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How Do You Ask a Thing to Be the Last Mistake in a John Kerry Speech?


By davidswanson - Posted on 07 September 2012

"How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" The answer is, of course: heartlessly, callously, sociopathically, from a state of denial and chosen blindness. The answer is fundamentally the same as what would allow John Kerry to give the speech he gave at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Kerry is, of course, the same loser who eight years ago wanted to be elected on the strength of not being George W. Bush but who said he would have voted for the war on Iraq even if he had mustered up the few brain cells necessary to realize there were no weapons of mass destruction there. Kerry just would have fought the war "effectively," he said.

Now Kerry says this:

"In this campaign, we have a fundamental choice. Will we protect our country and our allies, advance our interests and ideals, do battle where we must and make peace where we can? Or will we entrust our place in the world to someone who just hasn't learned the lessons of the last decade?"

Oh, but can't we do both?

"We've all learned Mitt Romney doesn't know much about foreign policy. But he has all these 'neocon advisors' who know all the wrong things about foreign policy. He would rely on them—after all, he's the great outsourcer. But I say to you: This is not the time to outsource the job of commander in chief."

Ah, but Congress has outsourced war decisions to the president. Kerry was going to end the war on Iraq in 2005 as president, but as senator took no serious steps to do so. Now he's ready to leave war making to another president, he just hopes it's a Democrat. The RNC, after all, is unlikely to invite Kerry to give speeches on teevee.

"Our opponents like to talk about 'American exceptionalism,' but all they do is talk. They forget that we are exceptional not because we say we are, but because we do exceptional things. We break out of the Great Depression, win two world wars, save lives fighting AIDS, pull people out of poverty, defend freedom, go to the moon -- and produce exceptional people who even give their lives for civil rights and human rights."

That's exceptional? The other 95% of humanity doesn't produce people who give their lives for civil rights and human rights? Tunisians and Egyptians and Bahrainis don't take major nonviolent steps while the best we can manage is a few close losses in elections in Wisconsin? The many nations with lower poverty rates than our nation, despite our greater wealth, haven't pulled anyone out of poverty? The many nations giving to humanitarian causes at higher rates than our own have not saved lives or fought AIDS? The Soviets didn't win World War II? We didn't create as well as survive the Great Depression? Don't your "opponents," Senator Kerry, similarly dismiss 95% of humanity? What, pray tell, is the difference?

"Despite what you heard in Tampa, an exceptional country does care about the rise of the oceans and the future of the planet. That is a responsibility from the Scriptures—and that too is a responsibility of the leader of the free world. The only thing exceptional about today's Republicans is that—almost without exception—they oppose everything that has made America exceptional in the first place. An exceptional nation demands the leadership of an exceptional president. And, my fellow Americans, that president is Barack Obama."

So the country that has been blocking global agreements on climate change is exceptional because it cares about these crimes? And it cares because, as a secular democracy with freedom of thought and separation of church and state, an ancient holy book tells it to? The same humanityforsaken holy book that the other team claims says the opposite? Are you really going to try to outdo Republicans in both religiousity and arrogant nationalism? To coin a phrase, America deserves better.

"Just measure the disarray and disaster he inherited. A war of choice in Iraq had become a war without end, and a war of necessity in Afghanistan had become a war of neglect. Our alliances were shredded. Our moral authority was in tatters. America was isolated in the world. Our military was stretched to the breaking point. Iran was marching unchecked towards a nuclear weapon. And Osama bin Laden was still plotting."

It was necessary to bomb and occupy Afghanistan? The world didn't think so. The United Nations didn't think so. The Kellogg Briand Pact, UN Charter, and US Constitution forbid it. The bin Laden excuse doesn't hold enough water to torture a child. The Taliban was willing to hand him over to a third country to be tried. You know what a third country is, right? Part of that 95% of unexceptional riffraff on earth. You understand now why it matters whether you dismiss them or not? Iran was marching toward a nuclear weapon? Based on what? A bad dream you had about John Edwards' millworking father? Did you know his daddy worked in a mill? Do you want a new war with Iran? Is it necessary? Your party's platform says that if Iran does not stop violating the NPT (which it is not violating, although we are and Israel's not even a party to it) we'll attack Iran. Do you know about that? Did you write it?

"It took President Obama to make America lead like America again. It took President Obama to restore our moral authority -- and to ban torture. This president understands that our values do not limit our power -- they magnify it. He showed that global leadership is a strategic imperative for America, not a favor we do for other countries."

Our laws, made by our legislature, banned torture before Bush Jr. moved to the White House. Obama instructed the Attorney General not to enforce those laws. Obama's top officials told the Congress and the media that he maintained the right to torture as needed. He has continued to torture, and to hold people without trial, and to murder people. This is moral authority?

"And President Obama kept his promises. He promised to end the war in Iraq -- and he ha -- and our heroes have come home. He promised to end the war in Afghanistan responsibly -- and he is -- and our heroes there are coming home. He promised to focus like a laser on al-Qaeda -- and he has -- our forces have eliminated more of its leadership in the last three years than in all the eight years that came before. And after more than ten years without justice for thousands of Americans murdered on 9/11, after Mitt Romney said it would be 'naïve' to go into Pakistan to pursue the terrorists, it took President Obama, against the advice of many, to give that order to finally rid this earth of Osama bin Laden. Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off now than he was four years ago."

Har. Har. Funny guy! Murder is so … so … killer! Bwahahahaha! Obama fought against ending the occupation of Iraq tooth and nail. The Bush-Maliki treaty, the Iraqi government, the Iraqi people, Bradley Manning, and WikiLeaks ended it, with no help from you. You proclaim that a "war of choice" is fought by "heroes," when legally it is fought by criminals. You preach revenge and call it justice. You preach violence and joke about it. And you wonder why we didn't work to put you in the White House!

