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John Simkin

John Kerry v George Bush

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It might surprise American members of the Education Forum that Europeans take such a keen interest in the presidential election. However, when you have a prime minister who seems to get his orders from America, we need to get the right person elected into the White House. We heard the news this morning that the Blair government is to go ahead with genetically modified crops, despite the opposition from the Labour Party and the the general public. Why go ahead with a policy that will be such a big vote loser? According to the former minister responsible for this issue, the only reason is because George Bush and his financial backers favour GM crops.

It is interesting how Tony Blair’s main media backer, Rupert Murdoch, is involved in the propaganda campaign against John Kerry. It was in fact Murdoch’s British newspaper, The Sun, that first named Alexandra Polier as the intern who had an affair with Kerry. This was quickly followed up by the Murdoch owned Sunday Times with quotes from Polier’s parents describing Kerry as a “sleazeball” (they deny that they ever said such a thing to Murdoch’s journalists).

It was only then that the US media reported the story about Alexandra Polier (in truth they reported the way the story was being reported in the Murdoch owned press).

The story was originally broken on the Drudge Report website (although Polier’s name was withheld). Drudge describes himself as an “information anarchist” and apparently has 15 million readers. However, Drudge relies exclusively on information from right-wing sources. A recent study shows that over a third of his stories are inaccurate and are attempts at smearing left of centre politicians.

It was the internet that was used to push the faked photograph of Kerry and Fonda. This photograph very quickly found itself being used in the Murdoch owned press (other right-wing British newspapers such as the Daily Mail and the Daily Express were also quick to use the photograph). In all cases they claimed it came from the Associated Press. This was a lie, it was taken from the internet. The Kerry picture was taken by Ken Light and copyright was owned by the Corbis Agency. It is hoped that the agency now takes legal action against those newspapers that published the photograph.

We now all know that the photograph was faked. But the damage has been done. The importance of the photograph was to link Kerry with Jane Fonda and the anti-war movement. This is of course true, Kerry was both a war hero and an anti-Vietnam War protester (at one rally he actually threw away his medals). This is why he was such an important figure to the anti-war movement at the time. He spoke with experience. He represented a whole generation of disillusioned young men who had realised that they had their patriotism exploited by politicians.

Unlike the intern story, Kerry will lose votes as a result of this photograph. That image will remain in the conciousness of many Americans and they will see him as disloyal rather than a man who took the right moral decision. As William Tweed said in 1871 (during the campaign by Thomas Nast to expose him as the corrupt boss of New York): “I don’t care what they say about me – my constituents can’t read. But they can certainly understand them damned pictures”)

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAtweed.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAnast.htm

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I'm going to go out on a limb, and make a reply based on three conditions:

1) I only browsed through Mr. Simkin's initial post, and the subsequent replies;

2) I will not go run all over the Internet looking for links;

3) I will try to bring the "war service issue" "into the present."

First, the National Guard was not, nor is it, a 'rich man's refuge.' A little checking into the Kent State incident will reveal that the Guardsmen were storeowners, and local employees, whose morale suffered because of the inclement weather the fact that they couldn't go home, even though they liuved right nearby. This most likely contributed to the terrible misjudgement that lead to the shooting on May 4, 1970. (According to James Michener's account).

My personal opinion is that anybody who goes down to the Recruiting Station, and raises their right hand ia volunteering to serve their country. Period. the people killed on the U.S.S. Cole were all noncombatants.

On the other hand, anyone who subverts their fellow citizens not participate in a war in which their country is involved, while not a traitor, is no hero.

Second, all historians should know that the days of noblemen leading their loyal serfs into battle passed with the Napoleonic Wars. "Old men" have been sending "young men" into wars, at least since the American Civil War, and certainly World War I.

Third, does a Presidential candidate's war record matter? What about John Edwards'? Has anyone even asked? It certainly doesn't matter to me. What does matter to me is the public record of a candidate towards the Military in particular, and National Defense, in general. Here, Mr. Kerry fails miserably. His anti-military voting record might get him re-elected in the People's Republic of Massachusetts, but I don't think it will set well in "fly-over country."

