Kerry’s war didn’t end in the Mekong

Tarred as a flip-flopper by Bush, he hasn’t wavered since Vietnam

Sidney Blumenthal

Thursday July 22, 2004

The Guardian

John Kerry’s political education is far deeper than that of senators who have merely legislated. He has journeyed to the heart of darkness many times and emerged to tell the tale. It was not simply that Kerry’s commander in Vietnam was the model of the blood-thirsty bombastic colonel in Apocalypse Now. Kerry’s combat experience didn’t end in the Mekong, but moved into the dangerous realm of high politics. From his first appearance on the public stage, giving voice as a decorated officer to the anti-war disillusionment of Vietnam veterans, when Richard Nixon and his dirty-tricks crew targeted him, he has uncovered cancers on the presidency. This is why the Bush administration fears him. He has explored the dark recesses of contemporary history, often without political reward. Tarred as a “flip flopper” by Bush’s $85m TV ad campaign, Kerry in fact is one of the most consistent politicians of his generation.

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