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Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Republican Swiftboat Vets Rewriting History.

Over at The Gadflyer, Paul Waldman captures what has been infuriating me about the Republican vet's attack on Kerry's war service.

Their refusal to face facts are plain in this timely post called, Revisionist History :

Now that the campaign to undermine John Kerry's Vietnam service has moved from "John Kerry's a liar" - charges that got plenty of attention, but were ultimately discredited - to "John Kerry hates his country" - equally ridiculous, but that won't stop them - there seem to be a series of rather odd claims underlying the attacks. Among them:

1. There were no atrocities committed by American soldiers during the Vietnam War. No innocent civilians were killed, no rapes took place, no villages were burned.

In his 1971 testimony before the Senate, Kerry related a series of claims made a few months before at the "Winter Soldier" investigation. It later came to light that some of these specific claims were unsupported. But the essence of Kerry's argument - that Americans had done some terrible things to civilians in Vietnam - hadn't been challenged by anyone in a long time. But now some of the veterans opposing Kerry seem to want to make that case, that by saying atrocities took place, Kerry is falsely accusing every Vietnam veteran of being a war criminal.

2. The Vietnam War was a great idea, and if you opposed it, you must just hate America.

This would represent a reversal of the rather (dare I say it) nuanced view that Americans have come to over recent years: that the war was a tragic mistake, but the responsibility for that mistake does not lie with the men who did the fighting. But the key point about Kerry's anti-war activity is this: he was right. The war was a mistake, the people who planned it should have been held to account.

3. And perhaps my favorite: John Kerry was personally responsible for the United States losing the Vietnam War...

-Click through to see that last accusation debunked.

These Republican veterans are proud of the Vietnam War. They refuse to accept that ii was a just a shitty-war and we did shitty-things during that time. Many people understood it back then. People like John Kerry.

Most of the country understands that now. Vietnam was not our proudest moment. In one generation we went from fighting Nazis and Fascist war-criminals to killing people of inderterminate age, friend and foe - since we couldn't tell 'em apart. Somehow criticism of that war diminishes them. They're obviously disgruntled.

Just like this administration, with many Nixon White House left-overs. They want to prove their belief in how war should have been prosecuted was correct and the only right answer:

If we only stayed the course. If we only had unquestioned resolve. If we only ignored the rest of the world, and sizable portion of our society that believes war is not the only solution...

If only!

Then maybe the sacrifice, the horrors of war would have been worth it.

Personally, I like the idea of a candidate that personally saw war, up close and personal, and disapproves of it rather than a candidate that personally never saw war, up close and personal, and approves of it...