Friday, February 01, 2008

What If It's McCain?

This Townhall piece should be read by conservatives still reeling from the departures of Thompson and Hunter from the GOP primary race.

Like many, I'm not completely thrilled with our selections for the Republican nominee. Through a combination of factors---media influence, poor campaigning, poor fundraising, etc.---the best conservatives have fallen by the wayside. We are left with men who are less than ideal regarding conservatism, though each is still likely to be a decent president, and certainly better than either of the two remaining clowns on the Dem side.

The John Hawkins piece is focussed on McCain, and why we should vote for him if he wins the nomination. I have problems with McCain, as do many on the right, and I believe I once determined that I'd never vote for him. But what of the alternatives? How can I, in good conscience, NOT vote for the opponent of Obama/Clinton? That would just be too nasty a thing to do to the nation. How about some third party candidate? Yeah, right.

There's been a lot of talk about McCain being a RINO, "more liberal than Hillary", etc. I don't buy it. He's not liberal, he's just not the most conservative guy that ran. Medved, a big McCain backer, laments the aforementioned knocks on McCain, but I read a response to his defense recently. Medved likes to talk about the rating given McCain by the American Conservative Union (ACU), which is around 83. Turns out, that's not so hot overall. Senator Kyl, also from Arizona, scored around 97. Half the people sent to Congress from Arizona score around 94. Here is where you can read more about his ACU ratings.

So of course, the only reasonable thing that I can do, should McCain be the party nominee, is to cast my vote for him. I encourage all who lean right, stand in the middle, or are just barely left, to vote for whomever wins the GOP nomination. As the Hawkins article points out, we can't let a million kids per year die just because McCain, or any other GOP hopeful, is less than the perfect conservative.

29 comments:

Mark said...

I havce come to pretty much the same conclusion, although I don't think McCain is as bad as we conservatives say. Somewhere in my heart, I get the impression that McCain is much smarter than any of us give him credit for. It isn't based on any real knowledge or insight, just a gut feeling, really. I think he just understands the rank and file American voter better than we do. I think he has more real Conservative principles than we give him credit for and just isn't tipping his hand to America.

Remember, he has been campaigning for President since before Bush 41. His entire voting record since he first decided he wanted to be President may be based on his overall plan to win the Presidency when the time is right.

In short, I think he is merely saying what the majority of Americans, left and right, want him to say just to get elected, and then his true colors will be revealed.

Does anyone really think he stands for equity for terrorists prisoners? I realize he was tortured as a prisoner, but does he really think the way we treat terrorists prisoners compares? I don't.

Les said...

I'm surprised Huck doesn't get more support from the people. My dad's a "values" guy who doesn't always vote on election day, and he's made it clear to me that he'd be more motivated to vote if the Huckster was on top of the ticket come November. According to the media talking heads, nobody in the economic conservative circles likes Huckabee too much, so he's got no chance to survive the primary process. Personally, I think that's unfortunate for the GOP. He'd do a good job of getting out the evangelical vote in a general election, especially once casual conservative voters actually get a chance to hear his socially conservative points of view during one-on-one elections that are generally watched by way more people than primary debates. Look at Iowa - Huck was able to spend time there and let Joe America get to know him a little. It worked out quite well for him. Sadly for him, odds are he'll soon be roadkill. There's the possibility of a VP slot, but that's not gonna have the same pull for casual voters as top billing would.

Marshall Art said...

One would think the possibility of a President Hillary Clinton or a President Barak Obama would be enough to bring evangelicals and values voters out to the polls in droves.

Anonymous said...

Medved has really gone far to the left on this issue. When something like this happens you look for a reason. Perhaps he plans to get a job in a McCain administration.

I hate to bring this up but when you look to possible motivations I have found this. Medved’s father lives in Israel. John McCain gets strong support from AIPAC.

Check this picture.

http://www.aipac.org/about_AIPAC/index_1906.asp

Now I in general am supportive of Israel. But Israel isn’t America. Israel is a foreign country. And we should never, ever put any foreign country’s interest above our own, and I fear by having tied ourselves so closely to Israel we have. Now again this isn’t an attack on Israel. We should never tie ourselves to ANY country as closely as we have tied ourselves to Israel.

Now I hate to think it, but could Medved’s support of McCain come from the close relationship AIPAC has with John McCain? I believe it’s something we should at least think about.

