I received this in an email, third- or fourth-hand, in a badly-jumbled and poorly-formatted message that had obviously gone through three or four generations of page-delimiting. I didn't originally have the title, but the author, Paul Johnson, is not unknown among history buffs. A Google search of "Paul Johnson" +British +historian produced 5,660 hits, including at least ten about the article listed below. This message appeared in my email box from a fellow spook - an army sigint officer - who had gotten it from his brother. Here's his brother's introduction:
Some of you may be familiar with the British historian, Paul Johnson. I was surprised to see a piece that he wrote about our forthcoming election, and I recommend it as a view from an "outsider." It is not written by a columnist from the Weekly Standard, The Nation, or by any conservative or liberal "talking head," or by some obscure blogger, but from a student of history. Quite simply, Kerry must be stopped; and Bush must win.
I've added my comments where I felt the need.
By Paul Johnson
The great issue in the 2004 election-it seems to me as an Englishman-is, How seriously does the United States take its role as a world leader, and how far will it make sacrifices, and risk unpopularity, to discharge this duty with success and honor? In short, this is an election of the greatest significance, for Americans and all the rest of us. It will redefine what kind of a country the United States is, and how far the rest of the world can rely upon her to preserve the general safety and protect our civilization.
This opening paragraph is staggeringly revealing, in a dozen different ways. It's an open admission, by a British historian, that the only nation on Earth that can truly "preserve the general safety and protect our (Western) civilization" is the United States, and that the rest of the thinking world knows, understands, and depends on that. This opening sentence says that the next president will "redefine what kind of a country the United States is". But is that only if John Kerry wins? Hasn't George Bush already defined what kind of nation we are? Johnson is also laying upon us the DUTY to "take its role (seriously) as a world leader", and make sacrifices, and risk unpopularity, in order to discharge this duty with success and honor.
That's a big job. We could use a little help. We're getting a little from some nations, and we appreciate their contribution. The problem we face is a world problem, not just one for the United States. Terrorists have struck in almost every European state, throughout the Middle East, in Indonesia and Thailand, and in Japan. Citizens of virtually every nation on Earth have been placed at risk - many killed - by terrorists. So far, only a handful of nations have stepped forward to help. The rest have mostly whined that we shouldn't be doing what they want us to do, and it's all our fault that bad things are happening in THEIR nations. That's the behavior of spoiled children, whining that the adults aren't making life even easier and less demanding for them.
When George W. Bush was first elected, he stirred none of these feelings, at home or abroad. He seems to have sought the presidency more for dynastic than for any other reasons. September 11 changed all that dramatically. It gave his presidency a purpose and a theme, and imposed on him a mission. Now, we can all criticize the way he has pursued that mission. He has certainly made mistakes in detail, notably in underestimating the problems that have inevitably followed the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, and overestimating the ability of US forces to tackle them. On the other hand, he has been absolutely right in estimating the seriousness of the threat international terrorism poses to the entire world and on the need for the United States to meet this threat with all the means at its disposal and for as long as may be necessary.
I think George Bush had a vision of what he wanted to do in the White House, and it wasn't just following in Dad's footsteps. We saw what he did in Texas. Many of us expected him to do some of the same things as President. Even though the War on Terrorism has consumed the majority of his focus, he's still done many things on his list of dometic ideas. I think Johnson has tunnel vision in this instance, and has missed some rather large and obvious clues.
I think many of George Bush's problems in Iraq were forced on him by the lack of cooperation of many European nations, and on the incomprehensible behavior of Turkey. That, more than any single factor, made the entire war on Iraq harder to fight, and the victory harder to manage. The failure of having the 4th ID charge down through Turkey to Baghdad, catching Hussein and his entire nation in a pincher movement, has been the main cause of existing military and domestic problems in north-central Iraq. President Bush may have under-estimated the absolute necessity to al-Qaida to force us from Iraq, and not allocated sufficient resources, or not given those resources sufficient freedom of the battlefield, but that was more a problem forced upon him, rather than one that was foreseen and ignored.
