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Sunday, August 22, 2004

I First Loved the War, Then I Hated It, then I Loved It...

Another Russ Vaugh submission:
I First Loved the War, Then I Hated It, then I Loved It, and now I Hate It Again

In his war-protesting Senate testimony, John Kerry confessed to committing war crimes and violating the Geneva Conventions of War many times during his rather abbreviated tour of duty in Vietnam. As a presidential candidate, he now surrounds himself with the very boat crew, who, in the discharge of their military duties, carried out his orders, and by necessity were, if not perpetrators of war crimes themselves, then certainly by virtue of their immediate proximity, witnesses to his own.

John Kerry's actions in combat were not that of a single person but that of the commissioned leader of an enlisted crew. One way or the other, those men are either participants in war crimes as originally admitted to by their commanding officer, or they are witnesses to his war crimes and failed to report them to higher authority. Either position is subject to prosecution under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

So, which is it? Is he asking us to believe that he single-handedly committed atrocities while his crewmates dozed in the midst of all that mayhem? Or did he routinely violate the Geneva Convention while they watched and did nothing to stop him? Or, worst case, were they complicit in his crimes?

Know what I think? I think John Kerry's crewmate are guilty of nothing more serious than being dupes, that's right, dupes, nothing more than being malleable foils for his clever campaign staff to manipulate and maneuver into positions of advantage for his election. But then, for John Kerry, that's really all they've ever been, isn't it, just eight millimeter props for his bravado performances, for his entrée into the world of national politics. So I don't buy it. I don't buy into his account of systematic violations endorsed by command authority. No war crimes were committed, not by John Kerry, not by his crew and not by the vast majority of us who served there. And that is just what the Swiftvets have been saying.

The men who were best able to observe and judge John Kerry's performance in combat were the men who had the same level of training and expertise that he did; and those are the young officers and noncommissioned officers who commanded the boats operating in close proximity to his, young men whose very lives depended on the coordinated action of all units participating in any particular mission. Successful riverine combat maneuvers require inordinate observational skills. So were these officers and NCO's, all of them skilled observers, asleep at the wheel while some pillaging preppie ravished the countryside unbeknownst to all but himself?

Well, if you will but listen to them, no, they weren't. These men, these Swiftvets, several dozens of them, who ate, slept and fought with John Kerry will tell you that, no, they were quite aware of what was going on around them, and that their recollection of events is far different from those attested to in Congress by their onetime comrade in arms. They are as befuddled as the rest of us that a man who launched his political career on claims of being duped into committing war crimes in an unjust war wants to now use his service in that war as the foundation of his campaign for the presidency.

Think about this: John Kerry had to know that his fabrications were ultimately unsustainable and that the men he falsely condemned would not remain silent were he to run for the presidency. Yet he has ignored that reality and attempted to build his whole campaign on his wartime service and his questionable awards. It would be interesting to hear what a psychiatrist might conclude from such bifurcated reasoning. Which brings us, unavoidably, to this question:

Does this sound like the kind of judgment we want in a Commander in Chief in this time of terror?

Russ Vaughn
2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
Vietnam 65-66
Another excellent submission from Russ Vaughn. I am too tired to post my own .02 on this one, but I'll leave a little something in the comments when I get a chance.

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