October 31, 2006

Kerrying Water for the Vision

Hatched by Dafydd

Power Line already beat me to the punch on this one; but the line that struck me most in John Kerry's non-apology...

Oh, wait; for all those people who turn first to Big Lizards for all the day's news (poor fools) I'll give a brief recap.

Yesterday, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA, 100%) was fairly near me, though somehow I failed to get the word. He spoke to students at Pasadena City College, promoting his fellow loser, Democrat Phil Angelides, who is running for governor -- well, "walking" would be the apter word, or even the Briticism "standing" -- against incumbent California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

All right: backpedaling; that'll do it.

And here is part of what Kerry said:

You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.

Before we get to my favorite part, let's take a look at the original faux pas and how Kerry has feebly tried to defend it.

  1. First, a plea: I would really like to see the entire passage in which this line occurs; I always like to have full context, when a politician says something so outrageous.
  2. I can think of no plausible meaning of this than the obvious: Kerry is warning students that if they're too lazy and not smart enough, they'll end up in the military.

Now, perhaps this made sense back in the days when we had a draft, and we also had student deferments: back then, before I was old enough to be drafted, if you were too lazy to study or too dumb to pass your classes, you could lose your draft deferment and end up stuck in Vietnam.

But today, we have an all-volunteer army, a robust and vibrant economy, and the only people currently in the military are those who chose, for personal reasons, to enlist -- some combination of patriotism, family history of service, a belief in the rightness of the war against global jihad, or perhaps just the burning desire to kill jihadis.

  1. Kerry (through "a source close to" him) now claims that he wasn't really talking about the troops being "stuck in Iraq;" he meant the president; he just forgot a couple of words he meant to say.

No, really. This is rich:

A source close to Kerry tells NBC News that he was trying to make a "tough and honest joke" about Bush and that in the process he omitted two words which changed the intended meaning. Per the source, Kerry meant to say that he can't "overstress the importance of a great education" and that "if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy... You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq." Kerry mistakenly dropped the "getting us" from his initial remarks.

(Hat tip to Allahpundit, among thousands of others. Remember our motto!)

Of course, it's not really just two words; if you take out the two this source suggests Kerry meant to say, you end up with this: "you end up stuck in a war in Iraq."

But that's not what Kerry said; he said "you get stuck in Iraq." Let's reinsert the two "missing" words into what Kerry actually said and see how it comes out:

You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don't, you getting us get stuck in Iraq.

All right. If that's what he actually meant to say, then I think we have an even bigger problem with Kerry, and with the party that nominated him for the presidency. I mean, "misunderestimate" and "strategery" are one thing, but "you getting us get stuck in Iraq?"

  1. Earlier today, Kerry went on the offensive; he attributed the brouhaha to "despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.... who have never worn the uniform of our country [yet who] lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have." He was referring, one can only conclude, to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ, 80%) and Lt.Col. Joe Repya.

Now, finally to my point: in all this kafuffle, the line that struck me most in John Kerry's non-apology was this one:

If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook.

...But of course, in real life, "a veteran" did exactly that: one Lt. John Forbes Kerry, just returned from Vietnam, attacked his fellow crewmen and commanders of swift boats for war crimes, mass murder, cutting off body parts as trophies, raping, pillaging, and looting, and in general, behaving like "Genghis Khan," whatever that was supposed to mean.

I think that last comes from the common expression (common even in the early 1970s) that so-and-so is "to the right of Genghis Khan." I suspect Kerry mistakenly thought Genghis Khan was a Republican conservative Christian, possibly from rural Maine.

As the e-mailer to Power Line put it, "You bet your *** we think you'd slur the military because you've done it before." (I don't know whether the e-mailer wrote the asterisks or whether Paul Mirengoff edited.)

This goes to a larger point. Kerry clearly shares with many of his fellow Democrats, including fellow Democratic veterans, like John Murtha, Jimmy Carter, and Max Cleland, the notion that people in the military are just dummies. Most especially, this view is shared by the elite media and chickendoves like Howard Dean and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco, 100%).

How much does that anti-soldier attitude distort their understanding of the war in Iraq and how well or poorly it's going? If the media especially think of soldiers as uneducated rubes, rural hicks, and lazy slobs, mightn't that make them rather more willing to believe that they're screwing everything up?

And if they associate "military idiots" with "Southerners," then it makes perfect sense that they would lump Bush in with the rubes, hicks, and slobs, and be more than willing -- even eager -- to believe that Bush just bumbles everything.

