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John Kerry Insults US Soldiers?

post #1 of 145
Thread Starter 
Or did Kerry just screw up his own joke? Link.

Quote:
Republicans unleashed a firestorm of criticism Tuesday against Sen. John Kerry after the Vietnam veteran told college students they'd "get stuck in Iraq" if they didn't work hard in school.

Kerry later said the remark was a "botched joke" meant to target the president, not U.S. troops.

...

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the senator took the stage to roaring applause before regaling the crowd with one-liners, Bush barbs and tales of surfing at nearby Mission Beach.

He then said: "You know, education -- if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well.

"If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

A Kerry aide told CNN that the prepared statement, which had been designed to criticize President Bush, "was mangled in delivery."

Kerry was supposed to say, "I can't overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq."
Tony Snow and John McCain called for an apology. Kerry issued an angry statement on his website criticizing Bush's foreign policy, but not apologizing for or attempting to clarify his statement. Edited to add that Kerry's current statement on the matter provides a clarification of his statement.

Personally, I don't believe that Kerry would ever call US soldiers stupid in public. I do think he is stiff enough to botch a punchline while trying to be funny. Drudge reported this a few hours ago. As you can see from the CNN.com link, the major news sites have picked up on the story.
post #2 of 145
He's right though.
post #3 of 145
I'm missing what's terrible in what he actually said.
post #4 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guttenberg Fan Club
I'm missing what's terrible in what he actually said.
The implication was that if you are stupid, your only option is to become a soldier who will get sent to Iraq. In other words, our soldiers fighting in Iraq are stupid.
post #5 of 145
Yeah, I pretty much agree with that. The vast majority of very smart people don't join the army.
post #6 of 145
Great timing there, Kerry.
post #7 of 145
No, that's not the implication. The implication is that there aren't a lot of college graduates in the armed services. Do you have to graduate college to be smart? Cause that's what all of the Republicans are insinuating.
post #8 of 145
You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to devincf again.

Smart, simple, and direct. A great post. Sure to start a flame war (though you're right). Good work.
post #9 of 145
There's a headline in the Onion Book of Our Dumb Century (paraphrasing here): "Bottom 10% of the Graduating Class of 1991 to Liberate Kuwait"
post #10 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guttenberg Fan Club
No, that's not the implication. The implication is that there aren't a lot of college graduates in the armed services. Do you have to graduate college to be smart? Cause that's what all of the Republicans are insinuating.
Quote:
He then said: "You know, education -- if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well.

"If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
Well, I guess you can be smart and uneducated due to laziness. Whether you swap the word "stupid" for "lazy" or "uneducated," though, Kerry's statment, taken literally, can still be viewed as an insult to US troops.
post #11 of 145
I don't think the implication necessarily even needs to be about intelligence, per se, given Kerry's wording.

Intelligence aside, if you don't get a degree, there are fewer employment opportunities. Fewer employment opportunities means greater potential for a low income job, and the military is a far more appealing option for poor people than for wealthy people.
post #12 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonvoight's car
The implication was that if you are stupid, your only option is to become a soldier who will get sent to Iraq. In other words, our soldiers fighting in Iraq are stupid.
At 1st I thought the same thing and was insulted because I don't feel choosing the military as a career is a dumb decision, if that's your thing.

But re-reading it, it seems to be more of a jab at Bush and his administartion.

He didn't say don't join the military or that if you join your idiot.
post #13 of 145
Our genius troops

post #14 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonvoight's car
Well, I guess you can be smart and uneducated due to laziness. Whether you swap the word "stupid" for "lazy" or "uneducated," though, Kerry's statment, taken literally, can still be viewed as an insult to US troops.
Not really. As you say, you have to swap out words to make it work.
post #15 of 145
He may have even meant that if you're a C- minus student you can become president, but you'll get yourself stuck in Iraq. It works a lot of ways. None of which anyone should be offended by.

