The Wall Street Journal has a piece that eviscerates John Kerry’s war record. While there is no doubt that while in Vietnam, Kerry committed many acts of heroism worthy of commendation, what he did afterwords was dispicable.
Service in Vietnam is an important credential to me. Many felt that such service was beneath them, and removed themselves from the manpower pool. That Mr. Kerry served at all is a reason for a bond with fellow veterans; that his service earned him a Bronze Star for Valor (“for personal bravery”) and a Silver Star (“for gallantry”) is even more compelling. Unfortunately, Mr. Kerry came home to Massachusetts, the one state George McGovern carried in 1972. He joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and emceed the Winter Soldier Investigation (both financed by Jane Fonda). Many veterans believe these protests led to more American deaths, and to the enslavement of the people on whose behalf the protests were ostensibly being undertaken. But being a take-charge kind of guy, Mr. Kerry became a leader in the VVAW and even testified before Congress on the findings of the Investigation, which he accepted at face value.
In his book “Stolen Valor,” B.G. Burkett points out that Mr. Kerry liberally used phony veterans to testify to atrocities they could not possibly have committed. Mr. Kerry later threw what he represented as his awards at the Capitol in protest. But as the war diminished as a political issue, he left the VVAW, which was a bit too radical for his political future, and was ultimately elected to the Senate. After his awards were seen framed on his office wall, he claimed to have thrown away someone else’s medals–so now he can reclaim his gallantry in Vietnam.
The Big Trunk over at Powerline has some more thoughts on this issue that are well worth consideration. The fact remains that Kerry is trying to have it both ways, claiming to have been a hero in Vietnam while simultaneously taking actions that sapped the morale of the men he left behind while denigrating their mission. Kerry claimed he threw away his medals in protest. What he really tossed aside was his honor.