Archive

Posts Tagged ‘John Kerry’
September 6th, 2013 at 6:58 pm
Let’s Cool it with the “Chicken Hawk” Nonsense
Posted by Troy Senik Print

I sometimes find the best way to settle your views on an issue is not to read the opinion of those you admire, but rather those whom you despise. Even my favorite thinkers go astray sometimes. The hacks are slightly more consistent.

One of the kings of errancy is the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson, who spends today’s column trying to act as a moral backstop for President Obama in regard to Syria. It’s a throwaway remark early in the piece, however, that gets my hackles up:

At Wednesday’s hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I thought for a moment that [Secretary of State John] Kerry was going to blow. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., launched into a self-righteous soliloquy about Benghazi, the IRS, the National Security Agency and what he portrayed as Kerry’s longtime aversion to using military force.

Kerry, you may recall, is a highly decorated Vietnam combat veteran. Duncan is an armchair warrior.

A few quick thoughts:

    – I’ll grant you that Duncan comes off as a blowhard in his questioning of Kerry. Hearings on the possibility of war are about as serious a task as a member of Congress faces and his insistence on turning it into a glorified campaign ad are both misplaced and unimpressive. He comes off like a guy trying to sell you insurance at a funeral. That being said, non sequitur droning constitutes about 90 percent of all congressional questioning. You know who used to be the king of that? John Kerry. So forgive me if I can’t muster sympathy when he’s on the receiving end of the same kind of firehose-intensity stream of inanity he spent over two and a half decades dispensing.

    – I’ve never understood why, in a nation that from its inception has insisted upon civilian control over the military, we try to settle policy arguments by determining who’s the closest approximation of Leonidas. You know who else was an “armchair warrior”? Franklin Roosevelt, who prosecuted World War II and never served in the military. Abraham Lincoln spent three months in the Illinois State Militia.

    And Mr. Robinson should be careful about tying credibility on foreign affairs to time in uniform. Barack Obama didn’t serve. Neither did Joe Biden. And neither did Eugene Robinson, who spends the rest of this column telling us how we should think about Syria.

    Liberals spent the last decade mocking conservative “chicken hawks” who had never served in the military but advocated for American intervention overseas. It was a bogus argument then and it’d be bogus (if not satisfying) to turn it back on them now. If we’re going to debate ideas, let’s do it on the merits, not according to the resumés of the people advancing them.

    September 4th, 2013 at 1:09 pm
    Obama’s Syria Policy Incoherent at Home and Abroad

    McClatchy news ran a piece yesterday describing how President Barack Obama’s seeming indecision on striking Syria is being interpreted by Middle Easterners.

    “Obama’s abrupt decision on Saturday to delay the strikes that seemed just hours away is being seen in the region as the latest confirmation of an incoherent U.S. approach of mixed messages and unfulfilled threats that have driven America’s standing to a new low,” the paper said, citing numerous interviews with Syrian rebels and others.

    The confusion wasn’t helped during Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. There, the Vietnam veteran and anti-war hero did an about-face. Without a hint of irony he argued that in asking for congressional approval to fire missiles at Syria “President Obama is not asking America to go to war.”

    Instead, the President was “asking only for the power to make clear, to make certain, that the United States means what we say,” when the Commander-in-Chief threatens military force.

    But the fact remains that firing missiles into another country is an act of war, a fact that didn’t escape Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) before heading into the hearing.

    “This is the most serious policy decision any senator will make,” reports the Daily Caller. “Authorizing the use of military force is, let’s face it, is a declaration of war against another country, no matter how limited it is, that’s what it is.”

    Kudos to Senator Corker for saying the truth out loud. He understands the real world consequences of this decision, as do the Syrian rebels, Syrian President Bashar Assad and every other sentient being paying attention.

    So far, the Obama administration is doing itself no favors by pushing forward an ad hoc, incoherent rationale for bombing a government whose actions – while immoral and deplorable – don’t necessarily threaten America’s national security interests.

