Tuesday, February 24, 2004

By the way.

Given the recent kerfluffle over who did what during the Vietnam War, I thought I'd post a thought.

I would urge folks to use the word "hero" sparingly and would urge them to consider exactly what they mean. I will list a few political war heroes as examples and then say what is usually pointed to as their heroism.

Max Cleland, John Kerry, John McCain, Bob Kerrey, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole

MC, JK, BK, and BD are usually considered heroes because they suffered grave wounds.
GHWB and JM survived plane crashes and JM was held prisoner for several years and tortured.

Now, I have no idea how I would react in combat. I know that I don't want to find out and I'm against others finding out. Still, I'm fairly sure that I am capable of 1) being wounded 2) crashing an airplane 3) being held prisoner and 4) being tortured.

I don't think there is any way to standardize the definition of a hero, but I suspect that the things I just listed aren't what people have in mind when they use the word. The fellows mentioned above may well be heroes (indeed, I have read of things that several of them did which qualify them as heroes in some ways for me), but surely not for what I just mentioned.

My point? Ann Coulter apparently made hay of the fact that Cleland lost his three limbs in a bizzare accident, rather than in a Sgt. Rock charge, and is therefore not really a hero. I don't see how it deflects her shit to reply that simply being injured is all it takes. It would be better to simply point out that that's not why you consider the man a hero (assuming you do). And then heroically turn her over to the nice people from the insane asylum.

Another, related point. I know this plays well with lots of folks, but I do hope Kerry's supporters avoid making too big a deal about his time in Vietnam. It certainly doesn't get me fired up, since every time I hear about it I think of all the folks he "heroically" helped to kill in the course of a war he called a "mistake".

(Don't try to say your sorry. Don't say he drew his gun. . . )


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