I had planned to write a more general critique of John Kerry and his ideas, but it's been done to death, and I've written about all of it before. There's one more aspect I'd like to address, however.
I apologize that this post isn't more explicitly "Catholic," in that it's about Kerry's character, and my judgment is subjective. On issues that touch on matters of Catholic doctrine, I will simply say that Kerry is manifestly, enthusiastically for the wrong side. If you are Catholic and voting for Kerry, you are voting to perpetuate or create very real evils, which are not counterbalanced by any goods that outweigh them.
The week before last, I visited Luke, a friend from my reserve unit, who was at Bethesda Naval Hospital. I went with my "war buddy" Camilo, with whom I spent many long, dusty hours in the back of a humvee.
Camilo and I had been targeted by mortars, cannons, machine guns, and sniper fire, but we escaped without a scratch. Luke wasn't so lucky. When the unit deployed last summer (minus Camilo and me), he was only there for a few days before he saw trouble. His humvee's gunner, positioned on top of the vehicle, saw a man who was loitering around their convoy start to run away at breakneck speed. The gunner, knowing the guy was up to no good, swung around to engage him.
The man detonated a homemade mine, the force of which exploded into the engine compartment and rushed into the driver's position, where Luke was. A bunch of insurgents started popping off rounds at the convoy, and the Marines started firing everything they had in their direction.
Meanwhile, Luke was trying to get his bloody body out of the vehicle. Kevin, another member of my original civil affairs team, ran to help him. He applied first aid to his mangled legs. Eventually, the insurgents ran off -- knowing from experience that a real battle with Marines would ensure their deaths -- and the convoy rushed back to the base.
Luke was stabilized and evacuated, and made it back to the States within a few days. The doctors did their best, but had to amputate the bottom part of one leg below the knee. On his other foot, he lost two or three toes (I can't remember how many). Also, he had lost most of his hearing in his right ear from the explosion, but because the doctors were focused on saving his limb, they hadn't had time to treat his ear properly.
Yet when Camilo and I visited Luke, he wasn't negative at all. He was looking forward to moving to a rehabilitation facility, where he could more easily see his wife and sons. The next week, he would be fitted for a prosthetic foot, and eventually he would walk again.
Luke talked about his future: he had been a cop, and thought he might stay in law enforcement in some way. He had a contact at the FBI, who was eager to interview him. He said that he could probably stay in the reserves, because all he needed to do is pass the physical fitness test, but because of the career change and his family, he thought he might get out.
"I mean, I'm pretty sure nobody would blame me for leaving," he said. "I kinda feel like I've done my part, you know?" I looked at him to make sure he was serious. He was.
The three of us chatted for a little while longer, and then Camilo had to get back to work (I was between jobs that week). We shook hands, wished him well, and left the room. I looked at the doors as we went down the hallway, and noticed that most of them had Purple Hearts taped underneath the patients' names.
Camilo and I ate a late lunch, talking about many things, including, of course, the vagaries of fate. He and I had wives and kids, just like Luke; why him, and not us?
I drove Camilo back to his office. On the way to my house, I started to replay Luke's words, but kept coming back to what he said about leaving the Marines. My mind started thinking the same thing, over and over —
He had almost half his leg blown off and lost half his hearing, yet he was only "pretty sure" he had done his part.
Since I was driving, I had to keep wiping tears out of my eyes so I could see. I didn't pity Luke, and even if I did, he wouldn't have wanted it. He was quite happy to be alive. In my swirl of emotions, the overriding one was anger toward the war's opponents.
Well, that's not exactly true. For the few opponents who have stayed calm and rational, and laid out their reasons for objecting to the war, I hold nothing against them. This group of people does, after all, include the Holy Father, and although I disagree with them, I respect their opinions.
Most public opponents are, however, providing moral support to the kinds of thugs and murderers who blow up good men (and women, and children). They probably, somewhere in the back of their minds, know that the rest of the world is watching and listening, but they don't care. To them, the war is wrong, and George Bush is evil. To stop both the war and the president, any verbal attack is justified, even if their words are broadcast to the lairs of our enemies, encouraging them to think that if they can just behead a few more innocent contractors, and blow up a few more humvees, they can drive the Great Satan back to his shores.
That vicious, petty men like Michael Moore are not silenced by the Left is sure proof of my point. Not every liberal hates America, but if you hate America, you have a ready-made home on the Left. And these days, no left-winger will tell you to shut up for making a mockery of their ideology, much less ask you to be more responsible when voicing objections, lest the enemy be encouraged.
You'd think that the Democrats' nomination of a decorated war veteran would make them reign in their worst tendencies, but it hasn't. As the race has tightened, Senator Kerry has reached the point where his rejection of the Iraq War — and by implication, any military action except to hunt down bin Laden and bin Laden alone — is identical to the Loony Left's.
Kerry didn't invent the scurrilous tactics of the Left, but he was under no obligation to ape them. He did that of his own accord. He's smart enough to know that the whole "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time" stuff has to warm the hearts of America's enemies. (Those would be the same people who are bombing and shooting Americans, and beheading civilians.) He just doesn't seem to care.
I call that a betrayal. Kerry also came home and called his fellow veterans war criminals in front of a national audience, though he has never documented one single war crime he ever witnessed himself. I'd call that a betrayal, too. In fact, I'd say that he betrayed his men when he made sure he got three Purple Hearts and a ticket home from Vietnam. What kind of commander leaves his own men exposed to danger, while he goes to a cushy desk job in the U.S.?
Yet even if Kerry loses, something like fifty million people will vote for him. They don't care that he's adopted the substance and rhetoric of the clown-turd Moore. (Who, incidently, is ecstatic that Osama is plagiarizing him, too.)
It's fair to say that if Kerry wins today, it's a rejection of the Iraq War. Then Luke's sacrifices, as well as my tiny sacrifices, will be cast aside as trash. That's why I take this so personally, and am incapable of being objective. To the marrow of my bones, I do not think that John Forbes Kerry has the moral qualifications to command Luke or the thousands of honorable men like him.
I don't want to hear anything about "supporting the troops" if you believe any of that left-wing crap about blood-for-oil or Halliburton. If you want to support the troops, demand victory. Our cause is just, and the outcome, if followed to its conclusion, will be a more just world. Not a perfect one, but a marked improvement.
If you oppose the war — any war — you have a duty to do it in such a way that it doesn't make the situation worse. Can we all agree on that? You also have a duty to police your side of the fence, and make sure that people who share your opinions aren't rooting for the other side, or recklessly giving hope to evil men. If you don't do that, you sin against justice, along with the rest of that shameful rabble.