Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Kerry or Bush?

I didn't vote in 2000. Neither Bush nor Gore, different as they are, motivated me. It didn't seem worth the effort to vote by absentee ballot, especially since I vote in Texas and the result seemed certain.

The result in Texas is equally certain this time, but I just voted. In fact, I was so determined to make sure nothing went wrong that I sent the absentee ballot by DHL courier.

I voted for Bush. That's a bit unusual for me because I voted for only one Republican presidential candidate in nine previous elections. Yes, I voted for Dukakis and Mondale and the others. I'm even one of the 14 living Americans who will admit that they voted for McGovern. The one Republican I voted for was Nixon in 1968 because I bought the line that he intended to end the Vietnam war within six months. Stupid me.

Even now, I would have had some difficulty making a decision between Kerry and Bush except for one issue. On points of policy and expected performance in office, if those things can be averaged, I'm about as much for and against one as the other. The defining issue for me, again, is Vietnam.

I fought in that war as an attack helicopter pilot for 18 months during two tours of duty. When I came back in 1969 in an upper body cast with a serious back injury and a bullet wound suffered when my aircraft was shot down, I was against the war even more intensely. I was at least as anti-war as Kerry, although it's hard to know what his real feelings were, given the calculating self-promotion evident in his political activities.

I made no secret of my anti-war feelings. I talked about it among my fellow officers and with anyone else who brought it up. I wasn't alone. Many officers, perhaps a majority, shared my sentiments to one degree or another.

But unlike Kerry, I didn't betray my friends and fellow soldiers, many of whom were grievously wounded, captured, or died in combat. When he famously labeled us and our leaders as war criminals, murders, and rapists he crossed a moral line. When he met with North Vietnamese negotiators in Paris, he was on the wrong side of that line. Even today, the North Vietnamese still consider him one of the heroes of their war.

Anyone who has been in combat knows that war really is hell. Terrible things happen. Terrified young soldiers on both sides who are fighting for their lives and the lives of their comrades do things they would never do under other circumstances. Kerry wasn't there for long, but he saw enough to understand this. Or, he should have understood it. But he came home and cynically slandered all of us, the living and the dead and those in captivity, for personal political gain. For that he can never be forgiven.

Kerry's medals don't bother me. All medals for valor are not equal, and you get the same Purple Heart for a scratch as for having a limb blown off. Getting out of combat as quickly as he could doesn't bother me; it just proves that he was rational. Telling fake war stories that are "seared" in his memory, like celebrating Christmas in Cambodia on his boat, doesn't bother me. Just spend some time in a bar with combat veterans, and you'll hear all kinds of fantastic war stories.

But Kerry was one of us, just trying to stay alive while he did what his government asked him to do. Then he came home and betrayed us for personal gain. And now this Judas wants to be President? Not on my vote.


Blogger Jake said...

Interesting. I was wondering who was this guy rating my blog a dismal '3', so I decided to check out your own-BETTER-THAN-MINE blog. Truthfully, I had the intention of rating you a 3 or even lower without even reading any of your post. But I am open minded and gave you the benefit of the doubt. Yes, I read all your posts and this particular one intrigued me.

Maybe you didn't know but I am a veteran just like yourself. And it troubles me that you, being a retired colonel, would condone atrocities that were done during that war. You might say that you don't condone such actions but to criticize someone who spoke against those malevolent acts (Sen. Kerry) states that you would rather turn a blind eye. In effect codoning them. You who has such great values and morals. Which by the way, you stated, won this year's elections. You truly are something but I call it differently.

And to quote you,

" The one Republican I voted for was Nixon in 1968 because I bought the line that he intended to end the Vietnam war within six months. Stupid me."

Just pray that it would never happen again.

By the way, I rated you a '6' because I've seen worse writing/drivel than your blog. And I'm not one to rate other blog poorly solely based on the content but how they are written.

PS I bet you watch Fox news religiously as well. : )

2:09 AM, November 09, 2004  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Well. Sorry if I rated your blog unfairly. I'll take another look and rate it again.

I don't condone atrocities of any kind, of course, no matter who commits them. But our Army has an excellent history in terms of these things, and we shouldn't forget that, even while we work to ensure that they don't happen at all.

My problem with Kerry's protest actions after he returned from Vietnam is that he painted all of us with the same brush, and he did it to attract attention to himself. I'm not saying incidents of the kind he used as examples never happened, but I'm not guilty of them, and to the best of my knowledge neither are any of the very large number of soldiers I fought with. Many of my closest friends suffered greatly or were killed in action, and I won't ever forgive Kerry for dishonoring them.

By the way, I don't get Fox News in Europe, so I only see it rarely on trips to the U.S. But from what I've seen, I'll take Fox over CBS News any day.

And by the way, thanks for your comment!

5:54 AM, November 09, 2004  
Blogger Jake said...

Mr. Carter,

I apologize for what I wrote earlier. You are a man of dignity by not resorting to vindictive measures. Now I feel bad for what I posted. But I did mean what I wrote when I wrote them.

As for my blog, don't worry about it. It was as how you saw it. You'll never change your mind. I'm just glad that you didn't rate me as a '1'. I just hope that Blog Explosion lets us comment on our ratings so we can know what we're doing right or wrong. Besides, I don't think you'll ever like anything that I post. Not your cup of tea, if you get my drift. We're from both ends of the spectrum.

By the way, I still don't think Kerry was trying to dishonor every military personnel. Just the guilty ones and the actions. How can you dishonor someone who lost it themselves in the first place? Unless, you're trying to say that EVERYONE that went to Vietnam is guilty? Besides, he was one of them and he never denied it.


1:06 AM, November 10, 2004  

Post a Comment

<< Home