Not that it will stop this from becoming a firestorm and be the ONLY thing talked about for the next week and will be talked about as the thing that "turned the tide" on talk shows next Wednesday.
post #16 of 145
post #17 of 145
the thing that will keep this from becoming a major news item is that no one gives a flying fuck about John Kerry anymore. We can all agree that anything that would lead to him talking and getting additional media coverage is really just more pain for everyone.
post #18 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by devincf
There's a headline in the Onion Book of Our Dumb Century (paraphrasing here): "Bottom 10% of the Graduating Class of 1991 to Liberate Kuwait"
Ha! That's the exact headline that popped into my head when I read the Kerry story. I think it's probably true that less educated people are more likely to enlist in the armed forces. But that's a generality that a politician should be smart enough to stay miles away from. Also, a lot of people join up to pay for college or to get good job training. Believe it or not, a lot of intelligent people join out of a sense of patriotism, family tradition, or a desire to serve their country. In fact, two of the sharpest guys I knew in law school joined the JAG corps right out of school. One was ranked in the top 3 of his class and turned down 6 figure offers from several Wall Street firms.
post #19 of 145
I'm not pissed at the statement, but I am pissed that Kerry has given the right-wingers something to distract everyone with for the next week. Good job, numbskull.
post #20 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by lesterg
I'm not pissed at the statement, but I am pissed that Kerry has given the right-wingers something to distract everyone with for the next week. Good job, numbskull.
Exactly. This quote is front page stuff on almost all the major websites, with a big dumb pic of Kerry and quotes from Bush saying how "shameful" it all is. Jesus fucking Christ.
post #21 of 145
Wow. Kerry is going to manage to fuck up two elections in a row. Guy should get a fucking clue.
post #22 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dontEATnachos
the thing that will keep this from becoming a major news item is that no one gives a flying fuck about John Kerry anymore. We can all agree that anything that would lead to him talking and getting additional media coverage is really just more pain for everyone.
The Republicans can probably use it to show that a vote for a Democrat next week is a vote to give a guy like John Kerry (who hates our troops!) more power in the Senate. Do you, right-leaning independent voter, really want to put in power the party whose 2004 presidential candidate thinks our Brave American Soldiers are stupid? It's the same thing they are doing with Charlie Rangel, John Conyers, and Nancy Pelosi. Not that that strategy is really paying dividends...
post #23 of 145
The thing is like alot of points the Dems try to make or issues they try to stand for. The Repubs have taken it and flipped it around into something else. He never said anything about the troops (or the military) and yet that's all everyone keeps talking about.

I think it was clever jab at the President, yet for the next several days at least Kerry's going to be trying to defend his statement. Republicans are going to paint Democrats as haters of the troops and the military and like lesterg said distract everyone from what's really going on.
post #24 of 145
Its not an insult when you see how the Bush administration has engineered public policy to make education more difficult to obtain than a military career for those with limited options.

I think there isn't that much there and those who see an insult are clearly looking to get offended.
post #25 of 145
Isn't there a way for Democrats to issue an official "STFU!" to Kerry?
post #26 of 145
Thread Starter 
And now The American Legion and AMVETS are joining the calls for a Kerry apology. This is going to be frustrating for Kerry and the Democrats for a few days.
post #27 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by castle
As for the actual comment, I think he meant it as a shot at Bush and just mangled it. As a shot at the troops, it's true, but it's also offensive considering the source- a rich jerk who's glided through life and, though not having great grades or being a great student himself, is sitting around counting money and running for national office. This probably isn't someone who should be talking shit about anybody else being stupid and lazy.
Let's not forget that Kerry did a good job fighting in Veitnam and Bush stayed at home like a bitch because daddy gave him a 'you don't have to go' pass. He can say whatever the fuck he wants.

But the statement was ambiguous, you could take it either way. With some explanation it shouldn't be all that big of deal to people who aren't stupid, which I know is not a big percentage.

