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The Republican Attack Machine
Wesley Clark slaps the Republicans for their attack on Kerrys war record. He notes that Kerrys evaluations from his military superiors were uniformly glowing:

One commander wrote that Mr. Kerry ranked among "the top few" in three categories: initiative, cooperation and personal behavior. Another commander wrote, "In a combat environment often requiring independent, decisive action, Lt. j.g. Kerry was unsurpassed." The citation for Mr. Kerry's Bronze Star praises his "calmness, professionalism and great personal courage under fire."

In the United States military, there's no ideology there are no labels, Republican or Democrat when superiors evaluate a man or woman's service to country. Mr. Kerry's commander for a brief time, Grant Hibbard, now a Republican, gave Mr. Kerry top marks 36 years ago.

Now the standards are those of politics, not the military. Despite his positive evaluations, Mr. Hibbard recently questioned whether Mr. Kerry deserved one of his three Purple Hearts.

In the heat of a political campaign, attacks come from all directions. That's why John Kerry's military records are so compelling; they measure the man before his critics or his supporters saw him through a political lens. These military records show that John Kerry served his country with valor, and that those who served with him and above him held him in high regard. That's honor enough for any veteran.

Then theres the question of the medals Kerry tossed over a fence at the Capitol in 1971 to protest the war:

Republicans have tried to use this event to question his patriotism and his truthfulness, claiming he has been inconsistent in saying whether he threw away his medals or ribbons. This is no more than a political smear. After risking his life in Vietnam to save others, John Kerry earned the right to speak out against a war he believed was wrong. Make no mistake: it is that bravery these Republicans are now attacking.

At least the guy had war medals to throw away. What does George Bush have -- matchbooks from all the bars he was hanging out at while he was serving himself another beer...uh, serving his country in the National Guard?

Posted by aalkon at April 29, 2004 8:14 AM


The new-found reverence for Vietnam-era military service amoing the hate-mongers of the Left is touching. And yes, Kerry's heroic 4 months in Vietnam were a greater service to the advancement of freedom than Bush's National Guard training, which in turn was of greater value than Bill and Hillary's draft-dodging and protesting.

If the election were about choosing a platoon leader, Kerry would have the edge, but as it's about a commander-in-chief, he doesn't.

C'est la vie.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at April 29, 2004 10:49 AM

Since we are talking about reelecting this commander in chief, can you give me one well thought out reason/success story this administration has accomplished to vote for Bush?

Why didn't you mention Dick Cheneys draft dodging ways? Ooops- is he excused because he had "other priorities"? Also, Kerry was sent home after being wounded three times, military policy back then. This is all actually documented- not records MIA.

For my part, I would welcome a man who has actually fought in combat and learned from his experiences to be commander in chief. That he fought honourably and came home to express his constitutional right to dissent his governments policies shows to me that he is a man of character.

Mine isn't an opinion of a left leaning hate monger- more accurately a conservative who sees the pendulum under Bush having swung so far right as to even scare the hell out of a white 30-something businessman.

Posted by: ERIC at April 29, 2004 12:18 PM

Thanks, Eric - really appreciate your remark, and concur.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 29, 2004 12:38 PM

There are many things that can be said of Kerry, but "man of character" doesn't jump to the top of my list; this is the man who said "I voted for the $87B, before I voted against it", after all.

You should vote to re-elect the president because you're a caring and compassionate man who wants the 25 million Iraqi people that George Bush liberated, at great political risk, to remain free. You should vote for George W. Bush because you recognize that a great nation and a free people need a leader who's bold, courageous, and willing to do the right thing even if it's not the popular thing, and the Brits should keep Tony Blair for the same reason. And you should vote for George Bush because he's helped to arrest this nation's wussification and slide into man-hating.

There's three reasons. Now give me one to vote for that useless Bostonian fop who won the Democratic Party's nomination by showing no personality and no character whatsoever.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at April 29, 2004 1:39 PM

You should vote for a president that sanctions indiscriminately bombing civilians, that conducted an illegal invasion against a sovereign country on the pretext of WMDs that don't exist, whose heavy handed tatics and empty headed rhetoric has alienated those Irqais who welcomed the invasion but who no longer do. The same president who tries to hide the war dead from his citizens, whose vice-president has untenable links with the contractors who are going to charge Iraq for rebuilding what his armed forces have destroyed, whose Secretary of State was quite happy to sell Saddam Hussein weapons with which to kill and maim his citizens.

