Dole Questions Kerry’s Vietnam Wounds
Former Republican Sen. Bob Dole suggested Sunday that John Kerry apologize for past testimony before Congress about alleged atrocities during the Vietnam War and joined critics of the Democratic presidential candidate who say he received an early exit from combat for “superficial wounds.” Dole also called on Kerry to release all the records of his service in Vietnam.
Dole told CNN’s “Late Edition” that he warned Kerry months ago about going “too far” and that the Democrat may have himself to blame for the current situation, in which polls show him losing support among veterans. “One day he’s saying that we were shooting civilians, cutting off their ears, cutting off their heads, throwing away his medals or his ribbons,” Dole said. “The next day he’s standing there, ‘I want to be president because I’m a Vietnam veteran.’ Maybe he should apologize to all the other 2.5 million veterans who served. He wasn’t the only one in Vietnam,” said Dole, whose World War II wounds left him without the use of his right arm.
Dole added: “And here’s, you know, a good guy, a good friend. I respect his record. But three Purple Hearts and never bled that I know of. I mean, they’re all superficial wounds. Three Purple Hearts and you’re out.”
Kerry campaign spokesman Chad Clanton said: “It’s unfortunate that Senator Dole is making statements that official U.S. Navy records prove false. This is partisan politics, not the truth.”
Wow. I invoked Dole’s name yesterday, noting the contrast between the severity of injuries that a Purple Heart can cover, but didn’t expect he’d come out with something like this. I don’t doubt that the sentiment is geniune, however. I don’t think Dole mentioned his World War II service nearly as often in 1996 as Kerry has so far. The resentment of some veterans is quite palpable.