September 04, 2004

Move On

Dave Barry:

Call me a dreamer, but I'm hoping that at some point before we go to the polls, we can get this campaign past the Vietnam era to at least, say, the late '70s.
It would be cool if we could argue about the late 70s. I was nine years old then. I actually remember the late 70s. Vaguely. I saw The Who's Tommy. Didn't understand it at all. Scared the heck out of me, actually. But I do sorta remember some of the craziness. It was a weird time to be a child, believe me.

I know it's hard for some people to understand, but I really don't care about Vietnam or the 60s. Sorry. I wasn't even born yet in the 60s and the Vietnam War ended before I began kindergarten.

Anyone who is stuck in the 1960s today is exactly as out of date as were those conservatives in the middle of the last decade when Bob Dole prattled on about going back to the 50s.

Lefty Boomers seriously need to stop and ask themselves if they want to be today's Bob Dole. Roger L. Simon told me on the phone today that when he left the Republican National Convention (where he blogged it live) he saw gray-haired protesters in the streets screaming exactly the same slogans he yelled more than 30 years ago when the world was a different place. People get reactionary as they get older. I guess it's just part of the process. But it can be resisted with effort.

We are never going back to either the 50s or the 60s. You know it, too, so please move on and get over it.

Yesterday I wrote this in my comments box:

History swung on its hinges in 1968. And it happened again in 2001. The scream you hear from certain quarters (but not all) of the left comes from the knowledge that 1968 has been topped.
When Roger writes about the new reactionaries this is basically what he's talking about, the difference being that he actually lived through the era in question.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 4, 2004 03:19 PM
Comments

>>>"Roger L. Simon told me on the phone today that when he left the Republican National Convention (where he blogged it live) he saw gray-haired protesters in the streets screaming exactly the same slogans he yelled more than 30 years ago when the world was a different place."

The world is a vastly different place than it was 15 years ago, let alone 30 years ago. That's why I'VE changed too. When I talk to my Lib friends and family members, they're still repeating the same ol platitudes and truisms we did during the Cold War, as if that paradigm still holds true. Something just hasn't clicked with them yet, and they won't budge from their comfort zone.

Posted by: David at September 4, 2004 04:07 PM

Politics aside for a moment, I hereby vote for Dave Barry as one of the most hilarious writers in America.

The guy is my hero.

(P.J. O'Rourke may be as great, but doesn't produce nearly as much.)

Posted by: Oberon at September 4, 2004 04:10 PM

I keep hearing people spout the same platitudes Jesus used 2000 years ago.

Don't they realize the world is vastly different now?

Posted by: Zipperhead at September 4, 2004 04:12 PM

I care about the fact that so many Vietnam veterans who served honorably had to live these past thirty years with the burden of being dishonored by a lair. Veterans returned to a country directed by John Kerry and his Winter Soldier movement to believe our soldiers were something they were not, war criminals.

During the 70s the American public did a lousy job in defending the honor of our American soldier. Back then, it was cool to ridicule and debase our soldiers. After all, soldiers were accused 'baby killers' and spat upon! I was in my early teens yet, I cannot help feel but shame in not defending the honor of our returning soldiers. My shame compels me to defend their honor today.

If we are to honestly resolve Vietnam, John Kerry must apologize to veterans for the pain he has caused our honored soldiers, I believe thirty years is long enough.

Posted by: syn at September 4, 2004 04:22 PM

I agree with syn, and I want to take it a step further. Its not just about Kerry, its about the dishonest way the Vietnam War was ended.

The Roger Simon thread Michael pointed to has several posts on this, so enough, already.

Posted by: jdwill at September 4, 2004 04:31 PM

hey Zipperhead,

What Jesus said 2000 years ago can be characterized in many ways. Platitudes isn't one of them.

Posted by: spc67 at September 4, 2004 05:12 PM

There are two things going on at once here, and we are lumping them together largely because John Kerry has chosen to campaign that way.

My father was AF stationed as Cam Rahn Bay from August of 1967 through September 1968. He's a Reagan Democrat, staunch Catholic, born, raised and lives in Mass., is an officer of the local VFW and is the finest man I know. While he finds it odd that Kerry discusses his Vietnam experiences so frequently, since he knows few other Vets who do so, he doesn't believe that whether or not John Kerry deserved his medals from Vietnam has any more relevance to his candidacy than W's admitted bad behavior in his early years. He deems them irrelevant. The political battle over Vietnam will end will end in 60 days.

A seperate battle is that for 35 years my Dad and other vets have held in the resentment towards people like Kerry and Fonda and Hayden. He said to me today "these men (Swiftboat guys) have held this grudge against Kerry and have been waiting to set the record straight." This is a battle for the recognition of history. Will the Vietnam Vets go down as committers of atrocities or as honorable men doing their best in a horrible situation. That is the battle being fought by the Swiftboat guys. We will be engaged in that one for years to come.

But the only reason the two are being conflated is because of Kerry's political choices.

As for me? Kerry went and served, I am grateful. But I've got 30 years of speeches, votes and three, very brief, face to face encounters with tthe man that makes my decision here easy, my Dad's too.

Posted by: spc67 at September 4, 2004 05:31 PM

Zipperhead: I keep hearing people spout the same platitudes Jesus used 2000 years ago. Don't they realize the world is vastly different now?

If by that you mean to imply that 60s Boomers have their own religion, perhaps you're on to something.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 4, 2004 05:45 PM

>>>"If by that you mean to imply that 60s Boomers have their own religion, perhaps you're on to something."

Michael, Bingo. Their ideology, like religion, is unassailable.

Posted by: David at September 4, 2004 05:58 PM

Michael, In 30 years from now when your Children or some knowledgeable blogger tells you that he is sick of hearing about Sept. 11th 2001 because he wasn't here or even born during that time. And, that he just doesn't care about it.
I wonder how you will feel about that?

Its not that we hang on to history that no longer has significance. Its a part of who we are, the same as 9/11 is something that for all your life you hopefully will remember and not allow anyone to take away from you. Many of us lost husbands, brothers and fathers in Viet Nam. We can't forget that war or pretend it didn't exist just because the newer generation would like us too..The same as you won't forget 9/11, Iraq, and many things that have yet to happen...Hopefully, noone will ask you to..

I realize this is your Blog and you dont want to talk about Vietnam. I shall not talk vietnam or things in our history that might offend you while visiting here..

Posted by: Cathy at September 4, 2004 06:10 PM

Cathy,

Discussing Vietnam does not offend me. What bugs me is that I have to sit through a presidential campaign about it. I would prefer sit through a campaign about the Terror War for reasons that should be apparent.

