Bush, Kerry become targets

Feb 112004
Authors: Joe Marshall

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


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