Marshall Art said...

I don't think having spoken at an AIPAC event qualifies one as being too supportive of Israel. There were plenty others listed as having spoken. At present, and until something more damning that a picture comes out, I'd say there's nothing there.

As to Medved, I too have wondered about his unflinching support for McCain. I don't get it. There were more conservatives in the race for while, but I never heard a good reaon why he'd vote for them. I think he is going on the electability factor plus his war record.

As to his time in captivity, I've heard from two different sources that indicate that he wasn't all he claimed to be. I present one of them here. Interesting stuff, though I have no idea how true or false it is.

Les said...

So I take it it's McCain's turn to get Swift-Boated?

Marshall Art said...

"So I take it it's McCain's turn to get Swift-Boated?"

If by that you mean people who would know speaking out about details previously unknown, I'd say, "Why not?"

If you use that term like some on the left do, to mean that a group of people who don't know but insist on merely spreading rumors and innuendo, then no.

Personally, I don't think the original Swift Boat Vets who opposed John Kerry's run for president were among the latter group. I believe they were honorable people who exposed Kerry for who he is, a fraud. I think the thing to remember is that true men of honor never have such crap spewed about them in the first place. However, this doesn't mean I've already bought into the rumors about McCain. I only meant to imply that these things are out there now and from more than one source. The credibility of such things is beyond me to determine, but as they are out there, don't be surprised that someone plays that card more agressively. It could come from either party, it could come only if he wins the party nomination, it could come directly from an opponent or through an opponent's operatives. According to the link I presented, the info from the translators records are easily obtainable. If that's true, it will have an impact if the info is widely publicized. All I know for sure is that it doesn't help me decide what I'd do in the event he wins the nomination. Can I hold my nose hard enough?

Les said...

"...true men of honor never have such crap spewed about them in the first place."

Only a select few of those true men of honor choose to put themselves into the public spotlight though, Art. It's absolutely baffling to me how people can miss the hypocrisy in extolling the virtues of our military men and women while going out of their way to discredit their service when they don't agree politically. Did Kerry really piss some people off with the Winter Soldier stuff? You bet he did. However, I don't recall being blown away by any of the Swift Boaters' allegations, nor am I impressed with the accusations leveled at McCain in your linked article. Why? Because the fact remains these guys spilled their own blood in the service of our country - something President Bush NEVER had to do - and while the specifics of their recounting of those events may be disputed in the eyes of some, their contributions should never be.

Marshall Art said...

Their service is put out as a billboard upon which the general population is to focus. If they hold it out there as an example of their character, it's not unreasonable to examine that service to see if it's all it's been cracked up to be. Why is that aspect of their lives beyond inspection when put on display as they've done?

In Kerry's case, he painted himself as a battle weary vet who witnessed the harsh realities of war. Turns out he's a freakin' liar who embellished incredibly. He's sayin', "vote for me because..." and his "because" is a lie, so the Swifties served a good purpose, as well as gettin' paybacks for the accusations against his fellow soldiers. They had every right to say, "This is the real John Kerry based on our experiences. We urge you to vote for someone else." Nothing whatsoever inappropriate with what they did.

As to the McCain issue, I don't have any opinion on the allegations as they are wild and for me require serious investigation before saying anything more of it. But if they should turn out to be true (and I hope it's revealed before the convention if it is), it shows what kind of a guy he is if he was to, as Kerry did, take a piece of his service and distort it to enhance his image.

If a politician wants to use their military service to attract voters, scrutinizing that service isn't just appropriate, it's required, just as you would any other aspect of his history used to attract your vote. Exposing such things honors more vets than just the individual in question. It makes a distinction between real heroes and those who are just doing marketing and self-promotion.

Les said...

I like how cynicism is relative depending on the situation for you, Art. You're such a homer. You think we should just take political insiders like Jed Babbin at their word, yet politicians you disagree with are fair game. You might have been offended by Kerry's anti-war antics, but are you really willing to ignore his military service because of it? Bottom line - do you believe the Swift Boat allegations? If so, what convinced you?

Marshall Art said...

