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Anorak | Drawing Blood

Drawing Blood

by | 24th, August 2004

‘IF Americans were known as masters of irony, attacks by George Bush’s supporters on Presidential hopeful John Kerry’s war record would be cause for no little smirking and knowing laughter.

George Bush singlehandedly won the Vietnam war

But Americans have no such reputation on this side of the Atlantic.

The adverts running on US telly, where a group calling itself the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT) questions Kerry’s Vietnam record, are delivered and taken with no hint of salt.

Such attacks are in themselves no new event, and the Times is right when it reports that, ever since Kerry formerly accepted the role as the Democrat Party’s Presidential candidate, his record in the Vietnam War has come under intense scrutiny.

The news is that such negative campaigning appears to be working with the Times reporting that a poll commissioned by the US broadcaster CBS shows support for Kerry among veterans down by ten points.

His lead over Texas/Alabama National Guard veteran Bush has been cut back from five points to just one.

But just as things are turning in Bush’s favour, the Independent hears him say that Kerry ‘ought to be proud of his record’.

He also called on such commercials as that produced by the SBVT and financed by ‘soft money’ to be banned.

And that’s noteworthy since, as the Times says, although the Bush campaign has not funded the adverts, they have been financed by Texans linked to the White House and the Bush clan.

But while we mull over that – and wonder why it is that while battles are ongoing in the Middle East, Americans are still debating the whys and wherefores of Vietnam – another prominent American politician has stepped up to add his voice to the debate.

The Times says that Bob Dole, the uncharismatic 1996 Republican presidential candidate, whose arm was made useless by an injury sustained in combat in World War II, is unimpressed by tales of Kerry’s heroics.

Speaking of how Kerry was wounded three times in action, Dole says that it’s no big deal because he ‘never bled’.

However painful and annoying, what Kerry suffered – ankle sprains, cricked necks and split ends – are not what Dole classes as genuine war wounds.

‘I mean, they’re all superficial wounds,’ says Dole. ‘And boasting about three Purple Hearts when you think of some of the people who really got shot up in Vietnam is not on.’

Which suggests that to impress Dole and veterans like him, Kerry should have returned from active service with a few missing limbs, a disfigured face or perhaps even in a box.

That way he would have been just perfect for office.

But, as we said earlier, Americans are not renowned for their sense of irony…’



Posted: 24th, August 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink