Thursday, May 06, 2004

I find it disconcerting that a person with the record of John Kerry would stand in front of the nation and speak of respect to the veteran. Senator Kerry is a recipient of the Silver Star and as such I would be the last to begrudge the fact that he did his duty. American history is replete however with many who performed admirably in this nation’s conflicts but who’s later actions tarnished if not stripped away the well earned honor. David Hackworth was one of the most decorated soldiers in the Vietnam war yet suffered such a complete and total lapse of judgment that he was forced to hide from U.S. authorities in Australia for decades before finally facing the charges against him. Admirable performance of duty does not buy you carte blanche in political credibility.

I take issue with a man who served in an unpopular war 30 years ago leveraging that experience to tell for political gain and nothing else. For a man who claims to be a victim of failed foreign policy and touting his experience as a serviceman, he shows little understanding for the soldier, sailor, airman, and marine.

For all of Kerry’s condemnation of the President for taking us to war, I have heard nothing of an exit strategy from him, while the Presidents strategy is clear and well defined. Regardless of why we are in Iraq, for good reason or not, we are there, and we will be there in November, and next January. The end result of Kerry’s condemnation of the war is resulting in nothing more than creating divisiveness in the nation. As a veteran who served in an unpopular war, particularly one who espouses that service as a credential for leadership, he should know that this does nothing more than drain the morale of the troops, and make the job of the commanders on the ground that much more difficult. A soldier on the ground in a hostile foreign nation brings few support systems with him. Aside from the occasional letter from home, he has only the comrades beside him and the notion of a nation behind him. Divide the nation and the support goes away, the morale of the comrade and the unit as a whole diminishes. The unit becomes far less effective as individualism takes over and it becomes more an exercise in endurance than the enforcement of a righteous and just cause.

Unknowingly undermining the support of the nation for its service members out of firm moral conviction, ala Jane Fonda, is one thing, intentionally doing it for personal political gain is unforgivable and speaks directly to the character of Senator Kerry.

For me, the issue is not why we are at war. We are there, and we would be there regardless of who was in the White House on September 11, 2001. The issue is not how do get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, that question has been answered. The issue is how we finish the job we came to do. Do we do it under the leadership of a man who has laid down the plans and taken the actions seen necessary for a more secure nation and world, or do we do it in spite of a man who has divided a nation behind our cause?

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