Sunday, August 29, 2004
The war-torn soul of John Kerry
From biographer Douglas Brinkley's Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War, we get this powerful portrait of young John Kerry's anguish, quoting a lengthy letter he wrote to his sweetheart (pp. 82-83; boldface mine):
There are so many ways this letter could become a bitter diatribe and go rumbling off into irrational nothings.... I feel so bitter and angry and everywhere around me there is nothing but violence and war and gross insensitivity. I am really very frightened to be honest because when the news [of the combat death of his college friend, Dick Pershing] sunk in I had no alternatives but to carry on in the face of trivia that forced me to build a horrible protective screen around myself....
The world I'm a part of out there is so very different from anything you, I, or our close friends can imagine. It's fitted with primitive survial, with destruction of an endless dying seemingly pointless nature and forces one to grow up in a fast — no holds barred fashion. In the small time I have been gone, does it seem strange to say that I feel as though I have seen several years experience go by.... No matter [where] one is — no matter what job — you do not and cannot forget that you are at war and that the enemy is ever present — that anyone could at some time for the same stupid irrational something that stole Persh be gone tomorrow.
You can practically hear the mortar rounds shriek overhead Kerry's foxhole, can't you? Everything around him "is nothing but violence and war" — "endless dying," the enemy "ever present."
Except that this letter was written in Febuary 1968, while Kerry was an ensign aboard the missile cruiser U.S.S. Gridley as it plied the dangerous waters of war-torn Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. The Gridley was still almost 6000 miles and many weeks away from the waters offshore of Vietnam. Certainly Kerry already knew that once there, he would remain aboard that large ship, on which his own risk of death or injury through combat would be essentially nill. (During its entire service, the Gridley had only one combat fatality, Petty Officer William J. Duggan, who was killed while aboard a helicopter flying a search and rescue mission in 1967. Kerry flew no such missions.)
I have no doubt that young Kerry felt genuine grief at the report of his college friend's combat death — certainly everyone who knew and loved Dick Pershing felt that. Sadly, there were many deaths to mourn. Nor do I mock or denigrate the notion that serving aboard the Gridley was important and patriotic. [Update: And as a veteran of the Gridley aptly pointed out in my comments below, there were very real noncombat dangers in that service, as in much of military life even during peacetime.]
But what's striking — and yes, what I frankly do mock — is the incredible self-aggrandizement and exaggeration of this letter. Brinkley reports this with a straight face and, seemingly, a completely tin ear.
On to Kerry's shore patrol duties when the Gridley was at Subic Bay Naval Base in the Philippines. This came after a brief patrol in which, as Brinkley reports, "[every] day that the Gridley patrolled the Gulf of Tonkin an enemy attack was remotely possible." (That would be from the North Vietnamese Navy's combined battleships-and-aircraft-carriers task force, one presumes.) At Subic, Kerry had Shore Patrol duty. But even in that duty, Kerry and his biographer must find the seeds of Candidate Kerry's future greatness and nobility (page 88):
Kerry was both amused and surprised by the squalid life of this liberty city. His "beat" was the bars and brothels part of town.... On [one] occasion he came upon a woman passed out on the floor of a bar, a sailor standing above her muttering, "Please don't let her die," over and over. Kerry felt for her pulse and tried to bring her back to consciousness. He succeeded.
Well, damn! He woke up a drunk bar girl, isn't that worth another Bronze Star at least?
Later Brinkley writes breathlessly of the Gridley's return to Vietnamese waters, where Kerry came "only forty miles away" from "North Vietnam's treacherous Haiphong." Now, again, I'm not suggesting this was trivial duty or that the Gridley should have turned off its radar and sonar and sent all its crew to bed drunk around 11pm. But of this duty, we find Kerry writing to his parents (page 94-95):
The Viet Cong have tremendously increased their counter batteries along the coast and there is not a ship on the shore bombardment that does not encounter opposition. Most of the shore effort is down south — in the I Corps area where Persh was killed.
