Just As I Thought

Qualifications

The other day, the Washington Post ran a long article about the whole Kerry said, Republicans said Vietnam story, showing that both sides were technically lying. Howard Kurtz quotes Michael Tomasky in the American Prospect:

“The Washington Post should not even be running such a story — a takeout of something in the neighborhood of 2,700 words, I’m guessing, delving into the remotest arcana about what really happened on the Bay Hap River on March 13, 1969 — in the first place. Len Downie and the paper’s other editors would undoubtedly argue that the story represents the Post’s tenacity for getting to the truth, without fear or favor. But what the story actually proves is that a bunch of liars who have in the past contradicted their own current statements can, if their lies are outrageous enough and if they have enough money, control the media agenda and get even the most respected media outlets in the country to focus on picayune ‘truths’ while missing the larger story.

“And the larger story here is clear: John Kerry volunteered for the Navy, volunteered to go to Vietnam, and then, when he was sitting around Cam Ranh Bay bored with nothing to do, requested the most dangerous duty a Naval officer could be given. He saved a man’s life. He risked his own every time he went up into the Mekong Delta. He did more than his country asked. In fact he didn’t even wait for his country to ask. . . .

“George W. Bush spent those same years in a state of dissolution at Yale, and would go on, as we know, to plot how to get out of going to Southeast Asia. On that subject, here’s a choice quote. ‘I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment,’ Bush told the Dallas Morning News in 1990. ‘Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes.’

“Let’s parse that quotation phrase for phrase. We do not, of course, know the full context of the conversation he was having with the reporter, and we don’t know exactly what question Bush was asked. But his words begin from the presumption that actually going to Vietnam was absolutely not an option. The quote is entirely about how to avoid going.”

I just can’t understand why more people aren’t looking at this big picture. Bush is using the Vietnam controversy to make out that Kerry isn’t “qualified” to be Commander in Chief, but what are Bush’s qualifications? He was a drinker, did drugs, got into a lot of trouble, then wriggled out of serving in Vietnam, allegedly went AWOL, couldn’t manage to successfully run any businesses, plunged Texas into a financial and environmental mess, then couldn’t name the leaders of other countries when running for president. Yeah, he’s much more qualified than a man who actually served in Vietnam and then worked in public service for much of his life.

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