August 24, 2004

Finally figured it out
Posted by McQ

I've been bothered by a passage that was contained in a NYT article that all three of us had a go at this last Friday. You remember the one, it was the topic of the day. The NYT entitled it: "Friendly Fire: The Birth of an Anti-Kerry Ad".

But in that article there was this paragraph:

A damage report to Mr. Thurlow's boat shows that it received three bullet holes, suggesting enemy fire, and later intelligence reports indicate that one Vietcong was killed in action and five others wounded, reaffirming the presence of an enemy. Mr. Thurlow said the boat was hit the day before. He also received a Bronze Star for the day, a fact left out of "Unfit for Command."

Before that time, I had never heard it suggested that there was a report in which a claim of 1 VC being KIA and 5 being WIA. It wasn't until today, when Jon sent me a link, that I found the source of the NYT claims.

They're contained in The Coastal Division Eleven Command History "Chronology of Highlights". I'm not sure how I managed to miss it up to now, but I have.

Anyway to the point at hand which will demonstrate two things:

A) The NYT deliberately left out some of the report.
B) The NYT writers who used the report had no idea about the meaning of what they were reading.

First the report
(you'll find it on page 8 of the pdf):

March 13, 1969: PCF's 3, 51, 43, 93 and 94 with MSF RF/PF troops conducted SEA LORDS operations in Bay Hop river and Dong Cong canal. A mine detonated under PCF 3 and units were taken under small arms fire several times during the operation. Friendly casualties were 8 USN WIA and 1 MSF KIA. Units destroyed 30 sampans and 5 structures and captured 16 booby trap grenades. Later intelligence reports indicated 1 VC KIA and 5 VC WIA.

Once I read this, I understood why the NYT had screwed up this part of the story so badly.

Let me translate it for you. Those 5 boats hauled some Mike Strike Force (MSF) Regional Forces/Popular Forces (RF/PF) on a Sea Lords operation. The Ruff Puffs apparently assaulted a village, killed 1 VC and wounded 5 VC, but that final total wasn't clear at the time. During their assault they (and possibly the PCFs) were under enemy small arms fire (stands to reason, wouldn't you say and might also explain the 3 holes in Thurlow's boat). They, the Mike Force and PCFs, destroyed 30 sampans, 5 structures and captured 16 grenades while losing 1 MSF KIA (a booby trap). The Mike Strike Force stayed there at the village site (and thus became the source for the "later intelligence").

On the way back, sans the Ruff Puffs (who are still at the village), PCF 3 hit a mine.

END OF STORY.

There was no reported small arms fire around the mine. There was no reported VC KIA or WIA at that time. Those all took place in the previous Mike Force operation, not the mine detonation.

Which explains why the PCFs were able to spend 90 minutes on site, saving the 3 boat and its crew before towing it in and not suffering one single solitary casualty from small arms or any other type of fire.

Of course if the writers at the NYT had bothered to show their source for the claim of the "later intelligence reports indicate that one Vietcong was killed in action and five others wounded, reaffirming the presence of an enemy" to someone who knew what a Mike Strike Force was, or what they apparently did on that operation, they wouldn't look as foolish, as they'd know the VC KIA and WIA were killed and wounded on a previous part of the operation and not at the mine detonation.

Great research guys.


UPDATE (JON): Recon suggests this analysis, which appears very interesting.

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Comments

Wow you might have made a great find. Is there any evidence that there were no MSFs PFs on the Swift Boats when the mine hit?

Posted by: David at August 24, 2004 07:39 PM

David: There's no mention of them in any of the accounts of the mine detonation. They'd have been in the water like the crew of the 3 boat had they come back with them. Also, the "later intelligence" says to me they found the dead VC and probably some blood trails later which they reported on up the line after the PCFs had left.

Posted by: McQ at August 24, 2004 08:00 PM

You're almost there. The single MSF KIA was the bag of remaining pieces and guts Kerry claims he retrieved while the ville was being assaulted.

Remember?

Posted by: recon at August 24, 2004 08:45 PM

good find

The command history may well be the source of the “one Vietcong was killed in action and five others wounded” claim. There is nothing about the damage to Thurlow’s boat there though. They must’ve used some other sources.

O’Neill was on Hannity and Colmes tonight. He maintains that the bullet holes are from March 12th actions. Interestingly there is nothing about the March 12 events in the file on Kerry’s website you linked to. It looks like there is a page missing there. Description of March 8th events are cut in the middle of sentence and the next page begins with March 13 events.

Makes me wonder

Posted by: gagarin at August 24, 2004 08:49 PM

From Rood's story:

But on Feb. 28, 1969, I was officer in charge of PCF-23, one of three swift boats — including Kerry's PCF-94 and Lt. j.g. Donald Droz's PCF-43 — that carried Vietnamese regional and Popular Force troops and a Navy demolition team up the Dong Cung, a narrow tributary of the Bay Hap River, to conduct a sweep in the area.

This was the morning operation in the village, but note the distribution of troops.


BTW = MSF= Mobile Strike Force
RF/PF = regional Force/Popular Force = Ruff 'n Puffs
Navy demolition team = US Navy UDT Team 13

Posted by: recon at August 24, 2004 08:55 PM

Recon: Yes, I remember reading that somewhere. He hit a booby trap if I recall. But as you note, it was at the ville, not at the mine detonation. The action at the ville was prior to the mine detonation.

Posted by: McQ at August 24, 2004 08:58 PM

No argument -- I'm agreeing with you! I'm only identifying the specific KIA in question and the action responsible for same.

Posted by: recon at August 24, 2004 09:05 PM

Recon: I know you were agreeing ... I was just making sure it was clear to others who might read it.

Posted by: McQ at August 24, 2004 09:07 PM

The action at the ville is also where Rassmann and Kerry grenaded the rice cache, resulting in the 'brown rice incident' in which Kerry loaded his ass with rice by not moving quickly enough beyond the blast radius.

That's what was conflated into his claim of being wounded by a second (non-existent) mine during the afternoon's action, resulting in his 3rd PH.

BTW, I'll bet a Form 180 release of records shows his X-rays full of rice.

That makes 2 for 3, NFG/NFW.

Posted by: recon at August 24, 2004 09:16 PM

So Kerry has rice crispies in his butt?

Hmmm.... Explains a lot.

Posted by: capt joe at August 24, 2004 09:19 PM

Have you sent this to the NYT? I am sure they will want to run a correction. LOL

Great Job. Hope it makes its way around the blogosphere.

Posted by: Kathy at August 24, 2004 09:59 PM

Capt. Joe,

Can't imagine why they called it 'brown rice'

Could be tough sitting, among other things. I vaguely recall reading somewhere else about the necessity to manually extract some of the rice, literally by the grain.

;^)

Posted by: recon at August 24, 2004 10:04 PM

BTW, I just checked, and this episode is documented on pgs. 87-88 of 'Unfit For Command.'

Posted by: recon at August 24, 2004 10:10 PM

I think there's some confusion arising here (at least in my mind). The action in which Rood took part was entirely separate, and took place on February 28. It has been my understanding all along that the rice-grenade incident took place hours before the mined detonation, and quite some distance further upriver, but that both were on March 13. I think Rassmann's account confirms this. Am I missing something?

Posted by: PBRMan at August 24, 2004 10:11 PM

PBRMan: No ... you're correct. It was in conjuction with the Rassmann incident (this incident). It took place in the villiage at the front end of this operation as I understand it. Kerry wounded himself in the ass trying to blow up some rice. Then they left the ville, headed back to the hooch and the 3 boat hit a mine.

Posted by: McQ at August 24, 2004 10:16 PM

Rood's report is for 2/28/69, not 3/13/69. Completely different incidents, guys.

Posted by: antimedia at August 24, 2004 10:20 PM

PBRMan.

Thanks. My bad. You're correct. Grabbed too fast.

Similar loading, most of the same RF/PF loading on 13 Mar together with at least Rassmann and 1 additional Army advisor, likely split across RF/PF elements.

Posted by: recon at August 24, 2004 10:26 PM

Looking at the injury list from that day, Kerry was:

Treated by medical officer aboard USCGC Spencer (WHEC-36) and returned to duty with Coastal Divison Eleven.

There would be the record of the 'rice extraction,' which 'Unfit for Command' identifies as being "thousands of grains stuck to him."

He must have been just aching to get away all day, jumping ship to the CG cutter for med treatment rather than tow PCF #3 back with his own vessel. It must also have been embarrassing as hell.