Fourth, on a personal note: I went to Viet Nam as a noncombatant, because I had specifically requested that status when I joined the Army. I went to Viet Nam with a physical disablity that qualified me for compensation after discharge, but due to some perverse military logic, didn't qualify me for discharge. When the rockets were launched, no one told me to stay out of harm's way. But I loved the Vietnamese people, and they were betrayed by our internal politics, in much the same way as they were left to suffer under the Viet Minh, by France's Fifth Republic. I have no respect for a man who is duplicitous with regard to his own war service.

Edited by fd10801

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Subverting people not to go war, unless absolutely necessary, are the only true heroes in any war.

With regards to the Vietnam war, I think saying that they were betrayed by internal American politics is an understatement. I've seen many different numbers estimating how many died in Cambodia, Loas and Vietnam, but we can be sure the numbers are between 2-3 million. Not even starting to count the long term effects of the 23 million tonnes of Agent Orange dropped on the country.

People who flew aeroplanes over Vietnam are in my opinion not heroes. Their superiors are war criminals.

What about the Korean war, that left over 3 million causlities? MacAurthur's direct orders were to burn every installation, factory city and village in the north and much of the South.

Overall in ten year period America dropped 15 million tons of explosives on Indochina, comparable to over 600 Hiroshima type atomic bombs.

Then there is the support of the take over of East timor leaving 200,000 dead. That was one third of the population. That is supporting genocide.

Gutemala, Argentina, Chile, Iraq, Iran, Paraguay, El Salvador, Iran , Zaire, Phillipines.

Very heroic indeed.

Edited by John Kelly

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First, the National Guard was not, nor is it, a 'rich man's refuge.' A little checking into the Kent State incident will reveal that the Guardsmen were storeowners, and local employees, whose morale suffered because of the inclement weather the fact that they couldn't go home, even though they liuved right nearby. This most likely contributed to the terrible misjudgement that lead to the shooting on May 4, 1970. (According to James Michener's account).

My personal opinion is that anybody who goes down to the Recruiting Station, and raises their right hand ia volunteering to serve their country. Period. the people killed on the U.S.S. Cole were all noncombatants.

On the other hand, anyone who subverts their fellow citizens not participate in a war in which their country is involved, while not a traitor, is no hero.

The point about the National Guard is not that it is the refuge of the rich. I was instead referring to how the rich and powerful exploited loopholes in the system to avoid doing military service in Vietnam. When George Bush applied to join the National Guard in Texas there was a waiting list of 500 people in front of him. He also failed the aptitude test to become a National Guard pilot. However, his powerful friends, including his father, were able to help him jump the waiting list and avoid service in Vietnam.

John Kerry on the other hand fought in the war. His experiences convinced him that it was an immoral war. He also came to the conclusion that the war could not be won and that young Americans were being unnecessarily killed in Vietnam. He therefore campaigned to bring the war to an end. Eventually the American government saw sense and withdrew their troops. Although by this time 56,869 US troops had been killed. It of course took a terrible toll on the people living in the countries where the war was being fought. It has been estimated that between 1961 and 1975 around 10% of the people living in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos died as a result of this war.

What had it all been about? According to the American government its soldiers had to die in order to prevent Vietnam becoming a communist state. It clearly failed to do that. Was it such a disaster that Vietnam became a communist state? Did the other countries fall like dominos as Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon had predicted? Was the United States really threatened by the spread of communism?

We now see the same thing happening in Iraq. According to Bush he is attempting to bring democracy to Iraq. That is what they said about Vietnam. But as President Eisenhower admitted, democratic elections were never really on the agenda. As he wrote later: “I have never talked or corresponded with a person knowledgeable in Indochinese affairs who did not agree that had elections been held at the time of the fighting, possibility 80 per cent of the population would have voted for the communist Ho Chi Minh.”

The same is true of Iraq. Everybody knows that if free elections based on universal suffrage were held in Iraq an ant-American Muslim government would be elected. Therefore George Bush has no intention of allowing such an election to take place. The Iraq War, like the Vietnam War, was based on a lie. Most of the world knows that. Unfortunately, it is going to take longer for the majority of Americans to realise that. John Kerry realised that in Vietnam and returned to America and told the general public the truth. Maybe, he will eventually tell the American public the truth about the Iraq invasion. Howard Dead tried to do this but it appears he was unelectable. The best hope that we have is that Kerry will get elected and will bring an end to this disastrous foreign policy.

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The issue is not about bravery but hypocrisy. My point was that Bush did not mind the idea of war as long as he did not have to fight in it.

As far as I’m able to recollect was the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte the last one of the head of states who went to the field with his soldiers. Since then there have been a lot of politicians who participated or who didn’t participated during their youths in different wars. I wouldn’t dare to draw the conclusions that their participation made them more sensible or human in respect of marching the nation into wars under their leadership or that the lack of this kind of knowledge made them reckless when sending others into the melee of fighting.

There have been many politicians who had very dim own experience of war nevertheless let the nation to fight the war during their mandate with bravery, endurance and imagination. Wasn’t Franklin D. Roosevelt one of them?

When comparing war policy of democrat John F. Kennedy, loved by many for bringing the freshness into the politics, with his successor republican Richard Nixon the facts look as follows:

Kennedy despite the war experience (commanding a boat like Kerry!) gave the mankind the invasion of Cuba, the Cuba crises when the world balanced on the brink of nuclear war plus on top of that senseless escalation of the Vietnam conflict which subsequently became the Vietnam War.

Nixon whose war experience is much less glorified than Kennedy’s ( a Navy lieutenant commander in Pacific) promised to end the war in Vietnam and actually kept his word and ended it. He stood also behind the detente with China.

To compare war experience of Bush and Kerry is in the retrospective look of no importance at all. But of course if someone is waging a crusade against a person he does not like all kinds of argumentation seem to be permitted.

I can easily imagine the situation which looks like this:

Kerry is challenged by Bush. Bush have war flight merits from Vietnam, Kerry doesn’t. Are the debaters impressed by the merits? Not for a minute! Instead the debate is about:

How many innocent women and children Bush’s bombs killed on the ground?

What kind of targets in Hanoi and Haiphong did he bomb? Weren’t it after all hospitals, schools and day centers for kids? How much Agent Orange did he spill over the forest of Vietnam?

Am I unjust? No, sadly enough I do not think so.

This shouldn’t be a debate about the Vietnam War or about war experiences. I know that. This should be a debate about an ALTERNATIVE in 2004 election.

I promises, I will try in my next contribution to talk about the alternative.

Edited by Dalibor Svoboda

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When comparing war policy of democrat John F. Kennedy, loved by many for bringing the freshness into the politics, with his successor republican Richard Nixon the facts look as follows:

Kennedy despite the war experience (commanding a boat like Kerry!) gave the mankind the invasion of Cuba, the Cuba crises when the world balanced on the brink of nuclear war plus on top of that senseless escalation of the Vietnam conflict which subsequently became the Vietnam War.

Nixon whose war experience is much less glorified than Kennedy’s (a Navy lieutenant commander in Pacific) promised to end the war in Vietnam and actually kept his word and ended it. He stood also behind the detente with China.

To compare war experience of Bush and Kerry is in the retrospective look of no importance at all. But of course if someone is waging a crusade against a person he does not like all kinds of argumentation seem to be permitted.

I can easily imagine the situation which looks like this:

Kerry is challenged by Bush. Bush have war flight merits from Vietnam, Kerry doesn’t. Are the debaters impressed by the merits? Not for a minute! Instead the debate is about:

How many innocent women and children Bush’s bombs killed on the ground?

