For the record, I voted for Kerry. I wasn't thrilled with the man, but I thought he was a far better choice for president than Bush. I really, really, really wish he had won the election, and the fact that I have lost a great deal of respect for Kerry since then should not be taken in any way, shape, or form as implying that I am supporting Bush in any way, shape, or form.
Since the election, I have been steadily losing respect for Kerry. I donated a small amount of money to his campaign, and as a result, I am on an email list for direct email from him. The fact that he lost has not discouraged him from sending repeated emails out to this list in recent months. For some reason, the emails since the election seem to be pushing views that are a bit to the left of where he was when he was running. More and more, he strikes me as a politician in the mold of the legendary French radical who saw the crowd go by and said, "There go my people. I must find out where they are going so that I can lead them."
Of course, that description fits damn near every politician in the country right now.
Today, I got an email from Kerry that put out a proposal that really made me wonder what the man is smoking. He is proposing, and asking people to sign a petition supporting, a "plan" in which 20,000 US troops are withdrawn from Iraq following the December elections there. I don't care what side of the debate you are on when it comes to troops in Iraq. That plan is not only stupid, it is downright dangerous, and the man should know better.
The "premise" of the plan appears to be that elections in Iraq make things better when it comes to dealing with the insurgency. Personally, I think that the insurgents have done a reasonably good job of disproving that. They are more active some months than others, but there doesn't seem to have been any long-term trend toward a drop in their activity since the last elections there. Elections per se do very little to help the immediate security situation (the long term effects may be different, but that is yet to be seen). Using the election as a reason to pull out a limited number of troops makes no sense at all.
That's why the idea is stupid. It's also dangerous. In fact, it's even more dangerous than pulling out all of our troops. If we do that, I personally feel that we will be immorally reneging on the responsibility that we have to leave Iraq no worse off than when we started. However, American troops will no longer be at risk under that plan. Under the Kerry proposal, we will be left with a security situation that is probably no better than it was when we pulled out the 20,000 troops, but there will be fewer Americans on the ground. This, in turn, will place the troops that remain at an even more elevated level of risk than they are now.
Kerry, being both a veteran and a man who aspired to be Commander-in-Chief, should know better.