August 27, 2004

Commentary

Retribution

By Andrés Lozano

What goes around comes around. Nowadays John F. Kerry must be brooding upon the meaning of this dictum. Kerry’s campaign is stalled by the weight of his own past doings and sayings, in sum: contradictions. It is coming clear that JFK was enshrined as an authentic hero, an icon during three plus decades based on flimsy, bogus or at least heavily inflated deeds. Thus, Kerry’s four months of heroic service in Viet Nam and sundry medals obtained are at best an apparent fabrication proving the medals tinhorn. This is a bad omen for his campaign. Worst, though, is the fact that his congressional testimony at the time puts him now squarely as a liar or as a war criminal, a potential perjurer in both instances.

Mates and colleagues at the time deny ever having committed the crimes Kerry denounced under oath at the Congress on April 22, 1971, having carried out himself. This puts JFK in the impossible situation of being branded an impostor and in dire need of demonstrating his perpetration of such revolting crimes. If it does not make sense to you, it does not make sense to me either. Now, if he committed said felonies, as confessed under oath, then he is a war criminal whose place is behind bars not dispatching from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The Armed Services have very clear rules of engagement protocols on the treatment of civilians during war. American uniformed men and women have always known the kinds of punishment they are subject to if involved in atrocities. Ask Linndie England and mates, of Abu-Ghraib notoriety, for allegedly abusing inmates, a real joke when compared with the atrocities JFK confessed under oath having committed in his brief service stint.

Challenged by John O’Neill and coauthors of the runaway editorial hit “Unfit for Command”, Kerry and cronies have gone berserk, not only calling lies the testimony of 250 plus Swift Boat veterans serving at the same time JFK did, several with him, but challenging the First Amendment, requesting the ban or censorship of said publication. This, of course, is beyond silly; it is plainly arrogant and stupid. In his own words, JFK stands a culprit of untruth or war crimes. If the former, his candidacy is lost, if the latter, he should be indicted and subjected to prosecution. How did the guy wants to run the world’s largest power managed to corner himself so gravely?

Kerry and his campaign managers, or for that matter the National Democratic Party, can and should sue the authors and publishers of the damning bestseller if they are certain the contents are slanderous. It is their constitutional right to do so, also a political lifesaver. What JFK and his team cannot do is infringe upon Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth rights to tell their story just because Kerry does not like what they say. For his own good, Kerry must request full disclosure of his service in the Navy to ascertain his precise actions at the time. The Navy has these records available and can disclose them upon request of the interested party as well as those of his accusers available through subpoena.

This is an issue that will not simply fade away. It will bog down Kerry during the rest of the campaign, because it is at the heart of his character and mettle. Moreover, his presidential bid is built around his service in combat and, in his own words, said service enables him to become Commander-in-Chief. Thus, it is crucial for him and his campaign managers to perfectly clarify the charges brought up against him, not just spin them. This issue has already gone to the top of the news and will remain there until credible and unbiased rebuttals are available. If not clarified, when the presidential campaign rekindles in earnest after Labor Day, it will become the single most important campaign topic: not what JFK can deliver as a president, but if he legitimately can be a candidate to start with. Therefore, John, it is a make or break matter.

Thus, JFK needs all the help he can muster from the courts, not from slogans, to gain stature as a legitimate candidate. The courts’ system can exonerate him through due process. Presently he is between a rock and a hard place. If he chooses to demystify his war record, voters will take issue on a proven liar candidate come November. If he sticks to his guns and proves, with the aid of his service records that, in effect, he was involved in the atrocities he admitted under oath, then it is a matter for a courtmartial.

Andrés Lozano alozanoh@msn.com

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