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Author Topic: Why are Republicans making a fuss over Kerry's military records?
David Ricardo
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Over the last couple days, Republicans have been hooting and hollering over the release of Kerry's military records. But is this really the politically smart thing to do?

Observe the first line in one of the documents from John Kerry's service records, now posted on the Kerry website:

quote:
"I request duty in Vietnam."
Now observe the box that George W. Bush checkmarked on his Air National Guard application:

quote:
"Do Not Volunteer for Overseas."
Again, let us observe Kerry's handwritten evaluation from his supervising officer aboard the USS Gridley:

quote:
Intelligent, mature and rich in educational background and experience, Ens Kerry is one of the finest young officers I have ever met and without question one of the most promising,
Finally, let us observe Bush's evaluation from his Air National Guard supervising officer in Alabama:

quote:
Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of report.


To top it all off, here is one little story about Kerry's record in Vietnam:

quote:
On Feb. 28, 1969, Kerry's craft and two other boats came under heavy fire from the riverbanks. Kerry ordered his units to turn into the ambush and sent men ashore to charge the enemy. According to the records, an enemy soldier holding a loaded rocket launcher sprang up within 10 feet of Kerry's boat and fled. Kerry leapt ashore, ran down the man and killed him.

Kerry and his men chased or killed all the enemy soldiers in the area, captured enemy weapons and then returned to the boat only to come under fire from the opposite bank as they began to pull away. Kerry again beached his boat and led a party ashore to pursue the enemy, and they successfully silenced the shooting. Later, the boats were again under fire, but Kerry initiated a heavy response that killed 10 Viet Cong and wounded another with no casualties to his own men.

While I do not particularly like Kerry, I do have to say that I have profound respect for any man who volunteered to serve 2 consecutive tours of duty on the frontlines in Vietnam; completed more than two dozen missions; earned 3 Purple Hearts for wounds received in Vietnam; received a Bronze Star for rescuing an Army lieutenant who was thrown overboard and under fire; and was even honored by a Silver Star for the heroic story I recounted above (where Kerry and his men steadfastly eliminated Viet Cong in three separate engagements).

Somehow, I do not think these are the kinds of comparison that the RNC wants to make between "flip-flopper" Kerry who said "I request duty in Vietnam" and "leader" Bush who checkmarked the box "Do Not Volunteer for Overseas."

The short story? While Kerry was taking incoming from Viet Cong, Bush was playing "all-day water volleyball games" with "ambitious secretaries".

Is this the debate that Republicans want?

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Ron
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Goose and Gander. It is to be expected when something as unsubstantial as the accusations regarding Bush's awol (no proof) are used as a poking stick, and then the question of a "wound" for which no medical records are found.

In both cases no one was ready to accept the governments position of honor and they have decided to apply the same level of questioning to Kerry that Bush recieved.

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Ron
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By the way, Bush has people that do remember him. So one individuals questionable memory is does not trump everyone elses.
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David Ricardo
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Ron makes the following false claim about the supposedly dubious nature of Kerry's first Purple Heart (conservatives are not going after his second and third Purple Hearts):

quote:
Goose and Gander. It is to be expected when something as unsubstantial as the accusations regarding Bush's awol (no proof) are used as a poking stick, and then the question of a "wound" for which no medical records are found.
Ouch, that is a tough accusation from Ron. He is flat-out claiming that there are zero medical records regarding any wound at all.

Compare that to what Kerry's records on his website actually says:

quote:
The records briefly describe shrapnel wounds to his arm and thigh for the first two Purple Hearts, but they don't detail the severity of the wounds.
Linked from:
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-Kerry-Purple-Hearts.html?hp

Hmm, in Ron's universe, taking shrapnel wounds to the arm and the thigh is not a "real wound." Puh-leeze.

Since Ron mentioned Bush being AWOL (something I did not say myself), let's take a more comprehensive comparison of Kerry vs Bush.

Here is the link:

http://a9.g.akamai.net/7/9/8082/v001/www.democrats.org/pdfs/bush_kerry_military_ comparison.pdf

Here is the shortened text:

While at Yale

Kerry
Enlisted in the US Naval Reserves. Feb. 18, 1966

Bush
Bush received student deferments until June 1968; that year marked the height of the Vietnam draft. [Washington Post, 7/28/99]

Applied for spot in Texas Air National Guard in January of 1968, before graduation. Before he graduated, Bush personally visited Col. Walter "Buck" Staudt -- the commander of the Texas Air National Guard -- to talk about the Guard.

After Bush met with Staudt, he applied and was quickly accepted -- despite a waiting list of over 150 applicants.

Contrary to Bush's denials of special treatment, it was later disclosed that a personal friend of Bush's father had secured the spot in the Guard for Bush.

Bush later acknowledges he entered Guard to avoid going to Vietnam: "I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes." [Houston Chronicle, 5/8/94]

After Graduation

Kerry
Enters and Completes Officer Training School

Bush
Bush joined the Texas Air National Guard after his student deferment ran out when he graduated from Yale in 1968.

