Roger L. Simon

They Were All William Calley

Not surprisingly, the new ad from the Swift Boat Veterans gets to the heart of the controversy and takes us back to the days of Vietnam in ways that I never dreamed would happen in 2004. These veterans are furious with Kerry for implying, essentially, that they were all William Calleys. I am really conflicted about the war itself, but I certainly don’t blame the veterans for feeling this way. Some of them evidently had declined to say the very things Kerry did, although they were tortured by the North Vietnamese to do so. Kerry’s words in the ad are extremely harsh. Now I wonder… even more than I previously did… why the Senator chose to base his campaign on his Vietnam service. Why would he want to do that, other than the obvious innoculation against Bush’s anti-terror record? (There are other ways to handle that.) It seems particularly odd for a man who once compared American servicemen to Genghis Khan to call attention to this. The only explanation I can offer is he is wrestling with private demons and has secret wishes only his analyst could know. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell if this analysis is “terminable or interminable,” as Freud would say. And we are left picking up the bill.

UPDATE: Amateur Kerry analysts (who, moi?) might want to have a look at this. Much of it makes sense.

MORE: I notice some debate on here whether the Swift Vets are getting traction with voters. I certainly don’t know… and I don’t think the story is written yet, El ‘Awrence… but this report would from the AP would indicate they are beginning to. But speaking of Lawrence of Arabia, I would just like to remind everybody of the corny truth from that movie: “Nothing is written.”