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Monday, September 13, 2004

Take that ... and that 

There's a great article in the NY Times in which Frank Rich outlines some of the similarities between Iraq and Vietnam, and what they mean for the election campaign. For starters:

Vietnam keeps popping out of America's darkest closet not just because Mr. Kerry conspicuously served there and Mr. Bush conspicuously did not, but because of what's happening half a world away in real time: a televised war in Iraq that resembles its Southeast Asian predecessor in its unpopularity, its fictional provocation and its unknown exit strategy. That war isn't going anywhere by Nov. 2, even as it is sporadically obscured by Florida storm clouds, and its Vietnam undertow isn't going anywhere either. Everyone knows that a Tet offensive, Sunni-style, could yet tilt this election in a direction unknown.

Also, there's a hint that my "chicken hawk" ad campaign to discredit Bush/Cheney is actually in the making:

No sooner did the Republicans leave New York than word got out that "60 Minutes" was poking anew into the president's National Guard stint, a Pandora's box of unanswered questions first unlocked by The Boston Globe four years ago. Now there's a "Texans for Truth" ad campaign trailing him in mimicry of the Swifties.

Excellent, nothing like fighting the phonny fire of Republican stooges with some good hard evidence. Hell, innuendo, bluster, and lies will do the trick. Why not stoop to the Republicans' level?

And lastly, some great observations about Kerry himself, putting his service in perspective, and insisting that later opposition to Vitenam was not somehow unpatriotic. Kerry's views were widely shared by thinking Vets.

You can appreciate why Swift boats in Mr. Kerry's division had casualty rates as high as 90 percent and how grotesque it is that Mr. Kerry's foes savage him now for having served "only" four months. (Would they say the same of those who have been wounded or killed in other wars, including Iraq, within four months of deployment?)

Yes, a telling hypothetical that.

...the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that turned Mr. Kerry into a political star. The young vet's charisma so upset Richard Nixon that he schemed with Charles Colson and Bob Haldeman to counter Mr. Kerry with a pro-Vietnam attack dog: John O'Neill, today the leader of the Swifties and the co-author of their best-selling bible, "Unfit for Command." ...

These veterans do not lightheartedly toss away the symbols of their sacrifice in Vietnam; they struggle with tears and violently conflicted emotions as they do so. They are battered men often wearing the ragtag remnants of their uniforms. Their eyes are haunted. They are willing to engage in self-annihilation, eradicating the record of their own heroism in battle, if that's what it takes to prevent their brothers from continuing to die in a doomed mission. ...

... the young Kerry's antiwar stance was hardly anomalous among his fellow Vietnam warriors by then, those still serving included. By that late point in the war — three years after Tet, L.B.J.'s abdication and Walter Cronkite's public declaration that we were "mired in stalemate" — there were seven desertions and 17 AWOL incidents for every 100 American soldiers. There were more than 250 antiwar newspapers within the armed forces alone. ...

The person who might most benefit from seeing "Going Upriver" is Mr. Kerry himself. "It takes a special courage to speak out against a cause for which you were once prepared to die," Jeffrey Smith, a West Point-trained C.I.A. man of the Kerry-Bush generation, wrote in The Washington Post last weekend.

Nuff said. Kerry - go get GWB. You'll find him in the gutter, slinging mud while reading My Pet Goat.

And meanwhile; John Howard plays the War on Foreigners card too... (When they're not throwing each other overboard, of course)

Try this...

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