Saturday, April 24, 2004

Kerry's medals

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 :

Medals meaningless

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.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Too close to home

My brother-in-law’s Louisiana National Guard Unit is being called up for duty in Iraq. He leaves on May 9 for three months of training at Fort Hood followed by one month of testing somewhere else before beginning a 12-plus month tour overseas.
Needless to say I am not happy about the situation, although I am very proud of by brother-in-law for his service. He and I don’t see eye-to-eye on politics, but that has never been an issue between us. I’m sure that other than being separated from his family, he doesn’t have a problem with the deployment and is very supportive of the whole operation.
But it will still be a hardship on both him and my sister as he is forced to leave her at home with their four young children - my three nieces and one nephew. My prayers are with them.

I have already come to the conclusion that we need to start pulling out of Iraq. We have scoured the country for WMDs and found nothing. We captured Saddam Hussein, killed his two sons and scattered the remnants of his government. So now it is time to declare victory and go home. Pass the baton to the United Nations and let the Iraqis have the government that they choose rather than one we want to force on them. Unfortunately, that government will probably be closer to the religious oligarchy they have in Iran than to anything we would prefer, but Bush should have thought about that before plunging us into this mess. (Or he should have at least listened to someone with half a brain who actually does think once in awhile.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The Knoblauch mystery is solved!

The NY Times finally answers the mystery of what happened to Chuck Knoblauch?
Knoblauch dropped off the radar when his contract was not picked up by the Kansas City Royals. But now the former New York Yankee is happily retired from baseball and living in Houston.
Well, I’m happy for him. He had a great career that was unfortunately cut just a bit short by his throwing problem which happened to coincide with the deteriorating health of his father.
I think it would be great if Knoblauch could be lured out of retirement to join his old teammates with the Houston Astros this season.
It is pretty obvious that the Yankees are missing him now that they have traded away Alfonso Soriano and are left with a gaping hole at second base.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Too bad Bush didn't listen to Colin Powell

Back when Bush tapped Colin Powell to be Secretary of State, everyone thought it was a brilliant move. Unfortunately, we now know it was just a political calculation and that Bush never had any intention of actually listening to Powell or heeding his advice on foreign policy matters.

The new Bob Woodward book notes that Powell warned Bush about the war's cost to no avail.

"You're sure?" Powell is quoted as asking Bush in the Oval Office on January 13, 2003, as the president told him he had made the decision to go forward. "You understand the consequences," he is said to have stated in a half-question. "You know you're going to be owning this place?"

Yeah, we certainly own it now and the Bush administration is finally starting to have buyer's remorse. Now suddenly, after months of denigrating the United Nations as being inconsequential, Bush is going back to the U.N. with hat in hand begging them to bail us out of this Iraqi quagmire.

This is yet another fine example of a classic Bush flip-flop, but the subservient media is oddly portraying it as Bush and Blair "staying the course."

Things in Iraq have gone from bad to worse these past two weeks and we would be lucky if the U.N. does agree to come in and pull our bacon out of the fire.