(Or Anything Else That Will Keep Us Occupied Until November 2)

by MIKE FERNER

Months ago when it looked like JFK-lite was going to get the Democrats’ nomination, some prescient pundit somewhere commented about Kerry’s combat medals, predicting the campaign would consist largely of arguments for and agin’ the veracity of his stories, the severity of his wounds, the claims and counter-claims of people "back in the day."

Call me naïve, but I thought that was pretty darn skeptical. OK, I’m naïve and wrong.

It’s not that I’m uninterested in the Viet Nam war, or unimpressed with combat ribbons and purple hearts. I spent three years as a hospital corpsman during that war, taking care of hundreds of young men returning in pieces from Viet Nam and Cambodia. And they were supposedly the lucky ones who survived.

That’s why, despite my disinterest in John Kerry’s candidacy, I was at least glad to see that the general election campaign might well include an airing of many things Viet Nam that are particularly relevant today.

For example, were we veterans of that war really "defending freedom" and "helping the Vietnamese build a democracy?" Were we even (gasp) "serving our country?"

Or, as many of us raised on John Wayne movies in the 50’s and 60’s have come to find out the hard way, were we the young foot soldiers of empire, idealistic (some), unlucky (most) commoners sent off to fight another rich old man’s war, that BELIEVE IT OR NOT, MA! turns out to have been based on a thick web of lies?

Now THAT would make for some rip-snorting campaign debates. It would have some relevance to what’s going on today in another corner of the world. Who knows, it might also help us finally face some of the lies and some of the truths about Viet Nam; help us repair some of the damage done to our society’s soul. You don’t send 1.5 million youngsters to a place like Viet Nam, have them participate in killing over two MILLION Vietnamese and lay waste to the land for generations without SOMEthing strange happening to our national psyche.

What a novel idea! That a campaign in 2004, by including even a modest attempt at dealing with the truth from 35 years ago, might be both riveting and beneficial.

But instead, we have the "Battle of the Swift Boats."

It is, to be sure, a grand way to keep from addressing anything relevant (like today’s war on which, coincidentally, both candidates agree) until…oh, mid September or so. Then the "527" ads will delve into other weighty matters like, "Has the Heinz Foundation stopped funding blood-sucking monkeys to do evil things to little kiddies…?" Or, "Why DID John Edwards see that psychiatrist in 1991…?" Then for the Democrats, Moveon.org will tell us to something crucial to the survival of Western Society, such as "The lost files from Bush’s Cocaine Anonymous classes: Where WAS he during those two meetings in September 1974?"

Any one of these will keep things going until mid-October. Then of course, there will be nothing left of a 2-year long campaign except the "Sprint to the Finish" and hourly poll numbers, culminating with the "Three Day Campaigning Marathon" wherein both candidates get hoarse repeating stump speeches and we watch, fascinated, to see if one of them collapses, proof positive he doesn’t really have "the right stuff," thereby making up the minds of all seven undecided voters in Ohio and determining the election.

NOW…I challenge anyone to dispute that this is a brilliant election campaign process. First, it was created by the Free Market-two years of TV ads are certainly better for the economy than two months-and secondly, it automatically selects for us the one candidate who, by being able to withstand the rigors of an extended campaign, can then withstand the rigors of the office.

Case closed. Whatacountry.

MIKE FERNER is a member of Veterans for Peace from Toledo, Ohio. He returned from a second trip to Iraq earlier this year. He can be reached at: mferner@utoledo.edu



Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 03, 2015
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Atomic Era Turns 70, as Nuclear Hazards Endure
Nelson Valdes
An Internet Legend: the Pope, Fidel and the Black President
Robert Hunziker
The Perfectly Nasty Ocean Storm
Jack Dresser
The Case of Alison Weir: Two Palestinian Solidarity Organizations Borrow from Joe McCarthy’s Playbook
Ahmad Moussa
Incinerating Palestinian Children
Greg Felton
Greece Succumbs to Imperialist Banksterism
Binoy Kampmark
Stalling the Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Failure of the Hawai’i Talks
Ted Rall
My Letter to Nick Goldberg of the LA Times
Mark Weisbrot
New Greek Bailout Increases the Possibility of Grexit
Jose Martinez
Black/Hispanic/Women: a Leadership Crisis
Victor Grossman
German Know-Nothings Today
Patrick Walker
We’re Not Sandernistas: Reinventing the Wheels of Bernie’s Bandwagon
Norman Pollack
Moral Consequences of War: America’s Hegemonic Thirst
Ralph Nader
Republicans Support Massive Tax Evasion by Starving IRS Budget
Alexander Reid Ross
Colonial Pride and the Killing of Cecil the Lion
Suhayb Ahmed
What’s Happening in Britain: Jeremy Corbyn and the Future of the Labour Party
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington
Mary Lou Singleton
Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz
Robert Fantina
Israeli Missteps Take a Toll
Pete Dolack
Speculators Circling Puerto Rico Latest Mode of Colonialism
Ron Jacobs
Spying on Black Writers: the FB Eye Blues
Paul Buhle
The Leftwing Seventies?
Binoy Kampmark
The TPP Trade Deal: of Sovereignty and Secrecy
David Swanson
Vietnam, Fifty Years After Defeating the US
Robert Hunziker
Human-Made Evolution
Shamus Cooke
Why Obama’s “Safe Zone” in Syria Will Inflame the War Zone
David Rosen
Hillary Clinton: Learn From Your Sisters
Sam Husseini
How #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter Can Devalue Life
Shepherd Bliss
Why I Support Bernie Sanders for President
Louis Proyect
Manufacturing Denial
Howard Lisnoff
The Wrong Argument
Tracey Harris
Living Tiny: a Richer and More Sustainable Future