In an interview with the Ron Fournier of the Associated Press yesterday, John Kerry promised to withdraw American soldiers from “the death zone” in Iraq during his first term while preserving American interests there: “Kerry could back antiabortion judge.”
Both to Fournier and to me Kerry’s Iraq “plan” sounds a little like the secret plan Richard Nixon campaigned on in 1968 to resolve America’s involvement in the Vietnam war:
If elected, Kerry said, he will see that virtually all US combat troops will be out of Iraq, away from what he called “the death zone,” by the end of his first term…
The message is clear, folks,” he said. “We’re going to make America stronger at home by being fiscally responsible, investing in health care and education, becoming energy independent, and we’re going to make ourselves stronger in the world by restoring America’s respect and influence with a better foreign policy. It’s that simple.”
Kerry said Bush has damaged relations with allies to the point that only a new president can repair them. The problem is evident in Iraq, said the decorated Vietnam War veteran. “It will not be like Vietnam,” Kerry said. “I will get our troops home from Iraq with honor and with the interests of our country properly protected.”
How soon? “It will not take long to do what is necessary,” he said. “I’m not going to give you a specific date, but I’ll tell you that I have a plan, and I will put that plan in place.”
Republican Richard M. Nixon used similar language during the 1968 presidential race, but the war dragged on for years after his election. Kerry said his goal would be achieved in his first term.
Matters are sufficiently complex in Iraq that Kerry’s commitment to withdraw American forces must necessarily have harmed American interests there already. It’s that simple.
The folks at RealClearPolitics have posted a column by Newsweek’s Richard Wolffe that disparages Kerry’s pretensions on Iraq while defending Kerry against the charge that he harbors a Nixonian “secret plan”: “Kerry’s secret plan to end the war.” Wolffe writes:
[F]or John Kerry, the struggle to talk about Iraq seems as hard as the administration