And the truth shall set you free
The Washington Post carries water today for John Kerry, running this analysis of the attacks made on his record during the Republican National Convention. It's a good example of the kind of scrutiny the media should be giving to campaign rhetoric; I just hope they give Democratic claims the same treatment. (I'm too lazy to search the Post's Web site to see if they ran any similar stories during the Democratic National Convention.) Here's my favorite example:
Both Vice President Cheney and Miller have said that Kerry would like to see U.S. troops deployed only at the direction of the United Nations, with Cheney noting that the remark had been made at the start of Kerry's political career. This refers to a statement made nearly 35 years ago, when Kerry gave an interview to the Harvard Crimson, 10 months after he had returned from the Vietnam War angry and disillusioned by his experiences there. (President Bush at the time was in the Air National Guard, about to earn his wings.)
That little stab at President Bush's National Guard service was probably unnecessary. I realize it is meant to add some perspective to the picture of an angry young John Kerry, saying something that would come back to haunt him. But despite what Kerry says--and regular readers of this site know that I'm supporting him--his Vietnam service has little or no bearing on his qualifications to be president; conversely, Bush's lack of combat experience bears little relation to his abilities as commander-in-chief.
That said, Kerry's criticism of the war after his return to Vietnam does not in any way diminish or dishonor his military record, assuming he believed he was telling the truth about atrocities committed by U.S. soldiers in that war. Americans who believe their country is engaged in an unnecessary and/or unjust war have an obligation to speak up.