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August 23, 2004

First Nixon, Now LBJ?

John Forbes Kerry can't be happy about the comparisons being made:

In 1944, another politician of vaulting ambition scored a Silver Star from an obliging Douglas MacArthur after riding as an observer aboard a U.S. bomber. It was the only mission he ever flew and, according to at least one of the surviving crewmen, an uneventful one at that, with no sight of the enemy nor even the slightest whiff of danger, according to author Robert Caro. Yet back in Washington, the former passenger regaled reporters like Time's Hugh Sidey, with tall tales of marauding Zeros "and how the bullets came zinging through the fuselage," according to Sidey's written recollections on the Web.

TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES. That politician was Lyndon Johnson -- the President whose escalation of the war saw Kerry and so many others obliged to fight a conflict that geopolitical constraints doomed to failure, even as the force of U.S. arms never failed to triumph in the field.

Might a Johnson who was less keen to gild his reputation as a man of action been more wary of Indochina's swamp? Might he have thought twice about misrepresenting what happened -- or rather, didn't happen -- in the Gulf of Tonkin as his excuse to escalate a war that should never have been fought?

The world will never know. But with the benefit of hindsight, people can be absolutely sure that, then as now, one truth really does matter in Presidential politics: Boasts and a talent for self-serving fiction are no recommendations for a lease on the Oval Office.

As Boston Globe columnist Joan Venucci wrote (I think): John Forbes Kerry looked at that "I don't consider myself a hero" type of quiet heroism and decided it was for saps.

And even more from Instapundit: a good piece here by The American Thinker about Kerry's possibly-illegal negoatiations with the North Vietnamese while still a Naval officer.

The really juicy part here is Kerry's apparent attempt to conceal/fudge this reality. For unfathomable reasons, the media (and Kerry's website & official biographies) keep claiming he wasn't a Naval officer when he met with the Cong. The actual records show otherwise.

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posted by Ace at 02:20 PM

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