Thursday, August 19, 2004

Lagniappe: Kerry and the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" - I've been thinking about this group's activities and wondering a lot about their motives and feelings. I can understand why many of Kerry's fellow combatants wouldn't really care for Kerry and even see him as "unfit" to serve as Commander-in-Chief. It's because Kerry had the courage to break military discipline and defy "loyalty to the insitition at all costs" in protesting and exposing that which was morally reprehensible about what went on in Vietnam. Many of Kerry's swift boat colleagues, like the majority of us, are more comfortable with obeying the "truth" of loyalty, than the "truth" of shame. This simple fact - that Kerry has the courage to question a decision-gone-bad (i.e. the Vietnam War) and to take a stand in protest of it - makes Kerry consummately fit for command. I don't want a leader so blinded by hubris and pride and unfaltering "loyalty" to his "comrades in arms" that he refuses to reasses and admit mistakes and problems. It is very, very possible that going to war in Iraq was morally and politically the WRONG decision for the United States and its citizens (regardless of how much good has come from it for others). But once on the path of war, it becomes very difficult for anyone who put us on this path (and through which much blood has been shed and lives lost) to admit it as a mistake. But sometimes it is necessary to admit our mistakes so that they don't become compounded out of sheer cowardice to do so. Kerry is a man who will fight a just war, and who will not hesitate to put American lives on the line; but he is also a man who will have the courage to admit if and when such a decision was a mistake and to prevent the continued unnecessary loss of life. I WANT this kind of person as a Commander-in-Chief. I don't want a drill sergeant or a "Yes" man. I want a responsible leader. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth would be wise to reflect on this.

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