The Corner

Kerry, Bush, Wartime

An e-mail:

t seems to me that the effective counter from Bush on the Vietnam service issue is this:

Bush should argue that he, unlike Kerry, learned the right lessons from Vietnam – that you support the troops wholeheartedly once they are at war, and only that commitment guarantees victory. Kerry, for a Vietnam vet, should realize that voting for war and then against the funding of the war is exactly the type of hesitant and apprehensive behavior that causes the world to view the US as a paper tiger and helps break down morale at home and in combat.

Plus, serving in combat is usually a proxy for determining what kind of leader someone would be at war. Bush ads should be daring enough to include the clips of his best moments of leadership – rallying the workers at Ground Zero, “we will not tire, we will note falter, we will not fail” on 9/20/01, the speech at the UN to start the final march to war, etc. Bush has clearly proven to be a strong and effective wartime leader, with the boldness to take the fight to the enemy. In short, we need to go back on the offensive – about why we needed to go to War, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and about how we need to keep taking the fight to the enemy, with continued pressure on al Qaeda, Iran, Syria and North Korea.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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