- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Kerry getting as good as he gives

Neither Rachel Maire’s letter nor that of Stephen Salaka (“Unfair attacks on Kerry,” Monday) has any merit. Miss Maire takes to task those who would question Sen. John Kerry’s opposition to America’s participation in the Vietnam War.

No one would disagree with Mr. Kerry’s right to oppose such participation. What we question are his fantastic stories about American soldiers routinely committing war crimes in Vietnam. It just wasn’t so and is on par with the memory, “seared” into him, of being in Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1968 — with Richard Nixon as president no less.

As for Mr. Salaka, he opines that President Bush (through his “allies”) is trying to smear Mr. Kerry and that all of them are liars. Of course, Mr. Salaka ignores several things here. One is that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth comprises both Republicans and Democrats and is a 527 organization having nothing to do with the president.

A second is the attempt by the Democrats, and the compliant leftist media, to claim Mr. Bush was AWOL from the National Guard. A third is the vicious attacks on Mr. Bush by the likes of Moveon.org and other shills for the Democrat Party.

Apparently, it’s OK to smear and attack Mr. Bush, but it is not OK for others to do the same to Mr. Kerry. Also, Mr. Salaka thinks the 240 or so Swift Boat members of are lying, but the 13 who served with Mr. Kerry on his swift boat are telling the truth. It would seem that when weighing the evidence, the preponderance is with the 240 and not the 13.

Finally, the naval documents that Mr. Salaka claims belie the statements of the 240 seem themselves to be questionable. In your paper’s Sunday editorial (“‘V’ for valor or Kerry’s version?”) it was pointed out how unlikely it is for the Silver Star awarded to Mr. Kerry to have the V (for valor) attached to it.

Mr. Kerry brought this on himself. He made Vietnam the centerpiece of his campaign when he shouldn’t have. When challenged, he first said, “Bring it on,” but when confronted by the Swift Boat veterans, he started running to the exit, so to speak, by demanding that the Federal Election Commission and the courts make the accusations go away. He also threatened to sue the stations carrying the ads.

With all due respect to Mr. Kerry, he seems to be living the life of Walter Mitty, fantasizing about things that aren’t and claiming bravado where he has none. Compare Mr. Bush’s steely resolve in the face of comparable attacks. America at this juncture cannot afford a Walter Mitty as president. Mr. Bush may not be perfect, but in his resolve and in his actions, he is head and shoulders above his opposition.


Silver Spring

Where’s the knockout punch?

It seems that no one knows what Muqtada al-Sadr is up to (“Militants retreat from Najaf shrine,” Page 1, Saturday). All of the media wonks sit scratching their heads as to Sheik al-Sadr’s motivation, and these wonks are paid big bucks to scratch their heads.

Sheik al-Sadr is nothing more than a thirtysomething mail-order preacher who wants to be the next Saddam Hussein.

The horrible thing about this whole melodrama is that the Iraqi Governing Council is playing right into his hands. Seventy-odd years ago, representatives of the Weimar Republic allowed a nondescript madman to join the government instead of opposing him. Now interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi is asking this sheik to become part of the solution. We had this guy on the ropes and should have buried him and all of his followers. Now he will just pop up again somewhere else under some odd pretense.



Clintons testify

Your reporter Stephen Dinan set forth the basics of former President Bill Clinton’s political speech Sunday from the pulpit at the Riverside Church in New York City (“Clintons launch pre-emptive strikes,” Page 1, Monday).

However, he failed to mention that the church itself is pushing the Mobilization 2004 Campaign for voting in November, and the Rev. James Forbes spoke to that political effect before introducing the “distinguished” ex-president, whose very presence behind the pulpit was enough to “gag a maggot,” as a friend of mine used to say.

I am surprised Mr. Clinton was not struck by the lightning of God’s wrath as he waxed eloquent from the pulpit of this Laodicean church, where those in attendance were applauding all that he had to say.

I do not have to wonder why this presence in the church for political reasons has not been condemned by the mainstream media, because I know that it reflects their convictions.

The Clintons should not be the ones speaking about values from the pulpit of a church in New York City or anywhere else.


Hermon, Maine

Where is the clamor to revoke the tax-exempt status of Riverside Church in Harlem for allowing Bill Clinton to use it as a forum to attack President Bush?

Had a conservative tried this at a church, the American Civil Liberties Union would have a lawsuit against the church in court the next day.



Source of scorn

So John Kerry requested a deferment from military serviceafter getting his degree from Yale (“Swift boat’s ammunition,” Commentary, Thursday).

The deferment was denied, and then he joined the U.S. Naval Reserve. Unfortunately for him, after he joined the reserves,his unit was called to active duty.

That said, what really matters is not whether he volunteered or whether he earned his medals; rather, it was his testimony before Congress, where he earned the scorn of all of America’s military men and women.


Park Ridge, Ill.

Averting the bust

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan has declared that the solvency of the Social Security system is in serious jeopardy, and he recommends reductions in benefits sooner in order to avert disastrous cuts later (“Fed warns of bust for boomers,” Page 1, Saturday).

Mr. Greenspan’s candor is refreshing. I recognize that such frankness is not likely to be engaged in by any elected official who must run for office again, so deeply has our entitlement society become entrenched and so seriously do Americans regard any action that could entail receiving less from the government.

Though Mr. Greenspan is right, there is another avenue that could shore up Social Security without resorting to benefit reductions: privatization of the system. It is the one true, proven means of enabling beneficiaries to substantially grow their assets.

Financial experts disagree on many things. The one thing they agree on, however, is that when one invests for the long term, as would occur through a private Social Security system, one always wins.

It is stunning that no president and no Congress has yet been able to agree on letting the people invest their retirement money as they see fit. President Bush promises to take up the issue in his second term. Why did he not use his political capital and the benefit of Republican control of Congress to effect this change in his first term?


Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

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