What kind of targets in Hanoi and Haiphong did he bomb? Wasn’t it after all hospitals, schools and day centres for kids? How much Agent Orange did he spill over the forest of Vietnam?

Am I unjust? No, sadly enough I do not think so.

I am not quite sure about the point you are trying to make here but you are on dodgy group if you are trying to suggest that Nixon had a better record than Kennedy when dealing with international conflict.

It is true Kennedy was in power when Cuba was invaded. This was a plan developed by the CIA under Dwight Eisenhower. Kennedy was very unhappy with the plan and refused to provide American back-up to the Bay of Pigs invasion (the reason why it failed). After the Cuban Missile Crisis Kennedy began secret negotiations with Castro in order to sort out this conflict. It is one of the reasons given for Kennedy’s assassination (a combination of anti-Castro Cubans and CIA members sacked and demoted after the Bay of Pigs disaster).

It is also true that in 1961 Kennedy arranged for the South Vietnamese to receive the money necessary to increase the size of their army from 150,000 to 170,000. He also agreed to send another 100 military advisers to Vietnam to help train the South Vietnamese army.

By 1963 Kennedy had serious doubts about his Vietnam policy. He told Kenneth O'Donnell and Mike Mansfield that he intended to get out of Vietnam. In his memoirs, Robert S. McNamara, the Secretary of Defence, agreed that Kennedy would withdraw once he was re-elected. Kennedy told O'Donnell in the spring of 1963 that he could not pull out of Vietnam until he was reelected, "So we had better make damned sure I am reelected."

In his book Deep Politics, Peter Dale Scott, argues that it was this decision that resulted in Kennedy being assassinated. He points out that according to O’Donnell, at a White House reception on Christmas eve, a month after he succeeded to the presidency, Lyndon Johnson told the Joint Chiefs: "Just get me elected, and then you can have your war."

Richard Nixon did not of course promise to accept defeat in Vietnam (although most of his advisers were telling him thad defeat was inevitable). Soon after taking office he introduced his policy of "vietnamization". The plan was to encourage the South Vietnamese to take more responsibility for fighting the war. It was hoped that this policy would eventually enable the United States to withdraw gradually all their soldiers from Vietnam.

Nixon's advisers told him that they feared that the gradual removal of all US troops would eventually result in a National Liberation Front victory. It was therefore agreed that the only way that America could avoid a humiliating defeat was to negotiate a peace agreement in the talks that were taking place in Paris. In an effort to put pressure on North Vietnam in these talks, Nixon developed what has become known as the Madman Theory. Bob Haldeman, one of the US chief negotiators, was told to give the impression that President Nixon was mentally unstable and that his hatred of communism was so fanatical that if the war continued for much longer he was liable to resort to nuclear weapons against North Vietnam.

Another Nixon innovation was the secret Phoenix Program. Vietnamese were trained by the CIA to infiltrate peasant communities and discover the names of NLF sympathisers. When they had been identified, Death Squads were sent in to execute them. Between 1968 and 1971, an estimated 40,974 members of the NLF were killed in this way. It was hoped that the Phoenix Program would result in the destruction of the NLF organisation, but, as on previous occasions, the NLF was able to replace its losses by recruiting from the local population and by arranging for volunteers to be sent from North Vietnam.

Soon after becoming president, Richard Nixon gave permission for the bombing of Cambodia. In an effort to avoid international protest at this action, it was decided to keep information about these bombing raids hidden. Pilots were sworn to secrecy and their 'operational logs' were falsified.

The bombing failed to destroy the NLF bases and so in April, 1970, Nixon decided to send in troops to finish off the job. The invasion of Cambodia provoked a wave of demonstrations in the United States and in one of these, four students were killed when National guardsmen opened fire at Kent State University. In the days that followed, 450 colleges closed in protest against the killings.

