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March 7, 2004
Kerry Not So Eager to Volunteer After All

John Kerry, who has made his volunteer service in Vietnam the centerpiece of his Presidental campaign 35 years later, apparently was not so eager to serve as he has led people to believe, the UK Telegraph reports:

Senator John Kerry, the presumed Democratic presidential candidate who is trading on his Vietnam war record to campaign against President George W Bush, tried to defer his military service for a year, according to a newly rediscovered article in a Harvard University newspaper. He wrote to his local recruitment board seeking permission to spend a further 12 months studying in Paris, after completing his degree course at Yale University in the mid-1960s.

The revelation appears to undercut Sen Kerry's carefully-cultivated image as a man who willingly served his country in a dangerous war - in supposed contrast to President Bush, who served in the Texas National Guard and thus avoided being sent to Vietnam.

Why does this matter, if Kerry served, which he did with distinction? The Telegraph notes this later in the same article:

A newly-published biography of Sen Kerry by Douglas Brinkley, A Tour of Duty, makes no mention of the requested deferment or planned year in Paris. At the time, it was still unclear just how long America would remain in Vietnam, and it might have seemed that a year's deferral of service could render enlistment unnecessary.

WorldNetDaily, in the meantime, has been mining the archives of the Boston Globe and found this information about Kerry's volunteerism as well (via the Yale Diva):

As a lieutenant junior grade, Kerry skippered a CTF-115 swift boat, a light, aluminum patrol vessel that bore a passing resemblance to PT-109. He thought he'd arranged to avoid combat.

"I didn't really want to get involved in the war," he later would tell the Boston Globe. "When I signed up for the swift boats, they had very little to do with the war. They were engaged in coastal patrolling, and that's what I thought I was going to do."

Does this diminish Kerry's actual service to his country? No, of course not. But it does point out a huge hypocrisy on Kerry's part and on the part of the Democrats who have slung all sorts of mud at George Bush's National Guard service (and Dan Quayle's, sixteen years ago). Far from being the eager volunteer, Kerry at first tried to get an exemption and then wangled an assignment that he thought would keep him out of the fighting.

It also points out a bit of hypocrisy on the part of the national media as well. Why did a British newspaper get the scoop on Kerry's attempt at a deferment to study in Paris, of all places? It's becoming very clear that the mainstream news media are not interested in challenging Kerry during this election cycle, and to such an extent that we will need to rely on foreign media sources to do it for us. Not a word of this appears in today's editions of the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, MS-NBC, or CNN. The managing editors of these media behemoths should be ashamed of themselves for headlining spurious charges of cowardice against Bush and failing to investigate Kerry's service in an equal, or even significant, manner.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 7, 2004 8:58 AM

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