I have nothing to say about the L.A. Times’s puff piece on John Kerry The War Hero that Patterico and Beldar haven’t said already, so I’m not going to try. All I will say is that if you haven’t read both Whole Things, do. I’m going to take on a lesser task myself, giving you an overview of who still reads that rag. Take, for example, the three letters to the editor that ran in today’s paper:
- Michael Stark of Santa Monica has no evidence that the SwiftVets are lying, but objects to the idea that they are even raising the possibility that one or more of his medals may not have been earned. In his own words:
If Kerry were able to manipulate the process and his superiors to receive these medals, then it follows that any soldier could have done so. His opponents have done a great disservice to all veterans.
Or maybe just to all veterans who may have manipulated the process and their superiors to receive medals they didn’t really earn, or otherwise lied about their service, but that’s just petty quibbling. By Stark’s logic, if Scott Peterson were able to murder his pregnant wife, then it follows that any married man could have done so. His prosecutors have done a great disservice to all married men, including me.
- Douglas Dunn of Escondido appears to have relied heavily on a thesaurus while writing his piece, in which he raves about Kerry’s “heroic bravery” which “earned him the right to speak out against the policies of war,” a right which apparently did not extend to any of his equally heroic and/or brave former colleagues to speak out in favor of it, or at least against his slanderous statements against them. Dunn further opines that Kerry’s “eloquence and passion terrified President Nixon, whose administration was rooted in webs of deception that would ultimately bring it down.” Dunn does not state what Kerry knew about Watergate or when he knew it, but never mind that. By focusing more generally on the deceptions of the Nixon Administration, Mr. Dunn evokes the worst deception of all: in 1968, the Nixon Administration actually managed to deceive then-war hero John Kerry into believing that there was a Nixon Administration!
Dougie may be Dunn, but he’s not done, at least not yet. Here’s the kicker:
These masters of deceit sought and found an equally young, equally eloquent recent veteran to try to discredit Kerry. O’Neill has always been nothing more than a cheap puppet for manipulative liars trying to smear the character of one of our true heroes.
Translation: So what if both men (not to mention 200+ others) fought in the same war. Once they came back, the guy who said what my side wanted to hear is a true war hero, and the ones who said what your side wanted to hear (or, more accurately, what neither side really wanted to hear, but only one side wants to squelch) is a “cheap puppet.”
- Michael Patrick Hughes of Los Angeles attacks the SwiftVets for their willingness to “make a vicious attack on one of their own.” Note that he doesn’t say that their attack is false or misleading; only “vicious.” The implication seems to be that all soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are under some kind of “code of silence” in which they are expected to cover for each other rather than tell us what they know. An interesting theory, for what it’s worth, but I’m not sure where Kerry himself fits into the picture, given his eagerness to make all sorts of truly vicious – and in his case, false – accusations against his own.
Hughes then goes on to compare the SwiftVets’ truthful but militarily gauche critiques of Kerry to the alleged attacks against John McCain, whose only connection to l’affaire Kerry is that he was dumb enough to interject himself into it, and aganst former Sen. Max Cleland, who pooh-poohed the National Guard while happily allowing his fellow Democrats to portray him as though he were a war hero, and not simply an unfortunate individual who blew himself up in a routine training exercise that could just as easily have happened to a National Guardsman. But here’s where Hughes goes completely off the deep end:
Kerry’s service is a matter of public record. So is the service, or lack thereof, of Bush, Vice President Cheney and the other candidates who benefit from such slanderous attacks.
Apparently, Mr. Hughes was too busy turning on his own to bother to listen to the substance of the SwiftVets’ ad before flying off the handle over it. Had he listened to the ad, he’d know that Kerry’s service is not a matter of public record, but would become so at any time if Mr. Kerry were to do a 180 and sign a simple, one-page* form bearing that number. Or maybe Hughes means that the fact that Kerry went to Vietnam is public record, but questions of whether he went to Cambodia are hush-hush? I don’t get it, but then again, I’ve never served in the military.
*The PDF document is actually three pages, but page 1 is the isntructions and page 3 is a chart to determine where the request should be sent. There’s only one page that needs to be filled out and mailed in.