Bryan Preston has be…
Bryan Preston has been working for months on a post about John Kerry’s book The New Soldier, written after he returned from Vietnam. It’s well worth the read. From the middle of the post, here’s the main reason to understand the book.

When we are young, most of us hold to ideals that do not stand up well to our first contact with adult reality. The key to dealing with that is to learn, to grow, and to discard those silly notions and adopt better ones. In The New Soldier, one could see in the young John Kerry merely a misguided young man who did not mind meeting with representatives of the Communist factions in North and South Vietnam and using their talking points, and who did not mind marching with others who flew the flag of the enemy on the National Mall, because his ideals had not yet slammed against the bloody Khmer Rouge and his worldview had not yet been shaped by the realities of Communism or the fall of the Berlin Wall. But a problem remains, and that is that the young Kerry of 1971 is still very much in evidence in Candidate Kerry of 2004.

And that is why The New Soldier is so fascinating. Through it we see that John Forbes Kerry has changed very little since 1971. His default position then, and through his Senate career and now, has been to mistrust American power and resist its use in the world, no matter the cause. Young John Kerry opposed Vietnam; Senator John Kerry opposed the first Gulf War and the Reagan approach that won the Cold War; Candidate John Kerry first voted for the current Iraq war, then denounced it, then voted for funding it before voting against the same. He has said at various times that it was the right thing to do and that it was the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time, mostly because the United Nations did not sanction it. In that, we can hear the echo of a young John Kerry who wanted to put the US military under permanent UN dictate. That same John Kerry showed up in the presidential debates this year, advocating some kind of “global test” that must be passed before the US should engage in any military action.

Read it. The whole thing. Read it. Now.

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