back from fighting in that war. And it reminds me that it is vital for us not to confuse the war, ever, with the warriors. That happened before. And that's one of the reasons why I believe I can get this job done, because I am determined for those soldiers and for those families, for those kids who put their lives on the line. That is noble. That's the most noble thing that anybody can do. And I want to make sure the outcome honors that nobility....And my plan has a better chance of standing up and fighting for those troops. I will never let those troops down, and will hunt and kill the terrorists wherever they are.
Number one, these are not kids fighting this war. These are our men and women, adults with responsibility and choices, who chose to fight for us over there, and even to die for us. He makes them sound like immature children who don't know any better. Number two, how is he going to honor them? The same way he honored his peers after he came home from Vietnam, convinced the war was a mistake? He is convinced this one is a mistake. How in God's name is he going to honor our troops with that kind of mindset? We've seen him in action making sure "the outcome honors that nobility." Let me remind you of our Vietnam vet who placed this ad in the paper. If you want to know how Kerry is going to honor the troops, I think this should give you a pretty good idea.
Kerry: ...Now, I'd like to come back for a quick moment, if I can, to that issue about China and the talks. Because that's one of the most critical issues here: North Korea. Just because the president says it can't be done, that you'd lose China, doesn't mean it can't be done. I mean, this is the president who said "There were weapons of mass destruction," said "Mission accomplished," said we could fight the war on the cheap -- none of which were true. We could have bilateral talks with Kim Jong Il. And we can get those weapons at the same time as we get China. Because China has an interest in the outcome, too. LEHRER: Thirty seconds, Mr. President. BUSH: You know my opinion on North Korea. I can't say it any more plainly. LEHRER: Well, but when he used the word "truth" again... BUSH: Pardon me? LEHRER: ... talking about the truth of the matter. He used the word "truth" again. Did that raise any hackles with you? BUSH: Oh, I'm a pretty calm guy. I don't take it personally. LEHRER: OK. All right. BUSH: You know, we looked at the same intelligence and came to the same conclusion: that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat. And I don't hold it against him that he said grave threat. I'm not going to go around the country saying he didn't tell the truth, when he looked at the same intelligence I did. KERRY: It was a threat. That's not the issue. The issue is what you do about it. The president said he was going to build a true coalition, exhaust the remedies of the U.N. and go to war as a last resort. Those words really have to mean something. And, unfortunately, he didn't go to war as a last resort. Now we have this incredible mess in Iraq -- $200 billion. It's not what the American people thought they were getting when they voted. LEHRER: All right, that brings us to closing statements....
I guess this is where many conservatives thought President Bush should have stepped up to the plate and responded with more emphasis - that was the main complaint I heard from conservatives today. Honestly, I love the way he responded. Why repeat himself? He had already made his point. Why does he need to have his hackles raised or anything said otherwise? I think his irritation at this, at this point, hackneyed debate was understandable and perfect. The repetition, the returning to previous questions when a new question was on the table....Each candidate was given a certain amount of time to answer a question. They shouldn't be using time left over for another question to revisit and try to make a point they should have already established. Bush even had time left over a couple of times, because he got to the point, made it, and then moved on, unlike Kerry who wanted to keep revisiting what (I guess) he thought was a powerful point on his side. I don't know how you could consider this debate a draw. Not once you read the transcripts. Bush sent his points home, gave people what they wanted to hear (what his supporters wanted to hear) - and wait, it was also exactly how he has run his administration. Kerry tells people what they want to hear, anything they want to hear, even though he is contradicting what he said the day before. Democrats have my sympathy for their lousy choice of a candidate. I only hope they will look past party registration and consider what this war means to our country and our future. I just became a George Bush convert - I was already going to vote for him because I thought he was the better choice; now I know he is.