    June 19th, 2013 at 4:33 pm
    Obama Admin at War over Syria

    Jeffrey Goldberg says debate is white-hot inside the Obama administration over whether to use U.S.-led airstrikes against Syria’s airbases.

    According to Goldberg’s sources, Secretary of State John Kerry is calling for immediate and sustained airstrikes to punish Bashar Assad’s regime for using chemical weapons against rebels. Earlier, President Barack Obama had said that such use would justify an increased American response to the rising number of deaths in the war.

    But Kerry’s airstrikes idea was shot down in a tense Situation Room exchange by Army General Martin Dempsey, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Pentagon estimates that at least 700 sorties would be needed to effectively destroy the airfields. That increases the probability an American pilot would be shot down, killed or taken as a prisoner of war.

    The dilemma on Syria is this: No one wants the conflict to turn into another occasion of genocide like Rwanda or Darfur, but no one is eager to get involved in a fight where the choice of ally is either the Hezbollah-aligned regime or the al-Qaeda-aligned rebels.

    So far, the Defense Department is winning the argument. The absence of a clear definition of victory means the Obama administration likely won’t do much else than send small arms and ammo to the rebels – a symbolic gesture that won’t do much to change the course of the war.

    Considering the information available, that’s probably the best move to make.

    March 8th, 2013 at 2:54 pm
    Krauthammer: Kerry’s Egypt Deal Misses Point of Foreign Aid

    As a supplement to my column this week criticizing John Kerry’s $250 million in economic aid to Egypt, Charles Krauthammer dings the Secretary of State for apparently sleeping through Foreign Aid 101:

    We have no particular stake in Egypt’s economy. Our stake is in its politics. Yes, we would like to see a strong economy. But in a country ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood?

    Our interest is in a non-Islamist, nonrepressive, nonsectarian Egypt, ruled as democratically as possible. Why should we want a vibrant economy that maintains the Brotherhood in power? Our concern is Egypt’s policies, foreign and domestic.

    If we’re going to give foreign aid, it should be for political concessions — on unfettered speech, on an opposition free of repression, on alterations to the Islamist constitution, on open and fair elections.

    With Egypt’s newest strongman following the same script as his predecessors by taking money and failing to reform, the only thing missing here is to remind America’s chief diplomat that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.

    January 29th, 2013 at 5:22 pm
    Senate Dishonors Vietnam Vets

    By confirming John Kerry as Secretary of State, the U.S. Senate (with three honorable exceptions: Cornyn, Cruz, Inhofe) just dishonored all Vietnam vets. After all, it was Kerry who randomly accused American soldiers in Vietnam of having “personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.”

    One imagines that he will be by far the worst U.S. Secretary of State since… the current one.

    January 9th, 2013 at 9:36 am
    Ramirez Cartoon: The Three Stooges
    Posted by CFIF Staff Print

    Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez. 

    View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

    December 20th, 2012 at 9:19 am
    Ben Affleck to Replace John Kerry in the U.S. Senate?

    If U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) becomes the next Secretary of State, expect several dominos to fall.  Soon-to-be-former Senator Scott Brown seems poised to run in yet another special election.  Bay State Tea Party groups will have to decide whether to support a member-turned-establishment figure like Brown over someone more conservative, but arguably less able to win.

    And then there’s Ben Affleck.  What?  According to The Daily Caller, Affleck, the Hollywood star and Massachusetts native, recently met privately with Senator Kerry in Washington, D.C., possibly to discuss running for the latter’s open seat in 2013.  If you’re looking for qualifications, Affleck graduated from Harvard, won an Academy Award for co-writing “Good Will Hunting,” and founded the East Congo Initiative.  Oh, he’s also married to actress Jennifer Garner.

    But if Affleck isn’t your ideal Senator, remember, it could be worse.  Minnesota gave us Saturday Night Live’s Al Franken.  If Affleck takes a pass, America could get his friend and Palin-hater, Matt Damon.  Can you imagine Damon and Elizabeth Warren together?

