DATE: 5/04/2004 08:28:00 AM
Veterans Speak Out - The veteran who debated John Kerry 30 years ago about the Vietnam War has decided to re-enter the public fray with an editorial in the Wall Street Journal. In the editorial, John O'Neill says John Kerry is unfit to be commander-in-chief. Kerry's campaign will obviously go insane over such statements, and cry about having their candidate's patriotism slandered once again by the 'Republican Attack Machine,' but this was bound to happen when Kerry made the decision to make his Vietnam service the central focus of his campaign.
The sudden focus on Vietnam during this war is yet another example of the total self-absorption of the elite boomers. Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Ted Koppel - their backwards-looking nostalgia trips blind them to the fact that this war is not Vietnam, these times are not analogous to the tumult of the late 60s and early 70s. When Kennedy fulminates that this war is "Bush's Vietnam," I don't see a wise older statesman making a historical analogy, I see a confused old man who doesn't understand these times trying to fit current events into a mental template formed in his youth. When Koppel reads the name of the Iraq war dead, I don't see a broadcaster making a tribute to fallen soldiers, I see a television journalist stealing ideas from print media to get big ratings during sweeps week.
Maybe I'm too cynical. That could be argued. What I really am, though, is tired. I'm tired of the elitism of the previous generation and their stubborn refusal to grow out of the ideas formed in their youth. The Kennedys, Kerrys and Koppels are turning into caricatures that resemble Dana Carvey's grumpy old man. Bringing up Vietnam is their equivalent of 'in my day...' Needless to say, things aren't the same and it's long past time for them to get a new line, or get out of the way of those who do understand the times we're in and who lead based on current events, and not old memories.