No Quarter

Personally, I’m not surprised that Bob Dole chose to attack John Kerry. This is the same man who, 24 years ago, claimed that Democrats were bloodthirsty warmonger, and who claimed tobacco wasn’t addictive when he ran for the White House 8 years ago, and who did yeoman service for the Nixon White House in 1972. So, no, I’m not surprised. Bob Dole’s been a faithful party hack ever since he got his start in politics back in Kansas.

But I really did think that the fact that John Kerry chose to put his life on the line, and was recognized for it by winning not one, not two, but three Purple Hearts would make a difference. Not that I thought Dole–himself a Purple Heart winner, who left a piece of himself on an Italian hillside–would jump on Kerry’s side. But at the least, he’d stay on the sidelines, unwilling to dignify this dishonorable slime.

Look, it’s fine if you disagree with John Kerry on the issues. But this is beyond the pale. And the fact that it’s done in the service of two loathsome cowards who didn’t have the stones to do what they asked others to do simply enrages me.

To me, there are bigger things than simply being a patriot to a political party. And the fact that this particular party had the gall to join ranks behind this drunken lout of a man and claim that he had what it took to be President shows a breathtaking disrespect for the institution of the Presidency. The fact that men like Harding, Pierce, and Buchanan held the office didn’t mean that we needed to contribute to that noble tradition.

But so be it. If they want to wallow in the mud, then we should oblige them. If it’s fair to question John Kerry’s patriotism and heroism, at an age when so many of his contemporaries acted so cravenly, then it’s fair to question what Bush and Cheney were up to.

And let me advance the quaint notion that we shouldn’t stop there. We should heed Sean Connery’s advice from The Untouchables: if they hit us with a stick, we should hit back with a gun. They put one of us in the hospital, we put one of them in the morgue. All’s fair in love and war; they want war, then we should give them war. No quarter should be given. We cannot rest until we’ve utterly destroyed this cancer on American politics.

Everything and anything should be on the table. And if this means that the GOP is destroyed, never to rise again, then so be it. They’ve had their chance to save themselves. Lacking a decent respect for the opinions of mankind, and possesed of an arrogance born out of ignorance, I won’t shed any tears at their bier.


13 responses to “No Quarter

  1. I feel much the same.

    If anyone cares, I wrote it up Pissed off

  2. I do not care it you were pissed off–you should be pissed off all the time. It is a thing of beauty! I agree, the only way to survive is to stop them once and for all.

  3. Kerry won three Purple Hearts, therefore everyone who disagrees with him loses their civil rights. Is that your position?


  4. Lying about someone isn’t a civil right, it’s slander. Of course they might not be lying, they could be telling the truth. I don’t understand why Kerry doesn’t sue the bastards for slander.

  5. I wondered that too, Jack, but maybe your second sentence was INTENDED to be the answer to your third?

  6. Hell of a leap there Oscar. Neither myself, nor our host, said that Dole, the swift boat vets, et al, should lose any rights, just that they sheer disgust we feel at the nature of the claims they’re making is such that we won’t support the candidates they favor.

    The swift boat boys, well they are liars, simple enough.

    As issues go, this one ought to have been a non-starter. He earned medals. One doesn’t win them, they aren’t a prize, like a kewpie doll at the carnival.

    For those of us who’ve been there, this is an assault on us, it calls into question the merit of our medals, we know what we did to earn them, but saying this purple heart is more precious than that purple heart… well it says all of them are cheap.

    If they wanted to attack his policies, fine. Fair game for politics. Want to go into his sex life, allowable (I think it cheap, and irrelevant, but allowable) but this… no. It’s a line they shouldn’t have crossed, and I’m not going to cut them any slack.


  7. TK -” For those of us who’ve been there, this is an assault on us, it calls into question the merit of our medals”

    If it turns out that the after action reports written by Kerry on which those awards were based are lies, then that does INDEED call into question the merit of HIS awards, not of yours. Most of us did not write up our own award recs. Note that the first PH is deeply suspect based on Kerry’s own written accounts: not that his wound was self-inflicted (by accident), because that is just another case of friendly fire. The problem is that the wound did not happen in the presence of the enemy, else why does his journal entry of nine days later say they had yet to encounter enemy fire. Did he FORGET his first fire fight of nine days earlier.

    If Kerry lied to get any one of his awards, then that calls into question alot of things about HIM, not about you, except in so far as you are invested emotionaly in him. Frankly, he was my last choice among the serious contenders for the nomination, and you are now seeing why.

    P.s. I liked that line “for those of us who have been there”, like the SwiftVets spent the war on student deferments??

  8. Terry Karney

    No, I am not referring to the Swift Boat Boys, I am referring to all those people who are amplifying the lies they are telling.

    Are you going to say Bob Dole is undeserving of his first Purple Heart because it was, in his words, the result of mis-thrown american grenade?

    Not that I think they will persuade you of anything but.

    “One of the group’s founders was commander at the time of a task force whose report confirmed that on March 13, 1969, Kerry’s boat was involved in “an enemy-initiated firefight.” And an Oregon lawyer who appeared in a Kerry-bashing ad faces a state bar association complaint that he was misleading in a sworn affidavit alleging that Kerry had not earned his Purple Heart medals.”

    Noel Koch

    “They want me to head Veterans,” Bob Dole said. “They” meant the Bush White House. His tone said there were things he would rather do.

    I asked him whether he was going to do it — take on the campaign role of going after the veterans’ vote. “Probably have to,” he said, although he added that he knew the Bush campaign would want him to attack John Kerry, and he didn’t intend to do that. He didn’t have anything against Kerry, he said.

    The conversation in my old friend’s Pennsylvania Avenue office took me back decades. In the 1970 off-year elections, Bob Dole

    No one is better placed than Dole to know how arbitrary are the fortunes of war. It is not surprising to hear John Kerry’s wounds belittled by men who have avoided all risk of being wounded. Someday perhaps we will be able to plumb the neuroses of those who avoided Vietnam and have ever after had difficulty living with the choice. But it is surprising to hear Bob Dole doing it. Kerry not hospitalized for his wounds? Bob Dole was not hospitalized for his first Purple Heart either.

    “It was just a scratch,” he later recalled. “I think one of our grenades hit a tree and bounced back.” He received a Bronze Star, but that came much later, and was a bureaucratic exercise having little to do with his service as a platoon leader in the extraordinary 10th Mountain Division on April 14, 1945, the day his war ended, in Italy.”

    If you look at Dole’s 1988 campaign bio, he says he was probably the one who threw that grenade.

    And O’Niell, the guy who said Kerry couldn’t have been in Cambodia, because anyone who was would have been faced a court-martial.

    By ELIZABETH WOLFE, Associated Press Writer

    “WASHINGTON – The chief critic of John Kerry (news – web sites)’s military record told President Nixon in 1971 that he had been in Cambodia in a swift boat during the Vietnam War — a claim at odds with his recent statements that he was not.

    “I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border,” said John E. O’Neill in a conversation that was taped by the former president’s secret recording system. The tape is stored at the National Archives in College Park, Md.”

    If one looks at the transcrip Nixon then asks if he was in a Swift Boat, and O’Neill says yes.

    And this

    Mail Tribune

    “Robert E. Lambert doesn’t plan to vote for John Kerry.

    But the Eagle Point man challenges claims by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that there was no enemy fire aimed at the five swift boats, including the one commanded by Kerry, on March 13, 1969 on the Bay Hap River in the southern tip of what was then South Vietnam.

    Lambert, now 64, was a crew member on swift boat PCF-51 that day. The boat was commanded by Navy Lt. Larry Thurlow, a now-retired officer who questions why Kerry was awarded a Bronze star for bravery and a third Purple Heart for the March 13 incident.

    “He and another officer now say we weren’t under fire at that time,” Lambert said Wednesday afternoon. “Well, I sure was under the impression we were.”

    Lambert’s Bronze Star medal citation for the incident praises his courage under fire in the aftermath of a mine explosion that rocked another swift boat on that day 35 years ago.

    Nor does he have much time for the debate over who wrote the medal citations. Thurlow says his citation for a Bronze Star, which states the boats were being fired upon, was based on an initial report written by Kerry.

    Lambert doesn’t know who wrote the documents.

    “They took what everybody said after they got in, piled it altogether and shipped it off and somebody wrote that, either at the division level, squadron level or commander of naval forces, Vietnam level,” Lambert said. “They decided what kind of medal was going to be put on it.”

    And the maintainence records for the boats say they came back from that mission with bullet holes.


  9. TK- nice info. Personally, I have no problem believing that Kerry deserved all his awards. But I also have no problem believing that he lied in some of his reports that led to the awards. That is why it is nice to see this thrashed out.

    One minor quibble, it has been claimed that the bullet holes in the boat were from the previous days action.

    A more major quibble is that O’Neil was in Cambodia at a different time, and different location: along the coast, not on the delta. (“Not that I think t[his] will persuade you of anything …”)

    For me Kerry’s medals are less important than what he said later. As someone has been pithily saying recently: “The difference between Lt. Calley and John Kerry is that the former is a convicted war criminal, while for the latter we have to accept his word as an officer and gentleman that he was.” You may have a point about some people who are “amplifying the lies they are telling”, but at least some of those people are just trying to figure out what happend. Also, why the word “lies”? Are all disagreements because someone lies?

  10. Rich Puchalsky

    It is impossible for a public figure to sue anyone for libel (not slander), as the trolls here should know. Kerry can no more sue the Swift Boat Liars then President Bush could sue me for repeating the claim I’ve heard that Bush raped his daughters in their childhood.

  11. I think with the Iraq situation, the economy (Greenspan may cut rates back since it appears his earlier assessment of the situation was too optimistic), the looming energy crisis (regardless of whose projections you accept as to which day we run out of oil), our failing infrastructure, our states’ continuing revenue problems (solved in the short term by raising various taxes and cutting services) would take precedence over whether three bullet holes in a patrol boat were on one day or the other but then it is probably just my skewed view of what is important in this election.
    For those with short memories, this dragging out the nature of service was also center stage in South Carolina for the 2000 primaries, this time with McCain as the central target (not to mention the slam that he had fathered an illegitimate Black child).
    This scorched earth, slash and burn politics leaves the debate much impoverished because we never do get to the issues but rather play a game of “Gotcha” with every word a man utters about his service 35 or 40 or more years ago. To continue to attack a person’s service record at this point, is to cast doubt on every service record, to cause questions about every medal. If Kerry were so successful at writing up reports, to be sure he is not the only serviceman to embellish the facts were it so easy to do so. We are now faced with the simple question of whether or not military records are accurate, within reason or if everyone’s service is suspect.
    While the Swiftboat veterans may have a quarrel with Kerry over his actions after he returned home, this is not how they have framed the attacks. To question his actions as a member of VVAW is fair game; to trivialize and demean every record as being suspect is not. Nixon and McGovern managed to have an election without Nixon having to question whether or not McGovern’s service were less than honorable.
    The immediate goal seems to be the reelection of a president; the accumulated cost of Iraq’s occupation (or liberation) coupled with this new suspicion about military service could do more damage to the military as an institution than even the Viet Nam War did. Hate it or love it, we need the military and damaging the military for short term, selfish goals is mindboggling (Marie Antoinette and cake, anyone? or maybe “Apres moi, le deluge” would be more appropriate)

  12. Terry Karney

    “” Personally, I have no problem believing that Kerry deserved all his awards. But I also have no problem believing that he lied in some of his reports that led to the awards. That is why it is nice to see this thrashed out.”

    It is not nice to, “see this all thrashed out.” It is a distraction from things that really matter.

