Ever sharp his pen, Cristopher Hitchens lets loose on Kerry and the Democrats in his latest article, Not so Swift.
Hitchens wonders how Kerry could think his former critics would remain silent as he made his Vietnam military record a basis for his Presidential aspirations. In a juxtaposition of Kerry's 1971 testimony before Congress and a recent photograph of Kerry shouldering a rocket launcher with William Rood of the Chicago Tribune, Hitchens writes:
On that previous occasion [Congressional testimony], Kerry was using his service as a warrior to acquire credentials as an antiwarrior. Now, [rocket launcher photo] he is cashing in the same credentials to propose himself as alliance-builder and commander in chief. This is not a distinction without a difference.
Indeed it is not. On Thursday, April 22, 1971 , Kerry testified before Congress that he witnessed and accessorily participated in rape, amputation, decapitation, torture, and much worse, all in an effort to harness the popular anti-war movement as support for his budding political career. Thirty-five years later, at a time when we are at war with a formidable enemy, Kerry again offers up this very same military record, now as a basis for the war-time leadership he thinks he could provide as President. That's one durable military record, to be stretched to such extremes. It's also disengenous at best, and a recipe for an appeasement approach to overcoming the terrorism that threatens you and me at worst.
Hitchens goes on to make light of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9-11, would-you-send-your-son-to-Iraq approach to ginning up anti-war-in-Iraq sentiment. Hitchens points out that it’s not much of a leap from “would you send your son to Iraq?” to “only veterans or potential veterans have license to comment on matters of war.” Based on Moore’s line of thinking, if only veterans or potential veterans have room to comment on war matters, what’s wrong with swift boat veterans calling Kerry a traitor? If the shoe fits…
Hitchens closes the article by casting any uncritical approval of Kerry on the basis of his military record as unapologetic idiocy,
They [myopic Kerry supporters] have also implicitly subverted one of the most important principles of the republic, which is civilian control over military decisions. And more than that, they have done something eye-rubbingly unprincipled, doing what Reagan and Kissinger could not do: rehabilitating the notion of the Vietnam horror as "a noble cause."
In a correct perspective, the horror of Vietnam is John F. Kerry, a horror best left in our past.
Update, 8/24/2004, 10:46 MDT: Speaking of swifties, Drudge Reports that Kerry put in a call to Robert Brant Cdr. USN (Ret.) Sunday night. Apparently, Kerry asked Brant why the swift boat vets oppose his candidacy. Brant replied, "You should know what you said when you came back, the impact it had on the young sailors and how it was disrespectful of our guys that were killed over there."
Kerry went on to say that his 1971 Congressional testimony did not impune his fellow swift boaters, but instead, "all the rest of the veterans."
Now there's a distinction voters should know.
Nothing like stepping on your own, uh, tongue...