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Military Service Does Not Equal Patriotism By: David Yeagley
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, March 10, 2004

John Kerry is campaigning for president with a very effective tool. We could call it the new American mascot—the U.S. military uniform. Sure, others have worn it before in political campaigns, General George Washington for starters. The military uniform nearly always stands for discipline, courage, and bravery, just like American Indian mascots do. Schools, colleges, and universities use Indian mascots and logos for that very reason. But it isn’t likely that American schools and colleges will ever use the image of a modern American military man as a mascot. There is too much political controversy over what he might represent, thanks to politicians. The fact of the matter is they are threatening to discredit the sacrificial, unselfish use of the military uniform.

Indian mascots never stood for confusion, uncertainty, or treachery. John Kerry has come to represent all three. Although he’s banking on his personal service in Vietnam, the fact is clear: the mere fact that a man once wore the uniform in no way proves he is above criticism. In fact, some genuine traitors have worn the uniform.


Sergeant Asan Akbar (Mark Fidel Kools), the American black Muslim convert, rolled a grenade into an officers tent over in Kuwait last Spring (2003), killing one officer and wounding 15 others. Now there’s a real patriot.


Remember John “Muhammad” Allen, another American black Muslim convert. Allen is also a Gulf War veteran, and was honorably discharged in 1994. He later decided he didn’t like America at all, and simply started shooting people on the street. Is there higher disgrace that could be rendered to the American military uniform? 


Then there’s James Yee, the Chinese American-turned Muslim, a West Point graduate who served as an Army chaplain in Guantanamo Bay. He was arrested on suspicion of espionage and treason in September 2003. His trial has yet to commence, and the accusations are multiplying. Of course, the mighty patriots of Harvard have rallied to his defense. “Pluralism,” they call it. That means they want to erase the historical concept of what it means to be an American. Why, Yee is the perfect patriot for them. 


The trend was recently renewed by Ken Nichols O’Keefe, the “former Marine, former American” who joined the peace movement, which tried to use human shields to block the U.S. military entry into Iraq. O’Keefe is a Gulf War veteran no less. He’s apparently declined heroics in Baghdad the second time around. 


Of course, we here in Oklahoma City already had that kind of surprise. Timothy McVeigh, the man executed for the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Federal Building on April 15, 1995, was an outstanding soldier in the U.S. Army. He won the Bronze Star in the Gulf War, 1991. He returned to America and blew up 168 civilians. A “fine” military man, that McVeigh. 


Indeed, wearing the American military uniform doesn’t guarantee the person wearing it loves America, understands America, or is even interested in defending America. That should be quite clear by now.


That people like John Kerry should think to conjure up images of genuine American patriotism by publicizing a very dubious military record and subsequent political activism is a sign of leftist  delusion. The Left always presumes the public is ignorant and treats the public as such. John Kerry won’t make it with such tactics.


Wesley Clark didn’t get too far with his uniform, either. Everyone knew he played the international bully for NATO when he bombed the daylights out of Yugoslavia, slaughtering thousands of Serbian civilians. Well, that was all Clinton’s draconian approach to the Balkans.


Using the military uniform to validate their personal political views is the most divisive thing politicians can do. It confuses everyone, and does the worst service to the military itself, and to all the men and women actively laying their lives on the line for America: it trades personal service to the military in return for personal vindication. 


Perhaps politicians who want to brandish their bravery ought to simply put on an Indian war bonnet when they speak. Indeed, the Indian warrior image has never been understood to mean anything but raw courage. 


It’s worked well for lots of colleges and universities. But, if the Left is determined to remove the Indian image from schools, then American politicians should never be allowed to sport their military uniform. Why, this is potentially harmful and demeaning to real military personnel. It is psychologically crippling to their morale and unity. 


The American military uniform doesn’t make a good mascot for politicians anymore. The Left has trashed it. 

Dr. David A. Yeagley is a published scholar, professionally recorded composer, and an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Liberal Studies. He's on the speakers list of Young America's Foundation. E-mail him at badeagle2000@yahoo.com. View his website at http://www.badeagle.com.

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