"His score on the pilot aptitude section, one of five on the test, was in the 25th percentile, the lowest allowed for would-be fliers." [Dallas Morning News, 7/4/99]

Bush received a direct appointment, allowing him to become a second lieutenant right out of basic training without having to go though officer candidate school. The direct appointment also cleared the way for a position in pilot training school. [Houston Chronicle, 10/10/92; Los Angeles Times, 7/4/99]

On Bush's application to the 147th Fighter Group at Ellington Air Force Base in Texas, Bush was asked what his "Area Assignment Preferences" were. Bush checked the box beside "Do Not Volunteer" for overseas duty. [Application for Extended Duty With The United States Air Force, 5/27/68]

First Assignment

Kerry
Deployed to Western Pacific to Support Operations in Vietnam

Bush
In the summer of 1970, Bush moved into the Chateaux Dijon apartment complex, "a popular spot for singles, it offered fancy street lamps and striped awnings and six pools filled with ambitious secretaries, students and young businessmen. Bush relished his bachelor life there. He played hard, plunging into all-day water volleyball games, but left frequently for 24-hour flight duty in the alert shack at Ellington Field." [Washington Post, 7/28/99]

Request for Second Post

Kerry
On Feb. 10, 1968, Kerry requests duty in Vietnam. He lists his first billet preference as an Officer in Charge of a swift boat and his second as a patrol officer in a River Patrol Boat (PBR) squadron.

Bush
In May 1972, Bush gets a job on an Alabama Senate Campaign. He leaves Houston and requests transfer to the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron in Alabama. Although Bush notes his aeronautical rating as "flying status," his request is turned down because the 9921 was a postal unit. His transfer is later approved to a different Alabama unit. [AF 1288--Bush signature, 24 May 72; Approved: 26 May 72]

Second Assignment

Kerry
Kerry leaves his post on the Gridley, and becomes a student at the Naval Amphibious Base, in Coronado, California in preparation for service on a swift boat in Vietnam. He is promoted from Ensign to Lt. JG and extends his active duty commitment by six months.

While in Vietnam Kerry is involved in more than a dozen missions receiving hostile fire.

He is wounded three times and decorated with three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star. Kerry is ordered by Naval regulations to return home after being wounded three times.

Bush
During Bush's service in Alabama:
He is suspended from flight status for his failure to take required annual medical exam. [Washington Post, 2/15/02; Aeronautical Orders, Number 87, 29 Sept 72; AFM 35-13, Para 2-29m]

He attends the Republican National Convention in Miami, Florida with his father. [Bill Minutaglio, First Son, p. 144].

Pay records released by the White House show that he was paid for 2 days service during the six-month period covering the Blount campaign. [White House Release: Bush Pay Records]

Bush's superior officers were unable to complete his annual evaluation for 1972 because, "Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of report." [AF-77, 2 May 73]

Additional Service

Kerry
Completes Full Active Duty Commitment

Bush
According to records released by the White House itself, Bush may fallen short on minimum requirements expected for Guard members. Bush served 25 days of combined active and weekend Guard duty between May 27, 1972 and May 26, 1973, even though minimum requirements were one weekend a month--24 days a year--plus another 15 days of active duty. Moreover, in 1973 Bush received 15 extra (called "gratuitous") points toward the 50 points needed each year toward his retirement. Guard members commonly received such extras if they had already met the minimum 50 points each year without the additional points. Bush only earned 41 points during the 1972-3 year. According to Wayne Rambo, who was chief administrative officer of the Alabama unit to which Bush was assigned, "that would have been a decided violation of the norm" because extra points were meant "only as a reward to reservists for meeting their bottom line." [Boston Globe, 2/11/04; Memphis Flyer, 2/16/04]

[ April 21, 2004, 09:39 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

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Murdok
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David - Nice reporting on this issue. Be prepared though, your facts will be attacked with a bunch of links to right wing websites spouting conspiracy theories and inuendo trying to paint Kerry in as many nasty ways as thier little imaginations can carry them.

Facts and figures mean nothing to those out to destroy him and paint Bush as some kind of war hero protecting the Texas coastlines.

AGAIN - REALLY GREAT POST AND NICE BOILERPLATE JOB OF BUTTRESSING YOUR ARGUMENT.

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Ron
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Same old same old, with the same old dogmatic slap each other on the back.

It is not Ron's universe (another act of belittlement that should not have a place here). Rather it is the fact that no medical records exist for one of his "purple hearts" Of course I notice that no link was supplied to provide such either. Allow me to provide a link that shows the medical records are still recieved.

Salt Lake Tribune Apparently my universe is slightly closer to reality than other people would like to think.

So with one link the "AGAIN - REALLY GREAT POST AND NICE BOILERPLATE JOB OF BUTTRESSING YOUR ARGUMENT. "

Suddenly explodes like a boiler on the warped paddle wheel. Too much steam and not enough mechanical engineering to control it.

As I was saying. Goose and Gander. The government sanctioned both men as doing the job they were meant to do. The democrats felt that wasn't good enough and so raised a red herring that has long ago been put away. Now the republicans have, in essence lowered themselves to that self same standard. This is why it is an issue.

Perhaps next time, rather than talking alot, a link or two might do better to clear up the issue.

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Ron
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No links but lots and lots of rhetoric. Democrats are capable of better.
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David Ricardo
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Ron, unfortunately, your April 20th article is one day too late.

The rest of the records, which were released today, include the medical records which I described from the Associated Press article that I cited.

As of April 21st, that April 20th article became irrelevant.

If you don't believe the Associated Press, check out the records for yourself at:

http://www.johnkerry.com/about/military_records.html

Obviously, you didn't bother reading the links that I posted -- check out the Associated Press story and the cache of military records on John Kerry's site before you cite obsolete articles from yesterday (Kerry's military records were fully released by today).

