Carlson, Pruden falsely accused Kerry of having "contempt" for the National GuardSeptember 17, 2004 6:25 PM EDT ››› NICOLE CASTA & GABE WILDAU
Following Senator John Kerry's September 16 address at the annual conference of the National Guard Association in Las Vegas, CNN Crossfire co-host Tucker Carlson and Washington Times editor-in-chief Wesley Pruden falsely claimed that Kerry showed contempt for the Guard months earlier.
"[U]ntil recently, John Kerry seemed to have nothing but contempt for the National Guard. Just this past February, Kerry likened Guard service to draft dodging," Carlson stated on Crossfire on September 16.
In his September 17 column, titled "The Kerry Insult of the Guard," Pruden wrote that Kerry was received by the National Guard Association conference on September 16, "more or less politely, which is considerably more than a man who has been so contemptuous of them [the National Guard] could have expected."
Carlson and Pruden accused Kerry of showing "contempt" for the National Guard when he appeared on the February 3 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes. Yet during that FOX News Channel appearance, Kerry defended those who chose to serve in the National Guard during Vietnam:
KERRY: What I've always said is -- and I defended Bill Clinton's position, and I would defend the president's choice with respect to going into the Guard. I've never made any judgments about any choice somebody made about avoiding the draft, about going to Canada, going to jail, being a conscientious objector, going into the National Guard. Those are choices people make.
The Air National Guard's own website explains that during Vietnam, "[f]or largely domestic political reasons, President [Lyndon Baines] Johnson chose not to mobilize most of the nation's reserve forces. ... The Reserves and the Guard acquired reputations as draft havens for relatively affluent young white men." The Air National Guard's website also states that only a handful of Air National Guard units were mobilized for Vietnam; the last was called up on May 13, 1968 -- before President George W. Bush's May 27, 1968, enlistment, as Slate.com's William Saletan noted on September 16.