City of Roses
"Kerry will not let the matter drop because he has seen that bad news from Iraq results in a rise for him in the polls therefore he will continue to paint it in the blackest possible. He will blast the administration and even the troops over there at every opportunity for a percentage point rise. Denigrating the troops on the ground is nothing new for this man who claims to have such respect for the military. He did it 30 years ago and continues to do it today if he feels it will help his political standing. If his words, at a time we have troops on the groung fighting, make their jobs tougher and gives aid to the enemy, he does not care. I have no problem considering the man's actions those of a traitor....and all for the sake of a few votes. Is it any wonder that the polls of the Army, Navy Air Force and Marine Times give Kerry a 65-75% disapproval rating? You want to see some real voting manipulation? Just wait to see what Kerry comes up with to try to disallow the absentee votes of the military at the last minute in much the same way Gore tried it 4 years ago. The military wants little to do with this decorated hero of Viet Nam....and he knows it."
I have heard the 1971 Winter Soldier hearing testimony. I seriously don't believe he is denigrating the troops then and he is certainly not doing it now either.
All that talk of "...raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan..." was referring to a group of about 150 honorably discharged and decorated veterans who testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia in Detroit in January of 1971.
He wasn't denigrating the troops or this nation. He was doing the nation a favor. In his own words about why this was called the Winter Soldier hearing (a play on words from Thomas Paine)
Thomas did what he did because he spoke of the Sunshine Patriot and summertime soldiers who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough.
No one can possibly argue Vietnam was rough. He felt we had to be "winter soldiers". He said, "We could come back to this country, we could be quiet, we could hold our silence, we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country, the fact that the crimes threaten it, not reds, and not redcoats but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out."
His feelings he had thirty-three years ago are just the same types of raw emotion I feel now about Iraq. I believe there still is a "monster" here, a psychological monster that fuels young Americans minds with obsession of violence and militarization. The war in Vietnam was senseless, as is this war in Iraq, and a stark comparison is that under both Administrations our young men and women have been used.
Time and time again, I hear stories of young soldiers aged 18-25. Before I moved to Portland, you know I lived in Colorado, and Colorado is home to Fort Carson, one of the largest bases for military recruits in the nation. My friend Randy Meador joined the National Guard so he could get money for college. He tells me on and on how too many here only joined so they could get money for college or for something to build a resume so they could lead a good career in the near future. I visited there myself multiple times, same scenario.
What Kerry said thirty-three years ago took courage. Back then, what he did was quite an unpopular stand, and I find what he did remarkable.
Again, he wasn't spitting on our troops. He was speaking out against the leaders who betrayed us. LBJ, Nixon, Agnew, etc. He said, "Where where are the leaders of our country? Where is the leadership?" Indeed he mentioned the names of McNamara, Rostow, Bundy and Gilpatric, who were commanders. He said, "Where are they now that we, the men whom they sent off to war, have returned? These are commanders who have deserted their troops, and there is no more serious crime in the law of war. The Army says they never leave their wounded."
Bashing a few commanders doesn't mean automatically dissing the entire military. All these young troops with John Kerry were our young boys over thirty years ago, after all. Kerry was speaking for them all. He felt they, along with him, were abandoned by their Administration, by these particular commanders, by some Marine officers who retreated, contradicting the cornerstone ethic of the Marines that they "never leave even their dead"
He said in 1971 to imagine "30 years from now, our brothers go down the street without a leg, without an arm, or a face, and small boys ask why, we will be able to say "Vietnam" and not mean a desert, not a filthy obscene memory but mean instead the place where America finally turned and where soldiers like us helped it in the turning."
Well, it's just over 30 years later now, and this obscene memory seems to have duplicated itself, sadly to say, with a new name known as Iraq.
If anything, I actually wish Kerry would do MORE in speaking out against this war, take an anti-war stance like he did in 1971 and do now just as he did then. It saddens me a bit to see he's not exactly playing the whole anti-war card or saying in each of his stump speeches, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Iraq?"
Kerry has great admiration for our young men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan, for he understands also these young men and women in uniform are the same young men and women that are our sons and daughters of America, and as an American we should have the ability to believe in our president, believe in our government, and far more importantly, our government should believe in us and never leave us behind or abandon us.
Kerry has at least taken the courage to come out and say this war was wrong, that this administration has left millions behind, and he has made it clear if elected he'll strive to correct this mess Bush has left in Iraq and begin bringing our young men and women home six months into his term and have them all out by the end of his first term. Nowhere do I ever hear Bush talk about how he'll clean up this mess, and he doesn't seem to care when our sons and daughters will return home. He cares most of all about winning this war most know we cannot win.
As for those polls, Balladeer, disapproval ratings for Kerry were considerably higher among the military last April and May. In April 2004, I heard Bush's approval rating among the military was at 87%. Now, it has weakened a bit.
Anyway, who can blame them? I've heard on many of the grounds down there in Iraq, Fox News is the only provided news network. A network which doesn't talk about 235,000 veterans losing their health insurance under this administration. A network which won't talk aout the Bush Administration announcing a cut of $1.5 billion in military housing and medical facility funding for active duty military. A network that won't treat the over half of 691,000 Gulf War I veterans who are ill, have requested disability for "mysterious illnesses," yet have not received treatment from either the Department of Defense or the Department of Veterans Affairs as a serious major news story.
I certainly hope all the U.S military get their ballots and they return to be counted without any interference, just as I hope those 58,000 absentee ballots missing from Broward County are found and those 1,900 names and addresses of voters in the predominantly black and Democratic areas of Jacksonville that have been put on a "caging list" by the Republican Party in Florida get to vote and not be disenfranchised like they were in 2000.
"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20