9.03.2004

More Insight

Check out Eric Alterman. He does a blog called Altercation on the MSNBC site. Here is a sample of his writing. You gotta' love a guy who quotes Jon Stewart, right?

insight-less:

I have no idea what I'm doing right now.
Anyway, I have to tip my hat to W. He was pretty impressive last night. I think he even teared up a bit when he was talking about dead vets and Sept. 11 families. Kerry really needs to get his ass in gear.
On a side note, I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I'm a liberal republican instead of a moderate democrat. I'm pro-life, ambivalent about guns, relatively pro free-trade (with some reservations). On the other hand, I want all the gay folks to get married if they want to. On Iraq, I'm pissed that the country was manipulated and lied to, but I'm not sure if the war was good or bad in an objective, utilitarian sense. I think we should cooperate with other countries in our foreign policy, and I think we should concentrate more on global economic development and education rather than blowing up terrorists. That being said, I also want to blow Osama Bin Laden's balls off, and we need to do something about North Korea and Iran, especially Iran.
I like the idea of job training instead of complete welfare.
Then I have issues that neither party supports. Mainly drug policy reform. And I have issues that I think are important, but that I have no idea what to do about.
Maybe I'm a compassionate libertarian liberal neo-con wilsonian internationalist. Not to mention being an existentialist neo-orthodox mystic theist.
Joe

9.01.2004

A CONVERSATION WITH A SWIFT BOAT VET

I just had a conversation with Mike, a co-worker of mine who is a Navy veteran and served a tour in the RVN on a Swift Boat. We are both 54 years old and we both graduated from high school in 1968. Each of us ended up in Viet Nam, but we had vastly different assignments and got there by very different paths. Mike volunteered for the Navy right after high school and started out on submarines. By a series of random events, he ended up on a patrol boat in the Mekong Delta.
I, along with at least 8 of my high school friends and classmates, was drafted into the Army less than a year after our graduation. By a series of random events, I ended up behind a desk in Long Binh, the largest Army base in Viet Nam.
Mike told me a lot that I hadn’t previously known about swift boats. The term “swift boat” refers to any of 5 or 6 different small patrol craft; from River Patrol Boats (PBR’s) on the small end, to Assault Support Patrol Boats in the middle and Monitors on the large end. Every sailor who served aboard a swift boat was a volunteer.
Some swift boats never left the harbor. Their job was to guard ships. Other swift boats did patrols up the smaller tributaries and canals of “the Delta”. These swift boat units were referred to as “riverine” and were considered “special forces” by the Navy. Many missions of these riverine boats involved insertion/extraction of other special forces units including Army Rangers, Green Berets and Marine Recon. As the conflict wore on, their job often took them to remote up-river locations. Sometimes their destinations were well beyond the ill-defined border with Cambodia.
Eventually our conversation turned to the accusations against John Kerry made by the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth”. I was extremely curious to hear Mike’s take on the whole mess. Without hesitation he said that their accusations are “absolute bull shit”.
He shared some details that he is aware of though most were second hand (his tour was approximately 1 year after Kerry’s). We reflected on our feelings about Viet Nam, now 34 years after our time there. We are in complete agreement on these things:

1.) It makes us sick to hear Viet Nam veterans arguing among themselves and engaging in what another vet called “fratricide”. To us, all of our brothers who did time in the Nam deserve credit.
2.) We don’t begrudge the medals that any of our fellows received from the U.S. military. We know that some were more deserved than others and we know too that many medals were never awarded that should have been. (Mike never received a Purple Heart even though he suffered a concussion injury that had him pissing blood and confined to a hospital ship for two weeks. He was, however, awarded the Silver Star.)
3.) We feel that the differences of opinion between Kerry’s side and the SBVT are driven by politics and clouded by various fogs, not least of all the “fog of war”.
4.) This issue has nothing to do with anything that happened in Viet Nam. It has everything to do with what happened after at least two of the principals returned from Viet Nam. One of them, John Kerry, spoke out to try to bring an end to the war. Another of them, John O’Neil, went to work for Richard Nixon and declared war on John Kerry.

8.30.2004

Sully's back from vacation

This guy is one of my favorite political writers around these days and this post, one of several made after a month long hiatus, deserves a look. As mentioned last night, I'm fully prepared to no longer pay attention to this Swiftvet business, and in an effort to do so this caught my eye. Then when readying myself for another day at work I found that the world is apparently a safer place these days, in terms of large scale conflict anyway. Funny that, I'll have to blame my agoraphobia on something else, but good to know.

8.29.2004

Go firedance!

Let's get entranced by their... I'm watching the closing ceremonies for the Olympics. I will probably remember this for the gypsies running around behind the pick-up filled with watermelons and the clowny-guy on the bike dragging cans.

Oh my. Jeff Jarvis from BuzzMachine makes a good point... "It's a decent debate [referring to a discussion on his site regarding healthcare]. I said I hoped that we could devote our breath and bandwidth to something useful, like the healthcare debate, instead of useless, like the Swifties and the Mooreites, and, voila, given a real subject that really matters there is real debate. I'm relieved."

David Brooks has this long and very worth-while piece from the NYT Magazine about the evolution of conservatism.

I frankly have heard enough of and from the swifties to make some decisions. I don't appreciate how the parties involved
posed and answered questions. Spinsanity offers some analysis (that seems strong) how both of these sets of folks are being dishonest enough to compromise the integrity of their message. And I'd like to see a more comprehensive answer to some of the legitimate questions facing Kerry, i.e., what's up with this "V" stuff and how much hype is too much?

I've got enough to work with in order to decide, lets get to some substantive debate. Here's a good segway: Which one of these jokers is going to make a move at our rights to say what we want, when we want, and how we want? This is the kind of stuff I want deciding the election, sure the rest of it (the character stuff for example) all enters into the equation, but I want what truly matters to take take precedence in forming the debate.

Bush's Web of Deceit

Proof from the Kerry camp that Bush is really in control of the Swift Vets and....Kevin Bacon

I'm a member of slow skateboards for falsehood. John Kerry did not pull off the 720.
Joe