Posted by: recon at August 24, 2004 10:34 PM

Guys, please clarify for a non-militray type. Your views on Rood's story? Does it or does it not support Kerry's version/versions of events?
Thanks

Posted by: Lewis at August 24, 2004 10:53 PM

Sorry, Lewis, but Rood's story is a different day -- 28 Feb. My fault for moving too fast and getting ahead of myself and screwing the thread up. Mea maxima culpa.

Rood does have a play and a place in the story, just not on 13 Mar.

Posted by: recon at August 24, 2004 10:56 PM

Lewis: I wrote about the Rood article here.

Posted by: McQ at August 24, 2004 10:58 PM

Fog is beginning to lift. Amazing what one can find when one is interested in the truth. I suggest e-mailing both analyses to the swift vets site. Great job fellas.

Posted by: Lou at August 24, 2004 11:25 PM

McQ, thanks. I just discovered this site and am putting it on my "favorites list." Good stuff. I submitted another dopey question to your account of the engagement between Kerry and the fleeing VC. Thanks

Posted by: Lewis at August 24, 2004 11:25 PM

Lewis: For all anyone knows, the VC could have already been dead when Kerry reached him.

My guess is after he was shot by the M-60 gunner on Kerry's boat, he was wounded severely enough to decide to flee v. fight. When I read the account of the gunner who shot him, it seemed clear the RPG was loaded in the launcher as the VC stood to fire. It may have malfunctioned, or he may have fled because of the wound (or both?!). I don't think there's any real way to figure that out.

Posted by: McQ at August 24, 2004 11:29 PM

Okay. One question: how sure are we on that 90 minute time line?

Posted by: The Bandit at August 25, 2004 12:34 AM

Nice job, McQ -- duly quoted, linked, and pinged from my blog.

Posted by: Beldar at August 25, 2004 12:36 AM

To Lewis: For what it's worth, my take on the "Silver Star" incident with Rood is that Kerry behaved well, and (apparently) was the Officer in Tactical Command of a pretty successful operation in terms of weapons captured, enemy KIA (all but one by the RF/PF's, led by Army Lt. Reese). Operations of this kind were not uncommon with the PBR's, and the OTC would likely have been recommended for a Navy Commendation Medal with "V"--not a Bronze Star, and definitely not a Silver Star. What elevated the award so grossly was the account of "leading" a charge against a "numerically superior force"--that didn't happen, and the fact that it didn't makes this event much less deserving than any Silver Star I'm aware of. Award citations tend to be a bit flowery, but this one is really out of hand. And the fine hand of John Kerry is lurking behind it all. As for the Bronze Star (the Rassmann incident), I am at a loss to understand why he was commended in any way at all. His boat either was or wasn't struck by a mine, and he pulled a man from the water. Pulling a man from the water was a regular occurrence--can you imagine anyone not doing so?

Posted by: PBRMan at August 25, 2004 01:13 AM

Wonder how long the Demo ambulance chasers Kerry uses to slime the Swifties will continue their canards. As time goes on Kerry's perfidity becomes more clear. Hillary must be doing handstands.

Posted by: Thomas J. Jackson at August 25, 2004 01:19 AM

I've been asking for some time why Kerry was below decks when all this happened in the first place. Once the mine detonated under PCF 3 I would have expected every commander equiped with a pair of testicles to be at the bridge fighting his boat or directing operations to protect and rescue the crippled boat. For some reason however, Kerry was below decks and got thrown into an bulkhead when (I suspect) his boat ran aground and threw Rassman into the water (The damage to the screws and rudder sounds suspiciously like they were dragged through the mud.) Since Rassman was taking an M16 to the forward gunner when he was dumped in, that had to be after they started laying down suppressive fire and the gun jammed, so several seconds after the initial mine explosion at least. According to the helmsman on 94 they were going flat out too, so it was probably several hundred yards from the mine location. Anyway, an ass full of rice from the earlier action (several thousand grains? OUCH!) would explain why Kerry was below decks in the first place.

So, to recap. Kerry is in charge of the float of 5 boats. He screws around and fills his ass with rice early in the day (why again was he ashore playing with grenades that he obviously didn't know how to handle instead of remaining in charge -and CONTROL- of his boat?). Later, when an obvious man-made obstacle is funneling his boats into two narrow channels, he falls for it because he is below nursing his sore ass. When the mine goes off, his helmsman guns the boat forward and runs it aground, dumping Rassman in the water. Kerry is slammed against a bulkhead while trying to get to the bridge to find out what the hell is going on. (I'm sorry, but the mental image of Kerry struggling up the companionway trying to hitch up his pants when the boat hits the bottom just struck me. If you've ever been standing in the asile of a bus, with your pants down, when it had a head-on collision, you know what I'm talking about.) When he realizes that they dummped a green beret advisor in the water he crawls, bleeding, to the bow to "save" him and tells him how lucky he was to survive all the AW and SA fire coming from the banks that miraculously failed to hit any of five 50 foot boats sitting still in the water for 90 minutes.

No wonder he came back and protested the war. From his perspective it was a never ending cluster-fuck from start to finish.

Posted by: Dacotti at August 25, 2004 01:24 AM

Pulling a man out of the water while injured (however slightly) while under enemy fire deserves a Bronze Star.

At least, the President of the United States, in whose name the award is given on behalf of a grateful nation, thought so. See the citation for details.

It is inconceivable to me that for hatred of Kerry's anti-war activities, some veterans are willing to draw into question all military awards for bravery and valor, for that is exactly what they have to do to question Kerry's medals, they have to slime the entire awards process and they do and they are.

It is shameful.

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 01:24 AM

Also look at Kerry's two medical reports on his site.

Medical Records

20 Feb and 13 March.

20 Feb prognosis "good".

13 March prognosis "excellent". As in - why are you bothering me with this petty shit when I have real wounded to treat.

--==--

What is the War Hero Afraid of?
Form 180. Release ALL the records.

Video link

Posted by: M. Simon at August 25, 2004 01:36 AM

Dacotti,

You left out the 5km run. Kerry below decks might explain how the boat got so far down stream before returning.

BTW if Kerry was incapacitated wouldn't command devolve to the next in line?

--==--

What is the War Hero Afraid of?
Form 180. Release ALL the records.

Video link

Posted by: M. Simon at August 25, 2004 01:44 AM

adaplant,

I could give you a PhD in rocket science. It wouldn't make you a rocket scientist. You might or might not be one. A piece of paper is only evidence some one filed a report. The value of the paper is determined by who wrote it their understanding of the situation and their reputation for Christmas in Cambodia.

Who could it have been?

Well I have my guesses.

--==--

What is the War Hero Afraid of?
Form 180. Release ALL the records.

Video link

Posted by: M. Simon at August 25, 2004 01:50 AM

Like anything else for Kerry, it's puffed rice.

Posted by: Capt America at August 25, 2004 01:52 AM

What is the Jet Jockey afraid of?
Form 180. Release ALL the records.

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 02:11 AM

Hey potted plant, I mean adaplant, Bush already released his records. That's ALL the records.

BTW, what makes you think it's easy and not dangerous to fly a plane in the TANG? There were crashes stateside and some fly-boys from TANG went to 'Nam.

Troll

Posted by: Birkel at August 25, 2004 03:16 AM

adaplant, SURE, why we'll hand them right over! Heck I bet they show Dubya skipped out of dullsville National Guard service for a political rally! WHOA! Amazing! But that would have as much negative traction with voters as Kerry's hairgel. See, the jet jockey isn't running for president on his national guard service. And people don't think much of Dubya's record then anyway compared to the man everyone see's today. That makes any call 'to release all Bush records' superfluous, at the most a nuisance to his campaign. Keep calling for them, we'll get around to handing them to you after W's won the election. They'll make a great Campaign '04 memento. Hey, at least it's better than an 'I survived Election '04' t-shirt, eh?

On the flip (flop) side, the Swift Sneak is running almost PURELY on his war record. More importantly, his reaction to all this reveals his character IN 2004 since he just won't get on with it. Hence a call for his records can just about make or break his campaign, depending upon what's in them. The Swift Snot set himself up for this, I almost wonder if there's some self-defeating psychology in there somewhere. Never mind his senate voting record (or lack thereof), or Iraq voting record, or flip flops, flap jacks, or pancakes, or whatever.

