Thursday, August 26, 2004

Dole's just being Dole again...

While I'm not an advocate of the notion that Bob Dole deserves any of the "respected elder statesman status" he's been accorded in some circles (whatever his personal qualities may be, he's always been a cutthroat GOP hack politically), even his friends are dismayed by the latest expression of his dark side.

Noel Koch is someone who has accorded Dole high stature, but in Koch's case, it's somewhat understandable. As a Special Assistant to Richard Nixon and an Assistant Secretary of Defense for Ronald Reagan, he's somewhat more comfortable in the realm of GOP hackdom than the average bear. As a Vietnam veteran, though, he's calling Dole out.
I spent a year in Vietnam and came home without a scratch. My brother served two tours in Vietnam, earned three Purple Hearts (and was hospitalized, and does draw disability -- weird yardsticks used to measure John Kerry's alleged shortfall), and yet spent far less time than I did in-country. Indeed, his first "tour" lasted about 15 minutes, ending on the beach near Danang in the midst of the U.S. Marines' first amphibious assault in Vietnam.

Time in-country, how often a man was wounded, how much blood he shed when he was wounded -- it is hurtful that those who served in Vietnam are being split in so vile a fashion, and that the wounds of that war are reopened at the instigation of people who avoided serving at all. It is hurtful that a man of Bob Dole's stature should lend himself to the effort to dishonor a fellow American veteran in the service of politics at its cheapest.
Hurtful, perhaps, but hardly surprising. There's no more point in expecting Bob Dole to be ashamed of his slander against John Kerry than there was for John McCain (who has his own behavior to account for this year) to expect George Bush to be ashamed of his slander against McCain's own record. Some people are simply beyond shame.

They're shameful, though, nonetheless.


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