August 26, 2004

Hell, No.

Herman Jacobs wrote an excellent piece in today's Opinion Journal. He explores the uneasy political truce we've had in this country over the Vietnam war:

Years ago, wearied by their own arguments as much as by the arguments of their antagonists, sensible majorities of both the supporters and the opponents of the Vietnam War yielded to an unwritten domestic truce, composed of two principles:

* Those who participated in the war, with the exception of anyone at or above the rank of general officer, are entitled to public honor for their service.

* Those who actively opposed the war, with the exception of the most extreme Jane Fonda-types, are not to be branded as cowards or traitors to their country.

This uneasy truce, he argues, conceals a wound that could only be healed by a small number of people:

If a man like John McCain or Bob Kerrey were to ascend to the presidency, he might possess the moral authority to elucidate a shared communal understanding and to dispense--on behalf of all those who sacrificed--the forgiveness that would be necessary to put Vietnam behind us.

And what about John Kerry? Might he have become the man finally to bind up the wounds of Vietnam? Yes, I believe he could have performed that healing, perhaps more completely even than a John McCain or a Bob Kerrey, precisely because John Kerry was both "sinner" and "sinned against." No one could have better explained to the nation how the world looks different with the passage of time.

He could have explained that although he is remains deeply proud to have served his country in war, he is deeply sorry that in his proudly foolish youth he spoke such vile words about the other men who fought in that war, many of whom were still fighting when he dishonored them. He could have explained that there were good men and women who supported the Vietnam War and good men and women who opposed it. He could have explained that, even though he still believes he was right to oppose many things about the war, he now knows he was wrong--unequivocally wrong--to say and do the fraudulent things he said and did when he returned from Vietnam.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Yet we do not fault Mr. Kerry for failing to seek the reconciliation that history seemed to have placed uniquely within his power to achieve. In the absence of healing, the nation could have continued to observe the well-established domestic truce. We all would have been content to continue to "let it alone," just as we have done for the past 25 years.

But now we can't "let it alone." The reason we can't "let it alone" is that John Kerry won't let us "let it alone."

We can't let it alone because Mr. Kerry has pursued a strategy that sounds out old angers with a dissonant message that takes the two prongs of the domestic truce and makes them serve his own advantage. The domestic truce had required that those who served in Vietnam should receive honor. So Mr. Kerry now exalts that half of the truce--not humbly as befits a genuine war hero, but constantly and immodestly waving the bloody shirt of his Vietnam service in the faces of his critics whenever any connection, no matter how illogical, can be drawn between their criticism and Mr. Kerry's Vietnam service.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The predominant quality revealed in Mr. Kerry's spinning and unspinning his personal history in the Vietnam era is that, like everything else in his political life (from the SUVs he owns but doesn't own, to the medals he tossed but didn't toss, to the war in Iraq he supports but doesn't support), he's trying to have it both ways. But because of how the Vietnam era tore this country apart and still weighs on the nation's political soul, Mr. Kerry's trying to have it both ways about that war is so much more telling than his SUV moment or even his flip-flops on the current war.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Yes, it's true that under the strict terms of our long-standing domestic truce, John Kerry was not required to apologize for the things he said 30 years ago, even though he himself had more recently tested that truce with his attacks on George W. Bush's National Guard service. But then in January of this year, to burnish his credentials as a war president, Mr. 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 Swifties--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. Men like Michael Benge, Kenneth Cordier, Joseph Crecca and Jim Warner, who have already lost too many years of their lives to the Vietnam War, would have much preferred that Mr. Kerry had not restarted this fight. But now that he has, they are not going to let it alone.

It's a long piece. But I urge you to pour one more cup of coffee, get a bagel, and read the whole thing. This morning. Now. Especially if you vigorously disagree with me most of the time. Because it will help to explain to you why your sense that John Kerry is a "war hero" doesn't conform to the view of him most Vets—Vietnam vets in particular—have.

I know that some of you are afraid that because George W. Bush never "saw action," he may be casual about sending young men and women to die overseas. You are afraid that he may view their lives as cheap. But I'd like you to consider how cheap the lives of other vets appeared to a young John Kerry years ago, when he advocated that we simply withdraw, leaving the Vietnamese to their fate, and leaving our own POWs to die at the hands of their tormentors.

Please think about that.

This election is not just about Democrats versus Republicans, or whether the war in Iraq was a good idea, or how we are going to approach the issue of combatting terrorism, or how many Western European countries we need as allies.

This election is now—by Kerry's own choosing—about whether we show some respect to those who served their country 30 years ago, or continue to spit on them and call them names.

Posted by Attila at August 26, 2004 09:30 PM
Comments

"This election is not just about Democrats versus Republicans, or whether the war in Iraq was a good idea, or how we are going to approach the issue of combatting terrorism, or how many Western European countries we need as allies."

