Debra J. Saunders

Oh, I forgot. It's different for Dubya because he sent American troops to Iraq. (This argument is best used by people who don't remember that Clinton sent U.S. troops to the former Yugoslavia and are unaware that Clinton was commander in chief when U.S. planes dropped bombs in foreign lands.)

I never served in the military. Few 49-year-old women have. But I am a veteran of the age when my peers didn't trust men "with a chest full of medals." They feared that military men would be too quick to push for war -- until military service worked to their advantage. Now that Clinton is gone, the left can argue that those who have been awarded medals are less likely to wage war.

But it's not service that dictates how candidates would vote on a war resolution; it's their worldview. Just ask Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a Vietnam War hero who has supported Bush's decision to invade Iraq. Come to think of it, Kerry voted for the resolution, too.

In the end, voters will see military service as an important part of the package, one that fits with their take on the candidates' judgment and philosophy. Whom will Americans trust?

If Kerry actually shows up for a political debate wearing war medals, as McAuliffe suggested, the move could backfire -- and not just because it would remind voters that Kerry threw away other people's medals to protest the Vietnam War.

Indeed, the donkeys should beware. McAuliffe can open the veterans-only door when it suits him, but he can't guarantee that the door won't hit his party on the way out.

Debra J. Saunders

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