This appeared in yesterday’s Boston Globe:
IMAGINE IF supporters of Bill Clinton had tried in 1996 to besmirch the military record of his opponent, Bob Dole. After all, Dole was given a Purple Heart for a leg scratch probably caused, according to one biographer, when a hand grenade thrown by one of his own men bounced off a tree. And while the serious injuries Dole sustained later surely came from German fire, did the episode demonstrate heroism on Dole’s part or a reckless move that ended up killing his radioman and endangering the sergeant who dragged Dole off the field?
The truth, according to many accounts, is that Dole fought with exceptional bravery and deserves the nation’s gratitude. No one in 1996 questioned that record. Any such attack on behalf of Clinton, an admitted Vietnam draft dodger, would have been preposterous.
No need to imagine. From 1996:
The truth about Dole’s war record is considerably less than awe-inspiring. Yet the myth endures, and with the candidate running on the contrast between his and Clinton’s military record, his campaign isn’t eager to give a more accurate account. Dole, at the behest of his handlers, is less reticent about his service than in the past, but he mainly speaks about his wound and rehabilitation. He has passed up several opportunities to correct the exaggerated versions in biographies, and in the case of his self-wounding has even approved a sanitized account in which his maladroitly hurled grenade goes unnoted. Journalists continue to portray him as a hero, winner of two Bronze Stars. Joe Klein, for example, writes in Newsweek that Dole knows “what guns do. He also knows what politicians do, which is rarely anything quite so dramatic as leading an army into battle.” Such attempts to make political capital out of Dole’s war service go beyond the respect due him for the role he played as a soldier with the 10th Mountain Division.
What really happened at Chichi Jima will never finally be resolved. Were the men really dead when Bush jumped? Did one man parachute out? Why did the intelligence report say one thing and the Finback log another? And why have Bush’s versions changed over time? Bush’s experience in the Good War was more tortured and his accounts more tortuous than he now admits.
“I don’t want to think about it,” said Chester Mierzejewski. “I don’t want to get involved politically.” Still, he sees the attacks on Clinton as cynical in the light of what he has come to believe about the event of long ago. “I knew two guys who would be glad if George Bush had been a draft-dodger,” he told me.
What we do know, in the end, is that terrible things happen in wartime; that the young Bush was consumed with doubt and pain; that the older Bush has presented a simple, unambiguous, but contradicting, story; and that he has directed his campaign to project onto Clinton’s youthful grapplings with a very different war the harsh image of the evader.
Dear Democrats ‘outraged’ over the Swift Boat Vets (who unlike Blumenthal and Ellis, actually where there),
(NRO links via the Instapundit)
Here we go, another outfit trotting out the discredited “Max Cleland was wronged” line.
How many times will these people lie?
M. Scott Eiland
Figures that they tapped that scumbag Blumenthal to trot out that loathsome pile of crap. They don’t call him “Grassy Knoll” for nothing.
Good luck with this one guys. I don’t care if Republicans and conservatives try to smear Kerry. I just don’t think it will work.
hey bq, we didn’t start the fire.
John, is there any difference between a completely obscure article in a small circulation magazine that I’m quite willing to bet you were completely unaware of until you read about it in NRO, and a national tv campaign and general political campaign by jillions of people?
Mind, I’m not saying there’s anything illegitimate about questioning Kerry’s acts in the military, or the events that got him his medals; I don’t think there inherently is. I’m simply asking if you think these two sets of events you bring up are actually remotely similar. (Same for the stuff about 41; were you familiar with that “controversy” until yesterday?)
Actually Gary, I did remember attempts at sullying both Bush 1 and Dole’s records, I just could not remember who started them. I also rememberattempts to claim that Bush 1 was having an affair with some elderly woman in a hotel, as well as numerous other nonsense the Democrats peddled.
Let’s look at spending and attacks shall we
MoveOn and Act: 50 Million for attacks against Bush
SBVFT: 500K for attacks on Kerry’s war record
gary, you make the SBVFT thing seem so comprehensive (national TV ads). I am not sure what you mean by a political campaign by jillions of people though.
And being in my mid 40s, I remember those attacks also. I remember that Bush had to deny those affair rumors quite vigorously and they took a while to die down. I still see some conspiracy moonbat bring them up. That and the Bush family drug dealing mythos. And off course the Bush family history with the 3rd reich, etc.
is there a difference between a group of veterans running commercials against Kerry and the chairman of the DNC charging the sitting president with being AWOL?
And, John, remember that one of the guys peddling the “Bush 41 having an affair” story was Joe Conason, for whom Clinton’s sex was just sex.
Joe, of course, is involved in the Swift Boat story too. He wrote a May 4 piece for Salon entitled “Smear Boat Veterans for Bush.”
If you try and go to swiftboatvets.com, .net, or .org, you’ll be taken to the Salon story. A whois search reveals that those domains were set up on May 5, so someone knew this stuff was coming.
Gosh, Gary, you sure do like to dodge straightforward questions when they don’t suit your preferences.
Like picking the low fruit only, huh?