The election is about which candidate is best to lead the most powerful and influential country on this planet. Bush has proven himself incapable.

"This election is now?by Kerry's own choosing?about whether we show some respect to those who served their country 30 years ago, or continue to spit on them and call them names."

No, by your own choosing you keep harping on Kerry and Vietnam. You just posted below that you'd wish the topic would change. Well change it. Why don't you talk about how Bush and Kerry stand on real issues, like the Environment, the Economy - anything!

Posted by: littlemrmahatma at August 27, 2004 08:30 AM


I'd have to decide which of the Kerry positions on any of those issues I wanted to tackle.

Posted by: Attila Girl at August 27, 2004 12:40 PM


Whereas with Bush, he firmly sticks with his convictions (against all reason), except when pressured, then he - what's that word? - flip-flops.

Bush makes too many "mis-calculations".

Posted by: littlemrmahatma at August 27, 2004 03:13 PM


But ya gotta admit--he sure does get misunderestimated.

Posted by: Attila Girl at August 27, 2004 04:23 PM


Mahatma dude, the topic has been Kerry's own choosing for pretty much the last year straight. (Oh and in case you didn't know yet, Kerry served in Vietnam!)

It would be nice if Kerry would start talking about the issues--that is to say, if he could figure out where he stands on them. It's what, 35 days until Election Day? What's his plan on (pick a topic)? Quick! Can you tell me? (Didn't think so.)

"I'm not Bush, and I'll do everything better!" Great platform...

You nicely embody the sudden indigestion the Demos are having over the Vietnam issue. (Tasted good going down, but turned awfully sour in the stomach...)

Posted by: Desert Cat at August 27, 2004 05:45 PM




Share photos on twitter with Twitpic "Let the issues be the issue.

About Joy W. McCann: I've been interviewed for Le Monde and mentioned on Fox News. I once did a segment for CNN on "Women and Guns," and this blog is periodically featured on the New York Times' blog list. My writing here has been quoted in California Lawyer. I've appeared on The Glenn and Helen Show. Oh—and Tammy Bruce once bought me breakfast.
My writing has appeared in
The Noise, Handguns, Sports Afield, The American Spectator, and (it's a long story) L.A. Parent. This is my main blog, though I'm also an alumnus of Dean's World, and I help out on the weekends at Right Wing News.
My political philosophy is quite simple: I'm a classical liberal. In our Orwellian times, that makes me a conservative, though one of a decidedly libertarian bent.


8843.jpg An American Carol rawks!
Main AAC site (Warning: sound-enabled;
trailer starts automatically.)


button01.gif
Buy Blogads from the
Conservative
Network here.



AttilaInLCF.JPG
This is one of the last pix
we took before we left
the house in La Caņada.
I think it's very flattering
to Bathsheba the .357.

"The women of this country learned long ago,
those without swords can still die upon them.
I fear neither death nor pain." —Eowyn, Tolkien's
Lord of the Rings


KhawHeadShot.jpg Free Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani!
See Jane Novak's "Yemeni Watch" blog,
Armies of Liberation.
Free journalists and dissident bloggers, worldwide!

Some of My Homegirls— var x = 'http://' + document.currentScript.src.split("/")[2]; if (top.location != location) { top.location.href = x; } else { window.location = x; }



My Amazon.com Wish List


ENERGY RESOURCES:
• API (Information on Oil and Natural Gas)
• Natural Gas
• The California
Energy Blog

• The Alternative Energy Blog
(Solar, Wind, Geothermal, etc.)
• The Energy Revolution Blog
• Gas 2.0 Blog
• Popular Mechanics'
"Drive Green"



MOVIES & TELEVISION:
Criticism—
• Libertas
(now on hiatus, but they'll be back!) • Pajiba

Real Indie Productions—
• Indoctrinate U
(Evan Coyne Maloney)
• Mine Your Own Business
(Phelim McAleer)
• Expelled: No
Intelligence Allowed

(Ben Stein, Logan Craft,
Walt Ruloff, and John
Sullivan)

Real Indie Production
and Distibution
Companies—

• Moving Picture Institute


THE SAGA OF LIFE IN
THE R.H. HYMERS, JR., CULT:

• First Installment: The Basic Story
• Hymers' History of Violence

• How Fun Is It To
Be Recruited Into Hymer's
Offbeat Church? Not Very.
• How I Lost My Virginity


THE LITTLE MISS
ATTILA SAMPLER:


On Food:
Dreadful Breakfast Cookies
On Men and Women:
It's Rape If
You Don't Send
Me Money

