(The thing is when Kerry said this I wonder how many people nodded their heads recognizing the truth of the statement in its essence, that its not that our military, and dead/maimed soldiers as a result of the Iraq War, are mostly uneducated, it is that they mostly come from the economically disadvantaged. In that fact, what Kerry said to the college students rang true... even if he is now backing off. Of course all of them republicans and conservative pundits must have many children fighting in Iraq? Highly recommended: out on DVD The Ground Truth a documentary about soldiers, before, during and after their Iraq War service, through the statements and experiences of the soldiers. Lets see them dismiss these realities...)
The Kerry apology: Democrats cower before Bush and military
By Patrick Martin
World Socialist Web Site
John Kerry is guilty of the most fatal of blunders for an American bourgeois politician: speaking the truth inadvertently. Worst of all, his momentary lapse from conventional lying brought him into conflict with the military, the most powerful institution in contemporary America and the one that, above all others, cannot be criticized.
Kerry’s now-famous remark, at a Monday rally at Pasadena City College in southern California, resembles nothing so much as the mistaken truth-telling by Michigan Governor George Romney in 1967, when he was gearing up for a campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Romney described a tour of Vietnam put on for him by the Pentagon as an exercise in “brainwashing,” a remark that, because it was so apt, destroyed his political career.
It is now well established that Kerry’s comments were a somewhat labored attempt at a joke at the expense of President Bush. According to the script prepared by his political handlers, the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate was to tell the students, “I can’t overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush.”
Instead, he mangled the line, omitting the word “us” and the final reference to Bush. The comment emerged from Kerry’s mouth as a suggestion that soldiers in Iraq were recruited from among those who did not perform well in school: “Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”
What ensued was a predictable piling on by Republican spokesmen, from the White House on down, with the bulk of the American media joining in. White House Press Secretary Tony Snow took 31 questions on the Kerry comment at his Wednesday press briefing, and both Bush and Cheney rushed to denounce Kerry before friendly media interviewers. Bush was interviewed on the “Rush Limbaugh Show” Wednesday and endorsed the right-wing talk show host’s assertion that Kerry viewed US troops as “basically uneducated rubes.”
Republican Senator John McCain appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program to demand an apology from Kerry and defend the supposedly injured reputation of American soldiers. “They are not there because of academic deficiency, they are there because of love for our country,” McCain claimed.
Kerry’s initial response to such diatribes was to declare that he would not be “Swift-boated” again, a reference to his passive response to Republican smear tactics during the decisive weeks of the 2004 presidential campaign. “They’re trying to change the subject,” he declared at a press conference. “It’s their campaign of smear and fear,” he added, “This is Swift boat stuff all over again.”
Within 24 hours, however, Kerry had changed his tune, making a verbal apology on the Don Imus radio program Wednesday, then issuing a written apology that declared: “As a combat veteran, I want to make it clear to anyone in uniform and to their loved ones: my poorly stated joke at a rally was not about, and never intended to refer to any troops. I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform and I personally apologize to any service member, family member or American who was offended.”
Behind the apology was a near-universal disowning of Kerry by his fellow Democrats, particularly those running in closely contested Senate and House races. Three Democratic House candidates canceled Kerry appearances on their behalf, and Kerry then canceled his entire campaign schedule and returned home.
Congressman Harold Ford, the Democratic candidate for an open US Senate seat in Tennessee, declared, “Whatever the intent, Senator Kerry was wrong to say what he said,” adding, “He needs to apologize to our troops.”
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