An old acquaintance of mine, Jacob Hornberger, hits it on the head in his latest blog entry over at FFF.
There is a valuable lesson to be learned in the Bush-Kerry battle over their respective roles during the Vietnam War. When our esteemed members of Congress reinstitute the draft in order to gain the manpower necessary to fund more preemptive wars of aggression in the future, the best thing that every young man and woman can do is this: Do everything you can to avoid being sent overseas into battle, as President Bush and Vice-President Cheney did, because that way you don’t risk your life or limbs and you can later ridicule and mock those who were stupid enough to go, including those who received those false and fraudulent government-issued ribbons and medals for valor.
I have no doubt, now that the strategy to spread FUD against Kerry as a soldier has seemed to run its course (see the resignation of this guy), that the next target of smearing will likely be his involvement in the war as a protester. In my mind, though, and looking at history in a traditional linear framework, Kerry stood on the right side in both cases, whereas Bush failed to stand at all. This all, of course, will be lost on the base whom the W will undoubtedly be trying to rhetorically woo next week.
As it turns out, not even a day after I posted this, I’m seeing SwiftVet campaign commercials all over the place demonizing Kerry as some kind of anti-American radical after serving in Vietnam. It should be pretty clear to anyone with any kind of sense at all that this is a deliberate attempt to create mistrust towards the candidate. As I was flipping through the channels, though, I found something interesting on C-Span—the actual 1971 testimony a young Lt. Kerry gave to the United States Senate, Committee on Foreign Relation. In his speech, he calmly articulates what was very evidently felt in the entire room (as evidenced from the amount of applause and the reflective understanding from the Senators during the question and answer period afterwards).
After watching the proceedings unfold, something became abundantly clear to me. This testimony is nothing for Kerry to apologize about as the smear ads suggest. If anything, it’s historical proof of his genuine love for his country, evidenced by his honorable duty, and shows that he has a strong moral conviction to boot. Asking only that the right thing be done by his country, Kerry showed a tremendous depth in patriotism.
So, I think again that the attack will ultimately backfire. If the Republicans really want to make this election about a war that happened 30 years ago, than Kerry wins hands down. No doubt about it.
I’ve said this before, but as long as this silly cylce of Republican negativity keeps going on, I’ll continue to repeat it. I’m amazed at how much character Kerry continues to reveal as each unsupported, out-of-context, and shameful attempt to destroy him makes him all the more appealing.