From Whitehouse to Our House

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Earlier this year, Brian Doherty predicted that the Iraq War issue wasn't going to be as powerful as opponents hope, and anti-war candidates wouldn't sweep into office. The Nation's rugged political reporter John Nichols disagreed; he saw anti-war sentiment blooming across the country, especially in anti-Bush Rhode Island.

Retired Marine Carl Sheeler has run a spirited "Bring Home the Troops" campaign that calls for the President's impeachment for deceiving Congress and the American people.

Every vote Sheeler wins against [Sheldon] Whitehouse, the choice of party leaders, will tell Washington Democrats that party activists want to see more muscular opposition to Bush and his war.

The results are in: Whitehouse thumped Sheeler 10-1. Sheeler got less votes than Christopher Young, whose main campaign thrust was against "the construction of a super highway that's being constructed between mexico and Canada." (Read it here.) As John Tabin told me last night: "Saying 'Impeach Bush' doesn't say anything so much as 'I am a lunatic.'"

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  1. It’s still early, but I can tell you I’ve sat in on probably 100 focus groups this year on all sort of political issues and anti-Iraq War sentiment runs exceptionally high among just about every demographic. The problem is that no one’s been able to come up with a strategy to effectively communicate the anti-war case in public without appearing liberal or weak (Republicans are very good are conflating anti-war with weak/liberal). However, it’s just a matter of time. If not by November, then certainly by 2008 the anti-war candidates are going to beat pro-Iraq war opposition handily.

  2. Yet again, the Onion beats these weirdos to the punch.

    U.S. Protests Mexi-Canadian Overpass

  3. A 600 mile highway between Canada and Mexico? Is there a worm-hole somewhere in the middle?

  4. When you say impeach Bush, you say Cheney for President.

  5. Um, Whitehouse is an anti-war candidate, and he’s going to take a seat away from a formerly-popular incumbent, largely because the public wants to take away the War Party’s majority in Congress.

    Even though Lincoln Chafee voted against authorizing Bush to decide whether to go to war, he is still a vote for the Republican Majority Leader, and it is the war issue that has led Rhode Islanders to abandon their previous willingess to support a moderate Republican.

    The story here is two-fold: 1) anti-war voters are much more pragmatic, and much less ideological and irrational, than they are made out to be, and 2) anger over the war is translating directly into anti-Republican sentiment, even to the extent that anti-war Republicans are feeling the heat.

  6. Sellout,

    Are you suggesting that “retired marine” Sheeler looked “liberal or weak?” And if he looked liberal, why would it hurt him in a Democratic primary?

    Despite the polls and your focus groups, when people get to vote, they don’t seem to be voting for an immediate pull-out from Iraq. Maybe this shows a weakness in current methods of gauging public opinion; maybe people tell pollsters and focus groups the “politically correct” answer but feel differently in their hearts. Or maybe people really are pissed off about Iraq, but its not in the top 10 issues they care about.

    It will be interesting to see what happens in 2008; maybe your prediction will come true.

  7. anti-war voters are much more pragmatic, and much less ideological and irrational

    anger over the war is translating directly into anti-Republican sentiment, even to the extent that anti-war Republicans are feeling the heat.

    Oh my god, joe, are you serious? Did you really just contradict yourself in the same breath?

    Anti-war voters are so pragmatic, and so NOT irrational or ideological, that they vote against anti-war candidates simply because there’s an “R” next to their names.

    Makes sense, in joe double-speak land.

  8. Everyone is anti-war. The arrogance of lefties in trying to own that label is staggering.

    The hard question isn’t “Do you hate war?” The hard questions are more like

    “Is war inevitable with this nation/ideology?”

    “If so, when and how do we want to fight it?”

    “Do we want to bet that Islamism collapses of its own internal weaknesses before any of its movements or captive nations get nuclear weapons?”

    “Is it better to try to root out the underlying causes of Islamism overseas, or to accept a certain amount of terrorism while we wait for Islamism to collapse on its own?”

    “How do we bring the current war to an end in the way that is most advantageous in the long run?”

    When I hear a so-called “anti-war activist” give a coherent answer to these questions, I will begin to care what they think.

  9. Oh my god, joe, are you serious? Did you really just contradict yourself in the same breath?

    It’s not a contradiction at all. Anti-war republicans will vote for pro-war republican leaders in the Senate — and those leaders control the agenda and the language in bills. Many anti-war people understand that fact, so they want to rid themselves of enablers.

  10. “Anti-war voters are so pragmatic, and so NOT irrational or ideological, that they vote against anti-war candidates simply because there’s an “R” next to their names”

    Surely you jest. A vote for an anti-war Republican is still a vote for Republican control of the House or Senate, and still a pro-war vote, even if the particular politician is anti-war. That, dear Randian, is practical because the goal is to end the war, not to send an incumbent with his hands tied back to Washington.

    RC Dean: If its war, then flat-out f*ck up everyone who gets in our way. If it isn’t war, then what the hell are we doing over there. Bush should make up his mind. If the war on terror the very struggle for humanity why don’t we send enough troops? Is the battle for civilization, or just an inconvenience that requires only 125,000 troops? How do we fight this war? It doesn’t seem like Iraq is much of a war. It’s more like a training session with targets that shoot back. Until the US leaves, there’s no motivation for the Iraqi’s to step into the line of fire. Pakistan already has nukes, so that question takes care of itself. I think rational responses to these questions are out in the open, you just fear the hobgoblins enough and refuse to admit that staying the course is probably causing the problem. That’s what we should have learned from vietnam.

  11. “Is war inevitable with this nation/ideology?”

    No, war was not inevitable with Iraq.

    “If so, when and how do we want to fight it?”

    Not relevant…see above. But what we don’t want is to treat all muslims the same and alienate moderates and allies who are sympathetic to the US.

    “Do we want to bet that Islamism collapses of its own internal weaknesses before any of its movements or captive nations get nuclear weapons?”

