Thursday June 9, 2005
KERRY'S BIG SECRET REVISITED:
I may have been too quick and too generous in giving John Kerry the benefit of the doubt about the full and complete release of his military records, as reported by the Boston Globe on Tuesday. As Thomas Lipscomb details in today's Chicago Sun-Times, some questions and confusion remain.

The exact details will most likely get sorted out in time, but just for the moment let's consider the one aspect of this story that we know for sure: Kerry released his records exclusively to The Boston Globe. This is an odd decision for someone seeking end speculation regarding the whole affair, and it's also a perfect example of why the issue of Kerry's military record continues to plague him.

Without maligning Michael Kranish's motives or his ability as a reporter, it's fair to point out that privately funneling documents through a single source from your hometown paper and then declaring the story "dead" and "over" is hardly the epitome of full public disclosure. John Kerry would never accept this type of standard from his political opponents or this administration. Why he thinks the public should accept it now from him is beyond me.

It's also an issue of fairness and bias in the press. When rumors and questions about George Bush's Texas Air National Guard service were recycled in early 2004, the press reacted like a pack of rabid animals, rushing to file FOIA requests and beating Scott McClellan bloody day after day with demands to see all relevant documents (Meanwhile, John Kerry's campaign took advantage of the media frenzy to send Terry McAuliffe and his minions out to denounce President Bush in public as having been AWOL). The press would have gone into high dudgeon if Bush had given documents to the Washington Times and then told everyone else to go take a hike.

Months later when questions were raised about Kerry's service record there was no media frenzy and no assault on Kerry by the press demanding full disclosure. Instead the press attacked Kerry's accusers, trying to dismiss and discredit the hundreds of veterans who came forward from all walks of life to go on the record with their complaints about Kerry.

The fact the Swift Boat Vets existed at all was the big story of the year (unprecedented in modern political history, I believe), and one that the mainstream press did their best to ignore. Is there any question what the press would have done if a similar group of a hundred (or even ten, for that matter) of George Bush's fellow Guardsmen had come forward to challenge his service, truthfulness and integrity?

Ironically enough, this was all happening right around the time Mary Mapes was phoning the Kerry campaign on behalf of Bill Burkett as part of a deal to get her hands on phony military records to put on air to damage President Bush.

A SOLDIER RESPONDS: To my post on Tuesday about military recruitment with a colorful testament to the quality of the young men and women who continue to join our Armed Forces:

I'm writing from overseas, in Kosovo, on an 18-month mobilization as an Army major. Let me tell you about the kids I work with. They're every bit the equal of their fathers and grandfathers at Khe Sanh and Normandy -- and their great-great-grandfathers at Gettysburg.

You've probably heard about our great guys in Iraq and Afghanistan - well, the vast majority are teenagers or in their early 20's. Here in Kosovo, we do peacekeeping, though this is still a hostile fire zone. We have 21-year old sergeants interacting with the local populace so successfully that not only is the killing long over, but American flags fly off local buildings and local folks tell us how they hope Kosovo can someday be the 51st state...and they are serious.

These kids are cowards? Couch potatoes? Hey, these are the same folks who skateboard themselves into a pulp for laughs; they aren't afraid of a few scratches. And they study too - I'm teaching a college course for them in my off time, a pretty tough one.

I'm not surprised that high schoolers plan to step up to the plate when their country needs them - not one bit. Sure, there are cowards out there, and brainwashed kids who hate their country. I pity them. They have to live in fear of catching a glimpse of their faces in the mirror and knowing that they just aren't worthy. This recruiting dip will pass; note how few people write about how our retention - folks re-upping - is doing fine.

The kids today know the emptiness of the 60's generation that bred them. They have incredible BS detectors - ones that light up like Christmas trees when somebody starts blowing his horn about how he bravely "dissented" by ducking off to Canada while someone else had to take his place on the line in Vietnam. They aren't buying that paradigm - they're finding theirs in a tradition that will be 230 years old on 14 June, the Army's birthday.

I'm not worried; since the integrity of my behind depends on these kids, that ought to mean something.

- T. Bevan 4:35 pm Link | Email | Send To A Friend

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