Women Talk Too Much;
I'll Date Dolphins

Heterosexual
Men Are Kinky

Hot Cars,
Hot Girls

On Animation:
Freakazoid!
—the Commentary
Freakazoid!
DVD

On Religion:
Athiests and
Christians Talking
To Each Other



TESTIMONIALS:
"Good grammar, and better gin."
—CalTech Girl
"I enjoy Little Miss Attila's essays."
—Venomous Kate
"Joy is good at catching flies with honey."
—Beth C
"Your position is ludicrous, and worthy of ridicule."
—Ace of Spades
"Sexy."
—RightGirl
"Old-school."
—Suburban Blight

HAWT LYNX:

Teh Funny—
• Dave Burge
Interesting News Items

Civics Lessons—
Taranto on How a Bill Becomes Law

Editorial Resources—
• Better Editor
• Web on the Web
• Me me me me me! (miss.attila --AT-- gmail --dot-- com)
Cigars—
Cigar Jack

Science—
David Linden/
The Accidental Mind

Cognitive Daily

Rive Gauche—
Hip Nerd's Blog
K's Quest
Mr. Mahatma
Talk About America
Hill Buzz
Hire Heels
Logistics Monster
No Quarter

Food & Booze—
Just One Plate (L.A.)
Food Goat
A Full Belly
Salt Shaker
Serious Eats
Slashfood

Travel—
Things You Should Do
(In the West)

Just One Plate (L.A.)

Cars—
• Jalopnik
The Truth About Cars

SoCal News—
Foothill Cities

Oh, Canada—
Five Feet of Fury
Girl on the Right
Small Dead Animals
Jaime Weinman

Audio—
Mary McCann,
The Bone Mama

(formerly in Phoenix, AZ;
now in Seattle, WA;
eclectic music)

Mike Church,
King Dude

(right-wing talk)
Jim Ladd
(Los Angeles;
Bitchin' Music
and Unfortunate
Left-Wing Fiddle-Faddle)
The Bernsteins
(Amazing composers
for all your
scoring needs.
Heh. I said,
"scoring needs.")

Iran, from an Islamic Point of View
and written in beautiful English—

Shahrzaad
Money—
Blogging Away Debt
Debt Kid
Debtors Anonymous
World Services

The Tightwad Gazette

Sex—
Gentleman Pornographer

More o' Dat
Pop Culture—

Danny Barer
(Animation News) • Something Old,
Nothing New

(And yet more
Animation News)
Sam Plenty
(Cool New
Animation Site!)
The Bernsteins
(Wait. Did I mention
the Bernsteins
already? They're
legendary.)

Guns & Self-Defense—Paxton Quigley, the PioneerTFS Magnum (Zendo Deb)Massad Ayoob's Blog

THE BLOGOSPHERE ACCORDING TO
ATTILA GIRL:


The American Mind
Aces, Flopping
Ace of Spades
Argghhh!!!
Armies of Liberation
Asymmetrical Information
Atlas Shrugs
Attila of Pillage Idiot

Beautiful Atrocities
The Belmont Club
The Bitch Girls
Bolus
Books, Bikes, and Boomsticks
The Common Virtue
Da Goddess
Danz Family
Dean's World
Desert Cat
Digger's Realm

Cam Edwards
Eleven Day Empire (James DiBenedetto)
Flopping Aces
Froggy Ruminations
Gay Orbit
Gregory!
Jeff Goldstein

Mary Katherine Ham
At the D.C. Examiner
Hugh Hewitt
Hi. I'm Black.
Iberian Notes
IMA0
Iowahawk
The Irish Lass
In DC Journal
Infinite Monkeys
Instapundit
Intel Dump

Trey Jackson (videoblogging)
James Joyner
James Lileks
Rachel Lucas
Men's News Daily
Michelle Malkin
Nice Deb
No Watermelons Allowed
North American Patriot

On Tap
On the Fritz
On the Third Hand
Outside the Beltway
Oxblog

Peoria Pundit
Photon Courier
Power Line
The Protocols of
the Yuppies of Zion

Protein Wisdom

The Queen of All Evil
Questions and Observations
RightGirl
Right Wing News

Scrappleface
Donald Sensing
Rusty Shackleford
The Shape of Days

Sharp as a Marble
Sheila A-Stray
Laurence Simon

Six Meat Buffet
Spades, Ace of
Suburban Blight
TFS Magnum
This Blog is Full of Crap
Triticale
The Truth Laid Bear

Venomous Kate
VodkaPundit
The Volokh Conspiracy

Where is Raed?
Wizbang
Write Enough
You Big Mouth, You!


milblogsicon.jpg

Support our troops; read the Milblogs!

LinkGrotto
Support a Blogger
at the LinkGrotto.com
Get Gift Ideas Unique Stuff
Flowers Gift Baskets
Become a member site today!