Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War, by Douglas Brinkley, published Jan. 1, 2004
(Click for Amazon book review)
BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:
This book came out in early 2004, before the Swift Boat Veterans' attack had fully taken effect. The real question for any campaign watcher in 2004 is, "Why didn't the Kerry campaign use this book to defend themselves from the Swift Boaters?"
Truly, we at OnTheIssues have no answer to that question. This book makes it clear, from a reasonably unbiased source, that Kerry really did the things he said in Vietnam, and not the things the Swift Boaters said. The Swift Boat book, on the other hand, was a series of extreme anecdotes that were damaging individually but seemed like a ridiculous exaggeration in their totality. The Kerry campaign could have presented the truth and won the hearts and minds of the voters. The Kerry campaign was unimaginably stupid in not defending themselves, and it cost Kerry the election.
In retrospect, the unimaginable stupidity of the Kerry campaign in NOT recognizing the Swift Boat threat, and in NOT responding by spreading this around, was the REAL indicator that Kerry deserved to lose. Kerry did NOT deserve to lose for being a war criminal, as the Swift Boaters convinced the American public. Kerry DID deserve to lose because no president should be so unconfident, so misreading of the American public, and so arrogant as to not defend himself against a valid attack.
Just read the excerpts of this book, then join us in marveling at such stupidity bred by arrogance. The protagonist of this book was a legitimate war hero who threw away his chance to be President by ignoring his own history.
-- Jesse Gordon, jesse@OnTheIssues.org, January 2007
| OnTheIssues.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
John Kerry: Introduced to integration at prep school.
John Kerry: 1967: Skeptical of the illicit drug culture.
John Kerry: Never touched marijuana nor opium while in Vietnam.
Bill Clinton: 1995: End 19-year Vietnam trade embargo; bind up our wounds.
Bill Clinton: 1996: Effects of Agent Orange eligible for veteran benefits.
Principles & Values|
Gerald Ford: 1973: Succeeded V.P. Spiro Agnew when he resigned in scandal.
John Kerry: Jewish grandparents fled anti-Semitic Europe in 1905.
John Kerry: Member of Skull & Bones at Yale, like Bush.
Max Cleland: Ran for office angered over Vietnam and veteran treatment.
Ted Kennedy: 1970s: High ranking on Nixon's "enemies list".
War & Peace|
John Kerry: Only veteran to testify to congress about Vietnam.
John Kerry: Accused US government of war crime, not veterans.
John Kerry: Before enlisting, believed in the US saving face in Vietnam.
Chuck Hagel: It's better not to talk too much about your military record.
Gerald Ford: 1971: Sickened by widening war into Laos.
John F. Kennedy: 1960s: Increased US troops in Vietnam from 900 to 16,000.
John Kerry: 1971: Led anti-war march on Washington.
John Kerry: The term "Vietnam" encapsulates an era.
John Kerry: 1969: Awarded bronze Star for rescue.
John Kerry: Vets cheered Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony.
John Kerry: Served in Vietnam as "winter soldier" not "sunshine patriot".
John Kerry: OpEd: Served his conscience at home after service abroad.
John Kerry: 1966: Questioned Vietnam in Yale graduation speech.
John Kerry: Loss of close friend in war made Kerry see soldiers as pawns.
John Kerry: Night skirmish earned first Purple Heart for wounded arm.
John Kerry: Considered the Domino Theory ludicrous, while in Vietnam.
John Kerry: Rescued 42 half-starved Vietnamese civilians.
Lyndon Johnson: Rolling Thunder: 655,000 tons of bombs from B-52 air strikes.
Lyndon Johnson: 1967: "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?".
Max Cleland: As vet opposed to Vietnam, saw John Kerry as his spokesman.
Max Cleland: I'd give my last remaining arm to any Vietnam brother.
Ted Kennedy: 1971: Vietnamization will never work.
Welfare & Poverty|
John Kerry: Third World poverty worse than rural American poverty.
The above quotations are from Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War, by Douglas Brinkley, published Jan. 1, 2004.