[Marxism] Kerry and Bush on war and credibility -- PLUS Agent Orange

lshan at bcn.net lshan at bcn.net
Sun Mar 7 12:25:35 MST 2004

Paul Dillon wrote:

<<I'm not sure who was responsible for the river patrols in the Mekong
Delta, but these were notoriously dangerous, say as depicted in Apocalypse
Now.  As I understand it,  Kerry served as the commander for two river
patrol boats.  It's an inverted syllogism but I think he probably served in
some pretty heavy situations.>>

My note doesn't really contradict this. I simply point out that although
Kerry was opposed to the Vietnam war, he chose to follow the rules and
accepted his assignments without actually "volunteering" either for service
in Vietnam (which I think a mark in his favor) or even for the dangerous
river patrols. When he volunteered, the Swift boats were on coastal
assignments; their mission was changed to river assignments by Admiral
Zumwalt. Kerry accepted his fate and was apparently a "good soldier."

On the other hand, Bush (or his family) immorally, and probably illegally,
used his/its position to put young George ahead of others in order to escape
the draft. The famous rule "women and children first into the life boats"
did not apply to the Bush family. Had they been drawing straws, the Bushies
would have bribed the straw holder.


Kerry may have escaped some of the devastating effects of Agent Orange
because he stayed only 4 months in Vietnam. Admiral Zumwalt, who changed the
mission of the Swift boats from coastal to river, authorized the spraying of
Agent Orange along the rivers of the Mekong Delta. Zumwalt's son--like John
Kerry, a Swift Boat captain--died of lymphoma in 1988 at the age of 42.

"The swift boats, like the one John Kerry captained, were sitting ducks.
Hiding in the dense jungle along the riverbanks of the Mekong Delta, the
Viet Cong could open up on the Americans with machine guns, mortars and
rockets--and vanish before the Americans could effectively shoot back. So
the U.S. military adjusted, dropping tons of herbicide on the foliage to
strip the enemy of its cover. 'They just told us they sprayed something to
kill the bushes,' recalls Mike Medeiros, who served with Kerry aboard PCF
(Patrol Craft Fast) 94 in the winter of 1969. 'It looked like a moonscape...
You saw skeletal remains of trees everywhere. It was like, whatever they're
using is some serious stuff.'"
John Kerry: Why He Hates Agent Orange (originally in this week's Newsweek)

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