What a load of crap.
The recent partisan mudslinging depicting George W. Bush as a
yellow-bellied deserter and John Kerry as a radical red is a
ridiculous attempt by both parties at smearing the opposition with
Both issues center on the two candidates’ military involvement
during the Vietnam insurrection. Kerry is confronting mounting
Republican condemnation for his outspoken opposition to the
conflict in Vietnam after his release from duty. Democrats who
claim Bush skirted his commitments to the Air National Guard in the
early 1970s are bashing the White House.
Liberals claim Bush did not meet minimum service requirements of
Air National Guard duty when he transferred from Texas to Alabama
in 1972. This failure, if true, should have made Bush eligible for
the draft and questions the purity of the honorable discharge he
received in 1973.
Tuesday the White House released 18 months of payroll records
from the early ’70s it says prove Bush fulfilled his duties with
the Alabama Air National Guard. White House Press Secretary Scott
McClellan, who is no Ari Fleicsher, had an exceedingly difficult
time selling the records to the press. “These documents show the
days on which he was paid,” McClellan said repeatedly to the White
House press corps.
The members of the press did not seem too impressed by the new
evidence and neither were Democrats. The question both groups are
still asking is why the president is unable to produce a single
person who can testify to his physical presence at Alabama Air
National Guard maneuvers.
What I do not understand about this new Democratic tirade is
what Democrats are trying to prove. President Bush has already come
out more than once and said his primary rationale for joining the
national guard was because his enlistment guaranteed he would not
have to go to Vietnam.
So how could Bush’s attendance record at weekend warrior camp 32
years ago possibly affect his chances for re-election today? The
answer is not in any real or tangible way. Bush has publicly
admitted he was not a fan of the conflict in Vietnam and his
supporters will continue to support him as commander-in-chief while
his naysayers will continue to say, “Nay.”
The same can be said for John Kerry and the controversy
surrounding his anti-war crusade after his return from active duty
in Vietnam. On its Web site, www.usvetdsp.com, A Vietnam Veterans’
group opposing Kerry calls him “hippie-like.”
The group further describes the three separate wounds Kerry
received in battle, and used to receive his early discharge, as
“minor” and “slight.” I call getting wounded three separate times
and not dying lucky.
So what if Kerry served in Vietnam, returned to the United
States and started protesting? Should using one’s rights to free
speech and assembly be called treasonous or brave? Kerry enlisted,
served, got shot and came home upset about his and his country’s
involvement in a conflict he viewed as unjust.
The fact Kerry organized a protest group and presented his
opinion to Congress in an effort to incite change makes him as much
a patriot in the eyes of his supporters as anyone involved in the
Once the dust clears from this newest political battle, the
ideological line separating the country’s conservatives and
liberals will still be in the same place. Opponents of Bush will
still see him as an aristocratic, warmonger capitalist who will say
and do anything to retain power. Opponents of Kerry will still see
him as an aristocratic, liberal Janus who will say and do anything
to attain power.
Which oligarch is right for you?
Joe is a senior majoring in history. His column appears every