Paul Krugman of The New York Times today zeroes in on the hypocrisy of "Rambo patriotism" and why the Bush campaign has employed the desperate and despicable tactics of smearing Kerry.

Yet his inner circle cannot afford to see him lose: if he does, the shroud of secrecy will be lifted, and the public will learn the truth about cooked intelligence, profiteering, politicization of homeland security and more. ...

All the credible evidence, from military records to the testimony of those who served with Mr. Kerry, confirms his wartime heroism. Why, then, are some veterans willing to join the smear campaign? Because they are angry about his later statements against the war. Yet making those statements was itself a heroic act - and what he said then rings truer than ever.

The young John Kerry spoke of leaders who sent others to their deaths because they wanted to seem tough, then "left all the casualties and retreated behind a pious shield of public rectitude." Fifteen months after George Bush strutted around in his flight suit, more and more Americans are echoing Gen. Anthony Zinni, who received a standing ovation from an audience of Marine and Navy officers when he talked about the debacle in Iraq and said of those who served in Vietnam: "We heard the garbage and the lies, and we saw the sacrifice. I ask you, is it happening again?"

On the same page, an op-ed piece by a woman who lost a father in Vietnam recounts the difficulties of finding out the truth amid the fog of war and concludes:

"So, then, what about John Kerry and the Swift boat crew?
Enough already. There are some things we'll never know. But
there are also some things that are beyond dispute - even
in the chaos of war. Mr. Kerry went. He served. Lucky for
him, he got to come home and raise his daughters."


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