The arrival of US marines in Cambodia also created hostility amongst the local population. The Cambodian communist movement, the Khmer Rouge, had received little support from the peasants before the United States invasion. Now they were in a position to appeal to their nationalist sentiments and claimed that Cambodia was about to be taken over by the United States. During 1970 and 1971, membership of the Khmer Rouge grew rapidly.

Laos, another country bordering Vietnam, was also invaded by US troops. As with Cambodia, this action increased the support for the communists (Pathet Lao) and by 1973, they controlled most of the country.

Henry Kissinger was put in charge of peace talks and In October, 1972, he came close to agreeing to a formula to end the war. The plan was that US troops would withdraw from Vietnam in exchange for a cease-fire and the return of 566 American prisoners held in Hanoi. It was also agreed that the governments in North and South Vietnam would remain in power until new elections could be arranged to unite the whole country.

The main problem with this formula was that whereas the US troops would leave the country, the North Vietnamese troops could remain in their positions in the south. In an effort to put pressure on North Vietnam to withdraw its troops. Richard Nixon ordered a new series of air-raids on Hanoi and Haiphong. It was the most intense bombing attack in world history. In eleven days, 100,000 bombs were dropped on the two cities. The destructive power was equivalent to five times that of the atom bomb used on Hiroshima. This bombing campaign was condemned throughout the world. Newspaper headlines included: "Genocide", "Stone-Age Barbarism" and "Savage and Senseless".

The North Vietnamese refused to change the terms of the agreement and so in January, 1973, Nixon agreed to sign the peace plan that had been proposed in October. However, the bombing had proved to be popular with many of the American public as they had the impression that North Vietnam had been "bombed into submission."

Nixon’s role therefore in the Vietnam War was far worse than that of Kennedy. In an attempt to gain the support of the American public he ordered the killing of thousands of Vietnamese civilians. In many ways this worked as there are still people in America who believe they won the Vietnam War.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/VietnamWar.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAkennedyJ.htm

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There are a lot of nice biographies written about John Kennedy. And there does exist more skeptical documents about his short presidency term. As a matter of fact one such was shown on Discovery Channel recently. Trying to give the watchers yet another, for Kennedy unfavourable background to Cuba Crise.

When discussions about Kennedy’s careless involvement in Vietnam conflict came forward a couple of years ago the arguments and debate about this fact was confronted by some historians, as you rightly point out. Both of us know that these rather new interpretations are very hard to be proved as true or false. There are no documents left about Kennedy’s mind for Vietnam just hearsays and memoirs written by people who could for different reasons tried “a face saving” operations of themselves and Kennedy.

Yesterday when reading Time Magazine did I find an essay named “Medals Don’t Make a President” written by Charles Krauthammer. TIME, February 23, 2004, page25)

I ´m borrowing few of the last sentences from his article.

“Kerry tells his campaign audiences how, as returning Vietnam vet, he stood up to the waste and carnage and injustice of what he calls “Nixon war”. All true, except for one inconvenient fact. The man who got America into Vietnam - committing what is arguably the most egregious presidential misjudgment of the 20th century - was not Nixon. It was Kerry’s political hero, John F. Kennedy: Ivy League, U.S. Navy, decorated officer whose wartime valor propelled him to Massachusetts Senator and then Democratic Candidate for President of United States. Sounds familiar? So much for biography.”

My argument about Vietnam War did omission the role played by another democrat namely Lyndon Johnson. I should probably stress that he escalated the war when Nixon (after a terrible long period of savage fighting as you pointed out) ended it.

What I was trying to say? You stated in the previous contributions two things when discussing Kerry versus Bush:

- Their war experience or inexperience which guides them when dealing with a present war going on in Iraq. You choose Kerry as better qualified because of his Vietnam War experience.

- Their “watching the John Wayne type movies” which make Bush according to you much more prone to go to war.

I was just checking if the ones own war experience really did have these effects when looking at this factor historically ….. trying to compare democrat Kennedy and republican Nixon (omitting democrat Johnson …. sorry for that).

