"Kerry is running like Nixon in 68"
Charles Krauthammer: Kerry Is Running Like Nixon in
Charles Krauthammer, in th WSJ (Oct. , 2004):
[C]haracter is destiny. Mr. Kerry fell back to talking
about the current war in the only way he knows -- in
terms of Vietnam. He does not say "Vietnam"
explicitly. But this new aggressive Iraq stance has
one unmistakable theme: Wrong war in the wrong place
at the wrong time. Vietnam -- not as crime or glory,
but as terrible strategic mistake.
But where does Mr. Kerry go from there? He now gets an
exceedingly rare historical second chance: Vietnam II,
getting it right this time. What then is he offering
as a solution? He will begin withdrawing troops by
next summer and get us out by the end of his first
But this makes no sense. Why wait four years? If it is
a quagmire, then one has to ask the question that John
Kerry asked Congress in 1971, the most memorable line
he has ever uttered: "How do you ask a man to be the
last man to die for a mistake?"
If Mr. Kerry had not had such tortured history on
Vietnam and on Iraq, he might have run as a
straightforward antiwar candidate and simply said: We
are getting out.
Instead, Mr. Kerry is offering to magically get allies
to replace us while accelerating Iraqification. (Does
he imagine the administration is operating at anything
less than breakneck speed to transfer the burden from
American soldiers to Iraqis?) In 1968, Richard Nixon
ran and won on a similar platform -- Vietnamization --
and got us out of Vietnam almost precisely by the end
of his first presidential term.
Nixon, remember, was vilified by Mr. Kerry and his
antiwar colleagues for prolonging the suffering and
dying in Vietnam for four unnecessary years. Yet here
is Mr. Kerry, after 30 years of torturous
re-examination of Vietnam, coming full circle and
running as Nixon 1968: Mysterious plan, Iraqification,
out in four years. A novelist could not have written
this tale. It would be too implausible.