February 23, 2004


It’s 2004, and John Kerry thinks the next election is all about Vietnam:

Mr Kerry meanwhile challenged Mr Bush in a letter to a debate after accusing the President's re-election campaign of attacking his Vietnam-era military service and his Senate voting record on military and security issues.

"Over the last week, you and your campaign have initiated a widespread attack on my service in Vietnam, my decision to speak out to end that war, and my commitment to the defence of this nation," Mr Kerry wrote.

"As you well know, Vietnam was a very difficult and painful period in our nation's history, and the struggle for our veterans continues. So it has been hard to believe that you would choose to reopen these wounds for your personal political gain. But, that is what you have chosen to do.

"I will not sit back and allow my patriotism to be challenged.

"America deserves a better debate. If you want to debate the Vietnam era, and the impact of our experiences on our approaches to presidential leadership, I am prepared to do so."

In 1992, defending Vietnam war draft-dodger Bill Clinton, Kerry said: "We do not need to divide America over who served and how." Now Vietnam division is Kerry’s major policy. Move on, Senator. There's a new war.

Posted by Tim Blair at February 23, 2004 01:47 AM

Here is the only debate that should take place about Kerry’s actions concerning Vietnam:

Kerry’s leadership of his organization supporting North Vietnam enabled the Communist takeover of Cambodia and Vietnam. Upon their arrival, the Communists executed 1,500,000 people.

The question is does Kerry have the moral equivalency of a man who helped Hitler come to power that resulted in the execution of 6 million Jews?

I say the two are equivalent.

Posted by: jake at February 23, 2004 at 02:01 AM

Widespread attack on his Vietnam service? Geez these people even spin attacks on themselves.

As far as I know everyone from the Bush administration to the radio pundits have gone to great lengths to say his actual service was admirable. It's what he did AFTER the war thats come into question.

I can't even fathom that these dips are going for the martyr angle after bombarding Bush constantly for months.

Posted by: Dash at February 23, 2004 at 02:06 AM

Ok, so I just want to make sure I understand this: doubting the prudence of the decisions in Kerry's voting record is now questioning his patriotism?

Whatever, horse-face. That pathetic little ploy didn't work for Max Cleland, and it ain't gonna work for you.

Posted by: Russell at February 23, 2004 at 02:27 AM

Yes, it must be very, very painful for Kerry to talk about Vietnam every time he opens his mouth out on the campaign trail. Dragging around his own troop of fellow vets to surround him on the stage must also be a constant, painful reminder of that terrible war. How dare President Bush open up old wounds?

Kerry is resorting to what has become an artform for Democrats: he's painting himself as a victim. Any criticism of his record since the war is an attack on his patriotism. He wants any discussion of his anti-war activities to be off the table, and even seems to think his dismal Senate voting record should be as well.

Most voters don't know much about Kerry except that he's a Vietnam vet and that's the image he's desperate to lock into people's minds. His history since he returned from the 'Nam won't look nearly as good to voters so it's no wonder Kerry would rather not dwell on all that and continue to focus on what's really important -- his service in Vietnam.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at February 23, 2004 at 02:33 AM

The key to an election is mass perception, primarily of being a credible candidate, with a smattering of new ideas appended to confirmation of your support for the more popular policies of the moment.

Where those policies are, in the main leftist, a conservative slant has to be found.

If you think I'm wrong then why is Tony Blair the prime minister of England.

If he had promoted tradtional Labour values he'd be in opposition. Instead England voted in the Tory second XI with the Tories in opposition.

The same applies with Mr Kerry and his debate on issues of all things military and security :

Kerry is pulling himself apart and this must be shown up for what it is - uncertainty - the mother of all cock-ups in this field.

Military issues need certainty NOT :

1)Fought in Vietnam THEN demonstrated against it (although he absence of Kerry makes the heart grow Fonda).

2)Voted for the war in Iraq followed by the best backpedalling ever seen since Lance Armstrong's chain came off at the top of Alp Duez.

In other words Kerry is a firm leader on any military issuem,nless he changes his mind, in which case you could be in serious trouble.

In a global village hardly the man you would want to be at the helm of the supertanker known as the USA.

George on the other hand must attack this weakness head on AS WELL AS his own problems.

1. If there are no WMD that is not a sign that George W. is incredible - to the contrary.

America and Britain could very easily have ENSURED that these weapons were found there. That they did not stoop to this, means they are NOT liars as opposed to the package being sold by the facist Left.

