If they really cared . . .

Senator John Kerry blew a joke. The context makes it clear he was referring to Mr. Bush when he said, “If you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Mr. Kerry meant to say, “If you don’t, you get US stuck in Iraq, Mr. President.”

By spinning Kerry’s flub into an attack on the intelligence of U.S. soldiers rather than on Mr. Bush — and holding down the “REPEAT” key — it’s the Republicans, not Kerry, who keep sending the message to the troops, “If you’re not smart, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Are these Republicans smart enough to know that message will destroy morale? Do they care? Or is it more important to them to take a cheap-shot in hopes of winning in the up-coming elections?

But will the Democrats, as characterized by Mr. Kerry — who wanted more troops and a longer stay when he was Mr. Bush’s opponent in the 2004 presidential race — get us out of Iraq any faster than their Republican cohorts?

Will either major branch of the war party slap this bumper sticker on their government limos?

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