August 24, 2004


This started as a comment yesterday.

I figured it was worth expanding on.

Jeff Fecke left the comment near the end of a long thread on the latest revelations from the Swifties. Jeff said, in a nutshell:

    Kerry's lies, if they are lies, are no worse than Bush's alleged (and many-times disproved) absence without leave from the Air Guard,
  • that they are of equally little import to the decision we have to make this fall,
  • That Kerry doesn't have to answer the allegatinos against him until Bush answers the Air National Guard allegations (what, again?)
  • that there really is no evidence to show of Kerry's supposed career as a black bag operator,
  • that most of Unfit for Command has been shown to be a lie
  • that I'm avoiding discussion of Kerry's medals because I think the subject is a non-starter
Your comment is wrong on so many levels:

For starters; leaving aside any empirical proof of Bush's presence at AANG drills (I say it's been proven, the left covers its ears and goes "Nya nya"), at no point has the President EVER said "I'm qualified to be your president because I was a crackerjack F102 jock". In March, the Dems were chortling with glee, though - I heard at least one say "Kerry's experience at crisis leadership *dwarfs* the president's" because of Vietnam. So - if significant parts of that experience were made up from whole cloth, what DOES that say about the experience that's been the cornerstone of his career?

And yes, Kerry needs to provide proof of Kerry's presence in Cambodia, NO MATTER WHAT Bush's TANG record was. If the President dropped dead tomorrow of natural causes (calm down, Slash, it's hypothetical), Kerry's alleged lies would still be fully germane.

Corroborable evidence of any mission to Cambodia - documentary, eyewitness, SOMETHING - WILL exist. If the mission ever happened, anyway.

By the way - the left keeps repeating statements that the Swifties "have been caught lying" is, I'll be kind, an exaggeration. There are certain questions of chronology, details remembered wrongly, yadda yadda. In the end, though, the key question is, "Did Kerry exaggerate his war record (putting himself in places and on missions he never went on), his accomplishments (claiming credit for Peck's firefight, exaggerating his medal claims), his sacrifice (the extent of his injuries, and whether the injuries caused him to go home earlier than with other veterans; there was apparently not a consistent "three injuries and you're going home" policy; if there had been, a lot of soldiers who shot themselves in the foot, might not have), and his exposure to action (when he signed up for Swift boats, they were a fairly safe and cushy assignment) and so on. It's on the table because, if true, it's his only qualification for office. If not true...

By the way, I'm not recusing myself from discussing the circumstances behind Kerry's medals because I don't think there's a case; I'm doing it because as a non-Veteran, it's not my place. We have real veterans doing that. It's a great call for the Dem's bluff; after years of bellowing "chickenhawk" every time a Republican sounds off about war, they're faced with a group of guys who have more cojones than 99.9% of the party - and all the chickendoves can do is bleat about political connections, like you're not supposed to have them to voice an opinion!

Finally - it doesn't matter if Kerry was eight miles from Cambodia, eight feet, or eight time zones; being "almost" on an illegal, spook-carrying, gun-running secret mission is like beingt "almost" a virgin; it doesn't count.

In a rational world, we wouldn't need the Swifties to tell us this; By any remotely dispassionate measure, Kerry is an empty suit, vapid Yalie, an Ivy-league silver spooner with no redeeming life experience, a politician of no demonstrable heft, peddling a platform of baked wind, that doesn't deign to go into ANY specifics. All he has is his war record, and if we elect president based on war record then both George HW Bush and Bob Dole would have won in landslides.

John Kerry is no Bob Dole.

Posted by Mitch at August 24, 2004 05:50 AM | TrackBack

If a candidate asserts that his 120 days in command of a swift boat is a major qualification, if not the most major qualification, to be President of the United States, then those 120 days should be placed under a microscope, and the candidate's account of those 120 days should undergo a critical examination. To not do so is to refuse to take the candidate seriously. So, does Kerry wish to be treated seriously, or not?

Posted by: Will Allen at August 24, 2004 09:08 AM

The current war we are engaged has nothing in common with the fiasco of Vietnam and I'm bemused by people who seem to think that four months as a junior officer in ancient history outweighs three years of experience as Commander in Chief in the war on terror. Kerry supporters talk as if the experience of the last 35 months count as nothing.

Posted by: MLP at August 24, 2004 04:22 PM

"Kerry supporters talk as if the experience of the last 35 months count as nothing."


The way in which the President has conducted the WoT is the first and last reason that I will not support him. I don't care what either man did 35 years ago.

