Ed Driscoll

Pacifists For War Heroes

Jonah Goldberg has a few thoughts on the pretzel logic of the far left.

Flashback to the mid-1960s, when LBJ, at liberalism’s zenith, escalated the Vietnam conflict into a full-fledged war. In the early 1970s, the new, baby boomer-driven far left declared it an illegitimate, evil war (in large part, thanks to John Kerry’s 1971 speech to the Senate). Three decades later, the left is now rehabilitating the Vietnam War as a noble cause, to run a war hero candidate against President Bush.

Back on July 30th, James Lileks quoted a line in Kerry’s acceptence speech, and parsed its incredible implications:

“I defended this country as a young man, and I will defend it as President.”

This really intrigues me. I agree that Vietnam was a defense of the United States, inasmuch as we were trying to blunt the advance of Communism. So: only Nixon can go to China. (Only Kirk can go to Chronos, for you Star Trek geeks.) Only Kerry can confirm that Vietnam was a just war. This completely upends conventional wisdom about the Vietnamese war, and requires a certain amount of historical amnesia. Why does this get glossed over? The illegitimacy of the Vietnam war (non-UN approved, after all) is a key doctrine of the Church of the Boomers; to say that service in Vietnam was done in defense of the United States is like announcing that Judas Ischariot was the most faithful of the disciples. Imagine if you were a preacher who attempted such a revision. Imagine your private thrill when everyone in the congregation nodded assent.

As Jonah notes:

And forget the fact that if they like war heros so much more than “draft dodgers” they should have supported the first President Bush over Bill Clinton in 1992. But the entire antiwar crowd