Victor Davis Hanson on John Kerry, Vietnam & Battle History

by on August 27th, 2004

Of course, given his past opposition to the acquisition of the B-1 and B-2 bombers, the Pershing-missile deployments, the anti-ballistic-missile system, and the first Gulf War, it was logical to reconfigure his Vietnam service, especially at the expense of a tough-talking president who had not served under fire. But Kerry again forgot Nemesis, especially the three-decade-long angst of hundreds of furious vets who felt that Kerry’s past virulent anti-war pronouncements — coupled with unauthorized visits to Paris to meet with the enemy North Vietnam delegation — were opportunistic affronts to their own service. The Swift-boat vets were probably willing to grimace and bite their teeth throughout the present campaign, but not when Kerry paraded his service, saluted the Democratic delegates (“reporting for duty”), and posed as a time-honored proud warrior of the American military.

And so now we have the present mess that will go on for weeks and can only hurt Kerry. He is earning a reputation for once welcoming third-party hit ads, then (now) whining about them; for parading his service, then whining about scrutiny of it; for spouting braggadocio, then whining about hurtful speech. As the Greeks remind us, pride can lead to hubris and then to Nemesis — on its tragic and ultimate rendezvous with ruin.

Marcos Rodriguez