In the fog of blogging, I forget who said it, but one pundit noted last week that the minute John F. Kerry took the microphone in Fleet Center in Boston said, “I’m John Kerry and I’m reporting for duty,” Kerry had shot himself in the foot.
It was a bad way to start the campaign because it gave the impression he was running on the record you a young man who reached his apogee during the Vietnam war. It also made his service in Vietnam, heretofore something his opponents touched at their peril, a legitimate subject of inquiry.
By making his sympathetic band of brothers the centerpiece of his convention appearance, he opened the door for a competing band of brothers, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who claim that Kerry has not presented his wartime leadership truthfully.
For voters, the problem is that we don’t know which of the battling band of brothers to believe. In the fog of war, it’s often difficult to come up with a narrative of what really happened on the battlefield. This is a theme that fascinated Tolstoy — his theorizing on this weighty matter added a few pounds to “War and Peace.”
That said, the damning testimony of one vet deserves scrutiny: that vet is John Kerry. Read the Wall Street Journal today on the part of Kerry’s story that he has already been forced to retract. Does it matter? If so why?