It’s true that George W. Bush said John Kerry served honorably. But at the same time, former Senator Bob Dole is wondering out loud if John Kerry even bled to win his purple hearts. Brothers in arms, right?
For partisan political purposes, a disabled veteran questions the patriotism of a three-time Purple Heart recipient. Of course, Bush will never say anything like that himself, but his minions are all out doing his bidding. In fact, one Republican delegate went so far as to hand out Purple Heart “Band-Aids” at their convention. The Band-Aids read “It was just a self-inflicted scratch, but you see I got a Purple Heart for it.” The person credited for this is Morton Blackwell, who has ties to Karl Rove, George Bush’s advisor. Well, they aren’t saying Kerry’s wounds were self inflicted, are they? They are just implying it.
This is nothing new for the Republican Party under George W. Bush’s leadership. His campaign questioned the patriotism of current senator and former POW John McCain, while both were vying for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination. Democratic Senator Max Cleland of Georgia, who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam, had his patriotism attacked while running for re-election in 2002. And all this comes from a party whose leader may not have met his National Guard obligations. The alleged “liberal media” reports it all with a straight face, while nearly ignoring former lieutenant governor of Texas, Ben Barnes, admitting he pulled strings to get George W. into the Texas Air National Guard.
Never mind that Kerry’s entire crew is supporting him for president as well as his version of the three-decade events under discussion.
Never mind that official U.S. Navy documents also support Kerry’s version. Never mind that one of the leaders of “Swiftboat Veterans for Truth,” John O’Neal, had ties to the Nixon administration. Kerry was one of the founders of Vietnam Veterans against the War, a group that was attacked by the Nixon administration back in 1971. Most notably, Nixon aide Charles Colson used O’Neal to attack Kerry.
Never mind the Bush campaign operatives that are connected to the Swiftboat Veterans. Ken Cordier was part of the Veterans for Bush steering committee while he was also appearing in one of Swiftboat’s ads. Benjamin Ginsberg was giving legal advice to the Swiftboat Veterans while he was general council for Bush/Cheney 2004. Certainly never mind swiftboat veteran and Rear Admiral William L. Schachte Jr., or his previous associations with the Bush 2000 campaign. Having helped Bush attack McCain in 2000, are we to believe that Schachte is now an unbiased source?
Are we supposed to accept all of this at face value? Someone who won multiple medals has his patriotism questioned by a group like this? Yes, we are supposed to pretend that these veterans came forward voluntarily, without any connection to the Bush campaign. Mostly, we are supposed to doubt Kerry’s war record.
The Republicans claim that since Kerry has made Vietnam a central part of his campaign, it is fair to question his service. Maybe so, but the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth have not questioned. Instead, they have attacked and smeared purely for partisan purposes.
William Lodge can be reached at Wlt1959@aol.com.