I guess that must've been pretty much exactly like The Guns of Navarrone, wasn't it?
A couple of Brinkley's short passages about Kerry's service aboard the Gridley do resonate, so to speak — if not in ways Brinkley may have intended. From page 84, describing the Gridley's voyage from Long Beach to Honolulu:
Every few days while at sea he would write an 800-word vignette about World War II battles that he would then read over the intercom in his best Edward R. Murrow stentorian tones.
And from page 86:
One time [Ensign Kerry] was directing helicopters during an exercise from the Combat Information Center. [Robert E.] Jack, who was the watch officer that day, said, "Captain Harper (who had been listening to the radio chatter on the bridge) burst into CIC and asked me who was that person talking to the helos with the great voice. So, I guess the skipper did at least give John a compliment on one occasion."
Too bad Kerry didn't have a chance to tell his shipmates about "Jeng-jhis" Khan, but I think we can all be sure that both his vignettes about naval history and his instructions to the helo pilots must have been "seared — seared" into their memories nonetheless.
Kerry's service aboard the Gridley has drawn almost no attention in the current SwiftVets controversy, and he's rarely mentioned it during his campaign — even though he spent three times as long assigned to that ship as he did in the Swiftees. It's well worth your time to read the reactions to the chapter from ToD about his Gridley time from those who served with him then on the Gridley's website. You'll find comments there detailing more of Kerry's consistent self-aggrandizement and exaggeration as reported by Brinkley in ToD — Kerry claiming responsibility for "motivating 400 swabbies," when his actual responsibilities were for 30, for instance. The Gridley's website home page has a very understandable reaction:
When questioned about [the relative lack of reporting in his biographical materials about Kerry's greater time aboard the Gridley], Kerry told Douglas Brinkley that "nothing much of note happened during his tour aboard the vessel." So much for us!
I say again: I do not mock or belittle Kerry's service aboard the Gridley. It's something he should be very proud of — even if it wasn't the stuff of which Hollywood movies are made. There are a whole lot more vets (and friends and family of vets) whose military service has resembled Kerry's aboard the Gridley, and can you not imagine how positively they'd have reacted if, instead of ignoring his time there, Kerry had made that service at least some small part of the balloons-lights-and-magic routine at the Democratic National Convention?
Instead, the only way he's used his Gridley service in his campaign has been as a basis for claiming that he served "two tours in Vietnam." If anyone's mocking and belittling the Gridley, it's John Forbes Kerry.
Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to The war-torn soul of John Kerry and sent a trackback ping are listed here:
» Those Lying Eyes from Cranial Cavity
Tracked on Aug 29, 2004 9:33:42 PM
» http://inbillsworld.blogspot.com/2004/08/john-kerry-unfit-for-command-update-22.html from In Bill's World
Tracked on Aug 30, 2004 4:48:19 AM
» The Kerry Grill from Les Jones Blog
Tracked on Aug 30, 2004 8:22:36 AM
» Hilarious story from Beldar from Media Lies
Tracked on Aug 30, 2004 11:30:30 AM
(1) Narniaman made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 6:26:23 PM | Permalink
So what is exactly the problem with what Kerry was saying? I think he was being quite truthful. Let's look at this sentence by sentence. . . .
"The world I'm a part of out there is so very different from anything you, I, or our close friends can imagine."
Yep, he's in the military. Not exactly like prep school or a skiing vacation in Switzerland.
"It's fitted with primitive survial, with destruction of an endless dying seemingly pointless nature and forces one to grow up in a fast — no holds barred fashion. "
In the military they teach people to fight and kill, while to avoid being killed. Not exactly what they taught at Yale.
"No matter [where] one is — no matter what job — you do not and cannot forget that you are at war and that the enemy is ever present"
The enemy was ever present. They surrounded him every day. John Kerry's enemy was the US military. He certainly seemed to have a higher opinion of the Viet Cong than he did of the US Navy.
