John Kerry, The Anti-War Antihero

The venerable Associated Press would not wish itself to be seen as a silly institution of stenographers, forwarding whatever hilarious charges politicians can concoct. But then how do you explain their Sunday report that John Kerry sent a letter to President George W. Bush, accusing him of using the painful topic of Vietnam for his 'personal political gain'?

Will someone please cue the laugh track, and a full orchestra playing the "Looney Tunes" theme song? Is there anyone in presidential politics who's tried to use his Vietnam experience for political gain more than John Forbes Kerry? Is there no end to Kerry fending off every examination of his decades-long contempt for seemingly each and every new weapon in the American arsenal by suggesting, as AP reported, that Republicans who didn't serve in Vietnam are fighting a war against war heroes like him?

When liberal journalists are asked why the American people were subjected to three weeks of "news" about Bush's honorable National Guard record, they quickly respond that Bush brought it on himself by landing a plane and walking around in a flight suit on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln.

If that is a provocation for three weeks of intense scrutiny (not to mention wild "AWOL" hearsay to boot), then what about Kerry? For weeks, he's marched from state to state with a phalanx of Vietnam veterans suggesting he, not Bush, knows something about veterans and about fighting for his country. And yet, he's also the one who returned home to America and wrote vicious books and gave vicious testimony before the United States Senate defaming his fellow American soldiers as raping, slaughtering beasts.

Investigative reporter Marc Morano of unearthed a copy of Kerry's 1971 book "The New Soldier," in which Kerry proclaimed "We were sent to Vietnam to kill Communism. But we found instead that we were killing women and children." He also wrote, "in the process we created a nation of refugees, bomb craters, amputees, orphans, widows and prostitutes, and we gave new meaning to the words of the Roman historian Tacitus: 'Where they made a desert they called it peace.'"

That's on top of his Senate testimony, in which Kerry claimed - without citing any evidence - that on a daily basis, and with the assent of their superiors, soldiers "raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies [sic], randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside" of South Vietnam.

Where, oh where, is our truth-loving press now?

The truth is the media only want Kerry portrayed as a war hero, and not as an anti-war antihero. The dictionary defines antihero as a character in a story who is characterized by a lack of heroic qualities, such as idealism and courage. Kerry's anti-war record suggests not high idealism, but crass calculation. It takes courage to come home and fight against the slander of your fellow soldiers in a hostile political environment. He did not use courage. Instead, he cynically led a radical America-hating parade of protest, and let his Vietcong-loving protester buddies use him for sport. The clean-cut soldier changed teams to build a political career in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.

The media are letting Kerry redefine the story in the most positive light, and the truth be damned. On CNN's "Inside Politics" February 19, Judy Woodruff asked vaguely about how some veterans "are saying, in effect, you were accusing American troops of war crimes." He brazenly denied - no, let's just say it, he lied about - what's on the public record. "I never said that. I've always fought for the soldiers." Instead of pressing further, instead of challenging this dishonesty, instead of showing viewers a clip or snippet of Kerry's actual remarks, Woodruff quietly witnessed this lie, and in a moment of blatant favoritism or sheer ignorance, responded by changing the subject. How about that John Edwards?

Ronald Reagan never had to dodge bullets in a combat zone. But he called fighting communism in Vietnam a "noble cause," and in 1980, that was considered a grave political gaffe. In 2004, after decades of communist dictatorship in Vietnam and the collapse of despotic communism in most of the world, shouldn't Kerry's radical-left trashing of that war be today's grave political gaffe? After three weeks of sleazy "AWOL" heavy breathing after Bush, if the media fail to spend three weeks delving into John Kerry's half of the Vietnam war, then they cannot be defended as having the slightest care for fairness, balance, or the truth.