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Zyne
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Here's part:
http://www.jordansplace.net/politics/html/bushkerry_nam.html

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David Ricardo
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BTW, I am not and have never been a Democrat (or a Republican, for that matter). Nice ad homenim attack attemping to paint me as a Democratic partisan though, Ron.

As I said before, I have no love for John Kerry or his Democratic Party. In fact, I used to think that Republicans were somewhat more principled and less craven than Democrats.

But that was some time ago -- before the neoconservatives hijacked the Republican Party from its fiscal conservatism and common-sense foreign policy realism. And before neoconservatives began "outing" CIA agents and crippling our military with their "revolutionary transformation."

There are still a couple principled politicians left -- like John McCain and Chuck Hagel. But besides them, Republicans and Democrats all tend to be rather pathetic.

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Ron
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But they do not contain the medical records of one of John Kerry's purple hearts. It is interestng to note that if you get three purple hearts you are rotated back home. Maybe he missed the Kennedy's?
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Chromesthesia
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http://www.awolbush.com/

http://www.talion.com/georgebush.html

Truth? Or biased liberal slander?

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Zyne
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Quite clearly, truth!
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D Pace
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quote:
The campaign could not locate a similar report for Kerry's original Purple Heart. As evidence that Kerry was wounded, campaign spokesman Michael Meehan showed The Associated Press a "Sick Call Treatment Record" from Kerry's personal files that included a brief written note dated December 3, 1968, and stamped from the naval support facility at Cam Ranh Bay.

"Shrapnel in left arm above elbow. Shrapnel removed and appl bacitracin dressing. Ret to Duty," it said. The note is followed by a signature that appears to say "JCCarreon" and some illegible letters that Meehan said probably designate the medical official's rank.

Meehan said the campaign would allow a reporter to see the record at the campaign's headquarters, but not take a copy. He said it would not be made available to the public because Kerry considers it a private medical record.


cnn

Bush has followed the same policy regarding his medical records, allowing them to be reviewed but not releasing them publicly:
quote:
The White House has said that all of Bush's military records have been public; the White House did not make public his medical records but only allowed some reporters to look at some of those records.

Salt Lake Tribune (same as above)

David R-while reading through your "comparison" post above I was impressed with how thoroughly you were presenting side-by-side quotes (with proper citations), and with the initial links to the source material you were summarizing. My thought as I was reading was, hey, he's doing a really nice job of just presenting side by side source material without adding much commentary even. And then I saw Murdok say, congrats on making a nice, well-supported post, which was just about what I was thinking - it was a pleasure to just see a good presentation of source material and cites without a bunch of rhetoric which could have been thrown either way. So I pat you on the back as well

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Ron
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Side by sides were nice, and nuanced against Bush. I hardly found them objective given a number of different criteria. Bush never called fellow soldiers "war criminals" for instance. It is the overlooked and deleted information that speaks much more loudly than the slanted information presented.

I wonder how the side by side between Clinton and Dole would have looked and whether that "side by side" would have convinced anyone to
quote:
Kerry Reneges on Promise to Release Military Records
Dave Eberhart and Chuck Noe, NewsMax.com
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kerry has quickly reneged on his promise to release his full military and medical records to public scrutiny.
Kerry emphatically told Tim Russert on NBC's “Meet the Press” last weekend that “people” could come on down to his campaign headquarters to eyeball his full file of military records.

“They’re available to you to come and look at. People can come and see them at headquarters and take a look at them,” Kerry told Russert.

Russert had asked Kerry if he would release his complete file, as President Bush did after Democrats raised questions about his service in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.

Kerry shot back to Russert’s request, “They are” – indicating the records were already released.

But Kerry has not realeased all his military records, only a small portion, and placed strict limitations on their examination.

This week several individuals and organizations, including NewsMax, followed up on Kerry’s open invitation.

When the media asked to take advantage of Kerry’s offer, however, Kerry's press spokesman Michael Meehan announced that the only records available would be those already released to the Boston Globe.

But the famously pro-Kerry Globe has pointed out that Kerry has never disclosed his full military and medical file to it.

The newspaper reported Tuesday that “the day after John F. Kerry said he would make all of his military records available for inspection at his campaign headquarters, a spokesman said the senator would not release any new documents, leaving undisclosed many of Kerry's evaluations by his Navy commanding officers, some medical records, and possibly other material.”

Thorny Issue

The issue of Kerry’s military records got a fresh infusion of interest and speculation recently when Kerry’s former commanding officer in Vietnam, Lt. Cmdr. Grant Hibbard, questioned a Purple Heart that Kerry received.

A Purple Heart is awarded to a serviceman wounded by enemy fire in combat and who receives medical treatment for his wound.

Hibbard explained that he at first turned down the initial Purple Heart for the young Lt. j.g. Kerry because he had questions as to whether Kerry and his boat crew took enemy fire, and he noted that Kerry’s wound was minor - resembling a fingernail scrape.

"I've had thorns from a rose that were worse," according to Hibbard.

Kerry’s first Purple Heart adventure occurred just 24 hours into his tour of duty.

Kerry was later transferred to Coastal Division 11 at An Thoi in South Vietnam, where apparently Kerry successfully petitioned to have his Purple Heart request reconsidered.

Hibbard recalls getting paperwork from Kerry’s new outfit, asking for his approval, also recalling that he might have signed off on the award in a harried moment.

If so, “it was to my chagrin,” he recollected.

Kerry subsequently got two more Purple Heart awards, qualifying him for an early trip home under informal regulations then in place. He spent four months in the combat zone.