The most telling blow to the War on Terrorism is the utter insanity of much of Europe of deciding they "didn't want to play". There are only two positions available in this game: you are either an ally of the United States and its partners, or you are part of the problem. There is no "neutrality", because the ENEMY does not recognize the concept of neutrality. There is no "third way", because the ENEMY considers only one outcome acceptable to them. Each day the rest of the civilized world refuses to accept their share of the burden in this war is one day more this war will last, and is bound to increase the casualty figures, both among the Coalition forces and in the rest of the world's nations.
Equally, he has placed these considerations right at the center of his policies and continued to do so with total consistency, adamantine determination, and remarkable courage, despite sneers and jeers, ridicule and venomous opposition, and much unpopularity.
There is something grimly admirable about his stoicism in the face of reverses, which reminds me of other moments in history: the dark winter Washington faced in 1777-78, a time to "try men's souls," as Thomas Paine put it, and the long succession of military failures Lincoln had to bear and explain before he found a commander who could take the cause to victory. There is nothing glamorous about the Bush presidency and nothing exhilarating. It is all hard pounding, as Wellington said of Waterloo, adding: "Let us see who can pound the hardest." Mastering terrorism fired by a religious fanaticism straight from the Dark Ages requires hard pounding of the dullest, most repetitious kind, in which spectacular victories are not to be looked for, and all we can expect are "blood, toil, tears, and sweat." However, something persuades me that Bush -- with his grimness and doggedness, his lack of sparkle but his enviable concentration on the central issue-is the president America needs at this difficult time.
He has, it seems to me, the moral right to ask American voters to give him the mandate to finish the job he has started.
George W. Bush is the only person that will "finish the job". Nor is it one "HE" started. The people of the United States must awaken to the fact that we have been at war with islamic fundamentalists since at least the early 1970s. This war didn't start with the Twin Towers. It will not end with the pacification of Iraq and the development of a democratic, peaceful government there. This is a war against people who not only reject Western civilization, but who believe it is their God-given DUTY to destroy it. The war will only end when there are no more people who believe this.
There are no other choices. There are no other options. We cannot say, at any point before total victory that "we can stop now, they won't hurt us again." Total victory or total defeat - those are the only options open to us. People who believe differently are insane (the definition of "insane" is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results). There are no "moral options" to stop short of total victory, even if it means the total destruction of Islam. Islamists are the only entities that can save Islam from destruction, and then only by changing. Islam must reach the conclusion that it's no longer acceptable to consider destroying other civilizations as their God-given right. Failing that, the only choice for the rest of the world is to destroy the source of the problem. If that source is Islam, and it refuses to change, then Islam will cease to exist.
It's not just George Bush that should be given, and accept the mandate to finish the job, but the entire free world. The failure of most nation-states to accept that responsibility is infuriating. It will definitely lead to consequences. For some nations, those consequences have already been felt. Those that offer excuses, those that offer sanctuary to our enemies, and those that believe that they can "pacify" and "get along with" those who would kill innocent people in ANY nation will be held accountable. There is no room among modern nations for spoiled children, neither as leaders nor as citizens.
This impression is abundantly confirmed, indeed made overwhelming, when we look at the alternative. Senator Kerry has not made much of an impression in Europe, or indeed, I gather, in America. Many on the Continent support him, because they hate Bush, not because of any positive qualities Kerry possesses.
Indeed we know of none, and there are six good reasons that he should be mistrusted.
First, and perhaps most important, he seems to have no strong convictions about what he would do if given office and power. The content and emphasis of his campaign on terrorism, Iraq, and related issues have varied from week to week. But they seem always to be determined by what his advisers, analyzing the polls and other evidence, recommend, rather than by his own judgment and convictions. In other words, he is saying, in effect: "I do not know what to do but I will do what you, the voters, want." This may be an acceptable strategy, on some issues and at certain times. It is one way you can interpret democracy. But in a time of crisis, and on an issue involving the security of the world, what is needed is leadership. Kerry is abdicating that duty and proposing, instead, that the voters should lead and he will follow.
