- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 15, 2004

In an effort to rescue his failing presidential campaign, John Kerry went on Don Imus’ nationally syndicated radio show yesterday to hammer the Bush presidency and persuade the American people that he offers a credible alternative. Instead, by continuing to offer empty rhetoric on Iraq and disinformation about his failure to produce his military records, Mr. Kerry illustrated once again why his campaign continues spiralling downhill.

On Iraq, Mr. Kerry says he wants to bring all of the troops home by the end of his first term. He blamed President Bush for the refusal of France, Germany and others in Europe to support the war effort in Iraq. Mr. Kerry added that, if elected, he has a plan to deal with the continued refusal of European nations to live up to their promises to do more to help train Iraqi security forces. What is Mr. Kerry’s grand plan? “I would immediately call a summit meeting of the European community.” Mr. Kerry didn’t say what this summit meeting is supposed to achieve. But the implication is that Mr. Kerry will use his extraordinary persuasive powers (presumably in a more effective way than he is doing in his presidential campaign) to get the French, Germans and others to help.

The main problem with this is that there is virtually no chance that any of it will ever happen. Even if France, Germany et al. were interested in helping out with more troops, the Europeans don’t have the military infrastructure right now to make much of a contribution. And why on earth would they want to, given the fact that Mr. Kerry (at least until the next focus-group results come in) says openly that he wants to pull out by the end of his first term? But, when one reads the full transcript of Mr. Kerry’s Imus show interview, it becomes clear that Mr. Kerry’s main interest isn’t coming up with a coherent strategy to win in Iraq, but to bash the president. The Massachusetts Democrat, in a reprise of the sort of rhetoric he and his Vietnam Veterans Against the War pals used in the 1970s, taunted Mr. Bush during the interview: “What’s your plan, Mr. President, to stop these kids from being killed?”

In addition, Mr. Kerry attempted yesterday to falsely imply that the military is to blame for the media’s failure to gain access to his full military records. Asked about a complaint by The Washington Post that the records are not being released, Mr. Kerry suggested that his campaign was “trying” to get them, but the military was standing in the way. This is a distortion that must not go unchallenged. With regard to his personnel records, Mr. Kerry has the authority to order their release. He has not. No amount of spin or parsing of words by the candidate or his surrogates will change the truth.

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