In the final inning of a seemingly endless presidential playoff, at least three issues surprisingly remain outside the ballpark.
‐It is extraordinary that John Kerry huddled during wartime with enemy officials opposite whom U.S. diplomats negotiated for peace. Kerry did so in May 1970, while an inactive Navy reserve officer, even as Hanoi killed American soldiers and tortured U.S. POWs.
“I have been to Paris,” Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 22, 1971. “I have talked with both delegations at the peace talks, that is to say the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government and of all eight of Madame Binh’s points.” These were, respectively, North Vietnam, the Viet Cong’s political wing, and its delegate, Madame Nguyen Thi Binh.
Kerry was free to protest the Vietnam War at home. But communicating with hostile powers while Henry Kissinger confronted them at the bargaining table could not have advanced U.S. foreign policy. Nor did Kerry’s July 22, 1971 press conference endorsing verbatim the Viet Cong’s peace proposal.
“I realize that even my visits in Paris,” Kerry testified, “are on the borderline of private individuals negotiating.”
Kerry’s Paris sojourn may have broken the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and self-evidently violated the 1799 Logan Act’s prohibition on freelance diplomacy, and the Constitution’s Article III, Section 3 strictures against giving “Aid and Comfort” to America’s enemies.
Imagine a Navy reserve officer traveling to the Pakistan-Afghan frontier to sip tea with Osama bin Laden. He surely would come home to handcuffs. Yet, after tampering with actual peace negotiations, Kerry seeks the presidency.
‐The words “mass graves” went unuttered across three presidential debates. Friends and foes of Operation Iraqi Freedom should applaud this: The American-led Coalition disabled Saddam Hussein’s mass-graves program.
So far, investigators have identified at least 270 graves; others could hold an estimated 290,000 people. Reporters recently toured a site containing more than 200 corpses in al-Hatra. Those buried there without due process included women, some blindfolded, at least four of whom were pregnant. Each was shot in the head, as were children, including a boy who clutched a ball in his hand. These innocents were shoved into the ground Nazi style–with bulldozers.
Iraqi mass graves are now bad memories, not current nightmares. Inexplicably, President Bush barely mentions this huge humanitarian victory, something Kerry would concede. They both should address this matter.
‐Graham Allison’s new book, Nuclear Terrorism, features this chilling comment from al Qaeda spokesman, Suleiman Abu Gheith: “We have the right to kill 4 million Americans–2 million of them children–and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands.”
Allison explains that al Qaeda blames Judeo-Christian infidels for the deaths of some four million Muslims due to, as Islamofascists believe, America’s posture toward Iraq since Gulf War I, the Taliban’s ouster, Israel’s Palestinian policy, etc.
“Parity will require killing 4 million Americans,” Gheith declared on an al-Qaeda-tied website in June 2002. “America can be kept at bay by blood alone.”
Four million American deaths would equal a horror-movie version of Bill Murray’s film Groundhog Day. Every morning would be September 11 for 1,343 days, or about three years and eight months. Al Qaeda never could hijack that many jets. Allison imagines more efficient methods.
“Detonated in Times Square, a 10-kiloton weapon could kill one million New Yorkers. And why should bin Laden or other terrorists stop with one? Four nuclear explosions, in New York, Washington, Chicago, and Los Angeles, could achieve Al Qaeda’s gruesome goal of killing four million Americans.”
Bush and Kerry should speak up about al Qaeda’s desires to recreate in America two-thirds of what Hitler heaped upon European Jewry, only with the terrible, swift swords of suitcase nukes or homemade A-bombs.
Kerry has made a few admirable remarks about securing Russia’s nuclear materials on a timetable faster than Bush’s. But Kerry’s foresight evaporated in a blinding flash when he recently told journalist Matt Bai that “as a former law-enforcement person,” he wants to make terrorism a mere “nuisance”–like prostitution and illegal gambling.
These questions merit greater discussion by candidates and voters alike before the chatter stops November 2.