As part of the run-up to the 2006 election, which has already begun, John Kerry appeared yesterday before the Council on Foreign Relations. According to the Associated Press account of his appearance, he called for a massive American troop withdrawal by the end of next year:
The United States needs to reduce its forces in Iraq by "at least 100,000" by the end of 2006, sending a message to the Middle East that Americans are not interested in maintaining a permanent military presence in that country, Sen. John Kerry said Thursday.
Adopting what is tantamount to a cut-and-run strategy would be a disaster and disgraceful betrayal of principle, but you need not take it from me. You just need to read John Kerry’s speech to the Council on Foreign Relations the last time he spoke there.
The prior speech was on December 3, 2003 -- at a critical moment in Kerry’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. On that occasion, he told the Council that:
Those of us who seek the Democratic presidential nomination owe the American people more than just anger, more than just criticisms of the Bush policy, or even piecemeal solutions. We need to convince America that we Democrats are responsible stewards of our national security and of America's role in the world, and that we can follow in the great tradition of Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy.
In his capacity as responsible steward of our national security, here is what Kerry said on December 3, 2003 was his “fear:”
I fear that in the run-up to the 2004 election, the administration is considering what is tantamount to a cut-and-run strategy. Their sudden embrace of accelerated Iraqification and American troop withdrawal dates, without adequate stability, is an invitation to failure. The hard work of rebuilding Iraq must not be dictated by the schedule of the next American election.
I have called for the administration to transfer sovereignty, and they must transfer it to the Iraqi people as quickly as circumstances permit. But it would be a disaster and a disgraceful betrayal of principle to speed up the process simply to lay the groundwork for a politically expedient withdrawal of American troops. That could risk the hijacking of Iraq by terrorist groups and former Ba'athists. Security and political stability cannot be divorced. Security must come first . . .
Yesterday, Kerry endorsed the policy he purported two years ago to fear.
I don’t think John F. Kennedy (much less Isaiah) would have been impressed.