Something of that ilk must be in play; because no matter how finely you slice it, it's just not possible to rationally believe the Iraq war is an unmitigated disaster, as clearly the Left and their cohorts in the media do:

  • We overthrew Saddam Hussein in record time;
  • We brought about several free elections in which the great majority of voting-age Iraqis participated (and their votes were counted);
  • We've lost fewer than 3,000 people, even after three years and seven months;
  • 16 of the 18 provinces of Iraq are relatively peaceful (as peaceful as any typical Arab country, that is);
  • We have so far prevented terrorists from turning Iraq into another Somalia;
  • Much of Iraq's economy and infrastructure is better today than it was before the war;
  • And we have trained close to 300,000 Iraqi soldiers and national police, the vast majority of whom are serving honorably to protect their fledgling democracy;
  • We haven't not been attacked since 9/11 by terrorism anywhere but where we're in combat.

Neither is it an unalloyed victory:

  • We have failed to shut down the anti-democratic insurgency;
  • There are still Salafist terrorists and Iranian-backed theocrats fighting in Iraq, in addition to the Saddamist insurgency;
  • There is still a lot of killing in the two "bad" provinces (Anbar and Baghdad), in which a huge chunk of the population lives;

  • There is still the potential -- though not yet the actuality -- of civil war in Iraq; it's still in the "gangland massacre" stage, but the possibility of expansion still exists.

The only rational conclusion is that the Iraq war currently has achieved mixed results, like the Korean war after the retreat down the Chosen and after we had begun battling our way back up the peninsula, but before the truce finally ended the war with an Allied victory. (No, Korea was not a "draw;" the victory condition for the North was to conquer the South, but the victory condition for the South was to survive as an independent nation, free of dominance by the crazy Maoists up north: that means that the good guys won in Korea.)

But if one believes that our soldiers, at all levels from raw recruit to the Commander in Chief, are complete incompetents and dolts... well, then obviously the problems in the second list are insurmountable; and the victories in the first list (to the extent the elite media even believes they happened) are attributable to the Iraqis themselves -- we had nothing to do with it. After all, how could Southern racists and ignoramuses possibly have achieved any of that?

This all flows out of what Thomas Sowell calls the Vision of the Anointed, from his book of that title. The subtitle says it all: "Self-Congratulation As a Basis for Social Policy."

Liberals don't merely believe their ideas are better than those of conservatives; they believe they are better than conservatives: intellectually and morally. This explains the repeated atttempts this year to run on the theme of "the culture of corruption," notwithstanding that Democrats are as apt to be corrupt as Republicans: "even when we take money from lobbyists or diddle the pages," they argue, "we're actually doing so to serve a higher moral purpose -- so it's totally different!"

Perhaps Liberals hate the military because they see them as stupid, inept, lazy, and inferior; therefore, like fairy-tale ogres, they break everything they touch. They despise Southerners for the same reason, and Westerners, and... well, basically everyone who doesn't share "the Vision" that Sowell discusses. Only the "anointed" -- liberal Democrats -- can be trusted with the levers of power.

And I believe that is what we just saw slip out of John Kerry's mouth when he wasn't listening (thereby joining the tens of millions of others who never listen to what he says): more than anything else, he is annoyed by menials questioning the wisdom of their betters.

Sure, Kerry himself might "criticize the more than [500,000] heroes serving in [Vietnam]" when he returns from that war; but that was totally different, not to be questioned... not by the likes of you lot. Remember, in this context, his response to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and their campaign against him: rarely did he try to argue with them, point by point; he left that to subordinates and his natural allies in the antique media.

Rather, he bitterly attacked his accusers for being the wrong class of veteran... not good ones like himself, but bad ones who don't share the Vision, hence should simply be dismissed.

That has been the liberal Democratic position for decades now, going all the way back to Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal of the 1930s. After more than seventy years of failure, they still haven't learned their lesson: like all religious faiths, the Vision is not to be questioned. Ever.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 31, 2006, at the time of 7:50 PM

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» The True John Kerry from Flopping Aces
This is the man who came so close to leading this country. Can you imagine? Someone who feels only the dumb and ignorant serve this country. He has shown disdain for our military even before he spent his few months on Vietnam. He is a pathetic excuse f... [Read More]

Tracked on October 31, 2006 9:36 PM

» No Apology Yet from Sensible Mom
Kerry's defense seems to be that we should all know better, the problem for him is that we do. It's his problem to fix and he's not interested in doing it - that's what you get for being an arrogant S.O.B., who thinks he can say whatever he wants with... [Read More]

Tracked on November 1, 2006 6:57 AM

» Open Letter to Kerry’s Supporters from chez Diva
I originally posted this as a reply to a commenter at Riehl World View who saw it fit to defend John Kerry’s remarks. Upon further review I decided to post it here as an open letter of sorts to those who think John Kerry’s comments arenR... [Read More]

Tracked on November 1, 2006 8:21 AM


The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

First the snark; You are wrong Dafydd to bring up the Winter Soldier testimony, Kerry said he wouldn't insult the folks serving in IRAQ, not Vietnam. Of course, he did that too when he accused them of terrorizing little children and women. As Kerry said, "Iraqi's should be doing that."

