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Old 04-30-2003, 11:25 AM
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Gimpy Gimpy is offline
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Default "Conservatives" show how their "agendas" harm true american heros'!

The Rank and Vile Politics of Vietnam
By, John Cory

"... and soldiers are best of all. Politicians praise their death by glorious patriotism, then resurrect them to inspire the noble mob; and in the end they are discarded for the inconvenience of their wounds, or worse, the embarrassment of their sad deeds."
- from The Death of Kings

Is this really about Bob Kerrey or Vietnam? Or is it about furthering the far-right political agenda? Considering the chorus of conservative pundits now willing to judge and deem guilty, I have to wonder if this is the American way or is it just more hypocrisy?

Where is the man in the White House? The one who was all about restoring honor and dignity and the change of tone? The one who trotted out Medal of Honor veterans in support of his election actions despite his own less than honorable military record? Where are they now, these Medal of Honor supporters? To be president is to be honorable and forthright and to scatter the lying mob. But I suppose the elimination of a potential election rival is once again more important than the truth, or honor and dignity. Remaining silent leaves you standing with the rank and vile attackers and manipulators of the politics of personal destruction.

The untalented draft-dodging blowhard Limbaugh spews his slander across the airwaves: "It's just tough listening to liberals talk about the people they've killed, when it is liberals who accuse Republicans and conservatives of wanting to kill and starve."

In a repulsive column, Tony Snow (Fox News) links Bob Kerrey to Timothy McVeigh. No, he doesn't compare them exactly; just moves from one alleged military man to another to point out, "Former Sen. Kerrey addressed the press this week about allegations that he and members of his SEAL unit slaughtered as many as 20 civilians in the Vietnamese village of Thanh Phong." Notice he makes good use of the word "slaughtered." It fits so well with the rest of his column leading to the fetal protection and anti-abortion theme at the end of his column.

Neal Travis manages innuendo and insult as he gives the inside scoop on the gathering of the SEAL team in secret to begin, "thrashing out a consensus of what they say happened in the hamlet of Thanh Phong in 1969."

Andrew Sullivan weighs in with: "Besides, if soldiers cannot be held personally responsible for possible war crimes, why should they be given awards for heroism?"

And from that great bastion of patriotism, The American Spectator Online, Wlady Pleszczynski inks his smug arrogance, "No wonder that Kerrey is left with no other defense save the therapeutic - or is it simply the pathetic?"

John Leo in his article posits: "No journalist is better than Mickey Kaus at cutting quickly to the heart of an issue. Here is his opening comment about Bob Kerrey last week on his kausfiles Web site: "There is already entirely too much respectful attention being paid to the moral and psychological agony of Bob Kerrey and to the 'healing' process . . .. The question is what happened to the people who haven't had the luxury of agonizing for 32 years because they've been dead. Kerrey's agony is a distraction." John Leo like Limbaugh believes America is "Oprahfied" and soft. He manages to make the bizarre connection of Kerrey and Vietnam, to Elian Gonzalez and the police who shot Amadou Diallo.

Why? What is this about?

The Vietnamese woman who is touted as a witness has told varying versions and admitted she didn't actually see anything, she arrived afterwards. She has been granted permission to speak by her government - you remember them - the Communists? Could they have an agenda too? The Vietnam government has been unhappy of late with what it calls U.S. interference in the problems with the Hmong and other hill-people in the Central Highlands. Could this be another opportunity to embarrass the United States? If she were Chinese, would the right-wing-nuts give her testimony so much weight?

In Vietnam you can tour the War Museum in Ho Chi Minh City. The same museum that was originally named The War Crimes Museum but was changed in order to encourage tourism and not insult the many returning American GIs. Inside, you can stroll through a room that displays large glass jars of deformed embryos and partially aborted fetuses. The accompanying literature will explain how Dow Chemical and the U.S. government sprayed defoliants and chemical agents that were known to cause birth defects and cancer, and did this in the name of capitalist imperialism. I wonder if the self-righteous conservatives supported by corporate largesse would be willing to judge their campaign contributors with the same standards they are using on former Sen. Bob Kerrey? Killing is killing is it not?

And what about Gerhard Klann? What does he get out of this? A book deal with Regnery Press? Maybe revenge for some personal slight committed by Bob Kerrey and the rest of the team? Why now? Something is bubbling beneath the surface here. I don't know what this is all about, but it feels wrong. Very wrong.

Vietnam carries the taint of hippies and slogans like, "Make Love Not War." It wasn't John Wayne but Oliver Stone who came home, and that was not what heroes were made of. And the odd conflict of course is that Stone's portrayal of the war and the soldiers has often been hurtful and insulting to those who served.

How sad America has become that political agendas and personal ambition triumph over truth and valor. A military spy plane crew, detained for 11 days in comfortable quarters, receive heroic treatment and full blown media coverage of several parades and celebrations while a Vietnam Medal of Honor veteran is held up to derision and suspicion.

Once more we hear the old and tired phrases that so many of us detested then as now - baby-killers- troubled veterans - My Lai. And for what? So some conservative can bang the drum for more defense spending? For the self-righteous judgements of men who lacked the spine to serve in the darkness with us? Trot out that oldie but goodie, "America Love It Or Leave It!" Let the desk-chair patriots show us the true meaning of America. Belittle the anguish of moral men who fought in the name of your precious flag and banners and found no solace in the arms of America. Call for an investigation and the return of medals. Please, show us the sins of our warrior days!

Use your soldiers. Make them political pawns for your own greedy purposes. But spare me the moral indignation about war run amok! Show me your bloodless hands when you guided Bush into the recent bombing of Iraq. Take a handkerchief and wipe the drool and spittle from your mouth as you shout and scream for bigger and better armadas to staff with more young men who must defend our freedoms. Train them well and send them out into the night, but remember they will return and you will have to look deep into those eyes that hide the true price of all your glory. And when you are ready to judge, remember - those eyes have seen the darkness of souls - including yours.

As Shakespeare said, "we happy few, we band of brothers; for he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition: And gentlemen in England now a-bed shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."

These are my brothers and I will not allow you to defile them.



The author served in Vietnam from 1969 - 1970
1/52nd 198th LIB Americal
Awarded the Bronze Star with "V" device for Valor and
Purple Heart among other medals.
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Gimpy

"MUD GRUNT/RIVERINE"


"I ain't no fortunate son"--CCR


"We have shared the incommunicable experience of war..........We have felt - we still feel - the passion of life to its top.........In our youth our hearts were touched with fire"

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
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