The recent news reports that has Republicans questioning the validity of John Kerry's combat medals made my jaw drop.
Could they really be that stupid?? Then I saw this offensively stupid letter to the editor in the local San Antonio daily :
I expect other former servicemen have reached the same conclusion as I: John Kerry's military awards in Vietnam are undeserved.
First, three Purple Hearts, with confusion among observers on whether Kerry was under enemy fire. Even Kerry's superior officer was dubious about the validity of his claim that his scratches were caused by enemy fire. No hospital time.
Next, a Bronze Star for hauling a man, who had fallen overboard, out of the water. A commendable action, but not particularly heroic and certainly not deserving a Bronze Star.
Finally, a Silver Star, one of the nation's highest military awards, for killing an enemy soldier. Apparently, naval officers forgot that killing the enemy is the primary objective of military personnel. If every soldier, sailor and Marine who killed an enemy were awarded this honor, the medal would be cheap indeed.
Remembering the battles that our young men have fought, where (unrewarded) exceptional valor was (and is) a common virtue, Kerry's adventures seem pale in comparison.
Charles D. Wood
This is really outrageous!! If you are going to question the validity of one of Kerry's medals they you are essentially questioning the validity of every medal earned by any and all of our service people. And this coming from an administration led by someone who blew off the last year and a half of his National Guard service and filled with chicken hawks like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld who avoided military service for themselves. And the one guy with any military credibility - Colin Powell - is ignored and shunted aside during preparation for the Iraq invasion.
My father recieved the Silver Star for actions he took in Vietnam. When his squadron was cut off from their base in the middle of the Tet Offensive with no means of communication, he and another pilot ran out in the midst of sniper fire to push an abandoned jeep back into their compound so they could use its radio. By doing so they were able to call for reinforcements which kept the whole unit from being overrun.
I'm obviously very proud of what my father did in Vietnam and the idea that somebody would question whether he really deserves his medal really makes my blood boil. If this is the tactic that Republicans want to take in this campaign they will lose very badly.
As I've said before, the difference between Kerry's military service and Bush's military service can be summed up by the simple observation that while Kerry's superiors were pinning medals on his chest for valor in combat, Bush's superiors in the National Guard were scratching their heads wondering where the hell he was half the time.