Bush and Kerry: “A tale of two soldiers”

Brilliant post from Kevin Drum:

George Bush, fresh out of Yale, uses family connections to join the Air National Guard in order to avoid serving in Vietnam. After four years of a six-year term he decides to skip his annual physical, is grounded, and heads off to Alabama, where he blows off even the minimal annoyance of monthly drills for over six months.

Conservative reaction: why are you impugning the patriotism of this brave man? He got an honorable discharge and that’s as much as anyone needs to know.

John Kerry, fresh out of Yale, enlists in the Navy and requests duty in Vietnam. While there, according to the Boston Globe, he wins a Purple Heart and then follows that up with more than two dozen missions in which he often faced enemy fire, a Silver Star for an action in which he killed an enemy soldier who carried a loaded rocket launcher that could have destroyed his six-man patrol boat, a Bronze Star for rescuing an Army lieutenant who was thrown overboard and under fire, and two more Purple Hearts.

Conservative reaction: Hmmm, that first injury wasn’t very serious. This, of course, is something that deserves careful and drawn-out investigation, and it would certainly be unfair to impugn “craven or partisan motives” to those doing the impugning.

Are these guys a piece of work, or what?

Watching Fox News today (something I do too much) I was struck by how hard they are working to find something incriminating in Kerry’s record. Like, maybe his wounds weren’t that bad. They are obsessed.

As Drum points out, the questions about Bush’s National Guard service pop right up at you. On the other hand, even an idiot (even a Fox News idiot!) has to see that Kerry was a war hero, plain and simple. The obsessive race to find chinks in his record and discredit him is astounding. Disgusting, too. And pathetic.

The Discussion: 7 Comments

Great post! Speaks for itself.

April 21, 2004 @ 7:33 pm | Comment


Great work, my dear friend; yet again you beat me to the keyboard. You also nailed the Kristof North Korea story; although I am still going to do something on it. I have been so incredibly swamped with work, and I haven’t fully recovered from my bronchitis. Also, as you know, I can never say “no.” I am now lecturing 3 hours every Wednesday at the Communist Party School–that was my one day off. Between CFAU, BBI and now the CP School, I’m carrying a 19 hour class load. I need to slow down and get an e-mail off to you. I do get to read you, though. We miss you.


April 21, 2004 @ 10:37 pm | Comment

Thanks Joseph. I can’t tell you how much I miss you and Ellen. I’d go back in a heartbeat if I could. America in the Age of Bush is not where you want to be.

April 21, 2004 @ 11:20 pm | Comment

Certainly agree with these and Drum’s sentiments. The Right is trying to attack Kerry on his military accomplishments by which Bush’s not only pale by comparison, but theyelevate Kerry’s voice to a level Bush can never reach because of his decidely slimmy way he avoided the challenges of real service in the time of war. Those right wing abusers of truth and fairness don’t have the grounds to comparetheir ducking president to Kerry who took the risks and stood in harms way.

My concern is what to do about the situation to help Kerry defeat Bush. How to press this advantage, how to continue to keep Bush’s campaign on the defensive? How to drive home that Kerry went to war, served honorably and with distinction in the battle zone compared to Bush who hid in the U.S. with cover from family and friends.

It has just occurred to me that because Bush and those he has surrounded himself with, except for Powell, have not served in the time of war. It shows. They didn’t apparently listen to military experts, didn’t plan adequately for all aspects of the Iraq war. Perhaps if Bush or Cheney or Rumsfeld had some real life military experiences in war better decisions would have been made or more importantly they would have the good judgment not to push for war immediately.

April 22, 2004 @ 12:42 am | Comment

enditem, the points you make, especially about the lack of military experience among bush’s advisors, are already being actively exploited by the kerry campaign. Unfortunately, Bush is the president so he gets a lot more press attention and has managed to do a good job drowning out Kerry’s messages. So far.

About what you can do: write letters, blog, volunteer to help the campaign, send money (very important considering the Bush war chest) and force your friends to vote. For Kerry.

April 22, 2004 @ 12:58 am | Comment

Thanks for the suggestions. I was hoping to get other people busy with my comment/questions. I am in China so it poses some impediment to getting directly involved. I have been posting to milblogs and other Bush supporting blogs to try to crash through their BS and give another perspective and create doubt as to whether Bush is a good choice for re-election.

These milblog supporting Bush try to make it seem the US miliarty is monolithic in its support of Bush, which I am sure is not true. But attacking at the source of the Bush support I think can turn votes to Kerry.

April 22, 2004 @ 8:11 pm | Comment

I’m just afradi the milblogs are stuck in their opinions, and there’s no way on earth our comments are going to trun them around. Their thinking tends to be rather calcified.

April 23, 2004 @ 10:07 pm | Comment

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