Saturday, 02 October 2004, 1:44:30 EDT
I was going to post this yesterday but I didn't finish composing it in time. It was meant to deal with the topic of the day yesterday. The first presidential debate between John Kerry and George W. Bush. I was able to watch it because at lunch Thursday I bought a powered antenna and can now get a very clear reception of PBS; well, I get an excellent reception from ABC and NBC as well but I would rather watch the airwave version of C-SPAN. There was also a debate between the Green Party candidate, David Cobb, and the Libertarian Party candidate, Michael Badnarik, that was not nationally televised but can be downloaded from Free Market News. I have not seen this second debate but really don't need to; Badnarik is a nut case and Cobb doesn't have a backbone. Before reading any further you should read this article at FactCheck.org.
In my opinion Kerry did a better job answering questions and making points. Bush was only really coherent when he was able to attach a sentimental aspect to his answer. With just about every other answer from him I was not able to follow what he was saying. Bush stumbles over thoughts entirely too much and leaves sentences unsaid. Trying to stick with what he is saying is quite difficult. Kerry, though, was a bit easier to follow; he would state his points and then explain them. That is something Bush did not do very well, or often.
Bush convinced me that he is all about Iraq and not much else. What he did say about Iraq was mostly false. For example, he said that we have trained an Iraqi force of 100,00+ and are training more. In October's issue of Playboy there is an article by David Hackworth, a military man, that touches on this very point. He talks about how Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger developed a "Vietnamization" plan to get the United States out of the Viet Nam conflict. This plan called for replacing U.S. forces with South Vietnamese forces called "ARVN." This ARVN army was trained by the U.S. and was to be our blanket for withdrawing. He compares this with training we are providing the Iraqis today. "After one year and more than $1 billion in expenditures, Major General Paul Eaton, the first U.S. general in charge of training the new Iraqi army, said the Iraqis were good to go, that they were strong, powerful, well led and properly equipped. So when our Marines got into that though fight in Fallujah last April, a battalion of the new Iraqi army was called in to reinforce them. The Iraqi troops completely fell apart. They ripped off their uniforms — many wore civilian clothes underneath — threw down their weapons and ran." He quotes the Marine advisory team that was with the new Iraqi battalion as saying the forces "went ARVN on us." Does that sound like we are training an army to replace our troops? It sure doesn't sound like it to me.
Bush seems to think everything revolves around Iraq. No matter what the question was he always brought his answer around to Iraq. When he was asked if he thought the Unites States would be more susceptible to another 9/11 like attack if Kerry were to be elected he completely ignored the question and talked about Iraq. Maybe he just likes countries that have the same number of letters in the name as is in his last name. I don't know. I do know that he dodged every attempt to get him to admit Iraq was the wrong target in the "war on terror."
One of the most annoying things about the "debate" was the way Bush kept trying to say Kerry can't make up his mind. I would like to see one bill that has ever been proposed in Washington that deals with only one item or doesn't undergo several, sometimes drastic, changes during the voting process. A bill could be proposed that a senator thinks is a good idea, votes yes on, but fails to get passed; the bill then gets revised and that same senator might think it has been changed for the worse and vote no on it the second time. Trying to veil the misinformation with more misinformation is getting tremendously old.
Kerry was not without fault either. He kept talking about all sorts of plans but never actually said anything concrete about them. He also failed to remain on topic about as much as Bush did and spouted of a couple of inaccurate statements. All of that is covered on the Fact Check page though so I won't rehash it. I just wanted bring some more information to light and give my opinion on the debate.
Also, here is a reminder that the last day you can register to vote in Georgia is this coming Monday. It isn't like there is a candidate worth voting for but maybe you see it differently.