, 2007
| Over 2 Million Served |




Home | Notes
Archives | Search
Links | About

Julia Gorin
The America Show
Episode 4
Jesus and Mordy
Watch Video Now


Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco
by Burt Prelutsky

America Alone
by Mark Steyn


The CRO Store




  Kerry on the Benefits of a Good Education
by J. F. Kelly, Jr. [writer] 11/8/06

Senator John Kerry, my former Navy shipmate in USS Gridley, campaigned for president in 2004 largely on his record as a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War. It turned out to be a huge mistake because of the baggage he carried from that conflict including protest activities against the war while still on active duty and remarks considered by many of his fellow veterans to be anti-military. Any hope that the bitterness felt toward him in the military community may have faded went up in smoke after his recent remarks to students in Pasadena on the merits of diligent study.

J.F. Kelly, Jr.

J.F. Kelly, Jr. is a retired Navy Captain and bank executive who writes on current events and military subjects. He is a resident of Coronado, California. [go to Kelly index]

Kerry said, in essence, that if the students studied hard and did their homework, they wouldn’t get stuck in Iraq. Conservative radio talk show hosts pounced on the remark, calling it an insult to the military by implying that they were not well-educated. Even some fellow Democrats urged a prompt apology. But the senator attempted to pass it off as a failed joke directed at the president. Wow, what a knee-slapper! John Kerry was staid, serious and unfunny as the young division officer I knew and it’s obvious that time and political experience have not formed in him a keen sense of humor.

If intended as a joke against the president, perhaps he was, in effect, saying that if you study hard and do your homework, you may make something of yourself. Otherwise you may become a two-term president (who, incidentally, defeated me), stuck with the burden of a lengthy and unpopular war in Iraq. Was he really alluding to the intelligence of the president, who managed to graduate from Yale, also, and with higher grades than Kerry’s? Actually, what I think the senator meant to say was: “Study hard and persevere in school (preferably at an Ivy League institution, after the proper New England prep schooling, of course) and you may aspire to become a member of the ruling class like me. Otherwise you may end up as cannon fodder, fighting your country’s wars in some awful place like Iraq.”

While I don’t presume to know the current workings of John Kerry’s mind purely on the basis of a much-earlier, though close, shipboard relationship during the Vietnam conflict, it is apparent that some traits persist. He is still patrician and haughty in his manner and demeanor and like many of his fellow wealthy, well-born Democrats including his colleague, the senior senator from Massachusetts, he sincerely believes that it is his manifest destiny to rule and that he and those similarly-privileged know exactly what’s best for those less-privileged.

Like so many other young Ivy League elites of his time, Kerry sought a Navy commission, in part at least, because it was an admirable and fashionable thing to do and a great way to begin building a resume that would facilitate a political, diplomatic or business career. That’s fine so long as they don’t look down on those of us who did it for a living. John was one of our best and brightest onboard Gridley and before I drafted the favorable endorsement on his application for Swift Boat duty, I told him that he would make a great career naval officer. He looked at me as if I had taken leave of my senses. He had far better prospects, of course, including taking his rightful place in the ruling class after first becoming a Swift Boat hero like his idol John F. Kennedy did in PT boats.

A bad joke gone awry? I doubt it but it doesn’t really matter. His words reveal his mindset and attitude. I asked several active and retired military friends what they thought his words meant and only one felt they were directed at the president. They were widely viewed as an affront to the courageous and talented young warriors who volunteer to fight our nation’s battles and who are more intelligent and better educated than ever before. Today’s armed forces are different in many ways than they were when Kerry served. They employ much more technology and the training, even for ground combat, is vastly more complex and demanding of leadership skills; so demanding, in fact, that the services must compete directly with industry for the best products of our high schools and colleges. Barring major mobilization, a return to the draft is most unlikely for the simple reason that the services haven’t the time to deal with large numbers of draftees who  probably wouldn’t qualify for technical training.

Kerry issued a belated apology but the damage was done and the apology came up short, basically expressing regret that his words were misconstrued. He lashed out at President Bush and said he would never apologize to him. Whatever. Republicans sure could have used a lot more Democrats like John Kerry endorsing Democratic candidates out there on the campaign trail. CRO

copyright 2006 J. F. Kelly, Jr.



Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Applicable copyrights indicated. All other material copyright 2002-2007 CaliforniaRepublic.org