11/02/06 — A joke, really? John Kerry’s comment wasn’t funny any way you listened

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A joke, really? John Kerry’s comment wasn’t funny any way you listened

Those of us who live in military towns or who have family who are serving or have served in the armed forces should not quite be ready to let Democrat John Kerry off the hook for his recent “joke” about education and ending up in Iraq.

Kerry said during a recent speech to college students that if they didn’t study, they might get “stuck in Iraq.”

Now, of course, he is calling the joke a slip — saying he meant to imply President Bush’s lack of intellectual prowess created failed Iraq policies that trapped the U.S. in a no-win situation.

That’s a spin worthy of a raise.

The fact is that many young people choose military careers because they want to serve their country, not because they have nowhere else to go. They re-enlist for the same reason.

They see their profession as an honorable one — a duty to God and country and a chance to protect their families and millions of people they will never meet.

A joke that in any way could be taken to denigrate their service, or imply that the best way to avoid it is to stay in school, is not worth the comedic risk, no matter who you are.

Kerry has apologized, as he should. But as you listen to the resulting spin, be wary. Sometimes a person’s true beliefs are revealed when he thinks his audience will agree.

Published in Editorials on November 2, 2006 10:56 AM