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John Kerry Not Too Eager to Serve in Armed Forces

By J. Grant Swank, Jr.
Mar 11, 2004, 12:01 EST

The way Senator John F. Kerry tells it, he was jumping to the recruiting station to serve America in Vietnam. Not so.According to Charles Laurence of New York, Kerry wanted time to go to Paris before doing anything armed services like. Yes. Paris. He "tried to defer his military service for a year." That's what an old Harvard publication states.

"He wrote to his local recruitment board seeking permission to spend a further 12 months studying in Paris, after completing his degree course in the mid-1960s," Laurence explains.Now all the while Kerry has been pooh-poohing United States President George W. Bush's service in the Texas National Guard, making it to be that Mr. Bush went that route so he wouldn't have to see Vietnam.

"John Kerry: A Navy Dove Runs for Congress" is the headline of the Harvard Crimson newspaper piece. "When he approached his draft board for permission to study for a year in Paris, the draft board refused and Kerry decided to enlist in the Navy." Samuel Godhaber wrote the article. He keeps to the details, he relates today. "It was a long time ago, and I was 19 at the time, so it is hard to remember every detail. But I do know this: at no point did Kerry contact either me or the Crimson to dispute anything I had written."

Republicans are reporting to media that this in Kerry's past cuts through his wrangling about Mr. Bush. Further, it makes one wonder all the more about his "credibility among ordinary Vietnam veterans." Kerry enjoyed the media limelight back then when heading war-protests in the 60's and early 70's. While others were dying in Vietnam, Kerry returned to America to undercut their sacrifices.With this new revelation, there are those questioning the Democratic Party's apparent rewrite of Kerry's history. The way they tell it is that Kerry signed up for the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Harvard because he was so anxious to serve his country. He then set sail under the Navy banner, ready to give his life in combat upon his 1966 graduation.

Kerry broadcasts his receiving a "purple heart" medal for three wounds, getting him honorably discharged. In addition he got a gallantry medal for being gunboat captain on the Mekong Delta. Democrats like to underline that Kerry is more commendable than Mr. Bush, the latter copping out of overseas duty by joining the Guard. That obviously says what the Democrats think of those who sign up and serve well in the National Guard. May the Guardsmen and women remember that when it comes to November.

Now back to Kerry's wounds - three of them - which yield him present-tense applause meter high rating. Lucianne Goldberg, a well-known Republican campaigner, says that she and others find "that he had only one day off sick - with three wounds? What exactly were these wounds?"

Makes one wonder - on all counts.