According to the Globe, the Kerry campaign earlier this year showed that publication a document verifying that Kerry was indeed treated for the wound that resulted in the first Purple Heart and that shrapnel was removed.

Meehan has announced that this previously released treatment document would be shown to news organizations, as well as other records previously shared with the Globe, including documents describing Kerry’s actions when he was awarded the Silver Star and two Bronze Stars.

Notably, Kerry's campaign has not released to the Globe, or to anyone else, the formal evaluations from superior officers or his complete, uncensored military file, as President Bush has.

Bush earlier this year released 300 pages of documents after media outlets raised questions about his National Guard service. Those records, which Bush ironically promised to make available during his own appearance in February on “Meet the Press,” included all of the young pilot’s military evaluations and medical records.

Burkett Speaks Out

“Kerry can remove all doubt about his service by signing a U.S. government document referred to as Standard Form 180 -- this in effect is a limited power attorney that grants to third parties, including news organizations and individuals, the right to receive 100 percent of his military and medical records that are available to Mr. Kerry himself,” B.G. Burkett explained to NewsMax.com.

Burkett is a Vietnam historian and author of the best-selling book “Stolen Valor.” Burkett won the Army’s highest civilian award for his research on U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

“This is the only way Senator Kerry can remove doubt and suspicion as to the content of his military and medical file,” Burkett said. “I wouldn’t certainly hope that Sen. Kerry would take this action because there are concerns about the true nature of his short service in Vietnam.”

Kerry was assigned to Swiftboat 44 on Dec. 1, 1968 and within 24 hours he had his first Purple Heart. Accumulating three Purple Hearts in just four months, the young officer never lost appreciable time from duty owing to wounds, according to reports.

According to published reports, the Naval Historical Center maintains all documents connected to such awards to U.S. Navy and Marine personnel.

“Casualty cards” list the date, location and prognosis of the wound for which the Purple Heart is given.

The record is produced by the medical facility that provided treatment for the combat wound. Reportedly, there are two such cards for Kerry - for his slight wounds on Feb. 20 and March 13, 1969 - but none for his December 1968 claim.

Pundits continue to ponder why Kerry’s Purple Heart full military file and medical treatment reports have been withheld from the public. Kerry holds the key.


from Newsmax

From msnbc Updated: 3:29 p.m. ET April 21, 2004

quote:
The campaign could not locate a similar report for Kerry’s original Purple Heart. As evidence that Kerry was wounded, campaign spokesman Michael Meehan showed The Associated Press a “Sick Call Treatment Record” from Kerry’s personal files that included a brief written note dated Dec. 3, 1968, and stamped from the naval support facility at Cam Ranh Bay.

“Shrapnel in left arm above elbow. Shrapnel removed and appl bacitracin dressing. Ret to Duty,” it said. The note is followed by a signature that appears to say “JCCarreon” and some illegible letters that Meehan said probably designate the medical official’s rank.

Meehan said the campaign would allow a reporter to see the record at the campaign’s headquarters, but not take a copy. He said it would not be made available to the public because Kerry considers it a private medical record.

Documentation for the other two injuries shows that Kerry was deemed to be in good condition and returned to active duty after treatment. The documentation does not describe the severity of the injuries.

After the third Purple Heart, the Navy was required to reassign Kerry out of Vietnam, and a document dated March 17, 1969, said Kerry requested duty as a personal aide in Boston, New York or the Washington area. Kerry could have volunteered to stay in Vietnam, but left the country in early April 1969.


It would appear that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. I believe some people are misinformed and have made statements that are not wholly accurate. Unless of course the news is misinformed as of yesterday PM.
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RickyB
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OK, Ron. I don't know and don't really care about Kerry's 3rd purple heart.

Let's say, just for the sake of argument, that he has two purple hearts, a Silver and a Bronze. Does your candidate benefit from the comparison any more now?

Chickenhawks crack me up.

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Ron
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Then you miss the point.

Why are the republicans making a big deal? Because the democrats when they had no candidates chose to throw all kinds of assertions in which the military record was not allowed to stand on its own (record being an honorable discharge), the democrats decided to attack with questions, requiring Bush to prove a negative and filling everyone with their innuendo and lack of facts (even with witnesses stating Bush was in Alabama at the time).

Now Kerry has a question. A question that, before the democratic attack, would not have been raised. Its not a question of comparing candidates but comparing tactics by the parties.

Personally I couldn't care less that Kerry won purple hearts a bronze star or was a veritable Audi Murphy. It has almost nothing to do with him being a good or bad president. Custer won a number of medals but I wouldn't give him the time of day. Lincoln never won a medal and few men were better leaders for our country during the crisis.

As I have stated, its a question of party political tactics. Tossing out an inconveniently misdocumented purple heart misses the point.

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Koner
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As a long time military member I've seen a lot of people get awards for undeserving actions. So from my point of view Kerry getting a purple heart for a scratch on his arm above the elbow which required a bandaid coated with bacitracin is no big surprise (although I'm sure that the citation paints a much prettier picture of the wound than that using phrases like "in keeping with the highest traditions of US Naval tradition"). I'm more concerned with his whole attitude toward his military service and his awards. I'm concerned about the way 30 years ago he denounced both his and his shipmates and fellow soldiers actions in Vietnam as "war crimes" and threw his medals over the fence in protest over the war. Now 30 years later when it is to his advantage that he served in that war, he pulls out his medals, polishes them up so they are nice and shiny and throws them in the face of the country saying look here I'm a hero.

