Deep Purple Heart Haze

BY SKEPTIK SINIKIAN

It’s official. As of this week–I am more interested in the results of the Olympic Men’s badminton finals than I am in this year’s campaigns for President. Unfortunately–the Olympics are going to draw to a close in a few days but the Election isn’t until November. This means we have to endure another two months of boring analysis and pointless verbal attacks none of which include the word "shuttlecock." In case you’ve been engrossed in NBC’s mediocre coverage of the Olympics (Watching NBC–you would think that no other country besides the United States had any athletes in the Olympics)–then you’ve missed out on Campaign 2004–the Road to the White House–better known as Purple Heart-gate. Did Kerry really sustain wounds in battle in Vietnam or did he inflict them upon himself? Did he or didn’t he have wounds that bled? Are the other swift boat commanders telling the truth or are they part of the Bush campaign machine? My answer to all these questions is a big–fat–resounding "who cares?"

Some will say that Kerry brought this upon himself by peddling his wartime resume like a recent college graduate at a job fair. Personally–I never saw it that way. I think others highlighted his service in Vietnam and he played up to it–but it was never his intention to run as a candidate whose sole claim to fame was being wounded three times. The way I see it is like this. If a person falls out of the top story of a ten story building and survives–then it’s a miracle. If it happens again–then he’s lucky. And if it happens a third time? Then the guy has a bad habit. So Kerry had a bad habit of getting injured in Vietnam. The man was a magnet for shrapnel or maybe he was clumsy and kept tripping over things. Others suggest that Kerry used certain loopholes in the system to earn himself an early ticket home after only four months in Vietnam–thus proving that he is a liar and unfit to lead. But the important question here is how capable he is to lead in comparison to the current Commander in Chief. This seems like an appropriate time to remind Kerry’s critics and anyone out there whose only source of news is Fox or CNN–that comparing Kerry’s military record to Bush’s makes absolutely no sense. Kerry actually went to Vietnam while Bush used his family influence to earn a sweet post on the Air National Guard. Kerry suffered either minor or serious injuries which were either self inflicted or initiated in combat with hostile forces. Bush’s most serious injury during his inconspicuous and forgettable service during Vietnam was suffering hangovers from partying too hard.

All I have learned from these last two weeks is that the Purple Heart is a military medal which recognizes the sacrifices of combat when a soldier or officer has sustained a wound "from an outside force or agent." Just having sat through this absolutely boring and insignificant debate about Kerry’s war record I think entitles the entire country to a Purple Heart. And looking at how President Bush is leading in the polls–I’ve also learned that the general public (or at least those who respond to polls) is comprised of people with the collective IQ of a house plant. (My apologies if I insulted any house plants).

By the way–last week I went on a tirade lambasting the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) and its Executive Director for selling the community short in a recent "Ha’aretz" article. In the article–Nathan Guttman expressed his inaccurate view that the Armenian vote is insignificant in US elections. His assumptions were reinforced by a quote by AAA Exec. Director Ross Vartian–but last week–I screwed up. In copy editing my piece–I missed a tiny quotation mark–which apparently made Vartian’s quote look worse than it was. Here’s the excerpt from the article again with the proper quotation marks around Vartian’s statement. (I know I already printed this but people should read this statement over and over and wonder why this organization still receives donations from anyone).

"So far–no Armenian group has voiced support for Bush. But the Armenian community’s electoral power is not significant. There an currently an estimate 1-1.5 million Americans of Armenian descent–but most are second–third–or fourth-generation immigran’s and therefore–not all of them vote based on the candidates’ views on faraway Armenia. ‘There are those who base their decision on the Armenian issue–those who vote only based on their political views–and those who vote based on different reasons altogether,’ explained Ross Vartian–the executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America."

Now Vartian’s quote may sound accurate and may seem as though it could have been harmless but when coupled with his statemen’s to the Armenian press (see my column last week)–it causes one to question whether the Assembly folks truly believe in the cause for which they are allegedly fighting.

That’s it for this week folks. Keep writing me angry emails and don’t be afraid to say what’s on your mind.

Skeptik Sinikian received a paper cut while fulfilling his duties as an Asbarez guest columnist. He bled for his people and wants a Purple Heart. He can be reached at skeptiksinikian@aol.com or at www.sinikian.blogspot.com.

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