Tuesday, May 04, 2004

The Bush administration’s stance on Kerry’s military service has been bothering me for some time. Until recently, it was generally assumed that one of the “smartest” things you could do was to serve your country in a low risk and rewarding fashion: join the National Guard. Unfortunately, the National Guard is no longer a safe haven for those who fear to serve. It’s becoming the backbone of the United States military. In fact, seen on an Oregon vehicle not long ago was a sign about the National Guard that said, “One weekend a month . . .like hell!”

That’s what George W. Bush did. Conventional wisdom held that military service could be “dodged” without the stigma. If you “needed” to do something other than serve the National Guard, an early out might be arranged. Sort of a flexible service plan.

Kerry, on the other hand, joined and risked everything in a war that Americans really grew to hate. He served without regard to the risk. He did the job he was asked to do and did it better than most. He was awarded medals and recognition for his service.

Now, by a strange kind of reasoning, Kerry is being depicted as a person who doesn’t understand things military and that he wants to make life for soldiers as bad as possible. The Bush administration is saying to the nation that Kerry, who fought and knows war from the ground up, isn’t worthy to think about wars and make decisions. While those who have avoided serving their country in the military, know best what to do with our young people by putting them to war for reasons progressively unclear.

The Bush administration's current TV spot about Kerry's military votes in the Senate, his military service and military support is, as the commercial says, “Troubling.”