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Commentary :: Environment
Kerry the War Hero is a Loser; Kerry the War Resister Would be a Winner
23 Aug 2004
As long as Kerry has to defend his war record, he will be battered by Bush and right-wing Viet Vets. Only if he embraces his years as a war resister and joins the majority of Americans in opposing the current war can he hope to recover and win in November.
Before I launch into this critique of John Kerry and his appallingly bad campaign for the White House, let me say that the Bush/Rove attack on his Vietnam record is so grotesque and calculating that it’s almost enough, on its own, to win my vote in November.

That said, I have to say that Kerry has brought this mess on himself.

His major problem is that because his campaign stands for so little that about all he is telling voters is that they should vote for him because he won a bunch of medals in Vietnam. His Clintonian-style campaign, in which he offers himself as simply incrementally better than his opponent on a bunch of carefully cherry-picked wedge micro-issues, has made it inevitable that he would be challenged on his main selling point—his military record and his courage under fire.

His second problem is that once, way back in 1971, Kerry did have the courage to stand up in public and denounce not just the criminality and stupidity of America’s war against Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, but his own complicity in the crimes of that war. If he’d been smart, and if he’d kept the strength of his convictions and shown even an ounce of political courage, he would have made that part of his political resume a centerpiece of his campaign. He would have said that as president he would not be afraid to put a stop to a bad policy when he saw one, as he had once done at the height of the Indochina conflict.

People who still support that misbegotten war might fault him and call him a traitor, but they were people who were firmly in the Bush camp already. The undecided, and the Democrats who find Kerry’s populist credentials sadly lacking, however, would at least have applauded his willingness to take a stand on principle and to defend his past courageous mea culpa. After all, it was not the young men in uniform in Vietnam who were the war criminals, it was the generals in the Pentagon, and the suits in the White House and State Department—the ones who were setting the criminal policies--just as it is today.

Instead, Kerry on the campaign trail has acted for all the world as if his 1971 congressional testimony against the war had never happened. He has spent all his time talking about his allegedly heroic months on a swiftboat, not about his years afterwards as a war resister.

For the rest of this column, please go (at no charge) to This Can't Be Happening! .
See also:
http://www.thiscantbehappening.net

This work is in the public domain
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Like DUH. Its gonna be four more years with Bush.
23 Aug 2004
Your story was right on the money, but from my point of view (The Right), Kerry was the best thing that happened at the DNC. The final insurance that Bush would have no real competition for the White House. That, and the ever-smiling-used-car-salesman John Edwards (who seems more like he's competing for King of the School Prom. Here is a chouce excerpt from a site extoling Kerry's "War Hero" history:


http://www.uncorrelated.com/archives/000120.html

In December of 1968, Kerry received a slight wound on his arm, for which he received his first Purple Heart. After being assigned to boat 94, Kerry received another slight wound from shrapnel to his thigh in February of 1969.

Eight days after his second wounding, Kerry's boat would come under rocket attack from shore. He charged the boat onto the shore and an enemy soldier popped up some ten feet from the boat. The boat's gunner wounded the man as he fled and then poured 50 rounds into the cover the man had sought. Kerry jumped off the boat and delivered the coup de grace with his sidearm. For this "gallantry" he received the Silver Star.

Two weeks later, in March, a mine detonated near boat 94 and Kerry received his third wound (on his arm) and final Purple Heart. Kerry's "wounds" were so severe that he spend exactly two days convalescing for the most serious one and simply carried on with the others. Its rather shocking that soldiers who endured "owies" and those who were maimed by enemy fire received the exact same medal.

At this point, Kerry engineered his exit from Vietnam, having extracted whatever political utility it provided. Kerry requested to be sent home on the grounds that he had been wounded three times and prevailed on Commodore Charles F. Horn, his squadron commander to complete a document to this effect and request him as an personal aide in the Boston-Washington corridor. Kerry spent a grand total of four months "in-country"

In January, 1970, Kerry requested discharge from Rear Admiral Walter F. Schlech, Jr. so that he could run for Congress. Kerry was at that point a near perfect clone of the late John F. Kennedy, right down to the war record but the mood in the country had changed and Kerry dropped out after three months when it became clear that he would not get the nomination.

Kerry acted consistently with his subsequent reputation and reversed himself, associating himself with leftist anti-war veterans and eventually assuming a leadership position at the VVAW (whose received funding from none other than Jane Fonda...). If he couldn't win hearts and minds as a war hero, he would win them as an anti-hero.