On today's WaPo Op Ed page is a column by Noel Koch. Koch was special assistant to President Nixon from 1971 to 1974. He was an assistant secretary of defense from 1981 to 1986 under Ronald Reagan.
He writes today about Bob Dole's current role in the Bush campaign and expresses disappointment. He is much kinder to Dole than I, but then my memories of Dole don't go back to the 70's. Koch and Dole worked together during Koch's stint in the Nixon WH.
In this piece he recounts Dole's relationhip to the Nixon WH and Colson when Dole was RNC Chair and later uncerimonously dumped.
Koch writes in part:
Bob Dole knows as well as any person how capricious is the gleaning of medals. Some men deserve what they don't get; some get what they don't deserve. And who should know better than he that it is craven to belittle a man's service because it didn't extend over some arbitrary stretch of time?
Bob Dole spent little time in combat. But as a result of the time he did spend, he lay on his back for years, recovering, and helping others to recover.
I spent a year in Vietnam and came home without a scratch. My brother served two tours in Vietnam, earned three Purple Hearts (and was hospitalized, and does draw
disability--weird yardsticks used to measure John Kerry's alleged shortfall), and yet spent far less time than I did in-country. Indeed, his first "tour" lasted about 15 minutes, ending on the beach near Danang in the midst of the U.S. Marines' first amphibious assault in Vietnam.
Time in-country, how often a man was wounded, how much blood he shed when he was wounded -- it is hurtful that those who served in Vietnam are being split in so vile a fashion, and that the wounds of that war are reopened at the instigation of people who avoided serving at all. It is hurtful that a man of Bob Dole's stature should lend himself to the effort to dishonor a fellow American veteran in the service
of politics at its cheapest.
There was a time when he would have refused. I know. I was there.