View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Thursday, January 29, 2004

Three Blind Mice

What was Kerry's formative experience again? From an April 23, 1985 Washington Post piece about a trip he, Sen. Harkin, and then-Sen. Al Gore took to Nicaragua.

"Look at it," Kerry said as their plane touched down here Thursday night. "It reminds me so much of Vietnam. The same lushness, the tree lines."

Driving into town there were more similarities: corrugated tin roof huts, the sad architecture of Third World countries -- the smell of wood burning. "And the poverty."

The political parallels between Central America and Southeast Asia are not exact, they say, but both men, from dissimilar backgrounds, have come to the same place politically because of Vietnam. And they see disturbing similarities. For the first time, a U.S. president is publicly pushing Congress to fund guerrilla attacks on a country with which the United States is not at war.

"If you look back at the Gulf of Tonkin resolution," Kerry said, "if you look back at the troops that were in Cambodia, the history of the body count and the misinterpretation of the history of Vietnam itself, and look at how we are interpreting the struggle in Central America and examine the CIA involvement, the mining of the harbors, the effort to fund the contras, there is a direct and unavoidable parallel between these two periods of our history."

Well, maybe indirect parallels. Certainly not the 17th.

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