In Defense of a Hero

While listening to the radio yesterday, I heard at least 6 hours of Kerry bashing on my "favorite" conservative talk shows (and I only listened until from 8:00 am until 3:00 pm. Four different programs, six different hosts, one station. The topic was beaten into the ground ensuring any casual listener would be exposed to the theme that John Kerry was; a coward, a liar, a cheat, a forger, and a glory seeker with plans to falsify his reputation dating back 35 years. Like the chorus of a bad pop song, it will stick in the audience's minds where it will roll around and settle permanently into the subconscious. And like a sleazy promoter who takes advantage of naive young singers, the radical right is forming and shaping an ignoble image of John Kerry to give it's product, George W. Bush a lustrous sheen, in comparison.

The only problem is they have a defective product. Their guy has not done well for this country...ever. He has failed at every venture he has ever undertaken. From his below average efforts at learning instructions he was not qualified to attend to his tenuous National Guard duty used to duck real service to his vainglorious business attempts that all ended in bailouts, bankruptcy or illegal profiting, George W. Bush has no promotable qualities. Nothing of value in an ever superficial election process.

What to do if you are the handlers of a failure? Tear down your opponent with every low blow and sleazy tactic available to you.

One of the many areas Kerry outshines Bush is his history of brave service to his country. Here is a man who volunteered to go into the military, not in a country club National Guard unit, but with a commitment to the U. S. Navy at a time of war. After completing his training he then demanded to be sent to the conflict (George W. Bush forceful checked the box that said "No. I do not wish to be considered for duty in Vietnam"). John Kerry was sent to a ship off the coast of Vietnam and could have stayed relatively safely on it for the duration of his tour of duty. He chose to get closer to the action by demanding service on a "Swift Boat" in the heart of dangerous jungles of Vietnam. John Kerry knew he would be going into a true combat situation where men were injured and killed daily and he did it willingly. George Bush didn't willingly attend his minimum weekend drills or make time for his required physical exams.

John Kerry got the action he was looking for. In the Navy reports, his time in country reads like an action movie, the only difference is it was real danger, real bullets and real bravery. Here are some excerpts:

19 FEB 1969 Bay Hap River
As a follow-up to the mission of 18 February, five swift boats moved downriver in the morning with a company of South Vietnamese marines to engage troops that took swift boats under fire the day before. The boats came under fire several times during the day, although damage was limited to "several SA (small arms) holes in superstructure and rigging of PCH 72 and 94."

20 FEB 1969 Dam Doi River
On a patrol of the Dam Doi River with five other swiftboats and helicopter cover, PCF 94 came under intense small arms and rocket fire from three personnel in black pajamas on the bank. Kerry and one member of his crew were wounded. Kerry received shrapnel wounds in his left thigh. The second man, EN2 Eugene Kenneth Thorson suffered shrapnel wounds in his right arm. Both were treated aboard the USCGC Wachusetts and returned to duty. Persons filing reports on this mission were highly critical of the cover provided by the helicopters and noted that the area seemed prosperous and lacked offensive bunkers, and suggested that future operations in the area avoid destruction. Kerry received the Purple Heart for this operation.

25 FEB 1969 Cua Lon River
Early in the morning, four swift boats, including Kerry's, rendezvoused to conduct operations against Viet Cong targets with cover from helicopters. The party destroyed several boats as well as a suspected Viet Cong meeting hall containing Ho Chi Minh posters and Viet Cong uniforms. Later in the day, the boats encountered heavy fire from rockets and automatic weapons. The boats and helicopters suppressed the enemy fire. When a man was seen running into a bunker, PCF94 beached and an assault party was sent to retrieve him. The landing party was fired on shortly after landing on the beach and pinned down until another boat could reach the area. When the Viet Cong refused to leave the bunker in spite of repeated requests from the Officer in Charge, the bunker was destroyed.

In less than one week, three different engagements involving small arms fire, automatic weapons fire and rocket launcher attacks. In the same amount of time, those who have never given anything mock and viciously attack a man who did and, to many, have destroyed his reputation in the process.

The reports go on and on and portray a man who willingly went into combat again and again, acted bravely under fire, and took care of his men. Read them for yourself at:


I have heard many conservative pundits, who never had the courage, dedication, or bravery to serve, question how John Kerry could receive the awards he did (Silver Star, Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts) in only 4 months of service. After reading the after action reports and looking at the almost daily intense combat he faced, it is a wonder he, and the men he served with, were not hurt worse or killed in combat. I wonder how many Vietnam soldiers were killed in less than 4 months of service? Would these same chicken hawks who condemn Kerry question their grievous wounds because they “hadn’t been there long enough” to die?

Contrary to what the right wing attack dogs would have you believe, the facts are clear:

John Kerry Volunteered to serve his country at a time of war.

John Kerry demanded to be sent to the country with which we were fighting.

John Kerry demanded to be sent to a more dangerous assignment in the heart of combat.

John Kerry faced enemy fire.

John Kerry was wounded, repeatedly.

John Kerry saved the lives of men he served with.

John Kerry’s actions during the Vietnam war were heroic.

As a former soldier, I find this case of character assassination appalling. President Bush and his lackeys are setting out to destroy the reputation of a man who did the right thing. This is the politics of personal destruction at it’s worse and the fact that the president will not condemn it is an insightful look into the character of a desperate, petty, weak man. George W. Bush is metaphorically spitting in the face of all Vietnam Vets. Can the cry of “Baby Killer” be far behind.

This defamation of a war hero’s medals sets a dangerous precedent for generations to come. Every attack against Kerry weakens the memory of our soldiers and dishonors and diminishes all of their service and sacrifice. An environment has been created in which every medal can be questioned, every award defamed.

I wonder which soldier serving bravely in Iraq, under fire, under attack, or wounded in action will be the target of smears and lies and slander in future elections? Simply because they present a challenge to a failed incumbent.

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