Jeffrey Smith, a former CIA lawyer and West Point graduate, asks in a Washington Post op-ed piece whether Bush missed the lessons many learned in Vietnam.

It's possible, too, that the limited intelligence of our deserter-in chief simply cannot comprehend anything outside of his hard-wired indoctrination.

Smith acknowledges he was angry at Kerry's comments criticizing the war in 1971, but realizes they were not anti-American.

[T]he returning veterans who spoke out against the war were not, for the most part, criticizing their fellow soldiers. They were engaging in a higher act of patriotism, namely raising their voices to point out the madness of our policy. It takes a special courage to speak out against a cause for which you were once prepared to die -- a cause that, as a combat leader, you asked others to be prepared to die for. Kerry has that kind of courage. Does Bush? ...

The debates of 1971 have echoes in our current one. We have gotten deeply involved in a region that we do not understand, and we have unleashed forces we cannot control. We must have a president who can recognize our strengths and our shortcomings, who will ask hard questions and who will challenge advice, even intelligence information that is presented to him. Did Bush ask those hard questions before making the decision to send our forces to war?

In 1971 Kerry recognized that we needed to change our policy. In 2004 he recognizes the need to change our policy. That is the issue. Who is better equipped to lead us: Bush, who rigidly insists that he is right, or Kerry, who has charted a new direction?"

Given a choice between the rhetoric of a reactionary right-wing extremist ideologue and draft dodger such as Bush and the understanding of nuance from an analyst, the prudent words are clear.


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