    September 13th, 2012 at 11:49 am
    John “Winter Soldier” Kerry: Rank, Vile Hypocrite

    I just saw CNN run a clip of John Kerry castigating Mitt Romney for Romney’s criticism of the Obama administration re the statement from the embassy in Cairo. Kerry, blowing enough hot air to power his own windsurfing excursion, called Romney “irresponsible” and “reckless,” among other harsh adjectives. He said Romney spoke without knowing what he was talking about, and that Romney was way out of line.

    Kerry isn’t the one to talk. May I remind him of a little incident where he said he knew fellow American soldiers, apparently in large numbers, who “personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country”?

    That statement from Kerry was a vicious, vile, reckless, irresponsible, damnable lie. It should have disqualified him forever not just from public life, but from all polite company forevermore.

    Meanwhile, Romney was right: The embassy statement was craven and pathetic, and it was fully in line with longstanding messages, also craven and pathetic, coming from the Obama administration since Day One — and even largely consonant with the tenor of statements TODAY from Hillary Clinton, who again spent the entire opening of her statement wasting time blasting a stupid online movie rather than dismissing it in one quick sentence and then moving on to what still, even after that segment of her statement, was an inadequately worded bit of advocacy of American rights, interests, and goodness.

    Kerry, Clinton, and Obama know absolutely nothing about promoting American interests or about defending our people or our rights.

    June 5th, 2012 at 1:23 pm
    Will a Backdoor Cap and Trade Plan be One of Obama’s Last Acts in Office?
    Posted by Troy Senik Print

    Those who believe that it’s in the best interest of the nation for Barack Obama’s presidency to terminate next January have been feeling their oats a bit lately. As Jennifer Rubin noted yesterday at the Washington Post’s “Right Turn” blog:

    Whatever you think is the cause of the economic doldrums, it has now dawned on the Democrats and the press that Obama could lose this thing.

    Quite so. But even if one indulges in the most optimistic projections for November, there’s a danger in getting too comfortable. There could be mischief brewing for the lame duck congressional session following the presidential election. As Conn Carroll reports in the Washington Examiner:

    At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Wednesday, [Senator John] Kerry announced that he would not be submitting the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea [LOST] for a vote before the November election. Instead, Kerry intends to hold a series of hearings before the election, building the case for passage, before pushing the treaty in a lame-duck session. This is the exact same game plan Kerry executed to pass the New START treaty during the 2010 lame duck…

    …If the Senate approves LOST this December, any country that believes itself harmed by global warming could force the U.S. into binding arbitration, most likely in front of the Annex VII Arbitral Tribunal, LOST’s default dispute resolution forum.

    Any judgment from that tribunal would be final, unappealable, and immediately enforceable in U.S. federal court. In 1982, a similar arbitration body forced Canada to set hourly caps on their sulfur dioxide emissions, causing industry to spend millions on mitigation efforts. A LOST tribunal could set similar caps on U.S. carbon emissions, triggering trillions in economic damage.

    Cap and trade, of course, was Obama’s other major first-term initiative besides Obamacare, but when the politics surrounding the former issue became toxic — and congressional Republicans hit back hard on the cap and trade plan — the administration backed off. But is anyone willing to bet that Obama’s sense of fair play will prevent him from backdooring through the policy in the dying days of his administration?

    If so, you’d have to believe that a president who has no compunctions about stripping fundamental religious freedoms through administrative fiat, who’s already busy promising the Russian government that he’ll “have more flexibility” on missile defense when he doesn’t have to face the American electorate again, and who has already flirted with extralegal methods for enacting international carbon reduction would suddenly be stricken by conscience after facing the sting of rejection from the voters.

    Those odds don’t look good. Which is why conservatives need to remain on guard until the day Obama departs for Chicago.

    January 11th, 2012 at 6:38 pm
    The January Dirge for Romney’s November Continues
    Posted by Troy Senik Print

    Ashton and Quin both point out deficiencies of Mitt Romney’s that go far beyond the narrow attack on Bain I referenced in yesterday’s post. And they’re both right.

