Kerry Declines To Comment, But Surrogates Blast Plan
The AP reports Kerry was asked by reporters "for his reaction to Bush's move as he finished a bike ride near his family's retreat in Ketchum, Idaho." He would only reply, "It's a great day for a ride. Fabulous." Later he said he "had not seen the president's televised address." Campaign surrogates, however, blasted Bush's proposal. Gen. Wesley Clark, granted interviews to ABC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC, in which he was highly critical of the proposal. On ABC World News Tonight, Clark was shown saying, "This is not the time to start unraveling America's alliances. We need alliances more than ever, right now, to win the war on terror." CBS Evening News showed Clark saying that the plan "packaged together and presented at this time for the political purposes of trying to show some national security leadership. Well, it's bad leadership." In an interview on CNN's Inside Politics, Clark said that the plan "undermines relations with allies in Europe and it weakens our bargaining leverage against North Korea," while the AP quotes him saying that it "will significantly undermine US national security," a point the general also made on MSNBC's Hardball.
Fifteen Percent Of GOP Convention Delegates Are Veterans.
The AP reports this morning that Americans "who served in the military will be well represented at the upcoming Republican convention, more so than at last month's Democratic convention or in the US population overall, according to the GOP." About 15 percent "of the 4,800-plus delegates and alternates to the convention in New York are veterans, organizers said Monday. An additional 3 percent are active military personnel."
Editorial Reaction To Bush's Proposal.
The Wall Street Journal calls Bush's plan "a good idea on several levels geographic, political and strategic." The redeployment "will. . ..demonstrate that the US government is capable of adapting to changing circumstances in fulfilling its obligation to make the world, and America, a safer place."
The Washington Post and the New York Times, however, were highly critical of the plan. The Washington Post says Bush's "campaign speech yesterday in some ways sold short the results of a serious, years-long Pentagon review of military posture." In "substance as well as rhetoric, the Bush plan raises questions. The military already has shrunk substantially in size and in its presence in Western Europe since the end of the Cold War. About 400,000 uniformed personnel out of 1.5 million serve abroad, but about half of those are in or around the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. Now the administration would pull out about one-third of the 37,500 troops stationed in South Korea and about half of the 100,000 based in Europe. This is a particularly bad idea in Asia. . . . Europe is less tense, but a US presence is important nonetheless." The New York Times, meanwhile, titled its editorial "Misconceived Military Shuffle," writing that the plan "makes little long-term strategic sense. It is certain to strain crucial alliances, increase overall costs and dangerously weaken deterrence on the Korean peninsula at the worst possible moment. Meanwhile, it will do nothing to address the military's most pressing current need: relieving the chronic strain on ground forces that has resulted from failing to anticipate the long, and largely unilateral, American occupation of Iraq."