John Kerry: war hero or phony opportunist?
By now, even some on the Left are beginning to see we are faced with implacable foes who are willing to lay down their lives to end Western Civilization. If the recent terrorist attacks in Spain, Turkey, Malaysia, Italy, Casablanca, Saudi Arabia, and the Philippines do not convince them, then nothing will. Interesting how the Spanish attack was on 3/11, and exactly 911 days after the attack against us on 9/11.
While Americans are deciding whether to retain their current commander-in-chief or try out a new one, al Qaeda and the other terrorist sub-sets would be well advised to knock off their attacks until our presidential election is over. The experts at www.stratfor.com say for al Qaeda to cause problems for President Bush, al Qaeda must strike here before the end of March, 2004. Moreover, if the terrorists do not attack here until August or September, they will virtually insure a Bush reelection.
Several weeks ago, this observer opined that John Kerry made a mistake by trying to portray himself as a war hero. No one -- and especially not the Bush-Cheney campaign – questions John Kerry’s patriotism; however, many Vietnam veterans think there is something “fishy” about how Kerry collected three Purple Hearts based on minor scratches and got to go home after only four months of a normally 12-month tour of duty.
Author Douglas Brinkley wrote a book about Kerry’s service on a 50-foot Swift Boat in the southern waters of South Vietnam. Apparently, Brinkley chose not to interview any former crewmembers who had a negative view of Kerry. But recently, Gunner’s Mate Stephen M. Gardiner, surfaced to say some very unflattering things about his former skipper. Of all people, Time Magazine chose Brinkley to report on Gardiner and his complaints. To protect the sloppy and inadequate research Brinkley did for his Kerry book, Brinkley savaged Gardiner as some kind of right-wing kook.
Look for some of Kerry’s fellow Swift Boat skippers to surface with questions about Kerry’s four-month tour in Vietnam. Some Vietnam veterans have established some pages on the Internet based on their concerns about Kerry’s service and his anti-war activism. See: www.vietnamveteransagainstjohnkerry.com.
Not only do they find something “fishy” about Kerry’s three Purple Hearts without evacuation or loss of time on the job, there is also something fishy about Kerry’s Bronze Star medal. During Vietnam, the Bronze Star (without V for Valor) was awarded for simply completing the normal 12-month tour in country. Soldiers call that a “been-there” medal. But the Bronze Star with “V” for Valor is awarded for a specific action during which the recipient displayed conspicuous valor. Clearly, Kerry did not receive a Bronze Star for Valor. But how did Kerry receive a Bronze Star “been there” medal when he did not complete the obligatory 12-months in Vietnam?
Kerry is the one who opened this can of worms which wiggles not just with his anti-war activism while many of us were still over there fighting, it now wiggles with some serious questions by some very serious veterans about what Kerry actually did while riding that Swift Boat?
The Bush-Cheney campaign won’t raise these questions; however, they will ask: Why did Senator John Kerry vote against the first Gulf War? Why did Kerry vote for the invasion of Iraq, but voted against the funding needed to support our troops in the field and finish the job? How can Kerry defend his vote against more intelligence resources and then complain about our intelligence failures?
For the last three months, Kerry has done nothing but attack President Bush’s handling of the War on Terror and his handling of the domestic economy. As a “four-month” boat skipper with a questionable record, he has no claim to any real military expertise. And, each time he flashes his medals, he further enrages many Vietnam veterans. Kerry would be well-advised knock off the war hero bit and project some positive plans for solving our remaining domestic problems.
William Hamilton, a nationally syndicated columnist, a featured commentator for USA Today, and the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy, served 24 months with the 1st Air Cavalry Division in Vietnam and Cambodia.
©2004. William Hamilton.