If I keep talking about 9/11 thirty years from now while we are in the middle of a war with aliens from Mars, I'll try to remember what I said today and get current.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 4, 2004 06:29 PM

Michael,

I notice that when you posted on The Swift Boat Psychodrama you sighed about not really being interested in the 60's. But the thread got huge comment action for your site (over 100). Then you posted on the Zell Miller Speech , another ancient subject and the comments went over 100 again.

Now today we begin again with I know it's hard for some people to understand, but I really don't care about Vietnam or the 60s. .

So are you subliminally getting this going, or is it some Karmic Kurse you have to work through?

Posted by: jdwill at September 4, 2004 06:39 PM

MJT, With all due respect, the reason we're sitting through a Presidential Campaign about Viet Nam is because one of the candidates has made it his forum..

He became his own worst enemy when he began patting himself on the back and calling himself a hero. All of a sudden, everyones hazy memories of 71-72 started clearing up. Enough so, that they remembered who the "Swift Boat Veteran" was that had called all the men fighting that war "villians." He should have came out fighting on current policies. Instead, he choose the topic that he thought would gain him an edge over his opponent and it has backfired...

Posted by: Cathy at September 4, 2004 06:49 PM

Cathy: MJT, With all due respect, the reason we're sitting through a Presidential Campaign about Viet Nam is because one of the candidates has made it his forum.

I know. I'm not blaming Bush for this.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 4, 2004 07:00 PM

Cathy,

This (long) essay by Adeimantus expands on what you are saying. I'm posting it in case you haven't seen it.

But then in January of this year, to burnish his credentials as a war president, Kerry's authorized biography reported a story implying that his Swift Boat comrades had fled the scene of an enemy attack while he alone returned to rescue the wounded. Honor being such an insignificant thing to John Kerry, he probably had no idea that--with his biography reviving war crimes accusations and, more specifically, implying cowardice on the part of his fellow swiftees--he had broken the domestic truce. The truce is over. The Swift Vets and all the other vets John Kerry has freshly maligned are determined that this time around he is not going to have it both ways.

I recomment checking out "Tour of Duty" against the current news storyline to see where Kerry stepped in it.

Posted by: jdwill at September 4, 2004 07:09 PM

Michael,

No doubt you have pointed this out yourself, but the one reason that the campaign seems to be (at least for the past few weeks) "about Vietnam" is that the struggle over the meaning of the Vietnam War mirrors the struggle over the "War on Terrorism."

The same people who see (or saw) Vietnam as a case of "American Imperialism" now argue that what were are doing in Iraq is colonising it to "take" Iraq's oil; the argument that Saddam "had" WMDs is the present war's equivalent (to the left) of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.

As one who canvassed New Haven streets for Gene McCarthy in 1968 (yes, I was that far to the left) , I can tell you that there is a definite feel to the present "anti-war" protests: it's déjà vu all over again.

Jamie Irons

Posted by: Jamie Irons at September 4, 2004 07:42 PM

I meant to write "one reason..." rather than "the one reason..."

Jamie Irons

Posted by: Jamie Irons at September 4, 2004 07:44 PM

I dont understand MJT's sentiment, to move on.

Arguing about the details of Kerry's missions is ridiculous, of course. I dont blame him for that. It is standard fare for politicians to highlight past accomplishments, including military service, as a way to demonstrate to voters their credentials and character. I read many a piece about Bob Dole's service and trajic injuries in 96. I read a lot about the youngest pilot in WWII when Pappa Bush was running in 88. Given the propensity of the GOP to try to paint all dems as incapable of even understanding matters military, how can anyone blame Kerry for highlighting his service.
His service was honorable. The honorable response from the GOP should have been - 'fine Mr. Kerry, you are a patriot, and a physically courageous man, but we consider you unacceptable as a president because of all these positions and ideas you have promoted over the past 20 years....'
Such a response would have been honest, and it would have led us all into a debate about fundamental security philosophies in the cold war, post cold war, and segued nicely into the essential issues of today.
Sorry, but I blame the Bushies for the strategy of trying to take down Kerry over Vietnam, and thus initiating the conversation on that subject, rather than on the issues of today.

But lets face it. Its understandable. So long as the situation today can be dealt with on the bumper-sticker level, then Bush can emerge unscathed. A deeper, two month long debate on the Iraq war would probably lead to a split, along the lines of the pre-convention polls regarding the "was Iraq worth it" question - i.e. a split, probably leaning away from Bush.

Thats why we are talking about Vietnam.

Posted by: Tano at September 4, 2004 08:23 PM

Oh, and let me add. To those who might try to claim that the vietnam discussion was solely a function of Kerry pissing off these independent vets - well sorry, time to face the real world of politics. Rove is on public record, back in the spring, about what his strategy against Kerry would be - [paraphrase]- come November no one will be sure which side he was fighting on in Vietnam.

Posted by: Tano at September 4, 2004 08:29 PM

This 68 year old woman is very sorry that you have to sit through an election hearing about Vietnam. You would not have had to if Kerry had not espoused his gallantry and valor so long an d so often . Make no mistake about it , This whole scene is about CHARACTER , backbone and TRUTH! The man has NONE .If I had to take their version to the bank ,I would be bankrupt.If I had to take the SWBVT's version to the bank , I would out-spend George Soros. GOD BLESS ALL OF OUR TROOPS, no matter what war.GOD BLESS AMERICA

Posted by: Shirley at September 4, 2004 08:39 PM

While the war in Viet Nam obviously needs to be discussed for reasons in and of itself, I too am sick of hearing about it in the context of this election.

Kerry's had what, thirty years? to make nice with his fellow veterans whom he so deeply offended. If he hasn't made peace with them yet, it occurs to me that 1) he isn't very clever, and 2) he isn't very good at making peace.

Posted by: Anne Lieberman at September 4, 2004 08:41 PM

Concerning your plaint, Michael, that this election season would better be about something other than Vietnam, I sympathize but...

This election phase is peripherally about Vietnam yet much more. Speaking as another of that era, (and who did move WAY beyond 60's pieties) I watched an angry wound develop which has yet to heal in our polis. I had hoped that 9/11 would prove more able to end the argument about our national purposes than it seems to have done. It has not, and it seems we need to go through this ugly debate one more time to finally (I hope) reveal the hard left anti-US crowd as morally and politically bankrupt as well as defiantly and delusionally out of touch with current realities.

As we know, there are real problems and real issues with US domestic and foreign policy that must be discussed--mistakes that have been made and will be made by our government, and costs not counted--by TWO thoughtful, serious, and responsible parties. The Democratic Party is not that, today, and so the GOP (whom I support in this election season) is going to get a free pass on some tough questions that deserve answers. (Yet another consequence of big-old media partisanship is that they too have squandered the authority to ask the tough questions--do they not notice this irony?) Anyway, today's silly season is unfortunate but I suspect that this ugly time will lead to a better discussion down the road. Hope that's not too "flower power" optomistic, of course.