This lesson cannot cease to be beaten into people's heads - John Kerry is nothing but an actor, playing a role. There is no "there", there. He's lived a fantasy since his youth of being the "next John Kennedy", and had done all the things he could to be in the position to achieve his goal. Unfortunately for Kerry, he has little of Kennedy's brilliance, his charisma, his stamina, his ideology, or his integrity. Kerry possesses few, if any, leadership qualities - I've known Air Force Staff Sergeants with more leadership potential than John Kerry.
His character flaws are not hidden - his role as prosecutor for the State of Massachusetts, his role as Lieutenant Governor, his twenty years in the Senate, even his command of a Swift Boat during Vietnam, all highlight his glaring character deficiencies and lack of leadership. There are only two things that John Kerry has in abundance: ego and egalitarianism. Those are not necessarily the character traits one wishes in the President of the world's largest, most powerful, and richest free nation.
Second, Kerry's personal character has, so far, appeared in a bad light. He has always presented himself, for the purpose of Massachusetts vote-getting, as a Boston Catholic of presumably Irish origins. This side of Kerry is fundamentally dishonest. He does not follow Catholic teachings, certainly in his views on such issues as abortion-especially when he feels additional votes are to be won by rejecting Catholic doctrine. This is bad enough. But since the campaign began it has emerged that Kerry's origins are not in the Boston-Irish community but in Germanic Judaism. Kerry knew this all along, and deliberately concealed it for political purposes. If a man will mislead about such matters, he will mislead about anything.
A fraud is a fraud is a fraud. An actor is a person that's paid to perform a role, to pretend to be something they're not. When you present yourself as being the character in the role, you've stepped beyond make-believe into fraud - or even worse, into psychosis.
There is, thirdly, Kerry's long record of contradictions and uncertainties as a senator and his apparent inability to pursue a consistent policy on major issues.
Fourth is his posturing over his military record, highlighted by his embarrassing pseudo-military salute when accepting the nomination.
Fifth is his disturbing lifestyle, combining liberal-even radical-politics with being the husband, in succession, of two heiresses, one worth $300 million and the other $1 billion. The Kerrys have five palatial homes and a personal jet, wealth buttressed by the usual team of lawyers and financial advisers to provide the best methods of tax-avoidance.
John Forbes Kerry has single-mindedly followed his goal - to be "the next John Kennedy", including living his lifestyle. He is ruthless in pursuing that goal. There is nothing he won't do, won't say, won't pretend to be, to get what he wants. I believe this single-mindedness reflects a dagnerously unbalanced human being, and certainly not someone to trust with the high office of President of the United States of America.
Sixth and last is the Kerry team: who seem to combine considerable skills in electioneering with a variety of opinions on all key issues. Indeed, it is when one looks at Kerry's closest associates that one's doubts about his suitability become certainties. Kerry may dislike his running-mate, and those feelings may be reciprocated-but that does not mean a great deal. More important is that the man Kerry would have as his vice president is an ambulance chasing lawyer of precisely the kind the American system has spawned in recent decades, to its great loss and peril, and that is already establishing a foothold in Britain and other European countries. This aggressive legalism-what in England we call "vexatious litigation"- is surely a characteristic America does not want at the top of its constitutional system.
Of Kerry's backers, maybe the most prominent is George Soros, a man who made his billions through the kind of unscrupulous manipulations that (in Marxist folklore) characterize "finance capitalism." This is the man who did everything in his power to wreck the currency of Britain, America's principal ally, during the EU exchange-rate crisis-not out of conviction but simply to make vast sums of money. He has also used his immense resources to interfere in the domestic affairs of half a dozen other countries, some of them small enough for serious meddling to be hard to resist. One has to ask: Why is a man like Soros so eager to see Kerry in the White House? The question is especially pertinent since he is not alone among the superrich wishing to see Bush beaten. There are several other huge fortunes backing Kerry.
Among the wide spectrum of prominent Bush-haters there is the normal clutter of Hollywood performers and showbiz self-advertisers. That is to be expected. More noticeable, this time, are the large numbers of novelists, playwrights, and moviemakers who have lined up to discharge venomous salvos at the incumbent.
