WASHINGTON — If there was ever a question of Senator John Kerry’s expert diplomacy skills, it should be laid to rest after his response to a protestor at the Senate confirmation hearings today.
As the senator was wrapping up his prepared statement, a young woman wearing a pink and white scarf (not a keffiyeh) screamed: “You’re killing thousands of people in the Middle East who are not a threat to us… I’m tired of my friends in the Middle East dying, I don’t even know if they’re going to be alive the next day.” She was immediately subdued by security and escorted out of the room.
The hushed audience looked around: some pretending nothing happened, some snickering, but Kerry, who protested the Vietnam War after having served his country, addressed the situation head-on:
“When I came to Washington, I testified as a group of people who came here to have their voices heard and that is, above all, what this place is about. So I respect that — I thank that woman who was voicing her concerns about that part of the world.”
Then gesturing toward the panel, Kerry continued, “And every one of you has traveled there, some of you were there recently — Senator McCain you were in a refugees camp and I know you heard this kind of thing.”
“People measure what we do,” he concluded. “In a way that’s a good exclamation point to my testimony.”