No, I don't really follow that logic either.

As to whether Kerry scre...er, messed up a 'funny' line meant to insult George Bush? So what if that's the case; I'm perfectly willing to assume that he blew a line and it came out as an insult targeting a group he didn't intend to offend.

In this case, the whole mess could have been deflated, even turned to the Democrats' advantage if... IF... John F. Kerry would have deigned to apologize for any unintentional insult. He very clearly has decided that he is beyond that. Apologies to the Serving members of our Military is just not something he is capable of doing without a re-wire.

If I was a Kerry supporter, I would advise him to get out all day tomorrow and apologize profusely for any insult taken, and blame the Republicans for... oh, something bad. Instead I read tonight that he has cancelled his public appearances.

How long DOES it take to do a Poll?

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 31, 2006 8:30 PM

The following hissed in response by: Steven Den Beste

If I ever should happen to inadvertently insult 140,000 heavily armed men on TV, I think I would offer an unconditional apology as soon thereafter as I could manage it.

The above hissed in response by: Steven Den Beste [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 31, 2006 8:43 PM

The following hissed in response by: Jeff Conn

For a moment, lets enter the fantasy world and assume that he actually meant to be referring to Bush. In that case, he's got some stones to bring that topic up again, considering we can go right back to his Yale grades and note that they are no better than W's. Same grades, one guy is President the other isn't. Who's the slacker again?

Mr. Michael: it's not really the poll, but finding respondents who haven't written you off as an America-hating, self-aggrandizing idiot that is the tough part.

The above hissed in response by: Jeff Conn [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 31, 2006 8:57 PM

The following hissed in response by: ShoreMark

If I ever should happen to inadvertently insult 140,000 heavily armed men on TV, I think I would offer an unconditional apology as soon thereafter as I could manage it.

I get your intimation Steve, but those particular 140,000 men and women he insulted (not to mention the other 2,000,000 or so deployed around the world and in the United States of America) are above that; and bounds above Kerry by any measure in the universe.

The above hissed in response by: ShoreMark [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 31, 2006 10:45 PM

The following hissed in response by: Maetenloch

Normally I'm willing to give politicians the benefit of the doubt when it comes to a single quote since anyone who speaks enough in public is bound to mispeak at some point. However Kerry has a track record of bad mouthing the military going all the way back to his congressional testimony in the 70's. I think what happened is that he was relaxed, speaking off the cuff, and he let his mask slip for a second.

Like many on the left, his views on the military seemed to have been set in the 60's and remain fixed to this day. They regard soldiers as alternately as unintelligent losers who are prone to killing women and children or as victims of the military-industrial-neo-con complex. Partially this comes from the fact that relatively few people on the left have served, have family members in the military or know someone in the service. So they tend to view them as various sterotypes - baby killer/skill-less loser/simple-minded victim - rather than real people. Also this serves to discredit the views of soldiers on the war in Iraq. The military personel in Iraq who are closest to the war and most at risk have been re-enlisting in near record numbers and are very supportive of the mission. This goes against the anti-war line of the left, so there must be some reason why it's okay to ignore the views of people in the military. Believing that they're all uneducated gullible losers makes it okay.

The above hissed in response by: Maetenloch [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2006 12:16 AM

The following hissed in response by: RiverRat

Demeaning the courageous is the first impulse of the cowardly. By early January of 1969 Kerry knew he was a coward.

"RiverRat" Tom Mortensen
USN River Patrol Officer
RVN Nov '68 to Nov '69

The above hissed in response by: RiverRat [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2006 1:26 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

A liberal told me that she was above all that "war stuff" because she had evolved beyond that. I told her that she might have evolved but there are bad people out there who are still bloodthirsty primates and they would gladly kill her and her entire family and dance about their bodies screeching God is Great in Arabic. She just looked at me as if I so gauche. I mean really, soldiers are so nasty doncha know.

This is the nutroots talking.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2006 3:12 AM

The following hissed in response by: krusher

I truely believe that Kerry may not have said the words he meant to say but he sure means what he did said.

The above hissed in response by: krusher [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2006 3:42 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman

the notion that people in the military are just dummies

Actually I believe they think the American People are all dummies.

What kind of person could actually we could redeploy troops from Iraq to Okinawa and the redeploy them back via air?

They either think we are total morons or they really think like that.

