Home / It’s Time To Answer John (BRING IT ON!) Kerry’s Challenge

It’s Time To Answer John (BRING IT ON!) Kerry’s Challenge

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You’ve got to hand it to Senator John F Kerry, he is consistently inconsistent. Earlier in the Democratic primary campaign, Senator Kerry began to parrot Howard Dean, taking credit for some of Dean’s best one-liners for President Bush which, ironically, also means that Kerry parrots Clinton as well.

Clinton, as we all know, was the master when it came to taking credit for the work of others. Everything from NAFTA and Welfare Reform to the “dot com” explosion were his to exploit. Of course, everything after the “dot com” bubble burst was all George Bush’s fault.

But I digress…

Now, Senator Kerry borrows yet another page from the Dean Book-o’-Politics with this letter to President Bush:

Letter to President Bush: 

February 21, 2004

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC  20500

Dear President Bush,

Over the last week, you and your campaign have initiated a widespread attack on my service in Vietnam, my decision to speak out to end that war, and my commitment to the defense of this nation. Just today, Saxby Chambliss– a man elected to the US Senate on the back of one of the most despicable campaigns ever conducted against Max Cleland, a true American Hero– was carrying this attack for you.

As you well know, Vietnam was a very difficult and painful period in our nation’s history, and the struggle for our veterans continues.  So, it has been hard to believe that you would choose to re-open these wounds for your personal political gain. But, that is what you have chosen to do.

I am fighting to become the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.  Even before Democrats make their choice, you’ve launched a campaign of attacks against me.  I am determined to run a campaign on the great challenges facing this country– from creating jobs, to solving our health care crisis to getting our nation’s ballooning deficit under control. But I will not sit back and allow my patriotism to be challenged.

America deserves a better debate.  If you want to debate the Vietnam era, and the impact of our experiences on our approaches to presidential leadership, I am prepared to do so. 

This is not a debate to be distorted through your $100 million dollar campaign fund. This is a debate that should be conducted face to face.

Mr. President, I hope you will conduct a campaign worthy of this nation’s future. 

John Kerry
John Kerry

Ouch! Gosh, I sure hope the President can handle such a stinging rebuke from one of Washington, D.C’s biggest hypocrites.

So, Republicans, after a month of non-stop pummeling by Senator Kerry in the press, are finally starting to answer back with challenges of their own. And this is a problem because?

The letter is made even more laughable by the fact that it was Howard Dean who wrote to Terry McAuliffe just a couple of months ago denouncing the attacks against him by other Democratic hopefuls. Dean, whose entire campaign was built on its willingness to mercilessly pummel the DNC — and Chairman McAuliffe in particular — actually wrote to the Chairman to say, in so many words: “It’s not appropriate for everyone to criticize me the way I’ve been criticizing them; please tell everyone to stop. You too please.”

Was this an appropriate request for Governor Dean to make? The DNC didn’t think so, and neither did Senator Kerry. As a matter of fact, the New York Times quoted Kerry in a February 1 article as saying this:

“If George Bush wants to make national security an issue in this campaign, I have three words for him that I know he’ll understand,” Mr. Kerry said, in language that became his new rallying cry [emphasis mine] and started him on the two-month march toward his stunning comeback in the Iowa caucuses and his decisive victory in New Hampshire last week. “Bring it on!”

Since that time, it has been a constant litany from the Senator. Loosely quoted, you can hear him on any given day saying thinks like: “If George Bush wants to make homeland security an issue, BRING IT ON!” Or, “If George Bush wants to make the military an issue, I have three words for him… BRING IT ON!” And on and on.

More important, it is Kerry himself who has made national security an issue, and Viet Nam as well through incessant references made to his service. Yet, I wonder if the Senator is truly proud of his service in Viet Nam, or if he is actually proud of his anti-war activities instead. Does he understand that you can’t have it both ways? He can’t be proud of his wartime service and his anti-war activities at the same time. So which is it?

The only way to tell is to look at what Senator Kerry has said and his voting record, and these two areas leaves little doubt as to his stance on such vital issues.

It was Joshua Muravchik, whose Op-Ed in the Washington Post pointed to Senator Kerry’s “inner dove:”

As leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Kerry accused American soldiers of “war crimes . . . committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.”

As a first major foreign policy cause, he championed the “nuclear freeze.”

The litany of weapons systems that Kerry opposed included conventional as well as nuclear equipment: the B-1 bomber, the B-2, the F-15, the F-14A, the F-14D, the AH-64 Apache helicopter, the AV-8B Harrier jet, the Patriot missile, the Aegis air-defense cruiser and the Trident missile. And he sought to reduce procurement of the M1 Abrams tank, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the Tomahawk cruise missile and the F-16 jet. Time and again, Kerry fought against what he called “the military-industrial corporate welfare complex that has relentlessly chewed up taxpayers’ dollars.”

