Press Release # 387

Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2004 5:55 PM
Subject: Editorial on John Kerry (If you are not a voter, shame on you!)

Wall Street Journal, editorial 3/1/04

A Shameful Past
Don't play the Vietnam card with me, John Kerry.

BY LAURA BARTHOLOMEW ARMSTRONG
Monday, March 1, 2004 12:01 a.m.

The Vietnamization of the 2004 presidential campaign has unfortunately begun, thanks to the likely Democratic nominee. But John Kerry's service--Vietnam, in case you haven't heard--doesn't exist in a vacuum. His 19-year Senate record is at long odds with that short naval career, just as his vote to send troops to liberate Iraq is at odds with his later vote not to fund the mission. His supporters ask us to note his heroism in combat. We have, ad nauseam. But more important, and the thing he doesn't want discussed, is the well-documented though less well-known hypocrisy of those who use his service to further their antimilitary agenda.
I'm the daughter of Lt. Col. Roger J. "Black Bart" Bartholomew, a First Air Cavalry rocket artillery helicopter pilot who was killed in Vietnam on Thanksgiving Day 1968, when I was eight years old. I'm a former journalist with a military newspaper, a U.S.

 

Marine widow, and I am appalled at Mr. Kerry's latest assertions that our president "has reopened the wounds of Vietnam." For months, I've heard President Bush talking about the present, while Mr. Kerry and the media want to focus on the past. I think we need to see the whole picture.
Liberal critics of American foreign policy have claimed they "support the troops"--but they're obviously hoping we have short memories. Many of us will never forget the hundreds of lawyers they dispatched to Florida in 2000 to make sure military absentee ballots did not get counted (some sources say that two out of three military voices in Florida were never heard). That was after the Clinton administration initiated rules making it more difficult to vote on overseas military bases.
Mr. Kerry and his party overwhelmingly oppose Pentagon funding and equipment, and make life miserable for our services on Capitol Hill. The liberals who sneered at the concept of duct tape keeping us safe last year are the same congressmen who find it acceptable when our brave and resourceful Marines must use it to hold together 40-year-old helicopters in combat. My brother Jay, a CH-46 pilot, used it during the first Gulf War, and our guys are still flying those same helicopters a decade later. Mr. Kerry has tried to distance himself from some anti-war activists and surround himself with veterans, yet his anti-military voting record speaks much louder and resonates with those of us who are affected by the results. Kerry supporters are the ones who would applaud my high school social studies teacher, a draft dodger who in 1976 banished me to the library for the duration of our Vietnam unit because I questioned his one-sided presentation of our troops as baby killers. Dare I say, these are the same people who spat on our guys back in the 1960s and disdained them in the '70s. These were the people who in 1992 mocked Ross Perot's running mate, Adm. James Stockdale, a true hero and former prisoner of war, after his hearing aid (legacy of Viet Cong torture masters) gave him trouble during a televised debate. They downplayed Bob Dole's military service in 1996. And these are the same people who just last year yelled antimilitary slurs at dependents driving vehicles with Defense Department stickers--even picked on military kids about what their daddies did for a living. These are the Americans who love to enjoy the liberties of our land, yet have little understanding about those who actually risk their lives to ensure they exist. Until, of course, their candidate can claim that service on his résumé, and then they know all about us.
As the kid of a real war hero who did not come back, I'd like to comment not on Kerry's service, but his postservice activities. Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Mr. Kerry's organization of choice when he returned from his shortened tour of duty in Vietnam (and his springboard to fame), was known to me even as a child. The organization, while providing a place for angst-ridden vets to land after coming home, had an awful effect on those of us who lost our fathers.
It was bad enough to hear our dads criticized by those who hated the military, but to hear vets allege rampant war crimes and call their fellow soldiers evil before all the world really twisted the knife. Mr. Kerry led the way, proud in the company of Jane Fonda and others we believed had caused the deaths of good men. This group's testimony tarnished honorable actions. After taking the oath to preserve and protect, they grandstanded, throwing service awards in a show of defiance that diminished each sacrifice. Their stories dominated while the stories of thousands of honorable vets went untold. I don't hold it against them after so many years, but I'm dead sure I don't want their darling Kerry, the man who voted against funding our guys in Operation Iraqi Freedom, to be our next commander in chief. In 2004, nothing is more important than continuing to protect America and fight terrorism. President Bush has led, not perfectly but earnestly. He has put much on the line to do what he believes is right. And he needs our continued support in the months to come. Ms. Armstrong is a freelance writer in Atlanta and mother of two.

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