First off, I don't mean to imply anyone is beyond scrutiny, Babbin included. When Babbin has been shown to intentionally distort or manipulate, we'll bag him. My point once again, is that Kerry had put up his military service in a manner that implies we ought to give him extra points toward selecting him for public office in much the same way that one puts up one's past record in a different official capacity as a reason to vote them in for the new office. If a guy says he was the best dog-catcher so that makes him worthy of the office of street sweeper, naturally one would want to see just what was done in the dog catching department. If he rarely caught any pups at all, then he has distorted or inflated his record in a dishonest manner in order to secure more votes. Looking at his dog catching record was provoked by his trumpeting of that record. Kerry did the same with his war record, then we find that he saw action for only four months, claimed every scrape as a war wound until he collected enough Purple Hearts to allow him to bolt, the type of injuries most men would be ashamed to report, whereas many had real injuries and made the effort to return to their comrades in the field. Then he returns to speak ill of the military's character in general.

Yes, I believed the Swifties over Kerry because of a few reasons. Kerry's many lies about his service having been exposed supported their claims against him, and their putting themselves out in public with such serious allegations for the purpose of illustrating the difference between the image Kerry had drawn of himself and the real John Kerry. The Swifties gained very little, if anything by their actions, and I see it as a noble thing they did to warn the country of the type of man Kerry is as well as to set straight some things about the character of military personnel so abused by Kerry.

It's all the rage now to bow before someone's military service, and I have always found it worthy of such adulation, but not to the point that it is automatically off-limits by virtue of it's existence. To some extent, most every politician lists his service as an example of his character, but not all in the manner that Kerry has, and McCain seems to. Duncan Hunter, Bob Dole, G.H.W. Bush, for example, all served but didn't run on it as Kerry has.

Les said...

"...not to the point that it is automatically off-limits..."

And I agree with that. The reason I mention folks like Babbin is that they also influence major issues that affect us all - like war. Not in the same way as a president does, obviously, but they play a significant part of the propaganda process. You don't seem to mind believing their editorializations or going along with their agendas no questions asked, and I'm wondering why? Don't you feel the need to fact check your own beliefs from time to time? God knows I do it all the time. It keeps me honest.

I don't know if we've ever argued over Kerry's Vietnam background before, so for the record, here's my thoughts on the junior senator from Massachusetts:

John Kerry was an ambitious young soldier who understood the future political capital of his service very early in his military career. I got no problem with that. I think young John Kerry was an opportunistic up-and-comer who cleverly took advantage of the growing anti-Vietnam War sentiment in America for both political and personal gain. At the same time, I also think John Kerry is a war hero. While I've always stated there are facts and timing issues about Kerry's record that don't quite match his recounting of them, the accusations of the Swift Boaters have never held water for me. I've read their allegations as well as the response to them, and I gotta tell ya' - I'm just not buyin' it. From what I've read, there's nothing out there that confirms their charges. Have you seen something I haven't?

Some of the stuff anti-Kerry people complain about just seems petty to me, to be frank. C'mon - so the guy videotaped himself and used the footage in his ads. Is that a freakin' crime? How may soldiers filmed or photographed themselves during the Vietnam War? Heck, my uncle had a ton of footage of him and his buddies from his two tours. Gimme a break. Also, this hoopla about whether or not his medals are deserved feels a bit contrived. I don't know about you, but while the situations for which they were awarded seem rather lackluster, they sound like textbook cases to me nonetheless.

To an extent, I disagree with you that the Swift Boaters gained "very little" out of this. They got a chance to do what people like my father - an Air Force man who also took offense at Winter Soldier-era John Kerry - never had a chance to do. Namely, they got to publicly smear a man who insulted an institution they felt didn't deserve it, and ultimately played a major role in costing him the presidency. That had to be rather fulfilling for them, don't you think?

But getting back to the main point, I guess I just don't see the value in destroying a combat veteran. Was Kerry the ideal soldier? Probably not, but does that mean his heroism was any less heroic? Whether or not a candidate chooses to reference his military service is irrelevant when there are ACTUAL cases of heroism and spilled blood involved. Does your linked article mean that McCain WASN'T shot down and brutally beaten by his captors? No, it doesn't. It just calls into question the subsequent circumstance of his detainment. Big fuckin' deal. Does John Kerry's apparent Cambodian border confusion mean he never saved Jim Rassmann? Nope. This kind of partisan character assassination is nothing short of sleaze, and it ain't just the right that does it. I remember when the first Bush's detractors called his service into question. They tried to paint a picture of a man who panicked and jumped out of his plane, abandoning either White or Delaney (whichever one didn't make it out) to their death. That's as much of a crock as the Kerry "controversy" is, and I'm not falling for it.

Marshall Art said...

" The reason I mention folks like Babbin is that they also influence major issues that affect us all"

Everyone in the media does to some extent. As to who and what I may believe, I don't necessarily believe anything I read as if the author is infallible. I merely maintain the info as best I can and store it, as it were, until needed or another story comes out on the same issue and then compare. I don't necessarily pour over tons of periodicals and websites weighing out several tons of data. I may, also, share the same agenda of a given pundit and naturally would be likely to believe, or rather not assume he's full of it, until other facts come to light. For the purpose of this blog, I'll simply link to a piece I found interesting and see if it can be refuted or proven worthless in any way.

Regarding Kerry's stint in the service, I have to say that at first blush, anyone who serves deserves respect simply for committing to and riding out their enlistment. My respect goes up if the subject has seen action. My respect is either jacked up further or lessened by degrees according to details surrounding the service. There is a degree of heroism in the very enlistment of a person and that goes up or down according to the events of his enlistment. This is all just the long way of saying that there are heroes and there are heroes. It's really touching to apply the term to everyone who signed the papers, but that doesn't mean they are all heroes or performed heroic deeds at any time during their term of service. If every person in uniform is a hero, it means some dweeby guy who never left the states is worthy of the term just like the guy that dies in order to save his comrades.

Thus, I don't see that Kerry is deserving of the term "war hero" unless you believe his stories of his four months in Viet Nam. I'm fuzzy on the details at this point, but if that Rassman guy is the one Kerry's crew fished out of the water after the explosion, there's a big question of whether there was any further danger because despite the shootin', crew members of other swift boats (they always travelled in groups from what I understand) said no boat took any fire, there were no bullet holes or such from the shore. I would say that the degree of injury for which a soldier receives a purple heart indeed makes a difference. The boo-boos he is said to have sustained, most would be embarrassed to receive recognition. He reported enough owies to get his ticket home, leaving his "band of brothers" to be bound without him.

As to the Swifties, they carry a good measure of credibility due to their number. As stated, the swift boats never went solo, and the proximity of other vessels was quite close. There were enough men to witness his amazing exploits and either validate his stories, or deny and refute all that was "seared into" his memory. They felt the latter was in order.

I would say one thing in particular regarding the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth---what I find hard to buy about them, is that they would be able to assemble that many people to stand against Kerry's bid for presidency using false statements, libelous, slanderous statements, if they weren't true. I believe in all there were about 200 of them.

So I wouldn't call it character assassination if so many people can speak to it as did the Swifties. In fact, I'd say it is more accurate to say that it wasn't assassination, but character elevation they were seeking to prevent. Kerry set himself up as the big peace activist who saw the horrors of war, and the Swifties simply said, "No, it wasn't like that at all. What kind of man tells stories like that for profit? The President of the USA? We say no!" That was further service to their country, not character assassination.

Les said...

Number shmumber. Again, Kerry enraged thousands of servicemen when he brought up war atrocities. I'm not surprised the SBVT were able to recruit a large number of people, because such a large number of soldiers hated what Kerry was doing and took it personally, like my dad. That, however, doesn't mean they're right, or that their claims don't have holes of their own. In fact, didn't one of 'em change his story once or twice over the years? I think this was just an overblown case of sour grapes.

Regarding Rassmann, here's an article that gives his take on the rescue:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/
editorial/feature.html?id=110005460

Marshall Art said...

I don't know of any Swiftie changing his story, though I've heard of a former crew member of Kerry's boat side with the Swifties. Perhaps it's the same guy? As to Rassmann's version, impressions and memories are affected by personal experience, in this case, being thrown from the boat while guns are firing. His claim of no one being nearby once he emerged from the water contradicts a claim from another boat that stated Kerry's boat merely got to Rassmann first. That same sailor claims Kerry's was the first to bolt when the first explosion took place.

But imagine being thrown from a boat under the same conditions. Easily the first thought is of being under fire. The water's churning from the traffic, gun fire is all about, you dive to avoid incoming fire. Likely, in that circumstance you are thinking only of being picked off and hoping to avoid it. Would you really know for certain the source of all gunfire? Never having been, I certainly couldn't answer. But the point is that one's perspective would be radically different from those in the boats. And those in the area claim there was no evidence they were being fired upon, but that the gunfire was all their's opened up at the sound of the first explosion.

