That rumble we’re hearing — some would call it a surge — is the sound of a growing anti-war movement in search of a leader. Michael Steele? I doubt it. Give the RNC chairman credit for speaking out, but it’s hard to see him filling that role. (Besides, he’s been muzzled by Sarah and her grizzly offspring on the Republican National Committee.)
Who then? Logic would tell us a natural leader would spring from a wartime veteran who experienced first-hand the bitter lesson learned the last time American lives were lost in a tribal war in which “winning the hearts and minds of the people” was the primary rule of engagement.
Someone, say, with the passion of the young Vietnam veteran who appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April, 1971, to decry the callous passivity of the country’s political leaders in sustaining a war in which “men charged up hills because a General said a hill had to be taken and after losing one or two platoons they marched away, only to see the hill retaken by the enemy.”
Yet the fighting and dying went on, said young John Kerry, because “we couldn’t retreat and …it didn’t matter how many American bodies were lost to prove that point.”
“We found,” testified the impassioned Kerry, “that most of the people on whose behalf American troops were fighting and dying practiced the art of survival by siding with whatever military force was present at a particular time”; and that “all too often, Americans were dying . . . from want of support from their allies.”
Sound familiar? The same words could be applied to what’s going in Afghanistan today. (July registered the largest number of American deaths in the Afghan-Pakistan war since its beginning nearly a decade ago.)
But there’s still more to hear from young John Kerry: How, he asked those Senate elders in April, 1971, how could they “ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”
Fast-forward four decades to the same John Kerry, the subject of a Washington Post feature the day after the Afghan WikiLeaks papers were published. In flattering detail the Post describes Kerry as being passionate about an issue he’s devoted full time to for the past year. Is the issue young Americans dying overseas “for a mistake”? Guess again. It’s . . . climate change!
Not that Kerry, now himself chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has nothing to say about the Afghanistan war. In a separate story on the WikiLeaks papers he’s quoted as saying, “These documents may very well underscore the stakes and make the calibrations needed to get the policy right more urgent.”
To repeat that passionate statement: “These documents may very well underscore the stakes” . . . Oh, what the hell. What else should we expect from the man who famously said that he was “for that bill before I was against it”?