W9WI.com - My Rant
Let's give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume they were qualified to make that statement - and that everything they say is true. (there is evidence it isn't: "And on Aug. 19, Navy records came to light also contradicting the accusers. One of the veterans who says Kerry wasn't under fire was himself awarded a Bronze Star for aiding others "in the face of enemy fire" during the same incident.")
Let's also give the President the benefit of the doubt and assume everything he claims about his military service is true. (again, there is evidence it isn't: "Questions about Bush's record predate the current campaign. The apparent gap in his Guard service first surfaced before the 2000 election, when The Boston Globe reported that Texas Guard commanders were unable to account for Bush's whereabouts from May 1972 to April 1973.")
The Swift Boat Veterans acknowledge Kerry was present in Vietnam. They don't allege that he failed to fulfill his duty. They (by applying for their own medals) confirm that combat existed in that area, that even if Kerry didn't come under fire, he was in a place where enemy fire was definitely possible.
Meantime, where was W? In Texas (and presumably, Alabama) serving in the National Guard.
Now, there's nothing wrong with the National Guard. The institution has a long record of invaluable service in national disasters. This service often includes considerable risk to servicemembers' safety. However, the chances of a Guardsman seeing combat in Texas were pretty darned slim.
Assuming both the Swift Boat Veterans, and the Bush campaign, are telling the truth... both candidates fulfilled their obligation in armed service to the United States. And it's pretty obvious which one has more military experience. (hint: not the incumbent!)
We hire and train one of the most professional militaries in the world. These people have carefully studied what force can accomplish and how much force is necessary to achieve a desired goal. With the possible exceptions of Colin Powell, Dwight Eisenhower, and Wesley Clark, few recent candidates have risen to the top ranks of the military.
Certainly no current Presidential candidate is qualified to directly command the military. Both need to seek the advice of our professional officers.
(obviously Bush has failed on this account, judging from the Iraq situation...)
My point is, that past military service by a Presidential candidate really doesn't matter. What matters is the intelligence to know when to ask those who do have military experience, and to accept the advice given.
© D. Smith W9WI 2009