There are so many reasons to vote for Dubya. A Bostonian fop wouldn't have the balls to do all that.

Posted by: Phil Dobbin at April 29, 2004 2:13 PM


First, I don't believe that the US military nor George Bush ordered the wholesale bombing of Iraqi citizens. The American military (for the most part) should be commended for their restraint in the face of unreasonable (i.e lack of a reasonable entrance/occupation/exit strategy) orders. The Americans shown to have degraded and tortured Iraqi prisoners should be held to the highest accounting possible for the stain they put on our troops best efforts.

Second, to the best of my knowledge, Colin Powell had nothing to do with supplying biological weapons to Hussein. That was Reagan and Bush the senior. And yes, Rumsfeld was a player there. Overall I agree with the bottom line sentiment Phil states.

Next, you have to look at Kerrys full voting record, not just those parts that can be used against him. In full context, there is not a reasonable person who thinks Mr Kerry would not defend America, or would vote to weaken it. If you have a solid example, I would love to hear it.

Now here are my top five (as to not be overbearing) reasons I would rather gouge my eyes out than vote for Bush:

1.) The war on terrorism (the forgotten or other war) should have been completed before opening a new and unnecessary front. There is no way the NSA, CIA and FBI did not have the intelligence gathered to know if America was at immdeiate risk from Hussein. Maybe the Saudis were at risk, but America surely wasnt. In the meantime, funds needed to fight the war in Afghanistan (the guys who attacked us) were diverted to plan for the new war in Iraq (the guys who didnt attack us). I cant help but wonder if real heroes like Pat Tillman wouldnt still be alive if we finished the job at hand.

2.) George Bush campaigned on the no nation building rhetoric that Americans voted for. True, this was pre-911. However, he had a duty to the people who elected him to remain true to his promise to the best of his abilities. Now, assuming that we did need to go into Iraq, we needed a world mandate to share the burden and responsibility with. Without the ability to convince the world that Hussein was a terrorist threat, Bush should have redoubled intelligence gathering efforts or made allowances for our allies doubting. There was no immediate threat since we had inspectors on the ground who had found not a trace of biological/chemical weapons. I know France Russia and Germany had selfish oil interests that opposed our own. In politic real, we just swithed their drinks.
3.) Since we are destined to go it alone, my next gripe is to how we are going to pay for this fiasco. Great leaders like Roosevelt/Churchill were able to inspire their people to sacrifice for the common good of the country in times of danger. What did this president do? He swept the sacrifice under the carpet so we can pay for this in the future, while doling out tax cuts for the wealthy. The wealthy have the greatest stake in democracy, so we should be the ones to bear the brunt of the costs, right? From record surpluses to record deficits in two years.
4.) The taxation of wealth in this country continues to encourage the polarization of wealth, and with the polarization of wealth comes the polarization of power. This is a mortal threat to democratic principles, and at some point will need to be addressed. I am far from suggesting communism or socialism, but I have yet to hear one good argument about encouraging through favourable tax policies CEOs who pocket millions while downsizing employees and the benefits they earn through their labors.
5.) The one thing our founding fathers agreed to without exception, and the basis of our government of checks and balances was a transparency of government to act for the people. All citizens were born with inalienable rights, even if they do look like an Muslim. For even a single US citizen to be held without legal representation is abhorrent to me. This administration has accused several people (remember the spy muslim chaplain" at Gitmo who was later only charged with, get this, ADULTRY!) of crimes, yet the evidence never really seems to be there. And this isnt just me who feels this way- even the American Bar Association has said the administration is overstepping its executive powers and violating their constitutional right to a fair and timely trial.

Mostly though, it is because George W Bush strikes me as a privileged, wussy frat boy who took too many drugs while forming a warped and isolated view of this world and (possibly) the next. Hi ho, time for a martini. Sorry for being verbose.

Posted by: eric at April 29, 2004 4:57 PM

One of the many stories on the wire about the bombing of the inhabitants of Falluja:

Estimates of six hundred dead. And that's just one small town. Around ten thousand Iraqis have been estimated to have been killed in the last year. These figures are from the Red Crescent/Red Cross. The coalition claims to not keep figures on the casualties other than on their own side.

