FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

(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

 

Mike Ferner is a writer from Ohio and former president of Veterans For Peace.  You can reach him at mike.ferner@sbcglobal.net

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
March 23, 2017
Chip Gibbons
Crusader-in-Chief: the Strange Rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Michael J. Sainato
Cybersecurity Firm That Attributed DNC Hacks to Russia May Have Fabricated Russia Hacking in Ukraine
Chuck Collins
Underwater Nation: As the Rich Thrive, the Rest of Us Sink
CJ Hopkins
The United States of Cognitive Dissonance
Howard Lisnoff
BDS, Women’s Rights, Human Rights and the Failings of Security States
Mike Whitney
Will Washington Risk WW3 to Block an Emerging EU-Russia Superstate
John Wight
Martin McGuinness: Man of War who Fought for Peace in Ireland
Linn Washington Jr.
Ryancare Wreckage
Eileen Appelbaum
What We Learned From Just Two Pages of Trump’s Tax Returns
Mark Weisbrot
Ecuador’s Elections: Why National Sovereignty Matters
Thomas Knapp
It’s Time to End America’s Longest War
Chris Zinda
Aggregate Journalism at Salon
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail