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Kerry’s Laws of War
National Review ^ | October 15, 2004 | David B. Rivkin Jr. & Lee A. Casey

Posted on 10/16/2004 12:51:26 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

After months of changing his position on Iraq, John Kerry has finally chosen a stance. In the first presidential debate, having criticized President Bush for launching "the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time," Kerry insisted that he could do a better job fighting terrorism. The senator, at least, seems sure of that; but to the remaining skeptics, there are still questions that need answering. In particular, since America's ability to prevail on today's battlefields — whether in the back alleys of Baghdad or the mountains of Afghanistan — depends on the decisive use of force, Kerry's views on the laws governing U.S. military activity are highly relevant.

Kerry addressed this issue at length in 1971, after his return from Vietnam. Speaking before the Senate, he harshly condemned as "war crimes" several types of American military operations in Vietnam — including aerial bombing, "free-fire zones," "harassment and interdiction" fire, and search-and-destroy missions. All of these tactics are, in fact, characteristic of the American way of war: i.e., the use of overwhelming force to achieve a prompt and definitive result. And all have been portrayed by anti-American activists as examples of illegal, "indiscriminate" combat methods.

Yet none of these tactics is in fact prohibited under the traditional laws of war. Indeed, as is now well documented, American bombing in Vietnam was far more discriminate than the Allied strategic-bombing campaigns of World War II, and was directed at military targets rather than population centers. Although civilians certainly died, the accepted legal principle of proportionality has always allowed for this possibility, tragic as it may be. Likewise, while opponents of the war (including some returning veterans like Kerry) claimed that free-fire zones were inherently illegal — suggesting that these were areas where anybody, including civilians, could be killed with impunity — the Pentagon defined that term simply as an area where attacks against enemy combatants could be initiated without prior authorization. (Today, many areas of Iraq fit this definition.) Similarly, the Vietnam War's harassment-and-interdiction fire — designed to disrupt enemy movements and to "shape" a battlefield — and search-and-destroy missions would have been illegal only if they were deliberately aimed at civilians, or civilian objects, that had not already been dragooned into the enemy's service. (Since U.S. forces in Iraq are facing an enemy that deliberately launches attacks from schools, mosques, and hospitals, and hides among the civilian population, search-and-destroy missions and the use of artillery fire and air strikes against urban areas remain an indispensable part of American tactics.).........


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: commanderinchief; iraq; kerry; kerryiraq; vietnam; war; wot
And now a word from the 'dominoes' (disputing Kerry's senate testimony)***DURING THE Vietnam War, John Kerry testified before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee panel that an investigation conducted by Kerry and his group, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, revealed that U.S. soldiers committed atrocities in Vietnam. The investigation was called Winter Soldier.

Now that Kerry wants to be president, some of his former military colleagues say they still resent his allegations. They believe that Kerry slandered his colleagues as war criminals merely as a pretext for gaining support for the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam. They believe he was pandering to those who said the "domino theory" was not valid, that the Vietnamese communists were nationalists not terrorists.

One way to try to resolve those conflicting views is asking those affected most by the war - the South Vietnamese. Philadelphia has a large Vietnamese community composed mostly of Vietnamese refugees. Some were "boat people" who fled the horror of communist Vietnam on rafts, boats and pieces of driftwood, risking their lives. Others are more recent arrivals. All fled the utopia that Vietnam was supposed to become, according to Kerry and his anti-war colleagues………..***

1 posted on 10/16/2004 12:51:27 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

John Kerry would not use the military to fight, period


2 posted on 10/16/2004 1:03:29 AM PDT by GeronL (John Kerry believes in a right to privacy and in gay rights............ ask "fair game" Mary Cheney)
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To: GeronL
Kerry will rely only on diplomacy, treaties and the U.N. He will not put the U.S. first.

Bush's world within reach***Especially troubling about the national Democratic Party that emerges in the new century is that it has become a national scold without any coherent vision or message.

Say what you will about George W. Bush - and a range of embittered Democrats deeply despise him - he does have a vision.

He laid out a domestic agenda with unmistakable clarity in his speech to the GOP convention, just as he laid out a worldview in his remarks at the United Nations. It's optimistic, premised on the belief that we are a decent people who can adapt to changed circumstance and alter, without destroying, our institutions.

Bush's domestic agenda, like his vision of a world where the rule of law prevails, where property rights are protected, where free speech, equal justice and religious tolerance are honored, is based on the idea that, with greater responsibility and self-reliance, we can enjoy expanded freedoms.

The premise of '60s radicalism, with its assault on institutions and its personal liberty without responsibility, was that individuals ought to be free to behave as they choose. It meant, for example, that free-spirited adults could have children without the constraints of marriage, because government would provide, and would pick up the pieces of damaged lives………***

3 posted on 10/16/2004 1:06:33 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

yeah, that too


4 posted on 10/16/2004 1:07:48 AM PDT by GeronL (John Kerry believes in a right to privacy and in gay rights............ ask "fair game" Mary Cheney)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Commander-in-Chief Kerry: "Attack!...NO, WAIT...No, ATTACK without funding!!...No, GO BACK!...Become more sensitive, THEN attack!...No, wait while I consult with the French!"


5 posted on 10/16/2004 1:09:56 AM PDT by shibumi (HELP! HELP! We've lost our accordian and can't shoot the ducks!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Rule #1 never fight, always run away
Rule #2 demand a Global Test
Rule #3 if Global Test is passed (i.e. Persian Gulf War)
revert back to Rule#1


6 posted on 10/16/2004 1:12:12 AM PDT by PJBlogger (Revenge of the PajamaBloggers....coming soon to a screen near you)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Good post.


7 posted on 10/16/2004 1:47:58 AM PDT by alcuin (getridofthateffinlooselipssinkshipsgesture)
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