Posted by: Jamison Banks at August 25, 2004 03:36 AM

Could you answer me this question? Why is Secretary of the Navy John Lehman's signature on Kerry's Silver Star award? I was in the service under Sec. Lehman. He was appointed by President Reagan in 1981. I can't figure it out.
Excuse me if you have already covered this topic. This is my first visit to your site, from Captains Quarters link.

Posted by: Papertiger at August 25, 2004 03:58 AM

I hate to quibble, but the above report refers to the boats being "taken under small arms fire several times during the operation". Returning to base from the ville would still count as being part of the operation, wouldn't it? This doesn't mean that there was shooting at the site of the mine, I believe it just doesn't prove that there wasn't. I stand ready and eager to be corrected.

Posted by: steve sturm at August 25, 2004 05:58 AM

Steve Sturm: It says "units" were taken under fire. That would include the MSF unit. If it were just the boats, don't us suppose it would specifiy "boats" or "PCFs"?

Posted by: McQ at August 25, 2004 07:36 AM

Hmmmm.

"A mine detonated under PCF 3"

Holy crap!

This official document completely refutes Kerry's assertion that PCF 94 was struck an underwater mine!!

The underwater mine was the sole reason for the 3rd Purple Heart. No underwater mine, no direct injury caused by enemy fire, no 3rd Purple Heart!

Wow! Kerry's been completely impeached in that one single sentence.

Posted by: ed at August 25, 2004 08:28 AM

Papertiger,

See this FrontPage magazine article on the Silver Star citations.

(Link via MichelleMalkin.com)

Posted by: Ed Jordan at August 25, 2004 08:30 AM

I think it's time for the next step.

Kerry's last PH was a result of fragging his own ass with rice in the FIRST HALF of the day of 13 Mar 69 after the ville had been secured. It was a joke made with Rassmann, who participated with him.

Kerry was not an infantryman, not trained as one. He borrowed grenades to wear on his web gear to make his home movies, since they were not authorized to him by the Navy. In fact, they were not authorized to Swifties not only because they were not trained on them but because there was a concern that they could accidentally cause irreparable harm to an un-armored thin aluminim PCF.

Kerry either used his unauthorized grenades that day or borrowed some from Rassmann and the MSF. Basically, he made a fool out of himself for not getting beyond the blast and for fragging himself with "thousands of grains of rice." He must have been one suffering bastard for the rest of the day, and clearly unable to function/think. No wonder he couldn't function during the mine action, and essentially became a disfunctional liability to the rest of the unit during the operation.

Small wonder this became his VERY LAST operation before leaving country. I'll bet he was virtually driven out of the war. That might have something to do with why he became so rabidly anti-war.

Time to call shenanigans on the last PH. I think it is now clear that his self-wounding was conflated into the later mine incident, thereby negating his justifications of how he was wounded and when he was wounded. Form 180 and the X-rays should prove the rest, but I think we're already past the need for any further confirmations.

The last Purple Heart is a pure unadulterated self-manufactured fraud. All involved swear no one else filed the day's AAR but Kerry.

He owes the US Navy another 8.5 months minimum.

Posted by: recon at August 25, 2004 08:39 AM

RE: the above, the web gear was also borrowed along with the grenades as props for his home movies.

Posted by: recon at August 25, 2004 08:44 AM

Paper tiger
Refer to this link
http://slingsnarrows.erudite-absurdity.com/archive/002233.html

Posted by: looker at August 25, 2004 08:57 AM

Looker, that's true but nothing new, but it's a different action on a different day.


BTW, for anyone watching, the next logical step, NOT a leap, is that if the PH on 13 March is NFG, it virtually negates everything about the Bronze Star. Kerry lied when he wrote himself up. Virtually the entire AAR is all about Kerry and his boat. Who else would do that?

LTJG John F. Kerry, USN 713525/1100 Injury, Hostile Fire 13 Mar 69, 1530H, Song Bay Hap, WQ 010780. While serving as officer in charge aboard PCF-94 engaged in operations in the above river. LTJG Kerry suffered shrapnel wounds in his left buttocks and contusions on his right forearm when a mine detonated close aboard PCF-94.

Treated by medical officer aboard USCGC Spencer (WHEC-36) and returned to duty with Coastal Divison Eleven.

RF/PF: Moved east about 1500 meters. Troops flushed about 30 men half armed. Distance 1000 meters. Position approximately WQ 000840. No contact made. RF/HF Extracted 1130H and moved by PCF to support MSF but were not landed again. All units proceeded to Cai Nuoc district town. Unable to get air support.
PCF 23 joined at Cai Nuoc. PCFs with MSF embarked departed Cai Nuoc at 1445H proceeding down Bay Hap. At VQ 995770 mine detonated under PCF 3 lifting boat about 2-3 ft out of water. Very heavy black smoke observed at same time boats rcvd heavy A/W and S/A from both banks. Fire continued for about 5000 meters. Two other mine explosions observed. All boats and MSF returned fire and attempted assist PCF 3. PCF 94 picked up MSF advisor who went overboard. 94 towed PCF 3 as bucket brigade controlled flooding. PCF 43 took all WIA to USCGC Spencer for treatment. PCF 94 and 51 assisted PCF 3. LCVP with damage control party was immediately dispatched from Washtenaw County. Boat damage separate message. Spotter aircraft in area spotted and RF/PF Cau Nuoc fired 4.2" Mortar after boats cleared. One secondary explosion vicinity WQ 010782

Go here for more/better analysis:

http://armor.typepad.com/bastardsword/2004/08/kerry_part_lxvi.html#more

Posted by: recon at August 25, 2004 09:08 AM

Recon - agreed, and Papertiger's question was better answered with the link Ed Jordan provided anyway. Kerry's record keeps morphing. Big Surprise...

Posted by: looker at August 25, 2004 09:20 AM

Scorecard at the moment:

1. First PH -- negligent, careless operation, self-inflicted, self-promoted, obtained OUTSIDE the chain of command

2. Second PH -- M-79 40mm grenade short-round ricochet, nearly identical to first. Negligence, self-reported and self-promoted.

3. Silver Star with "V" device -- does NOT rise to the standard, largely falsified and self-promoted

4. Bronze Star -- does not rise to the standard, per above

5. Third PH -- self-inflicted, gross negligence, personally falsified official report


i.e., Kerry was a constant danger to himself and everyone around him.

Posted by: recon at August 25, 2004 09:27 AM

Recon - which is why Wright figured it was a good idea to suggest JF Kerry take advantage of the "3 wounds (in his case cuts) and you're out" reg no doubt. Sound analysis then, and now.

If the guys you're serving with don't want you around that speaks volumes.

Posted by: looker at August 25, 2004 09:58 AM

I caught a bunch of flack from my superiors as a young manager for axing several useless employees who were destroying morale- correct that, who's tollerance by my predecessor was destroying morale- in my department. One guy was literally taking naps while on the helpdesk and letting the phone ring. It wasn't easy, but the net effect was that morale rose sharpely because I no longer made guys who were busting their asses work along side people who were lazy and innefective.

I tell that story to make this point. The other boat captains and seamen were put in constant danger by having to serve along side Kerry and instead of holding him accountable for his utter incometence and outright criminal offenses (I count about 3 that day which rise to Court Marshall level, begining with letting his command be diverted by a man-made barrier that resulted in the near destruction of one boat and end with filing a false report.) As with most personnel problems, this was a serious failure of management. The bottom line is that they gave Kerry medals and reassignment instead of holding him accountable. His own commander said of the naked VC incident that he didn't know whether to cite him or court marshall him. You know my answer to that. Failing to demand accountability from those in your command is one of the worst things a leader can do; it is the begining of the end of morale and unit discipline.

Posted by: Dacotti at August 25, 2004 10:23 AM

Damn, if this guy had a habit of shooting of M79s too close and wounding himself, I wouldn't want him around me either!

Posted by: Chris at August 25, 2004 10:42 AM

Chris, two short M-79 rounds account for PH's 1 and 2. As Navy instead of Infantry, Kerry betrays his ignorance by using the M-79 as a short range direct fire weapon.

Impacting rocks, walls, hard surfaces, etc. with an HE round at short range (just over 30m) could have devastating negative results on the triggerman and anyone in a similar radius. But you probably knew that.

Not being an Infantry-type, he wasn't smart or practiced enough to get out of the blast radius of one or more grenades, either.

