The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Reflections On Swift Boats and Slow Wits

Peter Urban, Irish Republican Socialist Party • 19 October 2004

Patrick Hurley is president of the Regular Republican Club, 30th Ad (Woodside-Maspeth) Queens, New York City, and a member of the Queens County Executive of the Republican Party. He is also an officer of the County Cork Association of New York, The Blanket tell us. Patrick Hurley also appears to be a delusional reactionary, but, perhaps the editors of The Blanket find such characteristics deeply charming. To each his or her own, I suppose.

While Patrick Hurley finds John Kerry's past deeply disturbing and considers George W. Bush's draft-dodging in the US National Guard to be an inspiring display of patriotism, I would like to suggest that both present US Presidential candidates are among the least appealing options given to the American people in very long time and that it is far past time for the voters in the US to say enough!

Perhaps the only thing in his life that he deserves to take pride in was John Kerry denunciation of the imperialist crimes of the United States during the Vietnam war. That war was a completely needless exercise in the spilling of innocent blood, and in speaking of "innocent blood" I refer, of course, to the blood of the Vietnamese people. There was no innocent blood spilled by Americans on the land of Vietnam. Each and every American who died or was wounded there did so as an agent of an imperialist regime bent on conquest and oppression. If they harboured feelings of guilt and doubt while there as a part of the US military, they clearly did so insufficiently. Sufficient guilt and doubt would have kept them from being there.

So, John Kerry's medals are not honours to be weighed in consideration of how one should cast their ballot in the upcoming American election, so far as I am able to see, but having said that, I have no doubt that they were actually earned in the manner Kerry has suggested. All objective sources seem clear on that point.

Likewise, I don't see George W. Bush's avoidance of serving in Vietnam as an issue upon which to make a decision as to how a ballot should be cast this November. Though the war thankfully ended before I reached the age of majority, as a lad in secondary school, I had resolved to spend time in prison rather than serve in Vietnam. Certainly time in the National Guard is not a great deal better or worse than the choice I made for myself--either kept one's hands clean of Vietnamese blood.

In stacking the two candidates by criteria that does matter, however, I find still little to distinguish one from the other. Both are extremely rich men, born in privilege, hopelessly out of touch with the needs and interests of working people. Both are supporters of US imperialism around the globe, prepared to violate the sovereignty of other nations to provide benefit to the multi-national corporations who control the governmental policy of America, who seek to dominate the world in their quest for more and more ill-gotten profits. Both will stand back and watch the environment raped and destroyed so that the Fortune 500 can enjoy an improved bottom line in the forthcoming quarterly report. Both will allow the children of America to be born in poverty, denied a quality education, be overwhelmed by a crushing national debt, lack access to basic medical care, slave away in poorly paid employment, and face declining years without the security of pensions or state assistance.

Patrick Hurley may believe their is much to become excited about in favour or in opposition to either Kerry or Bush, but I think both inspire the desire to turn away in disgust and dread.

I intend to do something about that. I will be voting for Leonard Peltier, the American Indian Movement activists imprisoned for the past three decades after being framed by the FBI in an attempt to undermine the struggle of Native Americans for justice. He'll be on the ballot in my home state of California on the Peace and Freedom Party slate, with Vice Presidential candidate Janice Jordan, who is a support of the Irish Republican Socialist Party. The Peace and Freedom Party doesn't have ballot status in all 50 states, but there are other alternative candidates for US President to be chosen from. Worker's World Party is running a candidate, as is the Socialist Workers Party, who can be voted for as write-ins, if their names don't appear on the ballot. Though I personally wouldn't vote for a candidate who was not a socialist, other Americans who refuse to be asked to choose between the evil of two lessors could also vote for Ralph Nader or the Green Party candidate, neither of whom has made their actions during the Vietnam War an issue for the electorate to consider, but both of whom are easily superior in their positions on issues impacting working people in the US to either Bush or Kerry.

If Patrick Hurley is correct, however, that it is important to consider the events during the Vietnam War in making a decision in the US Presidential election this year, then I have one additional suggestion to American voters; write in the name of Ho Chi Minh. He won't be elected and even if he was, he couldn't serve, since he's long been dead. Still, his conduct during the Vietnam War was, without question, something deserving praise, and he voting for him won't do a fraction of the harm to American working people that electing either John Kerry or George W. Bush will.





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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

21 October 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Think Tanks, Reunions and Medals
George Young

Tribute to George
Bernadette McAliskey

Aspects of British Propaganda during the War of Independence
Mags Glennon

Born Iron, Living Free
Marc Kerr

Arise Ye Bored and Read Again
Anthony McIntyre

Blame Orange Order But Buck Stops with British Crown
Father Sean Mc Manus

Capt. Kelly Campaign Update
Fionbarra O'Dochartaigh

None of the Above
Fred A. Wilcox

Reflections On Swift Boats and Slow Wits
Peter Urban

Street Seen, Making the Invisible Visible
Press Release

Paying Our Condolences in Salem
Daphne Banai

The Israeli Invasion of North Gaza
Jennifer Loewenstein

15 October 2004

Intimidation Continues in Rathenraw
Anthony McIntyre

Mick Hall

Choosing the Green
Liam O Ruairc

Anti-Racism Network Rally
ARN Steering Committee

A Coversation with Gerry Adams
Paul de Rooij



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