Two-Faced Kerry Unfit…But Is Bush Any Better?

After several weeks of fulminating
about John Kerry`s war record and the medals he
presumably awarded to himself, Republicans finally got
down to the real point about the man who would be

Amazingly it was none other than
the forgotten Robert Dole, himself something of a war
hero from

World War II,
who seems to have been the only man in
the GOP to grasp it.

"One day he`s saying that we
were shooting civilians, cutting off their ears, cutting
off their heads, throwing away his medals or his
the once and never-again presidential
candidate remarked in an interview on CNN`s Late Edition
last week. [Transcript]

"The next day he`s standing
there, `I want to be president because I`m a Vietnam
veteran.` Maybe he should apologize to all the other 2.5
million veterans who served. He wasn`t the only one in

The point is not whether Mr. Kerry
did or did not really do some courageous things in

or did or did not deserve the medals the
Navy gave him.

Those who
claim he didn`t
have not proved their case and even
if the issue were settled one way or another, it would
have little to do with whether the Massachusetts senator
should or shouldn`t be president. Predictably, Mr.
Kerry`s supporters leapt to resurrect the still
unsettled questions about President Bush`s own military
record or lack thereof.

Such is the level of presidential
politics these days that this sort of trivia is all the
contenders and their allies can think of to say about
one another. How can they do otherwise? On the major
issues of the day, the two candidates are

barely distinguishable.
Each one simply grunts the
appropriate noises that can be anticipated to rally his
own legions and avoids violating any of the several
constraints on what can be said publicly. Those
constraints apparently do not extend to insinuating the

vicious charges
about each other`s characters.

What Mr. Dole had to say was, at
least in the remarks quoted above, somewhat different.
It has nothing to do with what may or may not have
happened nearly forty years ago

halfway around the planet
but with what Mr. Kerry is
known to have said and done.

After he won his medals, Mr. Kerry
came back to this country, made a big splash out of
throwing them away, and proceeded to denounce his former
comrades, his country and the

war in which it was then involved.
The recent ads
citing his testimony before the U.S. Senate make what he
said back then perfectly clear.

"They told the stories at times they had personally
raped, cut off ears, cut off heads,"
testified, speaking of Vietnam veterans who had publicly
claimed they had committed these acts. The ads cut off
his attribution to the veterans and suggests that Mr.
Kerry was making these claims himself, but so what? He
repeated the charges because he wanted the senators and
the public to know about them, and he claimed he
believed them himself.

Apparently there was never any
thought on his part to bring legal charges or work for

actual investigation
by the government. Frankly,
most who hurled such charges were just interested in
grandstanding, for personal or political reasons.

I knew dozens of guys who made such
claims at the time.

had actually been in


Admittedly, Mr. Kerry was a lot
younger then than he is now, and there`s evidence he was
by no means as nutty as some of his buddies in

Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

He resigned from it after a
substantial section began considering committing a

few more atrocities against Americans.
But, just as
the point is not whether he really deserved his medals,
so it is also not that he once said silly things.

The point is that he cannot now
believably renounce what he said and did in 1971 about
his own comrades and his own country and at the same
time boast of his heroism in the same war and run for
president on that record. But that`s precisely what he
is trying to do. The controversy about the war in Iraq
and Mr. Kerry`s criticisms of it seem to demand that the
Democrats wrap themselves in the mantles of patriotism
at least as much as the Republicans always do.

In 1971 it was politically
convenient for Mr. Kerry to renounce such mantles. Today
it`s politically convenient to don them.

And that`s what tells us all we
need to know about John Kerry, and it`s as good a reason
as any why he should not be president. The real question
for voters who agree with that reason is, whether they
can come up with another one why George W. Bush should
be president at all.



Sam Francis [email
him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection
of his columns,

America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The
Disintegration Of American Culture
, is now available

Americans For Immigration Control.

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