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Kerry's Militaristic Intent

by Jan Lehman Thursday, Oct. 07, 2004 at 10:44 AM
freevoices@lycos.com

I watched the first of the Presidential Debates in Florida with amazement. Amazement, not at John Kerry's eloquence or George Bush's stuttering comments, but at the audacity of the remarks I was hearing. If I was unaware of the record of George Bush on civil rights and illegal maneuvers that he has made while in office, I would have actually thought that Bush, not Kerry was the lesser of two evils.

I watched the first of the Presidential Debates in Florida with amazement. Amazement, not at John Kerry's eloquence or George Bush's stuttering comments, but at the audacity of the remarks I was hearing. If I was unaware of the record of George Bush on civil rights and illegal maneuvers that he has made while in office, I would have actually thought that Bush, not Kerry was the lesser of two evils.

I have never been an overly political person, but as the bodies started piling up in Iraq, I became concerned. Eventually I attended my first anti-war demonstration. I was a little bit nervous and feeling out of place because I had come by myself. The first person to talk to me was a woman with a sign that declared "Bill Clinton would not have invaded Iraq." She was kind enough to give me my own sign, one which read, "Kerry = Peace." We talked for several minutes. Me addressing my concern with the soldiers being killed and she explaining that the Democrats had been misled by Bush and would put an end to the violence and madness once John Kerry was elected.

Well this sounded very good to me. It was hard to understand why people would occasionally roll their eyes when reading my sign. I remember a very young man glaring at me and saying that Kerry was a baby killer too. It made me angry that he would respond to me in such a hostile way. Weren't we all on the same side here?

Later, I would learn that the sign about Bill Clinton not invading Iraq was nonsense. In fact, he ordered bombings of civilian targets in Iraq almost every week for the entire eight years he was in office. And as far as Kerry being synonomous with peace, well I still feel a little embarassed for carrying that sign without knowing the facts. John Kerry will bring anything but peace to America.

For the longest time I tried to justify his voting for the invasion of Iraq. The Senate was lied to by George Bush. Why else would any of them have agreed to such a disastrous military expedition? During the debate, Bush defended his decision to invade Iraq and noted that the Senate had seen the same information he had. While this may not have been entirely true, it is a fact that John kerry, like the rest of the Senate, should have been more demanding of factual information. Most of the world at that point was fully aware that the weapons of mass destruction did not exist, so why were the Senators who voted for the invasion any different?

Still, John kerry seemed to be the lesser of two evils. I was determined to vote for him. At least he is not George W. Bush.

Then Kerry, in all of his grand elequence, took a moment during the debate to explain that he had no plans to pull out of Iraq. He would make sure that the US stayed and continued fighting until we win. I might not be a military tactician, but even I know that it is very unlikely that the US military can be successful against a guerilla war. I have come to believe that because our presence in Iraq is only aggravating the situation and civil war will take place whether we are there or not, that the best option is to pull out.

From here he explained that he would also be firmer in the War on Terror than Mr. Bush. In order to do so, he posed creating two new divisions of soldiers to carry out the expansive war plans he was hinting at. Where would these soldiers come from? It is well known that we do not have enough soldiers to satisfy the deployments we have already engaged. Just this week, Army and National Guard officials stated that the twelve month tours that soldiers are currently serving are too much and need to be reduced to seven months. Unfortunately, this cannot be done because there are simply no soldiers to replace people on seven month rotations (Shanker).

The only option John Kerry has of increasing the size of the military is a draft. Not surprisingly, the Democrats are already backing a draft proposal called the Universal National Service Act of 2003. Under this piece of legislation, all men and women between the ages of 18 and 24 would be required to serve in the military (Universal National).

If anyone has any doubts that Kerry was referring to a draft, Bush, in his stumbling way brought the issue into focus by responding that under his continued presidency, the Army would remain volunteer based. Kerry did not refute this allusion to his own plans.

As much as I would like to vote for John Kerry, it would not be conscionable to vote for a man who is demanding that my children and the children of everyone I know be sent off to fight a war that none of us believe in. How can anyone now say that Kerry is the lesser of two evils when all he is really planning on doing is carrying out the Bush Administrations plans in a more agressive manner?

The Presidential Debate last night made me realize that i am not going to vote for any kind of evil. I am going to cast a protest vote.

Copyright © 2004 by Jan Lehman

Shanker, Thom and Eric Schmitt. "Army May Reduce Length of Tours in Combat Zones." New York Times. 27 Sept 2004. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/27/international/middleeast/27army.html?ex=1097307004&ei=1&en=6bb51137824f005b

Universal National Service Act of 2003. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c108:1:./temp/~c108NSoha7::



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