So you see, Honest John is once again vindicated from the vicious mean attacks the digital brownshirts are hurling at him by quoting what he actually has said and written.
That looks remarkably like a "feel sorry for me, I want to get laid next time I see you" letter. :o)
(3) GaryK made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 7:40:25 PM | Permalink
The needle on my BS meter just wrapped itself around the peg. This guy was full of it (and himself) then and he is full of it now. Is this the kind of jerk we want as president?
(4) Jumbo made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 9:07:41 PM | Permalink
"So what is exactly the problem with what Kerry was saying? I think he was being quite truthful(.)"
That's an argument an advocate would make. And you would savage it were the tables turned and it was Bush's or Cheney's to make. The problem, as I think Beldar laid out very clearly, is that the letter is an early example of the kind of self-dramatization which, it is slowly coming clear, was a common technique used by Kerry about much of his service. The obvious context of the letter is that, as he writes, he IS IN combat, under fire, literally surrounded by death and destruction, which he has personally witnessed. He Knows Things No Man Should Know kind of stuff.
It is an early entry to the myth he was making. I'm embarrassed to see him doing this; it's something adolescents, even juveniles do. You can almost picture him gravely writng, while a song plays in his head: "Fighting sooooldiers from the sky...". Creepy and sad.
(5) Cog made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 9:09:27 PM | Permalink
Put a fork in him, he is done.
(6) DCRob made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 9:17:36 PM | Permalink
History repeats itself. In 1968 young Kerry lamented that "everywhere around me there is nothing but violence and war and gross insensitivity." And in 2004 he wishes to wage a "more sensitive" war on terror. So much insensitivity, so little time.
(7) Patrick R. Sullivan made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 9:19:42 PM | Permalink
"I guess that must've been pretty much exactly like The Guns of Navarrone, wasn't it?"
I'm sure John is simply too much of a gentleman to have told of how torrid was the affair he had with Gia Scala.
(8) stevesturm made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 9:28:45 PM | Permalink
not only did kerry p*** off his fellow sailors aboard the Gridley, he made up the story about when the ship returned from duty on the day RFK died. This claim is contradicted not only by the official ship history but also by the journal of Kerry's superior aboard ship.
For details: link
Jumbo, I think Narniaman's comment was intended to be tongue-in-cheek. But you're right about Kerry's fantasies. Again, from ToD (pp. 133-33, boldface mine), telling of his arrival "in-country" to start his Swiftees tour:
As he waited outside the terminal for the truck that would take him to his post, off in the distance, Kerry spied a lush field high on a lovely mountaintop.... He remembered where he was and a "stupid vision," as he put it, came to him. He imagined being set upon by Viet Cong in black pajamas on that lovely mountain field, and he worried that his instinctive protests would betray his naïveté and fear: "Why do you want to kill me? I haven't done anything to you!" But then it occurred to him that just being an American armed with a rifle in Vietnam would give the VC all the justification they needed to kill him. "I saw myself waiting to be shot and then falling in slow motion, tumbling over and over again, to finally lie alone in the field with an eerie stillness muffling the echo of gunfire," Kerry wrote of the reverie in his personal journal. "The truck then arrived to transport us to the base."
But then literally two pages later:
It irked him to be assigned to the "fun in the sun and surf division"; he had not come to Vietnam for jukeboxes and cheap liquor. If he was going to avenge the death of Dick Pershing, he needed to see combat, or at least some sort of action beyond that offered by the diversions available at Cam Ranh. Like Platoon director Oliver Stone who had served fifteen months in Vietnam ... Kerry felt inexplicably drawn to combat.
He's the hero of his own internal war movie. Or the anti-hero. He can't seem to decide; it's very nuanced and sensitive. But it's damned sure he gets top billing either way.
