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Why I'm Voting For Kerry in 2004 (besides being a Massachucite) - The Cover Story
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Wed, Jul. 21st, 2004 01:52 pm
Why I'm Voting For Kerry in 2004 (besides being a Massachucite)

A number of people have been complaining about the presidential candidate and bringing up reasons for voting one way or the other. The issues of the hour tend to be focused around moral issues, such as abortion, same-sex marriage, voting records, personal military service records, and the like. I've decided I've got to go Kerry/Edwards in November, and I'll tell you why.


Now, when it comes to the traditional political spectrum, I'm located very slightly to the left of center. This puts me near my younger sister, and not a terribly long ways from my father, both of whom fall to my relative right. My mother and older sister, however, are standing a bit beyond Mr. Lenin off my port side. So I really can swing either way in an election. This year, though, the choice seems clear-cut to me. Ignoring the issues of the day, which really don't matter in the long run (at least, they do not threaten the continuing existence of the United States as a sovereign entity), I'm inclined to focus on the matters that do.

First, some history.

Mr. Bush, in 2001, introduced a tax-cut to the American people to help the economy. From a political and leadership perspective, the tax cut was probably worth the price of admission, even if one counts the projected impact the tax cut would have when the interest finally caught up with the United States. At the time, Bush had just become president from a farcical miscount incident in the 2000 election, from which he was deeply suspect, but still in command of the country. To say Bush has popularity problems from the start would be an understatement. By launching and spinning the tax cut the way he did, Bush gained some badly-needed support, although he was still on the path to becoming one of the most unremarkable presidents of recent memory.

Almost forgotten now is the China Sea Incident, in which a US EP-3 was clipped by a Chinese MiG, resulting in the destruction of the fighter and the forced landing of the recon craft in China. The Bush administration, with the eyes of the world focused upon them, managed to extradite the airmen without serious issue.

Then, of course, the Day That Changed Everything, September 11th, 2001. The most publicized attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor, with the media and infrastructure for not only the nation, but the entire world watch as the World Trade Center, widely recognized as the symbol of capitalism in America, was destroyed. The general consensus of the American people that day was find what country had perpetrated this heinous act, and convert it into a parking lot with all available haste. George W. Bush, who was elected with the acknowledgment that he was out of his league and heavily relied on his cabinet, was suddenly a war time president. At the same time the stock market, which had been fading since March, fell 3,000 points in a single bound. It suddenly became clear that the nation was going to be going into debt. A great deal of debt.

By the end of the day, we knew the attacks had originated with Al Qaida, which was operating out of Afganistan at the time. President Bush did what any president in his position would have done; he ordered everything short of the atomic demolition of Afganistan. At least, so we've been lead to believe.

The counterstrike began on 7 October 2001, with a flight of some 50 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles. There are peace rallies in the United States in protest, but without popular support, they get little media coverage. The bulk of the US population is still incensed from the destruction of the WTC. The strikes of 7 October involved some 30 American aircraft, which was reduced to 20 the next day. Following his campaign promise of not practicing Nation Building, the president used the United States Military to support Northern Alliance operations in toppling the Taliban and installing a new Afgani government. Al Qidea's support infrastructure in Afganistan was shattered.

The aftermath of the operations in Afganistan was probably the high point of President Bush's presidency. Early 2002 saw us recovering from our losses, having seriously disrupted the Al Qidea network, and set to continue a protracted fight against global terrorism to the cheers and applause of the world community. Then, of course, we got ambitious.

It remains unclear to me exactly when Iraq became the focus of terror investigations. I kept hearing the name mentioned on CNN, but there was never a great deal of evidence that Iraq was sponsoring terror operations, certainly not more than many other nations. I thought, though, there must be something the CIA knows that I don't. Iran, Libya, Syria, and Yemen all seemed logical candidates for searching out terror, but for some unknown reason military efforts seemed to be focusing on Iraq. I didn't understand why.

Then, North Korea announced it had nuclear weapons. In my book, this announcement should've been a show-stopper. North Korea has nuclear weapons, a psychotic ruler, and little to lose. The shattered communism nation was within easy striking distance of Seoul, Tokyo, Kyoto, Sydney, and possibly even Anchorage. The specter of nuclear proliferation cast its shadow across southeast asia once again.

For about twelve seconds.

The point at which I truly understood that the United States was no longer playing a military or even diplomatic game was when we continued to focus on Iraq as North Korea was waving its nuclear pennant in our face. So why the hell did we pull two CVNs out the Pacific Theatre?

Now, let me explain something about the Nimitz-class Nuclear Supercarrier. One vessel carries more fighters and bombers than most airforces. Two such ships could enforce a no-fly zone over the whole of the Arab peninsula. However, of the six active nuclear carriers in deployment at that time, five were brought within operations range of Iraq. Thousands and thousands of carrier-based planes were in the area. The navy would've had a solid chance of invading and holding everything from Cario to Bahrain with that amount of force. Why was it there?

