Easy call

by Ted on September 1, 2004

The non-political Vietnam Veterans of America have condemned the Purple Hearts band-aids worn as jokes by some Republican delegates.

Vietnam Veterans of America has received reports of delegates at the Republican National Convention disseminating and wearing “Purple Heart” band-aids in mockery of one of nation’s most distinctive honors, the Purple Heart medal…

The spirit of the award recognizes the personal sacrifice of our troops without regard to the severity or nature of the wound. It is the wounding itself that merits the honor. To demean the decoration and the sacrifice it symbolizes demeans all veterans and the patriots who honor them.

With our nation’s sons and daughters at war to protect global freedom, demeaning military service in this way is especially hurtful. Vietnam Veterans of America urges all Americans to decry this type of outrageous, disrespectful, and infantile behavior.

(Bitter rant with links to Bush-supporters who thought this was funny deleted)


Via Oliver Willis



old maltese 09.01.04 at 11:23 pm

It was making fun of *Kerry*, not ‘demean[ing] the decoration’. (Don’t throw those grapefruit. Please!)


Shelby 09.01.04 at 11:38 pm

Creating and passing out the Purple Heart bandaids was, I think, only meant to make fun of Kerry’s minor wounds in Vietnam. It was not meant to reflect badly on other veterans.

It was also irredeemably stupid. How could you NOT think it would insult other veterans, especially those who suffered serious wounds?

I plan to vote for Bush, but I still condemn this kind of nonsense.


neil 09.02.04 at 12:19 am

Of course it wasn’t -meant- to apply to any veterans other than Kerry. But how does that matter at all? They’re trying to say that his decoration with a Purple Heart means that he’s a bad person.

If someone were to say that Barack Obama would be a bad Senator because he’s black, do you think that they’d be able to defend themselves by saying they didn’t mean to insult black people? Please.


Giles 09.02.04 at 1:06 am

VVA may be “non political”
but it might have been worth mentioning that
“John Kerry was a co-founder of VVA in 1979 and he is a life member of VVA.”

And of course John Kerry was an entirely non partisan veteran in 1979 so its hard to see how any of his influence could have rubbed off.


Thorley Winston 09.02.04 at 1:11 am

Giles, thank you for providing that necessary disclaimer that Ted for some reason just *forgot* to mention. ;)


bob mcmanus 09.02.04 at 1:23 am

I regret the deletion.


Barry 09.02.04 at 1:36 am

So now that Vietnam Veterans of America is a liberal organization?

Well, if the GOP’s attitude is ‘everyday is sh*t on a wounded veteran day’, I guess it will be.

Thanks, GOP.


Iain J Coleman 09.02.04 at 1:39 am

I plan to vote for Bush

Why? I mean, the guy’s completely bloody incompetent. Regardless of political position, he doesn’t even meet the minimum knows-what-the-fuck-he’s-doing standard for doing the job of President. Why on Earth would you want to keep him in this critical job which he is clearly incapable of doing?


lightning 09.02.04 at 5:37 am

One effect of having the top policy levels of this campaign all be non- military is that they Just Don’t Get the military attitude toward medals. Wearing a medal that you don’t deserve is one of the nastiest offenses that you can commit in the military. Here’s an example of this attitude.

Of course, Georgie gets a bye on this one too.


CT 09.02.04 at 6:27 am

I disagree with the individual who said that they are only attacking Kerry and not demeaning purple hearts, in general. The fact is that Kerry did receive a purple heart and he did so by satisfying the rigid standards set with regard to whether such an award was appropriate.

By wearing these band-aids, these individuals are asserting that the standards are too broad, i.e., that Kerry satisfied the standards by receiving wounds that were, in the opinion of “skeptics,” not as disfiguring or serious as, let’s say, a Max Cleland.

But, the fact remains: Kerry was awarded these medals, and such an award was made pursuant to the standards as they existed at that time. In this light, the argument being proferred by those who wear a mocking band-aid can be seen for its actual meaning: that many veterans were awarded purple hearts pursuant to a standard with which they disagree.