    We don’t need “Islamism” to collapse any more than the world needed Christianity to collapse when it was carrying out crusades and inqusitions. What we need is to assist and empower moderate Ismalic leaders and allow them to take care of themselves and their people while not playing an adversarial role. We need to not respond to attacks on us by invading a country that had nothing to do with those attacks.

    “Is it better to try to root out the underlying causes of Islamism overseas, or to accept a certain amount of terrorism while we wait for Islamism to collapse on its own?”

    The fly-paper theory has been refuted many times over…the fact that you stick to it shows your intellectual dishonesty. While we are over there, we can still be attacked over here with terror tactics. What makes you think its one or the other?? In fact the resources we are wasting there are making us more vulnerable at home.

    “How do we bring the current war to an end in the way that is most advantageous in the long run?”

    Advantageous to who?? To us?? A phased withdrawl and an end to the occupation. Chaos may ensure at first in Iraq, but the locals will have to sort shit out (the reults wont be worse than Saddam right? since he was such a bad man that needed to be taken out??) but at least our young soldiers wont be in the cross-hairs

    When I hear a so-called “anti-war activist” give a coherent answer to these questions, I will begin to care what they think

    Coming from someone who uses “Islamism” as some kind of scare word (what does that even mean — the belief in Islam?? Why is that scary??) and who has been so wrong about this trainwreck of a war, I don’t think the anti-war people will ever care what you think.

  12. And right there, folks, is an example of the gulf between the beliefs of two reasonable people in the US.

    Man, I can’t wait to see how all this turns out.

  13. What Chicago Tom and Lamar said, Randian. Lincoln Chafee has done zero to stop the administration and its idiotic foreign policy; he has, however, voted to make sure that the rubber stamp Republican Party will continue to control the Senate.

    Frankly, this isn’t that difficult a concept to grasp. The quality of your posts has really fallen off lately – it’s like you’re so eager to attack me, your critical reasoning ability goes right out the window the moment you think you maybe see an opening. So you end up writing crap like that.

    You should stop it, and try to think and post about ideas, not just play your poorly-executed game of Gotcha. This little anti-joe jihad you’re on reflects badly on both your intelligence, and your personality.

  14. “Sellout,

    Are you suggesting that “retired marine” Sheeler looked “liberal or weak?” And if he looked liberal, why would it hurt him in a Democratic primary?”

    Yeah, pretty much. Look folks, it might be difficult to really truly believe, but if running focus groups tell you anything, it’s that Americans are exceptionally stupid, gullible and poorly informed. Consider that in our last election a man who was a war hero was made out to be a coward and a man who never saw a day in combat was the get-tough Alpha Male. People believe nonsense because they generally don’t know anything different than what they are told.

    Short of wearing a necklace of ears, there’s almost nothing you can do to prevent looking weak on Iraq no matter what your credentials if you’re antiwar. All kinds of Iraq veterans and other military vets with outstanding service, e.g. Murtha, have been painted as al-Qaeda’s buddy simply because of the stance.

    In my estimation (and this is solely conjecture), most voters care deeply about Iraq but are distracted with other matters in their life just enough where they are worried about where the war is headed, but not so much that their initial impressions are turned upside down. In addition, the Republicans have dominated the narrative on Iraq so strongly that pulling out is still considering to be an act, at least in part, of cowardice or weak will. No one has been able to create language where pulling out of Iraq is the “strong-willed” thing to do.

  15. RC Dean, if everyone is anti-war, why don’t I ever see Republicans do anything to stop them, and why are the always working so hard to get us into them?

    There was far too much delight, too much eagerness, in the Iraq hawks’ pre-war parade for me to buy that line. I don’t think the neoconservative/National Greatness conservatives are anti-war. I think it’s just the sort of great national project they’re always going on about.

  16. mitch,

    “Despite the polls and your focus groups, when people get to vote, they don’t seem to be voting for an immediate pull-out from Iraq. Maybe this shows a weakness in current methods of gauging public opinion; maybe people tell pollsters and focus groups the “politically correct” answer but feel differently in their hearts. Or maybe people really are pissed off about Iraq, but its not in the top 10 issues they care about.”

    Or maybe people who are genuinely pissed off about the Iraq War and consider it important are capable of strategic reasoning. “Immediate pull-out from Iraq” is a phoney description of war opponents’ arguments.

  17. Sellout =

    The problem is that no one’s been able to come up with a strategy to effectively communicate the anti-war case in public without appearing liberal or weak (Republicans are very good are conflating anti-war with weak/liberal).

    Well, in the recent Reason issue (this article here https://www.reason.com/0610/fe.jw.the.shtml) – this dude Chet Richards puts his case this way, which i rather like =

    “Chet Richards: I?d say, ?Dickie, you?ve got two choices: Get in or get out.? And by ?get in,? I mean open your Roman history. You can see how it has to be done. We?re talking 27 million people in Iraq, so figure a couple percent, 500,000 to a million people, and lock the place down.

    If you?re not going to do that, then just get out. We?ve got enough force in there to be an irritant and a target, but not nearly enough to influence the situation. If we tell them, ?Hey, we?re out of here by the end of the year, you guys figure it out,? then we at least give them some incentive to come up with arrangements that they can live with.”

    It’s not Anti-War, per se, but it is certainly an effective criticism of the current admin approach.

    I think the “get in or get out” phrase is a very apropriate description of the problem in Iraq, and is far better than ‘bring our troops home’ – because the latter approach implies a lack of concern for objectives.

    “Get In or Get Out” means, ‘get the goddam job clearly defined and done already, or else quit wasting lives and treasure on your ‘i’m tough because I can repeatedly fail without flinching’ stance.

    If I were anti-war (i’m not – though I’m anti Iraq at the moment), I’d be hammering this “get it done!” line as much as possible, because it’s where the GOP is truly weak – in execution. In principle & rhetoric, they generally eat dems alive for being mealy mouthed.