The man uses whatever is available to him that serves his political advantage at the time. 30 years ago it was to his political advantage to be a war protestor and to throw away his medals. Now its to his advantage to use those same medals in a different way. It is that two faced hypocrisy that I don't particularly care for in John Kerry as a human being. I have little use for the man.

On that note I'm not exactly proud of the way Bush totes his military record either. However I do not believe that he was AWOL anymore than I believe that a man deserves a Purple Heart for a wound the requires a 15 minute visit to sick call before being returned to full duty.

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Colin JM0397
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My candidate can beat up your candidate [Razz]

Simple tit-for-tat, but the Bush folks should have let sleeping dogs lie. Of course, with the average 30-second sound byte memory of the average knucklehead these days, this will be ancient news come November.

However, the contrast in the two's records is quite stark. I don't like much of anything Kerry says or does, but his records speak for themselves.

I don't begrudge Bush's NG service one bit, because service is service as far as I'm concerned, but if they thought something damaging to Kerry was going to come out, they were grasping at some serious straws.

Addition: Koner, exactly what I'm thinking.
However, to be fair and use an anecdote, sometimes it's not the service member pushing for things. One of my former NCOs received a purple heart much the same way in Iraq - little bit of shrapnel, can't even see the scar a few months later, no loss of duty time. From what I gather, the unit's commander and NCOIC pushed for him to get the medal because it looks good for the unit.

[ April 22, 2004, 09:57 AM: Message edited by: jm0397 ]

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Murdok
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Ron - so what you are saying is that it doesn't matter that Kerry served this country honorably and with distinction while Bush was being lazy and apethetic during his stint in the guard, using his fathers position to jump ahead of other qualified recruits?

Are you saying that Bush is now better qualified to run a war, when in fact he did not fullfill his obligation to the United States Air National Guard when he had a chance to do the right thing for the country...just by sticking it out and actually doing the duty he asked for in the first place?

I guess I don't see your point. You are advocating that the country is better served by a narrow minded man who had no real experience in much of anything before becoming president and was a pathetic excuse of a pilot who did not fullfill his duty to the United States when he had a chance as a youth. You seem willing to excuse Bush's indescretions while he was in his 20s and yet you are not so inclined to let Kerry enjoy the same level of forgivness even though Kerry freely admited he was a stupid kid on Meet the Press this past Sunday.

Personally I'll take the guy who has perspective and can admit he said some stupid things and admit mistakes as a kid...when in fact he was actually doing his duty for this country, putting his life on the line and speaking his mind and protesting a pointless war. And whether you believe it or not, Kerry is not the first vet to admit that we were put into an impossible situation in Viet Nam and that we stepped over the line as individual soldiers.

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Murdok
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JM - I don't think the individual soldier is the one who asks for the purple heart - I mean, I don't think someone goes running around to his CO and says, Looky looky - I gots wounded right here in the arm - can I have one of those purple heart thingys?

I don't think so.

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Colin JM0397
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You can somewhat. Similar thing happened to one of my Grandfathers in WWII. He has a scar on his hand from some exploding ammunition post-Jap air raid... He jokes he tried to get one, but they wouldn't let him.

Knowing him, it was most definitely the other way around. He had a few stitches in his hand and returned to duty.

In the case of a serious injury, it's obviously an automatic, but if a wound is so minor as to only require a 5 min visit to the medic, then the command likely wouldn't even know about it unless you made it a point of contention.

It is also possible to refuse an award, though I'm sure it's quite rare. I can only speak for myself, but I wouldn’t have accepted any of the 3 PH’s Kerry received.

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Murdok
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As for being able to turn them down - I don't think that was possible back then. I knew sailors who had chests full of purple hearts from time spent on river boats...it showed you were in combat - If I recall correctly, you can only get one by being in a combat situation and being wounded.

And if you read what his fellow officers and crew said about him - he did not seem the kind of guy to go around asking for medals. He had a lot of guts to do what he did back then.

This is a little off topic and maybe speaks to character a little - or percieved character. Bush is always trying to appeal to the Marlburo Man while in Crawford, Texas - you always see him in his truck or wandering around his ranch. Never on a horse that I recall though, always in a pick up.

Also Bush never owned the ranch until he was running for President. I understand the decision to buy the ranch was that of Carl Rove. To help promote this cowboy image. In fact prior to being the governor of Texas, Bush lived in some of the most posh gated communities in Texas. He was basically portrayed as soft, a lightweight.

This ties into his lack of seriousness as a pilot. He took the easy way out for much of his life.

Kerry on the other hand was running down Viet Cong soldiers, killing them and then running to yet another firefight, not turning his back on these things. And what does that say about him now? Well - when Bush goes on vacation - he sits in his pickup, clears a little brush and hikes around with reporters.

When Kerry goes on vacation - he is seen snowboarding as opposed to skiing. That tells me a lot about his character.

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carmachu
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quote:

Ron - so what you are saying is that it doesn't matter that Kerry served this country honorably and with distinction while Bush was being lazy and apethetic during his stint in the guard, using his fathers position to jump ahead of other qualified recruits?

*snicker* You folks are funny.

I see it didnt matter in the 90's when Clinton ran and dodged his duty, while others didnt. But all of a sudden the shoe is on the other foot, and you all are making a deal of how Bush served, and how Kerry served better.....

