Monday, March 29, 2004

OpinionJournal - John Fund on the Trail: "Reporters spent days hounding White House spokesmen for records on the subject. In the end, it became clear that Mr. Bush chose to serve stateside during the war, was lax in attending guard duty during his last year, and had to feverishly make it up before he was honorably discharged. It's clear President Bush doesn't want to talk about his service, but reporters pressed for answers anyway.
It's time they do the same for Mr. Kerry, who has laid down his actions in the Vietnam era as a marker for his character and, according to the Boston Globe, has refused to release his military records. Instead, Jack Kelly, a respected military columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, believes many journalists are 'more interested in defeating President Bush than in providing readers with potentially important information which reflects poorly on Sen. John Kerry.'"

I agree with Mr. Fund, as I often do. I disagree with his reasoning, however. In this case, it isn't so much because of the liberal media's bias against President Bush and in favor of Mr. Kerry. The fact of the matter is, most modern-day reporters are liberals who, in their youth, opposed the war in Vietnam, or, at the very least have come to the belief that it was wrong even if they didn't think so then. To their thinking, Kerry's involvement in VVAW was proper, even if specific actions were improper, so they will never bother to hammer down what he did or didn't do in that context. This is a pure and simple misleading of the American public, and the reason Fox News has become so popular, along with Rush Limbaugh and others. (For more on that, see David Skinner's piece from the Weekly Standard.) It's not because they offer truth, and they certainly go too far in the extreme, but at the very least they offer information not present in the general media discourse.

Why haven't we heard the following before?

"In April 1971, Mr. Kerry captivated television audiences with his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His testimony went far beyond the now-uncontroversial position that Vietnam was a mistake. Mr. Kerry took a benign view of the Viet Cong and urged immediate withdrawal.

He told the senators that American servicemen had committed atrocities, including the razing of villages "in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan." These were not isolated incidents, Mr. Kerry claimed, but happened "on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." He said that 200,000 Vietnamese a year were "murdered by the United States of America."

A Kerry spokesman now distances the candidate from the word "murdered," saying he "never suggested or believed and absolutely rejects the idea that the word applied to service of the American soldiers in Vietnam." But as the New Hampshire Sunday News put it, if he wasn't saying U.S. soldiers murdered 200,000 people a year, then who in the world could he have meant? The USO?

Mr. Kerry now says he was relying on the "highly documented and highly disturbing" stories he heard at a Detroit conference funded by Jane Fonda. The Naval Investigative Service later found that some of the most grisly testimony there was given by false witnesses."

And isn't that purgery? He was, no doubt, testifying before congress on authority, as an expert, and I believe he was supposed to have based his testimony on his experiences as a veteran. If he was basing his knowledge on things said at a conference stateside, then he was misleading Congress in that context.

Let's hope that now that Mr. Fund has placed this information in the WSJ, we'll get a little more dialogue from the Kerry campaign, and a little less covering up.

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