The approach must be that Saddam was treacherous, could have bailed out easily by confirming they were no more but refused to do so.

With this proven mass murderer we erred on the side of pre-emption because the alternative was too horrible to contemplate.

If Pakistan could steer Libya down that path how easy Iraq?

2. On Vietnam he must accept and praise Kerry's contribution but point out his refusal to stick with principle which in wartime is poison.

3. As for himself he must confirm that while he was far short of a Kerry, he did his small bit as was required of him.

Possibly end off by asking Kerry about Kenya.....yes of course it was all bullshit but what the heck.......

Posted by: Traps at February 23, 2004 at 03:07 AM

How can you attack a person's patriotism when they don't possess any?

Posted by: Mike Jericho at February 23, 2004 at 04:48 AM

Also, questions are beginning to be raised about just how Kerry managed 3 purple hearts, a bronze star and a silver star in just 4 months duty in a situation not regarded by most on the spot at the time as all that dangerous.

Sort of like looking at Max Cleland (a reasonably decent sort, as much as I can tell) and deciding that he'd have never become a US Senator had he not been first appointed as Secretary of Veterans Affairs by Clinton, who was anxious to insulate himself from questions about his draft behaviors. Cleland was perfect. A disabled veteran. But look how upset some people get when it is pointed out that he didn't get a purple heart for his loss of two legs and an arm because he blew them off himself in a non-combat situation by absurdly picking up a grenade he saw lying in a LZ he had just entered.

Once you actually *look* at Kerry's service record, while commendable, it certainly appears he got breaks and received medals in situations others would not have.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at February 23, 2004 at 04:49 AM

Wow, remember how well that In Your Face tactic worked for Gore?

Posted by: Sortelli at February 23, 2004 at 06:24 AM

John Kerry is one of my state's (Massachusetts) senators. His service in Vietnam is not an issue, as has been pointed out.

What he said and did upon returning to the states *is* an issue. It's an issue for some Vietnam era vets, in particular. They feel he was one of the reasons they were spit upon when they returned home.

There are vets that wanted the war to end, but don't support what was said and done by Kerry, and others like him, to help end it. They feel very betrayed by him.

Kerry helped (via congressional testimony) our service people in 'Nam look like blood-thirsty baby killers. The American public were helped to believe, because of Kerry's words among others, that their soldiers in 'Nam were a disgrace to the nation.

Many vets have not forgotten, or forgiven him for this portrayal. It will be very interesting to see how his words about these vets are used during the upcoming presidential election.

It's a very sore issue among some of the vets I know here.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at February 23, 2004 at 07:58 AM

Kerry is definitely short a few buckets worth of bolts.Oh,Kerry, the men in white coats are warming up the wagon.

Posted by: d at February 23, 2004 at 08:04 AM

speaking of john kerry... a horse walks into a bar. the bartender asks "why the long face"?

Posted by: roscoe at February 23, 2004 at 09:07 AM

Well, he can sit forwards, if he prefers it to sitting back, it makes no diff to the fact, he's a weasel.

Posted by: d at February 23, 2004 at 09:12 AM

I can't even fathom that these dips are going for the martyr angle after bombarding Bush constantly for months.

Tell me about it. The Democrats are beyond shameless this year. So far the various Dem presidential candidates have called Bush a liar, a gang leader, a murderer, a thief and a traitor. (Those are just the ones I can remember). Now that the GOP is challenging them ON THE ISSUES it's a smear tactic? Insane.

Posted by: g wiz at February 23, 2004 at 09:20 AM

Kerry is going to destroy the country in order to save it.

Posted by: Habib at February 23, 2004 at 10:51 AM

Turn those facts into money! Go!

Posted by: Sincerity Slips at February 23, 2004 at 12:51 PM

Ahh, Gary Trudeau, that font of accuracy that has gone so far as to compare his attention to detail to the mighty Matt Drudge. I'm so glad to see he's out there trying to draw attention to the issue of gutter politics.

Posted by: Sortelli at February 23, 2004 at 01:05 PM

Since when does the status of "war hero" impart the moral authority to switch sides? Kerry is being cast merely as having been "anti-war" but it's pretty clear that he was actually anti-South Vietnam. Our allies are supposed to be able to trust a guy like that?

Posted by: Eric Scheie at February 23, 2004 at 01:26 PM

Speaking of Trudeau, have any of his characters ever worked on a winning presidential campaign? All I can remember offhand is Anderson and Dean...

Posted by: John Nowak at February 23, 2004 at 03:41 PM

And McGovern, don't forget!

Posted by: Sortelli at February 23, 2004 at 04:18 PM


No reason to slam weasels like that. They are actually quite useful at controlling rodent populations. Haven't figured out yet what Kerry is useful for. I think he's just a pompous ass.

Posted by: Gene at February 23, 2004 at 04:58 PM

I like the general idea:
"I REALLY didn't want to have to talk about Vietnam, but if you're going to MAKE me...."

Posted by: maor at February 23, 2004 at 07:49 PM

Kerry bizarre assertions are one reason why he couldn't get arrested until Dean immolated himself. Senator "Do you know who I am?" is a shopworn party hack who will slowly melt away under the spotlight no matter how hard our left-wing media tries to prop him up( after all ,he's one of them- a 60's self-hating American).
This nutzoid attack on Bush can only bother fence-sitters ,since it borders on Al Gore- like delusions of self-importance.

Posted by: jj shaka at February 24, 2004 at 02:30 AM

Whether Kerry likes it or not, there is an issue that Americans have needed to address for over 30 years now. Maybe this is the time to do it. Namely, did the anti-Vietnam War protesters go over the line that separates appropriate dissent and disagreement from inappropriate aid and comfort to the enemy?

Many people desire to control this issue and place it under the protection of free speech. Certainly I was one of those considering my opposition to the war at the time.

However, I cannot help but recall an interview I watched some time back of General Giap. The North Vietnamese commander shocked me when he said, in a rather matter of fact way, that the American strategy of fortifying South Vietnamese villages and bombing North Vietnamese cities and supply lines was working. The North was basically losing the war. However, they knew that with the anti-war faction growing stronger over time, all they needed to do was continue bringing pressure and the US would eventually give up.

That sounds to me like aid and comfort. Actually, that sounds like a second front. If that is true, then ironically John Kerry would have fought the war twice, once for South Vietnam and the US, and second for the North. By focusing on the first, he may very well bring scrutiny to the second.

Posted by: Wrong Wright at February 25, 2004 at 04:09 AM

Kerry, is a disgrace to all veitnam vets, as he sat there like a lying tattletale in '71 in front of congress, shame on him. and as far as pulling another soldier out of harms way, that was his job as it was hundreds of other soldiers in ww1, ww2, and the desert wars. they are not all hawking what they were pledged to do and did without all the glory that kerry has taken on like peacock feathers.
he makes me sick.

Posted by: rhonda at March 14, 2004 at 04:55 AM

Had Kerry been the average Joe, he'd have been eligible for court martial, instead of a Silver Star. For evidence of that, consider the following:
Articles of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, with attention to Articles 3, 4, 5, 12, and 121,
followed by the "Nine Rules" card, issued to every person active in Viet Nam at http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/mylai/MYL_WMAC.HTM


and then the Uniform Code of Military Justice,


Article 86 Absence without leave (sounds like a stretch, but read the explanation. Leaving appointed place of duty (his post as commanding officer of a vessel) is an element of this offense)

Article 92 Failure to obey order or regulation (Articles of the Geneva Convention are thoroughly explained to, and discussed with, all U.S. military officers, and are considered to be regulations)

Article 93 Cruelty and maltreatment (applies to all persons under his authority (including prisoners))

Article 99 Misbehavior before the enemy (leaving his assigned vessel without command in order to pursue wounded foe, thus leaving his vessel and crew in a position subject to ambush)

Article 110 Improper hazarding of vessel (commanding officer abandoned his vessel in a potentially vulnerable position, while he pursued a wounded foe)

Article 111 Drunken or reckless operation of vehicle, aircraft, or vessel (same elements as Article 110)

Article 118 Murder (made unlawful by the Articles of the Geneva Convention, killing of a prisoner or wounded combatant who has abandoned aggressive action)

Article 119 Manslaughter (a lesser included offense of Article 118)

Article 134 General Article (be sure to follow the additional specifications below)

(Jumping from vessel into the water) (act prejudicial of good order and discipline, ie, causing vessel to become inoperative and subject to hostile fire while pursuing wounded combatant who had abandoned aggressive action)(See Paragraph 60)

(Reckless endangerment) (Endangered vessel and crew by abandoning his duties as commanding officer to pursue wounded combatant who had abandoned aggressive action)

Posted by: vetbutnohero at March 18, 2004 at 10:53 AM