Last night I had the strangest dream. I guess it was a nightmare, really. I remember most of it, except how it ended.
First I dreamed Kerry won the election. That wasn't so bad in itself. He seemed Presidential enough for the job. He had a dignified bearing, spoke well, didn't mangle his phrases. People were weary after four years of uncertainty under George Bush and ready to try something new.
Kerry started off well. On January 22, in a burst of world optimism, he went to the U.N. and laid down his mea culpa. America had gone it alone too long, he said. We were ready to cooperate with the rest of the world. The General Assembly gave him a 15-minute standing ovation. His speech was cheered wildly in cities from Paris to Berlin to Peshawar. A new day had dawned. Peace was at hand.
The only concrete result that came out of his U.N. visit, however, was that Poland decided to accelerate its troop withdrawal, already scheduled for 2005. Other allies said that since Kerry was throwing in the towel, they were going to leave sooner than later as well. Everyone but Great Britain packed up and headed home. Meanwhile, Kerry visited France and Germany to hold long talks with President Chirac and Chancellor Schroeder. The main outcome, however, was that they told him Iraq was his problem and wished him well. Meanwhile, terrorists in Iraq stepped up their operations
By the time President Kerry got back from Europe, things had taken a turn for the worse. Both Sunni and Shi'ite leaders announced that, despite the January election of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, both now regarded his victory as illegitimate. Democracy was a foreign system that America was trying to impose on the Muslim world. Both recommended a return to the Ummah, with religious leaders at the helm. Since each sect claimed to the rightful heirs of Mohammed, each claimed the right to the position.
The opposition became bolder. Several suicide bombers penetrated the Green Zone and American casualties started to rise. With our allies pulling out, our soldiers were also required to take over key positions in the South. Suddenly we found ourselves stretched way too thin. Rioting broke out in several cities of the Sunni Triangle.
All the pretty plans of the campaign were evaporating and President Kerry now found himself facing the basic contradiction of his position. Was Iraq the wrong war at the wrong place and the wrong time? Or were we actually undermanned? For two long weeks, Kerry mulled the problem while fierce debate was waged in Congress. Half of Kerry's constituency called for a pullout and peace demonstrations took place in New York and Washington. Many Democrats in Congress said our troops were endangered, however, and call for a draft.
Kerry solved the problem by going to the United Nations. A high level conference was arranged in Baghdad with all sides attending. A truce was called and for three weeks an international panel debated the issue. Finally, it was decided that 140,000 American troops would be given safe passage out of the country. They would leave in an orderly fashion and then Iraqis would continue to meet under U.N. supervision to decide how they would govern themselves.
Like the Indians watching the British march out of Fort William Henry, however, once the terrorists saw their enemies defeated they could not restrain themselves. Before the American soldiers had even begun to pack their bags, they were under daily attack. General fighting broke out in several cities, even as the U.N. panel continued to meet. Then a suicide bomber rammed the home of Prime Minister Allawi and killed him. The elected government collapsed. Civil war broke out between Sunni and Shi'ite militias, both claiming religious authority, while the Kurds withdrew completely, declaring their own state..
Like so many a President before him, John Kerry found himself at the mercy of events. All the pretty plans of his election campaign -- the diplomacy, the conferences with our allies -- were forgotten. Suddenly he was a commander-in-chief trying to rescue a stranded army.
Events didn't wait. Now convinced that America was abandoning the Middle East and no longer content to watch Iran develop a nuclear weapon that in two years would be able to hit Jerusalem, the Israelis sent a fleet of F-16s to drop bunker-busting weapons on three nuclear complexes at Bushehr, Natanz, and Arak. Rioting broke out in every Middle Eastern capital. Terrorists streamed into Baghdad from every direction. Syrian and Egyptian armies prepared for a retaliatory attack against Israel.
That's when I woke up.
I've been walking around in a cold sweat all day thinking about these things. But that's silly, I suppose. After all, it was only a dream. The American people couldn't possibly elect John Kerry President, could they?