- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 31, 2004

With his shameful effort to exploit Friday’s videotape message from Osama bin Laden, John Kerry has illustrated once again that he lacks the judgement necessary to be president. Bin Laden, addressing the American people, gloated over the September 11 attacks, called President Bush a liar and a supporter of despotism, and said al Qaeda is targeting the United States because this country opposes “freedom.” The terrorist leader said that America would only “remain safe” if it refrained from doing things that bother radical Islamists like bin Laden.

Mr. Kerry got it right with his initial reaction: “Let me make it clear, crystal clear: As Americans, we are absolutely united in our determination to hunt down and destroy Osama bin Laden and the terrorists.” Unfortunately, Mr. Kerry’s scripted commitment to unity only lasted a few minutes. Shortly after the initial broadcast of the tape by Al Jazeera, Mr. Kerry attempted to use the bin Laden propaganda missive to score some political points against the president and prop up his own campaign.

“As I have said for two years now, when Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were cornered in the mountains of Tora Bora, it was wrong to outsource the job of capturing them to Afghan warlords,” Mr. Kerry said on Saturday. “It was wrong to divert our forces from Afghanistan so we could rush to war with Iraq without a plan to win the peace.” Mr. Kerry hasn’t always been so disdainful toward Mr. Bush’s conduct of the very successful military campaign in Afghanistan, an effort which achieved what many pundits said could never be done — the overthrow of the Taliban dictatorship in two months. Back in December 2001, he praised the Bush administration’s conduct of military operations in Afghanistan. Gen. Tommy Franks, who was responsible for the operation in Tora Bora — where many terrorists were killed or captured — says Mr. Kerry doesn’t know what he is talking about when he asserts that bin Laden “escaped.” It is entirely possible that he may have been nowhere near Tora Bora at that time.

With his latest broadside, Mr. Kerry has shown once again that there is nothing he won’t do or say to try to become president — including the exploitation of a bin Laden propaganda statement. He has shown once again why he is ill-suited to become America’s new commander in chief.

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