Pop Zeus has a good point.
post #28 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacob Singer
Exactly. This quote is front page stuff on almost all the major websites, with a big dumb pic of Kerry and quotes from Bush saying how "shameful" it all is. Jesus fucking Christ.
Eh. If it wasn't this, it would be some other innocuous comment. If there's a need for fake displays of moral indignation, it's not too hard to manufacture a cause for them.
post #29 of 145
President Bush quoting Kerry on TV now. Way to go Kerry!
post #30 of 145
Nancy Pelosi should have to step down. (Yes I know that Kerry is a Senator and not a Congressman). What's Bill Clinton's thoughts on all this?
post #31 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveB
Eh. If it wasn't this, it would be some other innocuous comment. If there's a need for fake displays of moral indignation, it's not too hard to manufacture a cause for them.
Exactly. The political environment is such that anytime anyone says anything remotely "nuanced" or open to interpretation the opposition will jump on it. This is all just a lot of mindless misdirection. (Not that Kerry is particularly great at politics.)

The point of all this fake indignation is to goad a timid and spineless Democratic reaction that's high on caution and low on conviction. That is what the people chastising Kerry want. This is an old play folks.
post #32 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by castle
As for the actual comment, I think he meant it as a shot at Bush and just mangled it. As a shot at the troops, it's true, but it's also offensive considering the source- a rich jerk who's glided through life and, though not having great grades or being a great student himself, is sitting around counting money and running for national office. This probably isn't someone who should be talking shit about anybody else being stupid and lazy.
Who are you talking about? Bush or Kerry?
post #33 of 145
He should have advised the students to not worry about school and just concentrate on marrying a billionaire ketchup heiress.
post #34 of 145
I would've went with the ol' boogeyman, myself.
post #35 of 145
Wait, my interpetation of that last quote: "If not, you end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq"--that seemed to me like Kerry was slamming Bush for being intellectually lazy rather than the soldiers themselves.
post #36 of 145
If Kerry really wants to make college students laugh, he should take notes from Dane Cook.
post #37 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RathBandu
Wait, my interpetation of that last quote: "If not, you end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq"--that seemed to me like Kerry was slamming Bush for being intellectually lazy rather than the soldiers themselves.
Yeah, that's what Kerry's camp says he was scripted to say. That's clearly referring to Bush. What Kerry actually said was "You know, education -- if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq." That statement isn't as clear a reference to Bush. The soldiers, not Bush, are the ones literally stuck in Iraq. It looks more like he is saying that if you fail at education, you will get stuck in Iraq as a soldier.

What Kerry isn't getting is that no one is demanding that he apologize to the Bush Administration. They want him to apologize to the troops. Even if it was a botched Bush joke (which it probably was), the clear perception out there is that he was insulting the troops. This would have died a quick death if Kerry would have just come out immediately with an apology if anyone was offended by his botched joke. Follow that with a lot of praise for our men and women in harm's way and their proud, supportive families at home. Instead of apologizing and explaining, he issues a blistering attack on Bush that adds fuel to the media fire. Hello, lead story on CNN. It's no wonder this guy couldn't unseat one of the most vulnerable incumbents to ever run for reelection.
post #38 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveB
Eh. If it wasn't this, it would be some other innocuous comment. If there's a need for fake displays of moral indignation, it's not too hard to manufacture a cause for them.
Of course not. But it's disheartening when Democrats start doing Karl Rove's job for him.

Literally, Rove/Mehlman, etc couldn't have engineered a better situation. They're going to ride this well into the weekend.
post #39 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonvoight's car
Even if it was a botched Bush joke (which it probably was), the clear perception out there is that he was insulting the troops. This would have died a quick death if Kerry would have just come out immediately with an apology if anyone was offended by his botched joke.
I don't think it's all that clear right now. But its certainly going to be the single focus of the entire right-wing echo chamber to convince everyone that's what he meant.

This is just another instance of the Republicans willfully conflating "support our troops" with "support our war."

Should Kerry apologize? So far, his response has been pretty good. But if he must address the comment directly, he could issue one of those non-apology apologies where he says he's sorry that people misinterpreted a botched Bush joke, followed by a simply worded joke about how he should not quit his day job to start a career in comedy.

