From moveon.org, my son ordered the Kerry Kit DVD. The speech that 27-year-old John Kerry made in 1971 to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was powerful beyond his years. Sen. Fulbright and others were "overawed." This is where Kerry hoped we would be by now:
And so when thirty years from now our brothers go down the steret withouit a leg, without an arm, or face, and small boys ask why, we will be able to say "Vietnam"--and not mean a desert, not a filthy obscene memory, but mean instead a place where American finally turned, and where soldiers like us helped them in the turning.
But that is not what happened. There was no "turning" of this sort. Bob Herbert names our reigning draft-dodging hawks one by one: Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, Wolfowitz. Just as in the first Civil War, the sons of the elite sent surrogates so that their power could remain secure. The beat goes on.
UPDATE 8/29: Todd Purdum makes the same point, much better. See also these excerpts from Kerry's debate with John O'Neill on a 1971 "Dick Cavett Show."