    As long as Dems position themselves against the war – and against the ‘objectives’ by default – i.e. democracy in ME – they are in easy position to be cast as defeatists… but if they clamor for ACHIEVEMENT, they can discuss the same issue (scaling committment down) in the context of ‘putting pressure on Iraqis to take control of situation for their own sake’.

    Anyway, fat chance of that happening.

    JG

  18. “Redeploy the troops in Iraq to Afghanistan, to finish the job we cut and run from” has worked pretty well.

  19. Worked pretty well with whom, exactly?

  20. “if everyone is anti-war, why don’t I ever see Republicans do anything to stop them, and why are the always working so hard to get us into them?”

    You are always good for a laugh Joe. I guess I forgot that Wilson (WWI), Roosevelt (WWII), Truman (Korea), Johnson (Vietnam), and Clinton (Kosovo) were all Republicans. Of course Dems didn’t have much to say when Clnton was bombing Iraq in 1998 because he claimed they had WMDs. Now they can impeach Bush because he started a war most of them voted for.

  21. “This little anti-joe jihad you’re on reflects badly on both your intelligence, and your personality””

    No. Not jihad, it’s anti-joefascism your fighting.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    For one to claim that everyone is anti-war is kidding themself. Some do desire war for various reasons. One someone says they want to nuke Iran, is it because they want to avoid war? There are many people that think war is necessary, in certain circumstances they are right. I for one am not “anti” war. I’m anti-piss-poor managed war. I do understand war is bad and I believe it must be used responsibly and only when truly necessary. Afghanistan was necessary in 2001, Iraq was not.

    The people of this country will support necessary wars, but if over time, it starts to show its self as un-necessary, public support will erode. I think Americans understand in the “war on terror” OBL is and has always been the number one target.

    It’s easy for Bush to claim Iraq is central in the war on terror but as long as OBL is loose there is no reason for any of us to believe him.
    Afghanistan and Pakistan are the central front on the “WOT”. Not Iraq.

    You get results where you put your efforts. Bush got Saddam, but didn’t get OBL. 150 thousand troops were hunting Saddam, 20 thousand or so were hunting OBL. That speaks volumes about the Bush admin’s priorities, no amount of rhetoric can change that. (I may have the troop numbers off but my point is in the effort.)

  22. I don’t think we’ll really know “what it all means” until the general elections. The primaries are always about the pragmatics vs. the zealots.

    Having said that, I think that the Iraq issue is not the paramount one in the mind of the “average voter.” Casualty rates among U.S. personnel haven’t been high by historical standards, and the troop level is sorta high, but not enough so to affect every neighborhood and household. And I’ll bet most Americans don’t give a flying one how many Iraqis we’ve killed, or which sectarian warlord has the upper hand this week.

    I predict that pocketbook anxieties (real or imagined) and local issues/personalities will greatly outweigh Iraq as the important factors in what happens in November.

  23. Chicagotom, the word Islamism had been around for a long time. It just means the dudes are extremest and want crap like Sharia law and the complete domination of their women. Don’t worry about them though, they’re not out to hurt anyone.

  24. “I predict that pocketbook anxieties (real or imagined) and local issues/personalities will greatly outweigh Iraq as the important factors in what happens in November.”

    ChrisO is correct.

  25. Just two cents.

    There is a battle going on between Republicans and Democrats that has nothing to do with Iraq. Iraq is just being used as a springboard by both. And when we look at our individual lives, what real difference does the war in Iraq, (and/or Afghanistan), make?

    Oh! You say? Look at the price of gasoline.

    Okay, , , look at it. Can you say the war in Iraq is the cause of the price of gasoline being what it is? Can you “really” say that, with a certainty tied to any facts? Or, like any practiced stumper are you just as quick as the next to use gasoline as an excuse?

    Just for comparison, look at the price of aspirin, or milk, or orange juice, for pete’s sake. If you think a tank of gasoline is expensive, try buying that much bottled water at 20 ounces to the bottle.

    The battle between the Republicans and the Democrats is all about P-O-W-E-R. That and nothing more. P-O-W-E-R over the budget, P-O-W-E-R over legislation. P-O-W-E-R over who gets on the Sunday morning talk shows. And just plain old P-O-W-E-R.

    And no matter who has that P-O-W-E-R, the war in Iraq will still be there. So ask yourself if the radical Muslims will be less intent on killing infidels if the P-O-W-E-R in Washington takes a shift. Do you “really” think there will be more assimilation within Sunni into Shi’a neighborhoods in Baghdad if the Democrats take every seat this fall, , , or in 2008?

    As for myself, I don?t think so.

    I DO think this war won’t be over whether we “win” in Iraq or not. Because until now neither side has defined that word for me. Just what is a “win” supposed to look like in Iraq? Or in Afghanistan? Or in Iran? Or in ANY country by today’s standards of warfare?

    We could, like some would like to do, make a glass parking lot out of Iraq. What would be the result twenty years from now?

    As for Kerry’s “hero” status. I’d say he was about the luckiest “hero” ever to be called such. He abandoned his crew and ran after a wounded teen-ager trying to get into the bushes. Where would he be today if, say, someone on his boat had been shot and had fallen on the throttle while Kerry was off chasing after a wounded teenager in the tullies, and that boat had high-tailed it out of control and left him there? .

    And until this day he has never explained how he got three different write-ups for the same band-aid wound, written by three different people, with three different accounts of the same action.

    For that matter, neither has Murtha released his records. And I don?t blame him. There’s nothing for him to release. The Marine Corps is not that big that he can hide. He was a rear area pogue, supposed to be working in a Regimental Headquarters bunker in a hole in the ground, and he came up with some story about patrols and wounds that no other Marine has ever confirmed.

    Hero??? It depends on your definition of “hero”.

  26. Elmo proves my point about Americans/focus groups. Thanks.

  27. “This little anti-joe jihad you’re on reflects badly on both your intelligence, and your personality.”

    C’mon Joe, it’s obvious: It’s a joehad.

  28. I DO think this war won’t be over whether we “win” in Iraq or not. Because until now neither side has defined that word for me. Just what is a “win” supposed to look like in Iraq? Or in Afghanistan? Or in Iran? Or in ANY country by today’s standards of warfare?

