Friday, August 20, 2004


Buchanan just defended the Nixon White House on Scarborough Country and made the claim for about the 10,000,000,000,000,000th time that Kerry's 'Nam reocrd is fair game because he's made it the central issue of his campaign. But, say Buchanan and his fellow travelers, Bush has not done the same.


Bush made his own military service a campaign issue the second he declared his illegal war on Iraq. And he deserted. Went AWOL. Got special consideration to get in and special consideration to get out. It is shameful the way his spokesmen throw up their hands and say "Gee, who are we to trample on the constitutional rights of veterans--what they're doing is perfectly legal and we have nothing but utmost respect for John Kerry's noble service." They only trample on the constitutional rights of "terrorists" who are American citizens, holding them without charges or allowing them to see an attorney, and so forth.

John Kerry VOLUNTEERED for Vietnam. Bush did not. Nor did Cheney. Only in rightwing echo chamber America would some fat guys with a 35-year-old grudge (but whose noble service the Left-Handed Leftist respects utterly) be allowed to get away with this.

OK...They don't like ANTIWAR KERRY

One of the guys in the latest Swift Boat ad says "John Kerry gave the enemy for free what they tried to take from us in torture" or words to that effect. He says "Kerry demoralized us." If you're being tortured and held in a tiny cell in the Asian jungle, how is John Kerry demoralizing you? Did Charlie beat these guys with bamboo and then force them to listen to Kerry's testimony on the radio as further torture? Was Kerry's testimony even on the radio? Would American news even be broadcast into Vietnam on a frequency that VC could easily pick up? Could the VC risk tuning a radio into a frequency to pick up an American broadcast without giving away their position?

Antiwar John was trying to do everybody in Vietnam and the United States a favor--he was trying to help end a senseless war that by most accounts we should have never been fighting in the first place. He was trying to get hostilities to end so the POWs could be released. How in God's holy name is that demoralizing?

The New Swift Boat Veterans Ad

The new ad, debuted on cable news shows tonight, is highly disingenuous--in fact, it's perfidious in the way it "quotes" Kerry's testimony before Congress in which he said:

I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several
months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably
discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents
but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of

OK, pay attention here, because that paragraph above is very important and is always left out by rightwingers when they bring up the next paragraph. When you read the next paragraph, remember that Kerry is paraphrasing what "over 150 honorably discharged...veterans testified to." PAY ATTENTION--Kerry is not making the accusations that follow himself--he is quoting OTHER PEOPLE.

They told the stories at times they had personally raped,
cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human
genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot
at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle
and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of
South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and
very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this

ONCE AGAIN--Kerry is PARAPHRASING what other people said. Yes, it helps his antiwar argument, but Kerry himself IS NOT making these accusations. But when you see the new Swift Boat ad, you will hear Kerry's voice saying the words that come up on the screen devoid of context.

For example, the ad shows a picture of Kerry before the Senate, and you hear his voice saying "personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads..." and though I can't remember exactly what the narration is, it gives the impression that Kerry is accusing the soldiers who then appear in the ads of these horrible things.

But you can see for yourself that that is not at all what Kerry said--not in letter or spirit. These Republican types are scarily good at this sort of smear. They know most people will not take the time to look up Kerry's actual statement and will just shake their heads in disbelief at how Kerry could say such a thing about his fellow soldiers. BUT HE DIDN'T.

Here's another quote from Kerry's Senate testimony that you don't hear about--soldiers in combat, under fire, SUPPORTING Kerry. Not everyone likes the fantasy of a Buchanan or a Hannity (neither of whom served in the military) of the noble soldier who only wants to fight to the last, no matter the lack of righteousness of the cause, in blind obedience to his country's leaders. That is fascism. There were then (and are now) soldiers who don't wish to fight anymore, especially after the realize the wrongheadedness of their mission:

...I don't want to get into the game of saying I represent everybody over there,
but let me try to say as straightforwardly as I can, we had an advertisement,
ran full page, to show you what the troops read. It ran in Playboy and the
response to it within two and a half weeks from Vietnam was 1,200 members. We
received initially about 50 to 80 letters a day from troops
arriving at our New York office. Some of these letters -- and I wanted to bring some down, I didn't
know we were going to be testifying here and I can make them available to you --
are very, very moving, some of them written by hospital corpsmen on things, on casualty report sheets which say, you know, "Get us out of here." "You are the only hope he have got." "You have got to get us back; it is crazy." We received recently 80 members of the 101st Airborne signed up in one letter. Forty members from a helicopter assault squadron, crash and rescue mission signed up in another one.

Antiwar Then Vs. Antiwar Now

And make no mistake, all this rightwing yammering about how Kerry's service in Vietnam was noble, but it's "what he did afterward" that was so bad has a purpose for us in 2004. What Kerry "did afterward" was what many of us are trying to do right now--stop an illegal, unjust, and unnecessary war. And the rightwingers are saying tacitly, "See how we're sliming John Kerry? That's what you can expect. Hell, John Kerry actually fought in the war and we're still able to make him look bad--just think what we can do to you."

If anybody reads this, please forward it to everyone you can think of. I'm not saying it's the best essay on the subject or anything, but if you don't want to forward this particular essay, at least forward a link to the Kerry's statement so at least people can see what he actually said, not a selective edit of it. This Swift Boat smear campaign is a disgrace to our country, to our military, and to the next president of the United States.

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