Which is pretty scary.

The above hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2006 5:47 AM

The following hissed in response by: jp phish


Your analysis is right on. You have discovered the single theory of liberal thought; a theory that answers all the questions. It answers the questions of why liberals hate Bush, dispise the military, and are opposed to OIF.

And think of this: One of the behaviors of the Narcissistic Person is the inability to confront facts head on.


The above hissed in response by: jp phish [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2006 7:30 AM

The following hissed in response by: x_dhimmi


I would like to talk on behalf of all those veterans and say that several months ago at Haahvard we had an investigation at which over 150 high school discharged, and many very highly functioning for their social class, veterans testified to educational crimes committed which led to their re-enlistment in the military. These were not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen at Haahvard - the emotions in the room and the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in the military. They relived the absolute horror of how this country, in a sense, has reduced them to lazy do-nothings, ill-educated in even the simplest social graces, and not worthy of the respect of their elite-university-educated betters.

They told stories that at times they had personally raped the English language by using "effect" when they should have used "affect," cut off participles and dangled them, taped wires from portable telephones with duct tape and turned on the power, cut limbs off trees with gas-powered, environment-destroying chain saws, blown 5th period science classes, randomly shot pool at the corner bar, raised children in fashion reminiscent of Ward and June Cleaver, shot photos of cattle and dogs for fun with disposable cameras bought at Wal-Mart, poisoned polite dinner conversations by using the wrong fork, and generally ravaged my country's popularity in France and the Palestinian territories in addition to the normal ravage of Nascar-loving rednecks and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied capitalist pig economic power of this country.

We call this investigation the Rabid Right-Wing Soldier Investigation.

-- Senator John Kerry (D-MA), testifying at Pasadena City College, October 31, 2006
(as interpreted by x_dhimmi)

The above hissed in response by: x_dhimmi [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2006 8:44 AM

The following hissed in response by: Nuclear Siafu

So Kerry said something demeaning about the armed forces?

Maybe the MSM has a point. Maybe this furor is just a right-wing construct to distract voters. After all, we're coming up on an election; we should be focusing on the Issues. Instead of getting Democrats to denounce Kerry's gaffe, we should be engaging them on support for the nation's security--

Oh, wait...

The above hissed in response by: Nuclear Siafu [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2006 9:02 AM

The following hissed in response by: Big D


Not much to add to both an excellent summary and outstanding comments. I hate arriving late to a party, when everyone else already has a lampshade on their head.

Kerry is a complete chowderhead, but there is so much more. To liberals, everyone in the military is a chump. Who else would sign up for something with low pay that might just get you...killed.

I would add this goes to the reporting. They will not point out the hypocrisy of the left, since well, they believe in the vision. And the vision is what it is all about. I think a lot of smart politicians know the vision is a lie, but they stick with it because it gives them a pass to do whatever they like.

“Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.” Aristotle.

I would argue the inverse is true as well.

The above hissed in response by: Big D [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2006 9:04 AM

The following hissed in response by: snochasr

It appears that John Kerry's handlers have selected the excuse they're going to run with, at least until it can be run past the focus group. That is, this was a joke that went wrong. There are only a few things wrong with that excuse.

First, John Kerry couldn't tell a joke to save his soul, even assuming he had one. Second, anybody that tells a joke badly knows that immediately because the audience doesn't laugh, or smile. Kerry just rolls right on with his remarks. Finally, I think it is physically impossible for normal human being to tell a joke and not display a little smile, grin, or twinkle in the eye. Even "deadpan humor" has these clues. I've watched the video, and Kerry's face is locked in that dead-serious

The above hissed in response by: snochasr [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2006 10:43 AM

The following hissed in response by: Jonathan Haas

Since you asked for context, here you go:


Click on the remarks at Pasadena. I see no context that excuses Kerry's remark.

The above hissed in response by: Jonathan Haas [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2006 10:54 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Jonathan Haas:

Thanks, you sparked a new post!


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2006 3:56 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

Don't know how I overlooked your post last night Dafydd. It's excellent. I just linked from Jean Fraud Kerry -- Still Lovin' Our Troops -- Day 2

Personal to River Rat: Some people I met on that forum you introduced me to a couple of years ago and I have started a group blog called Old War Dogs. Russ Vaughn, Steve Gardner, some names you'd recognize from the forum. I have a key with your name on it any time you want it.

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 1, 2006 5:49 PM

The following hissed in response by: SDN

And it's not just the 140,000; it's one heck of a lot of people like me who would treat anything they decided to do as justifiable and refuse to convict. I've had it up to my eyeballs with the Fifth Column here at home.

The above hissed in response by: SDN [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 2, 2006 4:19 AM

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