Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Say it ain't so, John

So here we are, mid-August already. Kerry has spent an amazing amount of money and energy building a campaign based almost entirely on his 16 weeks in Vietnam. In case you had not heard, John Kerry served in Vietnam. Never mind that most tours of duty in that war were twelve months in duration and Kerry got home in four. The point is, he was there. He served.

And he was a hero, in his own mind at least. Frankly, I had never heard of "applying" for a medal. My father served in World War II as well as Vietnam. Rather heroically, I might add. He also got a number of medals, although he never talked about them. I know he never "applied" for one. But John Kerry did, and succeeded. He described events he experienced in combat and was awarded several medals as a result. I guess you can do that, if medals are important to you.

Now comes a group of his fellow officers with whom he served. His peers and superiors as well as enlisted men. These are the people who knew him and had to depend on him in combat, and they say events did not happen as Kerry described them. In fact, according to them, he was not only unreliable, but ran from battle.

It's really hard to blame someone for being overcome by fear in combat. I have never faced such a situation — my draft lottery number was 345, good enough for a pass on that one. But, to apply for a medal for a self-inflicted wound? Man, that is low.

Okay, so maybe the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are lying. Maybe Kerry really did all these heroic things and they are the liars. Some 250 of them, many retired senior officers, versus a few guys who served under Kerry for a few weeks. Okay.

Kerry and Edwards sent forth their lawyers to attack. Not to attack the arguments, but the character of the critics. They attack the source of funding of their project, as being of right-wing Republicans. No matter that George Soros funds Moveon.org to the tune of millions — that is simply free speech. When criticism comes from the right, it is a conspiracy.

The simple way to settle this: release military records. They demanded it of Bush, and succeeded. Bush put the rumors of his National Guard service to rest once and for all. Now, Kerry can release his records and put this matter to rest.

Unless the truth would hurt, of course.

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