- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 17, 2007

“Nothing less than total victory,” by John MacFarlane, Feb. 17, praised Cal Thomas’ “Letter from Mosul,” and both were echoed recently by the vice president.

These men slam those saying “I support the troops, but not the policy” as attacking our troops, “who are the policy.” They say reversal will “cause” soldiers to have died “in vain.” Frank Gaffney Jr. has even declared such speech treasonous.

Mr. MacFarlane demands we back “total victory” in a “War on Terror” so open-ended no practical definition is possible. Then he asks, “Have we forgotten President Kennedy’s promise to ‘pay any price, bear any burden’ ?” He and others use Kennedy’s words as blanket endorsement of Mr. Bush’s Iraq war plans. But really, what would John F. Kennedy do?

President Kennedy did not send in Marines waiting offshore to rescue the doomed Bay of Pigs invasion. In fact, it was a CIA plan designed to fail — to force the president to order in U.S. military when the invasion force made a beachhead (never achieved), and upon declaring themselves via radio a provisional government requested help from the United States. An orchestrated perversion of international law, with devious moral pressure on the president. “I didn’t sign on to this,” he said.

He did not attack Cuba over the nuclear WMD missiles as the CIA so tried to guide him to. Turns out they had nine nukes ready to launch. Kennedy did not always confront communism, signing the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty — which some felt so antithetical to total victory they brought Dr. Edward Teller to testify we would suffer a nuclear first strike when the Soviets saw our “weakened will.”

Incredibly relevant is his order of October 1963 (NSAM 263) — the first 1,000 U.S. troops out of Vietnam by January, with all out by the end of 1964. Had Kennedy and his policy reversal lived, 50,000 troops would not have died in vain, or at all. After his death, this order was rendered secret from the public, to prevent troubling dissent toward Lyndon B. Johnson’s renewed war policy.

Kennedy knew the hardest burden could be reversing errant military policy and preferred a slow sowing and reaping of our values — not fighting to impose them. He swore after their many devilish games to “break the CIA into a thousand pieces.” A needed burden, but he never got the chance.

Still, we can know what Kennedy would be doing today from words he was on his way to speak before being beaten to the punch in Dallas on November 22, 1963: “I want to discuss with you today the status of our security because this question clearly calls for the most responsible qualities of leadership and the most enlightened products of scholarship — for this nation’s strength and security are not easily or cheaply attained, nor are they simply and quickly explained. There are many kinds of strength and no one will suffice. Overwhelming nuclear strength cannot stop a guerrilla war. Formal pacts of allegiance cannot stop internal subversion.”

He details a vast, varied buildup of U.S. military and economic capabilities under his direction, but then says, “Dollar for dollar… there is no better form of investment in our national security than our much-abused foreign aid program.” At $1,000 per second spent in Iraq, this is a better way.

The very last words of President Kennedy declare the only true path to victory — no matter how great our strength — depends on our spiritual posture. This is the key.

“My friends and fellow citizens… America today is stronger than ever before. Our adversaries have not abandoned their ambitions, our dangers have not diminished, our vigilance cannot be relaxed. But now we have the military, the scientific, and the economic strength to do whatever must be done for the preservation and promotion of freedom. We, in this country, in this generation are — by destiny rather than by choice — the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve for all time the ancient vision of ‘peace on earth, good will toward men.’ That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as it was written long ago: ‘Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh, but in vain.’ ”

Thus, it is our duty and burden to reverse the true cause underlying Mr. Bush’s “prevenge” attack on Iraq. He diverted from our only target of righteous military response — Osama bin Laden — to follow force “regime change” under this claim: “Instability anywhere in the world automatically threatens our national security, making it legal to send U.S. military anywhere there’s instability.” Written by Mr. Bush’s advisers well before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, it’s now so accepted that recently our secretary of state yapped it out without batting an eye.

But this policy is an orchestrated perversion of the Constitution’s language on use of military power — a devil’s construct worked up by “well-intentioned” schemers in the military/political complex that assures itself endless use and endless expansion. That’s how U.S. troops — and futures — die in vain.

PETER VELIS

Chevy Chase

Mr. Velis has been a reader of The Washington Times since Day One.

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