- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 21, 2000

Memo from Al Gore to America's fighting men and women, filed from Tallahassee: Get lost.

Memo from Bill Clinton to America's fighting men and women, filed from Hanoi: Drop dead.

We've known for years what these two bums actually think of the military, that the men and women in uniform are servants to fetch and carry, pawns to use when it's convenient (and when the bands begin to play), but not until now could we measure the depth of the contempt that Al Gore and Bill Clinton have for them.

The unfolding drama in Florida has mostly hidden the president in Vietnam from public view, for which we can all be thankful. There was no business in Vietnam for this man to do. But Bill Clinton was determined to visit Vietnam with pomp and circumstance, there to shed his last shred of decency and shame. This is the man who dodged the draft that sent others to die in his place, rallied the enemies of his country on foreign soil and came home to tell lies about it for the next 30 years. His very presence in Vietnam, which American sacrifice had rendered holy ground, was the final insult to his country.

The scurviest felon in state prison murderer, rapist, child molester would never have had so little remorse and mortification than to return to the occasion of such a crime. Bill Clinton took his ease, basking in the presence of the old men of Hanoi, their baggy pants reeking of incontinence and their breaths of rotten fish, men who ordered America's sons hung on the wall like sides of meat to be abused for the amusement of the grim surgeons of human torment.

He was eager to pontificate on his observations and asides. When an interlocutor asked, inevitably, how he "felt" about being in this place that has haunted him since he was a schoolboy, he attempted to wrap himself in the sacrifice of authentic men who had offered themselves without whimper when sacrifice summoned them to a filthy cell in the hell called, with bitter irony, the Hanoi Hilton.

"What I feel about Vietnam," the president said, in the argle-bargle of the Washington wonk, "is that thanks in large measure to the bipartisan leadership of Vietnam veterans in the Congress Bob Kerrey, John Kerry, John McCain … and Pete Peterson … the American people have been able to look to the future and hope that a future can be built which opens a new page in our relations with Vietnam … ."

Then the man who, as a boy confident of his connections in Owney Madden's Hot Springs, boasted that he was "too educated" to go to Vietnam and told the clerk at his draft board that he would "fix your little red wagon" if she persisted in pestering him, had more to say to the Associated Press.

"Now, when we look back on it the most important thing is that a lot of brave people fought and died in the North Vietnamese Army, the Viet Cong and the South Vietnamese Army and the United States Army; our allies, the Republic of Korea and other allies who were there … ."

It's only right that he put the "United States Army" last in this litany of moral equivalence. These are, after all, the men he once boasted that he "loathed." The omission of the Marines, the Navy and the Air Force was probably not intentional, since Bill Clinton has never thought of the men and women in the uniform as flesh and blood of any real consequence to him. You've seen one uniform, you've seen 'em all, and they're all loathsome.

Al Gore, always a good student, learned well the uses of loathing American servicemen and women. He knew the feelings were more or less mutual, that the ballots coming in from American bases overseas were all but certain to be marked for George W. Bush.

And so, when the counters showed up for the task of counting the ballots last Friday morning in county seats from the Panhandle down to the Caribbean, Al's lawyers were ready to dispute the right of every military ballot Florida received.

In Duval County, where counting lasted until 5 o'clock in the morning, the Gore lawyers who could make allowance for every dimple for Al nevertheless challenged every signature, date and address. In one typical example, a Navy lieutenant serving on a ship where a postmark was not available wrote down the date on his ballot. It was one of 64 ballots thrown out, cast by men and women reckoned by Al to be good enough to fight and perhaps to die, but not good enough to vote. Al's lawyers knew that the 930-vote Bush lead might actually be perhaps twice that, more than enough to withstand the rigging and stealing in Palm Beach County.

The corruption of the White House, we were assured only yesterday, stopped with the sexual corruption of interns. But that was then, and this is now, and here we are.

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