Monday, August 16, 2004

When you were a tender
and callow fellow

Now we remember why we used to like--no, love--John Kerry. This weekend, while your blogstress was applying a fabulous faux finish to her living room walls, she was treated, via "Road to the White House" on C-SPAN radio*, to an airing of the "Dick Cavett Show" from June of 1971, on which the young Kerry of Vietnam Veterans Against the War faced off with Nixon water-carrier John O'Neill, author of the recently released book, Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry (Regnery).

As O'Neill, fresh from a meeting with Nixon aides, sputtered, attacked and attempted to villify his opponent, Kerry cooly recited clauses from the Geneva Conventions ("You've heard of them?" he asked O'Neill), explaining that the "free-fire zones" designated by the U.S. brass were in direct contradiction to the conventions. He also courageously admitted taking part, at the behest of his superiors, in what he said were illegal acts, and told of how he and his comrades were flown to Saigon for a pep-talk about how such acts were in the best interests of the people for whom the sailors were fighting.

His demeanor was sure and steadfast; there was no backpedaling. His accent had yet to be Washingtonized; he sounded like the young Brahmin he was.

For your blogstress, the Kerry of Vietnam Vets Against... represented a merging of two ideas that had been deemed mutually exclusive at the time of the Vietnam War: peace activist and veteran. Before she was so deliciously jaded, your cybertrix was a person of conscience who wrestled with such questions. Hailing from a clan in which cousins were parachuting into the jungles of Indo-China, she was not inclined to buy into the idea of the villain soldier. Nor was she, unlike the family elders, willing to buy into the idea that this was some kind of just war. And so, in those grim times, Kerry offered a glimpse of sanity--one that entailed, alas, seeing the insanity of the war for what it was.

In 1992, your blogstress wanted to Kerry to run for the presidency. His thoughtfulness, especially on matters of foreign policy, appealled to her as America poised itself to pull further inward. She remembers lunching with William Shawcross, for whose editor your Webwench then toiled, extolling the virtues of this senator, who was then relatively unknown across the pond.

In short, before Kerry's time drew near for this presidential run, your blogstress found much to admire in him. It wasn't until July of 2003 that she began to turn sour on him, after his high-handed answer to her question on gay rights at an Independence Day parade in New Hampshire (see "Electable, Schmelectable!".

Note to Kerry Campaign: Have your candidate review the tape of his performance on Cavett; then act accordingly.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Your blogstress has donated what for her is a tidy sum to the Kerry campaign, despite the fact that they revoked her blogger convention credentials and have generally treated her like cr*p. She suggests you do the same--donate, that is; not treat your blogstress like cr*p.

Sgt. O'Grady's Fire Fizzles

Remember the name Scott O'Grady? He's the guy who survived being shot down over Bosnia by eating locusts or somesuch. Pretty impressive. But he's also let the righties butter his bread since his return. Your cyberscribe recalls seeing looking a little lonely in a San Diego eatery after his appearance before some right-wing confab in conjunction with that year's Republican National Convention.

Anyway, it seems he is accusing the Democratic presidential contender of treason. It's a word the righties like to bandy about a lot--except when it comes to their own. For example, what exactly did Oliver North commit when he defied the Constitution of the United States to funnel money to armed thugs in Nicaragua?

Check out the blog of Phil Coons, a retired U.S. Navy Master Chief Petty Officer for a running account of the right-wing-vets verses Kerry drama. Here's his piece on O'Grady.

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