Posted by: michael.t at September 4, 2004 09:41 PM

MJT

I know you have a tendency to bait a little, but your dismissiveness some might find a little callous and self-centered. Quite frankly this is a critical argument because it does help write a more proper ending to a story that has been overly told and maligned by the Oliver Stones and John Kerrys of the world. Kerry fits as one of the most important Players in this tragedy and his cynical and selfish use of it politically was way over the top and self serving to put it mildly. His continued desire to personally benefit from it today, much to the detriment of others, sparked a proper sense of outrage and a response from many who spent years in prison camps being fed John Kerry regularly as part of their torture. Because you didn’t live it doesn’t diminish its importance to the majority of boomers who did. Would you curtly say… “so please move on and get over it” too someone who had suffered a rape that was never dealt with justly by society? Is it for your comfort or the victims? You use the word I just a little too much my friend.

Tano

Your mischaracterizations will not remake reality. Saying… “Arguing about the details of Kerry's missions is ridiculous” doesn’t make it so, and again you as usual neglect to back it up with why. Kerry brought it up and the Republicans obliged. Nixon opined “I gave my enemies a sword and they thrust it through with relish.” You are expecting from Republicans what you would never ask of Democrats, to not take advantage of an opponent especially when victimized by his own stupidity. If your outrage were true and sincere then there is plenty of unfairness in the way Bush has been smeared by people that have no personal beefs other than political, yet you say nothing of such smears. Your cry is a partisan tantrum. Deal with it…

Swifty O’Neil is a Democrat who voted for Gore and supported John Edwards in the Primaries for god’s sake. Sure Bush benefits but your problem is that the source is truly coming from Vets and not Rove, for them it is not a partisan issue. If this is not addressed by Democrats as such then you are in for a rude awakening for to the Vets it will seem as just another dismissal of them by Democrats. You can moan about it, but as Lawton Chiles said after defeating Jeb Bush by scaring Seniors making false claims concerning Jebs positions… “If you can’t run with the big dogs then stay on the porch!” John Kerry should have stayed on the porch. I’ll further add what is being said about John is more true than not and that is why it is sticking.

That being said, in truth his 1971 testimony more than the embellishments of his accomplishments is the real issue. It is a matter of public record and enough to sink him on its own. I do wish people would leave the medals alone and go after his testimony before Congress as it is more then enough. I agree that too much has been questioned, but I also question your sincerity or even-handedness concerning political attacks.

Posted by: Samuel at September 4, 2004 09:59 PM

Samuel,

I understand. I don't mean to offend anyone, I just wish we could talk about 2004 during the 2004 election.

The Vietnam War is the wrong prism to see the Terror War through, and it really does bother me that some people cannot get past this. September 11 really should have put this to bed. I'd like to think this is Vietnam's last gasp, but I worry I'll be 60 before it happens. We can't keep dwelling on it. We're in the middle of a different and more dangerous war now.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 4, 2004 10:11 PM

While it is true that the Viet Nam War is not the proper prism through which to look at the War on Terror, it is also true that it is the proper prism through which to look at the anti-war movement. It must be acknowledged that the Soviets had an effective propaganda machine in the US the purpose of which was to breed domestic discontent with not only American military strength but America herself as well. A lot of people bought this propaganda wholesale. Jane Fonda and John Kerry were perhaps the most incendiary communist apologists, but they were certainly not alone. Many of these propagandists went into academia and journalism. David Horowitz has written brilliantly on this subject. It is an argument, or a civil war, that America has never truly finished. This is what is behind much of the Bush hatred. War clarifies all things. When terrorists are flying planes into buildings and killing thousands, or storming elementary schools and killing hundreds, the communist propaganda about how evil the US military industrial complex is and how criminal US soldiers are suddenly becomes, like the Soviet Union itself, unsupportable. It is stunning to me how so many people, college professors, editors and reporters, actors and activists, still tow the commie line. Horowitz was forced to seriously review his beliefs after the fall of Saigon, when communists slaughtered two and a half million poor people. How many million will terrorists have to slaughter before the rest of the communist apologists seriously reconsider their beliefs?

Posted by: Scott at September 4, 2004 10:45 PM

The sixties doesn't have to much to do with "the terror war", but it has a lot to do with the culture war, which is the primary thing that divides the parties.

Shirley, I suggest you take your medication.

Posted by: mtraven at September 4, 2004 10:46 PM

The honorable response from the GOP should have been - 'fine Mr. Kerry, you are a patriot, and a physically courageous man, but we consider you unacceptable as a president because of all these positions and ideas you have promoted over the past 20 years....'
Such a response would have been honest, and it would have led us all into a debate about fundamental security philosophies in the cold war, post cold war, and segued nicely into the essential issues of today.
--------------------------------------
Hi Tano! Its been awhile since we crossed the same virtual path of cyberspace.

What you write is EXACTLY the message of the Republican convention. You are practically quoting Cheney verbatim. Miller too.

Sadly, the Kerry response, in the midnight madness speech, was not as you would hope for here from your candidate. Instead it was about Cheney deferrments and the like. Nothing of substance..just more of the same "how dare they attack me"

Maybe my side is going to pick up all nine of those Senate seats after all. LOL! Just kidding, but six or so is really looking possible these days. Especially if Kerry keeps imploding.

Maybe Murray, Boxer and others in the Western timezone can borrow Daschle's picture of hugging Bush. I know these candidates do not want this race to be over with 2-3 hours left for the polls to be open out here.

And the way Kerry is imploding, it looks like it could be an early night.

Posted by: Steve_in_Corona at September 4, 2004 10:57 PM

MJT

Fair enough, and I do agree the Vietnam thing is just damn tiresome. That being said, missing the draft by just 2 years myself and knowing many people who lived this nightmare (and yes I would have gone), I know it is a damn haunting ghost to many. They want his to end and as Roger has said in reality it isn't the Vets that fan this, it is more the protesters yelling quagmire! Another Vietnam! American defeat! These are the fanners of those flames. Iraq is not Vietnam, need not become a like disaster, yet it is Vietnam to these people, and in a sick way it must become such to justify themselves.

Most Vietnam Vets do not see it as such and are determined to not allow it to become one. Where you saw September 11th as the opportunity to exorcise such ghosts, the Vets and I believe more correctly, view Iraq as a way to bury such ghosts. Leaving Iraq to the fate of people who validate themselves through the failures of Vietnam is properly seen by these Vets as something that risks us to living in an even worse hell.

I personally believe a person who sees Vietnam failure as a means of personal validation should be kept as far from decision making in this War as possible. I want people who view such through the eyes of confidence and not fear.

