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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Kerry’s Catch-22

Kerry’s Catch-22

[Catch-22: A situation in which a desired outcome or solution is impossible to attain because of a set of inherently illogical rules or conditions.]

John Kerry may fancy himself a war hero and an old hand at armed combat but somehow, in spite of all his self-filmed heroics, he doesn’t seem to know how to extricate himself from an untenable tactical situation. Campaigning on his Vietnam War record in 2004, Kerry found himself confronted with a harsh reality of war: most of the men he served with in Vietnam were not about to let him get away with his deceptive portrayal of himself as a selfless warrior, heroic in battle and grievously wounded in service to his country.

Think about it, folks, do you suppose the American public ever would have known that Kerry’s multiple Purple Hearts were awarded for mere scratches, in one case possibly self-inflicted, if a group of his former comrades in arms, the Swift Boat Veterans, hadn’t come to the fore and warned America that the Democratic candidate might be sporting more warts than wounds?

Now, more than a year and a half after his defeat, aided and abetted by his rear-echelon buddies at the New York Times, Kerry is attempting to refute the charges that many political insiders think cost him the election and constitute the critical issue that must be dealt with prior to any attempt by Kerry to seek the Democratic nomination again. As long as that big question mark hangs over him as to who is telling the truth about his war record, John Kerry doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Cambodia of attracting any big-money backers. He has to resolve this problem and therein lies John Kerry’s Catch-22.

With the help of the bootlicking, mainstream media, Kerry again is going to try to paint the Swiftees as a bunch of ultra-rightwing, ex-military fascists manipulated by the evil Karl Rove to spread vicious lies about Kerry’s heroic service. Supposedly Kerry backers have uncovered new testimony and documentation to support his claims of heroism. They are trotting out some of the same weak responses from the same weak witnesses that failed them in 2004 and will fail them again. These die-hard Kerristas seem to think that this time they can sell the American public a bill of goods that Americans weren’t buying in ’04 and aren’t any more likely to buy this time around.

They want you to believe that a group of retired Navy men who had no formal affiliation or organization prior to Kerry’s being nominated as the Democratic candidate, all suddenly coalesced into this lynch mob of right wing fanatics willing to sacrifice their lives, fortunes and reputations in fealty to the evil George Bush. They want you to believe that these men, some of them Democrats, most of them officers, many of senior rank, including flag (admiral) rank, who served long and honorable careers, suddenly morphed into pliable tools of that devil Rove and took the national stage to tell vicious lie after vicious lie about this great hero who served four months in Vietnam and then returned to savage and slander his fellow sailors and all other members of America’s armed forces in Senate testimony that has since been proved to be utter garbage.

The Kerristas want you to believe that these men who served out their full one-year tours in Vietnam while their heroic candidate invoked an arcane military policy to get himself out of harm’s way as quickly as was politically expedient, are all liars, all men who would sell their honor to elect the evil Bush. Kerry’s camp followers think the American public can be wooed by a compliant, cooperating mainstream media into believing one man’s self-serving testimony over that of dozens of honorable warriors, all of whom share one notable distinction that their heroic opponent does not: they all have unquestioned, unclouded, honorable discharges.

During the campaign, Kerry repeatedly was asked by the opposition to complete and submit a Form 180 which would allow the Navy to release his entire service record so that there would be no question as to who was telling the truth, him or the Swift Boat veterans. The drive-by media ignored the issue but talk radio and the internet informed many of the demand.

Kerry tap-danced around the issue, giving vague, evasive responses right up to the election. Many feel it was this refusal to release his military records that cost him the election. Since his defeat, he has been asked repeatedly, most notably by Tim Russert on Meet the Press, to release those records, and he always promises to do so, in fact, right up to the present. In the recent Times puff piece, is this:

“Mr. Kerry has signed forms authorizing the Navy to release his record.…”

Kindly note that Mr. Kerry has signed forms, but there is no indication that he has submitted them to the Navy. This is just more of the same Kerry duplicity that runs like the muddy Mekong River through his questionable military and unremarkable political careers. And kindly note also that the enablers at the Times don’t call him on this point at all.

But what the Times and the Kerristas don’t seem to grasp is the afore-mentioned quandary facing their hero, John Kerry’s Catch 22. Their hero is between a rock and a hard place: he can’t refute the testimony of his tormentors without releasing his full military records to the public.

But there are many veterans, like me, who believe that the reason he will not release those records is that contained therein is material far more damaging, probably fatal, to Mr. Kerry’s political aspirations than anything the Swift Boat Vets have said about him. It may be the contents of investigative reports into his treating with the enemy when he met with the Vietnamese in Paris while American forces were actively engaged with both Viet Cong and North Vietnamese regulars. If his records contain documents showing that federal investigators and prosecutors concluded that his actions were treasonous or constituted aiding and abetting the enemy, but prosecution was declined for political reasons, that revelation probably would foreclose Mr. Kerry’s political options. Likewise, the timing and conditions of Mr. Kerry’s discharge are suspect, having been held up years past the time it should have been granted, issued in fact, not until the Carter administration, when a general amnesty was declared by Carter for draft resistors and associated federal violations.

But of course, we’ll never know any of this, will we? Unless Mr. Kerry authorizes the Navy proceed with a full, public disclosure of his military records. Do you think a man who lost the presidency of the greatest nation in the world rather than release those records will do so now?

Russ Vaughn

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