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Col. Austin Bay weighs in on the John Kerry gaffe.

Thursday, November 2, 2006
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HH: Joined now by Colonel Austin Bay, U.S. Army, retired. You can read his blog at www.austinbay.net/blog. Col. Bay, did you have a chance to hear John Kerry on Imus this morning?

AB: All I saw, and I got to see some of his comments on the web, I did not hear him on Imus, no.

HH: All right. He called it a botched joke, et cetera. Then he said this about his 1971 testimony. Cut number 4, please:

JK: And incidentally, when you say I’ve done something in the past, I’ve told the truth in the past. I’ve never done anything except tell the truth. And I’m not going to take anybody’s comment to suggest that somehow, my telling the truth was a mistake. The American people rely on the truth. And when I came back from Southeast Asia, I told the truth. And I’m proud that I stood up and told the truth then, and I’ve told the truth about Iraq every single step of the way.

HH: Now Col. Bay, today he posted a statement on his website, which is being hailed as a non-apology by some members of the military, and many pundits. What’s your estimate of what’s going on here?

AB: All right, I read the statement on his website, and I’ll tell you what, Hugh. If he had come out with a statement like the one he’s got on his website now, say fifteen minutes after his so-called botched joke, or his slander of the American military, which is the way I heard it, not a botched joke, but a revelatory slander, I think he would be actually doing just fine, politically, because it struck me it didn’t quite have the tone right, but it had the words right, and it, again, at this point, I question his sincerity. Heck, I question John Kerry’s sincerity on virtually every issue. But if he had said right after he gave that speech on Monday, what he has up on his website now, I think he’d be fine. But he didn’t. He didn’t. What I did see on part of the Imus show transcript is that one of the fellows there with Imus said he wasn’t just digging himself a hole, he was coming in with a backhoe.

HH: Yup, yup. So now, do you expect the military…have you heard from a lot of men and women that you served with, that they were offended by what he said on Monday?

AB: I’ll tell you what, Hugh. In the last 24 hours, I have gotten 9, 10 e-mails, a couple of comments. I wouldn’t say that’s a lot, but I can tell you every single one of them is damning of John Kerry. I mean, it’s like he thinks he’s very, very smart, and everybody else is very, very stupid. And of course, what we’ve seen out of John Kerry is the results of someone who has had first-rate opportunities throughout his life, but he’s really got…he’s really, I think, and this is going to be taken as a heavy knock, but look, he’s got a third-rate political sense, and probably a second-rate intellect. And that’s a bad combination to have had so many first-rate opportunities, and end up in the situation that he’s in.

HH: Now Col. Bay, what about other Democrats? As a veteran who’s served in Iraq, what do you want them to say?

AB: Well, I saw on the web what Harold Ford’s saying. I think that Harold Ford is a good example to every politician of every party on how to treat this. But I’ve also seen on the web that Kerry’s being defended, and I would say he’s being defended by the usual sources, but they’re part and parcel of that culture of condescension that Kerry comes from. And part of the condescension has…let’s face it square on. It is a condescending attitude towards the military, a condescending attitude towards patriotism. They believe that they’re above patriotism. They’re very…they don’t believe in the concept of honor. I mean, they’re kind of like that Shakespearian scoundrel, John Falstaff. They pooh-pooh honor, because they don’t think it exists. Well, to some of us, it does. And John Kerry not only questions it, he slanders it.

HH: Now given the fact that the insult originally delivered was to men and women in uniform, isn’t it up to them to decide, Col. Bay, I’ve been trying to make this point on the web all day long, and not surprisingly, I’m over 100,000 visitors today, which is about 40% higher than an all day event. People are intensely interested in this. I think mostly the military…isn’t it up to them to decide, not the mainstream media, whether or not…

AB: And Hugh, that’s a very astute point, because the way it’s being spun is, it’s the White House versus John Kerry. No, he needs to deal with the slur that he…the slur he made. I’d also like to make a request to men and women in uniform, particularly Iraq and Afghan vets. www.pajamasmedia.com is interested in receiving e-mails from Afghan and Iraq war vets about their reaction to John Kerry’s statement, and to his various attempts to apologize. So Hugh, if it’s okay to do that on the show…

HH: You bet.

AB: …I’d sure appreciate it. Again, that’s www.pajamasmedia.com.

HH: And Col. Bay, will you be writing on this after class tonight?

AB: Thanks, Hugh. Yeah, I’m just about to go in and teach a three-hour seminar. Yes, I probably will, and one of the things I’m thinking about doing is actually…if I don’t do it tonight, I’ll do it tomorrow morning. I’m going to write about honor, and John Kerry’s lack of it, and his suspicion or disdain of it. I think that that’s actually the critical element of his slip Monday.

HH: I agree with you. I wrote that today. Col. Bay, I look forward to reading that, and have a good class, and come back soon. www.austinbay.net/blog, America.

End of interview.

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