    Now THAT is a very true statement, and underlies everything said about the war by both sides of the political debate.

    I suppose Bush would say that a win in Iraq is when they have a stable, democratic political system where individual rights are respected, and all sects/ethnicities buy into it and stop slaughtering each other. Good luck.

    I’ve concluded that America is no longer a “superpower,” if it ever indeed was one. I don’t believe a country can be labeled a superpower unless it is willing to use that power to shape its sphere of influence as it sees fit, mostly regardless of the cost to others. We have the means, but we most certainly do not have the will. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In terms of long term prosperity and survival, Switzerland has done better than the British Empire did.

    I think our concept was that we could be a superpower like Rome or Britain, but use mostly persuasion and the power of example instead of brutal force to get others to work on our behalf. It worked as long as the Soviet threat existed, but it was never viable long-term.

  29. Elmo,
    You treat power as an end, and perhaps the parties do as well, but as Americans we are affected by the abuse of that power. Clearly, the proclivity to invade countries without any real plan is an important misuse of the power you talk about.

    Second, you seem to require so much proof in your first couple of paragraphs, even challenging someone to prove you wrong or come up with some proof. Then you talk about Kerry without any real clue of what you’re talking about, and it becomes apparent that you don’t care about proof, you just use the demand for proof to stall the crumbling of your argument. To be fair, it wasn’t very strong to begin with.

  30. joe, except you’re laboring under this fantasy that if we just get the right people (for you, Democrats) in Congress, then the Iraqi adventure will cease. This ignores the Iraq voting record from Democratic leadership. Additionally, you don’t vote for someone because of who they may or may not vote for leadership, you vote for them because they say they will do things that you agree with. And you say Chafee did nothing to stop the Bush “march to war”, except he voted against the resolution, something most Democrats can’t say they did.

    Personal note: I didn’t know I posted on here so often or went after you so much that somehow the posting quality went down. Has anyone else noticed this?

  31. John’s logic is as sharp as ever, I see.

    Randian, I find your attempt to pretend the Iraq War is not a partisan issue unconvincing. Though I have noticed a tendency by that war’s supporters to pretend as such, ever since its popularity fell below 50%. That certainly wasn’t the tune they were singing three years ago.

    “joe, except you’re laboring under this fantasy that if we just get the right people (for you, Democrats) in Congress, then the Iraqi adventure will cease.” Actually, it’s more like, if we get rid of the small sliver of deeply wrong people who are currently in the leadership, the Iraqi adventure will cease sooner, and with less harm done. You don’t exactly have to hit the middle red circle to get an anti-war leadership at this point. And besides, we have a two party system, so the phrasing “just the right leadership” implies a degree of precision that simply isn’t present in our Congressional system.

    “Additionally, you don’t vote for someone because of who they may or may not vote for leadership, you vote for them because they say they will do things that you agree with.” Really? There’s a former Congressman named Peter Blute in my state. Or, “Peter Newt,” as he came to be know, just before he ceased to be a Congressman.

    “And you say Chafee did nothing to stop the Bush “march to war”, except he voted against the resolution, something most Democrats can’t say they did.” That one vote is a very thin reed on which to hang something as counterfactual as your “bipartisan war” theory. That particular vote was a foregone conclusion – not that that excuses those people who showed the appalling bad judgement of trusting George Dubya with such authority, but it demonstrates the reality that, when it comes to questions of war, the important action comes in crafting the bill that gets brought to the floor.

    There is really only one vote that matters at this point, that for the leadership of Congress. You’re either electing the candidate who will continue the rubber stamp Congress, or the one who will end it.

    Elmo, thanks for letting us watch as you take a shit on people who spilled their blood overseas for their country because they’ve dared to challenge your godhead. There might still be one or two people wondering why servicemen and women are turning so sharply against the Republican Party, and you’ve done them a great service.

  32. well, joe, I am not one who peddles in partisanry, and it doesn’t matter what war supporters were SAYING three years ago, it matters that the war was bipartisanly supported in the legislature, that’s a fact.

    Your anecdotal evidence about your congressman does not prove any sort of point. Lord knows why he’s not a congressman, and I certainly don’t care and it has nothing to do with the discussion here.

    That particular vote was a foregone conclusion – not that that excuses those people who showed the appalling bad judgement of trusting George Dubya with such authority,

    That’s awfully fatalistic of you, joe. “Foregone conclusion” means “Democratic leadership supported the war, even though they didn’t have to.” And I think it’s funny you’re willing to extend the benefit of the doubt as it pertains to “trusting George Dubya” to Democrats but not to Republican lawmakers.

    The reason the leadership does what it does is because that’s what the members of the Congress want it to do, joe; Tom DeLay and John Boehner alone aren’t waging this war….neither is Bill Frist acting alone. It’s Congress, all of Congress that voted for the war. You’re putting way too much importance on leadership and are making partisan apologetics because you can’t admit that Democrats supported this war as well.

    Can you name a major name in the Democratic Party that has come out in favor of withdrawal? Anybody? I haven’t even heard it from Pelosi, for all the peacenik cred she’s supposed to have.

  33. I agree with the first half of Elmo’s post. Political races are about winning the power.

    “”I DO think this war won’t be over whether we “win” in Iraq or not. Because until now neither side has defined that word for me. Just what is a “win” supposed to look like in Iraq? “””

    Oh come on, Bush has given two or three differnt definitions of “Win”. You can say you don’t like them but you have been informed. The current version is where we train the Iraqis to fight so we can “stand down”. That’s victory Elmo, at least as defined by the Commander in Chief. So what will that look like. I’m guessing it will look no differnt than how it looks now, except for less U.S. troops.

    As far as Kerry and Muthra, Sounds like you believed the Swiftboat ads. Did you ever ask yourself that if the reports that gave Kerry his medals was bogus, The medals that the other Swiftboaters received from that same action was bogus too. I never heard one of those guy say his medal was no good because of that bogus report. It was bad for Kerry but good for them? What hypocrites. If the Navy is not going to second guess its self on Kerry’s service, Who the hell are you or I to do so.

