NRO’s Jed Babbin on how John Kerry is sending a message of defeatism to our troops:
The problem with Kerry's speeches is not that he's sending mixed signals on Iraq. Of course he is, and by now most of us have lost count of them. The problem is in his sole point of constancy: Kerry says, over and over, that we need to make the Iraq war someone else's problem, and begin pulling out. Nothing in his formulation requires that the war be won — and Iraq and Afghanistan be stable and free — before we leave. That one unshakeable position is sending a precise, consistent, and damaging message to the troops.
You might be surprised to hear how well-informed and thoughtful the grunts are. From the army private standing guard to the Marine lance corporal riding a Humvee on patrol, these men and women probably follow the news more closely than the average civilian voter. They read whatever they can get their hands on, listen to American broadcasts on the Armed Forces Radio Network, and thousands see television news broadcasts on a regular basis. They get letters from home and talk to the reporters who pass through their units. And they talk among themselves, all the time. Not just about what they're doing, their families, and their comrades who have been wounded and killed: They discuss what's going on at home, and how it will affect them. When they hear Kerry talking — as he did earlier this week — they hear defeatism.
The troops believe in President Bush as their commander in chief. They support him and they support what they are doing in Iraq. The lives that have been sacrificed so far have not been in vain. Not yet at least. Should Kerry become president their sacrifice will mean nothing. He will leave Iraq and Afghanistan not caring about those that have given the ultimate sacrifice or about the people of these countries that we have liberated.
Babbin continues by talking about his pal, a Navy Seal, and the “soldiers creed”, which Babbin points out is Spend my life if you have to, but don't waste it.
As McClellan sees it, it's different now. "I can go over there [to Iraq or Afghanistan] with a bunch of 22-year-old kids or 40-year-old men, and we'd go with a smile, because there's a reason to be there. And we're not leaving until the job is done. That means everything to the men who fight, and the families of the men who die there." But from what Senator Kerry has said again and again, it apparently doesn't mean much to him.
As it was in Somalia, so it is now in Iraq and Afghanistan. So it will be wherever else we have to fight against terrorists and the regimes that create and support them. To say, as Kerry does, that we should begin withdrawing our troops in six months and — with the help of the phantom allies he will get to take over in Iraq — be out altogether in four years, says nothing about finishing the job. Kerry makes no commitment to ensure that Iraq doesn't revert to chaos after we leave. He says nothing about ending the threats to America and Iraq emanating from Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the other nations whose terrorists have been pouring into Iraq since at least September 2002. (Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is known to have been there since then.)
Kerry will bug out rather than finish the job that our soldiers and their current commander in chief have started. The military wants to finish it and make sure that not only the people of Iraq and Afghanistan are free and secure, but our country also. President Bush will stay the course and finish the task that he and the military have started.
Spend my life if you have to, but don't waste it.