Pot, say hello to kettle. The color is black....

carmachu

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OrneryMod
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Ok guys,

This is not looking well. Both sides have made their points. Bickering back and forth is not going to produce anything usefull. Any one have any thing new to bring to the discussion?

OrneryMod

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FIJC
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Probably not.
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Koner
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quote:
JM - I don't think the individual soldier is the one who asks for the purple heart - I mean, I don't think someone goes running around to his CO and says, Looky looky - I gots wounded right here in the arm - can I have one of those purple heart thingys?

Actually many times, especially in the case of officers and the E7-9 community who are often times their own supervisor of sorts, it is the individual who initiates the award/medal process for individual awards such as those Senator Kerry recieved. Commanding officers are not always aware of the day to day happenings of all of their people. In this particular case LTjg Kerry's own commanding officer had initially at least disapproved the Purple Heart which leads me to believe that it was in fact LTjg Kerry who had requested it. No commding officer would initiate a request for an award and then disapprove it.

Basically it is not at all unusual for someone to request their own awards. However those of us who are in the military often laugh at those individuals who do so. On the same line of thinking its common practice for us to write our own evaluations. At least in the initial phase of it. For years now I've been tasked with writing my own evaluations and then submitting them to my chief for "review" before they go to the skipper for final approval. Rarely are they ever changed from what I submit unless its to correct some grammar (I'm just a dumb nuclear mechanic after all) or to add some little tidbit that my chief or division officer or CO feel is relavent.

I've NEVER nor will I ever submit a request for a personal award. Thats just plain cheesy.

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D Pace
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Misreported above, and part of why I don't quite get the hubbub over the FIRST purple heart, is that it's THE FIRST PURPLE HEART that Kerry has a sick call statement statement for, (which sounds like a medical record to me, just not on the same form as his two SUBSEQUENT injuries, for which he ALSO received purple hearts) and then was sent home, as he requested March 17 1969 (leaving country April 1969).

As quoted above the arm shrapnel sick call note was Dec. 3 1968. Interestingly the injuries were sustained on Dec 2 1968, indicating a waited day for treatment, coming in from the field, whatever (apply tinfoil hat and theory here.) 1st purple heart award

Kerry's second purple heart (for which he received a Gold Star) purple heart citation 2 came from injuries to his left thigh on 20 Feb 1969. Kerry's third purple heart came from injuries to left buttocks and right forearm from mine explosion (subject of other commendation, I believe) on 13 March 1969.
See Kerry's medical records

Whether the first purple heart was a pissant injury or not, that's the one we're stewing about the records for, Not the last, for which he got a commendation and was entitled to go stateside because he had two previous. So for arguments concerning whether Kerry "missed the Kennedy's" and wanted that December purple heart for stacking his three together to get out of the country: it was his first one. I don my tinfoil hat and observe that he had obviously set upon a plan to get out of the war by getting purple hearts for nicks and scratches, in furtherance of which he spent portions of the next four months charging into jungles, killing VC, and playing at being at being an Apocalypse Now boat commander.

Agreed, the snicking at the records behind Kerry's records is equal in spirit to the records behind Bush's discharge.

Kerry did actually receive (with documentation) all of the awards he has for combat duty, and he fought in combat, and I respect him for that. It sickens me as supporter of our troops, as a lifelong supporter of the Republican party (currently disaffected) because of their support for the military, to see partisans snipe at the quality of someone's combat service.

Look, I don't currently find Kerry to be the most likable guy, and I don't like Bush either, but I will not denigrate anyone who actually put themselves in harm's way for our country (or not, depending on your interpretation of Viet Nam).

P.S. As of April 21 PM all military records cited by "Newsmax" were posted on Kerry's website, cited above and reviewed above on this thread prior to the posting of the long Newsmax quote regarding Kerry's failure to release all records "like Bush did." To my personal review a promise was made on Sunday AM and all records were posted on Wednesday. Would anyone like to comment on the time frame of Bush's promise on Sunday AM and the number of hours to full posting of his records?

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Ray Bingham
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Hasn't Kerry kind thrust this issue upon us all? All introductions of the man I've heard tout him as a "war hero". If people question that, especially considering his rhetoric which at times seems to border on undermining the war on terror, I think it's only natural.

Americans are inherently suspicious of any public official who attempts to keep something private, while at the same time they distrust anyone who would undermine their own privacy... [Wink]

--Ray

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Ron Lambert
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If Kerry wanted to go to Vietnam, then why did he first ask the draft board for a deferrment so he could go study in France, and being denied that request, why did he then enlist in the Navy?

[ April 22, 2004, 01:03 PM: Message edited by: Ron Lambert ]

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D Pace
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ADDENDUM - My actual reason for the last post regardless of this thread is that the Salt Lake Tribune included an AP article this morning implying that Kerry had medical records for his first two purple hearts, not the last (for which he could sent home,) and I thought, "Hey wait, that's wrong, I think--let me check it out." So I was gratified to see I'm right and the AP's wrong, as to the sequence of the purple hearts and medical records, at least in relation to the last purple heart for which he could be sent home.

quote:
Some critics have questioned whether Kerry's injuries were severe enough to warrant reassignment to the United States. His records briefly describe shrapnel wounds to his arm and thigh for the first two Purple Hearts , but they don't detail the severity of the wounds.
According to a naval instruction document provided by Kerry's campaign, anyone serving in Vietnam who was wounded three times, regardless of the nature of the wound or treatment required, "will not be ordered to service in Vietnam and contiguous waters."