Also as a person myself that tends to speak sharply, I certainly can appreciate your way of expressing youself, you certainly made your point indeed.

Posted by: Samuel at September 4, 2004 10:58 PM

Wow - I follow a link and what do I find? Tano, the uber-trollby spreading his Talking Points Memo bovine excrement on yet another site.

Tano - I have no doubt that Rove was planning to use Kerry's Senate testimony, Winter Soldier and other similar activities against him, and rightly so. I cannot beleive that the master of manipulation (otherwise know as Bush's brain) would want to get bogged down in this whole medal quagmire. It's too hard to prove or resolve, and the underlying facts are too detailed and nuanced to make a good 15 second sound-byte. For example, Kerry's first PH - nobody is saying that he intentionally caused that wound, but bloviators like Chris Mathews are saying that we evil right wingers are saying that. Of course, nobody in their right mind (or even their left mind) would use a 40mm grenade to intentionally wound themselves. I personally believe that a young jg, newly in-country and not all that familiar with infantry-type weapons, accidently fired the M-79, and was extremely lucky to only catch a small piece of it. The previous sentence alone would not disqualify him from getting a PH, however, if the incident occurred while under enemy fire. Given that in Kerry's description there was no mortar or rocket fire from the "enemy", just bullets, it's extrememly likely that the shrapnel came from Kerry's own grenade. So I cannot help but believe that the wound was self-inflicted, even though I have not seen compelling evidence either way about the presence of enemy fire. Thus Chris Mathews can be totally wrong (and ought to apologize to Michelle Malkin) and at the same time Kerry's PH can be legit (if somewhat cheesy). Which is really what it all comes down to.

Even if we grant that all of the PHs wereat least technically legit, at least two of them (the 1st and 3rd) were cheesy, and he used them to game the system and go home early. It's not that he broke the law to do it, it's that he broke faith with the men he served with. Which might be OK if he was prepared to be humble and admit that combat really sucked and he really wanted to get the hell out before he could be crippled or die. I think that most people would actually understand that, but it would not allow him to pursue his hero schtick. Which is why and how he is being dishonest, and why the swifty smackdown was richly reserved.

Posted by: holdfast at September 4, 2004 11:03 PM

MJT

I feel a need to correct the following...

The Vietnam War is the wrong prism to see the Terror War through

That isn't the prism at all from a historical perspective and boomers that prism is...

War on Terror = Cold War

Iraq = Vietnam

That is why this is important, this time we must win in Iraq, because Iraq parallels Vietnam not the War on Terror. We eventually won the Cold War and we can eventually win this one as well. We cannot afford to lose Iraq in this process as it will be failure multiplied.

Posted by: Samuel at September 4, 2004 11:14 PM

So, Michael says that the Vietnam War is the wrong prism to see the War on Terror through. I absolutely agree. And, David says (in the thread's original post) that it's nothing like the "platitudes" and "truisms" of the Cold War. On this, I couldn't disagree more.

People still, to this day, don't understand the Cold War for what it truly was. It was bigger than two superpowers. It was bigger than the countries involved. It was a war of competing ideas out to conquer the world, fundamentally. The Communists, the foes of liberalism, wanted to shape the world in their image and we wanted to do the same. Luckily, liberalism won out (and I should say "is" winning out because the job's not finished).

Today, we are faced with another grand war of ideas. On one side, there is liberal democracy and on the other, well, religious fascism. The fact that the war against fascism now includes a religious element is new, but not really that much has changed from before. In a sense, a whole new Cold War has begun. At least that's the way I see it.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 4, 2004 11:37 PM

Haaaaaaa!

What Samuel said.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 4, 2004 11:43 PM

I sware to God, folks, Samuel and I are two entirely different people. It's not just one person writing the same thing over and over and over, month and after month. This has happened before, though.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 4, 2004 11:46 PM

What doesn't seem to be talked about is the lack of self-immolations of the present anti-war crowd. Eight americans lit themselves up to protest vietnam (the last before I was born). Bush's war for oil hasn't garnered a single one.

My generation's fancy lad protesters just don't have what it takes I guess.

Posted by: Raymond at September 5, 2004 12:47 AM

You guys are right on target. I've been saying this for two years now: the old-line "liberals" are not liberal anymore, they're today's reactionaries. It's become stunningly obvious since 2001, but the signs were all there well before it.

Let's hope the Democratic Party reforms itself into something sane after this year's election.

Posted by: Dean Esmay at September 5, 2004 02:14 AM

Michael,

Vietnam won't die until all boomers are dead. I say this as a boomer (and former lifelong lefty). People's ideologies tend to become ossified with time, but 9/11 jolted some out of their dogma. And it was inevitable that we be dragged through all this unwanted 35-yr-old sludge, given that the Dems willingly and knowingly doomed themselves to a candidate famous for insulting a large portion of this country as well as his complete lack of seriousness on the issue of our time.

As for the Democrat Party recovering their senses after a bad loss, I don't see it. They, too (specifically all the leadership), likely will have to die off before any changes are made.

Posted by: Peg C. at September 5, 2004 05:42 AM

What Grant, Samuel, Scott, and Shirley too said. Many of the people who pushed America into a dishonest left turn in the 60's over the war are now the media/entertainment establishment. This is also about exposing their attempt to control the country by elitist control of information, see Roger Simon . How do you think huge protests erupted instantly over Saddam Hussein? That wasn't a grassroots phenomenon.

Tano - about your little disinformation campain - Two words: Moby Dick

Posted by: jdwill at September 5, 2004 05:47 AM

I've been saying this for two years now: the old-line "liberals" are not liberal anymore, they're today's reactionaries. It's become stunningly obvious since 2001, but the signs were all there well before it.

Yep. And today's "conservatives" are not conservatives any more. A half-trillion dollar deficit in 2005? Massive growth in the federal government? Invading and occupying a country that was not a significant threat to us? Trying to break down the separation of church and state?

Somewhere between the unwashed liberal protestors outside the RNC, and the hate and distortions spewed inside it, is a reasonable approach to the 21st century.

Posted by: Oberon at September 5, 2004 06:31 AM

Michael — I have to disagree. We are stuck with the '60's because the '60's define who John Kerry is. What he did then matters because what he did then was foul.

His service was not honorable. He did his best to get a deferment; when he couldn't, he joined the inactive Naval Reserve. So far, if not so good, understandable: many American men of his class did the same thing. When he was activated he served in the South China Sea, not in Vietnam; nonetheless, proper and lawful service. An honest man could not defame him for that without defaming every reserve and active American serviceman who served in the US, Europe and Korea during the war.

And then he got sent to Vietnam and John Kerry's service fell apart. He constantly complained about and shirked duties he thought were too dangerous or boring, leaving his fellow sailors to take up the slack and assume his risks. By his own records that have been released, he committed at least two documented war crimes, killing a small child and burning down a defenseless and unresisting village.

