- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 4, 2006

Honorable Hungarians

I am writing on behalf of my father, who is a former Hungarian freedom fighter. He was deeply saddened by the article “Protests tarnish Hungary milestone” (World, Oct. 24).

The protesters at the 50th anniversary of the uprising against Soviet rule are not, as you call them, “far right,” but are the descendants of the Hungarian freedom fighters who so gallantly fought and lost their lives against Soviet tanks in 1956.

Current leaders such as Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany are descendants of communists, or, as they like to call themselves, Socialists. Does it make a person far-right that he fights for freedom and democracy, especially when a leader such as Mr. Gyurcsany has lied to his people?

The protesters did not tarnish this Hungarian milestone but are remembering and honoring what their forefathers so desperately tried to do that day 50 years ago and not to let them have died in vain.

EMOKE DE KUN

Washington

Kerry’s remarks

Sen. John Kerry’s botched joke gave Republicans their best day in months (“Kerry apologizes for insulting troops,” Page 1, Thursday).

It also must have made Speaker-in-waiting Nancy Pelosi’s mascara run. As a presidential candidate two years ago, Mr. Kerry was slow to react to those damaging swift boat ads. Determined not to repeat that mistake a second time, he initially defended his position — and then apologized — before going into hiding.

Regardless of who controls Congress after Tuesday’s elections, here is one thing this lifelong Democrat knows for sure: John Kerry’s dream of running for president again in 2008 is over. And that ain’t no joke.

DENNY FREIDENRICH

Laguna Beach, Calif.

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The editorial attacking John Kerry over his botched joke was unfair (“John Kerry thinks,” Wednesday).

Admittedly, Mr. Kerry should have known better than to phrase his “joke” the way he did. Given the political climate, anyone in public life has to expect that his foes will twist statements into balloon animals to make them into something else, something they can use.

Then again, if awkward phrasing were a crime, President Bush would have been convicted long ago. Almost every day, he winds up saying what he probably does not really mean. Sometimes, his opponents pounce on the opportunity. They shouldn’t. We should cut all these guys a little more slack and try to deal with what they mean to say, not with how their enemies can twist their statements into something else.

What galls me is the nature of this particular “gotcha.” Mr. Kerry, who is being attacked by Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for supposedly insulting soldiers, is a former soldier himself. He served our nation under fire in Vietnam. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, on the other hand, avoided going to Vietnam — the president by serving instead in the National Guard and Mr. Cheney by asking for deferments, five of them, until the war was over.

No soldier died because of Mr. Kerry’s misstatement. Thousands of brave American soldiers have died in Mr. Bush’s botched war.

At a time when we should be talking about what went wrong in Iraq and how to fix it, we’re talking about what went wrong in John Kerry’s mouth.

WILLIAM C. STOSINE

Iowa City, Iowa

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Like John Kerry, I too served in Vietnam. Unlike John Kerry, I found my comrades to be very smart — in fact, to be smarter than, for instance, two senators from Massachusetts.

PAUL BLOUSTEIN

Cincinnati, Ohio

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Sen. John Kerry has at last served America well — albeit unwittingly, begrudgingly and insincerely. In the nick of time, he has reminded an ambivalent, uncomfortable electorate that the stakes are, indeed, high in this wartime midterm election. He has reminded us that this choice is quite important.

Mr. Kerry’s insulting and recklessly irresponsible remarks have reminded some of us who thought of sitting out this election just what the leadership of the Democratic Party has become — and how and by whom the country would be managed if the Democrats again attained national dominance.

The Massachusetts senator has been forced to cancel campaign and press appearances in a hasty attempt at damage control; he is hiding out, along with Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and Sens. Harry Reid of Nevada and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois — war defeatists all. Each is culpable of egregious insults to uniformed service members and the proactive self-defense efforts of the Bush administration.

Mr. Kerry’s fifth attempt at a non-apology came out as, “I am sorry you don’t understand me” rather than “I am sorry for insulting you and having a profoundly detached, uninformed knowledge of the real American men and women who wear the uniform and defend our freedom for the most selfless of reasons.”

The truth is, today’s military is far better educated and altruistically motivated to serve than the population in general. The upper class, the “detached elite” to which Mr. Kerry, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and Mrs. Pelosi belong, is quite underrepresented in uniform.

The hallowed Ivy League — which largely bans recruiting for the armed services on campuses — enjoys the fruits of freedom in abundance, purchased with the blood of solid middle-class, educated, patriotic, God-fearing, flag-waving (sniffily disdained) Americans. To these Americans and their families, Mr. Kerry and friends owe a sincere apology. Mr. Kerry and friends also desperately need an elementary education as to what makes an American service member today. A little humility wouldn’t hurt, either.

I am no longer on the fence about this election. I am a Marine combat veteran. I will vote, and I will work to see that Mr. Kerry’s elitist and defeatist kin do not represent this country in time of war.

LT. COL. FREDERICK A.

PETERSON III

Marine Corps (retired)

Centreville

Flaws with the Clinton foreign policy

Sen. Hillary Clinton’s proposed approach to foreign policy has at least two holes in it (“Hillary calls for bilateral talks with North Korea, Iran,” World, Wednesday).

First, it proposes being everything to everyone. How do you accommodate China’s interests in a region with unilateral talks with North Korea? U.S. negotiations with Iraq were criticized as unilateral in the media, but why is there no questioning of this bilateral approach?

Second, her policy does not address the military as a tool of national policy. Is she going to “blue helmet” our military for economic purposes?

Valuing diplomacy as well as a strong military would indicate an international sharing policy. This should make us nervous. We cannot survive behind a Maginot line of homeland defense while our global autonomy is constantly being constrained.

Dysfunctional multilateralism was inherent in her husband’s policies, as was agreement without compliance. That is the true meaning of renewed internationalism.

LARRY STONE

Peyton, Colo.

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