From the RTD:
Editor, Times-Dispatch: Senator John Warner assured us that no Silver Star was ever awarded lightly during his tenure as Secretary of the Navy – the very time when John Kerry earned that decoration. Those who today protest Kerry’s February, 1969, Silver Star call into question Warner’s veracity and devalue every similar award issued under his secretariat. After all, if a lowly Lieutenant Kerry were able to manipulate Secretary Warner and steal this high honor, then it raises the likelihood that other serving Navy personnel could have done the same. Kerry’s opponents have thus done a great disservice to all sailors on whom this decoration was pinned between 1969 and 1974.
Fortunately, a growing body of documentary and eyewitness testimony to Kerry’s service on that day has supported Warner’s judgment and Kerry’s words. Unfortunately, those who would attack Kerry and his fellows are indirectly linked to President Bush’s re-election campaign. In both his 2000 primary campaign against Senator John McCain and his party’s successful 2002 effort to unseat Senator Max Cleland, Bush displayed an active tolerance of anti-patriotic smears executed on his behalf. If Bush doesn’t want to cement a reputation for sacrificing the high standard by which our armed forces recognize our heroes, the honor of men such as Warner who uphold that standard, and the distinction these veterans won for themselves, all in the name of crass political expediency, the President must vigorously disown this current, unseemly effort against Kerry and return this campaign to matters of governance. Brian C. Broadus. charlottesville.