August 24, 2004
Chickenhawks and Veterans
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
While George W. Bush surrounds himself with those who have raised Chickenhawkery to new levels, he has, by the Swiftboat controversy, proven himself an unsurpassed master at the craft of using military men and women to fight his battles while he hides behind the skirts of wealth, privilege, and power.
Bush first learned how to be a Chickenhawk in Vietnam, when he rushed to the head of the line in the Champagne Unit of the National Guard, ensuring that others were sent in his place to a war he insists he supported (sort of).
He honed his Chickenhawk skills in Iraq, when he rushed into war, sending American soldiers to fight in his name, without international support, without the proper armor, without a plan for peace or exit and -- it turns out -- without a firm and unchanging rationale for why they went in the first place.
Now W has perfected the craft of Chickenhawkery with the so-called Swiftboat Veterans and with Bob Dole. These men who went to war, who put their lives on the line are, by attacking Kerry, implying -- and sometimes saying outright -- that the medals they themselves received are bogus.
They are calling into question the integrity of the military that they say they so proudly served. In order to support an unworthy president, the Swiftboat Veterans and Bob Dole are belittling their own bravery. It's frankly pitiful.
And let's just look at what they are saying about Kerry.
They are saying that he got his wounds from a grenade rather than a bullet. (My goodness, that certainly makes a difference!)
They are saying Kerry "ran away" (for four minutes) before returning to rescue Rassman. But if there was no "enemy fire" that day, as they also proclaim, why would Kerry have "run away"?
I am flabbergasted as to how to respond to these silly charges, except to say that if you examine them carefully, the SBVT claims only serve to prove the heroism of John Kerry. They do not deny that he was wounded. They do not deny that he chased down armed Vietcong. They do not deny that he rescued a shipmate. All they try to do is minimize the valor of these activities. And in doing so they minimize their own valor, and the valor of every soldier in every war.
At the foundation of these charges, however, there are two things we must never lose sight of.
Hiding behind the soldiers in Vietnam, the soldiers in Iraq, and now the Swiftboat Veterans, is George W. Bush. The only military weapon ever pulled on him during his so-called service was a dental drill.
And on 9-11, when our Commander in Chief was called upon to rescue our country from those who attacked it, he did not "head into fire." "Of course my first thought was for my safety, and the safety of my family," is what he has said. Then, after having that thought, he ran away.
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