As to whether Bush ordered it he is C-in-C and it's highly improbable that he didn't know about it or was against it. Well at least until he and Uncle Dick have their next behind closed doors meeting with a Senate committee...

Posted by: Phil Dobbin at April 29, 2004 5:08 PM

Y'all make great reading. Thanks, and keep it up.

Posted by: Lena at April 29, 2004 6:38 PM

Phil- I am equally disturbed at the deaths. I guess I was looking at indiscriminate bombing more on the level of Dresden or Tokyo. I get your point 100%.

Posted by: eric at April 29, 2004 8:03 PM

OK, eric, first the good news: unlike Phil Dobbin, you're not a total moonbat. Now the bad news: you don't live in the same world the rest of us live in. It would be great if the UN were a stand-up group of ethical, if not moral, players, with the good sense to act against genocidal, tyrannical, aggressive regimes before it's too late, but they aren't. They're an organization that puts Qaddafi in charge of a human rights commission, and one that's more concerned with censuring Israel than with all the rest of the world's problems combined.

In this world - the the Hollywood world, but the one that real people live in - a limited coalition is all that the US can hope to assemble in order to liberate 25 million people and eliminate a major threat to our security. So the President gets points for dealing with reality, and you don't.

Similarly, the Evil Rich earn most of the money and pay the vast majority of the taxes, even after the mean old Bush tax cuts. Thanks to the EITC and the elimination of income tax on the lower half, the nation is polarized between people who see government as Santa Claus and those who see it as a thief.

Give me a practical solution to the national security or tax inequity problems as they really exist, and we can have a lively debate, but so far you're not facing facts.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at April 30, 2004 2:30 AM

"And you should vote for George Bush because he's helped to arrest this nation's wussification and slide into man-hating."

Which specific policies of Bush's did that?

Posted by: LYT at April 30, 2004 2:36 PM

Bush gets points for reality? Outside his little circle, who agrees with that??? Which reality- the reality of WMDs that simply did not exist? The reality of Iraqis greeting Americans with loaves and fishes? The reality of establishing a democracy in that part of the world? The reality of going into an unnecessary war without sufficient troops to complete our objectives, thereby putting every American soldier stationed there at greater risk? Ooh, how about this one: the reality of getting Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds to emulate the Republicans, Democrats, and Green party?

Your reality only comes from snorting airplane glue. Even General Odom, former NSA director under Ronald Reagan is on record as saying that the Bush plan was pure fantasy from day one.

Here is reality: you dont make friends by blowing up their neighborhoods. Shock and awe is not mentioned in the Dale Carnegie book anywhere! International legitimacy does not come with being the one who floods the world with the most munitions. The big battles are looming directly ahead as the religious factions make their power grabs inside the vacuum Bush has created, with American soldiers in the middle playing referee.

So you ask for a practical solution for national security. How about instead of shipping all our DEFENSE troops overseas, we utilize them here for things like port inspections, chemical/nuclear weapons facilities security, and disaster relief training? How about instead of distributing anti-aircraft missiles to every country that can afford them we dry up the market and install anti-missile defense on our civilian aircraft? We can really get jiggy with this and maybe even put our troops to work controlling our borders, which are about as secure as Britney Spears chastity belt.

As far as Quadaffi, I would like to see that bastard strung up as much as you would. And I really got a kick out of the moonbat description, which I am thinking about changing my license plate over to. I had to smile! As far as taxation, well save that one for another day.

Posted by: eric the half-a-moonbat at April 30, 2004 3:09 PM

One other thing- the ones who see the US government as Santa Claus are not the ones most people think of. The recipients of Santa's benevolence are Lockheed, Boeing, Grumman, GE, IBM, Microsoft, Archer-Daniels, etc. etc. etc. Basically the S&P500. Clinton and Gingrich saw to that with (individual) welfare reform.

Posted by: eric the half-a-moonbat at April 30, 2004 3:13 PM

I was not aquainted with the term moonbat but one imagines it to signify an individual that:

a.) doesn't agree that the term `liberation' covers illegal invasion, deploying snipers to shoot civilians, dropping cluster bombs on women and children, abusing naked prisoners of war, pissing on said prisoners of war, interning people without charge and without recourse to legal counsel and breaking the Geneva Convention.

b.) cannot fathom how anybody could imagine that Dubya & B. Liar have any kind of grip on reality other than the one that he who has the biggest stick can take whatever he damn well pleases.

