Real issue is our will to win
is a member of The Inquirer Editorial Board
There are questions about Vietnam we should be raising.
Not about John Kerry. Vietnam wasn't about him.
There are bigger issues. What did we learn about leadership in wartime, about recognizing what's at stake, about maintaining a will to win even during difficult times?
For some, the parallels between Iraq and Vietnam are clear. Casualties and mistakes in Iraq are way beyond what's acceptable. We're the problem. Bring the troops home. Now. That's where many Democrats are.
But, regrettably, we are at war. The next president has to lead the fight,
and any action taken in Iraq sends signals about the larger war on terror. Yet there's nothing in Kerry's public record since Vietnam to indicate that he's comfortable wielding America's military power.
U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.) voiced concerns about America's will to win during a Bush rally in York earlier this summer. He quoted Middle East expert Bernard Lewis, who worries that Americans may not fully understand the dangers of Islamic fundamentalists.
"His perception is that we don't take them seriously as a threat to this country," Santorum said in an interview. As a result, "people don't take this war seriously. They don't think it's real. It's being fought in Iraq, and it's not going to come to us, much less come to them."
But we're not focused on this very difficult time. That's a tactical political decision the Democrats made at their convention. Next week,
it's the Republicans' turn. They'll also talk about their candidate's war record - from this century. If they're smart, they'll also craft a message about leadership, about the lessons of Iraq, about what's at stake, about the will to win. To succeed, that message will need to resonate far beyond the confines of Madison Square Garden.
Very good points, but I'm not the slightest bit convinced that the Republicans are serious either. In comparing the First Family to the British Royal family of World War II, what do we see? The British Royal family was extremely conscious of setting up an appearance of "We're all in this together", princes have traditionally joined the Royal Navy and served as officers, princesses have traditionally gone to tend casualties in the hospitals, the whole family visibly sacrifices for the good of England.
What has the Bush family done? George W has yet to publicly attend a single funeral and has yet to review soldier's coffins coming home through Dover Air Force Base, Laura has spent a great deal of time reading to pre-schoolers and making campaign speeches for her husband but I have yet to see a single picture of her visiting wounded soldiers, the daughters spend their time partying and making social rounds and generally living it up. Any of the services would be happy to have the Bush daughters serving as officers as they're both college-educated.
I have yet to see pictures of any of them seeing troops off at the airport or the seaport. I have yet to see any of them make any sort of sacrifice for the troops.
What of the larger community? The rich are enjoying their three rounds of massive tax cuts. Nobody is being urged to buy bonds or join the workforce to produce war material, there's no urging by the president to sign up with the Army, there's no call for sacrifice of any kind. As a conservative complained about Vietnam, we're being asked to fight this war in cold blood, without anger, without passion, without sacrifice.
Yes, liberals should take this war seriously, but Republicans, with both houses of Congress and the Presidency, should do so first.