He put himself in for awards and decorations to which the preponderance of evidence shows he was not entitled. In one case, the "Silver Star with V" device, no such award exists, and not one but three different, conflicting citations have somehow been generated trying to justify it; Kerry's own camp admits at least one of his Purple Hearts was undeserved; and he has somehow been four campaign "clusters" (award attachments for multiple awards) including two for campaigns he wasn't even in the country for.

He has chronically (pathologically) assumed other men's actions for his own (such as Peck) and diminished other men's actions and accomplishments to enhance his own.

Then he returned home, and built his political career on the slandering of the men he served with and the fraudulent glorification of his own service.

And every one of these behaviors is evident in his campaign today. The 60's matter because John Forbes Kerry has learned nothing in the 30+ years since.

Posted by: richard mcenroe at September 5, 2004 07:43 AM

Oberon
Americans are liberators, not occupiers. Liberty from tyranny is one of our founding principles. America could not "wait until Saddam beomes an imminent threat" (President Bush)like we waited for Islamofascism's obvious wake-up call on 9/11, a day that was two decades in the making! All of America waited far too long.

What does "not a significant threat" mean anyway? Honestly, this is what was said about Al Queda all these years, now see how significant and meaningful that threat was.

Aside from that, if 'conservatives' are breaking down separation of church and state, why then is the gay marriage movement insisting religon be dictated by the state? Marriage is an institution of the church, not the state.

In addition, why are you not concerned with the fact that judical courts are trying to subvert our democratic process by instituting laws above and beyond consent of We the People? Both liberal and conservative voice should be outraged with the hijacking of our democracy by judical activists.

We are at war, how can you expect to fight without funding? Have you any idea what it means to sacrifice on behalf of what is right? To understand exactly what real sacrifice means, look back at how America during in World War II fought against an evil dictator and lived another day to teach myself and all Americans the meaning of sacrifice.

In my personal non-political opinion: ungrateful, selfish Americans who already have so much more wealth than most others in the world really annoy me. Why is it not enough for you when you already have so much?

I have lived in many places around the world during my life and have seen that even America's poorest of poor are wealthier than some of the riches of the rich in those poor countries.

Selfishness is un-American.

Posted by: syn at September 5, 2004 07:46 AM

For the sake of this war the ghosts of '71 have to be exorcized. The American soldier must get his reputation fully back.

Kerry's overwhelming defeat is going to cause a re-evaluation of '71. Expect lots of new evaluations once there is a proven market.

Posted by: M. Simon at September 5, 2004 07:48 AM

Tano,

Kerry's real 'Nam troubles began in '71.

Here isa little bit I devised to help you think about it and I can tell you with total truthfulness. I have at least two degrees of separation from Rove.

This has nothing to do with Rove. It is a grudge match that started for me in '80 when I finally figured out that Kerry lied to me in '71. It is that personal. Like J. Irons I believed that shit in '71. Now I'd say let bygones be bygones. Fine. Even Jane Fonda has given a half assed apology to the vets. Where is Kerry's apology?

Here is why I don't trust Kerry. An incident from '71.

==

Steal this sig:

Why did John Kerry meet three times with the representatives of the Viet Cong and Communist North Vietnam?

Some times it takes a while to sell out your country.

New Soldier html

What is the War Hero Afraid of?
Form 180. Release ALL the records

Posted by: M. Simon at September 5, 2004 08:01 AM

I find it depressing to see how many commentators simply repeat the hackneyed popular ideas bandied about in the rightwing and leftwing media. As if discussion places like this had no other function than as a forum for saying "me too", rather than being a place where the simplistic ideas on both sides could be parsed and refined.

I think that starting off with assertions about seeing the current situation through a vietnam prism is a pretty bad start. I dont particularly care, or find interesting, what people chant in a street demonstration, nor what they rant on talk radio. Commenters on both sides, but especially on the right, love to find the goofiest proponent on the other side and to claim that their pronouncemnts are the core ideas of their opponents. Very few seem to take the real ideas and issues as anywhere near as serious as their own egos or self-identity.

Vietnam is not a good analogy for the WoT, nor for the Iraq war. But Vietnam was a hugely important experience relevant to the more general questions of America's place in the world, the consequences of unleashing our military power in situations that we profoundly misunderstand, and the political quesions of the extent to which the masses of normal people can or should exert control over the initiatives of the ruling elites.

By 1968 the tipping point arrived - where more than half he American people began to accept that the Vietnam war was a mistake. By wars end, and for the past 30 years, roughly three quarters of the population accepted that judgement, including some of the people most responsible for conducting that war (McNamara being the most prominent). But there has always been a rump group, a modern verion of the "lost cause" movement if you will, who were never able to assimilate that and who are now the driving force for unearthing the Vietnam story once again - with the hope that they can somehow rewrite history and avoid obvious lessons. We see references to all that in these comments. I find it all to be more of an attempt at personal justification than any serious discussion of global strategy or politics.

But to the extent that there are no clear lessons generally accepted anymore about what the Vietnam experience meant, or has taught us, then the discussion probably should continue. Failing to learn lessons from great traumatic experineces is the very essence of foolishness. We lost 50K+ men and killed over 3 million human beings during those years, and we accomplished nothing.

At the very least I would expect that those who wish to curtail these discussions would say - "I dont wish to discuss Vietnam anymore because the lessons were obvious, here is what they are, there is no use arguing about it anymore, and so lets move on and apply that wisdom to the extent that it is relevant". But to say " I dont wish to discuss it because it happened before I was born and we now face a different situation" - and then to go on and speak of the current situation in a way that is oblivious to the lessons, is, I think, misguided.

Posted by: Tano at September 5, 2004 08:11 AM

syn: judging by your post, you are just another naive liberal. You think that because America is rich, we're supposed to just give away all our wealth to poor countries?

If we just hand over all our wealth like you want, it'll be squandered by corrupt third-world governments. If poor countries had the rule of law, capitalism, security, and freedom, they could become rich countries. Like Taiwan and South Korea. But I guess you prefer North Korea.

If you like those poor countries so much, then emigrate. Love it or leave it, buddy.

And speaking of the rule of law, it's because of the courts that the Bill of Rights means anything (except the 4th Amendment, which they've eviscerated). You may hate the "judicial activists" who strike down government laws that would take my liberty and my property, but I thank our founding fathers for have the foresight to create this check on government.

Posted by: Oberon at September 5, 2004 08:19 AM

For Tano:

Steal this sig:

George Bush never called me “baby killer”.

There is a big difference between William Calley and John Kerry. William Calley is a proven war criminal. For John Kerry we only have his word as an officer and a gentleman.

