The devil is in the details

Letter to the Editor

  • Friday, October 3, 2008 3:23am
  • Opinion

I am totally disgusted with Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the author of “Unfit for Command,” and the Bush republicans who pay their bills.

The basic facts and records of Kerry’s service in Vietnam are beyond dispute. Medals were honorably earned. Countless purple hearts have been accepted by thousands of soldiers in combat zones for similar injuries or wounds. It’s fair to compare the time and place of bestowal on Kerry with the time and place of George Bush shirking National Guard duty. So the devil is in the warping of the details. It happens all the time. Case in point:

For his 1999 book “Raiders of the China Coast” that recalls CIA activities on the off-shore islands during and immediately following the Korean War, Frank Holober researched records under the Freedom of Information Act and collected remembrances, diary entries and photos from all who were there, including himself and me. I was delighted to find myself honorably mentioned. I was also taken aback to find perhaps six innocent variations in reportage and fact from what I remembered of operations and incidents I witnessed. Was my remembrance less than perfect? Probably – and I can live with that.

Really warping recollections of these “Veterans for Truth(?)” is their arrogant claim of “truth” coupled with hatred for Kerry. They detest Kerry because he turned against the war on his return from Vietnam. They didn’t – he did! Why?

I think I may know. The seeds of my earliest doubts about our involvement in Vietnam were planted in Taipei, Taiwan, by Civil Air Transport (later Air America) pilots flying missions in the mid-’50 into Vietnam (then Indo-China) who cursed superiors they felt were ordering them there on dubious grounds having little to do with protecting the security of the USA. Thereafter, I read everything I could find on the roots of our involvement. This culminated in my attendance at the first serious anti-war rally across the street from the White House. The principal speakers were senators Morse and Gruening, the only two votes against the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. Unforgettable – and how right they were!

My guess is John Kerry came home from Vietnam, conscience burned, and was turned on by someone to research and study some of the same information I had found so convincing. From there it was a short leap to conviction and activism culminating in his Senate testimony. I think what Kerry did in that period bespeaks an intellectual independence, curiosity and courage that will serve our nation well during his presidency.

These “Veterans for Truth(?)” have all the marks of blind, wacko “super patriots” who have never left Vietnam; and neither know nor want to know nor to learn from the sad history of that tragedy. They have been welcomed by wealthy republican ideologue patrons of George Bush who reveled in their ruthless destruction of John McCain’s presidential candidacy in 2000; and now it’s Kerry’s turn. That President Bush does not directly repudiate them is another important link revealing the true character of the puppet in the White House.

If Swift Boat Veterans for Truth succeed in their mission, it will be another success for political partisanship gone amuck, and a failure of our democracy. We, the people, will have no one to blame but ourselves.

Dave Olson

North Bend



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