Monday, August 23, 2004

Why Kerry's War Record Matters

Memorial Day - a NovelExcellent synopsis from Roger Franklin (Business Week) of the current state of Kerry's war record... and why it matters. Excerpt:

Kerry's conduct in [the] war remains relevant -- and not just because he has made his time in uniform both centerpiece and touchstone of his campaign, nor even, as the Swift Boat Veterans assert, because he painted his personal history in the false colors of faux heroics...

If Kerry did shade the truth, he sure wouldn't be the first politician to do so. Only last week, voters were treated to the spectacle of Kerry point man and Iowa Senator Tom Harkin fulminating about the Swift Vets' ads. Yet Harkin is himself an exposed fabulist, having once claimed to have jousted in his F-4 Phantom with North Vietnamese MiGs.

The truth? He never saw combat, spent his war ferrying military planes from Japan to the Philippines for routine servicing, and apologized for his fictions when subsequently exposed by fellow Senator Barry Goldwater.

...So why pick on Kerry? Only this: Harkin doesn't want to be President. While voters will never know -- can never know -- if Kerry deserved those medals and his early ticket home, they can be absolutely sure that he did worse than merely embroider his exploits in the years that followed.

Kerry threw his medals over the White House fence -- except he didn't. He slept out on the Mall in Washington, D.C., with anti-war protesters -- except he didn't, having actually bunked down in a borrowed townhouse with Newsweek reporter Robert Sam Anson, according to an investigative story in the New York Observer.

And most troubling of all, Kerry has said he spent the last days of 1968 on a secret mission in Cambodia, under fire and listening to President Nixon deny that Kerry or any other U.S. servicemen were operating on the wrong side of the border. In one version, it was the Khmer Rouge doing the shooting. In another, drunken South Vietnamese troops celebrating Christmas, which isn't even a good fable, since Buddhists generally don't get too excited about the birth of the Christians Messiah.
Oh, and another thing: It was President Lyndon Johnson Kerry would have been listening to, not Nixon, since the Republican was still four weeks away from his inauguration... truth really does matter in Presidential politics: Boasts and a talent for self-serving fiction are no recommendations for a lease on the Oval Office.

Why Kerry's War Record Matters

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