I don't think he should apologize for anyone getting offended since that it implies that the troops should be offended and that Kerry is somehow "out of touch" with the troops.
post #40 of 145
Quote:
"I'm sick and tired of a bunch of despicable Republicans who will not debate real policy, who won't take responsibility for their own mistakes, standing up and trying to make other people the butt of those mistakes," Kerry said. "It disgusts me that a bunch of these Republican hacks who've never worn the uniform of our country are willing to lie about those who did."
Couldn't have said that in 2004, dipshit?
post #41 of 145
As much as I want to piss on Devin for calling US troops stupid I'm not sure I can. A good bit of service members are less than smart. It's just how it goes. Standards are dropping, people get in on more waivers than ever, etc. It's pretty unfortunate.
post #42 of 145
Of course he should not apologize. Yeah, his syntax was a little off, it didn't come out the way it should have, but it's very clear what he meant. There's no way Bush, Snow or any of those idiots genuinely misunderstood what he was saying, which is that THE PRESIDENT IS A FUCKING IDIOT WHO HAS GOTTEN US STUCK IN THIS MESS THAT WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO SPEND THE BETTER PART OF THE NEXT DECADE TRYING TO EXTRICATE OURSELVES FROM AND THE NEXT GENERATION PAYING OFF.
post #43 of 145
Are we sure Kerry isn't working for the Republicans?
post #44 of 145
The video
It's like he forgot about a minute of the speech and went right to stuck in Iraq.

A Democratic congressman told ABC News Tuesday, "I guess Kerry wasn't content blowing 2004, now he wants to blow 2006, too."

I don't think Kerry could blow this but he's trying.
post #45 of 145
I would have accepted that Kerry just misspoke but when you have people defending his original statement that the military is for the less intelligent, I start to believe that maybe Kerry's statement expressed what he truly believes.

Quote:
"According to a comprehensive study of all enlistees for the years 1998-99 and 2003 that The Heritage Foundation just released, the typical recruit in the all-volunteer force is wealthier, more educated and more rural than the average 18- to 24-year-old citizen is. Indeed, for every two recruits coming from the poorest neighborhoods, there are three recruits coming from the richest neighborhoods.

If, for example, we consider the education of every recruit, 98% joined with high-school diplomas or better. By comparison, 75% of the general population meets that standard. Among all three-digit ZIP code areas in the USA in 2003 (one can study larger areas by isolating just the first three digits of ZIP codes), not one had a higher graduation rate among civilians than among its recruits."
Personally when I was in the military, I found the same mix of smarts that I encounter in the civilian world.
post #46 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by devincf
Yeah, I pretty much agree with that. The vast majority of very smart people don't join the army.
Especially a war that's stupid to begin with. A stupid war for stupid people!

But yes, I don't see what's wrong with his comments but of course the Republicans need something to spin out of control and this is it. Kerry's mistake wasn't what he said but that he said it. FOX News won't let this one drop for quite awhile. Even when the '08 Presidential elections role around they'll bring this one up.
post #47 of 145
Whatever Kerry's intent, he's not merely correct by implication, but also by fact.

The Armed Forces routinely "coerce" student info from rundown, underperforming schools, because it's something of an open secret that your "No Child Left Behind" funding becomes jeopardized when you refuse these requests.

Whether you have other career goals or not, slumping grades immediately qualifies you as Army bait, and you'll be targeted by any recruiter that can get his hands on you with whatever incentives it'll take for you to join up.

I wish he'd actually make his defense on these grounds instead of trying to pass it off as a "botched" joke. But both his "comeback" and timing leave much to be desired. He just changed the subject for the news cycle leading to the election.
post #48 of 145
I don't know what the 30% are on about. Kerry didn't mention soldiers, troops, or the military. Why shouldn't I think he was cutting down Bush? I gather he was doing so in his speech immediately before he stuck his foot in his mouth. It's clumsy public speaking, but who are Republicans to criticize clumsy public speaking when they back Captain Tribal Sovereignty?
post #49 of 145
It doesn't matter. No matter how badly Kerry or whomever botches something or says something which is spun, sooner or later, American voters are going to have to cut through all the bullshit and see this clown and his goons for what they really are. Simple as that.

And I didn't hear any Republican politicians apologizing for that cheap-ass TV ad run last week which insulted Canadian soldiers.
post #50 of 145
Truth is, it doesn't matter what he said. he could have said i love God and puppies, and the republican party would have turned it into a smear campaign. That's what they do. And considering where they stand lately, they need to do all the smearin' they can.

and democrats will still find a way to lose.
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