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Chuck DeVore- Contributor

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore represents 450,000 residents of Orange County California’s 70th Assembly District.. He served as a Reagan White House appointee in the Pentagon from 1986 to 1988 and was Senior Assistant to Cong. Chris Cox. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard. Chuck’s novel, CHINA ATTACKS, sells internationally and has been translated into Chinese for sales in Taiwan. [go to DeVore index]

The War, Mr. Kerry, and the UN
The candidate has a magic formula for rallying allies

[Chuck DeVore] 9/27/04

One of John Kerry’s chief criticisms of the war in Iraq is that President Bush has alienated our allies and, as a result, has gotten precious little assistance from them. Internationalize the war effort, bring the UN in, and more American troops can return home, Mr. Kerry asserts.

Debate over how best to protect America in time of war is a serious matter and we need to thoroughly examine Senator Kerry’s charge in light of history and today's realities.

Earlier this year, John Kerry spoke in Missouri at the same venue where Winston Churchill delivered his famous “Iron Curtain” speech. In his remarks, and in many since then, Kerry accused President Bush of a “…failure to forge and lead a true coalition…” and that, in Iraq, “…we cannot depend on a U.S.-only presence…” and “…more and more American soldiers cannot be the only solution. Other nations have a vital interest in the outcome and they must be brought in.”

Hearing Kerry’s comments, one might reasonably think that the war in Iraq is an all-American war, with little, if any help from other nations. Kerry went on to say that we needed to “…build a political coalition of key countries, including the UK, France, Russia and China, the other permanent members of the UN Security Council, to share the political and military responsibilities and burdens of Iraq with the United States.” And that, “When NATO members have been treated with respect, they have always – always – answered the call of duty.”

Let’s look at the historical record to see if Mr. Kerry has a point.

The Korean War probably offers the best example of how Mr. Kerry’s internationalist viewpoint might work. The Korean War was sanctioned and run by the UN. After North Korea’s unprovoked attack on South Korea in June 1950, the UN Security Council quickly agreed to act.

The reason for the UN’s rapid agreement, however, shows the first weakness in Mr. Kerry’s argument. Any serious action by the UN requires Security Council approval, and, Security Council approval requires that none of the five permanent members of the Security Council veto the measure. In 1950, the Soviet Union was boycotting the UN over the fact that their Chinese Communist allies had not yet been assigned the UN seat held by the recently defeated Nationalist Chinese. The Soviet boycott allowed the UN to act decisively. Today, a boycott by France, Russia, or China is likely to prevent any meaningful action by the UN on anything favorable to U.S. national interests.

The next weakness in Mr. Kerry’s argument is his insistence that, through better diplomacy, we can get more assistance from our allies in Iraq.

Again, the Korean War would seem to serve as Mr. Kerry’s ideal model. Excluding South Korea itself, we had combat assistance from 15 nations with another five providing medical services. At their peak commitment, our allies contributed almost 40,000 troops to the war effort. Compared to Iraq today, this would appear to be strong international support – but it isn’t. At the time our allies had almost 40,000 soldiers on the ground in Korea, America had almost 350,000, or 90 percent of the total international (non-host nation) contingent. In Iraq, as of last March, the U.S. had assistance from 33 nations (13 more than we enjoyed in Korea) and our forces there constitute 84 percent of the total. Today there are more nations helping America in Iraq and they are carrying a greater burden then was the case in the Korean War, the UN’s biggest intervention ever.

An analysis of those killed in action, the ultimate indicator of sacrifice, tells a similar story. In the Korean War, Americans suffered 92 percent of the non-host nation KIAs. In Iraq, we have suffered 89 percent of the total to date.

Must it be this way? Must America always carry a heavier burden in the defense of Western Civilization and the Free World? Until the French, Germans, and even our great friends the British, begin spending more on defense, yes. The unadorned truth is that America spends over 10 times as much on defense as do any of our allies. This spending translates into larger numbers combatants, better training, better equipment, and a greater ability to go anywhere on the planet to seek, close with, and destroy the enemies of our Constitution.

All of which brings us back to Mr. Kerry who, in two decades in the Senate, has consistently voted to slash defense spending while simultaneously voicing faith in the ability of the UN and our friends in Europe to make the world a safer place.

I have news for Mr. Kerry: you’re the one living in a fantasy world. If America doesn’t act no one else will – because they cannot - their militaries are too weak and they do not have the will. No amount of diplomacy or campaign trail rhetoric will cause the French and the Germans to suddenly create formidable militaries capable of carrying the war to the enemy anywhere on Earth. tRO

copyright 2004 Chuck DeVore




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