[Marxism] Another view of Kerry, Bush, the Swift Boats, and the war

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Tue Aug 24 07:59:38 MDT 2004

Men Without Honor-The Most Bizarre Campaign Becomes the Most Revolting
by Bill Onasch  
For a while we could have some fun with this presidential campaign,
laughing at, not with, these two Yale frat boys and their improbable
running mates. But the Swift Boat Affair is just down right sleazy-on
both sides.

You have to say the Democrats opened the door. The liberals have long
blasted administration "chicken hawks," such as Cheney and Rumsfeld,
heading up the present war effort after successfully dodging any
military service of their own. Early on they conducted high profile
investigations into Bush's dubious Vietnam era service record in the
Texas Air National Guard. By the time of the Iowa caucuses just about
everyone in America knew Kerry had three Purple Hearts, a Silver Star, a
Bronze Star, and had rescued a fellow sailor at great personal risk. You
had to figure that some rain was eventually going to come down on this
long parade.

As Yogi would say, Bush might be dumb but he's not stupid. He knows he
can only lose in a kettle vs. the pot skirmish about war records. 

But 180 million buys a lot of surrogates and a lot of research.
Eventually they came up with the Swift Boat Veterans. Fueled by venom
aged for 35 years, this unsavory group has splattered the prim junior
Senator from Massachusetts like an ATV going through the compost pile.
Kerry was a coward. Kerry was an incompetent. Kerry didn't deserve his
Purple Hearts. Kerry endangered his men. Kerry slandered everyone in
uniform with his testimony before congress. It's hard to keep up on all
their charges-and even harder for Kerry to avoid any of it sticking.

Just when some of their most outrageous charges were beginning to die
down fresh reinforcements appear. Former Senator and presidential loser
Bob Dole took some time off from shooting Viagra commercials to join the
fray. Everybody knows Dole suffered crippling injuries in Word War II
combat. He stepped up to sneer at Kerry's "superficial" wounds that
earned him enough Purple Hearts to go home.

If you are really interested there are some objective looks at the
charges, the best appearing in the Washington Post. They have concluded
that Kerry has never actually lied about his Vietnam record, that he
pretty much always went by the book.

Was Kerry a hero? He certainly didn't set out to be one. This rich kid
came out of college NROTC to enter the Navy as an officer and gentleman.
He volunteered for the Swift Boats at a time when they were used almost
solely for coastal patrol and rarely encountered enemy fire.

It was Kerry's bad luck that some desk bound Admiral came up with the
brilliant idea of sending the Swift Boats into the shallow waters of the
Mekong Delta. A cush duty suddenly became one of the most dangerous.

Were Kerry's wounds superficial? Certainly none were life threatening,
none resulted in long term serious disability. The infantry grunt that
spent weeks recovering from a serious wound only to be sent back into
combat might feel resentful that this naval officer got to go home after
three relatively minor wounds. But there is no doubt that Kerry's wounds
qualified him for his Purple Hearts and his ticket home.

Personally I can't fault Kerry for taking advantage of the rules to get
the hell out. Only a saint or a lunatic would say don't send me home on
a technicality, I want to stay and get shot up some more. But it
probably is in bad taste to flaunt these medals as if he were a mighty
Klingon warrior.

Now when Kerry got back state side he did carry out perhaps the one
truly courageous and progressive act of his life: he condemned the
Vietnam war publicly and in no uncertain terms. The Swift Boat Veterans
brand this as betrayal but most GIs on the ground at the time were happy
to hear some one speaking truth to power. I recall being greatly
impressed at the time with his congressional testimony. He was a hero to
a lot of us then.

It's hard to describe my feelings when I heard him respond to
questioning about this congressional testimony on Meet the Press earlier
this year. He all but repudiated it, sloughing it off as a foolishness,
immaturity of youth.

And that brings us back to the sleaze factor. While all this attention
is being focused on Kerry's war record of 35 years ago, men and women
are dying right now in similar war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe the
slacker in the White House has no personal experience with combat. Kerry
does. Kerry once spoke up for the grunts. No more.

No, it's not funny any more. These men with their unprincipled ambition
and penchant for mud slinging have no honor. In fact they have no
redeeming personal, much less political, qualities of any kind. I'm sick
of looking at them and sicker yet at the prospect that one of them will
be residing in the White House the next four years. 


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