In recent presidential history, John F. Kennedy, George McGovern, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole and John Kerry all were military veterans and heroes in their own right. Some suffered debilitating injuries during war; all served honorably.
But their military service was but a part of their résumés. None of these men talked incessantly about their service, and about none did the media start every sentence with "war hero." In instances when their political careers were going up in flames, none of them used their military service as a crutch or a shield.
For John McCain, however, his military service pretty much serves as the only thing on his résumé, and it is protection against most every public gaffe he makes. When challenged, he always falls back on his service.
In no way am I denigrating McCain's service. But his credentials and appeal should not be based solely on this. Others served nobly before him and were not afforded the same amount of fawning and deference that McCain has received over the years for wartime credentials.
He should be respected for his war service and judged on his public record.

MITCH KANTER, EXCELSIOR