"Barack Obama promised always to stand with Israel to tighten sanctions on Iran -- and take nothing off the table."

Meaning he's threatening war, including nuclear war, in violation of the law. Why should a president on one country promise to always follow the government of another country, even into war?

"Again and again, the other side has lied about where this president stands and what this president has done. But Prime Minister Netanyahu set the record straight -- he said, our two countries have 'exactly the same policy…' -- 'our security cooperation is unprecedented...' When it comes to Israel, I'll take the word of Israel's prime minister over Mitt Romney any day."

Is obedience to the Israeli government in the Revised Constitution just after the Kill List and Indefinite Detention?

"President Obama promised to work with Russia to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons and signed an historic treaty that does just that. He promised to lock down nuclear materials around the world, and he has done just that. He refused to accept the false choice between force without diplomacy or diplomacy without force. When a brutal dictator promised to kill his own people "like rats," President Obama enlisted our allies, built the coalition and shared the burden, so that today -- without a single American casualty -- Moammar Gadhafi is gone and the people of Libya are free."

Nuclear weapons and energy continue to expand. Diplomacy with force is not diplomacy. It's force. When a brutal dictator long supported by the United States, including by Obama, made it onto the kill list and killed some of his own people, Obama went in and killed more of his people, leaving Libya the bloody anarchic disaster it is now. Obama did this in violation of the will of the Congress, not even bothering to tell Congress lies and gain an authorization of any kind. Because no Americans were directly at risk, Obama's lawyer told your committee that the bombing would be neither war not hostilities. You apparently bought that. Now presidents can drop non-hostile bombs on people without Congressional authorization any time they see fit. Nice work, soldier!

"So on one side of this campaign, we have a president who has made America lead like America again. What is there on the other side? An extreme and expedient candidate, who lacks the judgment and vision so vital in the Oval Office. The most inexperienced foreign policy twosome to run for president and vice president in decades."

Wait, which is which? Are you sure Romney and Ryan are worse than your team? You're probably right, but what is indisputable is that your team is always getting worse than your team used to be, while the other team is getting worse than it used to be. That one is worse than the other is a different argument from all your bullshit about freedom and glory.

"It isn't fair to say Mitt Romney doesn't have a position on Afghanistan. He has every position. He was against setting a date for withdrawal -- then he said it was right -- and then he left the impression that maybe it was wrong to leave this soon. He said it was 'tragic' to leave Iraq, and then he said it was fine. He said we should've intervened in Libya sooner. Then he ran down a hallway to duck reporters' questions. Then he said the intervention was too aggressive. Then he said the world was a 'better place' because the intervention succeeded. Talk about being for it before you were against it!"

Helpful of you to remind us of that phrase. Your guy and your party's platform were for civil liberties and the rule of law four years ago. Your guy was against unconstitutional war before he was for launching one on Libya, and before he unilaterally armed Syrian terrorists. I don't care if you change positions, if you do so in response to public demands for peace and justice. What bothers me is that you always change your positions for the worse in response to the demands of your funders.

"Mr. Romney -- here's a little advice: Before you debate Barack Obama on foreign policy, you better finish the debate with yourself! 'President Mitt Romney' -- three hypothetical words that mystified and alienated our allies this summer. For Mitt Romney, an overseas trip is what you call it when you trip all over yourself overseas. It wasn't a goodwill mission -- it was a blooper reel. But a Romney-Ryan foreign policy would be anything but funny. Every president of both parties for 60 years has worked for nuclear arms control -- but not Mitt Romney. Republican secretaries of state from Kissinger to Baker, Powell to Rice, President Bush, and 71 United States senators all supported President Obama's New Start treaty. But not Mitt Romney. He's even blurted out the preposterous notion that Russia is our 'number one geopolitical foe.' Folks: Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from Alaska; Mitt Romney talks like he's only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV. So here's the choice in 2012. Mitt Romney: out of touch at home, out of his depth abroad and out of the mainstream. Or Barack Obama: a president who is giving new life and truth to America's indispensable role in the world; a commander-in-chief who gives our troops the tools and training they need in war, the honor and help they've earned when they come home; a man who will never ask other men and women to fight a war without a plan to win the peace."

Raise your hand if you can dispense with America's indispensible role in the world. Some families in Yemen sure can. Whole villages in Pakistan are ready to dispense with it ASAP. Dozens of nations around the world, our economy, our civil liberties, our natural environment, and those who could spend $1.2 trillion per year on something more useful than war preparation are eager to dispense with the madness of militarism right now. It's funny, Obama, early in 2009, sent his first 17,000-troop escalation into Afghanistan prior to developing any plan for Afghanistan, leaving the impression that escalation was, somehow, an end in itself.

"And let me say something else. No nominee for president should ever fail in the midst of a war to pay tribute to our troops overseas in his acceptance speech. Mitt Romney was talking about America. They are on the front lines every day defending America, and they deserve our thanks."

No matter what they do!

"Some of us from a prior war remember coming home was not always easy. President Obama has made it his mission that we welcome our troops home with care, and concern, and the respect they deserve. That is how an exceptional nation says 'thank you' to its most exceptional men and women. Mitt Romney says he 'believes in America' and he'll restore 'American exceptionalism.' I have news for him: We already have an exceptional American as president -- and we believe in Barack Obama!"

And let me say, belatedly, thank you, Senator, for slaughtering the people of Vietnam.

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