MEMORIAL DAY: The Republican Military Myth Revealed
|Lt. John F. Kennedy with other crewmen on board USS PT-109, 1943.|
As President John F. Kennedy said, “the great enemy of truth is very
often not the lie Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ but the myth.” Nothing defines this more
than the Republican myth that they are stronger on national
security and protecting
the country than the Democratic Party. But as Kennedy
also said, “No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and
the masses will regard it as the truth.” Amen to that, especially
where our soldiers are concerned.
troops don't need protection from doing their duty. They are proud
to serve and accept the sacrifices they make. But they do need protection from
politicians who would use them for personal glory, gain or for some political
experiment. Misuse of the troops' trust is the tipping point of action.
In recent years, the patriotic proselytizing and down right defaming
of 9/11 by George W. Bush, all in the name of the \”war on terror,\”
has opened a window on to the truth. It has led to the revelatory public discovery
that Republican vile for real veterans, especially those who stand up and speak
out against their world view, is foundational. It is woven into the very thread
of neoconservatism, which uses the troops as a means to their own ends. That's
one reason the recent mutiny by retired military men is so important and elicited
such vitriol. It strips naked the Republican
military myth once and for all.
In 2000, George W. Bush allowed former POW and war hero Senator
John McCain to be impugned
within an inch of his personal life (to McCain's disgrace, he not only let it
pass, but supports the culprits). This was followed by Ralph Reed comparing
a three-limb amputee and war hero Senator
Max Cleland to Osama and Saddam, something he later stated he'd do again.
Mind you, Reed never served. It's a disease in the Republican party that has
infested the ranks, which has led to the trigger happy chickenhawk Republican that is
costing this country Her very life. Dick Cheney is now a legend for his 5 deferments.
John Ashcroft had 7 deferments. The list of non-serving neocons is long: Speaker
Hastert, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, former majority leader Tom Delay, Missouri's
Roy Blunt, Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh,
Dana Rohrabacher, Bill Frist, Mitch McConnell, Trent Lott, Rick Santorum all chose not to serve our country, but the list goes on and on.
Democrats, on the other hand, are military people by service:
General Wesley Clark, Representative Dick Gephardt, Representative Bonoir, Senator
Tom Daschle, Vice President Al Gore, Senator Bob Kerry, Senator Inouye, Senator
John Kerry, Representative Charles Rangel, Senator Max Cleland, Senator Teddy
Kennedy, Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Jack Reed, Senator Fritz Hollings, Boswell,
Peterson, Thompson, McBridge, Pete Stark, Gray Davis… Senator George McGovern,
Senator John Glenn, Vice President Walter Mondale, and, except for Ike, President
Jimmy Carter, who served more years in the service than any other president.
Of course, we all know that Bill
Clinton dodged the draft during Vietnam, but he also didn't wage premptive war. Let's also remember that it's not Democrats vilifying soldiers who stand up and speak out.
As for Iraq, look
what happened to the generals who stood up against Bush. The generals
vs. George W. Bush has become an historic clash. But the real Republican
animus towards our military heroes is best shown through the chickenhawks in
In fact, as George W. Bush's reign has lengthened, there has even
been a term of art for the military smearing now employed by the Republican
Those who fought hard for John Kerry know all about it.
Enter the Patriot Project, started in 2005, \”to defend
veterans who take unpopular positions, particularly against the Iraq war.\”
Of course, their first \”client\” was Rep. John Murtha. But the
efforts are far reaching.
They approached Mr. Kerry after the election with the idea of
setting the record straight.
So they have returned, for instance, to the question of Cambodia and whether
Mr. Kerry was ever ordered to transport Navy Seals across the border, an experience
that he said made him view government officials, who had declared that the
country was not part of the war, as deceptive.
The Swift boat group insisted that no boats had gone to Cambodia. But Mr.
Kerry's researcher, using Vietnam-era military maps and spot reports from
the naval archives showing coordinates for his boat, traced his path from
Ha Tien toward Cambodia on a mission that records say was to insert Navy Seals.
Mr. Kerry's supporters have also frozen frames from his amateur films of
his time in Vietnam and have retrieved letters and military citations for
other sailors to support his version of how
he won the Silver Star Ã¢â‚¬” rebutting the Swift boat group's
most explosive charge, that he shot an unarmed teenager who was fleeing his
Another photograph provides evidence for Mr. Kerry's version of how he won
the Bronze Star. And original reports pulled from the naval archives contradict
the charge that he drafted his own accounts of various incidents Ã¢â‚¬” which
left room, the Swift boat group had argued, to embellish them.
