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KERRY LACKS CHARACTER REQUIRED FOR PRESIDENCY

Sen. John Kerry and his advisers lack sound, basic American character. Singling out opponents' children for political advantage is wrong, period. Branding our allies as "puppets," a coalition of "bribed," "coerced," and "extorted," not only endangers our troops on the ground but signals an alarming, dangerous void of diplomatic skills. Our enemies are taking full advantage of Kerry's careless, partisan foreign policy statements.

Additionally, the Duelfer report issued last week indicates that indeed those words may yet apply not to allies who joined us in the coalition, but to those who didn't: France, Russia and the U.N.'s Kofi Annan. President Bush may well have been in the unenviable position of wooing allies that had extensive, ulterior financial motives in Iraq. Does this scenario pass Kerry's global diplomacy sniff test?

Kerry can't spew equality and American values while, simultaneously, completely ignoring the astounding success produced by the ultimate sacrifice of American troops. There was a peaceful vote in Afghanistan, with women participating. Indeed, a woman ran for president -- a stunning development in comparison to the images of burkah-clad women assassinated on soccer fields. Kerry's camp completely ignored it in favor of continued partisan demonizing. Count me out on Kerry's new vision of "change."

Colleen Bogdan

Amherst