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Cash & Kerry
by Doug Hagin
11 May 2004John Kerry

How to turn the Abu Ghraib scandal into a fundraiser.

"The prison images from Baghdad are clearly disgusting, but it's harder to find words to describe those whose first instinct upon seeing them is to raise campaign cash with them." This
quote from Ed Gillespie, the Republican National Committee Chairman, which was published last Sunday, accuses the John Kerry campaign of using the prisoner abuse scandal to raise campaign funds.
This charge, if proved true, would be an ugly sign that the Democratic candidate is willing to play politics with our troops during a time of war.
According to Mr. Gillespie, Mary Beth Cahill, who is Kerry’s campaign manager, made some fund-raising pitches over the past weekend asking for donations from Kerry supporters as a way of showing their approval of Kerry’s call for Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, to resign.
In Cahill’s letter to John Kerry supporters she says the following. "George Bush must fire Don Rumsfeld. But that is only the first step in taking responsibility for his Administration's failures in Iraq. John Kerry has called on Don Rumsfeld to resign, and today we are asking you to support him by adding your name to call for Rumsfeld to resign here."
Now Mr. Kerry as well as his supporters might truly believe Donald Rumsfeld is personally responsible for the abuse of some Iraqi detainees. Certainly he is the Secretary of Defense and he has already accepted full responsibility for these actions. But for the Kerry camp to use this situation to raise money is despicable. If Kerry is demanding Rumsfeld resign because the prisoner abuse happened on his watch then he should at least be consistent in his outrage, shouldn’t he?
Why is Kerry not apologizing for his campaign’s blatant attempt to politicize this? Where is his responsibility? Should he not fire Cahill? Or at the very least ask for her immediate resignation?
Perhaps Kerry should really step up to the proverbial plate and resign from his presidential bid?
After all if Donald Rumsfeld is held to the extremely high standard of taking the fall if his underlings act inappropriately shouldn’t Kerry hold himself to the same standard of leadership?
Really though, expecting anything even remotely approaching consistency from John Kerry is unrealistic and we all know this. Despite Kerry’s carping and the obvious dollar signs dancing in his eyes and in those of his campaign manager, the fact remains that demanding Secretary Rumsfeld resign is a misguided call indeed.
Donald Rumsfeld has taken serious responsibility for the abuses in Iraq. It was, after all, the military itself, under Rumsfeld’s watch, which revealed these abuses. It is the same military, under the same Secretary of Defense, which investigated and continues to investigate the malfeasance which occurred.
Rather than seek a way to create a cash flow for the Bush campaign by playing partisan politics with the situation in Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld acted as a leader does. He accepted responsibly and went about fixing the problem. And please take special note that Rumsfeld and the current administration are seeking to identify and  punish those troops which committed these acts. That is a key part of fixing the problem and ensuring future incidents do not occur. That is real leadership. John Kerry and his followers might find tremendous benefit in following these examples instead of simply seeking another way to play politics with the war on terror.
And be certain that if Rumsfeld were to resign, which he will not, neither John Kerry nor his supporters would be sated in their lust for power. They would seek to use that resignation as a way to prove George W. Bush a weak and ineffective leader. They would accuse President Bush of sacrificing Secretary Rumsfeld in order to escape accepting responsibility.
The Kerry camp has tried every political maneuver to discredit George Bush and for the most part they have failed. They see clearly that Bush is known as a man of his word by many Americans. And they realize Americans love an honest and forthright man. John Kerry, with his flip-flopping and waffling on every issue, has exposed his lack of such honesty and belief in his own ideals. So now he must attempt to paint Bush as weak on his ideals as well to stand a chance in November.
Kerry has shown us now where his true priorities lie. They lie with raising funds and seeking power. They lie with using our troops and this war for political gain, no matter what the cost to those troops. John Kerry is no leader and he has shown that fact very clearly now.

Doug Hagin resides in Dallas and hopes to one day be a nationally syndicated columnist with his own radio show

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