Late-breaking Bush AWOL News: Maureen
would like her readers to know that our friends at
have a new TV commercial that goes after the Bush military record
issue and Republican smears against John Kerry's military record. It
can be viewed
It's tiresome to have to do this: step up to the
plate to deliver some "points of light" to certain pundits
of the rightwing variety. Mine is an onerous task as such pundits
consistently reveal their appalling - and terminal - obtuseness. The
most ignored major news story of Campaign 2000 - GW Bush's (AWOL)
military service record - finally surfaced this past February.
Pundit David Brooks sure was inconvenienced about it, as
evidenced by his performance on the
February 13th edition of PBS' "News Hour".
Astoundingly dense and inexcusably myopic, Brooks
and the conservative punditocracy are arrogantly dismissive of
Vietnam because the majority of these well-heeled, armchair patriots
never served themselves nor have their families experienced
war-associated loss. Brooks and his ilk need to "get over" their
disdain for the topic of the Vietnam conflict, during which millions
of his so-called "boomers" served by actually fighting the enemy
up close and personal. To wit:
BROOKS: "You know, the youngest voters
were born in 1986. What are they supposed to make about something
that happened in 1972? I just think Sept. 11 happened -- we've got
important issues to talk about. The idea that we are talking about
something 30 years ago; we are as far removed as Vietnam as Vietnam
was removed from prohibition. . . it's ridiculous to go back this
Later in the broadcast -
BROOKS: "Why doesn't anyone talk about the
90s, the '80s? -- because boomers can't get over Vietnam...a lot of
us can get over it. "
Some "Points of Light" for David Brooks:
Point 1: Vietnam was a real and relatively
recent event in US history which has - and will - linger in the
collective American consciousness. The bitter lessons learned there
have been invoked time and time again recently - only to be blithely
disregarded as those in power recklessly wage "elective" and
"pre-emptive" wars. In one of your recent New York Times
columns, you invoked the Holocaust of sixty years ago as you wrote
of your own son's bar mitzvah. It's as inappropriate to tell Jews
and the rest of humanity to "get over" the Holocaust as it is to
tell Americans and the rest of humanity to "get over" Vietnam.
Dignify your profession by educating yourself about Vietnam so you
can speak or write about it responsibly in the future.
Point 2: Consider these enlightening
statistics: Vietnam was our nation's longest-waged war; more than 8
million Americans served; 58,235 killed in action; 303,704 wounded;
2,338 missing in action; 766 prisoners of war.
Point 3: My eldest brother's name is
engraved on Panel 34W Line 70 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in
Washington, DC. I won't have you or anyone else belittle his
sacrifice, desecrate his memory, or mock my family's loss. Frankly,
you need to wise up, change your attitude and show some respect. He
and his fallen brothers - as well as our living Vietnam vets -
deserve nothing less.
Conservative journalist Bob Novak's
fawning endorsement of Karl Rove's "Mission Accomplished" photo-op
was evident on May 4, 2003's "Meet The Press," and was
enthusiastically echoed by an equally giddy Tim Russert, David
Broder and Doris Kearns Goodwin. Their
memory was weak, but it served:
NOVAK: "But I would say that the response
by our Democrats that, well, he [George W. Bush] 'missed a lot of
National Guard meetings' is not going to do the trick. The other
thing is that the leader in some of the polls by a fairly wide
margin is Joe Lieberman. Could Joe Lieberman get into a jet pilot's
jump suit and look credible? I doubt it, so this is one little
advantage that George W. has."
Some "Points of Light" for Bob Novak:
Point 1: Your Bush syncophant mentality
was later confirmed via your complicity with the White House
vendetta against Joe Wilson. As dutiful hatchet man, you publicly
revealed the identity of Wilson's wife, CIA Agent Valerie Plame.
Journalists aren't supposed to be hatchet men - you have discredited
yourself and your profession.
Point 2: Your dismissive remark about
"missed National Guard meetings" as the Meet The Press panel
tittered agreement exposed your collective callousness toward the
Vietnam generation. The party line thus displayed was that GW Bush
is above mere mortals; accountability is not required of Lt. Bush
because a Kennebunkport Brahmin is by definition more precious and
less expendable than the ordinary young Americans of the day. In
point of fact it wasn't okay then and it isn't okay now - Lt. Bush
disappeared from duty as hundreds of young men were killed weekly in
Vietnam and thousands of others were wounded while honorably
fulfilling their military obligations. Mr. Novak, you're a Korean
War era veteran yourself. How many times did you fail to show up for
duty? To revere GW Bush as a "Vietnam era veteran" is both a
laughable stretch and an insult to the ones who actually fulfilled
their commitments. Show some respect.
Ann Coulter, you outdid even yourself with
February 11th article, "Cleland Drops a Political Grenade".
As a former magazine editor, I'll always defend your right to write
about any topic you desire. It's how you write, your
professionalism, tone, fairness, and ethics that are at issue here -
proof positive that a writer's work mirrors the content of their
Alas my dear, you didn't play fair and what
resulted was a malicious, thoroughly detestable and glaringly
obvious rant. In short, you lied, smeared, and libeled Max Cleland.
Regrettably, the Heritage Foundation and Max Steyen of The
Washington Times, among others, functioned as your willing
lackeys. They posted/praised your invective, no questions asked and
with no fact checking. To see how you could have researched your
subject matter, see the Max Bivens article in The Nation, "Little
Miss Treason". You'll observe how Bivens researched the Vietnam
War, Max Cleland's heroism during the siege of Khe Sanh (for which
he was awarded the Silver Star), and how Cleland was
catastrophically wounded. Bivens provides weblinks to his research,
including a true account of Cleland's wounding from none other than
his Battalion XO, Maury Cralle of the 2d/12 Cavalry Battalion 1st
Air Cavalry Division during the assault on Khe Sanh. It is available
and is entitled
The True Story of Max Cleland's Vietnam Injuries - A BuzzFlash
Fortunately, some journalists care about ethics.
Your article received widespread criticism and condemnation as an
outrage. CNN Capital Gang panelist Al Hunt named you and your
malevolent piece as "Outrage of the Week" on the February 14th
program. Mr. Hunt rightfully designated you as a "Republican hit
criticized the Heritage Foundation for posting your trash on
Some "Points of Light" for Ann Coulter:
Point 1: None - can't do it. The Mother of
All Floodlights is required. Tragically, I don't know where this
device -- the Mother of All Floodlights - is located.
Even so, Ms. Coulter, viciousness such as yours reveals it will take
at least several lifetimes for you to evolve to minimal competency
in the departments of grace, empathy, intelligence, and class.
Show some "respect"? I can't request this of you, can I?
You don't even know the meaning of the word.
©2004 Maureen Griswold