Monday, 05 May 2003

Kerry Postures as a War Hero

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Senator John Kerry wants to be president. His membership in the Council on Foreign Relations guarantees that the world government crowd will accept him. He can tap into his wife’s millions to overcome any fundraising shortfall. And his connection to Yale’s eerily secretive Skull & Bones Society opens doors to many of its movers and shakers — though veteran Bones critic Ron Rosenbaum notes the possibility of a "Bones versus Bones smackdown" should Bonesmen Bush and Kerry face off in 2004.

Kerry does not want the voting public made aware of his CFR and Bones credentials. Nor does he want to be likened to Ted Kennedy and Michael Dukakis, Massachusetts archliberals out of step with the nation at large. So when he presents himself to voters, he or his handlers insist that he is a foreign policy expert who benefits from past military service.

After an appearance at a New Hampshire campaign stop on April 2, an exceptional need for Kerry to trot out his military service occurred. He told a small group of future primary voters that "regime change" was needed not just in Iraq but "in the United States." Reacting to Kerry’s statement, Republicans pounced on him like wolves on a wounded lamb, claiming that by using the term "regime" he had likened the Bush administration to Saddam Hussein’s tyranny. So the senator and his aides played their military card. "I don’t need any lessons in patriotism or in caring about America from the likes of the right wing," Kerry told a Georgia audience. And he speedily supplied each of his campaign spokesmen with a statement that said in part: "Unlike many of his Republican critics, Senator Kerry has worn the uniform, served his country, seen combat, so he’d just as soon skip their lectures about supporting our troops."

Kerry did serve as an officer in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. And he did win a Silver Star and three Purple Hearts. So far, so good. But when he returned home, he became a war protester. In America, of course, everybody is free to agree or disagree with a government policy. But Kerry did not just disagree; he became a leader of groups that championed our nation’s foes while our forces were still fighting and dying.

In 1971, the Communist Daily World delightedly published photos of him speaking to demonstrators as a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). The April 23, 1971 Daily World boasted that the marchers displayed a banner depicting a portrait of Communist Party leader Angela Davis, who was on record stating: "I am dedicated to the overthrow of your system of government and your society."

By frequently participating in VVAW’s demonstrations, Kerry found himself marching alongside what the Boston Herald Traveler identified as "revolutionary Communists." While noting that known Reds had openly organized these events, the December 12, 1971 Herald Traveler reported the presence of an "abundance of Vietcong flags, clenched fists raised in the air, and placards plainly bearing legends in support of China, Cuba, the USSR, North Korea and the Hanoi government."

Seeking election to the U.S. House in 1972, Kerry found it necessary to suppress reproduction of the cover picture appearing on his own book, The New Soldier. His political opponent pointed out that it depicted several unkempt youths crudely handling an American flag to mock the famous photo of the U.S. Marines at Iwo Jima. Suddenly, copies of the book became unavailable and even disappeared from libraries. But the Lowell (Mass.) Sun said of the type of person shown on its cover: "These people spit on the flag, they burn the flag, they carry the flag upside down, [and] they all but wipe their noses with it in their efforts to show their contempt for everything it still stands for."

During the 1972 "Kerry for Congress" campaign, flyers invited voters to "hear Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General, who has just recently returned from a visit in North Vietnam." While in Hanoi, Clark had distinguished himself by roundly condemning the United States, heaping praise on his Communist hosts, and lecturing American prisoners of war.

In May 1972, the Boston Phoenix reported that Kerry had defiantly given his medals back to the U.S. government during one of his many protests. New York Times columnist Bill Keller wrote in September 2002 that the senator invited him to view 40 minutes of films Kerry made depicting his war exploits. Keller wrote that anti-war doves would still support the man they remembered for "throwing his war ribbons onto the steps of the Capitol." When pressed about what happened to his medals, Kerry now says the medals he threw away were not his and that his are displayed in his Senate office. Retired General George S. Patton III would later angrily charge that Kerry’s actions had "given aid and comfort to the enemy."

Supremely arrogant and demonstrably contemptuous of the voting public, Kerry nevertheless regularly touts his military experience during his presidential run. But he forfeited the right to do that 30 years ago. Come to think of it, if he continues to posture as a war hero, he’ll lose the friendship of Ramsey Clark, Angela Davis, and the Daily World.