If you examine John Kerry's associates, you see a large aggregate of people much in the same mold: ruthless, determined, undisciplined, unscrupulous, dishonest, arrogant, egotistical, and elitist. The laws are for the "little people", who should "learn to shut up and just pay their taxes". The words "honesty", "integrity", "duty", "honor", and "commitment" are only words to them, to be used and abused, much as the definition of "is". John Kerry, in almost every way, is the epitome of the modern Democratic party. Unfortunately, the entire party and its leadership are a disaster waiting to happen. Allowing them the Presidency - especially at this time - may be a disaster this nation will be unable to recover from.
I don't recall any occasion, certainly not since the age of FDR, when so much partisan election material has been produced by intellectuals of the Left, not only in the United States but in Europe, especially in Britain, France, and Germany. These intellectuals-many of them with long and lugubrious records of supporting lost left-wing causes, from the Soviet empire to Castro's aggressive adventures in Africa, and who have in their time backed Mengistu in Ethiopia, Qaddafi in Libya, Pol Pot in Cambodia, and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua-seem to have a personal hatred of Bush that defies rational analysis.
Behind this front line of articulate Bushicides (one left-wing columnist in Britain actually offered a large sum of money to anyone who would assassinate the president) there is the usual cast of Continental suspects, led by Chirac in France and the superbureaucrats of Brussels. As one who regularly reads Le Monde, I find it hard to convey the intensity of the desire of official France to replace Bush with Kerry. Anti-Americanism has seldom been stronger in Continental Europe, and Bush seems to personify in his simple, uncomplicated self all the things these people most hate about America-precisely because he is so American. Anti-Americanism, like anti-Semitism, is not, of course, a rational reflex. It is, rather, a mental disease, and the Continentals are currently suffering from a virulent spasm of the infection, as always happens when America exerts strong and unbending leadership.
What better example than President Bush to illustrate a point - at some time in your life, you have to grow up, and start acting like an adult. George Bush himself did this when he gave up drinking, sobered up, married, and had children. He became a successful businessman, and earned a lot of money, but he did it by working hard, long hours. He foreswore pleasure to finish a job, he gave up fun times to do what needed to be done, and he was willing to get in and put his shoulder behind the truck to get it moving through the muck and mud again. What better example than John Forbes Kerry to illustrate the modern European: protected from threat by the might of the United States, grown up spoiled and pampered, catered to and courted by all. Well, the ball is over, the coach is a pumpkin again, and the Prince is in the midst of a battle - he doesn't have time for running around the countryside, trying to find whose foot fits the glass slipper. It's time for Western Europe to grow up. Eastern Europe, after living under communist domination for 50 years, is doing just fine, thank you, and is repairing the Prince's lance and making new arrows for him.
Behind this second line of adversaries there is a far more sinister third. All the elements of anarchy and unrest in the Middle East and Muslim Asia and Africa are clamoring and praying for a Kerry victory. The mullahs and the imams, the gunmen and their arms suppliers and paymasters, all those who stand to profit-politically, financially, and emotionally -- from the total breakdown of order, the eclipse of democracy, and the defeat of the rule of law, want to see Bush replaced. His defeat on November 2 will be greeted, in Arab capitals, by shouts of triumph from fundamentalist mobs of exactly the kind that greeted the news that the Twin Towers had collapsed and their occupants been exterminated.
I cannot recall any election when the enemies of America all over the world have been so unanimous in hoping for the victory of one candidate. That is the overwhelming reason that John Kerry must be defeated, heavily and comprehensively.
The stench of corruption pouring out of the United Nations at the moment indicates that John Kerry either has no sense of smell, or is so used to the smell he doesn't acknowledge its presence. I'd bet my money on the second. A Kerry/Edwards presidency would be the worst of the Carter and Clinton administrations rolled into one, facing problems equal to those of the 1948 Truman presidency. Kerry isn't up to it - not by a million miles.