(10) 73wcf4440 made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 9:41:00 PM | Permalink
Ok, so far he's saved the lives of:
1. A drunk Philipina
2. VC, the dog who wasn't
3. Jim Rassman
4. His daughter's pet rodent
Is it me or is there a John F. Christ element to all this?
73wcf4440, be fair now. He doesn't claim to have resurrected Licorice the Unlucky Hamster, just to have given it CPR.
Patrick, he did famously date Morgan Fairchild, Michelle Phillips, Catherine Oxenberg, and Dana Delany between his marriages to the two heiresses.
(13) Karine A. made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 9:49:12 PM | Permalink
"That looks remarkably like a "feel sorry for me, I want to get laid next time I see you" letter. :o)"
That was my reaction too!
(14) Jumbo made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 9:50:30 PM | Permalink
"Jumbo, I think Narniaman's comment was intended to be tongue-in-cheek."
*ahem* That would appear to be correct, sir. I should have recognized that anybody who chooses his handle as an allusion to C.S. Lewis must have his head on straight. Pardon, Narn? I promise never to be snarkily sanctimonious (at least towards you) again.
(15) Dave made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 10:19:38 PM | Permalink
.....Geez....Don't you guys recognize ENSIGN PULVER when you read the script ? Now....wheres that palm tree ?
(16) Mark made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 10:21:23 PM | Permalink
Maybe we're being too hard on Kerry's melodramatic exaggerations - maybe he was just an emo kid.
But it is Jeng-jhis.
(18) MJ made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 10:52:59 PM | Permalink
It reads like it was written with Roger Whittaker's song "The Last Farewell" playing in the background...
"I heard there's a wicked war a-blazing
And the taste of war I know so very well
Even now I see that foreign flag a-raising
Their guns on fire as we sailed into hell
I have no fear of death, it brings no sorrow
But how bitter will be this last farewell"
Indeed, friend Athiest. And a man who can give an erudite pronunciation of Ghengis Khan's name can surely be counted upon to draw other essential lessons from culture and history. After all, Kerry was right in that very same speech, wasn't he, about the 3000 casualties and other minimal effects from a North Vietnamese overrun of the South?
(20) Bill made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 11:10:38 PM | Permalink
What a crock. I transferred off of the Gridley about a week before he wrote that letter. I spent several cruises off the coast of Vietnam both before and after that time. He was in danger alright, but it was the normal day-to-day dangers of the Navy. The chances of the North Vietnamese or VC hurting him were minor compared to the chances of a line parting or bashing your head while negotiating a scuttle. But, of course, those kinds of danger aren't dramatic enought for a man of Kerry's stature. BTW, I spent dozens of times in Olongapo and never once saw a bar girl passed out. For the most part the "ladies drinks" were weak tea so that they could stay sober while WE got drunk.
I was amused by Brinkley's imaginative name for the Gridley chapter: High Seas Adventures. Really his chapter titles were right out of the Hardy Boys--Braving the Bo De River, etc.
(22) 73wcf4440 made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 11:15:23 PM | Permalink
" He doesn't claim to have resurrected Licorice the Unlucky Hamster, just to have given it CPR."
Just give him time, Beldar, give him time!
(23) ed made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 11:18:40 PM | Permalink
"For the most part the "ladies drinks" were weak tea so that they could stay sober while WE got drunk."
Yeah. It's like that all the world over. A girl that's passed out is one that's not earning money. And a smart girl can make just as much from kickbacks on her "drinks" as she could in any other way.
(24) tvd made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 11:32:04 PM | Permalink
Perhaps you can penetrate this fog, O Mighty Beldar.
Young Mr. Kerry had already spoken out against the Vietnam War before he entered the service.
Why, then, did he volunteer for the Navy?
Or why did he accept a shotgun wedding with the US Navy rather accept induction as this July 3 article maintains, link, instead of applying for Conscientious Objector status?
