There is a surreal quality about visiting the United States in the last days of the presidential campaign. If George W Bush wins, according to a scientist I met, who escaped Nazi-dominated Europe, America will surrender many of its democratic trappings and succumb to its totalitarian impulses. If John Kerry wins, according to most Democrat voters, the only mandate he will have is that he is not Bush.

Never have so many liberal hands been wrung over a candidate whose only memorable statements seek to out-Bush Bush. Take Iran. One of Kerry's national security advisers, Susan Rice, has accused Bush of 'standing on the sidelines while Iran's nuclear programme has been advanced'. There is not a shred of evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, yet Kerry is joining in the same orchestrated frenzy that led to the invasion of Iraq. Having begun his campaign by promising another 40,000 troops for Iraq, he is said to have a 'secret plan to end the war' which foresees a withdrawal in four years. This is an echo of Richard Nixon, who in the 1968 presidential campaign promised a 'secret plan' to end the war in Vietnam.

Once in office, he accelerated the slaughter and the war dragged on for six and a half years. For Kerry, like Nixon, the message is that he is not a wimp. Nothing in his campaign or his career suggests he will not continue, even escalate, the 'war on terror', which is now sanctified as a crusade of Americanism like that against communism. No Democratic president has shirked such a task: John Kennedy on the cold war, Lyndon Johnson on Vietnam.

AxisofLogic/ The 2004 Elections


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