    I don’t give a damn what job Muthra did. All jobs in the Marine Corps are respectable, 37 years is the Corps is respectable. He served in Vietnam, that is respectable. And you have a problem with that? Muthra and the Marine Corp don’t have to justify shit to you.

    Hero is an overused term these days. But if Pat Tillman can be a “hero” for getting into a firefight with his fellow troops and get killed by friendly fire. Kerry and Muthra are definitely “heros” but like you say, depends on the definition. I do agree, the “hero” bar has been lowered.

  34. Lamar, Joe

    I thought John Kerry had been washed over so much during the last election that there was no one left who didn’t know his background. But then, I’m not from Massachusetts, and since Massachusetts has Ted Kennedy, the BIG DIG, and John Kerry too, I apologize for my oversight.

    You are aware, of course, that John Kerry was photographed throwing his medals over the White House fence as part of an anti-war demonstration. You might not be aware that sometime after that he must have snuck in the dead of night and got them back, because they now hang on his Senate Office wall.

    You might also not know that John Kerry has a special place in the Communist’s War Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, (Saigon), which bestows honors on him for his assistance in winning the war.

    See it at: http://ice.he.net/~freepnet/kerry/staticpages/index.php?page=20040531140357545

    On just “one” the Purple Hearts

    The doctor who treated Kerry, Louis Letson, is retired in Alabama. Letson says he remembers his brief encounter with Kerry 35 years ago because “some of his crewmen related that Lt. Kerry had told them that he would be the next JFK from Massachusetts.”. Letson says, “>>>>I have a very clear memory of an incident which occurred while I was the Medical Officer at Naval Support Facility, Cam Ranh Bay. John Kerry was a (jg), the OinC or skipper of a Swift boat, newly arrived in Vietnam. On the night of December 2, he was on patrol north of Cam Ranh, up near Nha Trang area. The next day he came to sick bay, the medical facility, for treatment of a wound that had occurred that night.

    The story he told was different from what his crewmen had to say about that night. According to Kerry, they had been engaged in a fire fight, receiving small arms fire from on shore. He said that his injury resulted from this enemy action.

    Some of his crew confided that they did not receive any fire from shore, but that Kerry had fired a mortar round at close range to some rocks on shore. The crewman thought that the injury was caused by a fragment ricocheting from that mortar round when it struck the rocks.

    That seemed to fit the injury which I treated. What I saw was a small piece of metal sticking very superficially in the skin of Kerry’s arm. The metal fragment measured about 1 cm. in length and was about 2 or 3 mm in diameter. It certainly did not look like a round from a rifle.

    I simply removed the piece of metal by lifting it out of the skin with forceps. I doubt that it penetrated more than 3 or 4 mm. It did not require probing to find it, did not require any anesthesia to remove it, and did not require any sutures to close the wound.

    The wound was covered with a bandaid.

    No other injuries were reported and I do not recall that there was any reported damage to the boat.>>>>”

    On another occasion:

    “Commander Geoge Elliott, who wrote up the initial draft of Kerry’s Silver Star citation, confirms that neither he, nor anyone else in the Silver Star process that he knows, realized before 1996 that Kerry was facing a single, wounded young Viet Cong fleeing in a loincloth. While Commander Elliott and many other Swiftees believe that Kerry committed no crime in killing the fleeing, wounded enemy (with a loaded or empty launcher), others feel differently. Commander Elliott indicates that a Silver Star recommendation would not have been made by him had he been aware of the actual facts.”

    “With Kerry in the lead, the boats approached a small hamlet with three or four grass huts. Pigs and chickens were milling around peacefully. As the boats drew closer, the villagers fled. There were no political symbols or flags in evidence in the tiny village. It was obvious to Bates that, (emphasis added), >>>>>existing policies, decency, and good sense>>>>> required the boats to simply move on.

    “Instead, Kerry beached his boat directly in the small settlement. Upon his command, the numerous small animals were slaughtered by heavy-caliber machine guns. Acting more like a pirate than a naval officer, Kerry disembarked and ran around with a Zippo lighter, burning up the entire hamlet.”

    On another occasion:

    >>>>”A lot of good people opposed the war, but some, like John Kerry, went too far. He joined the radical left wing of the anti-war movement and shared the microphone with Jane Fonda and other radicals. He promoted himself by telling unforgivable lies about Vietnam servicemen and women, and he did this under oath.”

    More than any other person, John Kerry is responsible for the false image of Vietnam veterans as dysfunctional misfits,” Bailey said in a statement. “Kerry betrayed all of us when he returned from Vietnam.

    Kerry testified before U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee 1971, making horrific claims about alleged atrocities committed by [other] American service members that, when questioned, he could not verify.>>>>

    I recommend some research on John Kerry and the ?Winter Soldier?, as well as Kerry?s testimony before the Congressional Fulbright Committee.

    Just for some icing, try: http://www.usvetdsp.com/jf_kerry.htm

    TrickyVic,

    I have no quarrell with what you say here. It may be that we are actually on the same page.

  35. Wow, please swallow a stick of dynamite. If I tell you Kerry and the Communists conspired together to make dynamite swallowing forbidden, would that make it easier for you to do?

