Wednesday, August 25, 2004

x - 58,245 =

The number of Americans qualified to comment personally on the Bush/Kerry/Swift Boat ads situation, where x = the number of Americans who actually served during Vietnam.

The New York Times presents a sampling of Veterans' opinions, ranging, predictably, from "who cares," to "I now hate Bush," to "Kerry should stop using Vets to his advantage." On balance, I'd say the opinions expressed here lean toward the "I now hate Bush" side of things. A common thread, however, is the football fatigue Veterans feel as they are tossed from one camp to the other.

I often wonder how Vietnam vets feel as they listen to the lauding of the "Greatest Generation," their fathers praised for heroism from the day they returned home to the day they died. Vietnam veterans were "baby killers," until the Gulf War (I) made us thankful for servicemen and women again and we realized we'd dropped the ball on the earlier crowd. So we made up for lost time - perhaps going overboard, no longer able to objectively evaluate the performance of our soliders for fear of seeming unappreciative.

Not everyone in uniform serves honorably. Most do. But not all. Since becoming a nation guided by fear almost 3 years ago we've lost the ability to analyze critically what is done in our name.

So no wonder we're stuck in a situation where the soldier seems in the weaker position than the coward. Most of us don't want to question anything a Vietnam veteran says about his service. So find a few who are willing to go after Kerry, sit back, and marvel at the herd in the headlights of national debate.

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