I can overlook your politics but…
Yes, that’s true, But . . . .!
How many times have you heard those words? It is a common form of rebuttal. The rebutter acknowledges the opposition point of view and simply disregards it. It’s a disingenious way to duck the requirement of a direct answer. The tactic has value only with the weak minded or those who are not really interested in an thorough examination of the issues.
Laura Ingraham, host of the Laura Ingraham Radio Show has termed the people who use this technique, “But Monkeys“. A more apt description is hard to find. I would expect the “But Monkey” tactic from local politicians, rabble rousers, political hacks, and malcontents. I would never expect a presidential candidate to use it. However, John Kerry has promoted the Ya But dodge to an aggressive form of attack in an article he authored in the “Washington Post” titled, A Realistic Path in Iraq. In it he uses the ‘But Monkey’ dodge at least five times. More depending on how you count buts. The opening topic sentences of his presentation sets the tone:
Like most Americans, I want to believe that this past week's events -- the transfer of sovereignty and the appearance of Saddam Hussein before an Iraqi court -- will place us on the road to success. But, there is still no sign of a strategy that will get us there.
Senator Kerry’s response to events makes no sense whatsoever. In fact, one can make an argument that his response is self contradictory. Is the success to date in Iraq an accident? Was the establishment of a sovereign authority in Iraq not part of the plan?
Farther into Senator Kerry’s article he says:
Our military performed brilliantly in the war's first mission: ending the regime of Saddam Hussein. And all Americans share President Bush's desire for Iraqis to live with the blessings of democracy and security. But we are a practical people, and we know that all the rhetoric we've heard hasn't been accompanied by a realistic plan to win the peace and bring our troops home.
While it is refreshing to hear Senator Kerry speak with 20/20 hindsight, his view of the future is still as fraught with pessimism as ever. Before the military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, the liberal cry was woe and doom. Liberals warned of all kinds of catastrophic scenarios. Here are just a few:
- Thousands would come home in body bags.
- Humanitarian disaster of epic proportions.
- Another eco-disaster if Sadam sabotaged the oil fields again.
- Vietnam style quagmire.
Yes, we are a practical people. We put a man on the moon and eradicated small pox. So the first question I would ask the Senator is to define what he means by winning the peace. Is the goal to establish regional security and promote America’s future security or is it to bring our troops home as soon as possible? And once the Senator defines his goals, maybe he could give us ‘his‘ plan to accomplish them.
Senator Kerry has more good examples of the “But Monkey” tactic. Regretfully, space does not allow me to examine them in detail. Instead, I will jump to Kerry’s conclusion. It’s a doozy!
Success in Iraq must be separated from our politics. It is too important to our troops who are serving there and to the security of our nation. I hope President Bush will fashion policies that will succeed. But today we are not pursuing the most effective path. It is only by pursuing a realistic path to democracy in Iraq that we can connect our ideals with American common sense.
If I were part of the Kerry campaign staff, I would be embarrassed. Maybe the Senator “has” been inhaling! Can you imagine being the Secretary of State and getting a Presidential directive stating he/she wants you to formulate a foreign policy that lays out a a realistic path to democracy that connects our ideals with American common sense? If you can, I’d love to hear your reply. Maybe that sort of thinking is the product of Swiss finishing schools and a Yale degree in politics. I’m not sure. I am sure, however, that Senator Kerry has a history of interjecting himself into foreign policy when it suits his purpose. He learned early, while guiding the “Vietnam Veterans Against the War”, that opposing the president was an easy way to get free media attention. In addition to marching in protest, Senator Kerry traveled to Paris to negotiate a separate peace agreement with the representatives of the Viet Cong. He referenced that trip in his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Later, as a Senator, he traveled to Nicaragua to support Daniel Noriega in opposition to President Reagan.
Senator Kerry’s presidential campaign strategy is obvious. When running against an incumbent, one must either have a very good alternative or persuade the public that the incumbent’s policies are so bad that anything would be better. In 1980 Ronald Reagan had both. Today, Senator Kerry has neither. Therefore we can expect much, much more of the same empty rhetoric Senator Kerry displays in his Washington Post article. We can expect the Kerry campaign to dodge any question that demands substance. We can expect him to disregard the facts of any successes of the Bush Administration and Ya but his way to some negative prophecy of gloomy pessimism.
But, But, But!!
The Public View