If I am correct in this assumption I am more than happy to be a moonbat...

Go moonbats!

Posted by: Phil Dobbin at April 30, 2004 3:37 PM

U.S. soldiers pissing on naked prisoners is just another instance of "collateral damage," like dead Iraqi children. The challenge is to increase their precision. Next war, they'll have better aim while they piss. Or bomb.

Posted by: From Lena, with piss and vinegar at April 30, 2004 10:00 PM

Let's see now, my GOP supplied hate monger kit has all the instructions for writing about Kerry on the internet and to newspapers.
1. Say he served only four months in Vietnam. Forget he served for 12 months before his second tour, when he was sent home with battle wounds.
2. Bring up Clinton's military non-record. Forget that we are electing Kerry, who only shares the same political party with Clinton.
3. Decry Kerry's protests of the Vietnam war, even though many of the nation's veterans turned against the war after they returned. They were first-hand witnesses to the idoiocy there and were mush more expert on why we should have gotten out of there earlier.
4. Keep reminding us that Bush fulfilled his military duties. Forget the fact that only the offspring of the wealthy and powerful were able to weasel out of exposure to battle by entering the National Guard or Coast Guard in the 60s. Don't let anybody fool you into thinking a guy who hides behind his father's apron strings is any less of a man than one who went into battle and won a bunch of medals.
5. Keep you head buried in the sand, because it smells a lot better there than where is it usually buried.
This from a veteran of the Vietnam conflict (don't even call it a war because the government never declared war on North Vietnam for fear the Chinese and Soviets would turn it into WWIII) who was in the Marine Corps and never once thought about joining any other branch of the military. Oh yeah, when I returned from the military, I became a reporter. I never openly protested with VVAW (Vietnam Veterans Against the War) but my sentiments were there.

Posted by: Tom Vaught at May 1, 2004 6:13 AM

Eric, et. al., you could very easily be right on all the points you raise regarding the WMDs, the ability of Sunnis and Shia to play nicely together, the requirements of UN procedures, Kerry's Vietnam service record, the morality of Vietnam, the propriety of peeing on POWs, etc., etc., etc., and still be wrong on the larger issues. In fact, this obsession with small things -- details and technicalities in many instances -- and the concomitant inability to grapple with large issues is the curse that's befallen the left since Vietnam. It's boring as hell to try and argue with people who think that piling up mountains of trivia is persuasive.

America's major enemy these days is a network of Islamo-fascist terrorists who operate with the approval (active in some instances and tacit in others) of a handful of Middle Eastern tyrants, of whom Saddam Hussein was one. Bringing security back to the United States involves tearing down not just the former terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, but prospective camps in other countries, as well as the financial network that supports them, and the military-industrial apparatus that supplies them with weapons, and that might do so in the future.

These are people who only respond to strength, and we can't make them sit down with Dr. Phil and get a big self-esteem jolt and a big hug. And there are too many potential targets in the US to make secure, no matter how much money we had to spend on hardening them. So we have to root out th problem at the source, keep the network from forming and re-forming, and disrupt its day-to-day operations, on its own soil.

This is reality.

And Tom, Vietnam has been over for thirty years; do try and keep up.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at May 1, 2004 11:35 PM

Richard, yes, we do need to root out the problem at its source -- Afghanistan, for starters, I believe. What gets me is all the people on the right (and I'm not on the left -- I have plenty of gripes with them, too) who will stand on their head and whistle Dixie backwards if that's what it takes to justify the war against Saddam. Sure, we've done something important from a human rights perspective, and sure it was something that needed to be dealt with, but the fullscale way we went in there as a response to 9-11, as opposed to simply going after Osama -- well, it's crap to try to justify it as it was done.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 2, 2004 7:27 AM

If you prefer voting for "War Heros" over "Draft Dogers", does that mean you voted for Bob Dole when he ran against Bill Clinton? Didn't think so, nice try. Patrick?

Posted by: Jeep Crew at May 3, 2004 7:02 AM

Big difference between Clinton and Bush: Clinton morally opposed the Vietnam war while evading it, whereas Bush supported it while doing same.

Posted by: LYT at May 5, 2004 2:54 AM