I respect the COs of that era as being true to their principles. But what principle was Young Mr. Kerry adhering to---don't ruin your future political career with changing bedpans as your combat record?
And why did he remain in the heinous US military (Navy Reserves) until 1978, after he had charged it with systematic Vietnam atrocities in 1971?
What principle was he adhering to?
Help us prospective Kerry voters out here, B.
(25) Narniaman made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 11:35:20 PM | Permalink
"*ahem* That would appear to be correct, sir. I should have recognized that anybody who chooses his handle as an allusion to C.S. Lewis must have his head on straight. Pardon, Narn? I promise never to be snarkily sanctimonious (at least towards you) again."
Let's just say I was booted out of the John F. Kerry personal fan club before I even got an invitation to join.
This just serves to illustrate how surreal this is all becoming. The stuff the Kerry supporters, uh, Anybody But Bush Crowd are spurting off almost go beyond parody.
I do wonder about something, though. I would bet that Kerry's most excellent Cambodia in Christmas adventure with VC the Wonderdog and the Secret Agent Man were spawned in his memory by watching Apocalypse Now a decade later. I wonder if Kerry's stirring account of the Battle of Long Beach wasn't helped along by some book he was reading at the time -- perhaps some book on World War II? Is anyone out there familiar with some good WW II histories that Kerry's flowery prose could have been borrowed from?
Well, he only claimed that it was in a "fashion reminiscent" of Jenjhis, so he wasn't being completely literal in that speech. The Fog of War frequently colors one's fashionable reminisces and remembrances, both of things past and things to come.
tvd, I wish I could offer a "grand unified theory" of John Kerry that would explain all these inconsistencies. I'm tempted to say that the one principle Kerry has consistently put above all others has been creating his political legend to facilitate his ultimate advance to the White House, a la his hero, the first JFK. Under that theory, Kerry tried his best to make himself into, as Richard Holbrooke wrote in yesterday's WaPo, "a good hero in a bad war."
Well, then, if so, now he's finding that some folks don't agree that he was a good hero, and some folks don't like the way he's portrayed his fellow vets for their own parts in the "bad war," while yet other folks still don't agree that it was a bad war.
That's still my working hypothesis, but I have to confess, I'm not wholly satisfied with that explanation. Every time I think I'm convinced that the man's entire being is built around advancing in political office, he says or does something so incredibly politically tone-deaf that I have to rethink that premise. Put another way, I can't for the life of me figure out how much of his own carefully fabricated self-image is real, or has become real; and I can't quite rule out the possibility that at least some of the time, he actually has been and is motivated by some principle other than political expediency (although I have a hard time picking out what that principle might be or finding any consistent display of it). I can't even look at John Kerry snow skiing or wind-surfing, for exammple, without genuinely wondering, "Is he enjoying that? Or is he just doing that because he thinks the people watching him will think it's 'cool'?"
In a sentence: I think he's the most profoundly phony individual in the public arena today, but I genuinely can't tell whether there's anything beneath his phony surface, or if so, what it might be.
Damn, if waking up a drunk hooker in Subic Bay is a heroic deed then I missed out on the medals.
(29) richard mcenroe made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 12:32:20 AM | Permalink
JimC — No, chewing off your own arm to escape from a sleeping drunk hooker gets you a medal, the Coyote Cross with V device, I think...
and ""everywhere around me there is nothing but violence and war and gross insensitivity." I guess the other three ensigns all picked on him in their cabin...
(30) FS made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 12:47:01 AM | Permalink
In answer to tvd's questions other than the one about Kerry's principals which any Kerry voter will have to decide on their own.
I would guess that Kerry did not think that being a Conscientious Objector was a good credential for a political career and perhaps he didn't feel he could tell that to his father, a WWII veteran whom he described in a Boston Glob bio as "painfully remote and shut off and angry".
He went to the Naval Reserve Officer's Training Program because if he had waited to be drafted into the army he would have been an enlisted man in the jungle. (At least that was the reason the rest of us had for going to ROTC.)
He stayed in the Naval reserves until 1978 because he had a legal obligation to do so.
What he apparently didn't do was go to the regularly required Reserve meetings during the two years of Active Reserve obligation he had accepted in order to get out of the Navy early - pretty much the same thing of which Bush is accused.
(31) Jim in NC made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 12:58:58 AM | Permalink
His agenda is easy to figure out: The only way he could have the wealth and prestiege he is incapable of warning was
to marry two wealthy women. His senate salary is nowhere close to what he wants, and especially the senate retirement
plan. But if he can become president he would have it all: the best job in the world with a fine salary, hundreds of people
protecting him, prestiege unmatched by any other vocation, and both a president's and a senator's retirement pension.
Kerry the flip-flop king becomes the double-dipping king.
He has no "secret" foreign policy, he has no plan for Iraq, he has no sensativity about Ameticans otr other peoples,
nor does he give rat's ass about anyone other than himself. He will become America's first socialist president, if
elected, with all the problems that will cause. He will be closer to Putin's idea about democracy than to Jefferson's.
Working with John Edwards they will make a mess of America's health system.
(32) tvd made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 1:12:27 AM | Permalink
Let's be clear---something Kerry himself accused Bush OF:
I don't know if Kerry himself missed any required meetings, tho. I saw nothing about that in Kerry's docs assigning him to inactive status.
What I do know is that nobody takes on a 10-year commitment to military service. I believe Kerry voluntarily re-upped for Reserve duty circa 1972. What up with that?
And what we do know is that the Kerry website's (phony, since withdrawn) announced gap in his military service from 1970-72 may have been cover for his meeting with North Vietnam's peace negotiators in Paris during that time, since meeting with an "enemy" is expressly forbidden to a US military man, reserve or otherwise.
I also don't know exactly what Kerry said in opposition to the Vietnam War at his Oration at the 1966 Yale graduation ceremonies. But if he had moral and not strategic objections, going off to fight a war he found morally objectionable would be worse than whatever LBJ or Nixon did.
Perhaps The Mighty Beldar will find some of this worthy of elucidation. This all sure is making it hard for me to vote for Kerry.
(33) jackmehoff made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 6:10:02 AM | Permalink
I think Kerry a la his "boredom" was/is Walter Mitty. I've read at least 300 articles on this clown since the earlier part of this month. There is enough "evidence" to convict this idiot of lying. The liberals keep swathing him in his manger while carefully protecting him from those awful Swiftees.
The elite media has yet to provide one shred of legal documentation that the Bush/Cheney campaign has any link to the Swiftees yet Chris at kerrywaffles.com has a verfiable link between Ter-RAH-zah and a 527 lawyer.
Kerry applied for a student deferment to study in Paris. All the string pulling daddy could muster didn't get him off. So...he enlisted in the Naval Reserves thinking that combat would be unlikely. OOPS! Now a CO is in a war. Well, it will look good when running for office if I can be a war hero AND a protester. Jenjhis would be proud of the strategy.
I don't think the average level-headed American is going to be "snowed" by this clown anymore than believing Bill O'Reilly is an independant.
(34) Bucky Katt made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 7:21:29 AM | Permalink
"He stayed in the Naval reserves until 1978 because he had a legal obligation to do so."
Actually, I believe he stayed in longer than necessary. He had an 8 year committment to fullfill not 10. As I understand it, he never did resign his commission. It appears the Naval Reserve released him. So for someone who had such a "hard-on" over the military..his behavior was certainly contradictory.
(35) Snowy made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 8:06:16 AM | Permalink
>Ok, so far he's saved the lives of:
1. A drunk Philipina
2. VC, the dog who wasn't
3. Jim Rassman
4. His daughter's pet rodent
Here's one more for the list, where he put himself in great personal danger:
From "The Batallion:
Kerry later married the twin sister of another Bonesman, David Thorne, a friend since freshman soccer.
