What's Kerry Hiding?

Discussion in 'Political Discussions' started by javila5400, Aug 4, 2004.

  1. javila5400

    javila5400 New Member

  2. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    Let's see, where to begin...

    - The 23 people in the photo they provide are, as far as I know, not the same people who actually served on Kerry's two swift boats (most of whom showed up at the DNC). I think it's safe to assume that if you spend four and a half months in the military, odds are good you'll eventually get your picture taken with some future Republicans.

    - The site's position that the Vietnam War never should have been ended or rolled back, and that anti-war activists like Kerry are responsible for bringing "godless communism" into Vietnam, is ludicrous. The United States was losing the Vietnam War, with immense casualties. The anti-war movement was successful because most Americans were dissatisfied with the number of casualties (U.S. military and Vietnamese civilian), not the other way around. This site isn't going to get anywhere with the American people if it relies on the popularity of the Vietnam War, which stands today as an example of how U.S. military planners should not handle international conflicts.

    - It would be a pretty sweet deal for Kerry if he could get a silver star, bronze star, and three purple hearts for a "conspiracy," but that's not the way it works for VIPs and that certainly wouldn't have been the way it would have worked for Kerry, who was admittedly a Yale graduate but wasn't a senator's son or anything. The idea that these medals are given out like candy is an insult to other military service(wo)men who earned them and, in any case, is not congruent with known facts.

  3. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    I think we can all agree that the US lost Vietnam because of incompetent political leadership in Washington (mostly LBJ), not because of a lack of skill or bravery on the part of the military.

    The US could have taken North Vietnam in a matter of weeks, had the military been let loose to do what they do best.
  4. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    Agreed. I'm definitely no expert on this, but my understanding is that there was no clear plan going in. I've been told that there were also dumb little things like replacing the M-14 with a prototype M-16 that had a tendency to lock up (in an effort to impress the Soviets and field-test a competitor to their AKs), without giving military personnel a choice in the matter.
    I don't know enough about military strategy to agree or disagree with you on this point, but I'm confident that if I were alive in 1971, looking at the draft figures and the number of casualties that had come out of Vietnam by then (particularly in '67 and '68), I would have been pretty strongly against the war.

  5. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    No, we can't all agree. The U.S. military was incompetent in Vietnam, and got a lot of brave men and women killed for no reason.

    The politicians--Johnson, McNamara, Nixon, Kissinger--tried to bomb North Vietnam into submission. Didn't work.

    Studying that war, as I did through my professional military education, I have come to a different conclusion. There is no way the U.S. could have accomplished its goal of subduing the North and protecting the South. And a full-on invasion of the North would have likely triggered a hot war with the Russians and the Chinese.

    Foreign powers have, over many centuries, tried to occupy Vietnam. They always failed. The U.S., even if it put on an all-out war in North Vietnam, could not have won. The minute the Army left, the North Vietnamese would have been right back on track. Their victory was inevitable. The French, the Chinese before them, and the U.S. all failed. It wasn't political leadership. It was an objective that could not be won. The Vietnamese people decided their government, as do all peoples. Bombs (more than were dropped on Germany throughout WWII, BTW) couldn't decide it.

    Lesson for Iraq: The minute the U.S. leaves, that country will march off to a theocracy, because that's the kind of government the people will submit to. The people of South Vietnam had no use for the puppets installed by the U.S., one after another. The people of Iraq won't stand for the modern-day version in their country. Not sure? Look at Afghanistan. It's already happening there. Stay tuned for Taliban, part II, coming to a theater (of operations) near you. :rolleyes:
  6. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    I think we're using two different definitions of "military" here. Bruce says "military" and I think soldiers; you say "military" and I think war planners.

  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    While certainly no fan of Scary Kerry, let me say I don't think what he did more than 30 year's ago is important.

    Furthermore, having some of those under his command condemn him is like one's ex-spouse voicing an opinion on the relationship or the person.

    John Kerry should be judged on his Senate record and his positions during this campaign.

    John Kerry talks about all the changes he would implement. Yet, in more than 20 year's in the U.S. Senate, he has only two or three major pieces of legislation under this belt.

    Both Kerry and Bush have records that will be scrutinized by the voters. They will decide the election.
  8. Orson

    Orson New Member

    The debating points between Tom, Bruce, and Rich misses the point. This season of negative campaigning is just begining in earnest.

    The set up showing Edwards saying if you want to know John Kerry just spend three minutes with the men who served with him, is brilliant. It reminds everyone that Kerry is basing the rationale for his presidency (and especially for the job of commander-in-chief) on his service in Vietnam 30 years ago. Therefore, it is fair game to look at that service. That's point 1.

    Then the men who served with him are shown. They look distinguished, professional, not bitter or wacko. The statement from the man who treated Kerry for one of his purple heart wounds is devastating. The fact that these men would 'face the fire' that will surely come with appearing in a controversial campaign ad, in itself, adds lots of credibility to the ad and its message to those judging a candidate by his service record and honesty. Point 2.

