Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Friday, August 20, 2004

Kerry's Service in Vietnam - What Really Bothers Me
Written by: Dave

I honestly don't know what to think about the charges made against Kerry's service in Vietnam. If I had to guess, I would say that while in Vietnam he served courageously and that the memories of the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" have been somewhat affected by their sense of betrayal.

On the other hand, I am starting to suspect that Kerry's service in Vietnam, while courageous, was motivated by political ambitions from the very beginning. The following questions keep popping into my mind.

Why would Kerry volunteer for a tour in Vietnam, and then immediately begin using band aid wounds to rack up enough Purple Hearts to get an early return home? It makes he suspect that he was not passionate about the cause, but that he was passionate about putting a deployment on his political resume and then being done with it as soon as possible.

Why would someone who claims to have been so horrified and turned off by the war have been so careful to document his scenes of glory with film, to the point of even reenacting the events? It would seem that if these events were so scarring that they turned Kerry against the war, that reliving them for reenactments would be the last thing he would want to do.

Why would someone who claims to have built such close bonds with his fellow servicemen, after returning home, immediately begin accusing his comrades of war crimes he knew they didn't commit, if it wasn't for the fact that it was such a politically profitable thing to do at the time?

The reason I find all this worrying is not because I think it was wrong for Kerry to have early political ambitions, but in the lack of values these specific choices seem to reveal. You must really lack moral convictions if you can volunteer to fight and kill to satisfy your own political ambitions, and then betray the people you fought with after you are safe at home. Considering Kerry's lack of acheivement in the Senate, it appears as if he might just be an empty, convictionless man interested in doing only what is necessary to satisfy his political glory lust.

Then again, I may be wrong. And as someone who deployed to two foreign conflicts, I know that four months is not a short time, and that even the most committed are beset by a terrible homesickness. Maybe Kerry passionately believed in the justness of the war when he first volunteered, became jaded by his experiences, and after returning to America, decided that the best thing he could do for his former comrades is work to get them back home through protesting the war, even if he had to spread some lies he knew were untrue. If that is the case, then Kerry's service should still be a credit to him (although not the centerpiece of his campaign it has been made into).

Unfortunately though, I don't think we will ever really know the truth.

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John Beck

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