  36. >>”A lot of good people opposed the war, but some, like John Kerry, went too far. He joined the radical left wing of the anti-war movement and shared the microphone with Jane Fonda and other radicals. He promoted himself by telling unforgivable lies about Vietnam servicemen and women, and he did this under oath.”
    Went too far? I shared the mic w/ Kerry. I remember when Fonda put on the Fuck the War tour, too, a show that played to GI’s all over the Pacific.
    tell you what. This vet dismisses out of hand any nitwit- chickenhawk or vet- who whoines about Jane Fonda. As if THAT was the most egregious crime of the US war over there. What lame, sorry crap.
    The war was a monstrous crime……and I was there, that day, tossing what paltry ribbonms I gained by being there a year, over that hastily constructed wall.
    Perhaps you, after all youir sanctimonious huffing and puffing, can tell me, tell me something NO apologist/rewriter/fantasizer of the US War against Viet Nam has EVER been able to tell me.
    Tell me the rights a Vietnamese peasant had under the quisling Saigon regime. Articulate them. Please.
    Could they assem,ble freely? Yes/no
    Could they travel freely? yes/no
    Were they safe in thier effects, domocile or person? yes/no
    Could they publish freely? yes/no.
    Could they address thier Gvt for redress? yes/no.
    Could they posess the means of self defense? yes/no
    Could they remain free of arbitrary authority or taxation/conscrption? yes/no
    Could the express thier own political opinions, yes/no
    Were they free to orgainize political parties, yes/no.
    Could the combine with like persons and form unions, yes/no.
    Was advancement in the quisling Gvt and army by merit? yes/no
    Its NO to ALL of the above., kids. Which is why these slimeballs never raise the subject.;
    And other peoples kids should die- and kill- to defend this why, EXACTLY?”
    Oh, dear: Ive been possessed by the shade of Norman Rockwell again…….

  37. For Christ’s sake, Elmo, there are enough reasons to dislike Kerry without believing those godawful fictions.

  38. “John Kerry threw his medals away, and now they are on his Senate office wall.”
    It was a symbolic gesture. Duh.

    “John Kerry is on some commie’s wall”
    History is written by the winners, not the commies.

    “John Kerry’s purple heart doctor says Kerry was full of shit”
    Do you know, Elmo, that the doctor who claims to have treated Kerry was not the doctor who signed the medical records? It appears that he didn’t even treat Kerry (which is very similar to Bill Frist’s Senate Floor diagnosis of Terry Schiavo). Yes, the first purple heart resulted from a very small wound. He was eligible, nobody said he lied about until he went into politics, and those who actually served on the same boat as him admired him.

    “John Kerry killed innocent loin-cloth clad juveniles for their delicious baby fat”

    Perhaps the reason Commander Elliot didn’t know that Kerry was a baby killer is because this was a story made up by the Swiftshitties? The people who make these accusations admit that they have no first hand knowledge.

    “Kerry betrayed all of us”
    No, Kerry just rubbed shit in the faces of all the hawks who thought they could recreate the world in our image. They’ll never forgive him that. I thank John Kerry wholeheartedly for his testimony about Vietnam. I only wish George W. Bush would have heard it. That would have been the closest Bush would have gotten to valor since he snorted rails off a mirror.

    If you want to say how shitty John Kerry is, be my guest. The guy couldn’t beat George W. Bush in an election, so he’s obviously quite a loser. If he couldn’t handle Bush in a fair fight, how would he have handled Afghanistan? Who knows. But your reliance on the Swifttits is just unbelievable.

  39. Yeh, I know.

    Everybody is lying but Kerry. They have released their military records, but they are all lies of course.

    But Kerry’s records are still sealed, and they are the only ones that are not lies.

    Who among us can argue with that? Everybody is a liar but Kerry and that’s all there is to it.

    He went over to talk to the Communists and “see about” the 2,000 plus MIA’s we left over there and when he came back he had Communist certification that there was no MIA’s, and that ended that.

    Yeah, everybody’s a lair but Kerry.

  40. I am a stupid sack of shit. Please quit reading what I say as I have no idea what the fuck I’m talking about. I lick balls like no one has licked balls before. When I’m not licking balls, I suck cock. Truly, I am a cocksucker.

  41. I dont know anything about what you do with your mouth, Elmo. And I really, truly dont care.
    But you type chickenhawk radio talking points.

  42. Randian,

    Not a single Democrat voted for the war. Neither did a single Republican. They voted to give George Bush the authority to decide whether, and how, to go to war.

    Slightly over half of them – almost all Republicans and a handful of Dems – did so enthusiastically, because they supported the war.

    A few more Dems, and some Republicans, voted to do so because they thought it was wise for the White House to have that authority. Most of them hedged their votes, urging Bush to pursue a wise course and not to rush to war. With the president assuring Congress “This is not a vote for war,” and saying “War is not inevitable,” a certain segment was willing to take him at his word.

    The majority of Dems in Congress, and Licoln Chafee, voted against the resolution, because they opposed going to war, period.

    However convincing you are when you feign ignorance of what was said during that debate, it isn’t going to convince anyone with a passing familiarity with that period.

    “Can you name a major name in the Democratic Party that has come out in favor of withdrawal?” Virtually the entire party has come out for beginning the withdrawel by next year.

    “Everybody is lying but Kerry.” Now, the couple dozen men who actually served with him, and who backed up his heroic record, are almost certainly telling the truth. The doctors who signed off on his medical records, and the officers who put his name in for his Bronze Star with Combat V and Silver Star, are almost certainly telling the truth.

    The guy who stood on the floor of the Republican National Convention in 1972 and put Richard Nixon’s name in nomination, but who claimed to be nonpartisan? (John O’Neill, the mouthpiece for White House astro-turf groups under both Nixon and Bush)? The one who never actually laid eyes on Lt. Kerry while he was serving in Vietnam? Really not so believable.

    But hey, Kerry was against the Vietnam War, so you’ll believe anything about him, right?

  43. Though I suppose if you get your history from Chuck Norris movies, clips from “Stolen Honor” posted on conservative web pages must seem like the word of God.

    It’s going to be a good day when every right wing baby boomer nursing a grudge at the longhairs for getting laid to much is too senile to fill out a ballot.

