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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Weighing Relevance of Candidates' Pasts

September 01, 2004

Michael Ramirez's Aug. 29 cartoon is a contemptible distortion of John Kerry's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971. It's one thing for Ramirez to be provocative, but it is quite another for him to use his talents to misrepresent the truth of the matter.

I do, however, want to convey to the paper's editors my appreciation of their willingness to address forthrightly, in Aug. 24 and Aug. 26 editorials, the deliberate distortions of Kerry's Vietnam service and his antiwar testimony. A breath of fresh air and an act of courage in the service of truth.

Gary Nagy

Gardena

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Re "George Bush's Secret War," Aug. 29: Michael Kinsley's smug commentary on President Bush's National Guard service is a cynical attempt at humor. It reveals the Democrat Party's desperation over their candidate's questionable service record. Kinsley and his ilk feel compelled to sling mud in an attempt to refocus the issue on Bush, who has already fully answered his critics regarding his military service record. Bush has publicly admitted that Kerry was in much greater danger than he was during their respective military duties.

That famous saying "One picture is worth a thousand words" is so apt when you see Ramirez's "The Not-So-Swift Commander" cartoon illustration of Kerry juxtaposed against Kinsley's piece.

Mike Bennett

Rowland Heights

*

The fact that "smear campaigns" exist seem to be directly attributed to the news media having lost sight of the fact that they should be asking the questions, probing the issues and bringing facts to the table.

I am also deeply troubled that questioning one's past, or bringing up past voting records, is considered a "smear." If the past is a prelude to the future, then it is so important that the past be understood, to be learned from, and it is a necessity if one is to have an intelligent assessment of how to vote in the future.

Barry Levy

Redondo Beach

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