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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Spinning Tales About Kerry in Vietnam

August 30, 2004

Re "Shots Hit Kerry's Weak Spot," Commentary, Aug. 26: I have an alternative to Max Boot's theory as to why there is no media traction for the story about President Bush avoiding active service during the Vietnam War: because it is true.

People instinctively respond to stories that are new or that challenge what they have known to be fact for years.

What if a bite from a venomous spider turned you into a superhero instead of killing you? What if John Kerry fabricated the record of his service in Vietnam to win more medals? Those are great stories, just not true.

Who wants to hear yet again that the president spent the war years partying back home in Texas with other sons of privilege? How dull.

But what if the story went like this?: Bush is a steadfast warrior, courageously leading his loyal troops into battle shouting, "Bring it on" and "Mission accomplished." Now there's a movie.

Jonathan King

Venice

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Boot's column is almost a fair analysis except for the headline. In any case, what he didn't tie together or mention was the eventual extreme unpopularity of the Vietnam War, as mentioned in your editorial (Aug. 26), and the mistreatment received by the veterans when they did return.

I covered these kind of stories for a Long Island weekly newspaper, and I well remember the fierce arguments on both sides.

Apparently the "Swifties" have never resolved or accepted the unpopularity of the policy on Vietnam directing the war they fought and others died in.

Why haven't others, including Boot, pointed out the relationship between the Vietnam situation and current conditions in Iraq?

There are more similarities here than differences, and our people, and eventually our government, may reach the same conclusions. Both adventures were and are losers.

Anita C. Singer

Laguna Woods

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