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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Military service is now political issue

Thursday, August 5, 2004

A new book that is sure to be a best seller hit the sales racks today. The book calls into question the "heroic" exploits of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and was written by former members of his military unit in Vietnam.

If the book is to be believed, Kerry was an unpopular opportunist who created much of his storied military past. His three Purple Hearts were much ado about nothing, according to the book and his turncoat testimony before Congress was just plain fantasy on his part. In short, the book says Kerry lied or created much of his military history and is not fit to be president.

In the great scheme of things, we'll never fully know the truth behind Kerry's history. There are conflicting versions of his military exploits and trying to weed out the truth some 30 years later is an exercise in futility. All I know is that most Vietnam veterans who were true heroes rarely if ever discuss that part of their lives. I know men in Sikeston who served with valor and bravery yet they never address the issue. Never.

Now granted, Kerry is running for president and his military past is an important part of his resume. And well it should be. Whether he served the way he portrays it or the way the books portrays it is important only in a political season. Yet the authors of the book are adamant to tell their story just as Kerry is equally adamant to portray his past as he recalls it.

In the world of politics, we find more side roads than main thoroughfares. The nature of a campaign is to put yourself in the very best light possible. Your opponent will try to dim that light as much as possible. If you think this concept is new, you're not paying attention.

John Kerry served in the military when many others did not. That alone is admirable. But Kerry has made his military service a foundation of his campaign and thus he opens himself up to scrutiny. This new book may have little impact on the November outcome or it may leave a taste in the voters' mouths that will linger on election day. Only time will tell.

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