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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Finding Honor and Fault in Kerry's Past

August 09, 2004

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has called for the Bush administration to condemn the anti-Kerry ads that question the Democrat's military service ("McCain Decries Ad, Vouches for Kerry," Aug. 6). Apparently, some veterans in a Swift boat group who were not part of his crew are saying Sen. John F. Kerry lied about his heroics. As the coverage in the media picks apart the minutiae of who-did-what-when, a very important truth is missed: Everybody who served in Vietnam was doing life-or-death service for this country.

Debate over details 35 years old is about as reliable as discussions of the size of the fish that got away.

The measure of Bronze and Silver stars is exact, and if the commander in chief will not stand by his heroes and defend their honor against defamation, what does that say about him?

Susan diRende

Los Angeles

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Let me see if I have this right. As far as I can tell the reasons Kerry offers for people to vote for him are that he served in Vietnam for four months on a Swift boat 35 years ago; he promised at the convention to do exactly the opposite of what he's done for 19 years in the Senate (i.e. this time he'll cut taxes, increase funding for the CIA and provide our troops with the weapons they need to defend themselves); he'll fight the war against terrorism by doing everything Bush is doing but he'll talk nicer to the French.

I could be wrong but it really doesn't seem like even Kerry himself has offered any substantial reason to vote for him.

Evan Sayet

Canoga Park

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Re "Kerry's Three-Faced Foreign Policy," Commentary, Aug. 5: Oh no, not another "facts, who needs the facts?" piece from Max Boot. President Bush was not "criticized for misleading us into the war" by Kerry at the Democratic convention. Kerry said, "I will not mislead us into war." Boot says that Kerry "obviously would not support military action unless the U.S. suffered a major attack.... " Pure conjecture. And Boot says Kerry "consistently voted against defense spending." Ever hear that the Cold War ended? Most senators voted to reduce and/or reconfigure military spending after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In fact, Kerry has voted in favor of trillions in defense spending.

Lastly, many Americans and others felt that the 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada was a handy way for President Reagan to divert attention from the deaths of Marines in Lebanon only days prior. Kerry wasn't even in office at the time, of course.

Saul Davis

Studio City

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Thank you for printing "Kerry's Three-Faced Foreign Policy" by Max Boot. It was one of the first articles I have read in The Times lately that actually presented a realistic look at the man so many are foolishly considering entrusting our country to. In fact, why haven't I seen anything critical in your paper about the fact that Kerry lugged around a camera while in Vietnam so that he could capture proof of himself participating in the war? It's as if The Times does not want its readership to even know about that.

And no mention of his secret plan for winning the war? What is it, Kerry? Surely if it's such a great plan, wouldn't you want to save more American soldiers' lives by rolling it out right now? Oh, not until you're president, I see. Self-serving once again. I don't understand why The Times does not present his record as a senator as an example of what to expect from him in the future. I expect more from The Times, not just the sugarcoated, meaningless babble I have read in the past month, with the exception of Boot's commentary.

Sunana Batra

Beverly Hills

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I think you are being very unfair in putting "Musicians Banding Together to Beat Bush" (Aug. 5) on the front page while you relegate an equally relevant story, "Veterans Attack Kerry on Medals, War Record," (Aug. 5) to Page 20.

Both stories are of equal importance and should be placed in equal positions so readers are likely to see both. The war veterans have just as much to say as the musicians.

Michael Cowan

Los Angeles

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