When checking previous presidents movie experiences and matching that with the lust to march the nation into a war I did not find any substantial correlation yet.

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- Their war experience or inexperience which guides them when dealing with a present war going on in Iraq. You choose Kerry as better qualified because of his Vietnam War experience.

- Their “watching the John Wayne type movies” which make Bush according to you much more prone to go to war.

The point I was making is that one candidate (Kerry) had experienced at first-hand, the horrors of war. This included the need to kill (surely the most disturbing fact about having to fight in a war) and the experience of seeing your comrades die terrible deaths. The other candidate (Bush) has only experienced war through the media (including John Wayne movies). The same is also true of Blair. I fear the problem is even worse because they are committed Christians (they seem to think that God will help them to make the right moral decisions). I also think their privileged upbringings has also distorted their views of reality.

Bush and Blair are both weedy looking men who have a desperate desire to appear masculine. This involves dressing up in military combat gear and having their photographs taken with soldiers. A recent poll looked at the impact that the Iraq War has on the voting intentions of the British public. The only group to show an increase in support for Blair is males aged 18 to 30. Understandably, he has seen a significant drop in support from women and senior citizens (those who experienced the Second World War).

My preference for Kerry is not only about foreign policy. His statements suggest that under his leadership America will be supportive of international agreements. This is especially important in terms of the environment. Without the support of America on this issue we have no chance of sorting out these problems.

I am also deeply concerned about the way Bush is managing the American economy. The budget deficit (caused by massive cuts in taxation of the rich and powerful) will eventually cause a terrible recession that will have a dramatic impact on the world economy. It is almost certain that by the time his term is up, there will be fewer jobs in America than when he started. The last president to leave office with a record like this was Herbert Hoover and we all know what happened as a result of his economic policies.

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I think the problem with discussing a candidate's war experience involves one view of war. A pacifist's view of war is that not one person should die for ideology. The turbulence of the Sixties, and the revulsion against war in general caused by the conflict over the war in viet Nam, have led to two definitions of "just war". See here, and here. Depending on how one perceives war:

1) Kerry knows war, and knowing it, he was "correctly" repulsed by it. [Note: the theory here is that, since being in Viet Nam was wrong to begin with, the sooner you expressed that revulsion, the more perceptive, and therefore, "right", you were. This theory falls apart if one does not believe millions of Vienamese people living under communist oppresion as a good idea.]

2) Bush's involvement in the military was illegitimate, because he used his father's influence to get him well-placed. This presupposes that no one in America would have used different means to place themselves where they felt either safest, more involved, braver, or whatever, e.g., getting married, going to college, getting a "Defense deferment" job.

3) Has anybody asked if Kerry volunteered to go to Viet Nam? Why did he reduce his chances of seeing combat by joining the Navy? (A common sixties 'trick') Why did he use the "three wounds and you're home" maneuver? Etc, etc, ad nauseam

Put simply: If Kerry can go to war, and then come back and say the war was wrong, then he is no different from thousands of other veterans of many wars. If George W. Bush can use some "pull" to get a preferred assignment in wartime, then he is no different from thousands of other veterans of many wars. It's time to look elsewhere, besides Viet Nam, for what goes into making a Presidential candidate, just as it is time to look elsewhere, besides Viet Nam, to determine the whys and wherefores of foreign policy and military involvement.

Edited by fd10801

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Guest Alma

My guess (and thanks the Gods for that) is that Kerry, a Ma. liberal and a senator has zilch chances.

President Bush will be reeelected, thanks the fates!

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My guess (and thanks the Gods for that) is that Kerry, a Ma. liberal and a senator has zilch chances.

President Bush will be reeelected, thanks the fates!

Why is it such a good thing that a liberal is not elected? What is wrong with liberals?

In another thread you said you were a professor.

As a university professor, I applaud the new policy! Academic freedom doesn't mean the right to say anything on any subject you want ... This is the role of speakers' corner, not of an academic institution... Academic freedom means the right to debate of your recognized field of expertise!

