07 October 2004

Global test

For readers' convenience, I've created an index of the Kevin letters so you can see the full progress of the dialogue
Kevin, my interlocutor, is concerned about John Kerry's "global test" comment during the first debate. He comments in response to my open letter to him.
Having spent time in the Military, the global test really bothers me. In one sentence Senator Kerry said that he would give no foreign country a veto, but there must be some type of global test. What does that mean? He has taken two dialectic opposing positions in the same sentence.
Is it unclear what Kerry meant by "global test"? Did he contradict himself? Let's look at the text of the debate to see what Kerry actually said.
No president though all of American history has ever ceded --- and nor would I --- the right to preëmpt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America.

But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.

This seems crystal clear to me. The US doesn't need to get any other nation's approval to act, but it still needs to have a good reason, and to explain that reason to American citizens and the world at large.

Mark A. R. Kleinman observes that this is not a new idea.

The original phrase, I think, was "a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind."
What's Kleinman quoting? It's the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Thomas Jefferson didn't ask for France's approval for the American Revolution. But he did say to the American people, the French, or anyone else who was interested, "We a have good reasons for doing this --- look, we've made a list."

Kerry goes on to explain how the US has failed that test in the case of the Iraq invasion.

Here we have our own secretary of state who has had to apologize to the world for the presentation he made to the United Nations.
Recall that Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed unequivocally that Iraq had WMDs, which he knew at the time was a lie.
I mean, we can remember when President Kennedy in the Cuban missile crisis sent his secretary of state to Paris to meet with DeGaulle. And in the middle of the discussion, to tell them about the missiles in Cuba, he said, "Here, let me show you the photos." And DeGaulle waved them off and said, "No, no, no, no. The word of the President of the United States is good enough for me."

How many leaders in the world today would respond to us, as a result of what we've done, in that way? So what is at test here is the credibility of the United States of America and how we lead the world.

Notice that Kerry did not say that the test was whether or not other nations approved the invasion of Iraq. He says that we failed the test because we lied and no one will believe us any more.

Kerry isn't talking about giving any other country a veto. He's saying we should be credible enough to have a good reason when we go to war, to explain what that reason is, and to tell the truth when we do it. I would think that any patriot would demand that their nation pass that test.

1 comment:

Kevin said...


Thank you for visiting my blog, I appreciate it. Of course we are going to disagree on how everything went down with regards to Iraq.

Let us look at the Global Test quote, I'm no English Professor, but I have been speaking it most of my life. Not including my stints in Italy and Russia. I think that transcriber forgot a period. There was a long, long pause after "global test" was mentioned.

I also think that quoting Thomas Jefferson is stretching. Thomas Jefferson was talking about divorcing 13 wealth generating colonies from the major European power, not about liberating a country that flaunted the will of the world for 12 years.

The bottom line on Iraq is that they should have followed the resolutions from the United Nations. The United Nations is a tiger without teeth, every nation now knows that they can flaunt anything and nothing will be done.

It is a shame. I do write about the UN. As a matter of fact tommorrow, I will post a UN commentary. Again I may not have the story straight, I was in Kuwait with the Marine Expeditionary Force waiting to invade Iraq. So I didn't get to watch a lot of T.V. and the New York times didn't make it.

The wheels of government turn slowly. The changes that are taking place in the Intelligence Community will take years to implement, so if there was faulty intelligence it was years in the making, hardly something to blame on the President. I personally have met Secretary Powell, and he is an honorable man, I believe that he told the truth. It does make me wonder why you would believe he didn't?

I don't believe we lied, we did what had to be done. I believe the world community let themselves down by not having the will to follow-up with their own threats.