Skip to comments.Vietnam hero who opposed war wants to take on Bush (KERRY ALERT)
Posted on 12/02/2002 5:13:09 PM PST by MadIvan
Senator John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran who became a leader of the anti-war movement, has announced he is challenging President George W Bush for the White House in 2004.
With Mr Bush's popularity ratings topping 60 per cent, the Democrat from Massachusetts has a political mountain to climb, even if he sees off opponents in the party's primary elections.
He has become the first Democrat to offer a comprehensive critique of Mr Bush's policies and some party elders believe his war record could make him a more attractive candidate than Al Gore, the former vice-president.
Mr Kerry, 59, said he was forming an "exploratory committee" for 2004 and attacked Mr Bush. "On almost every issue, I believe there is a better choice for this nation," he said.
Although he voted to authorise military action against Iraq, Mr Kerry urged caution before using troops. "I will not support the president to proceed unilaterally if it is simply the president's effort to try to do regime change without regard to the legitimacy of the inspection process or the legitimacy of the United Nations process itself," he said.
The war on terrorism had gone badly, he argued, saying that Osama bin Laden, al-Qa'eda and the Taliban leader Mullah Omar were "still on the loose".
Mr Gore, who won the popular vote in 2000, is considered the leading Democratic contender. But there is little enthusiasm for him in the upper reaches of a party close to panic after the Republican victory in last month's mid-term elections.
Senator John Edwards, of North Carolina, a wealthy lawyer, is the favourite of conservative Democrats, but critics say he must prove he is more than a pretty face.
Publicly at least, the White House relishes a challenge from Mr Kerry because he could be portrayed as a "Massachusetts liberal" in the mould of Senator Ted Kennedy or Governor Michael Dukakis, who was defeated by George Bush Snr in the 1988 presidential election.
Mr Kerry was lieutenant governor of the state under Mr Dukakis and, like him, opposes the death penalty, a stance considered political suicide.
Other question marks have been raised against Mr Kerry. As a youth, he is said to have been fixated with becoming president and often referred to having the same initials as John F Kennedy, with whom he once went sailing. Others called him self-obsessed and suggested the initials stood for "Just For Kerry".
He is married to Theresa Heinz, the ketchup heiress and widow of Republican Senator John Heinz. Mr Kerry's aides worry that his wife's frankness could damage his chances.
During a Washington Post interview this year, she contradicted him when he said his Vietnam nightmares had stopped and mimicked him shouting "down, down, down" in his sleep.
"I haven't gotten slapped yet," she said. "But there were times when I thought I might get throttled." As a US Navy lieutenant, Mr Kerry won a Silver Star for storming a Vietcong position on the Mekong Delta and a Bronze Star for rescuing a comrade. He was wounded three times.
In a protest in Washington, he joined veterans throwing their medals on the Capitol steps. It later emerged he had discarded only the ribbons, an act portrayed by non-admirers as typically calculating. But as head of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, he left an indelible mark when testifying to members of the Senate foreign relations committee, on which he now sits.
Pardon me, Northeastern Democrat. I doubt however that someone who votes with Ted Kennedy 100% of the time is going to play well in the South and Midwest.
The left always wants to point out how they served in the military or have friends or relatives who served in order to burnish their anti-war credentials. However, after spending over three decades fighting efforts of the US to defend itself, he's going to be another Dukakis in a tank.
"Recently, Kerry became extremely defensive when David Warsh, an economics columnist for The Boston Globe, questioned the circumstances for which Kerry was awarded the Silver Star. Kerry, who was in a close re-election battle with Gov. William F. Weld, a Republican, quickly gathered his former crew from his Swift boat days to rebuff the 'assault on his integrity.'
"According to the official citation accompanying the Silver Star for Kerry's actions on the waters of the Mekong Delta on February 28, 1969: 'Kerry's craft received a B-40 rocket close aboard. Once again Lieutenant (j.g.) Kerry ordered his units to charge the enemy positions. . . Patrol Craft Fast 94 then beached in the center of the enemy positions and an enemy soldier sprang up from his position not ten feet from Patrol Craft 94 and fled. Without hesitation Lieutenant (j.g.) Kerry leaped ashore, pursued the man behind a hootch and killed him, capturing a B-40 rocket launcher with a round in the chamber.' In an article printed in the October 21st and 28th 1996 edition of The New Yorker, Kerry was asked about the man he had killed.
"'It was either going to be him or it was going to be us. It was that simple. I don't know why it wasn't us--I mean, to this day. He had a rocket pointed right at our boat. He stood up out of the hole, and none of us saw him until he was standing in front of us, aiming a rocket right at us, and, for whatever reason, he didn't pull the trigger--he turned and ran. He was shocked to see our boat right in front of him. If he'd pulled the trigger, we'd all be dead . . . I just won't talk about all of it. I don't and I can't. The things that probably really turn me I've never told anybody. Nobody would understand,' Kerry said. In the column, Warsh quoted the Swift boat's former gunner, Tom Belodeau, as saying the Viet Cong soldier who Kerry chased 'behind a hootch' and 'finished off' actually had already been wounded by the gunner.
"Warsh wrote that such a 'coup de grace' would have been considered a war crime. Belodeau stood beside Kerry and said he'd been misquoted. He conceded that he had fired at and wounded the Viet Cong, but denied Kerry had simply executed the wounded Viet Cong. Dan Carr, a former Marine from Massachusetts, who served 14 months as a rifleman sloshing around in the humid jungles of I Corps, South Vietnam, questioned whether or not Kerry deserved a Silver Star for chasing and killing a lone, wounded, retreating Viet Cong. 'Kerry is certainly showing some sensitivity there. Most people I knew in Vietnam were just trying to pull their time there and get the hell out. There were some, though, who actually used Vietnam to get their tickets punched. You know, to build their resumes for future endeavors,' Carr said."
IMHO John Kerry is a smuck!
You are right. I'll start think better thoughts of Timothy McViegh now. Or maybe Al Gore, the pretend veteran who stayed in hotels with a body guard and didn't have to fill out his 2 year commitment because his daddy lost his election.
I don't have to re-read your post, I got it the first time. Obviously with you, everyone who ever put on the uniform is a saint and can't be questioned about their service and only their ideals.
I'll be happy to pass that on to my youngest brother who will retire from the Air Force this March after 21 years of service. Most of that working undercover with OSS finding, tracking and arresting jerks who wear the uniform that committed crimes such as rape, drug dealing, theft and even murder!
He couldn't have cared less about insulting them for any reason since they all were convicted and drummed out of the serivce.
There are bad apples in all bunches. And Max Cleland is no hero for protecting the lives of people he endangered through his own stupidity!