THREE self-inflicteds, and God knows how many other personnel jeopardized in the process. 2-3 others in the first incident, probably the rest of the 5 boat crew in the second, and however many RF/PF's in the 3rd (Rassmann was smart enough to get quick cover).

There are other incidents documented where he simply bolted on contact, leaving his equivalent 'wing man' hung out to dry.

REAL impressive.


Dacotti, not everyone had all the salient facts at the time, and 'Call To Duty' connected a lot of the dots that weren't evident at the time. Thank Brinkley for that puff job that drove everyone over the edge.

Posted by: recon at August 25, 2004 11:27 AM

There is no evidence Kerry "wrote himself up" or wrote the after action report for March 13. On the other hand, Russell Lambert, not on Kerry's boat or Thurlow's boat, and who also was awarded a Bronze Star for his actions that day, confirms the Official Reports, now including the task force records unearthed by the AP yesterday, that at the time of the mine incident and thereafter, there was AW and small arms fire from both banks of the Bay Hap river during the time in question, including while Kerry rescued Rassmann.

There is no evidence to suggest anything about the official records of the incident have been embellished, exaggerated or falsified and all existing evidence supports the Award of the Bronze Star to Thurlow, Lambert and Kerry.

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 11:31 AM

Then explain how boats dead in the water for up to 90 minutes and under supposedly withering enemy automatic and small arms fire mangaged to sustain no wounded and no damage from said A/W and small arms fire?

Posted by: McQ at August 25, 2004 11:35 AM

AW and Small arms fire from behind cover on a river band are still no match for multiple instances of suppressing fire from twin mounted 50 cal machine guns, ya think?

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 11:40 AM

O'Neill's Pants are On Fire!

O'NEILL: I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border on the water.

NIXON: In a swift boat?

O'NEILL: Yes, sir.

http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0408/24/asb.00.html

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 11:45 AM

Oh absofrekin'lutely. If the VC initiated the ambush with the mine and had the ambush covered by fire (which is what is being claimed here) then they'd have eaten up the boats at the mine site before they could have ever brought the .50s to bear effectively. And guess what the ambushers would have gone after first? Yup, the .50s. They were the most dangerous weapon to the ambushers (if there were any).

Ambush technique 101.

IOW, had the mine been covered by fire, there'd be bullet holes in abundance in the PCFs, and most likely wounded or killed swifties to prove the point.

The absense of both strongly suggests the mine was NOT covered by fire, but instead used about like you see the IEDs used in Iraq.

Secondly, the time they remained on station without suffering any damage very strongly suggests there wasn't any enemy fire.


Posted by: McQ at August 25, 2004 11:47 AM

Actually the 3 surviving officer from the Mar 13 incident say they didn't write it. Please note that nowhere in the report does it mention the 2 PCF 3 crewman that were fished out of the river by the other boats. And the report mentions 5,000 yards (correction METERS ...) of A/W and S/A fire ... Americans say yards, europeans say meters ... also 5,000 meters of gunfire from BOTH banks and the damage report for PCF 94 shows NO bullet holes ... Thats some pretty BAD shooting by the VC ...
THINK FOR YOURSELF ... make sure 2+2=4, because 5,000 meters of gunfire=no bullet holes doesn't add up ...

Posted by: Jeff at August 25, 2004 11:50 AM

Jeff, no argument.

5,000 meters x 3.36 ft./m. = 16,800 ft.

16,800/5,280 ft./mi. = 3.18 miles

2 x 3.18 miles (roundtrip) = 6.36 miles, even at speed . . . .

That called di-di?


NOW:

What do you think of a guy who rams 3.2 miles before he realizes no one of his 4 buddies' boats is behind him?

What do you think of a guy who has to go BACK 3.2 miles because he JUST HASN'T NOTICED HE'S GOT A MAN OVERBOARD?????

What kind of reception do you think this guy got when he got back to the scene? Couldn't have been pretty.

Remember, he's got an ass-and-whatever-else full of rice-shrapnel and is probably a completely disfunctional mental case by now.

And the unit SOP calls for ALL VESSELS to rally round and protect the injured vessel and crew of PCF #3. Which is precisely what everyone else was doing.

How's your visualization of that scene shaping up?

Posted by: recon at August 25, 2004 12:17 PM

McQ,

When questioned, Thurlow nearly immediately signed Form 180 and stated outright that if his Bronze Star was conditioned by being under fire then he didn't deserve it and would return same. No one can shoot straighter than that.

plantfood (aka fertilizer),

As I stated on beldar's blog earlier:

Anyone who heard the accusations (on Hannity & Colmes) AS THEY WERE BEING STATED against O'Neill in person last night knows that he admitted being conversational with Nixon, but was taken woefully out of context, and his immediate response was "Why didn't you play my very next sentence?" Only because you KNOW it would negate that comment.

O'Neill is too good a trial lawyer to be taken on something so shamelessly ludicrous.

CU, useless troll.


Posted by: recon at August 25, 2004 01:06 PM

Ada - when O'Neil runs for President as a brave would be Commander in Chief who doesn't pepper his own ass with "secondary explosion" rice, let the press know.

With or without O'Neil, Kerry's story doesn't add up. Say O'Neil got information hosed, I notice you aren't slamming Kerry for same.
(Oh, yeah, I remember, O'Neil's on the wrong side here...)

Kerry has already admitted he probably wasn't in Cambodia (his own damn diary...damn damn damn), his campaign has just, within the last 24 hours stated he might, just might, really have blasted himself to earn that 1st Purple Heart,
and a day or so ago part of Kerry's war story disappeared from his web-site like a dissenting Russian under Stalin's regime.

Pointing out things about O'Neil doesn't change facts Kerry, or his campaign, have admitted to.

Posted by: looker at August 25, 2004 01:14 PM

Where the link to O'Neill's "next sentence", recon?

Or perhaps your paraphrase of it?

Gainsaying isn't argument or debate, it's schoolyard stuff.

So, if I understand your point (and perhaps O'Neill's), either O'Neill was lying to Nixon or he is lying in the book and on the pundit shows.

I vote for the later until some eveidence surfaces to prove me wrong. What possible motive would O'Neill have to lie to Nixon on a point like that? None that I can think of.

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 01:20 PM

Did I say "admitted to"? I'm sorry, I meant forced to admit to.

Posted by: looker at August 25, 2004 01:35 PM

Kerry hasn't admitted either of the things you assert he has admitted. Both assertions appear to me to be based on a strained (one could say the strainers start with the conclusion they want and reason backwards to the interpretation necessary to validate their belief, but that would be intellectually dishonest, wouldn't it?) interpretation of 1) a diary entry reported at second of third hand (or have the diaries been published?) and 2) a flip "anything is possible" comment by a Kerry campaign staffer.

With regard to O'Neill, he is a lawyer and one of the authors and the principle spokesman for the group he heads. As any judge will tell you, once a lawyer is caught in a deliberate false statement to the court, nothing that lawyer says to the court will ever be taken at face value again.

Certainly the heat of a passionate presidential campaign is not a court of law, but I am the judge of what I believe and the credibility of those who would present evidence to me as a thinking and reasonably well-informed member of the public. O'Neill is a liar, the timing of the lie and the person or persons addressed don't matter to my judgment that his statements cannot be accepted at face value.

All of the official documentary evidence points to the same conclusion: The Swift Vet statements, by and large, are false, whether made under oath by affidavit, on talk shows, in books or in tv and radio media.

That's my opinion and one I am quite happy to defend. But at this point in the story, something other than mere statements which contradict contemporaneous documentary evidence (the most reliable) must be forthcoming if any hope of verifying the Swift Vets discredited assertions stiil exists.

Now, I recognize this is not a popular view among the regular posters here, but I am not trolling. I find discussions among persons of widely disparate viewpoints to be more conducive to a search for the truth than whipping up a crowd of folks I know are inclined to believe everything I say. Nor am I a hit and run poster. So, any allegations of my being a troll is just another tactic to avoid the substance of the debate.

Your Mileage May Vary, of course.

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 01:37 PM

Do you not find it curious that the reason JK is demanding the Swiftboat adds be withdrawn is because they are 'in coordination with' the Bush campaign as opposed to being 'outright lies'.

Why strike obliquely when you can just overrun them with truth?

Worse yet, that tactic opens the hatch for someone to stuff a grenade down into the Moveon.org 527, (which of course would never be 'in coordination with' the Kerry campaign).

