Raymond S Kraft
Just four years ago, Senator John Kerry strode onstage at the Democrat National Convention and declared, "I'm John Kerry, and I'm reporting for duty." In the course of the contest between Kerry and Bush, John Kerry and the Democrats set up the John Kerry Test for Presidential Qualification, one which George W. Bush could only fail, one which only John Kerry could pass. There are three points to the test:
One: To be qualified to be president, a candidate must have military service.
Two: Active duty service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard, in a war zone, trumps National Guard service in the states.
Three: Active duty service in actual combat trumps service that did not see combat.
George Bush served in the Air National Guard, and despite the persistent unproven rumors that he went "AWOL" by missing a last meeting in his enlistment, he was elected anyway, for which Democrats will never forgive him. John Kerry indisputably served in Vietnam, in country, on a riverine patrol boat in the Mekong Delta for three or four months, and he has the Purple Hearts and a Silver Star to prove it. According to the John Kerry Test, John Kerry should be president today.
Democrats have long since forgotten all about the John Kerry Test and will soon nominate Barack Hussein Obama, who fails to meet any of the three points of the John Kerry Test, for president. Obama has never been anywhere near the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, or National Guard, in war or in peace. He has no active duty service, no reserve service, no military service of any kind, yet he may soon be Commander in Chief. He has never served in a war zone, he has never been in combat. He has been a community organizer, whatever that is, a lawyer for slumlord Tony Rezko, the newly convicted felon, the loyal parishioner of Reverend Jeremiah Wright who hates whitey and America, a law professor for twelve years, although I do not know that he has ever tried or appealed a case, maybe he has, a state legislator and a senator for two years. He fails the John Kerry Test in every respect.
John McCain, however, meets the John Kerry Test in spades, far better than John Kerry does.
John McCain is the son and the grandson of Navy admirals. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy at Anapolis, near the bottom of his class, academically, but with a fine reputation as a scrapper. Obama has never been anywhere near a military academy. After graduating he went to Pensacola and became a carrier-qualified naval aviator in 1960, the year before Barack Obama war born, flying A-1 Skyraiders from the carriers USS Enterprise and USS Intrepid.
In 1966 at his request he was reassigned to the USS Forrestal flying A-4 Skyhawks, a light attack jet that the Blue Angels flew for many years. In the summer of 1967 Barack Obama was six years old, and John McCain went to war. McCain and many other pilots were frustrated by the micromanagement of the war from Washington, and he later wrote: "In all candor, we thought our civilian [Democrat] commanders were complete idiots who didn't have the least notion of what it took to win the war."
John McCain was almost killed on July 29, 1967, when a fire broke out on the USS Forrestal. He escaped from his burning jet, and was trying to help another pilot escape when a bomb exploded, striking McCain in the legs and chest with bomb fragments. The fire killed 134 sailors and burned for 24 hours before it was brought under control and extinguished. With the Forrestal out of commission, McCain volunteered for duty on the USS Oriskany.
Barack Obama was six years old.
John McCain was shot down on October 26, 1967, on his twenty-third combat mission over North Vietnam. He fracture both arms and a leg and nearly drowned, when he parachuted into Truc Bach Lake in Hanoi. As he regained consciousness, a crowd attacked him, bayoneted him, and crushed his shoulder with a rifle butt. He was then taken to Hoa Lo Prison, the "Hanoi Hilton," where he would spend most of the next five years.
His captors refused to treat him, and proceeded to beat and interrogate him, until they found that he was the son of an admiral, with great propoganda value, and then gave him medical care. Over the next six weeks in a Hanoi hospital, he lost 50 pounds and his hair turned white. Upon discharge he was sent to another camp, into a cell with two other Americans who did not expect him to live.
In March, 1968, McCain was put into solitary confinement, for two years. Barack Obama was seven years old.
In 1968, McCain's father became commander of all US forces in Southeast Asia. The North Vietnamese offered McCain an early release for propoganda purposes, to show the POWs that elites like McCain got preferential treatment. McCain refused, stating he would only accept the offer if every other man taken prisoner before him was also released. In August, 1968, a period of severe torture began, during which McCain was subjected to repeated beatings while suffering from dysentary. After four days he reached his breaking point and gave a "confession," which he regrets, but has since written what we all know, instinctively, that every man has a breaking point.
Would Barack Obama have withstood such torture? For five years?
He was released on March 14, 1973. Barack Obama was 12. He remained on active duty, undergoing months of treatment and physical therapy for his injuries, attended the National War College during 1973-1974, and had his flight status reinstated in 1976 when he became commanding officer of a training squadron in Florida. He turned around a low-performing unit and won the squadron its first Meritorious Unit Commendation.
Barack Obama was fifteen, learning the Koran.
McCain retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981, after 21 years on active duty. He had been awarded the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, and the Navy Commendation Medal, for conduct before, during, and after his years as a POW.
McCain passes the John Kerry Test with all flags flying.
On June 29, 2008, retired General Wesley Clark gave an interview on Meet the Press in which he disparages John McCain's service, saying he doesn't "getting shot down and spending five years as a POW qualifies a man to be president." Clark didn't mention the other 16 years of McCain's distinguished service, obviously a deliberate attempt at deception, by omission of relevant facts.
To General Wesley Clark, I reply: Five years as a POW on the receiving end of the torture, beatings, starvation, solitary confinement, and the other physical and psychological abuse John McCain withstood, is five years of combat, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week 365 days a year. His captors had the guns, he was unarmed. His captors had the ropes and truncheons to beat him with. His captors controlled his freedom, communication, food, water.
All he had to fight with was his will.
If the John Kerry Test tells us who should be president, Barack Obama should stand down now and concede the election to John McCain, today.
Raymond S Kraft is a retired attorney in Northern California. He can be contacted at rskraft @ vfr.net.
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