[FoRK] Salon on Bushs' (lack of) Service

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at ceruleansystems.com
Thu Sep 9 13:47:50 PDT 2004

> The implication is that any subgroup that's "in" the military can, by 
> flourishing the proper "protocol and convention", speak for all other 
> military veterans and instantly convince them of a weakly debated point 
> without further investigation.  I thought not even military commanders 
> could do that, at least for US citizens.  That's some kind of power for 
> the "first to publish".

I'm not saying its a good thing or a bad thing, but that is how it
works.    You do not say the things said in that ad about another
soldier, as the slightest doubt as to your accusations will permanently
tarnish your reputation.  That so many senior officers were willing to
put their reputation on the line to make such assertions comes across as
a very strong show of certainty that such accusations are true.  This is
something that will not be lost on veterans.

It isn't so much a matter of "first to publish" but the notion that no
soldier would publicly make such an accusation about another soldier no
matter how much they dislike the other soldier.  Can this be subject to
manipulation? Definitely!  But that does not mean that it necessarily
was.  It is perfectly permissible to be a veteran and have an extreme
dislike of John Kerry, but to say what was said in the ad is another
thing altogether, a monumental taboo and a grave risk to the reputation
of anyone who would claim such things.

Borrowing the word Lucas provided, that ad effectively excommunicated
Kerry from the military community by the shear weight of the reputations
that were risked in making that claim.  It might not be reasonable, but
that is the way it played (and no one can ever accused the voting public
of being "reasonable").

j. andrew rogers

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