Sen. John Kerry has a long and dubious record in foreign policy.
In the 1970's, he testified against his fellow Vietnam War veterans before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He charged that they were violating the Geneva Conventions every day in Vietnam. Some POWs were outraged at Kerry's disloyal statements. They said they had been tortured by their Communist captors trying to force them to make such untrue statements.
Worse, Kerry went to Paris in 1971. There, he met with North Vietnamese Communists. We need to see all his notes from those meetings. Any negotiation between a private U.S. citizen and a foreign power is illegal. It violates the Logan Act of 1798. Did Kerry demand of the North Vietnamese Communists that they abide by the Geneva Convention? Or is that only a demand he made of his fellow Americans?
We do not charge Kerry with treason in the statements and actions he engaged in then. Treason consists of giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. But this country has set a very high bar for conviction for treason--ever since the Burr Treason Trial of 1807. Nonetheless, we do say Kerry's actions and statements then were not those to which America's top diplomat should be linked. What was he thinking?
In the 1980s, Kerry campaigned for the Nuclear Freeze. The Soviet KGB, we now know, was a major funder and promoter of this disastrous idea. The Freezeniks believed that President Carter's promise to send Pershing and Cruise missiles to our NATO allies in Western Europe should be dishonored.
Freezeniks thought that the only thing we should do in response to aggressive Soviet placement of SS-19 and SS-20 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs) in Eastern Europe was to freeze the West into no response. By freezing in terror, we could morally pressure the Soviets into withdrawing their missiles, the naive Freezeniks argued. Harvard's Polish-born Adam Ulam famously punctured this pink balloon: "An' wot will you doo iff they dun't?"
Ulam's common sense response was followed by President Ronald Reagan. Reagan agreed with the democratically elected Socialist President of France, Francois Mitterrand, that NATO would fall apart if we failed to meet this Soviet thrust. The Cruise and Pershing Missiles went forward. And, in good time, Reagan and Mitterand's policy of peace through strength brought the greatest arms reduction treaty in history and it helped bring down the Iron Curtain.
Has John Kerry learned anything from that experience? We need to know.
Then, there is his appalling joke when President George H.W. Bush was elected. He said the Secret Service has instructions, if anything happens to President Bush--"to shoot Dan Quayle."
He got a lot of yuks from the media on that one.
Question 1: Does Sen. Kerry think assassination of the President and Vice President is funny?
Question 2: If John Q. or Jane Q Public makes a joke about murder of the President and Vice President, they get a visit from the Secret Service; why does a United States Senator like Kerry get away with it?
For these and a host of other reasons, John Kerry should be grilled with tough questions. He has been wrong about every major foreign policy issue since 1972. Aren't his failures over four decades something his colleagues should worry about?
Editor's Note: Bob Morrison co-authored this column.