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  • Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal

    Sunday, August 29, 2004

    So close together yet so far apart 

    New York City and the Republican National Convention had nothing on Akron this past weekend except tens of thousands of protesters.

    Outside Barnes & Noble Booksellers in the Akron suburb of Montrose, a dozen protesters (additional protesters probably were out looking for jobs) stood watch over their memories of Vietnam. Inside the bookstore, hundreds of buyers stood in line to have copies of Unfit for Command signed by co-author Jerry Corsi, a former Ohioan with very different memories from those of the protesters.

    The closest these opponents -- and that is what they are in a nation deeply divided both by today's issues and those of a long ago yesterday -- came to common ground occurred when a woman without a copy of Corsi's and John O'Neill's book walked up to the table where Corsi sat and explained, politely, that she believed he should be outside addressing the questions of protesting veterans and Kerry supporters.

    She was wrong. This was a book signing, not a debate.

    The book, like many in this political season, generates more heat than light. Illumination will wait for the historians. This manifesto's goal is the discrediting the Vietnam service that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerr, has made the centerpiece of his campaign. The book claims, based on the memories and opinions of those who served in Vietnam on the Swift boats but with little or no documentation, that Kerry has lied about his Silver-Star, Bronze-Star and Purple Heart service and thus is unfit to command U.S. Armed Forces now serving and dying in Iraq.

    Many of those buying Unfit for Command thanked Corsi for exposing the truth. That is a problem. Can this man who joined old friend O'Neill, a former Swift boat commander, in going after Kerry, be believed himself. As a person listens to Corsi interact with people, he hears a polite, intelligent man who is kind to and generous with people. It is hard to imagine this same Corsi is also known for writing online slurs about Catholics, Jews, Muslims, women ... and the list goes on and on.

    In a chat room on, Corsi once wrote: "Islam is a peaceful religion just as long as the women are beaten, the boys buggered and the infidels are killed."

    Of John Kerry, Corsi wrote: "After he married TerRAHsa, didn't John Kerry begin practicing Judaism? He also has paternal grandparents that were Jewish. What religion is John Kerry?"

    And on the possibility that New York Sen. Hillary Clinton might one day be a candidate for president: "Let the FAT HOG run!!!"

    There's more, but you get the idea.

    Corsi says he was just kidding when he wrote these slurs and, besides, his words were taken out of context. "I don't stand by any of those comments," he has told the Associated Press, "and I apologize if they offended anybody."

    He repeated as much to Denise Grollmus, an Akron Beacon Journal reporter who talked with Corsi during the signing at Barnes & Noble. "It's an old issue," Corsi told Grollmus. "These were comments I posted on a message board and were meant as satire. They were taken out of context, and I'm sorry if I offended anyone."

    Offended? How could anyone be offended? How could anyone protest this guy and his truths?

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:34 PM

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