Now it seems at this point we have the old he said/she said and being forty years removed have to pick our source. Rassmann makes charges that the Swifties were all bought and paid for. They claim they initiated the whole thing out of concern for the nation. But returning to a point you made, why believe your source over mine? Rassmann claims he's a Republican who is siding with Kerry, while O'Neil claims he votes Democrat and opposes him. Considering all that Kerry has said that has been shown to be crap, both of his service and his service in politics, I'm sticking with the Swifties.

Les said...

Here's a link to Wikipedia's outline of the controversy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
John_Kerry_military_service_controversy

Obviously, Wikipedia ain't exactly immune to subjectivity or error, so one must be wary when using it as a source of information. However, at the very least, I think the article lists many of the major components relevant to this issue, so you can check out each individual component separately if you feel it's necessary. Give it a quick read, see what you think.

Marshall Art said...

Les,

I've read most of the link you provided. Thus far, it seems to lack any perspective of SBVT as far as possible or suspected motivations that would stand apart from preventing the nomination or election of someone they felt strongly was unqualified for the office of POTUS. As laid out, it does support the Kerry version of events, but at the same time, it admits after action reports were filled out by Kerry, a known self-promoter, and leaves the vets on Kerry's side as somehow more credible than those who opposed him. It does this with little to explain why this would be. The closest would be that supporters served on the same boat.

I have no doubt that details might be sketchy for either side of the debate on Kerry's service. But it doesn't affect the idea that this dude acted in a manner that would indict his own self. Considering how soldiers suffer in combat, would you make known your little boo-boo was technically worthy of a medal? With tales of vets with far more serious injuries hurrying back to combat to support their compatriots, we see this guy taking the first opportunity to bolt the scene. (I may have it wrong, but as I understand it, four Purples get you a ticket out of combat, if not home.) I would also say that despite the horrors one could encounter during a mere four months in combat, it's rarely every day for one thing, and so many had far longer tours that four months would likely be regarded as less than noteworthy by other vets. All in all, I'm still left with the feeling that this guy suffered the least amount necessary to allow him to tout his "heroism" and use it for political purposes.

Once again, I don't discount that he was there. I have trouble with believing the stories of a guy who has big problems with truth.

I once saw an article that I wish I had saved. It might have been a blog post as far as that goes, but it's been awhile. In any case, as this story went, Kerry sought service with the intention of having something noteworthy on his resume when he enters the political arena. Seeing a difference between being drafted and enlisting, he chose enlistment. But how to avoid combat? Join the Navy and stay on the ship. He enlisted in the Navy and sought duty that would be less likely to see action and eventually bid for Swift Boat duty, duty that at the time was not involved in combat. After joining up, the military decided to use swift boats on the rivers there. This is an abridged version of the story as I recall it, but it shows the sit/com like manner in which Kerry found himself in combat at all. In short, every decision he made backfired and instead of avoiding combat, it brought him to it. Now of course at this point, it is all anecdotal and possibly all crap. How I wish I had saved or printed the article at the time because I have no idea of how I would ever find it again. But simply based on his campaign style and his penchant for pandering, I wouldn't be surprised if it was true.

But to bring this all back to the main point, if a candidate uses any kind of past behaviors or activities to cast himself as worthy of a vote, then each of those activities need to be scrutinized, and that includes claims of the quality of military service. Frankly, as far as McCain's POW years, I think that would DISqualify him as he would be too heavily influenced by his experience to be objective. This is even more true if he suffered as he says he did. But if it was at all less than he paints it, don't you think that should be held against him at all? To merely say one was a POW would be enough for me, but to embellish the experience indicates a guy that can't be trusted with the facts/truth. At least he didn't come home and crap on his fellow soldiers.

Les said...

"At least he didn't come home and crap on his fellow soldiers."

Once again, this very sentence is why I think the Swift Boaters do, and did, what they do. Remember, some of these guys have been hounding Kerry for decades, not just in the months leading up to the 2004 elections. This is a bitter blood feud that has developed a life of its own over the years, and the fact that the object of their disdain (Kerry) was the Democratic nominee for president made the animosity all the more palpable.