"He was different. He was very focused and kind of driven in those days. He thought he was setting out to achieve stuff in the world," said Thorne, a publisher of holistic health books and magazines.
But Kerry had a lighter side. He slacked off senior year and took flying lessons. He got a parakeet his junior year, and spent hours teaching it phrases in three languages. "John really liked this bird," Bundy recalled, and he let it nest in his hair "wiggling back and forth."
The pet led to a brush with the law. New Haven officers were dubious when they found Kerry up a tree trying to retrieve it.
Sorry for the size of this link:
(36) Patrick R. Sullivan made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 8:22:13 AM | Permalink
"He stayed in the Naval reserves until 1978 because he had a legal obligation to do so."
No, this is another irregularity in his service. He signed an enlistment contract in 1966 that called for him to do three years active duty, two years ready reserve, and one year standby reserve.
That obligated him for six years, but he didn't get his discharge until 1978; 12 years later. There's something fishy about that. I'm guessing his discharge was withheld because of his treasonous activities in Paris, and with VVAW. Then, when Democrats held both houses of congress, and the Presidency in 1978, someone with the requisite political muscle arranged for a quiet, and behind the scenes, honorable discharge.
Question for Geo. W. Bush; "If, as you say, Kerry served honorably, why didn't he get an honorable discharge when his enlistment was up in 1972?"
(37) Snowy made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 8:24:48 AM | Permalink
>In a sentence: I think he's the most profoundly phony individual in the public arena today, but I genuinely can't tell whether there's anything beneath his phony surface, or if so, what it might be.
I think it's his far left world view, which because it is relativistic, makes for a shifting, empty and uncentred core. The only god in that world is power, and you do ANYTHING, say ANYTHING to get it.
His beloved words from Langston Hughes were not just pulled out of a hat; they were emblematic of what really drives Kerry.
And he and Michael Moore are made of the exact same cloth.
Add my voice to those of other Americans sick to death of this weasel.
When I finished 4 years of honorable service (no thanks to YOU, JFKerry) I returned from Korea Sept 68 only to be spat upon by some of the scroungy 'peace protesters' at Sea-Tac airport...
They didn't care if I had only served on Korea's DMZ, they were spitting on my uniform!
And for that I say, THANKS JFKerry! Part of MY Tour of Duty, you traitorous, treasonous communist!
(39) Jamie Irons made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 8:57:35 AM | Permalink
tvd, I wish I could offer a "grand unified theory" of John Kerry...
Such a "grand unified theory" has occured to me.
I have tried very hard to find a charitable ("sensitive" and "nuanced") underlying theme to John F. Kerry's seeming inconsistencies(!).
As a psychiatrist, I am fond of the idea (delusion?) that every person behaves, at a deep level and in a sense, consistently, even though the surface behavior may seem to be wildly erratic and riddled with bizarre and baffling, even absurd, contradictions.
Here is my charitable grand unified theory of JFK's behavior:
We know that even at Yale he was deeply ambivalent about the war, as early as 1964. (I was a freshman at Yale while JFK was a senior; I didn't know him but knew of him.)
His actual experiences as a swiftee somehow, and perhaps understandably, deepen his ambivalence about the application of American power.
His entire politcal career has ben dedicated to reigning in American power.
This is not an especially helpful principle, if you want to get elected to national office, except perhaps in Massachusetts.
So one has, in order to get elected, and still remain true to this principle, to strike a Janus-faced pose to the electorate: depending on the audience, one may want to appear "strong," on the one hand, or "sensitive" and "nuanced," on the other.
My less charitable interpretation of JFK: he is a deeply cynical and opportunistic politician, and a man we want under no circumstances to lead us.
(40) George made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 9:39:49 AM | Permalink
As with all Kerry's sea stories better get the fact checker out.
