Q: So, you've been away. What was the main story while you were out of the loop?
A: Regarding the presidential election, for the past month there really has been only one story: the Swift Boat thing.
Q: You're not really saying that was an important story -
A: Devastating to the Kerry campaign. Perhaps crushing. The polls are indicating Bush is back on top on the pivotal security/terror question.
Q: But the Swiftvets is a 527 group put up to it by Bush. How can anyone believe these looney tunes?
A; They insist they are independent. Surely they and their million dollars or so of ads are as independent of the Bush campaign as the numerous leftie 527s and their $63 million of ads (says The Washington Post) are independent of the Kerry campaign.
Q: Still, Vietnam. How is a 30-year-old war relevant to this year's election? Surely Bush and Kerry should be talking about more important things.
A: Kerry brought it up. He has made his Vietnam service a central reason for voters to elect him to fight the war on terror more effectively than Bush has.
Q: Kerry's heroic, be-medaled record of Vietnam service is indisputable -
A: Then why won't he release the full file to demonstrate (a) that he didn't embellish the record by writing up his own medals and (b) how he could have received, for instance, a Silver Star with combat when such a medal is not widely known to exist?
Q: And to impugn Kerry's medals is to impugn all the medals, symbolic of heroism, won by all those who received medals in Vietnam.
A: If medals are important symbols of heroism, then why did Kerry throw them away to protest America's participation in the war? And how does questioning certain Kerry medals impugn all medal-winners more than questioning Bush's National Guard service as somehow disdainful implicitly sniffs at all such Guard and Reserve service?
Q: Kerry has his "band of brothers" who generally were in the boat with him. They back up what he says. The truth is. . .
A: That's one of the key points raised by the Swiftees: What is the truth? Where does it lie? How trustworthy is Kerry, really? Heavy majorities of Swift Boat officers and many enlisteds have profound doubts about the veracity of key Kerry claims. Even some of his Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) allies have questioned, from the left, Kerry's commitment now.
Q: How can you say that?
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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