New Soldier

Posted by: M. Simon at September 5, 2004 08:39 AM

"a place where the simplistic ideas on both sides could be parsed and refined"

Okay then.

"I think that starting off ..."

I can't be sure you actually said anything in this graf.

"...relevant to the more general questions of America's place in the world, the consequences of unleashing our military power in situations that we profoundly misunderstand,"

Communist message to America via messengers Mark Lane, Jane Fonda, etal., butt out. Check.

"But there has always been a rump group, a modern verion of the "lost cause" movement if you will, who were never able to assimilate that ..."

You simpletons just don't understand. Check.

"We lost 50K+ men and killed over 3 million human beings during those years, and we accomplished nothing."

Looking at Vietnam in the context of the larger cold war, your statement becomes obvious for the communist disinformation it is. The Soviet Union and Red China lost a lot of capital, both economic and political in that struggle. The next 'battle' in Afghanistan pretty much finished the USSR.

"At the very least ... that is ... I think, misguided."

You could be a Kerry speech writer, I think. Very nuanced.

This is my case against Kerry
and why I think we need to have more discussion of communist disinformation carried by people, who sounded a lot like you, that influenced how America abandoned Vietnam.

Just because the USSR is no more as a political state doesn't mean all of the aspirations and apparatus of the communists have gone away. This was blatantly obvious in the spring of 2003 during the spectacular protests worldwide.

How well are the disinformatzia succeeding? Not Well At All

Posted by: jdwill at September 5, 2004 08:51 AM

There is a big difference between William Calley and John Kerry. William Calley is a proven war criminal. For John Kerry we only have his word as an officer and a gentleman.

Why do you say this? John Kerry has admitted that he took part in activites that violate the Geneva Convention -- Kerry admitted to being a war criminal.

Posted by: Oberon at September 5, 2004 09:12 AM

I rest my case. jdwill is a perfect example of the 'lost cause' activists who are clearly the ones responsible for driving the discussion on vietnam, and from diverting us from a discussion of the issues of the day.

They seem emotionally unable to accept the obvious reality - that while we thought we were fighting a necessary battle in the larger cold war, the other side viewed it as the final chapter in their decades long war against foreign occupation and control. Which is why they would have done the exact same thing that all of us would do if we found some foreign power in our midst - fight on forever, with any means necessary, to drive the foreigners out. The serious people who ran the war, up to the highest levels, eventually understood that. Even Nixon understood that, which is why he ran in 68 on a platform to get us out of there - with honor (ie. without having to admit our mistake out loud).

To the extent that voices like jdwill's become prominent they must be countered. For to rewrite history in the manner he seems to wish is to open wide the door to mindless miscalculations in the future. Much as it must gall him to accetp, John kerry was right about Vietnam, and by the time he became prominent in the movement, a majority of Americans understood that. The only hope that his movement has is to try to convince the younger generation, who did not live throught that experience, that down is really up, that black is really white, that the war was winnable and that to doubt that is to somehow be unamerican.

Posted by: Tano at September 5, 2004 09:18 AM

Tano: At the very least I would expect that those who wish to curtail these discussions would say - "I dont wish to discuss Vietnam anymore because the lessons were obvious, here is what they are, there is no use arguing about it anymore, and so lets move on and apply that wisdom to the extent that it is relevant". But to say " I dont wish to discuss it because it happened before I was born and we now face a different situation" - and then to go on and speak of the current situation in a way that is oblivious to the lessons, is, I think, misguided.

Fair enough. But John Kerry isn't trying to start your preferred conversation either. He's bragging that he fought in Vietnam and Bush didn't. And to that I say: big frigging deal, buddy. He comes across as a boasting right-wing "lost cause" nut who is out chasing liberal draft-dodgers. On one level I can appreciate the irony, but it sure as hell doesn't help me figure out if he would be better at dealing with the Terror War than George W.

"I fought in Vietnam" is not a strategy for the Middle East. "Iraq is Vietnam" is an even worse place to start.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 5, 2004 09:26 AM

"I rest my case."

Speaking of cases, did you read my link, even glance at it?

"... all of us would do if we found some foreign power in our midst - fight on forever, with any means necessary, to drive the foreigners out."

Now you have touched upon an interesting point. I would draw a parallel to Chechnya today. A fiercely proud, nationalistic people (as are the Vietnamese I have met - ask one what language they speak), but infected with a virus group: communists then, islamofascists now. Under your facile explanation of why Vietnam was a bad idea (right war, wrong place), we can ignore what began the 'civil' war, the aggression by the North, spurred by communist propaganda and fervor. A messy pickle indeed.

"Much as it must gall him to accetp, John kerry was right about Vietnam, and by the time he became prominent in the movement, a majority of Americans understood that."

You flatter yourself, and to the extent that you feel I must be countered, me.

"that down is really up, that black is really white, that the war was winnable "

To undo the lies, yes. I have never in any of these posts said the war was winnable. I have said that it was ended dishonorably. The honor of the American military has recovered, but the lesson needs review.

Posted by: jdwill at September 5, 2004 09:46 AM

You ask why do we still care about the war thirty years after the fall of Saigan? It was the formative event of the generation that produced Kerry and Bush; it forced young men to make decisions about how to serve their country, or even whether their country was worth serving. Many of the people who now lead our armed forces were soldiers in that war, and the way politicians used them as chess pieces in an ideological crusade has never been forgotten by people like Colin Powell (if anything, John Kerry understated the extent of war crimes in 1971). The best answer to your question, Mr. T, was enunciated many years ago by an historian named George Santayana.

Posted by: Steve Smith at September 5, 2004 09:47 AM

I could care less about Vietnam right now.

There, I said it. I'm not saying that it should be completely irrevelant in terms of the presidential race (in that context it's fine), but the fact it's apparently dominating the discussion even today is a little scary. You'd think the war on terror would be more important than it currently is, but as usual, I'm wrong.

I mean, hell, those 200 or so dead schoolchildren in Russia were just gliches on the radar, right? And getting to the truth of whether or not Kerry was in Cambodia will bring them back to life I'm certain...

Posted by: jrr at September 5, 2004 09:53 AM

Michael,
I don't blame Kerry for speaking of his service. Given the context of the political discourse, I dont blame him for emphasizing it. But I would agree that he overdid it at the convention. I would have preferred a discussion more focussed on the issues of the day. I wasnt impressed with the GOP convention either. These events, and the campaigns in general are not designed to appeal to policy wonks, or thoughtful people in general. The goal is to win over people who are largely apathetic, and who will probably end up voting for the side that manages to implant some convincing slogans in their minds.

