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1.As I recall, GWB's record was attacked by the Dems first

2. While most Reps (except those of us who haven't forgiven the WinterSoldier thing) would LOVE to discuss Kerry's more recent record and leave the distant past alone, Kerry has been RUNNING on his Viet Nam experience. (I assume you saw the Dem convention)

I would point out that the way the Kerry campaign is handling the Xmas in Cambodia complaint from the Swift Vets seems to show that the Swift Vets have some valid points.

I am beginning to feel that the "lady doth protest too much" - some Donks complain that their patriotism is being impugned, because deep down inside they know it should be.

Now if the Dems had nominated someone like Leiberman, we might have actually had a debate about what the hell to do about the Islamic extremists. This is not 68 folks, this is 72: Nixon was vulnerable on a lot of foreign affairs issues and the Dems nominated an absolute loon. This year, GWB is also vulnerable on his foreign affairs plans (albeit not because he doesn't ask Chirac or the UN for permission to do things) and the Dems did it again they nominated a clown who thinks that 4 months in Viet Nam is the only qualification he needs to be president.

I should note that the Reps do this sort of dumb thing too, LBJ could have been beaten in 64........


This is exactly where the hard-won civility and rationality of the Vietnam debate breaks down. If four months isn't "enough," how many months would be? And enough for what?

The experience of combat doesn't seem, from the standpoint of those who've had it, to be a question of time anyway. People in uniform usually spend most of their time NOT fighting--sitting around base, conducting uneventful patrols, planning operations, training, etc. The experience of the soldier is usually days of boredom, punctuated by a few minutes of sheer terror.

The exception for US forces is, of course, Vietnam. Boobytraps, snipers, ambushes, infiltrations, assassinations, major offensives--American infantrymen in that war faced a higher average exposure to danger than in other conflicts.

So, is four months of service in Vietnam "enough"? And again, for what?

Whatever the war, the message that candidates who were veterans inevitably send to the electorate is, "I served, with all that military service means." Eisenhower certainly ran on his military resume, even though he didn't face danger himself. In WWII, he did, however, make momentous decisions on a daily basis. Is this kind of service more or less valid than the perilous war histories of McCain, Bush Sr., Cleland, or Kerry?

We might have a discussion of how military service makes someone a better candidate for public service. We might also dig into the type of service someone performed: General or lieutenant? Medic or pilot? Logistics specialist or XO?

But, you have to ask yourself, (1) Are these fine distinctions really necessary, if in fact someone actually performed active duty, and (2) is it even possible to have a constructive discussion in any public forum today, particularly the American press?

I'd answer no to both questions.


Sorry, I think you missed the point of my "4 months" comment. I agree that the length of time in service is less important than the service itself (although Dems don't feel that way about GWB). I meant that those 4 months are the only part of his life that he discussed at the convention, and those 4 months are what he is running on. What about all the time since???

As to your two questions,
I agree, the distinctions aren't necessary (I wasn't making them anyway), and in our poisonous atmosphere I dont think we can have a rational national debate about ANYTHING. That is why I have come to agree with Hugh Hewitt's premise in this book:
that for our own national salvation, we need to crush the Dems at the polls this November so badly that the inmates stop running that asylum

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