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John Kerry’s “Dissent” In The News

by Pamela Leavey

I’ve yet to watch John Kerry’s speech at Faneuil Hall today on C-Span, but I’ve read it over a couple of times now and the words ring like a clear bell in my heart. Notable from the news on Kerry’s speech is this piece with some quips about the reactions of those attending, including a standing ovation at the begining of the speech and that there were atleast 20 more during…

I have come here today to reaffirm that it was right to dissent in 1971 from a war that was wrong. And to affirm that it is both a right and an obligation for Americans today to disagree with a President who is wrong, a policy that is wrong, and a war in Iraq that weakens the nation,” Kerry said to a standing ovation yesterday at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall…

“Lives have been lost to bad decisions,” Kerry said. “Not decisions that could have gone either way, but decisions that constitute basic negligence and incompetence. And lives continue to be lost because of stubbornness and pride.”

Kristyna Reisberg, 20, a Northeastern University student from Acton who attended the speech with her father, Paul Reisberg, said she was heartened to know some politicians share her values.

“It’s nice to know that there are people in power who have the same views, and it’s not a lost cause,” she said.

Vietnam veteran Rick Hasset said Kerry’s words have resonated with him for 35 years.

“He has always had that outspoken voice and vision that could hold politicians accountable,” said Hassett, who has worked on some of Kerry’s political campaigns.

Tracey Schmitt, spokespuppet for the Republican National Committee denied the party questioned anyone’s patriotism with this absurd comeback about Kerry’s speech:

While we have never questioned Democrats’ patriotism, we do question John Kerry’s motives, considering his eagerness to engage in political theatrics as he ponders a presidential run,” Tracey Schmitt said.

AP News reported, “Kerry also blasted those who question the motivation of retired generals who have recently called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.”

That is cheap and shameful,” he said. “How dare those who never wore the uniform in battle attack those who wore it all their lives.”

Chris Cillizza of the WaPo said, Kerry’s remarks “cast dissent in wartime as a patriotic act — a response to Republican critics who insist that questioning the conduct of the war in Iraq emboldens America’s enemies.” Cillizza also stretched the poignancy of the speech aimed at the here and now, while remembering the past, as future bid, “Yesterday’s address was the latest move in Kerry’s shadow presidential campaign.”

In a series of speeches, guest columns and television appearances, Kerry has sought to right what many Democrats regard as the defects of that race by outlining a clear exit strategy for Iraq and vowing to fight back against GOP attacks on his and other Democrats’ patriotism. Kerry’s aggressive attitude is also aimed at wooing liberal voters for a potential presidential bid in 2008.

However, Cillizza did remind his readers that…

Beginning last fall, Kerry has advocated setting a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Recently, he said that if an Iraqi government is not formed by May 15, the United States should immediately withdraw its forces.

Cillizza was referring to Kerry’s speech at Georgetown University in late October, his recent OP/ED in the NY Times calling for a May 15 series of deadlines, and his speech on the Senate floor that followed up on the OP/ED.

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