If you are really interested in the deeper thoughts of the two sides, I would suggest turning off your TV for the next two months, except for C-SPAN. And try to ferret out interviews, or talks with the behind-the-scenes thinkers aligned with either party. Sadly, you can be sure that neither Kerry nor Bush will say anything that needs thought and digestion in order to be fully understood. Thats just the sad reality of campaigning in a mass democracy.

Posted by: Tano at September 5, 2004 10:23 AM

Oberon,

I think we are in agreement that we have John Kerry's word as an officer and a gentleman that he is a war criminal.

=

Why wasn't Kerry reprimanded for throwing chickens against the wall?

Because he didn't throw the chickens. He used a machine gun.

Posted by: M. Simon at September 5, 2004 10:23 AM

John Kerry understated the extent of war crimes in 1971

The book "Stolen Valor" says it ain't so. It says that not one of the war crimes admitted to by "Winter Soldier" could be verified.

It is statements like the above that we are still fighting in 'Nam. There seems to be one or two points still unsettled.

New Soldier html

New Soldier

Posted by: M. Simon at September 5, 2004 10:29 AM

Michael hits on something big here. Generalizing it...

History swung on its hinges in t0. And it happened again in t1. The scream you hear from certain quarters (but not all) of the left comes from the knowledge that t0 has been topped.

This has pretty much happend throughout history. So why would things be differnet with the Vietnam Protests Enthusiasts seeing the rise of the ... uh... Reluctantly Hawkish Hitchenite Contrarians (oooo that one might bust his gut!).

And when they "upgrade" they can't seem to get much beyond November-December 2000 and in my experience can't deal with the January 2001 people let alone the 12 September 2001 people.

Given that it's 04 September 2004, they are in deep deep trouble. That (t1-t0) is everything. Without it there would be no history and no future. And the democrats had better take that to heart -- 'cause another watershed date is coming up this November (and the year is still 2004 still ain't gettin' any closer to 1968).

Posted by: Bill at September 5, 2004 10:54 AM

05 September 2004

some if us I guess can't really through rocks today :-P

Posted by: Bill at September 5, 2004 11:00 AM

Bill: Reluctantly Hawkish Hitchenite Contrarians

Christopher Hitchens is many things, but I wouldn't say "reluctantly hawkish" is one of them. "Reluctantly rightish" perhaps.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 5, 2004 11:37 AM

Oberon — It's a typical Kerry shuffle... Kerry has admitted to technical "war crimes" (that aren't), while ignoring or trying to suppress his own actual war crimes (torching a hamlet without cause, killing a child in violation of operating procedures)...

it's the old Democratic defense — "In a way, aren't we all guilty? And don't I deserve your respect for pointing it out?"

No, we weren't. And no, he doesn't.

Posted by: richard mcenroe at September 5, 2004 12:03 PM

Michael,

I'm hoping we can all move on too. It's exhausting.

The thing is, in the minds of the present reactionary 'left', Vietnam represents all of their beloved underlying assumptions, philosophies, and ideas about the world and it is these same ideas that prevent them from seeing the present day Islamist fascists for what they truly are. It's almost as though these ideas have short circuited their neural pathways to detour around true threats. They've been politcally corrected out of their ability to sense real danger and seem to prefer to ruminate in the coziness of hyperbolic demons instead.

For me, 9/11 starkly revealed how false these 'Cold War' assumptions are. And I realized that I had held some truly erroneous ideas about how the world worked that I needed to finally part ways with. It was very hard facing all of this, facing that I was sold a bunch of Utopian ideas that simply don't hold water in a crisis.

The reactionary left is in denial about all of this. They are simply refusing to part with their rigid Cold War template of the world, and it is they who keep pointing back to Vietnam. I have the impression that you realize this but what I don't think you're aware of is how important it is to still talk about this, however exhausting it may be, because it is crucial that all those old leftist Cold War assumptions be exposed for what they really are. It's hard and infuriating, but I think we need to keep plugging away at this until it finally starts to sink in. I really consider this to be another front in our current war. We will not win this war without first putting these ideas to rest and we can't put these ideas to rest until we've all fully hashed out what the truth behind them really is.

Posted by: Cara Remal at September 5, 2004 01:32 PM
Christopher Hitchens is many things, but I wouldn't say "reluctantly hawkish" is one of them. "Reluctantly rightish" perhaps.

Heh. True.

Posted by: Bill at September 5, 2004 01:40 PM

Cara,
Your analysis is belied by the fact that the left (speaking here of the democrats, in office) supported the war against those who attacked us on 9/11. If you recall the vote in the Senate was 95-0. Almost unanimous in the House as well.

The dissent is over the war against a regime that did not attack us. You may choose to characterize opposition to such an endeavor in many ways, but "cold war mentality" seems completely off the wall.

Posted by: Tano at September 5, 2004 04:16 PM

Tano,

Did you support the war against Serbia in the 1990s? Slobodan Milosovic was in no way, ever, a threat to the United States.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 5, 2004 05:38 PM

Besides, Tano, Saddam Hussein violated the cease-fire agreement that ended Gulf War One by firing at us on an almost daily basis. Shooting at American airplanes is an act of war, especially when it goes on for more than 10 years.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 5, 2004 05:40 PM

Kerry = War Criminal = Loser

Tano = coo coo for cocao puffs = Loser

MJT = photographer extraordinaire = the dude!

Moi = former Gore/Lieberman voter = going' w/ W!

Posted by: chris in st. louis at September 5, 2004 06:47 PM

"Somewhere between the unwashed liberal protestors outside the RNC, and the hate and distortions spewed inside it, is a reasonable approach to the 21st century"...

As a sane-lib, Oberon, I couldn't agree more.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 5, 2004 07:29 PM

"Somewhere between the unwashed liberal protestors outside the RNC, and the hate and distortions spewed inside it, is a reasonable approach to the 21st century"...

You agree with that Grant? (I mean how prejudicial can one get?)

Well I'll just say that somewhere in between the "unwashed liberal" and the RNC "spewers of hate" lie some very conceited look down there nose people who in truth have very little to be conceited about. Get over yourselves for God sake. Grant, is it really necessary to agree with something so pompous and over the top? This is simply a prejudicial backhand masquerading as some profound statement of truth. Statements drawing such stark conclusions require more reasoning then shallow pop-offs without explanation. This is what I expect from trolls at worst but it is lazy at best.

Such statements require some fair examples to bolster those conclusions. What makes the RNC “hateful distorters” and the protesters “unwashed”? Further, what cute trick is it to put some crazy protesters in the same sentence and comparison as RNC mainstream Republicans? Obviously this is to draw parallels with what is normal in one Party to the most abnormal elements of another. If this is not the case then it is blind prejudice period.