    If he lied, (as you say you have no problem believing) then you are saying he didn’t deserve them. I don’t think he lied. 1: I’ve been involved in more than a few AARs (After Action Reviews), I’ve also had to write my military bio a few times. One puts the facts in the way which best presents them. I’ve been qualified to teach my specialty for more than 10 years, and I say so. “I have taught interrogation since 1994” It’s true, but it doesn’t mean that’s all I’ve done since 1994. If I had enemies, they could (and were I running for office, it seems would) call me a liar for it.

    “For me Kerry’s medals are less important than what he said later.”

    Is this a reference to his protests? Because I happen to think that is some of the strongest argument FOR Kerry.

    I have sworn an oath to go where ordered, when ordered, because the People of the United States feel something is so important that my getting killed is worth it.

    That isn’t something to be done lightly, and demands a vigorous debate. That debate can’t be shut down just because we have an investment in lives… cost/benefit analysis can’t stop when blood starts to flow.

    If Kerry saw things which he felt made the war wrong (and the evidence is that it was. Those who argue it kept a lot of Cambodians alive for another ten years forget that it was our actions which so destabilised Cambodia that Pol Pot could come to power) he was obliged, in no small part because of his having been an officer, to speak out on the subject.

    A willingness to look at what has been done, see error and adjust policy to fit the facts is a trait I *want* in my leaders. Both civilian, and military. Sending another batallion into the machine guns, because it might work this time is not an acceptable option.

    One minor quibble, it has been claimed that the bullet holes in the boat were from the previous days action.

    It’s also been claimed that the president’s tax cuts don’t go disproportionally to the wealthy.

    ““A damage survey filed with the Navy report said that three of the five boats involved sustained ‘battle damage,’ and Thurlow’s boat had 30 caliber bullet holes about super structure.? And other reports, damage reports and after action reports, similarly say that there was damage to those boats.”

    That’s from the LA Times, quoting the Navy records. Thurlow (remember him, he has a dog in this fight” claims that one of the holes was from a previous day.

    “You may have a point about some people who are “amplifying the lies they are telling”, but at least some of those people are just trying to figure out what happend.”

    No, they are not. They are telling lies, willfully, to smear a man’s reputation, and keep someone in office. They aren’t trying to figure out what happened, they are trying to convince you the man they don’t like is not to be trusted.

    ” Also, why the word “lies”? Are all disagreements because someone lies?”

    No, but since these people are lying, I choose not to give them the cover of implying there might be some truth to the things they say. When you qualify a lie, as a simple disagreement, you give the lie some patina of truth.

    The people being touted as noble pursuers of the truth ar liars. If they are not lying now, they were lying in the past when they said good things about Kerry.

    Kerry’s versions of events haven’t changed. Lambert’s version of events hasn’t changed (and since he wasn’t on Kerry’s boat, but rather Thurlow’s, it can’t have been a report of Kerry’s which said they were under fire).

    The White House refuses to release phone logs, which could show they had nothing to do with any of these attacks (the reverse is not true, of course, all they could show is that Karl Rove is not being honest when he says he hasn’t spoken to Perry in the past year)

    But Thurlow’s has, O’Neill’s has. One (and I forget the name) of the Swift Boat Boys, is facing sanctions from the Oregon Bar. And Ginsberg, the advisor, has admitted to at least one, and maybe two (it depends on how one looks at it) violations of the Bar to which he belongs (DC)

    Even Dole admits that there is a problem, but he let Party trump Honor

    “The former Senate majority leader and 1996 presidential nominee of the Republican Party made several demonstrably false statements about John Kerry’s war record this past Sunday on CNN’s Late Edition before saying that “not every one of these people can be Republican liars. There’s got to be some truth to the charges.”

    But Dole also made another statement that day, one that hasn’t been aired until now. Of McCain’s charge to President Bush during a 2000 debate—”You should be ashamed”—Dole told Wolf Blitzer, “He was right.” Dole made the remark off-air, while CNN broadcast the Kerry ad called “Old Tricks,” the one featuring McCain’s 2000 debate remarks. The campaign stopped airing it recently at McCain’s request. ”