"...this guy suffered the least amount necessary to allow him to tout his 'heroism'..."

I sorta view this statement as akin to saying someone had the least amount of sex necessary to get pregnant. Any way you cut it, the deed is done nonetheless.

Marshall Art said...

"Any way you cut it, the deed is done nonetheless."

But I'm referring to the quality of the deed. If this guy played it all for politcal points later, as has been suggested of everything the guy did before entering politics officially, it casts a pall over his record. Most simply fought because they were drafted and had no choice, wanted out ASAP, and some fought because they believed in the cause. Kerry fought, it is said, only enough to be able to use the experience for political gain.

So it's one thing to say that he volunteered, but another thing to examine, if really possible, whether his motivations were what he claims they were. Was it to serve, or to gain? Frankly, when I visited a recruiter back when dinosaurs ruled the earth, I did suffer from guilt over my reasons for going. I didn't think it was right to do it for the bennies since I wasn't sure I cared enough to do it for any other reason. I didn't go at all in the end. I hang my hat on the fact that our involvement in Viet Nam was over and there was no imminent threat to provoke my going in. (I wasn't game for that either, frankly.) Now, as I'm older, more or less wiser, but unfortunately not physically acceptable, I feel compelled to want to go for the cause in which I firmly believe: fighting terrorism. (As I slowly struggle to get back in shape, I wonder about the possibility of waivers. I could sweep or peel potatoes to free up a combat soldier. Just musings at this point and I'd have trouble getting it by my personal war department---the wife.)

Les said...

"...the quality of the deed."

Either one saves someone's life or one doesn't, Art. Extreme example to illustrate a point here, but if Corporal Klinger saved Hawkeye's life in battle, wouldn't he be a hero, silly antics notwithstanding? Again, I could care less what Kerry's motivations were going into the war. It doesn't change the fact that he SERVED - at times heroically, as attested to by his crewmates who were actually WITH him - and deserves points for that, regardless of whether or not a group of pissed off former soldiers want his record dragged through the mud.

Marshall Art said...

Les,

We're at another impasse (surprise, surprise). Rassman says Kerry saved his life. From his perspective, that may be true enough for him and everyone who hears Rassman only. As I stated, others nearby were moments away, Kerry got there first after being the first to bolt the scene after the initial explosion. Kerry and his mates paint the scene as if they were the only ones. His opponents tell the tale a bit differently and through it all you've got a guy in the water wondering WTF is going on, will I die. From the perspective of the guy who feels his life's in danger, the first guy to reach him is his savior. Fair enough. But from the context of the situation, the context of what goes on in war, the actual action of pushing, pulling, spiriting someone away from harm, shielding him, warning him, deflecting what may be only a possibility of harm despite the "saved's" view of things, applying the word "hero" seems a bit over the top. By this I mean that it happened with great frequency and often under far more obviously dangerous conditions, with real and undeniable threats to the "savior". In other words, it's a matter of degrees as well as perspective. Others were in the area and didn't feel there was much in the way of a real threat. Are they just nuts, more courageous, or jaded from experience? Picture Rob't Duval in "Apocalypse Now". He'd not even notice Kerry's actions as anything more than routine. (Routine for Viet Nam. Not us.) So perhaps some vets were simply pussies and every gun shot was a massive attack of a great VC force.

And this is how this entire debate has played for me. Differing versins of events from different people with different perspectives, different tolerances for wartime encounters, different motivations in the telling of the tale. And as a few of the Swifties explained, being on the same craft only meant you were in closer proximity to the man, but as they sailed in groups, others on other boats were equally "with" him and have basically the same right to speak on his character and quality of service. You want to believe that Kerry was a war hero. Fine. I look at the man after his return and find so much reprehensible shit that I can't merely swallow the notion that his service was worthy of any more accolades than any other vet, and very possibly far less. It would mean he became a coward after seeing combat, for his actions as a politician don't conjure adjectives like "courage" to me.

