With more than 150,000 American troops stationed overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, George Bush and John Kerry are arguing over a war. But they’re still talking about Vietnam.
That conflict, which left 58,000 American soldiers dead, and a public mistrusting its leaders and reluctant to exert American power abroad, is now being used to measure the mettle of the two men vying for the position of Commander in Chief. While the campaigns trade barbs over John Kerry’s tossing of medals, Dick Cheney’s student deferments, and George Bush’s service in the Air National Guard, Vietnam is being used to define character then…and leadership now.
Professor Alexander Bloom, professor of history and American studies at Wheaton College in Norton MA
author of “Takin’ it to the Streets: A Sixties Reader”
Tom Patterson, Ben Bradlee Chair of Political Science at the JFK School of Government.