The detractors may only be playing into his hands by focusing on what he did or did not do on the Mekong 35 years ago. The more telling point is that nothing he has done since then sustains the claim that he would be an effective leader in the war we face today — any more than George McGovern’s 35 combat missions in World War II, which won him the Distinguished Flying Cross, qualified him to lead us in the Cold War.
The Cold War also provides our best measuring stick for estimating how Kerry might perform as commander in chief, and in that conflict Kerry’s instincts were always awry. Had the country heeded his counsel, we might not yet have won it.
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