    Will these claims have any legs? Who knows, but their book is #1 at Amazon.com right now. Point 3.


    PS Rich - are there any US conflicts you don't see through the lens of Vietnam?
    What about the Balkans, the Cold War?
    Kerry says he won't take the US to war without international support; guess that means no Balkans or Rwanda genocide prevention under Kerry - is that really what you want?
  9. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    Those brave men and women were the military. You think they were incompetent?

    In my book, once you become a general, you're part of the political leadership.
  10. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    McNamara did rush the M-16 into service without proper field testing. The number one problem was actually the early ammunition, which used slow-burning gunpowder that would leave a lot of residue in the chamber. After sustained firing, the rifle would often jam, sometimes so severely that soliders has to use cleaning rods to try to get spent casings out of the chamber.

    The next version of the weapon was the M-16A1, which had a forward-assist and used faster burning gunpowder. That resolved most of the problems.

    The Soviets found by examining captured M-16A1's that they were superior to the AK-47, so they developed the AK-74, which uses a high-velocity 5.45mm round very similar to the M-16's 5.56mm round.
  11. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    Thanks; this is what I figured you meant. I'm not really in a position to agree or disagree (I don't know much about military life), but what you're saying about leadership failures is certainly congruent with my own impression of the war.

    Orson, I agree that Kerry's record is fair game and would furthermore argue that it would be whether he used it as a backdrop for his campaign or not. I just didn't see anything in that report that was very convincing. I suspect that this stuff--much like Fahrenheit 9/11--will mainly energize the base (folks who are pro-Kerry or neutral are unlikely to shell out money for an anti-Kerry book, just as folks who are pro-Bush or neutral are unlikely to shell out money for an anti-Bush book). Kerry has the guys who worked most closely with him vouching for his service, and I think that probably carries much more weight with independents. Most people, when they hear "he saved a guy's life, but did he really deserve _three_ purple hearts?," are just going to remember "he saved a guy's life and he was awarded three purple hearts." For the most part, the electorate isn't very interested in nuance; the more the mainstream media focuses on the details of Kerry's military service, the more it brings the broad strokes into the public consciousness--which can only help his campaign.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 5, 2004
  12. javila5400

    javila5400 New Member

    Roger that. The other solution to the many initial problems was the chrome lining.

    The updated M-16A1 did very well, primarily because fighting was "up close and personal." But as far the the performance of the M16A2 in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan, many returning veterans are complaining that the 5.56 NATO rounds do not have enough stopping power to neutralize enemy threats. The special forces community took it upon themselves to go ahead and beef up a new round - the 6.8 PPC.. Another complain from the field is the 9mm Berretta. Seasoned troops want to go back to the venerable 1911 45 ACPs..

    As a veteran, I stongly believe that our troops deserve the best training, the best equipment, and most importantly, the best leadership. And leadership starts from the political arena on the civilian side in Washington. Shame on Kerry for not supporting the brave men and women in uniform..
  13. BinkWile

    BinkWile New Member

    The point of this discussion is that atrocious ad. It sickens me that this group (who did the same thing to John Mcain in 2000) would go after a man's war record like this. I think this negative ad could actually benefit Kerry, as it would make people upset to see it and may see it as a Bush ad condemning Kerry for alterior motives.

    Ironicly, McCain has come out and condemned the ad and stated publicly that the White House should do the same.

    Some people seem to still have the ability to be nonpartisan:


    Forget the notion that people think Al Gore was screwed in 2000, I think that McCain got the raw deal!
  14. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    Couldn't agree more. For all my liberalism, I can go on record here as saying that if it came down to McCain versus Gore, I probably would have voted for McCain. I've always respected the man; he is to the Senate what John Paul Stevens is to the Supreme Court.

  15. Orson

    Orson New Member

    Your best point I think is "Kerry has the guys who worked most closely with him vouching for his service, and I think that probably carries much more weight with independents." Probably - at least for those looking closely.

    But how exactly does Vietnam service of a short 4 months, even heroically, necessarilly differentiate Kerry from Bush who served in the Air Guard during Vietnam? Same period - still military service.

    More to the point, is there anything to indicate *decisiveness* in Kerry's record?
    Frankly, I think Vietnam was too long ago for either candidate to move many voters. Therefore I disagree with you that "the more [the controversy over Kerry's military service] brings the broad strokes into the public consciousness...can only help his campaign."

    I believe the larger estimates of character will prove more decisive than military record. And on that score, post-convention, Kerry's favorability rating significantly increasing in a Fox/Opinion Dynamics poll today is more meaningful.

  16. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    This is why, if this does have legs, it's important that the Kerry campaign do a good job of promoting the fact that every single surviving member of the two Swift Boats Kerry served on has endorsed him. I'm surprised there isn't already a sound bite to this effect.
    Main differences: (1) Kerry was in Vietnam; (2) Kerry's life was in immediate danger; (3) Kerry can carry the "war hero" mantle because of his unusually brave conduct.

    A little tidbit I just discovered: After coming back, Kerry was targeted by Nixon for his anti-war activities. I thought the name "John O'Neill" (author of the Swift Boats book) sounded vaguely familiar; turns out he was the young combat veteran Nixon's staff commissioned to provide a pro-war alternative to Kerry (they had a TV debate, et. al.). He's still going after the same man more than 30 years later. That's loyalty.
    I think decisiveness is probably an overrated political attribute; right after 9/11, folks wanted a president who would do something even if it's wrong. Now I think that lustre has worn off a little bit. There's an old saying that smart people tend to lose gunfights because they're more likely to hesitate before firing. Kerry falls into that category. (I'm not convinced Bush doesn't as well, but that isn't the image he's promoting.)
    I would generally agree that Vietnam was too long ago--look at how little damage the draft-dodging allegation does these days--except that in Kerry's case, the problem is that the man has no clear history. This isn't because his Senate record is unsuccessful (it's actually pretty impressive--co-sponsored 57 bills), but because senators work cooperatively and cooperation doesn't show individual character traits. This is, I believe, why senators tend to fare poorly in presidential campaigns (I think LBJ was the last former senator to make it to the White House, though Gore was only 537 votes away--and, of course, both Johnson and Gore were also former veeps, so that's worth taking into account). The Vietnam anecdotes give Kerry a backstory; they make him a more appealing character. But I agree they won't win him the election on their own; nobody could argue with Sen. Bob Dole's war hero status, but it didn't help him beat a scandal-ridden draft-dodger in '96.quote]I believe the larger estimates of character will prove more decisive than military record. And on that score, post-convention, Kerry's favorability rating significantly increasing in a Fox/Opinion Dynamics poll today is more meaningful.[/QUOTE]Agreed. What surprised me also was his likability rating, which went up to 47 percent (higher than Bush's is right now, though that's one rating I expect Bush to boost after the convention). Gore was always lagging in that department, which I think was the major thing that cost him the election.

  17. The Bush Men always making up dirt

    Kerry was in Vietnam, but Dubya's whereabouts are unknown. After recently viewing "The Manchurian Candidate," I now believe during those lost days Bush was having a computer chip implanted into his brain. Instead of the Meryl Streep character activating the commands, Dick Cheney issues the voice prompts.

    Kerry earned his medals, who are any of you to question it?
  18. BLD

    BLD New Member

    We have every right to question it when evidence is presented that contradicts his claims. Besides, if he'd quit bragging about it every ten seconds maybe people wouldn't pay so much attention to it. Did you notice that his entire DNC speech was about Vietnam? The guys been in the Senate for a gazillion years and he didn't reference one accomplishment made. Wonder why?
  19. timothyrph

    timothyrph New Member

    I have no problem with either John Kerry's or George Bush's military background. Military background does not keep you from being president any more. As for the commercials, I tend to link it with the "George Bush went AWOL". It is simply negative campaigning. Mike Turpin from Oklahoma once said, "There are only three times you go negative in a campaign, when you are ahead, when you are behind, and when you are even." I tend to believe Bush served honorably and Kerry was shot.

    I believe negative campaining is more to solidify your base than actually recruit new voters. Ultimately John Kerry will lose because most Americans do not seem to know who he is. People in a war time are going to vote for a commander, not a lower ranked officer. If Kerry is going to win, he has to hit the economy. Even though there is a recovery, consumer confidence is not there yet.

    It is also hard to blame anyone one person or group in this country for losing the war in Vietnam. It was mishandled by several.

    I don't see Kerry winning. It won't be a landslide, but we won't be counting the votes into December either. The 2004 court challenges will be fun though.

    Anyone want to start the rumor that Bin Laden is in US custody waiting to be announced at the Republican convention right before Goerge Bush's speech?
  20. BinkWile

    BinkWile New Member

    I think Kerry could very well win. I was speaking with a Political Science professor from Georgetown University last week and he was telling me that he believes it could go either way. Both candidates will be expected to still be in a dead even tie by November, and unless something like the rumor with Bin Laden being frozen until later this month, or Ralph Nader decides to drop out comes about, then it will be very, very close. It will ultimately depend on who goes to the voting booth on November 2nd.

    One point he did bring up is the popular vote. Since it is going to be very close, there could be a repeat of the 2000 election with Bush or Kerry winning the electoral college, but losing the popular vote. For this to hapen a second time in a row (the other 2 times in history were separated by 70 years) in US history could cast great doubt on the validity of our election process and cause voter turnout to plummet in future elections because voters may feel that their vote "doesn't matter." Internationally, foreign countries may also start to see the US election system as corrupt and the president (whomever he may be) unofficial or illegitimate. It would also no doubt cause chatter in the US for possible changes to the constitution.

    That may be more damaging to the US, regardless of who wins.

Share This Page