Have you ever known a real war hero and asked them about their time in the service? Little boys especially love to hear about the medals of their grandfathers and uncles and are always disappointed when the real hero, inevitably, touches the medal with tenderness and proceeds to say, “Oh, I’m not the hero . . . all my buddies were the heroes. I was just fortunate to get back home.” The little boys of course are looking for grand stories of fire fights and blood and guts recounting war adventures, but anyone who has ever served will tell you it is not something they feel comfortable talking about.
A real war hero does not go around bragging about his exploits. If anything, with a real hero, they will only give credit to their fellow fighting men, downplaying anything heroic that they may have accomplished. They are very reluctant to toot their horn because they know there are fellow soldiers who didn’t make it out either alive or in one piece and forever in their minds they feel as though they failed in some way: That they were not able to protect, save, preserve, prevent. They feel a sense of awesome responsibility that supercedes what the war was, the battle, the conflict, even the poltical and philosophical nuances surrounding the circumstances of them fighting for their lives.
All of this is really at the heart of the controversey with the very conflicted, confused, and desparate, John Kerry. He wants it both ways. He wants to be lauded as the conquering hero, while being respected and honored for abandoning his fellow soldiers and working to turn public opinion against them while they are still being shot at. You can call it what you want, but I choose to call this the traitorous act of a coward with an ego too big to recognize the truth.
If his purpose was to spend as much time in a battle zone as boy scouts spend on a summer camp out, collecting as many bobbles as possible to pad his political resume while escaping battle with no wounds to match his medals, then he succeeded. He should have taken his medals, put them on the wall, run for Senate in the hopes of one day being president. People today, would have no reason to question his patriotism, his honor, his integrity and veracity. He would, by everyone’s determination, be considered to be a war hero.
But because the accolaides issue forth from his own agenda laden lips, and self produced video clips of “reinactments”, the claims are as empty as his war chest. The medals meant nothing to him, because the receiving of the medals meant nothing to him. They didn’t cost him what they cost a true war hero like Max Cleland, who left three limbs on the battle field. Ironically, because his devastating injuries were obtained at the same time . . they only warranted one medal. Do three medals for three superficial scratches equal one medal for the loss of three limbs? No wonder John felt no emotional attachment to the medals, ribbons or whatever he threw over the fence to show the world he had officially turned his back on his fellow soldiers who weren’t as fortunate as he was to get out after only 4 months.
Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., earned a Soldier’s Medal and Silver Star medal for valor, but in his autobiography (1986), on page 87 he says, “[I was awarded the Soldier’s Medal] for allegedly shielding my men from the grenade blast and the Silver Star for allegedly coming to the aid of wounded troops…” He continues, “There were no heroics on which to base the Soldier’s Medal. And it had been my men who took care of the wounded during the rocket attack, not me. Some compassionate military men had obviously recommended me for the Silver Star, but I didn’t deserve it.” And on Page 89 of the same book he says, “I was not entitled to the Purple Heart either, since I was not wounded by enemy action.”
My gosh, if anyone has earned the right to not only brag about his ribbons, but do anything he wants with them, it is a man who served his country with the ultimate sacrifice of irreplaceable limbs. But instead, his response echoes those of thousands of other true war heroes who are humble in the face of praise, and reluctant to acknowledge that they are true heroes.
John Kerry needs to make up his mind whether he wants to be considered a war hero and hopefully get the votes of Americans who don’t know about all the weapons systems he has voted against. Or, he needs to decide that he wants to appeal to his natural base, the left wing extremists who helped undermine the mlitary in the ’70s, hurt our global image, and maligned the character of real heroes who were laying down their lives because their country called them to service. He cannot have it both ways, and he can’t compare his service of 4 months and bogus medals, to six year service of people who chose the option of the National Guard, knowing at any time their troop could be called to serve, and possibly die. By challenging Bush’s choice of service in the National Guard, Kerry, and the Democrats insult every single person who has ever served in the Guard . . . oddly while defending Bill Clinton’s “choice” to dodge the draft in the military that he loathed, and, lied about it.
I challenge John Kerry to call the Witmer family and tell them that their daughter and sister Michele, who served and died in Iraq, was less honorable than his service because she only served in the National Guard. He can’t choose just one man he is running against, who served honorably in the National Guard, trash his record, without necessarily besmirching the service and duty of every other National Guard member. Again . . . he can’t have it both ways. He can’t claim to the car manufacturers that he is proud to own a fleet of SUVs then deny to the environmentalists that he owns any. He can’t claim he never falls at skiing but then blame someone else when he does fall. He can’t rail against the rich when he is married to one of the wealthiest women in America, owns five homes, a private jet and, oh, a fleet of gas guzzling cars. He can’t be committed to connecting with the less fortunate while flying his personal hairdresser to coif his hair so he can address them. He can’t claim to be strong militarily when he has voted against almost every weapons system in the country. He can’t claim to be a patriot while proudly admitting he slapped the military in the face. He can’t be a compassionate liberal while claiming to have committed war attrocities, with no repercussions from the usually squeemish left. One person’s war criminal is another person’s war hero. He can’t have it both ways. Is he an SUV driving, priviledged wealthy war criminal or is he an environmentally senstive, anti-military, war hero who supported the attack on Iraq and acknowledged that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction? He should probably have decided who he was before he decided to run for office.
A uniform and medals do not make a hero. If that was the case, we should let Saddam out, give him back his fatigues and guns and set him and Castro up as the new leaders of America. At least their outfits would match. As I recall, Hitler liked to wear a uniform with lots of medals. So what? So John Kerry once wore a uniform with medals. He denounced the uniform, the medals and the US . . . so let’s judge him by his actions now. He is a pitiful characture of a man in a 15-minutes-of-fame time warp who really thinks Americans can’t connect the dots that lead to the conclusion that this man is out of touch with reality . .. and with the pulse of the American people who really get that the war we are engaged in is totallly different than his point of political reference, Vietnam.
And sadly, the entire platform of the Democrat party and their candidate is to recreate that same destructive, demoralizing climate for the troops who are now serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Inspite of what Kerry does or doesn’t do . . inspite of what the kangaroo 911 Commission did . . . inspite of how the Democrats exploit the body count in the Iraq war, the vast majority of the Ameircan people remember that we were attacked, 3000 innocent people were killed, and these terrorists will not stop until the country is utterly destroyed. So . . .it is up to the American people to decide to return to a pre-911mentality with a Commander in Chief who is stuck in the ’70s, or stay the course of a defended homeland, offensive military objectives to destroy terrorism, and re-elect George W. Bush.
*I wrote this a month ago, but wanted to hear John Kerry and see how the people who accused Bush of grandstanding for flying a jet onto an aircraft carrier would act when Kerry used the same military “props” for his speech and entrance into Boston. I must say, nothing in his speech made me change a word in this commentary.”