In a post-election column Molly Ivins suggested that John Kerry should have forcefully confronted his Swift Boat critics to bolster his campaign. I guess Molly was so obsessed with trashing Bush & Co. that she never noticed what a hole Kerry had dug for himself. His quandary was trying to play war hero while not daring to open his service records to discussion.
His career is marked by a checkered trail of highly questionable actions: A controversial mini-tour of action in the Viet Nam war, publicly defaming his Vietnam comrades in arms, scandalous consorting with Hanoi Jane in the 1970's, and continuing on into the 1980's with support for Latin American communist rebels (while in the U.S. Senate) was bad enough, but there was an even more significant problem. Kerry held clandestine wartime (1970 & 1971) meetings with North Vietnamese agents in Paris, a violation of his duty as a Naval Reserve office with top secret clearance.
When the Navy found out about the meetings in 1971 they stripped Kerry of his security clearance and placed him on their "not to be trusted" list. He might have been charged at that time under the 14th amendment proscription against giving aid and comfort to the enemy, but a request to prosecute was quashed by President Nixon, who didn't want an additional, and prominent, complication to his mounting Vietnam war difficulties.
In the early 1980's Kerry turned to Massachusetts politics -- law enforcement, Governor, U. S. Senator, and Democratic nominee for President. Kerry's well-covered anti-war activism had been widely cussed and discussed since the '70's, but his role as a self-appointed negotiator between the U. S. and the Vietnamese had received relatively little notice. Viewed by his critics as being in concert with the Communist North Vietnamese party line, it surfaced with increasing vigor toward the end of the presidential campaign, following disclosure of Viet Cong documents captured in 1971 that cite assistance and guidance from the Viet Cong to the U. S. antiwar movements.
Publicly challenging the Swift Boaters would have brought this conflict out in the open. Kerry's solution was to sequester his military records, avoid discussion of such serious issues, and coast through the campaign on the free ride afforded him by the friendly liberal media.
Given the election result, the issue is moot. However, a recent development will be interesting to follow. The Federalist Patriot organizationhas submitted a petition to the government to prosecute John Kerry for " 'giving aid and comfort to the enemy' and to disqualify him for national office," based on the activities discussed above.
Isn't it ironic how the "sins of one's youth" come back to haunt us? No, Molly, Kerry could not have publicly argued with his Swift Boat comrades without having to face the charge of traitor, and this country is not ready to elect a man who commits treason, regardless of any other considerations that might obtain.
Kerry's collusion with the Vietnamese was a self-planted land mine set to blow him out of contention, and it may well do it yet. We can only watch the proceedings like the bemused Hamlet, who, anticipating revenge on the uncle who had murdered his father, said ". . . t'is the sport to have the engineer hoist with his own petard."
Federalist Patriots: http://www.federalistpatriot.us/current
Petition to Charge Kerry: http://www.patriotpetitions.us/kerry