Letter to the Editor

Your view: Firing back

Friday, September 10, 2004

Standards for accuracy in letters offered to a newspaper are either non-existent or ignored, from what I can see over the last few weeks. Possibly they misspeak as a result of honest confusion. A letter offered to the Standard Democrat last week is a good example of this.

The author of the letter revives the standard spin of the Republican right that the news media is liberal and tilted toward the Democrats. He claims that if the Swift Boat veterans for the truth were slandering the President, the media would be on this story 24-7. As things stand right now, I do not know how additional hours in a day could be found to provide a platform for their curious allegations.

"Twenty-four/seven" was achieved the week before last. The author goes on to claim that the media is crying foul over these allegations toward Kerry but I think most readers know better than that. The author also makes the claim that a New York Times poll reports that media members plan to vote for John Kerry by a ratio of 12 to 1. This is not true.

The author goes on to say that John Kerry should release his complete military file, like any Republican would if pressed. Perhaps the author is unaware that the President has refused to release his entire military file as well. I think this is an argument the President would rather not have. Understandably so. Further, the author says that the media is smearing, discrediting, dishonoring and assaulting Vietnam veterans. Why he believes that is so is not apparent and his own bile toward the veteran candidate suggests a certain level of hypocrisy.

Vietnam Veterans Against the War was formed several years before John Kerry joined and he resigned within a couple of years of that. However VN veterans were treated upon their return to the U.S., it is mere partisan blather to blame John Kerry for bad experiences. As far as returning soldiers being spit upon, that myth has been discredited for years.

I never thought to question Bob Dole's service to this country until last week. He was always described as a war hero and I accepted that readily enough. But Bob Dole showed up on the cable news shows recently, and for no other reason than to denigrate John Kerry's service to this country. He made remarks suggesting that Kerry's wounds never bled, he got two Purple Hearts in one day and he "only" spent four months in combat. How curious it was to learn about the Bob Dole service record after his turn as partisan hack on the cable shows.

Bob Dole was 18 years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked. While the U.S. was fighting for its very existence after the outbreak of war, Bob Dole saw no combat in 1942, no combat in 1943, or no combat in 1944. He was given command of a rifle platoon as a green lieutenant in February 1945 and was wounded seriously seven weeks later and within a month of the war ending in Europe.

I don't see how it is in anyone's interests to revive issues from decades ago to impugn someone's service to his country, but that is certainly what has happened and when the firing starts, Democrats will fire back.

Mike Patterson