“Kerrying” our soldiers

In addition to its editorial on Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns yesterday, the New York Sun also ran a column by John O’Neill on the Democrats’ Murtha madness. Although full access to the column was reserved for Sun subscribers, Bruce Kesler of Democracy Project posted the column in full here. O’Neill wrote:

Senator Kerry, supposedly defending Rep. John Murtha, said, “I won’t stand for the Swift-Boating of Jack Murtha!” As one of the 254 members of Mr. Kerry’s unit in Vietnam who belonged to Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth, I found Mr. Kerry’s comments most ironic.

To us, Mr. Kerry’s comments meant that no one should do to Mr. Murtha that which Mr. Kerry did to all of us and our fellow Vietnam veterans, living and dead. Mr. Kerry’s disgraceful comments on many occasions in 1971 (while we were locked in combat), claiming falsely that we were “murdering” hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese and committing rape and mayhem on a daily basis, are a part of the public record for which he has never apologized. This might be called “Kerrying” our soldiers.

In his own strange way, in his recent comments, Mr. Kerry was trying by implication to compare himself to Mr. Murtha – the gravest of insults to Mr. Murtha, who was given a standing ovation by the House of Representatives (which then properly buried his immediate pullout suggestion 403-3). Mr. Murtha’s long military record stands in stark contrast with Mr. Kerry’s continuous self-promotion of his short and controversial service in our unit. More importantly, Mr. Murtha has never compared our troops in the field – now or then – to the “Army of Genghis Khan” or claimed our adversaries, whether the bloody communists and Khmer Rouge or the butchers of Al Qaeda, were simply democratic reformers. Can anyone – even in the cocoon of Washington or the incestuous world of Mainstream Media – imagine either side of the aisle spontaneously rising to clap for anything that Mr. Kerry ever did or said?

Mr. Murtha’s distinguished military record does not mean he is not wildly and completely wrong in his pullout proposal…

O’Neill continued the theme of “Kerrying” our soldiers:

Are the politicians like Mr. Kerry who led the campaign to send our kids to war (when it was popular) now to withdraw support while they are locked in combat and apparently succeeding because the task is difficult or unpopular? Will Mainstream Media “Kerry” our troops by portraying Abu Ghraib or isolated cases of prisoner mistreatment as the rule to demoralize our troops and nation, while ignoring the beheadings and butchery of those peacefully praying in Mosques or shopping in a Bazaar? Will the press’s selective glorification of isolated figures such as Cindy Sheehan, Mr. Kerry, or Mr. Murtha drown out the actual voices of the large majority of our servicemen? I hope not. We pay our troops little and subject them to considerable danger. We can at the very least support them with stability of mission and honesty of reporting.

Likewise, we ought not to “Kerry” our troops with after-the-battle second-guessing. The fog of combat produces in any war mistake and folly. Both World War II and the Korean War began with wholly avoidable military disasters – Pearl Harbor and the retreat to Pusan. Likewise, the Iraq War has had its share of mistakes and miscalculations (along with brilliant successes). But it simply Kerries our troops in the field to elevate network newsmen (who have likely never even spent a night in a tent) or self-promoted Congressional military heroes with two months of 35 years ago combat in a much different world into armchair Napoleons. That is why we rely instead upon the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the best professional military establishment in the world (when they are left alone). And we should remember the words of Thomas Dewey declining to make Pearl Harbor a campaign issue in 1944: “I would rather lose the presidency and win the war than the reverse.”

It’s great to hear from John O’Neill again.

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