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February 13, 2004
Times Change?By Greyhawk
The LA Times, always above the level of political mudslinging practiced by the rest of the media, covers the Kerry/Fonda connection in a piece titled Vietnam War-Era Photo Seen as a Bid to Tarnish Kerry
Got that? It's Vietnam era. Ancient history. Let's read on anyway.
While many Americans know her as an Oscar-winning actress and onetime queen of aerobics videos, some Republicans hope voters will also remember Jane Fonda for a more controversial association: "Hanoi Jane."
I can't believe the GOP would seek to gain political leverage from the fact that veterans revile Kerry! Don't they know the man has a chest full of medals? Or did until he threw them away? And 1970? Dude, that is like at least two decades ago!
Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts, received numerous medals for his service as a Navy patrol boat commander in Vietnam. But he returned home a disgruntled 27-year-old serviceman, and became a leading voice in the protest group Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
That explains everything! A hero who knows all too well the horrors of war. I can only imagine the utter disdain and revulsion he felt listening to all those stories in Detroit, or the sleep he lost thinking about that wounded guy he chased and killed. I'm sure his wife, ex-wife, or girlfriend can tell you about how often he wakes up screaming in the night.
The photo of Fonda and Kerry was taken two years before Fonda's Hanoi trip.
See? She apologized. That doesn't matter to those "big liars" though.
"Any attempt to link Kerry to me and make him look bad with that connection is completely false. We were at a rally for veterans at the same time. I don't even think we shook hands," Fonda said of the 1970 photograph.
Hanoi Jane doesn't get it. Nor does the LA Times. It's not about whether you shook his hand or even if you're his current mistress. The problem is what both of you stand for in the eyes of the vast majority of veterans.
"This was an organization of men who risked their lives in Vietnam, who considered themselves totally patriotic," she said, referring to Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
No doubt many were heroes. Many others, like Kerry, discredited themselves thoroughly in their opportunistic post-war betrayal of everything the true heroes fought for. Many others in that group were posers and liars.
John Hurley, national director of veterans affairs for the Kerry campaign, said he had not seen the photo but downplayed its significance.
Once it became apparent that it served his best personal interests to do so. Now, of course, he's a "war hero with a chest full of medals" again.
Paul Galanti, a former Navy pilot who spent more than six years in North Vietnamese captivity, said that the image of Fonda still makes many veterans angry.
And it's not just her; it's everything she represents. She's an icon, not of fitness, but of "unfitness" - for the benefits of being American, and the press just doesn't get it.
Republican strategist Arnold Steinberg dismissed any connection between Wednesday's debate over the Kerry-Fonda photo with Democratic criticism of President Bush's Vietnam-era service in the Air National Guard.
At least that. Strangely unnoticed (meaning: intentionally ignored) by the mainstream press, it's not the "Republicans" (meaning Republican leadership) who are pushing the Kerry/Fonda issue. While the chairman of the DNC and a member of the house besmirching the President, with full support of the White House Press Corps and most of the rest of the "mainstream media", it's talk radio, blogs, and veteran's web sites and e-mail networks pushing this.
Democrats scoffed at a maneuver one advisor called "goofy in the extreme."
"This isn't your father's Democratic Party. If they think the line of attack that worked for Joe McCarthy or George Bush Sr. is going to work on John Kerry, they're sadly mistaken," said Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist who in 1992 helped Bill Clinton fight charges that he ducked the draft.
Citing Kerry's decorated war service, he said "on three different occasions John Kerry so annoyed the communists that they shot him. It would be difficult to paint him as a communist."
No, but it's quite easy to paint him as a man with very little in the way of a solid foundation, and a propensity to go whichever way the wind blows. If a reputation as a communist could get him votes he'd appear onstage in drab, unisex coveralls at all his remaining campaign rallies. (Though I doubt he'd offer to share his millions.)
Posted by Greyhawk / February 13, 2004 12:29 AM | Permalink
The Bejus Pundit has the best pic ever. Far better than the one making the rounds. So close, so very close. And to go with the pic, one of the best articles written explaining why he doesn't sit well with us Vietnam War vets. Read More
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
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