some stuff on swift vets
i have alot of stuff in my head about the swift vets and john kerry, but can't seem to get it down. it's too nebulous, maybe too much fact tied up with personal feeling. let's try one of 'em.
let's say, for a moment, that the swift vets are a bought and paid for branch of the gop. they're not, and nobody's really saying that exactly, but let's just assume that bush has personally paid for their tv ad, their book advertising fees, even bought them suits for on the teevee.
get all this campaign finance reform nonsense out of the way. now, does that mean that these men did not serve in vietnam? that they never saw what they say they saw? does where they get their money from automatically make them liars?
no, no more than george soros funding a group makes them automatic liars. biased, perhaps, but that is still no reason to automatically discount the facts they are presenting. we all know that moveon.org is biased, and if they ever get around to presenting some legitimate facts, i will be one of the first to recognize them. accept them, argue against them with other facts. but so far, all we've seen is baseless technical or personal accusations, without really attacking the actual allegations involved. i think that's telling. calling someone a liar does not automatically make them one.
on the "did not serve together" issue. a modern mp fire squad typically consists of three humvees, with three or four people in each one. while i had the most personal interaction and personal experience with the other folks in my team, and therefore in my truck, i certainly know what's going on around me and what's going on in the other two trucks. if, forty years from now, someone that was in one of those two trucks is running for office, and says that they hit an ambush when i know for a fact that that never happened, and everybody else in those three humvees says it never happened, maybe we have a point.
serving in seperate vehicles does not mean we did not "serve together." there were five boats in the river that day, and anybody that says that someone did not serve with kerry because they were not on the same boat is the same as saying that i did not serve with the driver of the vehicle behind me. which, in my opinion, is asinine. in alot of ways, i served with hundreds of individuals that were never necissarily in a humvee with me. there's much more to the service than being shot at and, while that is certainly a telling experience, there are many other things you can learn about a person without ever being in that situation with him.
finally, i don't really think any of it matters, politically speaking. alot of the people that i talk to that were alive back then don't care what he did in vietnam, and almost no one that wasn't born yet cares. with the exception of vets, republicans, and hardcore anti-war types, vietnam is ancient history. all of those people knew who they were voting for six months ago, or perhaps thirty five years ago. i think it's a shame, because i do find things like this to be very revealing and important, but none of it matters terribly much to the electorate at large. the sbvt allegations are damning, his own record after vietnam is much moreso. they are saying he is a coward and a liar. he has already proven himself to be a traitor and a liar. this much we know. if you are in the minority that cares, you've already made up your mind.
the other problem is that there is simply too much inherent ambiguity. unless john kerry or john o'neil is one of the two people that read my blog, none of us will ever know what went on that day. we can have testimony and he-said they-said arguments, but there's no dna-stained purple dress for this one. you either believe kerry, or you believe the swift vets. and only if, as i said, you're one of the few that cares either way.
personally, i want to get back to records. but there isn't much to talk about there, either. john kerry dragged us into the swamp of vietnam, and the swift vets decided they were willing to go back there.
the only reason this whole issue is so primary is because this is the campaign of bush versus the not-bush. there isn't much to talk about except the fact that kerry has served more or less honorably in vietnam, and he's not bush. the dnc strategists know they can't talk about the latter forever without actually having to say something, so we're talking about vietnam.