‘You know,” intoned Sen. John Kerry to the student crowd at Pasadena City College, “education, if you make the most of it, if 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.”
Now Kerry is in trouble for uttering a sentiment that most anti-Iraq war leftists keep to themselves: that our troops in Iraq are poorly educated people unable to grasp the folly of their sacrifices.
That is the stereotype of the Michael Moore left, a central theme of Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
Moore’s stereotype, now adopted by Kerry, is a necessary one, given the logic of their Iraq-as-Vietnam argument. How else can Moore and Kerry explain that, unlike Vietnam, almost no one in the armed forces serving in Iraq opposes the war? How can the radical left explain that two out of three of these patriotic men and women re-enlist for duty while the war goes on? How else can they explain that volunteer army recruitment in the United States is at an all-time high? Why, there must be something lacking in these people. They must not be up to the level of the students at Pasadena City College.
Of course, the facts give the lie to this slur. The fact is that all officers in the armed services — and there are thousands and thousands of them — are college graduates. The fact is that most enlisted soldiers, except in combat zones, advance their educations every day in demanding courses while in the service. The fact is that intelligence quotient entrance standards for the military forces of the United States are higher than what it takes to get into Pasadena City College, which has no disqualifying standard.
It is certainly true that the Army offers salaries and benefits to non-commissioned enlistees who have not attended a city college. But the same could be said for police officers and firefighters, demanding and dangerous positions that require both physical bravery and a high IQ. It is an abominable falsehood for Kerry to suggest that military people are not as “smart” as successful California college students.
Now Kerry is backpeddling, revising his remarks. Mendaciously, he claims to have meant to say something quite different. It was a “botched joke,” he says. He meant to say if you don’t do your homework you get “us” stuck in Iraq. That non sequitur, supposedly, is the joke. It won’t wash.
I have never been sodisappointed with John Kerry, whom I knew 20 years ago as a member of the Majority Trust of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee when he chaired that group. Kerry was a moderate when I knew him. His ambition has apparently transformed him into a poster boy for worst kind of liberal elitism. He now looks down from his Beacon Hill home patronizingly upon common men and women patriotically serving in the dust of Iraq. He says of them, we liberals know what is good for you because you are the uneducated masses, you are the poorly schooled castoffs who must serve in Iraq because you failed to obtain a college education.
If they know what is good for them, Democrats will unequivocally denounce what Kerry has said. A large swath of the nation understands far better than John Kerry that the morale of our troops is no joking matter.
Darrell Salomon is a San Francisco trial attorney.