I give anyone who enlists props for doing so, more now than ever. My oldest friend (we go back to 1st grade) enlisted in the Navy in the mid-70's. His ship was involved in some boat lifts transporting Vietnamese refugees and it earned him hazard pay. He was never in any real danger, but he gets points for enlisting. Another friend was with me when speaking to a recruiter (Air Force) and unbeknownst to me, he was going with the intention of enlisting while I was merely investigating the possibility. He gets props for enlisting even though he never left the states. Yet another friend joined the army and bailed before boot camp ended. He gets nothing, but he would speak of his experience as if he was a vet (at least he wasn't over the top about it, but he did seem to enjoy saying "When I was in boot camp..."). This is the type of thing to which I refer. The first two guys didn't think anything of what they did, didn't think it was a big deal, thought anyone could do it if they wanted to. The third guy wore his fatigues often. Kerry was more like the third friend in my opinion, but on a more serious scale as he did see some kind of action.

Also, there seems to be a trend these days, kind of a fad, wherein at the announcement of having served, the announcer will get a "thank you for your service" from the listener. You hear it on talk radio all the time. It's getting to be tiresome. One could say that you can't thank servicepeople enough, but it now seems contrived and less than sincere. Could just be me, but I don't feel compelled to go out of my way to thank each and every vet I meet. That probably sounds lame, but I mean it with no malice whatever.

But it's the same with calling all vets "heroes" or even calling what Kerry did "heroic". It sounds like something most people would've done, and as I stated, others were attempting to reach Rassman as well (based on their versions). A common statement is "The real heroes are those who didn't come back, who are lying dead back there." Would that include those killed while running away? Would that include those killed in accidents not involved in combat situations? Throw the word around too much, apply it to every little action that for most would be automatic, and it cheapens the word and cheapens the honor of those who really risked all, some who lost all in the effort. All in all, even if most of Kerry's version is true, I don't find that he is in any way special or worthy of a handsoff policy when if he wants to tell his tale to garner votes. Again, if you think he's a war hero, fine. I think he's more of an arrogant, self-aggrandizing prick, and I'm glad he failed to win the election.

Les said...

"I give anyone who enlists props for doing so..."

Fair enough. As do I, for the most part. However, I think combat veterans automatically get some extra points. Workin' the jungles of Vietnam ain't the same thing as flyin' jets in the reserves. Not exactly apples to apples.

Marshall Art said...

Cheap shot alert!

"Workin' the jungles of Vietnam ain't the same thing as flyin' jets in the reserves. Not exactly apples to apples."

I wasn't even intending to bring Bush into the equation. I don't think that anyone during the campaign sought to make any such comparisons that weren't Democrats. For my part, I was trying to compare his service with other combat vets. In that case, it ain't the same fruit either.

Les said...

Oh, that's right - Bush flew jets in the reserves whereas Kerry went to Vietnam. I'd forgotten. ;-)

"I don't think that anyone during the campaign sought to make any such comparisons that weren't Democrats."

And why would they? The Democrats' guy actually saw combat, the Republicans' didn't.

Marshall Art said...

Yeah, so what? How does that qualify him for the presidency? Thousands saw combat, and far more than four months in a boat with far more contact with the enemy, and they are neither qualified, nor do they tout their service to gain points of any kind from the listener.

I've seen combat. I saw some dudes beatin' the crap out of each other in a bar. So what? It qualifies me for nothing. It ain't enough to be in a combat zone. How one conducts one's self is important and that's what has been debated by the Swifties and Kerry.

As to Bush, who scored higher in college than either Kerry or Gore, one can't be the buffoon Bush was made out to be and be capable of piloting jet fighters. Thumping one's chest over Kerry's meager combat experience is a waste of time because it's not the John Wayne movie he'd like us to believe. End of story.

Les said...

"...who scored higher in college than either Kerry or Gore..."

Nice! We've got a talking points slugfest breakin' out!

"How does that qualify him for the presidency?"

It didn't. It added a military element to the Democratic presidential candidate's resume at a time when those who opposed the war - mainly Democrats and people like me - were being shamefully branded as un-American and anti-military by idiots like armydad and CJ over at the Museum. You know it and I know it. End of story.

Marshall Art said...

Yeah, but the point was that Kerry's version of events painted him as something others insist he is not, thus putting his already crappy credibility further down the toilet. And that detracts from his worthiness to sit behind the big TV tray. And THAT'S the end of the story, so stop ending the story after I've already ended the story.

Les said...

Hey, whether I like it or not, this is YOUR blog. End of story.

Marshall Art said...

Hell, Les, you can keep commenting if you like. I'll probably respond. Feels like we're circling, though.