Also, surely something as important as the Presidency (considering the amount of money spent personally) would warrant issuance of a libel suit against O'Neill. Perhaps that will materialize later if JK loses in November?

Actually I think this was all arranged by Hillary. It's finally starting to make sense to me.

Posted by: looker at August 25, 2004 01:52 PM

The state of defamation law in the us (NYTimes v. Sullivan and following) means no public figure can successfully sue for libel or slander without proof of "actual malice" by clear and convining evidence, a near impossible burden which in essence requires proof of what the alleged defamer was thinking and the state of his knowledge at the time of the defaming statement.

In addition to being a waste of time, it would be a distraction (one perhaps wished for by the Bush campaign and the Swiftees) from Kerry's campaign just as it gets into hyperdrive after Labor Day.

It would be counterproductive for Kerry and his campaign to divert significant resources (and time is the most critical resource at this point) into a direct frontal assault on the Swift Vets when the entire manufactured controversy distracts from the real and more important issues, which Bush appears loath to engage in debate about, that Kerry-Edwards continues to talk about everyday in campaign events open to all, not just hand-picked supporters.

The argument that Swift Vets isn't a plausibly deniable creature of Karl Rove, quite frankly, doesn't pass either the laugh or the smell test.

Perhaps the Kerry campaign can be assailed on similar grounds of illegal coordination, but so far, no where near the evidence for that has been unearthed as has been the case with the Bush campaign and the Swift Vets. I don't intend to spend much time arguing against an assertion so patently ridiculous. If it was alright and above board, Ginsberg wouldn't have resigned, regardless of the platitudes and bromides he stated in his resignation statement.

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 02:15 PM

Ample discussion of representation and misrepresentation here:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1198750/posts

O'Neill's discussion was to deliberately edited to be the most damaging, but is quickly fact-checked in his favor.


You are entitled to your opinion, just as you are perfectly entitled to be an utter moron.

xoine loi, min oi!

Posted by: recon at August 25, 2004 02:31 PM

You'll have to continue your flame war without me, recon.

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 02:39 PM

Have we seen any analysis of how the three bullet holes got into Thurlow's boat?

Posted by: Crank at August 25, 2004 03:22 PM

adaplant: indeed Kerry has admitted the Christmas in Cambodia error and also the PH may have been unintentionally self-inflicted. I am assuming you agree his camnpaign admitting such is equivalent to Kerry admitting such.

He claims (prior to his admission of error) in his "seared in his mind" memory that "President Nixon" denied they were there, when in fact the President in December 1968 was LBJ.

here is another:

Another Seared--Seared--Memory:

From a John Kerry speech commemorating Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 20, 2003:

I remember well April 1968--I was serving in Vietnam--a place of violence--when the news reports brought home to me and my crewmates the violence back home--and the tragic news that one of the bullets flying that terrible spring took the life of that unabashedly maladjusted citizen.

In fact, Kerry did not go to Vietnam until November 1968.

Posted by: bear57 at August 25, 2004 04:37 PM

Asked and answered, bear57, but since you seem to have missed it, here it is again:

Kerry hasn't admitted either of the things you assert he has admitted. Both assertions appear to me to be based on a strained (one could say the strainers start with the conclusion they want and reason backwards to the interpretation necessary to validate their belief, but that would be intellectually dishonest, wouldn't it?) interpretation of 1) a diary entry reported at second of third hand (or have the diaries been published?) and 2) a flip "anything is possible" comment by a Kerry campaign staffer.

With regard to O'Neill, he is a lawyer and one of the authors and the principle spokesman for the group he heads. As any judge will tell you, once a lawyer is caught in a deliberate false statement to the court, nothing that lawyer says to the court will ever be taken at face value again.

Certainly the heat of a passionate presidential campaign is not a court of law, but I am the judge of what I believe and the credibility of those who would present evidence to me as a thinking and reasonably well-informed member of the public. O'Neill is a liar, the timing of the lie and the person or persons addressed don't matter to my judgment that his statements cannot be accepted at face value.

All of the official documentary evidence points to the same conclusion: The Swift Vet statements, by and large, are false, whether made under oath by affidavit, on talk shows, in books or in tv and radio media.

That's my opinion and one I am quite happy to defend. But at this point in the story, something other than mere statements which contradict contemporaneous documentary evidence (the most reliable) must be forthcoming if any hope of verifying the Swift Vets discredited assertions stiil exists.

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 04:44 PM

Adaplant - O'Neil served longer than Kerry. He was also in Vietnam during the '70 Cambodian incursion.

He didn't tell Nixon he spent Christmas '68 in Cambodia.

Where do you get off saying he wasn't in Cambodia?

Posted by: SarahW at August 25, 2004 04:49 PM

"Kerry did not go to Vietnam until November 1968."

This one is so ridiculous I almost didn't respond at all.

One has to have swallowed the line that Kerry "only" spent four months, beginning in November 1968, in Vietnam for this attempted smear to have traction.

Of course, serving on the USS Gridley for a year, some of it doing picket duty for Aircraft Carrier Task Groups in the South China Sea, is "serving in Vietnam", or so the Vietnam Service Medals sailors on those boats received would appear to attest.

So the supposed "lie" you cite is in fact itself based on two lies (1 - He wasn't "serving in Vietnam" when he said it; and 2 - he only served 4 months in Vietnam).

Really, this one is so silly I'm surprised to see anyone still repeating it.

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 04:54 PM

McQ,

Where did you get that the enemy fire was ONLY during the first part of the mission? That's not what the document you link to says.

Posted by: GT at August 25, 2004 05:00 PM

"Where do you get off saying he wasn't in Cambodia?"

Sorry, SarahW, you have me at a disadvantage, I didn't say O'Neill wasn't in Cambodia. I said I believed he was telling Nixon the truth and that he (O"Neill) was in Cambodia. So I don't quite understand what you're trying to say.

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 05:00 PM

Adaplant- I don't think it is asked and answered just because you say it is.

Your statement that Oneill is a liar begs the obvious- why don't you go to the next sentence in his recorded words?

By your own standards that you wish to judge Oneill on you should judge Kerry on correct? -- Kerry is not to be believed on anything- false statements on Christmas in cambodia and in Viet nam when King was shot.

What about the Major Garrett and Brit Hume interview where the Kerry campaign admits one of the PH may have been unintentionally self-inflcited?

The Swift Vets statements have not been proved to be "by and large false" as you opine. Your evidence is nonexistent.

Posted by: bear57 at August 25, 2004 05:08 PM

Bear57,

actually they have, or as much as something like this can be proven. Every single document out (and several new witnesses) has shown the Swifties wrong on the medal charges. Cambodia is a different story.

Posted by: GT at August 25, 2004 05:13 PM

There is very little real doubt Kerry was in Cambodia on his Swift at some point in the Nov '68 - March '69 time frame.

The question is therefore: when was he in Cambodia? Fred Kaplan of Slate says it could very well have been on Christmas Eve of 1968, while I have read that some have suggested Kerry mispoke and the celebratory Vietnamese firing he hear was in celebration of Tet, in Feb 1969 and that his memory on the date was a confused recollection of an event far past. To which I say: whatever.

In the end, I don't see the point in arguing a timing question. The essence of the anecdote is that he was in Cambodia at all before official US acknowlegment of such incursions, not the exact day and hour. You may see vast import in such a timing quibble. I don't. I don't believe most voters would either. But far be it from me to say you should get off that particular hobby-horse if it pleases you to continue to rock on it. It appears to me to be a pointless exercise going nowhere.

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 05:28 PM

Adaplant- Kerry's Gridley service was mostly off the coast of California and some in Australia/New Zealand. Although his statement says he was "in Vietnam" ,"a place of violence" he was not. All he would have had to do is say "coming back from a Vietnam tour" or something like that. Instead he says he "remembers well" being "in Vietnam" when King was shot. Why would he say that?

Posted by: bear57 at August 25, 2004 05:36 PM

GT- how do you come down on the first PH being awarded for wounds recvd on 12/02 and Kerry's diary on 12/11 says "hadn't been shot at yet". Couple that with the Hume/ Garrett interview on 8/23/04 indicating the Kerry campaign admits it is possible the wound might have been "unintentionally self-inflicted"?

Posted by: bear57 at August 25, 2004 05:44 PM

The USS Gridley was off the coast of Vietnam in April 1968.

