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John Cory: It's Kerry's Fault

It's Kerry's Fault

By John Cory
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Monday 06 September 2004

For several weeks now, our pampered press corps and millionaire pundits have continued to justify the slime of Swift Boat smears and GOP operatives, by saying that it is John Kerry's fault. Kerry made his Vietnam service the centerpiece of his campaign and therefore it is only fair that folks question that service. This is of course not true, but when has the media been bothered by the truth?

Setting aside the obvious lack of media credibility and its refusal to show the facts and reveal these liars for what they are; the essence of what is being said reminds me of an incident during my working days in Saudi Arabia.

Late one evening, I ran to the corner market for some milk and cereal. The neighborhood is not well lighted and traffic zooms through the intersection and around the corner without concern for other cars or pedestrians.

Driving in Saudi is a contact sport. Crossing streets can be lethal dodge ball, with success keyed to agility and razor-thin timing. This is especially true at night, when many cars fail to turn on their headlights.

Having made my purchase and completed the usual haggle with the shopkeeper over my wristwatch; he liked it and kept insisting I sell it to him whenever I entered his shop; I headed for home.

I heard the car before I saw it, broken muffler rattling and coughing engine, it zipped around the corner. I was in the middle of its path and nowhere to jump. The car slammed on the brakes - too late. I bounced up over the hood and ricocheted off the windshield, skidding to a stunned halt across the blacktop pavement.

The driver burst out of the battered Corolla, an older Saudi gentleman, pacing and shouting at me as I rolled on to my knees. He sounded angry and distraught and I felt sorry for him, for the fear and guilt he must be experiencing.

"I'm okay," I said, signaling that I was only bruised and slightly scraped. I tried to reassure him, but his shouting grew louder and angrier.

A small crowd of men had gathered now, and they were laughing. I was shaken and confused by the old man's fury and the crowd's laughter.

A Policeman appeared, sized up the situation and pointed at me. "American?" he asked. I nodded. He turned to the ranting driver and they exchanged a flurry of Arabic. I kept telling the officer that I was thankfully okay, and the old man needn't worry.

The Policeman turned back to me with a smile. "You are okay?" I assured him I was just bruised and shaken, but not seriously injured. He smiled again. "That is good, because he says this is your fault."

Seeing the scowl and shock on my face, the Policeman nodded at the old man, "He says it is your fault - that you are a foreigner. If you were not in his country, walking across his road at night, he would not have run into you. By being here, you have caused him to have an accident."

And there it was, that Alice In Wonderland moment, that Red Queen logic of life in the magic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. If my ribs had not hurt so badly, I would have laughed.

This is the GOP smear machine logic of John Kerry's patriotic service to America. If John Kerry had just not shown up and been heroic, well, there would be no issue. Just look at George Bush.

You see, the GOP doesn't mind sending Americans to war; they just don't want to hear about it afterwards: especially if you survive, and become a force for truth and peace.

This is the level of political discourse and media coverage today. Pretty ugly.

But you have to understand - it is John Kerry's fault - he keeps showing up for his country.


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