When Saddam Hussein swallowed up Kuwait in 1990, Kerry voted against authorizing the use of force. “He stressed,” reported the Boston Globe, “that he thinks [economic] sanctions can work if given time.”

The next major international crisis came in Bosnia. By 1995, with the death toll there estimated to have reached a quarter-million, Congress voted to end the arms embargo hamstringing the beleaguered Bosnians. Kerry was one of 29 senators who opposed this resolution. Before the vote, Kerry argued that lifting the embargo would not necessarily provide arms, but Sen. Joseph Lieberman called his bluff, saying, “I will be glad to join him, as soon as this measure passes, in introducing a package authorizing aid to . . . the Bosnians.” Kerry brushed aside the offer.

And how does this jibe with the Kerry challenge of “BRING IT ON?” Simply this:

The challenge has been issued on numerous occasions and the President and his supporters — I include myself among his supporters of course — are now in the process of answering that challenge.

You want us to BRING IT ON in regards to national security? Happy to do so. You ask that we BRING IT ON in regards to the military? No problem.

But when you challenge someone to BRING IT ON, don’t start whining when that is exactly what happens! It just brings to mind the old saying, which goes, “be careful for what you wish for, you might just get it!”

Nuff said.

David Flanagan

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  • Kerry’s actions against the Vietnam War after fighting in it were admirable – he had certainly earned the right to voice his opinion, and Americans got an inside view.

    But that letter was just dumb.

    To tell the truth, I’ve thought that a lot of Democrats I see on TV are dumber than Republicans.

    A while back, it was Senator Evan Bayh of the Democratic Leadership Council kicking the party’s presidential candidates. In TV punditry, you see it nearly every day, with a weasely Tucker Carlson getting Democrat James Carville to froth at the mouth, or laying in his slurs while Paul Bagala lets them sit because he doesn’t know what to do, or maybe can’t even recognize that they were slurs.

    The presidential candidates are better than the pundits, though, and the bottom line is still: “Anybody but Bush.”

    What a country.

  • Hal,

    Thanks very much for the comment. Here’s my question:

    Should Kerry be proud of his service in Viet Nam or should he be proud of his anti-war activities? Right now, he’s trying to have it both ways with the “honorable service” shtick, saying things like:

    “I’d like to know what it is Republicans who didn’t serve in Vietnam have against those of us who did…”

    At the same time, during his anti-war efforts, he’s attacked everything about Viet Nam in the past; including the soldiers who served there and the officers and non-coms who commandended them. He even admitted to committing war crimes himself:

    “I did take part in free-fire zones, I did take part in harassment and interdiction fire, I did take part in search-and-destroy missions in which the houses of noncombatants were burned to the ground. And all of these acts, I find out later on, are contrary to the Hague and Geneva conventions and to the laws of warfare.”

    So, which is it? Is he proud of his service IN the military or proud of his service AGAINST the military.

    Its yet another example of Flip-Flop Kerry in action.

    Thanks again. 🙂


  • Shark

    I’m with everybody; the letter was dumb and ill-advised. End of that argument.

    “…Should Kerry be proud of his service in Viet Nam or should he be proud of his anti-war activities? Can’t have it both ways.”

    —Is so insane, I don’t even know where to begin.

    And I don’t even think I’ll try. A friggin’ 8 year old can see through this effed up exercise in ‘logic’.

    Dave, I used to have a smidgen of respect for your intelligence, but— and no offense— I think the further Bush slides down the polls, the whackier you get.

    One can’t be proud of a job they did in war and later oppose that war— with pride?

    You’re joking, right? Really, if this is the argument the RNC is trotting out to the flock, they’re in deep doo-doo.

    I think yall should stick to: “Cuts Taxes No Matter What!” or “What’s Good For Halliburton is Good for America”—

  • Shark


    I wonder if they checked the letter for anthrax?!

    Somebody, QUICK!!

    e-mail Drudge immediately!

  • “So, which is it? Is he proud of his service IN the military or proud of his service AGAINST the military.”

    I find it difficult to believe you don’t see how ridiculous even asking that is.

    Shark’s right.

  • Aside (to borrow from Shark):

    As to Muravchik, his pedigree doesn’t inspire confidence in his facts nor his opinions unless your belief system is similar to his.

    For those who missed it, Muravchik is the neoconservative who said, speaking of the neos and the elective invasion of Iraq: “…some of us may have been too glib about an ‘easy liberation’.” [WSJ 9/19/03].


  • One can’t be proud of a job they did in war and later oppose that war— with pride?

    Exactly right. Buts its more than that Shark. Lets assume that Kerry was proud of his service while he was serving in Viet Nam. Then Kerry comes back and becomes active against the war, accusing his fellow soldiers and officers of war crimes, and even admitting to anti-Geneva activities himself. THEN, years later, suddenly becomes proud of his service again.

    I’m sorry, but those are mutually exclusive stances. You can’t ADMIT to war crimes at the same time you are saying that you are PROUD of your own service while helping to commit those crimes.