Then, of course, came the demands. We wanted Saddam Hussein to disarm or step down. When he refused to surrender his position, we invaded, with our "Shock and Awe" campaign. Although by the time the assault began, it was obvious that Iraq did not have the industrial or scientific capacity to be building a considerable stockpile of nuclear weaponry, and had never conducted a superterrean atomic test. True, we knew Iraq had chemical weapons and probably could have biological weapons, but so could anybody with a bottle and bleach and ammonia, or a sample of the SARS virus. So we sent 130,000 men in to topple Iraq's regime. Why? Why did we go in to assault the regime who might have a weapons research program, when we did nothing about the rogue state that did have atomic weapons? I was at a loss, and still am.

Of course, now we're trying to extricate ourselves from the situation in Iraq, when in reality, we will almost certainly still be there for a few decades. We only recently finished our protection of South Korea. I have heard the rumors that the attacks on Iraq were meant to secure interests for oil companies Bush and Cheney have interests in. I've heard it was a personal vendetta by Bush against the man who tried to kill his father. I could care less what the motivation for the attack on Iraq was. All I know is that it was not to secure the safety of the United States and its people, which makes the invasion of Iraq an abuse of the United States military. As such, I believe George W. Bush should be stripped of his command of the Armed Forces.

So why Kerry? He's the alternative. He has demonstrated a support for the military without a support for needless and justified wars. I believe he will be more responsible with the power granted to him than President Bush has been, and therefore he earns my vote in the fall of 2004.


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jjlc
jjlc
jjlc
Wed, Jul. 21st, 2004 03:46 pm (UTC)

Everyone has good arguments for voting against Bush. Everyone has good arguments for voting against Kerry. I have seen very few reasons to vote in favor of anyone. I am beginning to consider voting for a third party candidate or a write-in.

.... Cindy Cooper for President!


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phoenix1701
phoenix1701
Brian
Wed, Jul. 21st, 2004 04:11 pm (UTC)

Alas, the most common reason I've heard for voting for Kerry is, "he's better than Bush". Maybe it's just my own opinion, but I don't think he's the only candidate with that qualification, in either party. If it were Kerry vs. McCain, I don't think there'd be much question in my mind who to vote for. My worries can be summed up by mentioning the t-shirts I saw in a store in Harvard Square a few months ago -- "Anybody But Bush For President - 2004".


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bronzite
bronzite
Robert Bronzite
Wed, Jul. 21st, 2004 04:44 pm (UTC)

To answer your very valid concern, I've been living with Kerry for several years as my senator. He, or his office, has heard from me a time or two. I trust John Kerry to represent the Commonwealth in the Senate, and thus far he's yet to disappoint me. The point of this post was more that Kerry is liable for his actions. He takes responsibility for what he does, which I think is something the United States, and the rest of the world, need in our presidency right now. I believe John Kerry is a "Buck Stops Here" presidential candidate, and that's good enough for me.


ReplyThread Parent
petercooperjr
petercooperjr
Peter Cooper Jr.
Fri, Jul. 23rd, 2004 02:19 pm (UTC)

I do trust Kerry to represent the Commonwealth. And therefore I trust him to not represent me.


ReplyThread Parent
phoenix1701
phoenix1701
Brian
Wed, Jul. 21st, 2004 04:07 pm (UTC)

Then, of course, came the demands. We wanted Saddam Hussein to disarm or step down. When he refused to surrender his position, we invaded, with our "Shock and Awe" campaign. Although by the time the assault began, it was obvious that Iraq did not have the industrial or scientific capacity to be building a considerable stockpile of nuclear weaponry, and had never conducted a superterrean atomic test. True, we knew Iraq had chemical weapons and probably could have biological weapons, but so could anybody with a bottle and bleach and ammonia, or a sample of the SARS virus. So we sent 130,000 men in to topple Iraq's regime. Why?


Let's not forget the fact that our excuse for defying the UN and invading was because Saddam had not gotten rid of his WMDs and was instead telling us he didn't have any... which turned out to be true. He did meet with numerous demands, each more stringent than the last, to dismantle his conventional weaponry, which left him completely with his pants down when we decided to attack anyway. At the time, I remember feeling very much like we'd issue a demand, he'd meet it, and then we'd issue more draconian demands and immediately claim he was being aggressive by not having preemptively met those as well. And because we're the US, there wasn't much anyone could do about it. The last time I experienced a dynamic like that was on the playground in middle school.


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sirroxton
sirroxton
Adam Augusta
Thu, Jul. 22nd, 2004 05:33 am (UTC)

Great post.


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