Give me a break! I was at the RNC Convention and I witnessed the Protesters, I was in fact assaulted by some of the protesters even though I simply carried a nuetral press pass. I just happened to be walking along side a Republican I did not even know! I stood on the floor of the convention was a witness to events. This kind of statement requires qualifications of what make an RNC person hateful and what makes the protester unwashed. This is nothing short of a smear period. Statements of truth require more thought in my opinion.

Posted by: Samuel at September 5, 2004 10:18 PM

MJT If by that you mean to imply that 60s Boomers have their own religion, perhaps you're on to something.

The main practical purpose of a religion, in day to day life, is to define Morals. Not just ideas, morals.
The anti-war Left is claiming moral superiority for being against the Vietnam War.

But they have never honestly examined the "real" choice the USA had from Kerry's 1971 Winter Soldier testimony: fight in 'Nam or leave.
The cost of fighting includes what it does to America -- if fighting means our drafted soldiers are becoming baby killers, the cost is higher.

The cost of leaving includes how many in SE Asia are murdered by commies after the US leaves. Kerry's Fullbright testimony has the unbelievably stupid estimate of only 2000 to 3000, with Senator Aiken stating that it's way too low (800 000 refugees from the North needed help after the French left in 54) -- but he never gave an alternate number.

The US was sending home 200-300 body bags a month, and thousands more wounded. A high cost. But most moral Americans would claim it is worth paying this price, in US lives, to avoid a genocide. When Kerry's lie about many (most?) soldiers becoming Lt. Calley My Lai style war criminals is included, the cost of stopping genocide goes up.

Kerry's smaller lie, about how few lives would be lost as the US leaves and the commies wint the Vietnames "Civil War", is seldom examined -- both Dems AND Reps are too ashamed to be honest.

The USA enabled evil commie genocide, when we left Vietnam. There is NO WAY leaving Vietnam (after 1971) can honestly be considered morally superior.

And Michael, ALL wars require killing, and killing innocents. The Abu jail show Americans are not perfect -- the Left wants to claim, again, that Iraq is making soldiers into baby killers, er, inappropriate (& illegal) frat boy type hazers of prisoners.

Western Civilization must decide if fighting terrorism is worth it, when it means "good" forces will sometimes kill innocents.

I'm at peace with my own morals that Nixon's USA made the wrong moral choice in leaving SE Asia, instead of accepting the proxy war.

[funny how some 9 million racist Democrats left Humphrey to support Wallace in 68, allowing Nixon to get in then. More on http://tomgrey.motime.com/1094419750#334859 , since you never link me]

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 6, 2004 01:50 AM

Tano, among other things, you said:

"But there has always been a rump group, a modern verion of the "lost cause" movement if you will, who were never able to assimilate that and who are now the driving force for unearthing the Vietnam story once again - with the hope that they can somehow rewrite history and avoid obvious lessons."

I take it you are speaking about Kerry in this statement. Watched intermittently four days of the RNC scrupulously honoring Kerry for his service in Vietnam, then moving on to assail his ridiculous voting record while in the Senate. Kerry's response to a challenge of his laughably pathetich Senatorial activity? Well of course, he claimed the RNC was attacking his Vietnam service, said he was "unfit for office" (nice made up quote that never, EVER was uttered by any of the prime time speakers in NYC), then he willfully dragged the dialogue back to questions of whether Cheney served in Vietnam, hoping to muddy the waters so as to obscure his damaging Senate record.

And who was it that during primary season referred to his vietnam service in near tourette's syndrome fashion? Uh, that'd by Kerry, unearthing the story once again in hopes of rewriting history.

As for the rewriting of history- let's look at that. In the Winter Soldier hearings, he made up out of whole cloth claims of soldier's atrocities- rather quick turnaround on the history re-write, don't you think? Add in the "seared, seared" fable of Christmas Eve in Cambodia which has mysteriously dropped of the Kerry website thanks to the Swifties- yet another strange re-write, eh? Also consider the "lucky hat" given to Kerry by a CIA spook that he in eery Apocalypse Now fashion dropped off in Cambodia, as well as the magical gymnastics dog called VC that might or might not have been on his boat, and a few others I can't recall off the top of my head..... seems to me you were indeed speaking of Kerry with this point about the re-writing of history.

"I find it all to be more of an attempt at personal justification than any serious discussion of global strategy or politics."

Again, I trust you are pointing at Kerry with this one- his fervent hope is to keep yammering about his 4 month active military service in hopes of distracting from his 20+ years of Senatorial disservice, or his hopeless floundering about for a topic, any topic, that resonates with the voting public.

"But to the extent that there are no clear lessons generally accepted anymore about what the Vietnam experience meant, or has taught us, then the discussion probably should continue."

Probably correct- but not during a presidential election campaign.... wrong time, wrong place. Kerry himself stated that military service is at best tangential in determining fitness for office when defending Clinton against the Dole campaign's attacks in '96. Why the sudden and complete flip flop? (This last question is of course rhetorical.)


"Failing to learn lessons from great traumatic experineces is the very essence of foolishness. We lost 50K+ men and killed over 3 million human beings during those years, and we accomplished nothing."

Not to mention the people killed by the Communists during this same period and after the fall of Saigon.....

"At the very least I would expect that those who wish to curtail these discussions would say - "I dont wish to discuss Vietnam anymore because the lessons were obvious, here is what they are, there is no use arguing about it anymore, and so lets move on and apply that wisdom to the extent that it is relevant". But to say " I dont wish to discuss it because it happened before I was born and we now face a different situation" - and then to go on and speak of the current situation in a way that is oblivious to the lessons, is, I think, misguided."

And at the very least I would wish that you applied the same standards to Kerry that you apply to those on this discussion thread. To fail to do so, is, I think, hypocritical in the extreme.

Posted by: Idler at September 6, 2004 02:11 PM

Boy Michael, you know how to make a guy feel old. Anyway - I think the discussion of Kerry and Vietnam is somewhat less about Vietnam than it is about what his actions reveal about his character. At least that's how I take it. There is still the Vietnam bitterness in one aspect of the discussion - his testimony before the senate, but again, revealing something about Kerry. In that sense I think its a relevant topic. I suspect it has run its course finally.

Posted by: patrick at September 6, 2004 05:40 PM
Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member



Testimonials

"I'm flattered such an excellent writer links to my stuff"
Johann Hari
Author of God Save the Queen?

"Terrific"
Andrew Sullivan
Author of Virtually Normal

"Brisk, bracing, sharp and thoughtful"
James Lileks
Author of The Gallery of Regrettable Food

"A hard-headed liberal who thinks and writes superbly"
Roger L. Simon
Author of Director's Cut

"Lively, vivid, and smart"
James Howard Kunstler
Author of The Geography of Nowhere


Contact Me

Send email to michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com


News Feeds




toysforiraq.gif



Link to Michael J. Totten with the logo button

totten_button.jpg


Tip Jar





Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn