It's common knowledge that Americans definitively put the Vietnam War behind themselves back in 1982, when psycho vet John "Sylvester Stallone" Rambo was told by Col. Samuel "Richard Crenna" Trautman that "It's over Johnny. It's over!" in First Blood, the first of the Rambo movies. (Only a few years later, Stallone would similarly heal the United States' open wounds over the Petaluma, California's annual world wrist-wrestling competion via the film Over the Top).
It's a shame that Crenna, who's dead, isn't on hand for Campaign 2004, where Vietnam is more alive than it ever was in the Rambo movies. (And let's skip over the fact that Rambo made common cause with Islamic radicals in Afghanistan.)
The latest skirmish: Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), a Vietnam War vet himself, has called the GOP's answer to Larry Tate, Dick Cheney, a coward for ducking service during that bright, shining moment in American foreign policy and criticizing John Kerry's behavior in same.
[Harkin] said Cheney has little standing to question the war record of Kerry, who was repeatedly wounded and decorated while serving as a swift boat commander in Vietnam….
"When I hear this [criticism] coming from Dick Cheney, who was a coward, who would not serve during the Vietnam War, it makes my blood boil," said Harkin.
"He'll be tough, but he'll be tough with someone else's kid's blood," said Harkin.
Whole thing here.
Political irony moment: Didn't Gulf War I, prosecuted by President Bush's dad, put "Vietnam Syndrome" to rest? Or was that mission accomplished by Poppa Bush's ass-kicking triumph over Geraldine Ferraro in the 1984 vice presidential debate? Either way, it would sure be nice to hear Trautman/Crenna solemnly intoning from a CNN or Fox News studio that what we really need is "a good supply of body bags."
Update: As Reader Bill points out, Harkin was in fact a Vietnam-era vet, not a Vietnam War vet per se, serving as Navy flier in Japan and Guantanamo Bay from '62 to '67 and then in the active reserves from '68 to 74. I've got nothing good to say about Harkin–or his annual Steak Fry!–but he's still got a pretty good service record.