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Charles Kopp - Contributor

Charles Kopp is a graduate of the New School for Social Research. He is a composer and musician, and an ardent lover of poetry. He has been a teacher and a systems analyst. In Lafayette, California, he now designs websites and works on creative projects. He can be contacted at [go to Kopp index]

Beneath Kerry’s Faux Indignation
Strategic distraction is core to the campaign...
[Charles Kopp] 3/4/04

Several times a week now, it's become common to find Mr. Kerry bemoaning the injustice of Republicans who’ve supposedly attacked his patriotism. “I'd like to know what it is Republicans who didn't serve in Vietnam have against those of us who did,” he says, as if all Democrats were war heroes, despised by Republicans who were all National Guardsmen or less.

Of course, this makes no sense. And if this outrageous charge were true, why was Al Gore trying so hard to disqualify absentee ballots from overseas military in 2000? No, the phony indignation hides an agenda -- it is being used regularly to evade questions Mr. Kerry cannot possibly answer.

Kerry likes to say Republicans should talk about ‘real issues’, instead of “…engaging in the politics of fear and questioning our commitment to fighting for the country we fought for in uniform.” Kerry seems to believe, or at least to hope, that his voting record will not be questioned, because his patriotism during his tour of duty cannot be questioned. It is certainly understandable that he’d like his voting record to be off-limits.

Of course, no Republican has questioned the patriotism and heroism of Mr. Kerry’s military service, as he well knows. The only person who seems to have questioned it is he himself, apparently having viewed it as a mistake after he returned home to his anti-war activity. He made numerous statements about his fellow veterans, at hearings recorded in the Congressional Record and in numerous magazine interviews, statements which he is trying to disavow today. He pretended to throw away his medals, though he still has them on display in his office.

He has claimed recently that his opposition to the war was “mainstream American opinion” by that time. It is true that opposition to the Vietnam war was a majority view by the time Mr. Kerry adopted this position. It is not the case that a majority of Americans were rooting for the North Vietnamese Communists, as was Jane Fonda.

Everyone understands that Kerry had every right to oppose the Vietnam War. But a war hero running for the Presidency cannot expect to hide his decades of Senate votes and foreign policy decisions behind his heroic actions in Vietnam. To manifest this ‘outrage on cue’ is simply a calculated cynical strategy to deflect excellent and unanswerable questions by attacking the questioners.

Why did Senator Kerry oppose our military defense of Kuwait, which would have allowed Saddam Hussein to annex Kuwait if Kerry’s views had prevailed?

Why did Senator Kerry oppose numerous weapons systems which our soldiers depend upon for success and survival today?

Why did Senator Kerry make numerous accusations against his fellow Vietnam Veterans, never proven nor apologized for?

It is perfectly fair to question the Senator’s votes, and to consider what he has envisioned as a strong defense. If he is elected President, our lives will depend on this.

It is not a question of whether Mr. Kerry loves his country or served our military well. It is a question of whether his views would be compatible with a strong defense, and with necessary aggressive actions against terrorists, in the future. Why should it be, after 32 years of opposition to military and intelligence investment?

It is a question Mr. Kerry will not answer, except by this well-rehearsed and theatrical indignation. It’s his own ‘Checkers” speech, and it will have the desired effect once or twice, but it ages badly.

copyright 2004 Charles Kopp



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