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Kerry on Iraq

Kerry is trying to convince the American people that he would be better with the War in Iraq. How?
  • He would get more from our allies. Which allies, and what? Military support, maybe, despite none of our allies who have given troops having more to spare, and none who have not given troops showing any willingness to the idea of putting them in Iraq. People claim some of our allies won't because Bush pushed them aside and acted "unilaterally," but France, Germany, and Russia said they would not provide any troops long before those things happened, and they've shown no willingness to change their minds. So where is this military help coming from? And what other help?

  • He would get the troops out of Iraq in some months. I've heard "six months" and "a year" from Kerry's campaign, and Richard Holbrooke -- a Kerry advisor -- said today that a re-elected Bush would still have the troops in there four years from now, implying Kerry wouldn't. He's given no indication how this would be feasible without abandoning the mission, apart from getting help from our allies (addressed above) and increasing the effectiveness of the Iraqi military (and he's not said how he would do this differently from Bush).

  • He would save us money. Presumably, by pulling troops out. This is despite his saying last year that he would spend more money in Iraq, whatever it took to get the job done.
Or, in other words:
  1. Elect someone our allies like more.
  2. ???
  3. No more troops in Iraq!
It's one thing to criticize Bush's handling of Iraq -- many have done it, including many on the right -- but it's another to not talk about a real plan, to just handwave at the solutions.

But the worst of it all is that Kerry's main criticism of the war in Iraq is summed up thusly, in his words: It was "the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time." But last year, less than two months after the war began, he said: "I think it was the right decision to disarm Saddam Hussein, and when the President made the decision, I supported him, and I support the fact that we did disarm him," which to me seems that he agreed with the what, where, and when at the time.

To sum up: Kerry says he would do better than Bush in Iraq, without giving any real indication of how, choosing instead to criticize how we got into the war, which Kerry now says was wrong, but which Kerry said at the time he agreed with.

Color me unconvinced that a man such as this would do better than Bush. Maybe he would, of course, but without any specifics, it's kinda hard to trust his judgment.

I know this whole thing isn't exactly new, but Kerry keeps sending people out to say he would handle it better, including underpants gnomes with real credentials like Madeleine Albright and Holbrooke, but even they can't do better than handwaving at "our allies will like him more."


Speaking of not exactly new, Kerry was also last week slamming Bush because real wages have gone down. What he doesn't tell you is that real wages have increased under Bush, 2.1 percent from January 2001 to June 2004 (for comparison, they were up 0.4 percent under Clinton for the same relative time period in his first term).

"Real wages" are adjusted for inflation. That's not at all unreasonable to do, but the problem is that higher oil costs are directly responsible for most of the inflation, and of course wages won't immediately reflect that. Nominal wages (not adjusted for inflation) generally move gradually, and any steep changes in prices won't be reflected in wages on a month-to-month basis. And nominal wages have actually increased over the time period that real wages have decreased.

That's not to say this isn't a problem, and that there are not other numbers in the picture, both positive and negative. But the greatest cause of lower real wages is inflation, not the type of jobs people are getting, not offshoring, not the kinds of jobs people have. And this inflation -- in energy prices -- is something that Kerry probably could not do anything about, and has no plans to fix (except in the long term, lowering our dependency on foreign oil, which is precisely what Bush wants to do, too).

It's more of the same thing, blaming Bush for something that Kerry wouldn't do differently. Like when Kerry says Bush has chosen to support a tax code that rewards outsourcing without himself even proposing to change it. In the PDF on that page, he says: "They have never once considered ending these breaks."

Apparently Kerry has "considered" it, but has decided against it, because he won't end them either: his plan will merely eliminate tax deferments for overseas income -- not the tax credits for outsourcing -- and there's no evidence that this would decrease outsourcing at all. But let's assume these deferments do encourage outsourcing, and eliminating them would decrease outsourcing, just for the sake of argument. Kerry's plan calls for NEW deferments to replace the old ones, as long as the income for the company is from servicing overseas markets. If deferments encourage outsourcing, then Kerry's plan encourages outsourcing, just in one particular sector of American business: exports.

Maybe Americans who work in exports aren't good enough people to have their jobs protected. If this were Bush proposing the same thing, Edwards would be out there screaming about the two Americas: the importers, and the exporters! Bush's immoral tax code is dividing us!

Non-Forgery Forgery News

OK, CBS, I dig that you have issues about Bush's service irrespective of the forged memos. But to pretend that this distraction is the fault of the people attacking you over the forged memos is ridiculous. You messed up, and people are only attacking you because you messed up, and most of them would be attacking you regardless of the topic of the story you messed up. This was one of your biggest scoops in months, and you promoted the heck out of it, and it turned out to be largely a fraud, and you have the gall to blame everyone else. It's pathetic.

What's also pathetic, in my opinion, as I've mentioned, is all of this focus on both the right and the left over what happened in and out of the U.S. over 30 years ago. I only hope that these forgeries will only aid my aforementioned efforts toward furthering our collective amnesia.

Off-topic alert: Do not discuss here whether the documents are forgeries. I have other journal entries or discussing that, and will probably have more. Go there instead.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on September 13, 2004 8:48 AM.

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