    How could you even say that all in a single sentence? “Well, yes, I committed atrocities and so did all my fellow soldiers and officers and I’m proud of my service.”

    Really, for Kerry to even TRY and say that would make him a laughing stock.



  • Muravchik is the neoconservative who said…

    You are discounting Muravchik because he’s honest?! And you call ME ridiculous!

    And could someone please give me the definition of “neo-conservative?”



  • “You are discounting Muravchik because he’s honest?! “

    People really need to learn how to debate without putting words in someone else’s mouth. Of course I don’t think he’s honest.

    And don’t start that silly “What’s a neo” game. I’ve seen enough of that from Boot, Goldberg, Brooks, and even grand-daddy Kristol (Irving, not Billy).

    I wouldn’t play it even if it weren’t a red herring.

  • And don’t start that silly “What’s a neo” game.

    Its not a game. I’ve seen the term used liberally (no pun intended) and I want to know what meaning is poured into that term. Its a simple question, no games, no ridiculous hidden meanings. So, I’d appreciate if you would give me an answer.



  • If you haven’t read them, just Google Max Boot, Johna Goldberg, David Brooks, and Irving Kristol and you’ll learn more than enough.

  • If you haven’t read them, just Google Max Boot, Johna Goldberg, David Brooks, and Irving Kristol and you’ll learn more than enough.

    Thanks. I’ll do that.


  • Shark

    I’ll play the: “What’s a neo” game!

    noun – a political theorist who makes Pat Buchanan sound like a liberal.

  • Shark

    “…assume Kerry was proud of his service while he was serving in Viet Nam. Then Kerry comes back and becomes active against the war, …THEN, years later, suddenly becomes proud of his service again.”

    Dave, did you bump your head gettin’ out of the shower or somethin’? Seriously, this is insane.

    Some advice: You’re not going to get ANY mileage out of this one. I was there, pal. EVERYONE in my generation IS and WAS AMBIVALENT about Viet Nam. Kerry’s stance is about as common as they come. Generals, politicians, veterans, hippies, conservatives: you name it; if they were around at the time, they’re going to UNDERSTAND and SYMPATHIZE with AMBIVALENCE.

    Give it up and move on to something we can tangle over.

    This one’s a joke.

  • Shark

    Aside (to borrow from Hal):

    When I read that macho title, “Time to answer John ‘bring it on’ Kerry!” –I picture Dave yelling “en garde” and whipping a banana out of a sheath.

  • When I did play the game once, I came up with:

    A neoconservative isn’t “A liberal mugged by reality,” it’s “A liberal in leathers. With a whip.”

  • Dumb politicians who talk out of both sides of their mouths? Impossible!

    I encourage you not to get caught up in the character issue. Our potential big party candidates are stupid, contradictory mouthpieces, as always. That is their nature; let’s accept it. And as we have clearly not had character as a benchmark for presidential behavior in the recent past–I know it’s a cliche to ask people to focus on the issues, but. . .

  • Sorry, David, typo: should have been “Jonah Goldberg”.

    And if you really weren’t familiar with those names, you’ll probably find the following links interesting.

    I know that a flinch reaction from some readers to some of the material is going to be Ann-Coulter-like, but there’s more to be gained if the material is approached with an attitude that “it’s true until shown false” or at very least with a critical attitude rather than with a mind made up. Disagree with the opinion pieces, but it’s useful to try to separate them from the facts. Many of the players are in government now.

    Okay, with an open mind, here are the links:

    The 1992 Wolfowitz-Libby-Cheney precursor policy of preemptive dominance (this one is an eye-opener, worth reading completely). This was a secret document that leaked and caused a big stink at the time. Here’s a later interview with Barton Gellman, who broke the story.

    You should visit the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). That links you to a page with a number of letters they have issued. Starting at the bottom of the list you see their principles then a January 26, 1998 letter to Clinton advocating “removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power.”

    That didn’t work, so they followed it up with a May 29, 1998 letter to Newt Gingrich (Republican House leader) and Trent Lott (Republican Senate leader). This one was longer and included the “weapons of mass destruction” pitch.

    Since Republicans controlled Congress, this resulted in the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which is now being laid at the door of Clinton.

    There are numerous other organizations and media such as the American Enterprise Institute, and The Weekly Standard you might want to explore.

    As a final flavoring, here’s a link to a site that lists signatories and contributing writers to a variety of PNAC documents. A number of these people are in high places in this administration (Wolfowitz, Bolton, Abrams, etc.) while others are water-carriers with influence (Perle, Woolsey, Boot, Podhoritz, etc.)

    Before Coulterites get their knickers in twist, let me say that advocacy is fine. I don’t like the results, but they certainly had the right to do what they did. I do believe you ought to think about whether the resulting societal changes are what you would have wanted back in 1992 (preemptive invasions of countries, Patriot Act, etc.) and whether that’s the world you want today.

    It helps to know the players and their game plan when deciding. These links should help answer that age-old question: “What’s a neo?”