Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Wes Clark on Kerry's military record

From today's NYTimes:

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.

...

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.

...

I believe those who didn't serve, or didn't show up for service, should have the decency to respect those who did serve — often under the most dangerous conditions, with bravery and, yes, with undeniable patriotism.

It still astounds me that an administration led by those that avoided the draft during Vietnam would attack, either personally or through proxy, the record of an opponent who is a decorated veteran of that war. I personally don't give a crap in general whether people avoided the draft during that period but it's not like any of these guys say they did it for ideological or moral reasons. They just had better things to do. To now send other people's kids to fight an unnecessary war of aggression and at the same time attack the service of someone who certainly had the means to avoid Vietnam and chose not to is just more hypocrisy than anybody ought to stand.

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