    Quin says my rhetorical suggestions for Romney would only help so much. Quite so. One Ricochet member asked, in response to my post, if I could come up with a speechmaking salvo that could save Romney from the taint of his misbegotten Massachusetts healthcare experiment. My response: “As Romney found during his time in the private sector, some turnaround jobs are too much for anyone to salvage.”

    I’ll just add one factor to Ashton and Quin’s delineation of Romney’s liabilities: he seems unable to connect with voters. This is a man, remember, who was won only one election in his life–and even that occurred in the context of a three-way race where Romney was unable to win a simple majority. As I’ve argued in a previous column, Romney is bedeviled by many of the same shortcomings that hindered John Kerry’s presidential bid: patrician aloofness, a sense that he’ll say or do anything to curry favor with the electorate, and a total lack of the capacity to inspire.

    I’ve feared for some time that 2012 will be a mirror image of 2004, with a weak incumbent squeaking by a challenger who earned the nomination by seeming slightly more viable than the other candidates in a mediocre field. Unfortunately, that’s starting to look like exactly how this race is playing out.

    March 24th, 2011 at 6:56 pm
    Senate Liberals at Loggerheads Over Libya

    It’s nice to see liberal members of the Obama regime getting in a dust-up over whether the president’s Libya bombing is legal.

    Today’s combatants are Senator John Kerry (D-MA), chairman of the chamber’s Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) whose thinking on foreign affairs is usually in lock-step with Kerry’s.

    Until, that is, President Obama forgot to ask Lugar’s permission before going to war.  As one of then-Senator Obama’s earliest Republican admirers, Lugar takes pride in his status as elder adviser to a young president.  Trouble is, Obama no longer needs Lugar for anything.

    And as Lugar is finding out, that includes setting aside procedural niceties like declaring war or getting congressional authorization for military action. (Far better to go the Lugar-approved route of U.N. permission slips.)

    Thanks, Senator.  He couldn’t have done it without you.

    April 20th, 2010 at 1:15 pm
    Bloated Bureaucracies & a Constipated Congress

    One of the measures of successful politicians is how much legislation they author, sponsor, and pass.  Since the activities can be counted, the more a legislator does, the more he can claim to be “doing something” to justify his reelection.

    So it must be frustrating for all the Senators who desperately want to “do something” when colleagues in their own party insist on larding unpopular policies into bills that would otherwise sail through the process.  Though the main energy bill claims enough support to pass, Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) are blocking it because its centrist supporters refuse to include the Environmental Left’s demands for cap-and-trade.  When asked to present the cap-and-tax language as a stand-alone amendment, Kerry and Boxer balked because they don’t have the 60 votes to attach it.

    Who can blame them?  After the large scale corruption of the legislative process to pass ObamaCare, why wouldn’t a Democratic lawmaker think that rules only apply to Republicans?

    Happily, adding text to the United States Code isn’t everyone’s definition of a good legislator.  Senators like Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) pride themselves on reducing the word count of the nation’s legal regime.  Less law means less room for bureaucrats to expand their reach.  Let’s hope the Democrats’ insatiable demand for more government continues to be an obstacle to passing any new laws.

    December 7th, 2009 at 4:00 pm
    $5 Million for Sharks?
    Posted by Sam Batkins Print

    Tiburón

    In a time of record deficits, most taxpayers would assume that sharks wouldn’t be on the radar of most U.S. Senators.

    Well, meet Senator John Kerry (D-MA), who has introduced S. 580, The Shark Conservation Act of 2009.  Not that we don’t all love Shark Week, but the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has just estimated that the cost of S. 580 is a cool $5 million over the next five years alone.

    To be fair to Senator Kerry, the bill does have several GOP cosponsors, but apparently they are all happy to continue Washington’s merry spending frenzy at a time when the nation is still mired in record deficits and high unemployment.