It is difficult to see Secretary of State John Kerry as anything but an arrogant, narcissistic windbag and a traitorous liar, but here he is in all his new-found glory – a born-again, chest-thumping hawk, a warrior eager to stomp Syrian strongman Bashar Assad into the sand, or at least have our military do it.
Even harder is realizing that in recent days and weeks it has been easier to agree more with Russian President Vladimir Putin than with Kerry or President Barack Obama on what to do – if we should do anything – about Syria.
Kerry and Obama want to punish Assad for allegedly using chemical weapons on his own people, although many – notably the Russians – are saying that those allegations are simply rubbish. The Russians even say they have compiled a detailed report showing the Syrian rebels – which include al Qaeda – were responsible and have handed the scientific evidence to the United Nations.
Some of us remember Kerry before he was a warrior, back when he spent a few months in Vietnam on a boat and then came home to lie about American servicemen committing atrocities, torture and all manner of mayhem and murder on a routine basis.
“Not isolated incidents,” he told Congress in 1972. “But crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.”
His hearsay testimony – based on what he said he heard from other servicemen, mind you, not first-hand knowledge – was more than remarkable. It was a bold lie.
“They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country,” he told America.
He was lionized by the anti-war Left for his traitorous behavior even as American soldiers remained locked in battle in Vietnam, while prisoners of war remained captive – their captors played his monologue for them on loudspeakers – and while blood still flowed and cannons roared each and every day. That his testimony was untrue was of no consequence.
When he parlayed his time in the spotlight into wealth – he married into it – and political power he found himself supporting another war for political gain, a war to smack around Saddam Hussein because of his penchant for weapons of mass destruction. Later, again when it suited him, Kerry opposed that war, too.
John Kerry is amoral, opportunistic and not to be trusted. Preparing to wage a war on his say-so is insane. Even Putin called him a liar for his estimation that only a tiny fraction of the Syrian rebels are al Qaeda.
It remains unsettling to agree with the Russian president. But in this case, how can you not?