Bush failed to put adequate force into Afghanistan, and allowed OBL to slip away at Tora Bora. Would his capture have ended the WoT? Maybe, maybe not, but it would've dealt a significant blow to al-Qaeda.

Then, with Afghanistan quasi-stabilized, Bush turned his attention to Iraq, which we now know was perhaps the tenth-most-threatening nation to America, after Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, North Korea, Syria, Iran, the UAE, Yemen, Jordan, and Afghanistan. And Bush rammed the war through, shattering alliances and dissipating the good will the world had shown America in the aftermath of 9/11.

And now, where are we? Our troops are bogged down in Iraq, unable to pull out lest we destablilze the region, but unable to win a lasting peace in a nation which did not threaten American interests. Al Qaeda still is able to pull off pretty lethal attacks. Afghanistan is as stable as Robert Downey Jr. in a poppy field, and the rest of the world--who we really do need--hates us.

Those thirty-five months don't count? My dear MLP, they are the reason I will never vote for George W. Bush. We need a President who will take the battle to al Qaeda, to the terrorists who would do us wrong--not a President who will take the battle to the guy who is a bad guy, but had nothing to do with 9/11.

My vote is not based on John Kerry's service in Vietnam. It is based on George W. Bush's service as President. He has failed. And he deserves to lose on that basis.

Posted by: Jeff Fecke at August 24, 2004 05:13 PM

I see Bush's leadership as success againt an enemy that is vastly different from any we have faced before. Islam-o-fascist tactics and methods force us to confront our own deeply held demoratic values. We must decide how to fight an enemy who uses our freedoms to move, plot, finance, obtain weapons and then laughs at our legal system that is helpless until a crime occurs. We have had to confront how deeply we hold the values of privacy, freedom of asembly, travel, property.

We have not been attacked in our homes since 9/11/01. That speaks volumes. We may be attacked tomorrow. The war is not over. The hundreds of terrorists killed in Iraq are not in Europe or the US to act.

This war will not be over in 120 minutes with time for 44 minutes of commercials. It is not TV. It is not neat-clean-orderly with ads every few minutes. Real people die. Real people want to change the world

We face an enemy who wishes to return to the 14th Century. We have a political candidate who wishes to return to 35 years ago. This is not Vietnam. This is not Communism. This is not nation state vs nation state. Things are different.

Going back to the future or playing La Femme Nikita with 40,000 special ops guys is not gonna cut it. We cannot send our forces to operate with impunity inside foreign nations.

There is no negotiating table. There is no secret plan that will work any better than the hard tasks of changing minds or killing people.

We will not be safer as a second rate power.

Posted by: Andy at August 24, 2004 06:36 PM

Shattering alliances? Disappating good-will? The rest of the world hating us? I hear this a lot. What does this mean, exactly? Provide some examples of where the war in Iraq has damaged some of the other international objectives we are trying to accomplish. You could say that by not signing Kyoto the US did the same thing. I'm not a fan of Kyoto but my point is that nearly everything we do is going to tick some countries off.

Posted by: Scott J at August 24, 2004 10:03 PM

Well, for one thing, we could use help in Iraq right now--and lots of it. 90% of casualties are American, 90% of the cost has been bourne by us--and moreover, the Sadrs of Iraq can fulminate against "the American occupiers." Why? Because the Americans are the occupiers--the occupation there has not been internationalized.

Now, if Bush had invaded Iraq with the world behind us, there would've been more international troops with us from the get-go--hopefully some of them from Muslim countries. The attack would've come from the world, not from the US.

It would've made our job there much easier. It probably would've saved both American and Iraqi lives. It certainly would've saved us money. And it undoubtedly would've helped with the "peace." Meanwhile, Iraq would not have become a slow-motion recruitment video for al Qaeda.

(Of course, had Bush truly worked internationally, we might have proceeded with a robust inspection program which would've shown that there were no WMDs in Iraq--and would've allowed us to save the lives of over a thousand American troops--not to mention, keeping 120K+ American troops ready for something else.)

So there's one for you. One concrete example of how Bush's disdain for the international community has hurt our standing in the world, and made things more difficult on the WoT front.

If you need more, I'll be happy to discuss them.

Posted by: Jeff Fecke at August 24, 2004 11:08 PM

I'd love to hear the details of how Kerry is going to get France and Germany to send troops to Iraq. Best not hold my breath waiting for those details.

Posted by: Steve Meyer at August 25, 2004 12:12 PM