“Unfit For Command” presents an extremely
unfavorable perspective on John Kerry’s involvement in the
Vietnam War. The book’s main goal is to draw into question
Kerry’s character by showing him as deceitful, unpatriotic
and overly ambitious.

Book Reviews

Authors Jerome Corsi and John O’Neill seek to demonstrate
that Kerry is “Unfit for Command” or not qualified to
be commander-in-chief, with two main arguments. First, the book
attacks Kerry’s military record. For example, Corsi and
O’Neill contest the merit of Kerry’s service in Vietnam
by attributing his medals to false claims of bravery and
self-inflicted injury. The book’s second point is that
Kerry’s protest of the Vietnam war was detrimental to the
American war effort and worked to spread communism in Vietnam. The
book has nothing nice to say about Kerry, except that he is a
skilled debater.

Corsi and O’Neill mostly use the testimonies of Vietnam
veterans to dispute the stories in Kerry’s biography about
his service in Vietnam. They describe a strong disapproval of Kerry
by American Veterans. Many of the quotations come from men that
have served in Kerry’s unit or held distinguished military
rank.

Sometimes the book shows extreme bias, understandable
considering that O’Neill is a both a strong supporter and
veteran of the Vietnam War. It seems almost natural that he would
disapprove of Kerry, who was an outspoken leader of the Vietnam
Veterans Against the War and whose testimony in front of the
Fulbright Committee claimed that American soldiers were committing
war crimes in Vietnam. There are moments in the book when it
appears that the authors let their individual feelings about the
Vietnam War interfere in their analysis of Kerry’s ability to
be president. O’Neill seems to take personally Kerry’s
charge of American war crimes in Vietnam, and the author appears
overzealous in criticizing Kerry.

Nevertheless, O’Neill served on the same Swift boat as
Kerry after the senator departed, which lends a certain level of
authority to O’Neill’s claims. Regardless of whether
you believe the criticisms and negative portrayals of Kerry in this
book, the strong sense of Vietnam veterans’ disapproval of
Kerry cannot be denied. The appendix at the end of the book
includes a letter signed by 200 of the Swift boat veterans from
Kerry’s unit. This really makes the reader question how Kerry
presents his role in the Vietnam War.

Of course, supporters of President Bush and those who oppose
Kerry’s candidacy for president would probably find the book
engaging. But, the book provides an illuminating and quick read for
anyone who is simply interested in reading subversive material that
questions the public image of a widely recognized figure.

 

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

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