Kerry on Defense, 1984

A reader sent us this press release which appears to come from John Kerry’s Senate office, and is said to be from 1984. It addresses President Reagan’s proposed military budget. Here is the two-page press release; click to enlarge.

If genuine–I emphasize “if”–this is a very interesting press release. Kerry advocates cutting $45 to $53 billion from Reagan’s defense budget by canceling a number of weapons programs: the MX missile, the B1 bomber, the strategic defense initiative, the AH-64 helicopter, the F15 fighter, the Phoenix and Sparrow missiles, and others.
What is even more interesting to me is Kerry’s statement of his rationale for these cuts. His analysis of the Cold War is precisely wrong:

The Reagan administration has no rational plan for our military. Instead, it acts on misinformed assumptions about the strength of the Soviet military and a presumed “window of vulnerability,” which we now know not to exist.

Reagan was of course right about the window of vulnerability, and the Soviet Union collapsed just five years later. Kerry says:

And Congress, rather than having the moral courage to challenge the Reagan Administration, has given Ronald Reagan almost every military request he has made, no matter how wasteful, no matter how useless, no matter how dangerous.

No suggestion of any danger from the Soviet Union; only the U.S. is cited as a source of danger.

The biggest defense buildup since World War II has not given us a better defense. Americans feel more threatened by the prospect of war, not less so.

A foreshadowing of Kerry’s current position on the war on terror, I think.
When Kerry tries to move directly from his service in Vietnam to the present campaign, skipping over his 19-year Senate career, what he is mainly trying to pass over in silence is his role in the Cold War, where he played a discreditable part. He showed uncannily poor judgment then, and voters are entitled to worry that the same biases and preconceptions that put him on the wrong side then are still operating today.
We’d like to hear from anyone who can authenticate (or invalidate) this press release, or explain its provenance.
UPDATE: Ed Gillespie has confirmed that this is a genuine 1984 Kerry campaign document. It’s worth noting, I think, that Kerry wasn’t just wrong in 1984. He was willfully obtuse. He didn’t understand that Communism was wobbling and could be put down for the count by an aggressive defense buildup, as Reagan did. Instead, believing that the Soviet Union was strong and thriving, Kerry took the far more dangerous view that we scarcely needed to defend ourselves anyway. It’s hard to see how a politician could have a more consistent history of wrong-headedness, over more than three decades, than John Kerry.


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