The Sad Voices of Right Wing Vietnam Vets

The Atlanta Urinal-Constipation has shown an odd and disturbing trend the past few days: there have been several editorial attacks on John Kerry in the opinion pages, including a New York Times column today by David Brooks, who has a real gift for twisted facts and sophistry. I wouldn’t mind them running Brooks, as a general rule, though it would make me doubt their choices (but then, the main conservative voice they give us is Jim Wooten, who’s a spinning idiot at his very best), but it runs with a piece by a black guy lambasting the Democratic National Committee for challenging Dean, and follows two recent columns by Georgian veterans effectively calling John Kerry a traitor because he protested the war upon getting back from fighting it.

Kerry is strong, and it has the GOPpers worried, especially in light of Bush’s plummeting approval ratings. They’re very worried about their man (who was AWOL for a year of the National Guard service his poppy arranged so he wouldn’t have to go fight) having to face off against a true war hero who earned three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, and a Silver Star, so the forces are mobilizing to tarnish his patriotism and honor (much as they did to Max Cleland in the last Senate campaign).

Some conservatives are very quick to accuse others of unpatriotic attitudes. Hell, disagree with a lot of them over which American Idol contestant is best and they’ll get pissy and call you a god-hating communist terrorist lover who hates America. Well, okay, that may be hyperbole. But disagree politically and you’re the Devil’s Spawn. They don’t seem to recognize that the right to disagree at all, including with them, is the very essence of being an American.

The ‘Nam vets, though, really bother me. They’re either tarnishing their own honor and integrity by playing rank politics, attacking a fellow vet for sheer partisan reasons, or they truly believe what they’re saying, that John Kerry was unpatriotic and betrayed them by coming home and fighting to bring everyone else home too. As far as I know, the number of people these days who think we should’ve been in ‘Nam at all is very small, so I can’t believe the men who came under fire would reflexively disagree with one of their own who wanted to save them from suffering and dying for bad reasons. To do so would be simple idiocy.

Military service isn’t a requirement for the presidency, and isn’t even a primary concern in my eyes. But the way these two men responded to their service, and their philosophies and actions thereafter, tells me something about them. One served two tours of duty, was wounded thrice, and saved several lives in acts of sheer balls, then returned and fought a war of conscience against the corrupt bastards who sent our troops to die for nothing. The other hid stateside in a National Guard unit made available to him because of who his old man was, didn’t bother serving his time, and has now taken our country to a war based on lies and profit, leading to the deaths so far of over ten thousand people, and an enormous drain on the political and economic strength of our country.

The good thing, I suppose, is that Bush is in enough trouble that he and his supporters are getting scared. The bad thing is that men who should possess a certain measure of wisdom and honor seem willing to sell themselves short through cheap attacks on a true hero.

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