Ann Coulter

Tom Harkin, Crazed Moron, was shouting this week that Dick Cheney is a "coward," evidently for not fighting in Vietnam like Harkin. Except Harkin didn't fight in Vietnam either! The last time Harkin was bragging about his Vietnam service was in 1984 when he told David Broder of the Washington Post: "I spent five years as a Navy pilot, starting in November of 1962. One year was in Vietnam. I was flying F-4s and F-8s on combat air patrols and photo-reconnaissance support missions."

Sen. Barry Goldwater ? not the Post ? checked with the Defense Department and soon Harkin was forced to admit he had never been in combat in Vietnam, but was based in Japan during the war, ferrying damaged planes from the Saigon airport to Japan for repairs. Oops!

Then there was Al Gore who, like Kerry, was in Vietnam just long enough to get photos for his future political campaigns. (Apparently all future Democratic politicians take cameras to war zones.)

Gore enlisted in the Army in 1970 in a calculated gambit to help his senator dad in an election year. Young Al was given a cushy job writing for the Stars and Stripes newspaper, a bodyguard, and an exit strategy when Pops lost the election. After five months of this hygienic tour of duty, Little Lord Fauntleroy asked to come home, and before long he was safe and sound and preparing to flunk out of divinity school and then drop out of law school.

But over the next 30 years, Gore provided the media with increasingly macho reminiscences of his combat experiences in Vietnam ? almost as vivid and stirring as the impassioned account he gave of being a tobacco farmer.

  • "I pulled my turn on the perimeter at night and walked through the elephant grass and I was fired upon." (The Baltimore Sun)

  • "I took my turn regularly on the perimeter in these little firebases out in the boonies. Something would move, we'd fire first and ask questions later." (Vanity Fair)

  • "I was shot at. I spent most of my time in the field." (The Washington Post)

I think someone needs to explain to the Democrats that having your picture taken is not what most veterans mean by "being shot at."

During World War II, then-congressman Lyndon Johnson went on a single flight ? as an observer ? for which he was awarded the Silver Star by Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Only recently has it been exposed that the medal was a complete fraud, probably awarded by MacArthur to curry favor with a congressman.

At the time, no one in the press bothered to investigate why Johnson was the only member of the crew to receive any sort of decoration for the 13-minute flight that never came under enemy fire ? and on which Johnson was merely an "observer." For the rest of his life Johnson got away with wearing what historian David Halberstam called "the least deserved and most proudly displayed Silver Star in military history."

Johnson told harrowing tales of his uneventful 13-minute flight, boasting that the men had called him "Raider Johnson." One time he harangued a congressman on foreign aid, saying: "I know foreign aid is unpopular, but I didn't want to go to the Pacific in '41 after Pearl Harbor, but I did. I didn't want to let those Japs shoot at me ... but I did."

The sole surviving member of the crew, Ret. Staff Sgt. Bob Marshall, U.S. Army, a gunner on the plane, disputed Johnson's story about being attacked by Japanese Zeros: "No way. No, that story was made up ... we had never seen a Zero. It was never attacked. There was nothing."

If only talk radio and cable TV had been around in the '60s, we'd be able to hear James Carville call Bob Marshall a liar and watch the Democratic National Committee threaten to sue any TV station that aired his story.