03/19/04 — Near treason: Keep the campaign within our borders

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Near treason: Keep the campaign within our borders

Sen. John Kerry insists that he has heard from leaders of foreign countries who support his campaign for president against President Bush.

The Bush campaign has challenged Kerry to name those foreign leaders but Kerry refuses, saying the leaders asked him to keep it a secret.

There’s a lot about all this that is very wrong.

First — and this should be obvious to everyone — if a person is asking us to elect him as president, he should let us know what kind of discussions he is having with foreign countries. Such information is crucial to our decision.

Second, we know that Kerry has been in touch with the government of at least one of our enemies, Iran. It is altogether inappropriate for an American candidate to extend his campaign to foreign countries, and especially to countries whose governments despise us and have supported terrorism against us and our allies.

As columnist Diana West reported on this page a few days ago, Kerry’s campaign message to the Iranian government, sent by e-mail to a government news agency, sought to undermine this country’s diplomatic struggles with Iran.

What can Kerry be thinking?

Not only was this a blow against our own country, it was detrimental to the brave young moderates who are seeking to soften the Iranian regime’s foreign and domestic policies. Kerry’s campaign, in effect, joined the tyrannical government’s efforts to silence the freedom fighters.

Another foreign government that supports Kerry against Bush is that of North Korea. Kerry has won its support by promising bilateral talks, a concession that previous administrations have not seen fit to offer to the North Koreans.

As far as campaign propriety is concerned, that is all right, since the statement was made publicly. Indeed, a candidate should let us know the kind of foreign relationships that he has in mind.

It just happens that, in this case, he is appeasing one of the most brutal dictatorships on earth.

Still, that is not as grievous as engaging in secret communications with other countries.

Kerry’s message to the extremist Muslims who govern Iran certainly will be noticed by others who are hostile to us. It tells them that if they will hold out against the United States long enough for him to unseat Bush, they will be more likely to have their way.

In a time of war, that is serious business. It wouldn’t have to go much further to exceed the realm of poor judgment and reach that of treason.

Published in Editorials on March 19, 2004 12:31 PM