'It's Time to Get Over It' - John Kerry Tells Antiwar Movement to Move On
> Researchers and investigative reporters are fascinated with the
> neoconservatives, that group of American empire peddlers who turned
> George W. Bush into a junkie war criminal. A similar group, the New
> Democrats, has been pushing its own dangerous brand of U.S. hegemony
> but with much less fanfare.
> The leading mouthpiece for the New Democrats' radical interventionist
> program could be our next president. John Kerry, the frontrunner in
> the quest for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, has been
> promoting a foreign policy perspective called "progressive
> internationalism." It's a concept concocted by establishment
> Democrats seeking to convince potential backers in the corporate and
> political world that, if installed in the White House, they would
> preserve U.S. power and influence around the world, but in a kinder,
> gentler fashion than the current administration.
> In the domestic battle to captain the American empire, the neocons
> have in their corner the Partnership for a New American Century while
> the New Democrats have the Progressive Policy Institute. Come
> November, who will get your vote? Coke or Pepsi?
> In fall 2000, PNAC released Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy,
> Forces and Resources for a New Century. It's a blueprint for
> "maintaining global U.S. preeminence, precluding the rise of a great
> power rival, and shaping the international security order in line
> with American principles and interests."
> In fall 2003, members of PPI joined with other tough-minded Democrats
> to unveil Progressive Internationalism: A Democratic National
> Security Strategy, a 19-page manifesto that calls for "the bold
> exercise of American power, not to dominate but to shape alliances
> and international institutions that share a common commitment to
> liberal values."
> The New Democrats don't begrudge the Bush administration for invading
> Iraq. They take issue with the Bush administration's strategy of
> refusing to invite key members of the international community to the
> invasion until it was too late. The neocons' unilateralist approach,
> the New Democrats believe, will ultimately harm U.S. political and
> economic dominance around the world.
> "We are confident that a new Democratic strategy, grounded in the
> party's tradition of muscular internationalism, can keep Americans
> safer than the Republicans' go-it-alone policy, which has alienated
> our natural allies and overstretched our resources," the New
> Democrats say in their foreign policy manifesto. "We aim to rebuild
> the moral foundation of U.S. global leadership by harnessing
> America's awesome power to universal values of liberal democracy. A
> new progressive internationalism can point the way."
> Proponents of "progressive internationalism" are a lock to control
> leadership positions at the State Department and key civilian posts
> at the Pentagon in a John Kerry administration. How do we know this?
> Because these New Democrats obviously ghostwrote Kerry's campaign
> book, A Call to Service: My Vision for A Better America. Place the
> Progressive Internationalism manifesto and Kerry's chapter on foreign
> policy side by side and you'll immediately notice the similarities.
> On page 40 of In A Call to Service, Kerry writes: "The time has come
> to renew that tradition and revive a bold vision of progressive
> internationalism." What is this tradition to which Kerry refers? As
> he describes it, Democrats need to honor "the tough-minded strategy
> of international engagement and leadership forged by Wilson and
> Roosevelt in the two world wars and championed by Truman and Kennedy
> in the cold war."
> Now, turn to page 3 of the New Democrats' manifesto. It reads:
> "As Democrats, we are proud of our party's tradition of
> tough-minded internationalism and strong record in defending America.
> Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman led
> the United States to victory in two world wars and designed the
> post-war international institutions that have been a cornerstone of
> global security and prosperity ever since. President Truman forged
> democratic alliances such as NATO that eventually triumphed in the
> Cold War. President Kennedy epitomized America's commitment to "the
> survival and success of liberty."
> Like the neocons, Kerry was not impressed by France's stance against
> the U.S. invasion of Iraq. On page 51 of his book, he writes:
> "I hope by the time you read this book that the UN has been
> usefully employed as a partner in the reconstruction of Iraq and that
> Jacque Chirac has ceased his foolish rebellion against the very idea
> of the Atlantic Alliance. America, which has always shown magnanimity
> in victory, should in turn meet repentant Europeans halfway, not
> ratchet up the badgering unilateralism that fed European fears in the
> first place."
> There's much to digest in this paragraph. Perhaps the most
> interesting nugget is Kerry's statement that the United States should
> "meet repentant Europeans halfway." Hmmm, John, could you elaborate
> on what sins the Europeans committed for which they must repent?
> On page 50, Kerry details his beef with Old Europe:
> "The Bush administration is by no means the only culprit in the
> breakdown in U.S.-UN relations over Iraq. France, Germany and Russia
> never supported or offered a feasible policy to verify that UN
> resolutions on Iraq were actually being carried out. . Our British,
> Spanish and Eastern European coalition allies are eager to rebuild
> European unity."
> Throughout the foreign policy sections of the book, Kerry does his
> best to convince the reader that he would not run from his role as
> war criminal in chief if elected president.
> Perhaps the most repulsive section of the book is where Kerry
> discusses the Vietnam War and the antiwar movement. On page 42, Kerry
> "I could never agree with those in the antiwar movement who
> dismissed our troops as war criminals or our country as the villain
> in the drama. That's one reason, in fact, that I eventually parted
> ways with the VVAW [Vietnam Veterans Against the War] organizations
> and instead helped found the Vietnam Veterans of America."
> If the United States was not a villain in the "drama" of the Vietnam
> war, then who is to blame for the million-plus Vietnamese who were
> killed during the 20-year period of naked U.S. aggression that ended
> in 1975? Surely, John, you don't wish to blame certain communist
> dead-enders in Vietnam for the carnage?
> On the next page, Kerry informs his reader that it's time we stop
> questioning U.S. foreign policy intentions:
> "As a veteran of both the Vietnam War and the Vietnam protest
> movement, I say to both conservative and liberal misinterpretations
> of that war that it's time to get over it and recognize it as an
> exception, not as a ruling example, of the U.S. military engagements
> of the twentieth century. If those of us who carried the physical and
> emotional burdens of that conflict can regain perspective and move
> on, so can those whose involvement was vicarious or who knew nothing
> of the war other than ideology and legend."
> This last passage is probably the most unsettling part of Kerry's
> book and one that every advocate of the Anyone-But-Bush 2004 election
> strategy should read before heading to the polling station in
> In this one passage, Kerry seeks to justify the millions of people
> slaughtered by the U.S. military and its surrogates during the
> twentieth century, suggests that concern about U.S. war crimes in
> Vietnam is no longer necessary, and dismisses the antiwar movement as
> the work of know-nothings.
> Kerry and his comrades in the progressive internationalist movement
> are as gung-ho about U.S. military action as their counterparts in
> the White House. The only noteworthy difference between the two
> groups battling for power in Washington is that the neocons are
> willing to pursue their imperial ambitions in full view of the
> international community, while the progressive internationalists
> prefer to keep their imperial agenda hidden behind the cloak of
> Mark Hand is editor of Press Action.
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