...that's the best word to describe John Kerry's latest comments regarding the Middle East Crisis. Even for a guy who demanded a Purple Heart for a battle scratch in Vietnam (Mr. Kerry served there, in case you haven't heard), the Massachusetts Senator managed to reach a new low in public discourse over the weekend.
Campaigning for Michigan Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm, Kerry said if he had been elected President back in 2004, the current "crisis wouldn't have happened." He then took a predictable potshot at President Bush, describing him as "absent" on diplomatic efforts which could have (presumably) prevented the on-going conflict between Israel and Hizbollah.
Naturally, the reporter from the Detroit News who filed the story (Valerie Olander) didn't bother to challenge Mr. Kerry on his statements, and their basis in fact or reality. Let's begin with the call for diplomacy. Democrats apparently believe that multi-lateral talks are the best way to solve any international problem save North Korea, where only one-on-one negotiations will do. In fact, Mr. Kerry opined that the next administration--presumably, a Democratic one--will have to "make up a lot of ground" in mending diplomatic fences allegedly destroyed by the Bush White House. It goes without saying that Mr. Kerry hopes to lead that administration; God save the republic.
But I digress. Exactly whom would Mr. Kerry negotiate with in the Middle East? Syria? There's a trustworthy bunch, and I suppose we're going to reward them for supporting insurgents in Iraq, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip? What about talks with Iran's fellow-traveler in the axis of evil, Iran? Well, it may have escaped John Kerry's attention, but the U.S. has actively supported European diplomatic efforts, aimed at ending Tehran's nuclear program. Since those efforts began about three years ago, Iran's nuclear program has marched steadily forward, and Tehran has increased its support for Hizballah, culminating in the current war in south Lebanon.
Ms. Olander also failed to ask Mr. Kerry if he's proposing direct talks with Hizballah and Hamas. That would represent a sea change in U.S. diplomatic policy; by my count, at least five U.S. administrations, dating back to the 1970s, have refused to negotiate with terrorists, and with good reason. It's a bit difficult to conclude meaninfgul agreements with groups that are officially committed to the destruction of other negotiating parties, in this case, the state of Israel. You can also make a convincing case that Israel's efforts to talk with its enemies have precipitated the present crisis; lest we forget, the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza was completed about a year ago, apparently emboldening its terrorist enemies.
Actually, Senator Kerry apparently doesn't favor negotiations with Hizballah. In the span of the same interview, he states that Hizballah must be destroyed. The IDF and many Americans enthusiastically support that goal, but I'm sure that the group's patrons in Damascus and Tehran--the very folks Kerry wants to talk to--would have major heartburn with that.
Bottom line: you can't have it both ways, particularly when it comes to the Middle East. I'm sure that Israeli leaders must shudder at the prospect of a future Kerry Administration; with JFK (Lite) at the helm, the Israeli government would be dragged into negotiations with anyone and everyone deemed relevant by the State Department, and "offered" more land-for-war swaps on the scale of the Wye River proposal. When those agreements inevitably fail, Kerry would allow Israel to defend itself--assuming there's anything left to defend, and only if Israel shows the necessary level of restraint.
Kerry's idiotic comments reflect the wisdom of the American electorate back in 2004. We should be equally wise in rejecting Kerry's next bid for the White House in 2008.