Of course, we don’t even reach this issue with regard to Bush, because — by virtue of his own actions and choices — he was never near a situation wherein he might be awarded a purple heart. Accordingly, there are no purple hearts to be challenged. The fact that he has not been forthright with the American people with regard to his use of familial connections to obtain a spot in the National Guard in a division often referred to as the “Champagne Division” raises serious issues concerning his character, credibility (not to mention the question as to whether he actually satisfied his committment), and his constant assertions that he is somehow a typical American.

Frankly, I don’t think this time period is very relevant except in two ways: (i) I think one who knows the cost of war first-hand is more likely to make a prudent, measured decision with respect to whether a situation warrants the deployment of troops; and (ii) Bush has constantly portrayed himself in military paraphenalia, including the infamous flight suit, and this has obviously triggered much curiousity concerning his satisfaction of service (and whether he has been truthful with regard to his representations related to his service).

Personally, I would rather see the debate shift toward honest discourse concerning the serious policy differences that exist between the present administration and the proposed Kerry administration. I think the present administration has made their policies perfectly clear, given that they have had four years to enact them. Kerry has set forth his policies on his web-site. They are markedly different and I think voters should study each so that they can make an informed decision rather than one based on innuendo.



Martin 09.02.04 at 10:14 am

“Forgot” as in made it the very first link of the post?


Barry 09.02.04 at 11:47 am

Well, Martin, maybe they were using Swift Liars rules – ignore what they said before, ignore the records, ignore all (or the majority) of the eyewitnesses said.

By those standards, Ted is an Evul Librul Flip-Flopping Liar. He probably spit on Vietnam Veterans back in the sixties, when he was shacked up with Hanoi Jane (I’d post a picture, except that I don’t know how to use Photoshop).


Matt Weiner 09.02.04 at 2:57 pm

Wearing a medal that you don’t deserve is one of the nastiest offenses that you can commit in the military.

This may have got lost in CT’s post, so I’ll say it succinctly–THAT IS NOT SOMETHING THAT JOHN KERRY DID.

He earned his Purple Hearts according to the standards that were in force at the time–wounds (including “minor wounds”) received in combat, while under hostile fire. The RNC delegates decided that they, not the Armed Services, had the right to determine which medals Kerry deserved. Disgusting.


Matt Weiner 09.02.04 at 6:03 pm

BTW, I mean “disgusting” to apply to the RNC delegates, not necessarily to lightning.


r. clayton 09.02.04 at 8:53 pm

It was making fun of Kerry, not ‘demean[ing] the decoration’.

I’m not following this. Apparently the fun here is that the military awarded
to Kerry a medal for getting wounded in action and Kerry didn’t deserve the
medal; that is, the military doesn’t know how to award Purple Hearts. This
would, it seems to me, demean the decoration, because now for every recipient,
you have to answer the question “is this legit or did they win the crap

Not being a combat-wounded war veteran, I can’t say whether or not it
would be demeaning to need to be able to prove – on demand, to anyone – the
legitimacy of my Purple Heart, but I think I can make a pretty good guess. I
also think I can make a pretty good guess as to whether or not it would be
demeaning to have its legitimacy denied, particularly by people who’ve never
been in combat.

Creating and passing out the Purple Heart bandaids was, I think, only meant to
make fun of Kerry’s minor wounds in Vietnam. It was not meant to reflect badly
on other veterans.

You can play the game that way too, but the results are the same. It’s not
that the military’s incompetent; Kerry deserved his Purple Heart. But it’s
just a trivial little (shrapnel) scratch Purple Heart, not a sucking chest
wound Purple Heart. Nevertheless, the military chooses to issue the same
Purple Heart for both; by drawing a distinction that the military doesn’t,
you’re once again questioning the military’s competence in awarding Purple
Hearts and the rightfulness of a recipient’s possession of the medal. Of
course, you might want to counter with “Well, it’s perfectly obvious when a
recipient deserves the Purple Heart; for example, take a veteran in a
wheelchair who lost one arm and both legs in Viet Nam…”.

(And yes, those quotes come from different messages, but they are, to me, of a

Comments on this entry are closed.