  44. Joe wrote, among other true things:” (John O’Neill, the mouthpiece for White House astro-turf groups under both Nixon and Bush)”
    Nixon bagman & now Jesus pimp Chuck Colson was ordered to fabricate a bogus pro Viet War vets group to go up against VVAW, which was kickin headcase Dicks ass up & down Pennsylvania Ave. Colson found O’Neill, a permanent stranger to the truth. With “secret” White House slush funds, Oniell rounded up various Psywar apparatchiks & PR types and formed Viet Nam Veterans for a Just Peace.
    After a bit, they would not debate VVAW in public. Not surprising. I was there for an early square off, & you had to be a retard to swallow what they were peddlin. Today, Oneill pockets speakers fees for appearing before crackpot outfits like the Heritage Fndtn arguing to “privatise” the VA Hospital system, (lets all clap, Invisible Handers) the infallibility of Bush Thought, and how Viet vets who think that war was a monstrous crime are either lying or drug addicts. Im sure theres a few here who keep his pic on thier mantle…..then theres the “Swift Boat” outfit, cut from the same bogus cloth.
    a weasel.

  45. just to get this sorta back on track…

    the people of the US don’t choose the Senator from Rhode Island – only the people of Rhode Island get to do that.

    The people of Rhode Island don’t get to chhose the candidates of the respective parties – only those portions who participate in one of the party’s primaries.

    The Democrats shunned the nutter, and chose the guy most likely to unseat Chafee. The Republicans reaffirmed an anti-war liberal, whith the best chance to keep a Senate seat for their party.

    As for the larger electorate of Rhode Island…what do they gain by unseating Chafee?
    He is ALREADY a lot more Anti-war than Biden, Kerry, Edwards or Hillary – and he’s a senior Senator in the Majority party. Even after allowing for a Chafee loss, no one seriously thinks the Senate is slipping to the Democrats…so elect a Democrat, and you get a freshman with the Minority.

    Chafee has very probably only one more full term in him. After that Rhode Islanders can have a freshman Democratic Senator. Meanwhile they have a senior in what will be the Majority party for the next two years at least.

    What is “strategic” about dumping Chafee, a guy who’s politics already reflects that of his constituents fairly adequately?

  46. So, joe, I am supposed to hold Democrats blameless because they handed their Constitutional Authority to declare war over to the President?

    Like we’ve discussed before, joe, President Bush was making noises about invading Iraq during the 2000 election; you’re being a serious partisan apologian, joe: if Democrats didn’t want to go to war then they should’ve voted against the authorization, because every thinking person over 15 knew what Bush was going to do with that authorization. You can try to change the spin all you like, but Democrats voted for this war. The resolution had bipartisan support, and pretending that Democrats were innocent victims tricked by Bush into going to war is a bald-faced lie. And nice try with “most Dems in Congress”: 29 Senate Democrats (you know, the important party leadership) voted yes versus 21 Senate-Dem “No’s”.

    Funny, I would like to see a major Democrat (Kerry, Pelosi, Edwards, Reid) quoted in the “end the occupation” vein. Maybe a link? And I can’t seem to find withdrawal as a position in the Democratic Party’s official platform. Gosh, I don’t see it anywhere.

  47. Doherty’s point still stands – these mid-terms won’t be about Iraq…although they should have been.

    The principal reason for this is because the Democrats themselves haven’t come to conclusions about Iraq…at least not conclusions they are willing to risk on the electorate.

    Although I wanted them to win, I am beginning to think they will slip again.

    If the Dems had nominated Dean in ’04, and if they had taken the shellacking of a political counsultant’s nightmare – Bush gets 40 states, and 60% of the popular vote – THEY WOULD BE WINNING TODAY! And the only real “cost” was that they had to lose in ’04 – which they did anyway.

    Instead they “strategised” with Kerry. Musta worked, right? ‘cuz Kerry got 47%, and the electoral margin was what? 11 votes?

    And that “works”…if losing works. And two years later, the Dems are losing again. Sure is fun keepin’ close though, right?

    And the War goes on.

  48. Perhaps if Democrats stood up and actually said “we were wrong…we supported this war for X reasons and we realize now that those reasons blah blah blah…” The big part: ADMIT YOU WERE WRONG, Democrats!

    (Note: I don’t have a stance on the war in Iraq that fits either mold, but I think it’s funny that so many people are playing apologetics for a party that whose leadership voted for the authorization)

  49. How about “From the Whitehouse to the Jailhouse.” I think the evidence clearly demonstrates that the Bush administration repeatedly violated federal, constitutional and international law. Close to 10% of the U.S. Congress has officially signed on to investigate (H. Res. 635) the extent to which Bush broke the law. According to you, these Members are lunatics??

  50. Andrew,

    “Even after allowing for a Chafee loss, no one seriously thinks the Senate is slipping to the Democrats…so elect a Democrat, and you get a freshman with the Minority.”

    Actually, the Democrats do have an outside chance of taking the Senate this year. Even if they do not, they will have an excellent chance in two years.

    Aynnabe,

    “So, joe, I am supposed to hold Democrats blameless because they handed their Constitutional Authority to declare war over to the President?” Oh, certainly not. I certainly blame them for this appalling lack of judgement. I’m just pointing out that they should be blamed for what they did do – trust Bush – and not for what they did not do – support the war.

    Nor does the lack of support for an “immediate withdrawal,” whatever that means, demonstrate that they supported the war. Your boy got us stuck but good, just as we said he would. This is such a debacle that there are no easy answers, and it is to the Democrats’ credit that they won’t pretend there are.

  51. For the record, Bush is not “my boy”:

    And how tough is it for you to type “A-Y-N_R-A-N-D-I-A-N”?

    And if they didn’t support the war, they should’ve not voted the authority to wage it. Case closed.

  52. “A-Y-N_R-A-N-D-I-A-N”

    Authorizing the President to use force is very different from a Congressional declaration of war. The authorization method is used for small operations such as Operation Just Cause, and have authorized short, limited missions. Iraq is clearly very different. Bush calls it a war, acts like its a war, yet has no declaration of war. Under your view, the vote to authorize a mission and a declaration of war have no differences. Your argument obviously needs these two things to be the same, but they are different.

    Should a politician support the war now because he/she voted to trust the president in the past? No.

  53. Elmo,

    It is obvious that you are rehashing the Swiftboat ad attacks. It’s not fooling anyone.
    And, you are using the same ill-logic that did. Here are some things to consider.