Salt Lake Tribune (AP)

As the records show above, (my last post) that AP statement is wrong, at least as far as implying that there is a medical description of his first two wounds and not the third. It is accurate that his first two purple hearts were for injuries to the arm and thigh, but Kerry's publicly posted casualty reports describe the injuries for his 2nd and third purple hearts, not the first "scratch" that is the subject of great and furious controversy [Smile] Kerry med records (Personnel Casualty Reports) .

I want people to be damned for what they actually do, and not for what people say they do.

(BTW the AP article is titled "Kerry's records depict harrowing war service" and the general tone reflects that:
quote:
Records of John Kerry's Vietnam War service released Wednesday show a highly praised naval officer who volunteered for a dangerous assignment and at one point was "unofficially credited with 20 enemy killed in action."

(same article)
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David Ricardo
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Excuse my French, but what is dishonorable about asking for duty in the Navy? Are you insinuating that serving in the Navy during Vietnam was the coward's choice?

Quoted from Ron Lambert:

quote:
If Kerry wanted to go to Vietnam, then why did he first ask the draft board for a deferrment so he could go study in France, and being denied that request, why did he then enlist in the Navy?
I guess that Ron Lambert is perfectly comfortable with impugning the honor of all military veterans who served in the U.S. Navy then?

I am not going to bother calling you a chickenhawk, but I dare you to repeat what you just posted here and say it to the face of active-duty Navy personnel or Navy veterans. I can promise you that you would receive a well-deserved punch in the face and a kick in the rear for your distasteful remark against the honor of the U.S. Navy.

The following quotes from Kerry's memo to his commanding officer on the Gridley entitled with the subject heading "Vietnam Duty; request for":

quote:
"1. I request duty in Vietnam. My billet preference is "Swift" boats with a second cohice of Patrol Officer in a PHR Squadron."

"4. I consider the opportunity to serve in Vietnam an extremely important part of being in the armed forces and believe that my request is in the best interests of the Navy."

Meanwhile, Bush (as I noted before) checkmarked the Air National Guard application box of:

quote:
"Do Not Volunteer for Overseas"
I cited the above quotes from the Kerry and Bush military records at this link:

http://www.jordansplace.net/politics/html/bushkerry_nam.html

Edited: Ron Lambert, my respect for you just went down about five notches.

[ April 22, 2004, 01:30 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

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Anonymous24
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Those are interesting points, David. Particulary interesting is the one quote from Bush about getting out of the draft by either 'shooting out his eardrum', going to Canada, or joining the Guard.

There may be one inaccuracy in your list, though. You say that Kerry was 'forced' by Naval regulations to go home after receiving three wounds. I may be wrong, but I believe that after receiving three non-debilitating wounds a G.I. is given the choice to either go home or stay, not ordered to go home, and that Kerry *chose* to leave.

Besides that, I would take most things said about Kerry or Bush's military records with a grain of salt, particulary things that either extremely go one way('Kerry was an upstanding soldier'), or the other('Bush went AWOL'). Remember, the people who say these things are no doubt contacted long before by members of both political camps, and they either decide to play ball(for money) or they don't. So a lot of the information surrouding both men's duties is suspect. However, my own judgement says that Bush's record is the more spottier of the two, and that the allegations against him are more likely to be true, though by Kerry's own admission his wounds were very mild. The one Bush quote from 1994 is pretty damning.

[ April 22, 2004, 01:46 PM: Message edited by: Anonymous24 ]

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Ron Lambert
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David, you can be excused for your ignorance, but I lived through the Vietnam experience being of draft age at the time myself. I know personally that everyone considered volunteering for the Navy to be a way to avoid service in Vietnam. The presumption was that while the Army grunts were slogging it out in the swamps and jungles of Vietnam, in the Navy they would be safe at sea. The only even more desirable service to enlist in to avoid service in Vietnam was the U.S. Coast Guard. Knowing this, Selective Service put strict limits on how many people could enlist in the Navy or Coast Guard, to the point where it was very difficult to get into either the Navy or Coast Guard. Kerry had to have had help getting into the Navy at that point when most others couldn't.

Furthermore, when Kerry finally went to Vietnam, it was after spending more than half a year at sea in a naval ship, then being sent back to the U.S. to train for another few months on piloting "swift boats." Since the only military use in the world at that point for such vessels was to patrol the Mekong River Delta, Kerry had no other option but to go to Vietnam. Did Kerry really have a choice whether to go to Vietnam or not after being sent back to the U.S. to train to pilot a swift boat? It looks good on the paperwork to say you volunteered for something, but in fact he likely had no real choice. Saying he wanted to go to Vietnam contradicted all his other actions, and his public speeches beforehand denouncing the Vietnam war and saying all the troops should be brought back home.

And then Kerry was only in Vietnam for about four months, until he managed to come up with three slight wounds for which he could claim purple hearts and then demand to be rotated back home. If he really wanted to be in Vietnam, why did he request purple hearts for such minor wounds, then demand to be rotated back home?

The question still remains whether all three wounds were caused by enemy action. His commander, Hibbard, has stated that he questioned whether Kerry's boat was even under enemy fire when he received one of his claimed wounds, and considered denying the request for a purple heart. See the quote from Newsmax.com that Ron posted April 22, 2004 08:37 AM. The implication is that his wound may have been self-inflicted, or something incidental like bumping his elbow then claiming it was caused by enemy action. A few serviceman who served in Vietnam have admitted that they deliberately injured themselves, and passed off their self-inflicted wounds as being caused by enemy action.

