Originally posted at 7:16 AM PDT, 1 September, 2004.
Thanks for the Memory to Russ at TacJammer. Russ got this from Blackfive.
It was looking for a while like the focus on the RNC would divert attention from the issue of Kerry's Viet Nam service and all the controversy surrounding it. But today, WorldNetDaily released an article detailing the contents of an anti-war flyer distributed by VVAW back in Kerry's day. A picture of the actual flyer can be seen at Perry on Politics.
I'll say here essentially what I said on Blackfive's blog:
As a civilian, I make a conscious effort to maintain a certain level of respect towards the military. I recognize that for over 200 years now, the sacrifices made by the men and women of the armed services have afforded me the freedoms I enjoy as an American. For this reason, I feel that it is incumbent upon those of us who cannot or do not serve to show them our gratitude and respect, in two ways: By how we treat those individuals, and how we treat the freedoms they've bought us. That's where this whole John Kerry thing throws me in to conflict.
For starters, under normal circumstances I would not feel qualified to comment on the service record of anyone who has served. That's disrespectful of me as someone who has never and will never serve. This is part of my policy of showing respect towards servicemembers and veterans.
But this issue touches on the other, perhaps more important policy of treating the freedoms I enjoy because of those servicemembers with respect. To me this means defending them (to a lesser extent than the military, but still vital) when necessary and possible, and exercizing those freedoms responsibly.
Perhaps the greatest of those freedoms, the one which carries the greatest power and necessity for responsible exercize, and the one that is both a right and a duty, is the right to vote. If we all fail to vote, if we all throw our rights away, then the sacrifices of the military are in vain. They died to make us free, let us act as free men should.
Now we have an election in which John F Kerry has presented himself as a candidate for the presidency of the United States of America. As part of his campaign, he has presented his record asd a veteran as proof of his qualifications for the job. This makes his service record an issue I am now willing to consider and comment on, since in my mind, the obligation of respect for the rights easrned takes precedence over the obligation of respect for the individual who served those rights. If Kerry tells me that his Vietnam service is a reason to vote for him, then I should make an effort to weigh that claim. I find it wanting.
Furthermore, I feel that this flyer shows disrespect for his fellow servicemembers, which is in istelf almost inexcusable. If he were truly, as he believed, showing greater respect for freedom by doing this, it might be different. But the antiwar movement of which he was a part was encouraging the defeat of the forces of freedom, and encourasging the North Vietnamese. In this, the flyer violates both obligations.
I would be doing the same by voting for him.
Thanks to Vic at Darth Apathy, I now have a copy of the flyer to view here:
9:56 AM PDT, 2 September, 2004
Reader vnjagvet over at Blackfive's blog weighed in with a vet's point of view. He puts it so well, I obtained his permission to reprint the comments here:
Ask five VN Vets whether they think John Kerry is fit to be commander in chief in 2004. One might say yes. Duck from the reaction of the rest.
The undisputed facts really show:
First: Kerry is at best a serial exaggerator who stakes his campaign on the premise that 4 months service in Vietnam as a junior officer over thirty years ago demonstrates beyond doubt that he is qualified to command our troops in war. His four months prove no such thing, and his “defenses” over the last month prove he cannot lead anyone to get a straight story out regarding why that service was so much better than the 2.5 million who served there that he should be elected President. Moreover, his failure to authorize disclosure of his complete record demonstrates he does not want this truth to come out.
Second: Kerry's overt anti war activities while still a commissioned officer in the United States Naval Reserve (he was not discharged until 1978) consisted at bottom of delivering the talking points of the People's Republic of North Vietnam with his unqualified endorsement before the United States Senate and elsewhere. In so doing he gave the unmistakable appearance of corroborating enemy propaganda the likes of which had not been seen since Axis Sally. It has not been seen since.
Third, and most important, he has given voice from 1966 to the present to a philosophy that the United States should look to the European community (particularly France and Germany) for the best way to defend its national interests, and to preserve, protect and defend the the United States. That is the one thread that has been consistent throughout his political career.
In my opinion, such a man is truly unfit to command our troops in the ongoing war against the Islamic Radicals who, since at least 1993 have sought to destroy us.
I believe internal polling reveals that an overwhelming majority of those who have been and are now "in harm's way" passionately believe this. If you don't believe me, ask them.
Thank you for your comments, vnjagvet, and thanks especially for your service.