The Greeks had a word for it

Can we agree that John Kerry has problems with his arrogance? Can we agree that he has bragged about his Vietnam service and deceived others regarding it?  That he a is self—aggrandizing person who has married wealthy women and promotes an image of the manly athlete with all the accoutrements:  boats, cars, skis, bikes and all the rest?

Yes, I think we can safely say that John Kerry fits this profile.

And since John Kerry has made his Vietnam service the centerpiece of his life and career, he has invited us to look closely at it.   As many of us now know from either reading, or reading about, Unfit For Command, that service consisted of four months of Swiftboat duty he did not want with three different Coastal Divisions, during which he managed to amass three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star.  As is well documented in the book, he didn't earn any of them.  And yet he continues to refer to them and his Swiftboat service as proofs of his devotion to duty and courage under fire.  He even managed to convince that pliant historian, Douglas Brinkley, to write the biographical hagiography Tour Of Duty, which serves up the heroic fiction with nary a blush nor scruple.

Looking at Kerry's self—shortened Vietnam tour and his attitude towards it as revealed in Unfit For Command, it becomes clear that he took a cinematic approach to it all.  On p. 26 the book quotes his contribution to A War Remembered:

'They (Swift Boats) were engaged in coastal patrolling and that's what I thought I was going to be doing.  Although I wanted to see for myself what was going on, I didn't really want to get involved in the war.' 

It was going to be all about him.  

Exactly.  He wanted to star in his own version of it; to direct and produce John Kerry: War Hero.  He had it filmed himself. His crews were extras, the boats were props, the jungle was mere scenery.  The original footage served as basis for the homage shown at the democrat convention.

Down through the ages, warfare has served as an epic martial stage upon which all aspects of men in combat have been portrayed:  From courage to cowardice, selflessness and self pity, humor and pathos, to immobilizing fear and self—pity. And everything in between.

Now the Greeks knew a thing or two about warfare.  Their playwrights made it the subject of both drama and comedy.  In his play Alazon, Aristophanes gives us the character General Lamachus, who embodies the titular character flaw. In his Ethics, Aristotle tells us that alazoneia denotes a man who tells us more than is true, much more; a self—centered man who desires women, wealth and all its trappings, who needs to be surrounded by the symbols of his expertise.  The alazon character is adept at deception and is in turn self—deceived.  He is blinded by his own ego.

Any of this sound familiar?

The Romans, as was their wont, borrowed from the Greeks, and gave us the miles glorious character, the braggart soldier.  He had the same character flaws, plus being humorless and nasty. 

In his play Miles Gloriosus, Plautus presents us the full embodiment of these character flaws in Pyrgopolynices, which are reinforced on a daily basis by his sycophant flatterer, Artotrogas.  At play's end, the true nature of the braggart soldier is revealed.  Pyrgopolynices is reduced to exclaiming:

'Fool, fool that I am! Now see what an ass they've made of me!"

And that's exactly what John O'Neill, Jerome Corsi, all the contributors to Unfit For Command and the 250 Swiftvets For Truth they represent have done.

Meanwhile, John Kerry, the naval miles glorious, surrounded by various sycophants, continues to play the role, to star in his own continuing drama that is quickly becoming a tragedy, one scripted by his own hand.