I wasn't aware of the existence of Mr. Kerry's book until today, as I did my usual surf of Catholic Blogdom. I find it strange, but not surprising, that the Media has not picked up on this yet. You'll see to the left the original cover of Kerry's Magnus Opus, where his veteran buddies mock the raising of the flag in Iwo Jima by their fathers' generation. How juvenile.
Now, there are two ways to look at this issue, in the context of all the criticism Mr. Kerry has been receiving for his performance during the Vietnam War and its aftermath.
Some say that Mr. Kerry served dishonorably and that he exaggerated his combat record. I say that he served honorably, and maybe his record has been exaggerated, but hey, he served, he was there. War is hell and if a soldier/sailor/airman/marine places his/her life on the line even for 5 minutes, s/he is a hero in my book.
Since I see so many credible, honorable persons on both sides of the issue of Mr. Kerry's Vietnam service, I am forced to hold the provisional opinion that the whole, complete truth is lost to me for the moment. I consider these veterans credible because, as a veteran myself and still drilling reserve officer, I hesitate to call anyone who served our country an outright liar without extraordinary, substantial proof. I will not dishonor those who put their lifes on the line without cause, Mr. Kerry himself included.
Mr. Kerry's post-Vietnam behavior is less ambiguous. He's on the record saying all sorts of childish, immature rants:
And so a New Soldier has returned to America, to a nation torn apart by the killing we were asked to do. But, unlike veterans of other wars and some of this one, the New Soldier does not accept the old myths. We will not quickly join those who march on Veteran's Day waving small flags, calling to memory those thousands who died for the 'greater glory of the United States'...We will not readily join the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars......We will not uphold traditions which decorously memorialize that which was base and grim.What a thoughtful, groovy thing to say.
But you know, we may also blame the times in which he lived for his fall, as well as the self-centeredness of the "Me Generation," the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, the Beatles, the Black Panthers, the Weather Underground, excessive marijuana use (did Mr. Kerry ever "inhale"?) and all the rest. But we may also blame Mr. Kerry for his inestimable contribution to the "wisdom" of that age, for having defamed his fellow servicemen with unsubstantiated hints and allegations, and dolorous but ultimately empty mea culpas. If there's an Aquiles Heel to Mr. Kerry's credibility, this is it.
The formative years of John Kerry's leadership are a valid target for inquiry, like his Sandinista sympathies in the 80's and his chiming-in with the "Dear Comandante" senators--the self-appointed experts on Latin American issues, who seriously believed that everyone dressed in fatigues and fighting as insurgents south of the border shared their boundless belief in the secular perfectibility of the human race and of society via progressive government intervention. Yeah, Nicaragua's Ortega believed the same thing, fervently, he and every other would-be leader of Latin America's proletariat. Oh, and please don't forget Mr. Kerry's decades-old Senate record.
One would hope that Mr. Kerry would have outgrown his youthful thermocephalic-induced hypoxia, but that's a false hope. The illness surfaced again on the abortion-and-communion issue, on his quotes of "Pope Pius XXIII" and on his undying support for abortion rights in spite of his own stated belief that life begins at conception. So much for the thoughtful, compassionate, coherent, and consistent politician.
Sure, some say that not embracing any position as a matter of absolute truth is the mark of a complex thinker, but in matters of life and death, be they in the field of battle or in a mother's womb, do we really want someone as Mr. Kerry making such decisions for us? "Complexity" cannot be used as an excuse for inaction and ambiguity. In the end, we may say of a person such as Mr. John Kerry that all along he had been a moral coward, the number of his accolades, honors, and wealth not withstanding.
For more information, visit http://johnkerrythenewsoldier.blogspot.com/