    1. If Kerry’s service record is not released, you do not have the full account according to the Navy. Failing to disclose does not advance the Swiftboats argument.

    2. The Navy decides who to give medals to. Sometimes reports are not accurate and a medal may be presented when not fully deserved. I’m sure this has been true since day one. Kerry is not the first nor will he be the last. I used Pat Tillman as an example.

    3. If the Navy awards it, honor it. To start a public campaign second guessing citations is disrespectful to the military. Tillman did recieve some medal(s) that might not have been deserved, but I would never start a campiagn to discredit them. I have to respect the Army’s decision to award them regardless if I agree with the Army or not.

    4. Memebers from the Swiftboat group were part of the events disputed and memebers in the same Navy as Kerry. They can not lay suspicion
    on the Navy’s version of events without laying suspicion on themselves. They recieved merit yet not one Swiftboater admitted his merit was unjust, only Kerry’s. What does that say about them?

    If one is saying they respect the military and our troops, then do it. It doesn’t matter if it’s Kerry, Muthra, Bush, or Rumsfeld. Honor their service.

    For the record, A member of the Armed Forces Committee has the right, and it doing their duty, if they bring an issue to the American people when the Executive branch fails to listen. Regardless if we like or approve of what they say. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

    Lamar, the differences between an AUF or an outright declaration of war is only relevent when Congress makes it an issue. I’m not disagreeing with you, I’m merely point out that if Congress don’t care if the President is going outside the scope of the AUF, your arguement becomes moot. It is a shame Congress doesn’t pay more attention.

  54. Lamar

    you can make a distinction (if you like) between a vote to authorize an invasion, and a vote to invade…but what does it say about the intellegence and “competance” of a Senator who chose to vote Bush the option to invade Iraq, at his own discretion, when that Senator says now, he’s suprised that the invasion ensued?

    Anyone that stupid needs to resign at once. Frankly it sounds much more sensible to say “It seemed like a good idea at the time…now it doesn’t.” Anyone can say that.

  55. Declaration of War, Andrew, not a declaration to invade. Any authorization to use force will likely include an invasion. Please, stop making crap up. However, I agree with your assessment that this isn’t a strong argument. I was merely responding to another post that suggested a vote for force was a blank check for an endless war.

    TrickyVic,
    I agree that the distinction between declaring war and authorizing force are immaterial if nobody enforces the distinctions. However, I was responding to Ayn Randian’s claim that people who voted to authorize force to neutralize weapons of mass destruction somehow gave the President the green light to wage an endless war. Ayn Randian also said that Congress turned it’s power to declare war over to the President, and that is, by law, not possible. Finally, to say that Congress’s lack of action works as an implicit approval of the President’s everlasting war, I should remind you that (1) the chickenhawks are currently the party in power and (2) if Congress is not interested in reigning in this war, why does the phrase “cut’n’run” exist?

  56. TrickyVic,

    Thank you for the considerarion of acceptable social discourse rather than vulgarisms. I’m afraid resorting to name calling and vilifying the very English language is not my favorite playground

    As for the military awarding undeservred medals, I have no quarrel. But history is not always kind to questionable heros, whether or not they ever did anyting heroic.

    Yes, my entire thought train was directed at events of long ago, (relatively long ago that is). However anyone who brings up Kerry, without bringing his baggage along as part of the deal, should expect to hear from someone with a different point of view. And they should be reasonable about it.

    To be fair, so does Bush have baggage, but unlike Kerry, Bush has never campaigned on being a hero. He only said he performed the service he was required to perform. That can leave a lot of gaps, and there were, (are), people falling all over themselves to fill in those gaps with a rainbow of colors.

    Some of the gaps were that his “required” service included flying one of the most dangerous airplanes ever issued to the military, the F-106, on intercept missions against Russian intelligence gathetrers over the Arctic, where exposure to the elements was a death sentence, and over the Caribbean where surviving a bailout was somethbing less than 50 percent.

    Regardless of the geography, I can’t imagine anything requiring much more dedication to service to the nation than sitting all alone at 40 or 50 thousand feet over a wasteland, with nothing more between you and the future than the trust and conficence you have in the people who turned the wrenches on the thing you’re riding in, and at the same time knowing somebody may be homing in on you at any moment with your destruction in mind.

    What Kerry did to his own “heroic service” is his very own personal burden to bear. But is was not that of the many, many innocent Vietnam Veterans with him then, who are in fact still tarnished because of him, but also still just as innocent. For me to mention it should not make it my burden. For anyone to hold Kerry up as some kind of matrix without any bark on it is hardly being honest.

    As for the saying this war is Bush’s doing, and the Congress has no responsibility in it is ludicrous. Apparently no one has looked up the last time Congress has the sense, good or bad, to declare a war. I beleive that was in 1941, wasn’t it? Are we now to dump on Bush, and let all the interim Presidents off the hook who have fought their wars, (and unless someone want to count Grenada and Panama as “wars”, none of them ever having neen “won” I might add), without ever a Congressional “declaration of war”?

    I wrote that no one has defined “winning” in Iraq. Somebody said Bush “HAS” defined “winning”. Iraq may eventually be won, but will that end the war on terror? Iran has told Iraq their problems will be solved when the US is kicked out of Iraq. That’s like Mexico telling us our illegal immigrant problem will be solved when we disband the Border Patrol.

    If anyone thinks radical Islam does not have us in their sights they haven’t been paying attention. Iraq is just the first battle of the 21st century. The actual war hasn’t really been joined yet.

    And I think Bush has been trying to make that clear. It’s just that too many Americans think wars are like television productions, and that they should all be fought and over with, with the good guys winning all the time, and that it should be done before the last commerical runs.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if life was like that?

    Radical Islam has no known fixed headquarters, and it certainly has no borders. But it does have goals.

    Combatting those goals should be on the adgenda of everyone not wishing to one day end up kneeling towards Mecca five time a day.

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