Kerry Didn’t Mess Up A Joke. He Messed Up By Telling People What He Really Thinks
As you may know, John Kerry has now claimed that his comments which implied that our troops are stupid was actually part of an anti-Bush joke that went wrong. Kerry has also, unsurprisingly, used the occasion as an opportunity to attack George Bush.
In other words, Kerry says the troops are stupid and when people misunderstood what he plainly seemed to be saying, it’s their fault for not realizing that he “misspoke” — oh, and George Bush is a jerk!
However, John Kerry has a long history of trashing the troops, so the fact that he was quoted doing so again wasn’t really a surprise. Moreover, I think it’s entirely possible, probably even likely, that the “joke” angle is just after-the-fact spin on what he said.
Keep in mind that Kerry actually first made a name for himself in the public eye by trashing the troops. Here are some quotations from and about John Kerry back when he was acting like the male version of “Jane Fonda:”
“There are all kinds of atrocities, and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used 50 calibre machine guns, which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search and destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare, all of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this is ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down.” — John Kerry, April 18, 1971
“John Kerry’s recent admissions caused me to realize that I was most likely in Vietnam dodging enemy rockets on the very day he met in Paris with Madame Binh, the representative of the Viet Cong to the Paris Peace Conference. John Kerry returned to the U.S. to become a national spokesperson for the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, a radical fringe of the antiwar movement, an organization set upon propagating the myth of war crimes through demonstrably false assertions. Who was the last American POW to die languishing in a North Vietnamese prison forced to listen to the recorded voice of John Kerry disgracing their service by his dishonest testimony before the Senate?” — John O’Neill in May, 2004 (Swift Boat Veterans For Truth)
“More Than any other person, John Kerry is responsible for the false image of Vietnam veterans as dysfunctional misfits. Kerry betrayed all of us when he returned from Vietnam.” — Retired U.S. Navy SEAL captain with service in Vietnam, John Bailey
“In 1971, when John Kerry spoke out to America, labeling all Vietnam veterans as thugs and murderers, I was shocked and almost brought to my knees, because even though I had served at the same time and same unit, I had never witnessed or participated in any of the events that the Senator had accused us of. I strongly believe that the statements made by the Senator were not only false and inaccurate, but extremely harmful to the United States’ efforts in Southeast Asia and the rest of the world. Tragically, some veterans, scorned by the antiwar movement and their allies, retreated to a life of despair and suicide. Two of my crewmates were among them. For that there is no forgiveness. ” — Richard O’Mara (Swift Boat Veterans For Truth)
“I served in Vietnam as a boat officer from June of 1968 to July of 1969. My service was three months in Coastal Division 13 out of Cat Lo, and nine months with Coastal Division 11 based in An Thoi. John Kerry was in An Thoi the same time I was. I’m here today to express the anger I have harbored for over 33 years, about being accused with my fellow shipmates of war atrocities. All I can say is when I leave here today, I’m going down to the Wall to tell my two crew members it’s not true, and that they and the other 49 Swiftees who are on the Wall were then and are still now the best.” — Robert Brant (Swift Boat Veterans For Truth)
Oh, and who can forget this gem from that same time period:
Several months ago, in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged, and many very highly decorated, veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia. These were not isolated incidents, but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis, with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit — the emotions in the room, and the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.
They told stories that, at times, they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam, in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country …
Of course, there’s a more recent quote, too:
“And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the – of – the historical customs, religious customs.” — John Kerry
Plus, let’s face it, Kerry only said what a lot of liberals already think. As Dan Riehl has pointed out, there are already liberals writing into the San Francisco Chronicle and agreeing with Kerry’s characterization of the troops:
Q: Should Kerry apologize?
Amy Altschul, Oakland
Why should a person apologize for telling the truth? The truth is, for those who are not educated, the military is one of their only outlets. This does not mean the people are stupid, it means they are uneducated. Their lack of education often means the military, which currently means Iraq.
Vernon Burton, San Leandro
For what? Telling the truth? If a few more so-called leaders started telling the truth about Iraq, maybe we could save some of those lives that are being thrown away for nothing.
Miriam Rosenau, Berkeley
No way. Since when are you supposed to apologize for telling the truth?
PS #1: It’s noteworthy that there has already been some real political fall-out as a result of Kerry’s comments.
In Iowa, Bruce Braley has called off an appearance with Kerry according to the Mike Whalen campaign. A campaign stop with Bob Casey in Pennyslvania has also been cancelled. Mike Bouchard’s campaign in Michigan has also called on, “Senator Stabenow to do the right thing and ask him to apologize.” Bouchard also added that,
“Senator Kerry not only owes an apology to the brave men and women who are putting their lives on the line everyday to help us fight and win the Global War on Terrorism, but he owes an apology to the families of those who have sacrificed so much for their country.”
PS #2: I’ve heard a lot of libs saying that Kerry isn’t allowing himself to be “Swift Boated” this time. Well, there’s a reason why the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were so effective in 2004. It’s because they were extremely credible, moreso than Kerry as a matter of fact, and he never had a good response to a lot of the things they said. People say he responded late. Well, he did. But, his response wasn’t very good when he did come forward because the Swift Boat Vets seemed to have the truth on their side. In fact, Kerry actually had to backtrack and change his story about going to Cambodia and the “no man left-behind” event where he won a Silver Star and a Purple Heart because his story didn’t hold water. Today, we hear a lot of talk on the left about the Swift Boat Vets being “discredited,” but that’s not true. Basically, one day the Kerry campaign just said these guys have been discredited and the MSM slavishly picked it up. There were no links or explanations as to why they’d been “discredited;” they just had to be defined as “discredited” because they were doing so much damage to John Kerry’s campaign. Read this interview that I did with John O’Neill and you’ll see what I mean. That’s not a guy who was “discredited;” that’s a guy who comes across as considerably more credible than John Kerry.