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=509

What is your specialist area? Maybe you could add your details in the biography section and to your signature.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=403

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My guess (and thanks the Gods for that) is that Kerry, a Ma. liberal and a senator has zilch chances.

President Bush will be reeelected, thanks the fates!

I wouldn't go as far as that in writing off John Kerry's chances - a lot can happen between now and November. I think Bush will win, but that does not mean I want him to win.

Alma, I would be very interested to hear why you prefer a Bush victory. Is it because he has presided over a massive budget deficit? Is it because he gives no consideration to environmental issues? Or, was it his steel tariffs that you hanker after? It could be that you agree with his Iraqi policy. On the other hand, perhaps you have something against John Kerry?

I would be genuinely interested to read your thoughts on these matters.

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Guest Alma

I am an econimist with a Ph. D from the university of Chicago...

Liberals have been a plague on the body politics of the West. I call them the envious of the world, taxing the successful in order to help the others. Every program liberals have introduced is at the end a disaster. Welfare reform has created the ghetto subculture, medicare has created the monster we know etc. etc. I would mention the false myth of Keynesianism and its effect on government spending and could go on and on...

So I am against the election of any liberal. President Bush is not perfect, but at least in a lot of way he reflects the values and beliefs of the majority. Kerry doesn't! He reflects the positions of the hard core liberal wing of the Democratic party which is completely out of step with the majority of Americans.

Edited by Alma

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Guest Alma

Why do I prefer Bush? A few reasons...

First, paraphrasing Friedman, I am always for tax cuts in any form and anywhere I can take them. People do know so much better how to spend their money than the government. Bush is for tax cuts. Kerry is for tax increases.

Second, I believe that both in the war against terrorism and the war in Iraq, Bush did the right thing. I for one put 9/11 squarely at the feet of Clinton and the approach of do-nothing that he adopted after the first World Trade Center attack in 1993 and the attacks abroad (Kenya and Tanzania for instance). Because he looked at it as law enforcement and not war, he gave a mistaken signal that resulted in 9/11. President Bush, for all his warts has understood that it isn't a matter of law enforcement, while Kerry seems to want to go back to the discredited Clinton approach.

As to Iraq, the decision to go to war was the right one even without the WMD. Because the menace was always there, of a dictator with tons of money who could buy his way to these, in spite of the sieve that was the embargo. Again, I believe that while the decision was the right one, the explanations were the wrong ones, because it wasn't only the WMD but the menace of his acquiring them.

This administration has made a lot of mistakes: the steel quota being one of them and I am not a big fan of Snow. But by and large, where it matters, it hasn't.

I agree that a lot can happen until november, but also don't forget: since Kennedy, no senator has been elected. We'll see...

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I am always for tax cuts in any form and anywhere I can take them.  People do know so much better how to spend their money than the government.  Bush is for tax cuts.  Kerry is for tax increases.

This view of taxation is one of the major differences between America and Europe. The people of Europe seem to have grasped the idea that you need a system of progressive taxation to pay for decent welfare services. Of course, the rich have never liked this idea as they have enough money to pay for these services where and when they need them. However, as the rich are in a small minority and they have difficulty winning this argument. They of course attempt to use their control over the media to brainwash the people that they will be better off under a system of low taxation. In Europe this has been a failure and therefore we have a system of progressive taxation (although not as progressive as I would like).

The American media have had much more success at convincing its people that progressive taxation is a bad thing. Some times they even elect politicians such as George Bush who are committed to regressive taxation. This results, as it must, is cuts in public services and budget deficits. As with Herbert Hoover, this will eventually result in a recession and mass unemployment. Hoover was replaced by Roosevelt who solved the problem by increasing taxes and public spending. This resulted in him being called a socialist by his right-wing critics but in fact he helped save capitalism. I expect Kerry will perform a similar role to Roosevelt after the next election.

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