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A few questions for John Kerry

By Charles Bloomer
web posted March 15, 2004

Railway workers remove debris from the wreckage of a bombed public train as a second destroyed train is pulled out of Atocha train station in Madrid on March 12
Railway workers remove debris from the wreckage of a bombed public train as a second destroyed train is pulled out of Atocha train station in Madrid on March 12

The cowardly terrorist attack in Spain last week left 200 dead and some 1500 wounded. Although it is unclear who is responsible for the attack, speculation is divided between ETA, a Basque separatist group that has battled against the Spanish government for 30 years, and al-Qaida. The sophistication of the attack casts doubt on this being an ETA operation. In addition, some Basque media outlets claim to have received credible denials from ETA. It is possible that some group sympathetic to al-Qaida is responsible and the attack is in retaliation for Spain's support for the United States' war on terror and overthrow of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship.

Regardless of who is responsible or what their motives were, the murderous attack raises some questions in my mind for the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, John Kerry.

Do you still believe that the terror threat has been exaggerated? Are you willing to go to Spain and repeat that claim?

Do you believe that your anti-terror strategy of "law enforcement and intelligence" could have or would have prevented the type of attack that occurred in Spain if it had been directed at the United States? Since that approach mirrors the failed Clinton-era response to terrorism, why do you think it will work if you become president?

Is Spanish Prime Minister Jose Aznar one of the foreign leaders you claim to have met with? One of the foreign leaders who looked at you and said "You have to beat this guy," referring to President Bush?

Is it possible that your 20 years of hostility toward American intelligence operations, as shown by your senate voting record, could have greatly diminished the capability to protect the United States and her allies? Isn't it reasonably possible that your persistent efforts to gut the US intelligence capabilities may be responsible for the failure of the CIA to predict the 9/11 attack on New York and the Pentagon, as well as crippled intelligence capabilities to anticipate an attack such as that on Spain?

Do you still believe that the greatest threat to America is George Bush's handling of the economy?

Since you chose not to be labeled as a "war president", do you think that being a "jobs president, a health care president" will enhance our ability to prevent such an attack on the United States and her citizens?

Since you believe that the United States should turn over its national security decisions to the United Nations, do you think the Spanish government should turn over any investigation and associated response to the United Nations?

Spain has bravely bucked the tide of "Old Europe", namely France and Germany, by actively supporting the United States in the war on terror and in freeing Iraq from a brutal dictator. Since this support of the US might be the motivation for the terror bombings, do you think that Spain should now retreat from her position of support for the US and join France and Germany in opposition?

If the war in Iraq is a "unilateral" effort by the United States, why was Spain attacked?

If John Kerry wants to be president, he will have to convince the American people to place their trust and confidence in him. If he becomes president, he will have to convince other world leaders of his strength and resolve in combating global threats. Being president involves more than just "getting along", more than appeasement. He will have to face difficult threats to the US national security and to the security of our allies.

The president's prime function is to protect the United States from its enemies. That's why the Constitution appointed the president as Commander-in-Chief. In time of war, we expect the president to be a "war president". In times of peace, we want a "defense president" who will maintain peace through strength. The economy will recover, despite what the president does, as will job prospects. In fact, the president can do much more harm than good by meddling in the marketplace. The president can only create government jobs, and we have enough of them already.

Senator Kerry's desire to be remembered as a "jobs president, a health care president" does not inspire much confidence in his ability to protect America or her allies in the face of a valid terrorist threat. The terrorist attack in Spain last week has proven that the terror threat is not "exaggerated", but real and tangible. Two hundred innocent people are dead at the hands of murderous terrorists – that is not an exaggeration, it is factual. Candidate Kerry's words and deeds do not make him a credible potential leader of the free world.

Charles Bloomer is a Senior Writer for Enter Stage Right. © 2004 Charles Bloomer

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