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Kerry Book "The New War" I - First Pass

What I've learned so far.

One of the weirdest things about whats been going on lately has been why the Kerry campaign has been using, of all people, Senator Tom Harkin as a mouthpiece to speak for Kerrys military experience. This is really, really odd to me, given that Harkins own military record is a model for how not to take credit for something you didn't do. Senator Harkin has taken credit for things he simply and completely did not do as part of his military record, this is not partisan rhetoric, his own party denounced his proclamiations of service in Vietnam, when he was in fact nowhere near the place.

Yet, despite Kerry under a barrage of accusations for doing very similar things, the Kerry campaign is using the said same Senator Harkin to vouch for Kerry veracity.

Why?

Well, in my reading of Kerrys book "the New War', I discovered that Mr. Kerry and Mr. Harkin have been collaborative partners for some time.

On April 15th 1985, newly elected Senator Kerry and Senator Tom Harkin went to Nicaragua to meet with Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega.

I'm putting together a timeline for how these two have worked together and what they have worked on. In light of the rather surprising turn that history brought us with the fall of communism, just 7 years after this fateful visit, It does not look good for either Mr. Harkin or Mr. Kerry to have made such a bet for a losing side.

This is just one crouton in a whole salad bar of tasty, crunchy goog-able facts. And it's all in Kerrys own words. Theres good and bad in that of course. First, as I said before, Kerry starts nearly every sentence with the word I. He rarely if ever says " We in the senate' or even "We Democrats", it's 194 pages of "I,I,I, Me, Me, Mine". If he does reference someone else, it is only to bask in their reflected glory.

Look, this book is like the La Brea tar pits. Its a historical repository that represents all that John Kerry thinks about in terms of the world as whole and the world of terrorism.

I think this book and the things Kerry talks about and the conclusions he draws in it are why we are all talking about Vietnam. The Vietnam thing from Kerry is like a magicians misdirection, watch the right hand while the left is moving the card to another location.

However, unlike his views on Vietnam, theres no excusing some of the things I see in here as part of the 'angry young man,betrayed by his country ' meme, but this is all very recent stuff by comparison, this book was written in 1997, this is not the heady days of the early 1970's we are talking about. Kerry is an adult at this point and has dropped the snot-nosed patrician Boston accent. I also recognize alot of what I see in here as reflections of things I read in "The Star Spangled Mirror" by his father Richard Kerry. It will be interesting to go back and do a line by line comparison.

One other thing of note. Al Qeada, Osama Bin Laden are not mentioned anywhere in the book. This book was also written prior to the release of both Pakistan and India into the "Nuclear Club", something I consider one of the key failures of the Clinton Administration.

UPDATE: Since Kerry Decided to mention his book, traffic to this piece has gone up. Heres the final link to the finished review.

September 10, 2004 at 08:48 PM in Kerry File | Permalink

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Comments

Frank that wasn't the young Senators last overseas trip as a first term Senator. In 1986 Philippine Pres Marcos called for snap elections after being under a political seige for some months.

Reagan administration sent an official election observer delegation headed by Senator Richard Lugar and included Kerry as one of its members. In short Kerry had a chance to make an impact on what was by all accounts a bogus election and bring the facts to a wider audience. Needless to say he didn't "report for duty."

As he did in Managua he passed on the Democratic process. The story by P. J. O'Rourke can be read here. And here is the most important section:

Most of the Potomac Parakeets were a big disappointment. Massachusetts senator John Kerry was a founding member of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, but he was a bath toy in this fray.

On Sunday night, two days after the election, thirty of the computer operators from COMELEC [the Philippine government "Commission on Elections," appointed by Marcos and in charge of compiling the final vote tally] walked off the job, protesting that the vote figures were being juggled. Aquino supporters and NAMFREL volunteers took the operators, most of them young women, to a church, and hundreds of people formed a protective barrier around them. [NAMFREL--The National Movement for Free Elections--was supposedly nonpartisan, but NAMFREL members were strongly anti-Marcos.]

Village Voice reporter Joe Conason and I had been tipped off about the walkout, and when we got to the church, we found Bea Zobel, one of Cory Aquino's top aides, in a tizzy. "The women are terrified," she said. "They're scared to go home. They don't know what to do. We don't know what to do." Joe and I suggested that Mrs. Zobel go to the Manila Hotel and bring back some members of the Congressional observer team. She came back with Kerry, who did nothing.

Kerry later said that he didn't talk to the COMELEC employees then because he wasn't allowed to. [A bone-head Rolling Stone fact-checker sent the article to Kerry's Senate office for comment. Kerry staffers were wroth and insisted the senator's version of events be included.] This is ridiculous. He was ushered into an area that had been cordoned off from the press and the crowd and where the computer operators were sitting. To talk to the women, all he would have had to do was raise his voice. Why he was reluctant, I can't tell you. I can tell you what any red-blooded representative of the U.S. Government should have done. He should have shouted, "If you're frightened for your safety, I'll take you to the American embassy, and damn the man who tries to stop me." But all Kerry did was walk around like a male model in a concerned and thoughtful pose.

As they say read the rest. This may be the first instance of Kerry preening and earning the nickname "Live Shot."

My post that includes the above can be read here

Posted by: Marc | Sep 11, 2004 4:26:23 AM

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