Democratic Senator John F. Kerry -- regardless of his height, his riches, his power, or his public achievements -- turns out to be a rather small man.
As Mark Twain observed, the great man will not be found belittling the ambitions of others. The great man knows that the same spark of greatness lives in all of us, and encourages the people around him to achieve their own greatness.
you study hard and you do your homework and
you make an effort to be smart, you can do well.
And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
(Democratic Senator John F. Kerry, October 30, 2006)
Who exactly does John F. Kerry think America's soldiers are?
This isn't the first time Kerry has disparaged America's troops. Just last April, he accused them of being too stupid to drive trucks so as to avoid terrorist explosives. In the Vietnam era, he testified against U.S. troops and called them war criminals.
And yet he pretends to love America's soldiers fighting in Iraq. Now we know what he really means.
And how do we even begin to describe Kerry's latest statement? A few adjectives come to mind:
Senator John McCain has a reaction:
Senator Kerry owes an apology to the many thousands of Americans serving in Iraq, who answered their country’s call because they are patriots and not because of any deficiencies in their education. Americans from all backgrounds, well off and less fortunate, with high school diplomas and graduate degrees, take seriously their duty to our country, and risk their lives today to defend the rest of us in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
They all deserve our respect and deepest gratitude for their service. The suggestion that only the least educated Americans would agree to serve in the military and fight in Iraq, is an insult to every soldier serving in combat, and should deeply offend any American with an ounce of appreciation for what they suffer and risk so that the rest of us can sleep more comfortably at night. Without them, we wouldn’t live in a country where people securely possess all their God-given rights, including the right to express insensitive, ill-considered and uninformed remarks.
You'll hear a lot about this today. Gateway Pundit has the video of John Kerry's statement and a roundup of reactions, along with this:
"They are so clearly a cut above America," Bill Carr, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy, said of today's recruits.
Carr bristles when he hears unfounded charges that the men and women entering the military are less educated, less affluent or less likely than other 18- to 24-year-olds to have alternatives to military service.
He rattled off examples of those myths and set the record straight for each one.
* Myth 1: Military recruits are less educated and have fewer work alternatives than other young Americans.
In fact, military recruits are far better educated than the general youth population, Carr said. More than 90 percent of recruits have a high school diploma, compared to about 75 percent of the U.S. youth population. . . . .
* Myth 2: The military tends to attract people with lower aptitudes.
Recruits actually have much higher average aptitudes than the general youth population, Carr said. In fiscal 2005, 67 percent of recruits scored above the 60th percentile on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. The test is designed so that the average young person will score 50 percent, he explained. . . . .
* Myth 3: The military attracts a disproportionate number of poor or underprivileged youth.
In reality, military recruits mirror the U.S. population and are solidly middle class, Carr said. He cited a recent Heritage Foundation report that shows most recruits come from middle-class families, rather than poorer or wealthier ones. Patterns in recent years reinforce this trend, showing a slight dip in recruits from lower socioeconomic groups and a slight increase from upper-class groups, Carr said.
* Myth 4: A disproportionate number of recruits come from urban areas.
Inner cities are actually the most underrepresented area among new recruits, Carr said. Both suburban and rural areas are overrepresented, he said.
Newsmax recaps the educational big picture:
Kerry’s troop-bashing remarks belie the truth about the educational level of U.S. troops. According to figures readily available on the Internet, 99.9 percent of the enlisted forces have at least a high school education, 73.3 percent have some college, 16.2 percent have an associate’s degree or equivalent semester hours, and 4.7 have a bachelor’s degree.
What’s more, over 85 percent of field grade officers have advanced degrees – 70.7 percent have master’s degrees, 12.1 percent have professional degrees and 2.5 percent have doctorate degrees.
Oh, by the way -- that soldier in the photo above, whose funeral the important, powerful John Kerry somehow found time to attend? He was no high school dropout, either. Lance Cpl. Dimitrios Gavriel was a Brown University graduate who walked away from a lucrative career on Wall Street to answer his nation's call after losing at least two friends in the attacks of September 11, 2001.
It is almost heartbreaking to realize that America's troops came with a hair's breadth of having John F. Kerry as their commander in chief. How dispiriting it would have been for our troops to be led by a man who holds them in such contempt!
The troops deserve better. America deserves better. At some point, we can only hope that the people of Massachusetts will come to their senses and decide that they deserve better.
More commentary at Michelle Malkin, Captain's Quarters, Wizbang, Stop the ACLU and Hugh Hewitt. Michael Ramirez has the editorial cartoon of the day. Malkin has also a column on the subject at Townhall.com.