An ensign on first cruise a shore patrol officer? Maybe but doutful.
4 miles off Haiphong? The NVA shore batteries gun arcs extended to 22,000 yards, what was the Gridley going to do, fire a missle. The Gridley had no gun suitable for shore bombardment.
As it turns out, I was serving on the carrier USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) at the same time Kerry was on the Gridley. The Enterprise was flying bombing missions 12 hours a day into Viet Nam. We were never in any danger of enemy attack. Ships like the Gridley routinely followed us to pick up downed pilots in case of accidents or crash-landings.
I also did time on shore patrol in Subic (to be accurate, the Navy base was Subic Bay Naval Station, the town was Olongapo). It was nothing but bars, beauty shops and hotels (with hourly rates). The whole place was nothing but a place for sailors to blow off steam after weeks and weeks at sea. Oh, and when I wasn't on Shore Patrol, Olongapo was fun.
In Kerry's recently released medical records, a case of "Non Specific Unretheritis" is indicated. We used to call it NSU and joke it was USN spelled backwards! The Navy classified it as one of the "sexually transmitted diseases." Now that I know he was in Olongapo, I think it is obvious where he got it. Wonder why he never got a medal for that?
(42) George made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 9:40:38 AM | Permalink
As with all Kerry's sea stories better get the fact checker out.
An ensign on first cruise a shore patrol officer? Maybe but doutful.
4 miles off Haiphong? The NVA shore batteries gun arcs extended to 22,000 yards, what was the Gridley going to do, fire a missle? The Gridley had no gun suitable for shore bombardment.
(43) Bill made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 11:00:33 AM | Permalink
Not the Guns of Navarone, but this:
(44) M. Simon made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 11:17:25 AM | Permalink
Thanks for the memories. Nina's Papagayo?
I usually went a little farther up the street to the classier joints. I was an ET and we didn't hang with the BMs. :-)
George Bush never called me "baby killer".
(45) M. Simon made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 11:30:02 AM | Permalink
BTW Drudge is charting the Kerry meltdown:
Kerry daughters get booed on MTV.
And Daschle(D)is running as a Bush supporter.
George Bush never called me "baby killer".
(46) Jumbo made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 4:33:03 PM | Permalink
"I wish I could offer a "grand unified theory" of John Kerry"
Beauty! Here is my Theory of Kerrytivity:
There was a cultural archetype which attracted him most, which he achingly wished to emulate as a young man, and after which he has formed his life. This archetype was ambivalent about war, troubled and somber and war-weary. But also a heroic and highly-efficient killer of the enemy. I speak, of course, of the moody yet deadly Sgt. Chip Saunders as played by Vic Morrow 1962-67 on "Combat" on ABC.
This explains much.
(47) tvd made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 4:36:36 PM | Permalink
"(Kerry's) entire political career has been dedicated to reining in American power."---Jamie Irons
Boy, that about explains every foreign policy position Mr. Kerry has ever held.
Hats off to Mr. (Dr.?) Irons, and to the Mighty Beldar for the fine company he keeps.
(48) AST made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 6:21:22 PM | Permalink
This is why the all volunteer military is such a good thing. It isn't dragged down by twits like Lt. Kerry, and future liberal politicians are less likely to salute and exclaim, "I'm So-and-so, reporting for duty!"
The fewer jerks like this who get out and build a political career on denouncing their fellows, the better.
(49) Paul Klenk made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 6:57:54 PM | Permalink
John Kerry is doing for military service what "The Sound of Music" did for hills.
Let's push him down hard on Nov. 2.
(50) jackmehoff made the following comment | Aug 30, 2004 11:09:10 PM | Permalink
To Sharps Shooter,
I bunked with a guy from the war in Vietnam. I know being spat upon, literally, had him a few cards shy of a full deck. I can't speak for anyone but myself when I say thank you for doing what I dreaded, your service to our country is appreciated and admired.
God Bless You
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