Kerry wan't yet a Swift Capt'n when he was injured on 12/02. On 12/11 Kerry was a Swift Capt'n and he noted in his journal that "we" (meaning his Swift Boat Crewmates and himself) hadn't been shot at yet" together (the point of using "we").

Really. I've discussed each of these issues already above in this thread. How many times do I have to repeat the same things. Read the thread. I did.

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 05:50 PM

Two points.

First I am not sure I would put too much weight on the dairy. I would need to read the original and that is not available. And I understand Kerry says he was referring to the crew and the boat as a whole, not just himself. Not sure that can be proved one way or the other.

Second, you don't NEED enemy fire for a PH. It just has to be in a combat situation. All three on the ship that day agree they saw what they thought were enemies and fired at them, making it a combat situation.One of them, Pat Runyon, described it as the scariest night of his life. They just are not sure if they were fired back. And self inflicted wounds are perfectly valid for PH. That's how Dole got his first one.

Posted by: GT at August 25, 2004 05:51 PM

adaplant: timing quibble? This guy was a Senator debating foreign policy when he made the statement that something was "seared" in his memory. When a reasonable person says "seared in my memory" it is usually something factual. When someone is speaking to his US Senate colleagues and uses such words yes it is of "vast import".

The next time he says "seared in my memory" or "remember well" are we to believe him? Obviously believability is in question.

Posted by: bear57 at August 25, 2004 05:53 PM

A memory can be "seared" and still be recalled incorrectly or imprecisely, especially after the passage of time. We are but human after all, even our presidential candidates.

And in the interest of supporting what I assert, in support of my assertion of the location of the Gridley in April 1968, I offer the view of James @ Outside the Beltway:

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/7273

"So, indeed, the ship was probably near Vietnam on the day King was shot (April 8, 1968)."

Now, James certainly didn't want to agree with me then and you certainly don't now. So his concession after inquiry I cite as support.

Not definitive, but certainly supportive. Unless you have some direct evidence otherwise, I think it is safe to believe the USS Gridley was where Kerry said he was on April 1968.

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 06:01 PM

he also claimed Nixon was President when he was in Cambodia on Christmas. 1968? Ok. "seared" again. Is he able to use passionate strong words but we are not to put any additional meaning on them?


Posted by: bear57 at August 25, 2004 06:01 PM

'There is very little real doubt...'
Really?
I guess my doubt must not count as 'Real'. The good news is, my vote counts as much as yours.

I think there's plenty of real doubt, you just don't happen to have any of it.

If he didn't have so many versions of his history floating around he wouldn't have these problems. I've seen the 3 versions of his Silver Star citation, I don't think there's any real doubt that most guys who get the Silver Star don't have more 1 version. I don't think there's any real doubt that most of them get it sometime before they've been out of the service for 10 years (when not posthumously) and don't keep getting 'upgrades' to it.

I don't think there's any real doubt that the Kerry campaign can't quite get the story straight on the whole Cambodia issue.
I don't think there's any real doubt they've had to keep back-pedaling and patching. I don't think there's any real doubt that they don't know what the true story is themselves, and that includes Kerry.


Posted by: looker at August 25, 2004 06:12 PM

Now I understand.

For one of the most secret, clandestine missions in unit history to date, I'd select one of the largest and noisiest boats in the command's inventory to take 1-2 sooper-secret operators up the narrowest and shallowest waters in the AO, and I'd send a single craft without a protective 'wingman' or air cover, and I'd send a guy with 2 WEEKS IN THE UNIT, one of the least experienced, least trained, most junior officers with the least navigation capability in CosDiv to do it, and I'd make sure his entire crew denied it after the fact. Right!

By the way, even clandestine operations are COMPLETELY documented to the nth degree by all involved participants and commands. A FOIL request for documents will result in:
1. They exist and have been released or are available.
2. They exist and are still classified.
3. They don't exit because it didn't happen.

KERRY WAS NOT IN CAMBODIA, and has admitted as much.

No commander could make that happen because HIS commander wouldn't let it happen!

Tough/top/critical ops go to only the most experienced, when they do happen. PERIOD!!

You're going absolutely nowhere, troll.

Posted by: recon at August 25, 2004 06:29 PM

THIS is what Kerry said in his speech that he was doing in April 1968:

I believe we need to reclaim the kind of citizenship. It's a citizenship seared into me 30 years ago when I served with a band of brothers in Vietnam. We were all living together, working together, taking care of each other, kids from Arkansas, Iowa, California, Massachusetts, and a young African American gunner by the name of David Alston, from South Carolina. Color, religion, background, all of it just melted away into an understanding that we were 'Americans.' It shouldn't have to take a war to remind us understand that we're all in this together.

You're STILL going nowhere.

Posted by: recon at August 25, 2004 06:34 PM

There is very little real doubt Kerry was in Cambodia on his Swift at some point in the Nov '68 - March '69 time frame.

The question is therefore: when was he in Cambodia? Fred Kaplan of Slate says it could very well have been on Christmas Eve of 1968, while I have read that some have suggested Kerry mispoke and the celebratory Vietnamese firing he hear was in celebration of Tet, in Feb 1969 and that his memory on the date was a confused recollection of an event far past. To which I say: whatever.

In the end, I don't see the point in arguing a timing question. The essence of the anecdote is that he was in Cambodia at all before official US acknowlegment of such incursions, not the exact day and hour. You may see vast import in such a timing quibble.

That is either a dishonest or uniformed presentation of the Cambodia problem. It is Kerry whose primary concern seems to be with timing.

The allegfation from his critics is not that he wasn';t in Cambodia on Christmas eve. It is that he wasn't in Cambodia at all.

It is the Kerry campaign that is casting about trying to find some indefinite timing, because the only evidence we have that he was in Cambodia is his uncorroborated assertion. Numerous military and diplomatic personnel have stated, categorically, that it is is highly unlikely that Kerry could possibly have entered Cambodia, and that it is flatly impossible for him to have wandered across the border by accident.

The question is therefore: when was he in Cambodia?

That may be your question, but the question of Kerry's critics, especially in light of Kerrys own contemporaneous diaries is, "Was Kerry ever in Cambodia at all?"

Based on the evidence so far, the answer appears to be "No."

Posted by: Dale Franks at August 25, 2004 07:04 PM

And ya know - it's a quibble I suppose, but looking at the Kerry site -

"December 24, 1968 - Kerry involved in combat during the Christmas Eve truce of 1968. The truce was three minutes old when mortar fire exploded around Lieutenant Kerry and his five-man crew. Reacting swiftly, John Kerry and his crew silenced the machine gun nest."

Was it a machine gun nest, or a mortar position?
And if it was a Cambodian Christmas, did the Communists in Cambodia not know there was a truce on in Vietnam? I'm so confused....

And these secret missions into Cambodia that Nixon, I mean Johnson, must have ordered, hell, you'd think they'd have been worth mentioning on the official web site for Kerry, but uh-uh, they were probably on double secret probation not to talk about them, even now, over 30 years later.
Oh, but the secret mission WAS the mortar, uh, maching gun, incident I suppose. But darn it, he mentioned it in Senate testimony so he already violated the double secret probation rule.
I'm confused again...

I'm still kinda puzzled though, I know John K thinks that mortar "like" (read Grenade launchers) weapons are direct fire weapons, but did the Viet Cong? I'm trying to imagine being dumb enough to set up my mortar where someone could fire supress me from a boat in a river.
Wasn't there a convenient embankment somewhere to get down behind where a direct fire weapon like a .50 is less likely to perforate you, ya know, like a, oh, rice paddy or something?

Not to say it didn't happen, not to say they really weren't that dumb that day, just makes me shake my pointy little head in "foncusion".
Oh, but it wasn't the mortar they silenced, it was the machine gun, which, I guess, didn't fire because he and his crew weren't under machine gun fire according to this account.

Do you suppose he proof read this record?

Another humerous aspect of the whole "searing" tour of duty for the Gridley is one of the sites for the Gridley doesn't even describe GOING back to Vietnam during the period of Kerry's deployment. Not to say it didn't happen, just kind of intereting.
http://www.navysite.de/cg/cg21.htm
Nothing much happend to Gridley during this tour or it would be mentioned - conspicous absence of anything worth saying.

Posted by: looker at August 25, 2004 07:13 PM

Kaplan reviewed the diaries in light of the "sneerer's" criticisms and found the story credible.

http://slate.msn.com/id/2105529

Being unaware, as you have failed to cite it directly, what "evidence" you base your opinion on, it is difficult to address it directly. I am left to guess that your "evidence" is the same "evidence" cited in Kaplan's article, which is fairly thoroughly debunked.

