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:: 10.19.2004 ::  



Kerry's management style
Perhaps the strongest case for Kerry's fact-finding and consensus-building was his work to normalize U.S. relations with Vietnam in the 1990s. It began when Kerry agreed to lead a voluminous congressional investigation into the fate of more than 2,200 Americans missing since the Vietnam War -- an effort his advisers unanimously warned him against, calling it a quagmire. But Zwenig, chief of staff to the select committee, said Kerry "had a point of view and sense of mission from the beginning. He trusted his gut and he trusted his head."

The panel took more than 200 depositions, questioning every living secretary of state, secretary of defense, national security adviser and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who had served since the Vietnam War began, said Codinha, who was the committee's chief counsel. They traveled to Vietnam, Laos and Russia, questioning officials, searching prisons and combing through records.

Anguished families packed every hearing. Kerry, other Democrats and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) concluded no Americans remained in captivity; panel vice chairman Robert Smith (N.H.) and some other Republicans insisted there were too many unanswered questions. Codinha remembered seeing no hope of consensus.

"I remember taking a break at noon one day near the end, and saying to John: We'll never persuade these guys," Codinha said. "And he said, {grv}'We're gonna persuade them because we're right on this, and the evidence is there.' "

McCain said Kerry walked the committee through the evidence like a courtroom lawyer, ultimately winning unanimous approval for the conclusion, "There is, at this time, no compelling evidence that proves that any American remains alive in captivity in Southeast Asia." That consensus removed the biggest roadblock to U.S. reconciliation with Vietnam, which came about after two more years of work behind the scenes by Kerry and McCain.

"It wouldn't have happened without his very hard and active work," McCain said.

Kerry's presidential campaign is a study in how his management style works when his direction is unclear or changing with events: in a word, chaotically.
From an interesting article in The Washington Post, linked from this Daniel Rezner post, which also has some interesting things to say about Kerry's potential in foreign policy. Zak pointed me to that.

:: Deb 2:57 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::


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