Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Mindless Parrots

For a typical example of the willingness of right-wing hacks to parrot the talking-points handed to them by their superiors, have a look at this bit of inanity from Agape Press columnist David Sisler. I've been able to glean that he prefers Bush to Kerry, but behind that there is almost nothing coherent in the entire thing. Here are a few excerpts:


If you are President Bush, because you chose to serve in the National Guard you are “AWOL” (in the words of Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe) or a “deserter” (in the words of Democratic propagandist Michael Moore).


Of course, accusations of desertion or being AWOL have nothing to do with Bush's choice to enter the National Guard. They have to do with his inability to account for his time once having entered.

This comes after a paragraph excoriating Kerry for the Christmas-in-Cambodia non-story. It comes just before the following statment:


I mention the above inequities to raise the question that if President Bush was caught lying about his military service as John Kerry has been caught lying about his (and more revelations may be forthcoming when Unfit For Command gets the close scrutiny it deserves), would it have been dismissed as a simple miscalculation, oh say, in longitude and latitude? Or would the hyenas still be howling?


Every piece of documentary evidence, as well as the testimony of the most credible eyewitnesses (the ones who actually served on the same swift boat as Kerry) backs up Kerry's version of events in Vietnam. On the other hand, the various people who provided quotes for Unfit for Command have been caught in numerous contradictions. Based on this evidence, Sisler feels no shame in calling Kerry a liar, or in implying that Bush was the one who behaved honorably in the late sixties.

This tells you everything you need to know about how the extreme right views questions of military service and patriotism. They view patriotism as equivalent to blind loyalty to the Republican party. Military service is something to be respected only when the veteran in question is a hard right-winger. Conversely, the actions of any prominent conservative are honorable by definition.

That is why Max Cleland can leave three limbs in Vietnam yet still have Republican chicken hawks accuse him of being unpatriotic. When John McCain was a loyal Republican accumulating a solidly conservative voting record, he was admirable and praise worthy. But once he challenged Bush for the Republican nomination in 2000, he became just another enemy. And that is why Kerry, who volunteered for service in Vietnem when he could easily have avoided it and earned several medals for his efforts is treated as loathsome and despicable, while Bush, who used family connections to get a cushy spot in the National Guard and even then showed a distinct lack of committment to his responsibilites there, is presented as honorable.

Sisler continues:


President Bush was -- and still is -- pilloried in the press for declaring an end to the major fighting in Iraq too soon. But John Kerry is “sensitive” when he says that six months after he becomes president, American troops will come home from Iraq and be replaced by foreign troops.

Foreign troops? French troops, Mr. Kerry?


This is just batty. First, what exactly is Sisler implying with that last line? And who described Kerry as “sensitive”? The only thing I can think of is that Sisler is referring to the silliness surrounding Kerry's comment that he would wage a more sensitive war on terror than Bush has (and The Daily Howler has everything you need to know about that bit of silliness here and here), but that issue is far removed from anything Sisler is talking about here.

Sisler is just warming up. He goes on to suggest that Osama Bin Laden wants Kerry to be elected (!!), that Kerry has proposed we retreat from Iraq, and on and on. If you recently swallowed something toxic and find yourself without a handy bottle of ipecac syrup, go have a look.

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