Mr. Kerry's defenders have received help from unlikely sources, including
some who were originally aligned with the Swift boat group but later objected
to its accusations against Mr. Kerry. One of them, Steve Hayes, was an early
member of the group. A former sailor, he was a longtime friend and employee
of William Franke, one of the group's founders, and he supported the push
to have Mr. Kerry release his military files. But Mr. Hayes came to believe
that the group was twisting Mr. Kerry's record.
\”The mantra was just 'We want to set the record straight,' \” Mr.
Hayes said this month. \”It became clear to me that it was morphing from
an organization to set the record straight into a highly political vendetta.
They knew it was not the truth.\”
Mr. Hayes broke with the group, ending a 35-year friendship with Mr. Franke,
and voted for Mr. Kerry. He has provided a long interview to Mr. Kerry's supporters,
backing their version of the incident for which Mr. Kerry received the Bronze
Of course, plenty of disappointed and angry Democrats would like to know
why Mr. Kerry did not defend himself so strenuously before the election. He
had posted some military documents on his campaign's Web site and had allowed
reporters to view his medical records but resisted open access to them as
Mr. Kerry and his defenders say that they did not have the extensive archival
material, and that it was too complicated to gather in the rapid pace of a
campaign. He was caught off guard, he says; he had been prepared to defend
his antiwar activism, but he did not believe that anyone would challenge the
facts behind his military awards. \”We should have put more money
behind it,\” Mr. Kerry says now. \”I take responsibility for it; it
was my mistake. They spent something like $30 million, and we didn't. That's
just a terrible imbalance when somebody's lying about you.\”
I know, I know, not this again, right?
Baby, this is personal for the Democratic Party and not just because of Kerry,
though he's very important here. Some of us are fighting to once and
for all dismantle the Republican party myth that they outgun us on national
security issues and matters of war and peace. That the Republicans could swiftboat
a genuine war hero like John Kerry, who also had the courage to come back and speak truth to power and pay the price for it, says all you need to know.
Chickenhawk Sean Hannity, who never served a day in the military, and the wingnut war-o-sphere saying Republicans are
strong doesn't make it so. That Hannity was the head pimp for people like John
O'Neill, backed by the media power punch of Fox \”News,\” not to mention
should be your first clue. Hannity is part of the Republican crowd that backs the soldiers as long as they're on his side, never mind the truth. That O'Neill wasn't even there with Kerry and
many of his \”sources\” have flip
flopped back and forth on their own stories continually, is what renders their
once fine military character impeachable. O'Neill and his
bunch are liars,
now being proven so through military and Navy
records and facts now being unearthed in a research project meant to put
the lies to rest once and for all.
|Lt. John F. Kennedy|
John Kerry made many mistakes in 2004.
I backed him in the beginning, when it wasn't popular, and stayed with him until
the bitter end, so I know them all too well. Today, Kerry says he was prepared
to defend his anti-war stance, but not his war record. The swiftboat attack
surprised and shocked him and caught him completely off guard.
But the fatal error of allowing Republicans
to once again impugn a Democratic war veteran, challenging his service and
medals, when many never served themselves, cast another cloak of cowardice over
the Republicans and the means by which they will smear veterans to win. Swiftboating
a soldier who had done his duty to the fullest, with medals to prove it. The
vile for real veterans has been a current in their policies, but through George
W. Bush, the swiftboating of soldiers became an art of war.
We remember all of our soldiers serving this Memorial Day weekend. For me,
it extends to members of my own family. For others, it may only be a symbolic
day, a day off. Others have family serving, or silent through their sacrifice.
But let us also remember this as a time when the Republican myth has been once
and for all obliterated. The lie no longer able to be told. John Kerry shoving
the facts down O'Neill's throat one final time hopefully should end it. In Kerry getting the
shine back on his medals, through the Patriot Project and his supporters, let us remember to never again allow a Republican to wound
or swiftboat another veteran.
The Democratic Party has taken back the territory we once owned through F.D.R.,
Truman, and the man I have studied my whole like, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Let
us never relinquish that turf again.
FLY THE FLAG
Remember those serving, recovering and lost.
Redeploy from Iraq