If this is true, it relates very directly to the character issue for Kerry.

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TCB
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Ron Lambert -- Kerry is a war hero because he risked his life to save his fellow soldiers. Even if he tried to get a student deferment, left as soon as possible, and protested the war when he returned, he's still a war hero. I don't know a lot of guys who fought in Vietnam, but I'd be surprised if many draftees volunteered to stay longer than they had to. I'm sure I wouldn't. You (and a lot of other people) are making it seem like he's some kind of hypocrite for being proud of his service.

And yes, if it's true, Kerry wounding himself to get out Vietnam DOES relate to his character, but you'd need strong proof (which I haven't seen) to make me consider it.

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D Pace
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quote:
Furthermore, when Kerry finally went to Vietnam, it was after spending more than half a year at sea in a naval ship, then being sent back to the U.S. to train for another few months on piloting "swift boats." Since the only military use in the world at that point for such vessels was to patrol the Mekong River Delta, Kerry had no other option but to go to Vietnam. Did Kerry really have a choice whether to go to Vietnam or not after being sent back to the U.S. to train to pilot a swift boat? It looks good on the paperwork to say you volunteered for something, but in fact he likely had no real choice. Saying he wanted to go to Vietnam contradicted all his other actions, and his public speeches beforehand denouncing the Vietnam war and saying all the troops should be brought back home.

- Ron Lambert

Gee, it's nice to be able to look at Kerry's actual military records to see what they say instead of deciding on our own what history might be. Kerry's Military records

At the conclusion of OCS (Officer Candidate School), a Duty Recommendation form was issued for Kerry, dated 16 December 66. See it here At the bottom, interestingly it says: Desires Swift Boat Billet

I think it's already been stated that the only place in the Navy for Swift Boats was the Mekong Delta.

On 10 February 1968, while aboard the USS Gridley , Kerry filed a Request for Duty in Vietnam. This document relates that Kerry had been aboard the Gridley since June 1967, and starts by saying "I request Duty in Vietnam," with a preference for Swift Boats. This document relates that Kerry had received training in various schools up to that point, (not swift) and had served as electrical officer on the Gridley for seven months.

On 8 July 1968, Kerry received Orders to report to a class beginning 25 August 1968 for "Patrol Craft 'fast' training," to last seven weeks followed by assignment to Cam Ranh Bay, VietNam for command of a Swift Craft no later than 31 October 1968.

I would agree that at the time Kerry was in Swift boat school in August 1968 that he had no choice but to go to Vietnam. I do not believe he contradicted his record of "desires Swift Boat Billet" in 1966 or his "Request for Duty in Vietnam" of Feb 1968.

edited for punctuation

[ April 22, 2004, 04:00 PM: Message edited by: D Pace ]

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Murdok
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Ron - I was in the Navy. Missed Nam by a year. But I knew a number of swift boat captains, all of which volunteered for this most dangerous duty. And the ship I was on - The USS Forrestal CV-59, was the same ship McCain was on when it basically blew up as ordinance exploded on the flight deck, eventually killing about 170 people as the fire spread through the ship.

So trying to say joining the Navy is nice and safe duty, ignores the reality of being in any of the armed forces. Even during so called peace time on my ship we still lost more than a dozen crew members when jets crashed on deck, cabin fires, walking into spinning propellers in tight quarters and being blown off by engine wash. Not to mention the two murders that occured while making port visits.

And remember, Kerry volunteered for Nam duty, knowing full well it meant Swift Boat duty - which anyone who's been on a swift boat knows, you are more likely considered a sitting duck by anyone who wants to shoot at you from shore, hidden by dense jungle.

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Ron Lambert
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And I repeat again, how are the claims that Kerry volunteered to go to Vietnam consistent with his denunciations of the Vietnam war both before and after the war, his attempt to get a student deferrment so he could study in France, and then his decision to enlist in the Navy (obviously helped by the Kennedys, since it was hard to get into the navy then), plus his decision to demand purple hearts for three minor wounds, and his decision to demand that he be sent home after only about four months in Vietnam?

Does the logical inconsistency even bother you? Do you always take things at face value, without checking whether they make sense?

As for the accident aboard the U.S.S. Forrestal, yes it was a major naval disaster in which many people died. But let's compare that rationally with the tens of thousands who died in Vietnam. Which was the safer place to be--on foot in Vietnam, or at sea on a ship?

Don't try to dispute the fact with me that virtually everyone considered enlistment in the Navy as a way to avoid Vietnam. That is a simple fact, and it is simply not arguable. I know that is how it was. So does everyone else who lived during the Vietnam era, including you, if you did. No one from that era could not know that is how it was.

And I ask again, if Kerry wanted to go to Vietnam, why did he enlist in the navy?

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David Ricardo
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Ron Lambert, why didn't you choose to serve during the Vietnam years?

Seems like a fair question.

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FIJC
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In my view, debates revolving around issues such as this thread are pointless; elections ought to be over the battle of ideas, and arguing over stuff like this takes away from more pressing issues.

When you look at the whole picture, when conservatives waste time over Kerry's past history and war record, that is time and resources taken away from looking at the actual election issues at hand. There is no doubt that conservatives are currently winning the battle of ideas in the United States--the fact that college campuses across the US have become more conservative than the general population and that conservative think-tanks have successfully spread their ideas to the politicians and populace testifies to this. I suggest that as conservatives, we should stay away from character assassinations--it really gets us nowhere.

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