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how bush can one-up cleland stunt

as most of you know, john kerry sent former democratic senator max cleland and former green beret/kerry swiftboat survivor jim rassmann to bush's texas ranch yesterday to deliver a message signed by nine democratic senators, all vets, demanding bush rebuke the now famous swiftvet ads.

the site of cleland, a triple amputee, being wheeled up bush's driveway, letter-in-one-remaining-hand, was almost more than i could stomach. white house press secretary scott mclellan dismissed the episode as a "political stunt," and while i agree completely, he opted for a far kinder descriptor than i would have applied.

this isn't a political thing--well, it is, but it shouldn't be. it's just a damned disgrace. this is what mcleland suffered and nearly died for, to become john kerry's postman? to have his sacrifice exploited in cheap theatrics? kerry wants the republican president of the united states to fight the swiftvets for him and he wants a dismembered veteran to fight the president. when, exactly, does john kerry, war hero, fight his own battles?

hey, who am i to judge? if this is the way of the politician in the year 2004, then so be it. my suggestion is that bush get in the game himself before shock has finally lost all value. bush's best response at this point, i think, is to take a page from gary larson and one of his classic farside cartoons. two pirates are sitting at a bar. one has a wooden peg for a leg, the other has a wooden peg for a head. in the caption, the one with the peg leg is saying something like "well that's a pretty good story, but wait 'till you hear how i got this."

what bush needs to do is find a head amputee to hand deliver a message to john kerry. weekend at bernie's style, if you will. something like "senator kerry, why did you vote to send me to iraq and then vote not to fund me," or perhaps "mr. kerry, i died in vietnam defending our country, and i never tortured, raped, or maimed anyone." something like that.

locdog wonders when we'll finally hit rock bottom




i found out friday that the navy isn't even accepting pilot applications. not that it would have mattered with my age, but at least i don't have to take the rejection personally.

now what?

surface, supply, nfo, and spec-ops. those are my options. surface and supply are difficult, necessary jobs and those who perform them should be honored. nowadays, supply in particular is crucial. most people don't realize that we're capable of military miracles because we're capable of logistical miracles first. but they're far removed from the fight, and i feel as though i am capable of doing more, and thus should be doing more.

nfo, or naval flight officer, would at least be aviation. goose in top gun was an nfo. the men who operate the radar in an e2 hawkeye or man the p3 orion's electronic equipment are nfo's. the recruiter i'm working with made the not unreasonable assumption that i would want nfo since pilot wasn't an option, but in some ways it's the option that interests me least. i'm not the sort of person to stay friends with an ex. once it's over, it's over, and i know that being around aviation would only rub salt in the wound. i’m sure a lot of people would think that’s crazy, but i’m not them.

that leaves spec-ops. spec-ops intrigues me on different levels. on a personal level, it's the ultimate challenge. navy seal training is widely regarded as the most difficult military training in the world. to me, having the seal's trident pinned on my chest would be no less of an honor than winning olympic gold. as a patriot, i recognize that i would be offering something to my country that few others can. and as a warrior, i would be at the forefront of the war on terror. you just can't get more cutting edge.

but i would be lying if i told you that i wasn't intimidated by the dangers of special forces, and if the fact that i'm married wasn't giving me pause. but my wife has been very supportive of everything i've done so far, and has helped me to go on more times than i can count. the other problem with spec-ops is that it's seemingly impossible. when i was in rotc, i knew only one guy who went out for seals, and he was an absolute fanatic. he ate, drank, and breathed navy seals, had for his whole life, and it seems to me that that's the sort of person who would have a chance to make it--not a johnny-come-lately fly-boy wannabe like me. i have no idea if he ever made it or not, but the odds are against him. the training has something like an 80% attrition rate, which is daunting enough. but more frightening than the enemy, more frightening than the possibility of indefinitely long separations from my wife, more frightening than the incomprehensible difficulty of the program itself is the fact that of those 80% who leave seal training, 75% do it voluntarily. only a quarter fail to meet standards, the rest beat themselves.

that scares me. i guess i'm most scared of myself, of what i might find out. i can see no shame in attempting one of the most difficult things in the world and failing, but what if i failed voluntarily? nothing i could ever do after would erase that memory. i'd have to live with it forever.

my wife and i have been giving this a lot of prayer. i am convinced that there is a right decision. it may not be one i like, but there is definitely a right decision to be made. i just don't know what it is. i am in the position a Christian sometimes finds himself in where he wants to do God's will but doesn't know it. i've been here before, and the Lord has always come through in the end, but the waiting is hard. i'm 27 now, and i'm not getting any younger.

locdog asks that you pray for him