If you have other credible evidence, post it and its source (with a link if available) and let's discuss it.

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 07:20 PM

Nothing much happend to Gridley during this tour or it would be mentioned - conspicous absence of anything worth saying.

Picket duty is boring work, monotonous to say the least. That could be why Kerry asked for transfer to Swift's, ya think?

From Kaplan's quote of Brinkley's recounting of Kerry's diary for that day (how's that for remote sourcing, from Kerry to diary to Brinkley to book to Kaplan to Slate to me to you):

Chapter: "Death in the Delta."

""It was early morning, not yet light. Ours was the only movement on the river, patrolling near the Cambodian line." [Italics added.] Brinkley continues: "At a bend just as they were approaching the Cambodian border, two [U.S. river-patrol boats] met the Swift." Then, again from Kerry's diary: "Suddenly, there is an explosion and a mortar lands on the bank near all three boats." The next few pages detail a ferocious firefight, one part of which involved (as his diary noted) "the ridiculous waste of being shot at by your own allies."

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 07:28 PM

Two points:

There is very little real doubt Kerry was in Cambodia on his Swift at some point in the Nov '68 - March '69 time frame.
Well, yeah, there is. In fact, there's a lot of doubt about a lot of the stuff being bandied about by both sides of this debate, because--at the end of the day--it's just contradiction. When you have two parties, one saying X and the other saying Z, with no physical evidence...well, there's going to be doubt.

Unfortunately, from what I've read, the partisans on both sides don't seem willing to admit that there are holes in their story--and there are, for both sides--and questions that have not been answered. Both sides seem to take quick note of holes in the other sides story, but not in their own.

So, we have both sides declaring preemptive victory, which I don't think is merited.

But a substantial bit of "doubt" is merited, from both sides. That's why I'm remaining firmly agnostic...neither side has convinced me of much of anything.

You're going absolutely nowhere, troll.
I don't think Adaplant or MKUltra or GT--or others I may have missed--are being trolls at all. They've been debating the merits of the argument. If they are, sometimes, overly tendentious....well, that's sometimes true of both sides.

But I appreciate their participation, even if I haven't been able to keep up with it much today.

Posted by: Jon Henke at August 25, 2004 07:31 PM

Personally I don't care much about Cambodia. Brinkley, who has studied the documents, says that Kerry was in Cambodia ferrying people so if it was Christmas or January makes no difference to me.

The medals stuff is different though and they have been pretty much debunked.

Posted by: GT at August 25, 2004 07:43 PM

Regarding evidence - the only evidence presented is Kerry says he was there. The only evidence presented against it is numerous official sources, that would be the military, noting that officially Swift Boats were not in Cambodia at that time.

So...I have to rely on the evidence presented by Kerry's web site, for which there is no evidence that states he was in Cambodia. We're back to his Senate testimony, uncorroborated by anyone but John Kerry. I don't rely on a book quoted via a 4 person chain. Kerry can always claim that that was a mistake made by the author, a misinterpretation of something he said.

If I claim that I have walked on the moon, and there is no one who can say where I was on the date that I sorta claim (it's kinda vague ya see, I did it back in the late 60's) it happened, that doesn't mean it's evidence that it was so. If he weren't running on it as a campaign stand for Hero President, no one would really care, except for guys who might have actually done it and resent people who DIDN'T saying they DID. As it is, he hasn't offered any irrefutable proof that he did, and that being the case, he ought to 86 it (too late for that now though). Worse yet, if I appear to contradict my own diary, well....

I lean towards dramatic license during testimony on the presmise that it would be taken at face value and no one would bother to validate it. Except our words have a way or cathing up with us, and I think this just plain old caught up with him. So, there's my reason for doubt.

Posted by: looker at August 25, 2004 08:05 PM

Another doubting question I have - the 'ferried' people - I guess they must be one of the following catagories:

1) South Vietnamese troops who don't give a crap what Kerry is saying today.
2) all dead.
3) evil anti-Kerry American Vietnam Vets who don't want to help back up his story (I love a good vast right wing conspiracy hook).

So now I have to believe that we can't get any corroboration out of anyone who might potentially have been aboard the Kerry boat who was NOT part of his crew, and might have recognized him today. I'll presume they couldn't have been introduced to oneanother because of the need to maintain secrecy on the secret mission.

If it doesn't bother anyone that he wasn't in Cambodia when he says he was, fine, but I think it speaks to a lack of credibility myself. Especially from a man who had such positive testimony to give before the U.S. Senate.

Posted by: looker at August 25, 2004 08:27 PM

I'm a bit troubled by the inability of Bush to establish conclusively his whereabouts for several months of his TANG service (the Alabama episode) and more troubled by the nagging questions regarding the institution of drug tests and the missed flight medical examination.

But I don't think it is worth making a federal case or a major campaign issue of it.

Neither do I think the "Cambodia Question" is worthy of dwelling on as a major campaign issue.

Neither of those issues are germane to how either man would address the pressing issues facing the US today and for the years to come, like massive federal deficits, health care for an aging population, the threat of terrorism against US interests everywhere and the rising animus against the US around the world.

It would be better for us and for the nation if half as much time were to be spent in discussion of those issues and the relative stands of the candidates as has been spent playing gotcha games over actions and statements made or done when both of the men were young and less wise than they are now.

Posted by: adaplant at August 25, 2004 09:12 PM

I'll trust Brinkley over you looker, if you don't mind.

You may trust who you wish.

Posted by: GT at August 25, 2004 09:23 PM

Hehe since we are on the issue of lies here's Bush lying about his military service:

http://www.mydd.com/story/2004/8/25/165424/018

Posted by: GT at August 25, 2004 09:36 PM

I'll trust Brinkley over you looker, if you don't mind.

Heh. You can trust who you like, but I'm not sure why Brinkley is the guy, especially after the Kerry campaign came in a coiuple of days later and cut Brinkleys legs out from under him with another "clarification".

if I was you, I'd wait till Brinkley came back out in public again before getting all religious on him.

Posted by: Dale Franks at August 25, 2004 10:27 PM

To further dispell doubts whether Kerry ever went into Cambodia (leaving the timing aside for the nonce), the latest data point to incorporate is this:

Later, Kerry went, and I went to a place called Bernique's (ph) Creek -- that was our nickname for it -- at Hatien (ph). That was a canal system that ran close to the border, but that wasn't at Christmas for Kerry. That was later for him.

The speaker is John O'Neill, the venue is Hannity & Colmes and the date is August 24.

O'Neill appears to acknowledge that Kerry's Swift was for a time based along the border with Cambodia on a canal system which ran close to the border and upon which it was possible to go into Cambodia.

Now, this appears to help establish at least the physical possibility Kerry could have taken his Swift into Cambodia and coming as it does from Kerry's chief antagonist, I believe it is a very significant concession in this tempest in a teapot controversy.

I'm not perfectly clear about when O'Neill served on Swifts. It is my understanding he took over command of Kerry's Swift when Kerry got his early out. So logically one has to assume the Swift O'Neill took command of was already on the canal system. My question is how does O'Neill know Kerry didn't foray, wasn't ordered to foray into Cambodia before he (O'Neill) was on the scene? Whatever knowledge he has of when and where Kerry's Swift was before he took over would have to be based upon at least second-hand information, not personal knowledge.

None of the foregoing is in serious dispute it appears to me.

Posted by: adaplant at August 26, 2004 12:48 AM

Adaplant--

Have ever been to a trial? Do you know what a trial lawyer does? For that matter have you read any history? Does one have to witness everything in order to discuss it or argue about it? Now then...

O'Neill served in Vietnam from the spring of 1969 until the summer of 1970. The U.S. incursion as stated, official U.S. policy occurred from Apr. 30, 1970 to the end of June. Thus O'Neill could quite possibly have gone into Cambodia when it was legal to do so.

Kerry, on the other hand, was not in country during this period. His major claim is that he was five miles across the border on Christmas Eve, 1969 when, in a Francis Scott Key moment, the realization that he was doing something illegal and sneaky was "seared--seared" into him.

So:

(a) Regarding O'Neill, you miss the point, which was that Kerry claimed he was across the border contrary to official U.S. policy. This is what was supposedly a turning point in his life. Being across the border on some other random occasion (no matter how unlikely) doesn't really fit with the "turning point" notion, does it?

(b) You have not considered the fact that, in contrast to Kerry, O'Neill might have been in Cambodia legally--which is wholly different than what Kerry claimed--owing to the different timing of their respective services.

(c) You have ignored Kerry's two contrary statements in his journals, one about sugarplums and the other (his last entry in Vietnam) wistful about what was "on the other side" of the demarked border.

(d) You have ignored the Kerry campaign and Douglas Brinkley's rowbacks on this issue.

(e) You have ignored that there would be no logical reason to send a green lieutenant on a sensitive mission after having been in the country one month.

(f) You have ignored the fact that the border of the Mekong River was obstructed with pilings that did not permit egress to any vessel with a draft greater than a sampan at high tide. It was also patrolled by the U.S. Navy.

(g) You have ignored the fact that Swift Boats are wholly unsuited to clandestine missions, as they can literally be heard from a mile away. (When such missions were later undertaken, they were done with PBRs.)

(h) You have ignored the fact that, in Kerry's biography, hagiographer Douglas Brinkley did not include this supposed milestone in Kerry's anti-war transformation. Pretty important thing for him to leave out, don't you think? Why would he do that, exactly?

(i) You have ignored Steven Gardner's statements that Kerry was not in Cambodia on December 24, 1969.

(j) You have ignored that O'Neill was referring to a creek on the other side of Vietnam, not near Sa Dec. (And if Kerry did go across there, it wasn't on December 24. Right?)

(k) You have ignored the fact that none of the other Kerry crew members have said they were in Cambodia at any time.

(l) You have disregarded the fact that Kerry's entire chain of command denies any such missions ever took place.

Isn't that enough ignorance for one day, Adaplant?

Posted by: Fresh Air at August 26, 2004 01:50 AM

It is very late, so I'll have to respond to your diatribe in detail later, but for the time being it is suffient unto the moment to observe that of the list of things which you claim I am ignoring, most are seriously in dispute. To pick one item for now at random (i) James Wasser says Gardner's duties didn't require him knowing and he would have no reason to know the precise location of the boat at any given moment. Wasser also said they could have been in Cambodia that day as they were "very near". He said there were no signs and that only Kerry would know precisely where they were at any given time.

G'nite.

Posted by: adaplant at August 26, 2004 02:59 AM

Good grief people, can't you see a troll when he posts? He and the MSM can sling mud and twist facts into pretzels all day long looking for an exit of this big stinking mess Kerry's gotten them all into . . . but they're not gonna get one. You don't start your political career as poster child for war protesters and then 30 years later run as a Vietnam Vet war hero. The swiftvets are just putting the nails in the coffin. Let the troll sink under the bridge already.

Posted by: Jamison Banks at August 26, 2004 04:07 AM

Dale,

I don't think they did that at all.

Posted by: GT at August 26, 2004 07:58 AM

I'll be busy most of today with RL stuff, but here are a couple of maps which may be of more than passing interest to some:

Topo Map of Cambodia-Vietnam Border Area encompassing the Mekong River:

http://www.rjsmith.com/Images/maps/IV_Corps_Seven_Sisters_01.jpg

Topo Map of Cambodia-Vietnam Border Area encompassing Ha Tien and An Thoi:

http://www.rjsmith.com/Images/maps/IV_Corps_An_Thoi_01.jpg

The observant map reader will immediately notice on both maps that there is at least one navigable waterway by which riverine traffic of a vessel larger than a Swift starting from Vietnam could traverse the international border into Cambodia.

More later.

Posted by: adaplant at August 26, 2004 09:22 AM

Another Topo map - this one showing Sa Dec (O'Neill's "Sadek"?) (look in the lower left corner of map grid 6129-1 which is in the upper left corner of the map):

http://www.rjsmith.com/Images/maps/IV-Corps-delta-01-west.jpg

All maps from:

http://www.rjsmith.com/topo_map.html

Posted by: adaplant at August 26, 2004 09:58 AM

Thurlow's been busted

http://www.mailtribune.com/archive/2004/0826/local/stories/01local.htm

Posted by: GT at August 26, 2004 12:27 PM

Thurlow's been busted

http://www.mailtribune.com/archive/2004/0826/local/stories/01local.htm


Okay, but then I still have two problems with his story.

He remembers being under fire that day, but "he doesn’t recall ever having met Kerry." Huh? How is that possible? Someone said earlier that these boats are in close proximity. I find it odd that the two men never met once. (I'm not suggesting they weren't there together, simply questioning the reliability of Lambert's memory) Is it just a result of a faulty memory, in which case can we be sure of the accuracy of any of the rest of it?

He also said:

"When those bullets hit that aluminum, it was like hitting glass," he added. "There was shrapnel everywhere."
His photographs include swift boats riddled from AK-47 rifle rounds and larger holes from rocket blasts.

So again, in a supposed firefight of the magnitude described, why no damage to the boat, and no gunshot wounds?

Isn't it possible that both sides are remembering "correctly"? All parties seem to agree that the boats opened fire on the shores. Could the AW fire some are remembering simply have been the boats firing on the shore? I know that they are different sounds, but panic, adreneline, and 30 odd years might have caused a little confusion.

It's an immensly frustrating subject, because most of the time, when you have discrepencies like this, it's a matter of degree. "oh, it was five miles." "No, it was six." But here, it seems to be black and white. Either enemy soldiers were there, or they weren't.

Posted by: Dead Serious at August 26, 2004 11:31 PM

adaplant-

Speaking as someone who has followed many threads, as apparently have you, but who has never commented, I would like to say two things.

1.Your questions are provocative and contribute greatly to clarifying what is being explored, questioned and explained. They are entered in a courteous manner and easy to read. Thank you.

2. Your statement "Neither do I think the "Cambodia Question" is worthy of dwelling on as a major campaign issue," is most certainly worthy of thought and comment from at least several aspects.

a. Sen. Kerry's stated rationale for the formulation of his view on foreign policy, as a Senator, was formed from his excursion into Cambodia, under orders, on Christmas eve 1968. If that whole scene were true, then others might have some credible insight into what Kerry's thinking on foreign policy, as the President of the US, would be. If it is not true, and his campaign now admits it is not, where does that leave voters today in terms of understanding his POTUS foreign policy thinking. One would have to look to his Senate voting record, and based on the DN Convention program, he does not want that to be "front and center." I believe since the U.S. Constitution gives only the POTUS responsibility for foreign policy, it is an extremely important and major campaign issue.

b. If, as appears to be the case, Sen. Kerry is a liar, if not delusional, wouldn't you want to know that before voting for him? Personally, I have lived through Nixon and Clinton and the trauma to the country their lies brought while in office and I would prefer to know a candidate is either a liar, delusional, or just a nut case BEFORE I voted for him. Hopefully you feel the same way. If you do not, can you honestly say you know that if one votes for Kerry, they know for what they are voting other than a person that "screwed" his Vietnam brothers and lied to his fellow Senators. What does he hold sacred?

c.As a confessed liar concerning Cambodia (an incident "seared" into his memory, stated multiple times and thus not a mispeak), what basis does one use for believing his statements before the Senate committee where he maligned his "band of brothers," the US military and angered the SwiftVets and MILLIONS of others.

This is more than I intended to say. You seem thoughtful so I hope you will give this some consideration concerning your belief that the "Cambodia Question" is not a major campaign issue.

Posted by: Deadeye at August 27, 2004 06:39 PM

Assuming I buy the 5 miles inside the Cambodian Border story....

So, there must have been South Vietnamese troops pretty close by, right? He was getting fired at by them, so it couldn't have been a very
secret mission - Drunken RVN troops shooting at things (like American PCFs).

(Pause, Rewind)

Okay, so the South Vietnamese weren't actually IN Cambodia, they were in South Vietnam. Oh, okay, 5 miles away, in South Vietnam, on the
South Vietnamese side of the line. Drunken Artillery crews then?

(Pause, Rewind)

Okay, so what he meant was, he was up the river
5 miles from where he entered it and the border was really pretty close by and there were RVN troops stationed near enough to the border to shoot at him. He KNEW they were RVN troops in what way? They must have been in some fixed position that was known to be an RVN position.

There ya go - now someone can get fixes on his alleged position(s) (could be many places this works).

Someplace about 5 miles up some river, near the border, where an RVN unit was in a fixed position that could SEE the river and fire at his boat.

Posted by: Looker at August 28, 2004 06:00 PM

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