From a reader:
I enjoyed your logical and persuasive freedom of speech article. I served in the US Army for 21 years and in combat areas in both the Korean and Vietnam wars, and believe I have a right to comment on military matters JUST AS ANY OTHER AMERICAN CITIZEN HAS A RIGHT TO COMMENT ON MILITARY MATTERS, BY REASON OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES. My rights do not exceed your rights so long as what we each say is true.
I object to Kerry’s lies about his Vietnam service. I know they are lies because of internal contradictions, because of the testimony of reasonable and valid observers, and because of Kerry’s unfortunate tendency to lie about all things greaet and small. It matters particularly to me as a Vietnam veteran that, after becoming eligible for the draft and into the Army, Kerry applied for a one year extension so he could, as he put it, goof off in Paris. When it was refused, Kerry volunteered for the Navy, knowing the likelyhood of combat service there was much less than in the Army. He was also seeking to bolster his political future.
Kerry volunteered for Swiftboats at a time when they were a coastal service, running up and down the coast, and shooting up unarmed sampans. He has said, “I didn’t want any part of the war.” When the duty changed, according to his fellow swiftboaters, Kerry, variously, acted like a maniac shooting up innocent people and burning villages. When actual combat happened, he fled the scene.
After the way he maligned each of us who served in Vietnam for his own political advancement in — God help them — a state given over to liars and peacenicks like Ted Kennedy. He introduced the subject of Vietnam service into the campaign because he thought he could hammer Bush with it. Bush, incidently, served honorably in the Air National Guard, flying missions over the USA to keep out Russian bombers. Kerry, by his own admission, was a war criminal.
So . . . you do have a right to speak about the war, about people’s conduct in the war, and about anything else you damned well want to — so long as you tell the truth (a condition which would keep you out of the Democrat party and the main line media, by the way).