Blog Center: Kurt's Blog - Archived Entry
Why Vietnam Matters to Me…. - September 17, 2004
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been inundated with a discussion on both sides about what Kerry and Bush did during the time of the War in Vietnam. I’ve heard and read that what happen 35 years ago does not matter and the campaigns need to get back to the issues at hand. While I agree there are significant issues that need to be discussed; healthcare, jobs being shipped overseas, the War in Iraq, the power of big corporations, attacks on our civil liberties and the environment, to name just a few; I believe the paths chosen by the respective candidates is very important. It tells us about their character, their approach to taking responsibility, their moral fortitude and their courage.
On the one hand, we have John Kerry, a product of a privileged life with a Yale education, who chose to enlist and volunteer for Vietnam. You can debate whether this was part of his grand plan to resume build for public service, but the bottom line is he put his life on the line. Resume building means nothing if you’re killed in action. In my book, he was and is a very courageous man.
On the other hand, we have George Bush, also a product of privileged life with a Yale education, who chose to use the influence of his congressman father to preclude being drafted. Truly a “Fortunate Son” as profiled by John Fogerty in the old CCR tune. It’s unfortunate that in our great country money, power and influence mean something, but George Bush did not stop there. Instead, he had to push the envelope. He stopped showing up, he refused to take his physical (I won’t even begin to surmise why) and “transferred out” to work on a political campaign never to be seen again and then…..honorably discharged. Part of the irony is that he was reported to be AWOL from the political campaign he was working on as well!
So why does this matter when it all happened 35 years ago? Well in my view it matters for several reasons:
1. How can a President send our young men and women to Iraq, in an illegally conjured up and poorly planned war, when our Commander in Chief did not even complete his own
2. What gives a President the right to bring heartbreak to the loved ones of over 1,000 slain troops when he himself sought to avoid defending his country when he was called upon?
3. What gives a President a right to tell terrorists and insurgents to “bring it on” and to fly in full flight suit regala and declare “Mission Accomplished” when he lacked the courage to take on America’s enemies firsthand when he had his opportunity.
4. And what kind of President with this background, would brazenly declare that he had served honorably and allow and most likely encourage his “pork barreled” cronies to attack the military record of someone who indeed had served his country with courage and honor.
Character and honor is not something that comes to an individual suddenly at age 40 when he finds God and gives up his substance abused ways. Character is displayed throughout one’s life beginning at an early age.
// posted by kurt at 03:16 PM
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