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Kerry still fighting the Swift Boat Veterans
Posted by: Jon Henke on Sunday, May 28, 2006

In the 1972 Olympic Games, the USSR won a contested basketball game against the USA after refs repeatedly re-set the clock, giving the Soviet team more chances at a winning shot — one of which, they eventually made. That game is still hotly contested to this day, among people who care about such things. Still, as hot as the tempers run, it would be very, very odd to see the game re-run on television, or recounted in great detail within the New York Times.

You're still here? It's over. Go home.

And that's how I feel about this New York Times return to the Swift Boat Vets story....
Three decades after the Vietnam War and nearly two years after Mr. Kerry's failed presidential bid, most Americans have probably forgotten why it ever mattered whether he went to Cambodia or that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth accused him of making it all up, saying he was dishonest and lacked patriotism.

But among those who were on the front lines of the 2004 campaign, the battle over Mr. Kerry's wartime service continues, out of the limelight but in some ways more heatedly — because unlike then, Mr. Kerry has fully engaged in the fight. Only those on Mr. Kerry's side, however, have gathered new evidence to support their case.
Preemptively, I should note that my opinion of the Swift Boat Veterans is fairly low. They raised some valid questions — especially with regards to his post-war activities — but a lot of their stuff was just vague unverifiables, while in other cases, as the Times wrote, "Naval records and accounts from other sailors contradicted almost every claim they made". I believe that John Kerry's Vietnam service was honorable — though not necessarily his post-war activities.

On the other hand, the media did a horrible job — from any perspective — of following up on their story. Virtually every story that made the mainstream media either mischaracterized their claims, or failed to follow up on them. There was just never a comprehensive and authoritative examination of the events in question.

In any event, whatever minor discrepancies may have existed, I believe that John Kerry's Vietnam service was honorable — though not necessarily his post-war activities. That said, I don't find military service particularly relevant to a Presidential campaign.

However, some aspects of the NYTimes article are troubling. As Tom Maguire points out, for a story purporting to settle claims, there seems to be a lot of evidence missing...

Show/Hide

What's more, as Maguire points out, the NYTimes seems to be confused about the provenance of some claims. While they write that the SBV's "said the enemy whom Mr. Kerry shot and killed in the incident for which he won a Silver Star was actually a wounded and fleeing teenager 'in a loincloth'", that was actually one version of the story told by Kerry.

Patterico also notes that, while the Times claims "Mr. Kerry has signed forms authorizing the Navy to release his record", they avoid mentioning "to whom" Kerry authorized those records released. Patterico writes...
As I noted in June 2005, when Kerry previously signed the Form 180, all of the records first passed through Kerry’s office. From there, they went into the hands of friendly journalists — journalists who then claimed that the records were now complete, even though they had made the same claim earlier, during the campaign.
The aspect of the story that really grabs me, though, is this more contemporary event...
In February 2005, Mr. Kerry's supporters formed their own group, the Patriot Project, to defend veterans who take unpopular positions, particularly against the Iraq war. One of their first tasks was to visit newspaper editorial boards in defense of John P. Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat and veteran whose military record has been attacked by Republicans and conservative blogs since he called for pulling the troops out of Iraq.
if [Kerry] wants to just drop the whole thing, I don't think many people would blame him. Or care.
Now, perhaps I just haven't visited that particular fever swamp, but when did Republicans and conservative blogs criticism John Murtha's "military record"? Sure, they've criticized his statements, his ideas and even his integrity. But who criticized Murtha's military record?

Well, let's check with the Patriot Project and see what they say. They have a page up about "The Smear of John Murtha", and as far as I can tell, the only attack on Murtha's military record came from some obscure 1970s-early 80s era representative named Don Bailey, who has been telling that same story since long before Murtha suggested withdrawal from Iraq.

Don Bailey is a Democrat.

I'm not sure why Kerry wants to revisit the Swift Boat Vets campaign, but if he wants to deal with it once and for all, he needs to do more than the piecemeal release of records to friendly observers, and he — along with his defenders — need to directly address the criticisms made by the more reasonable observers like Patterico, Tom Maguire and Beldar. But if he wants to just drop the whole thing, I don't think many people would blame him. Or care.

MORE:

Captain's Quarters weighs in with some to-date-unanswered questions...
1. Why did Kerry appropriate Tedd Peck's battle record into his own record?

2. Why did Kerry allow David Alston to appear at numerous campaign events and misrepresent himself as an eyewitness to Kerry's Silver Star engagement?

3. Why did Alston disappear from the campaign after this became public, and why didn't the Kerry campaign explain his absence?

4. If Kerry came under fire on the December 2, 1968 incident for which he requested and eventually received his first Purple Heart, why then did Kerry write in his journal on December 11 that he had not yet been shot at?
James Joyner at Outside the Beltway seems to be fairly close to my own position on the matter. Meanwhile, this Democracy Project post points out another factual inaccuracy in the New York Times story, and re-states his open questions to John Kerry.
 
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This is wy John Kerry will NEVER be President. He is: A) Stoopit B) Arrogant. Now for Ornery (who will object to the perjorative BECAUSE I TAR HIM) or Glasnost or MK I will agree that stupid is tough word, but one that seems to fit here. The 2004 Campaign is OVER, the Swift Boat Vet’s are HISTORY. Let it lie, the story did you no good then and re-kindling now won’t help you. Best let this lie, IF you run in 2008 try the "This is old news" bit, why go out of your way to poke a badger and to RE-FOCUS the public’s attention, such as it is, on the fact that Kerry is, at best, a veteran, not a "hero." By re-visting this fight we get to see that Kerry prevaricates and tells different stories depending on the date and audience, PLUS it allows folks to re-examine his "Winter Soldier" testimony and his post-war activities... none of this helped him in ’04 and it won’t help him today. LET IT GO, John! Bush doesn’t trumpet his service, undistinguished service, in the Tx ANG. Neither of them is a war hero, only one of them tries to portray himself that way and it doesn’t work for him!

I’d argue that compounding his stoopitity is his ARROGANCE. John Kerry has an image of himself and he’s not going to let some bunch of p*ss-ants from fly-over country talk bad about him! He’s CHOSEN to rekindle the fight. I can only attribute this to his arrogance and stupidity.

The best thing to do is release the WHOLE DD-214, ALL your records and move on. John Kerry is NOT a war hero, don’t sell yourself as one. How about apologizing for Winter Soldier and admitting you were duped by the VVAW? Make it a point of growth in your life, something you’ve learned! Put a positive spin on it! Don’t just re-hash it and try to make it out like you’re the victim, because the facts don’t make John Kerry a victim. They make him a fellow who gamed the sytem and then got used... and to say otherwise just hurts him today.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Now for Ornery (who will object to the perjorative BECAUSE I TAR HIM) or Glasnost or MK I will agree that stupid is tough word,
Get that knot out of your panties, Joe. You don’t tar me or anyone else besides John Kerry in any way by calling John Kerry stupid.

Or are you just going to keep a personal grudge against me because I had the temerity to disagree with you?
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Motive is easy with this one. He’s clearing some dead wood so he can run for president again in ’08. Some guys never know when to quit.
 
Written By: Church
URL: http://
Jon-

I absolutely love the comparison of this to that basketball game. And the bone fcat is that Kerry is an absolute moron for doing this.

I understand totally his rationale- if he wants to run for Pres again, he simply has to put this issue to bed early as possible. But he’s doing it the wrong way. The way to put it to bed is to release the records, not get tangled up in a stupid lawsuit.

The fact that he’s not releasing the records in a full and frank manner leads me to believe that the Swift Boaters have at least some legitimate points- or that Kerry has something to hide.

But Kerry absolutely lied about his Cambodian Christmas adventure. That fact is not in dispute.

PS:
That said, I don’t find military service particularly relevant to a Presidential campaign
It is when said military service is the entire cornerstone of the campaign. "Reporting for Duty" HAW HAW
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
It is when said military service is the entire cornerstone of the campaign. "Reporting for Duty" HAW HAW
Yeah, well, I didn’t find his military service particularly relevant when he brought it up, either.

As with McCain, Dole, Bush 41 and other previous veterans, their service records are remarkable, but not terribly relevant to the position they seek. When I’m hiring a plumber, the fact that they served in the military is pretty low on my list of requirements. I’m more interested in whether they can do the job. For the President, moreso.

On the other hand, when I’m hiring a plumber, I usually can find a few qualified candidates from which to choose. For whatever reason, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen a Presidential candidate for whom I’d like to vote.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
On the other hand, when I’m hiring a plumber, I usually can find a few qualified candidates from which to choose. For whatever reason, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen a Presidential candidate for whom I’d like to vote.
Using your plumber analogy, it’s difficult to for qualified applicants to apply for the job when there are so many people whose sole purpose is to point out the applicant’s ass-crack.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Preemptively, I should note that my opinion of the Swift Boat Veterans is fairly low. They raised some valid questions — especially with regards to his post-war activities — but a lot of their stuff was just vague unverifiables, while in other cases, as the Times wrote, "Naval records and accounts from other sailors contradicted almost every claim they made".
Beldar had this challenge:
Can you identify even one specific and material SwiftVets allegation that you believe to have been fully “debunked” or fully proven to be “unsubstantiated”?
The implication of the Times article is that naval records put many claims to rest. In fact, most or all of their claims are simply disputed. I am aware of no specific and material claim conclusively debunked by records or any other form of proof. If you think you have an example, take it up with Beldar.
 
Written By: Patterico
URL: http://patterico.com
I am aware of no specific and material claim conclusively debunked by records or any other form of proof.
That’s the nature of these kinds of claims. They weren’t video-taped, so all we have are eyewitness records (but the witnesses disagree), military records (which support Kerry) and speculation. The facts are largely lost in the mists of time and we can only try to piece them together.

I do think Kerry should release his records more fully if he wants to do more damage to their claims, but it’s kinda difficult to definitively determine the winner of a "did so/did not!" argument.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Confederate Yankee also has some interesting tidbits regarding geography and the way a certain river does NOT cross the border into Cambodia. Could this be true or just another "conspiracy of cartographers."
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I’m sure Kerry wants to put the smear artists definitively to bed to help clear the way for the rest of his political career - presidency or otherwise.

I’m also sure he, like any of our major bloggers are when someone misrepresents them, was righteously offended by a shallow-bottomed campaign to paint all of his medals as lies and the arguably heroic actions therein as nonexistant. I’m sure he’d want to clear the record irregardless, just to punish the ***holes and make the rest of his life easier. I know that if I were him, I’d do my darndest to sue them out of existence.

He also probably regrets his neuteured and ineffective pushback in the ’04 campaign. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past decade, it;s the strategy of trying to ignore malicious rumors just because they are false/questionable/wildly exaggerated is more often than not a disasterous backfire of a strategy.

I tell you what Joe: I don’t think John Kerry will ever be president either. That’s as far as I’ll bite. I don’t really care much about John Kerry.


 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
They raised some valid questions — especially with regards to his post-war activities — but a lot of their stuff was just vague unverifiables, while in other cases, as the Times wrote, "Naval records and accounts from other sailors contradicted almost every claim they made".
That’s certainly not the case with his Bronze Star or his 3rd Purple Heart. Records and statements do not back Kerry’s account at all. I discussed that here (go to August 24, about 1/3 of the way down ... article entitled "I finally figured it out") at length. In fact as I note in the analysis, the Times left significant portions of the events of the day in question out ... mostly because they didn’t understand what they were talking about.

That’s a common problem with them.

On the other hand, I found nothing wrong with the award of the Silver Star. It was not awarded for killing the VC. I was awarded to Kerry for being the OIC of the operation. I found it to be valid.

But I’ll tell you that if Kerry continues this nonsense, he’s a fool, because he will not win this fight.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
You’re still here? It’s over. Go home.
Love the Bueller Reference.

Does Kerry really want to rehash this fight? Even if everything backs him up 100%, all it’s gonna do is make his presumptive supporters question why he didn’t do this during the campaign. It’s a no-win situation.
 
Written By: SaveFarris
URL: http://
But I’ll tell you that if Kerry continues this nonsense, he’s a fool, because he will not win this fight.
You’re right, he won’t. At very best, he’d make the Swift Boat Vets look like fools, seriously diminishing their chances of ever wining a Presidential election. For what that’s worth. Meanwhile, he looks kinda sad for carrying on a fight most observers either think he already won or simply don’t care about.

I think a full, comprehensive examination would make both sides look somewhat foolish, but I don’t think Kerry would come out of it looking "dishonorable", per se. But that’s not exactly a victory.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
For what that’s worth. Meanwhile, he looks kinda sad for carrying on a fight most observers either think he already won or simply don’t care about.
I think this is the most salient point, although there is also a faction which believes he lost the last fight and lost it badly.

The point is, those factions still exist and aren’t going to change their minds. So it is foolish to fight something which brings no political benefit and only distracts from a presidential bid if that’s what he hopes to do again. While he’s fighting this battle again, his competition is going to be concentrating on issues that are relevant today.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Any common man — even a plumber — would want to defend himself if his military record came under fire, as Kerry’s has. Kerry’s desire to set the record straight may not be smart, but it’s certainly not arrogant, either. In this episode, he is reacting as any ordinary man would, after others have lied about his service record, in his view.

As to the contention that Kerry was never in Cambodia when Richard Nixon was the President, that contention has hardly been proven or disproven. There is some evidence that Kerry may have gotten the date, but not the substance, wrong. I couldn’t care less if it was Valentine’s Day or Christmas Day that Kerry was in Cambodia. All I want to know in deciding this issue is whether he was or wasn’t there.
 
Written By: Dan O’Day
URL: http://
As to the contention that Kerry was never in Cambodia when Richard Nixon was the President, that contention has hardly been proven or disproven.
You haven’t looked too hard if you believe that. A search of this blog would be a good start.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I quite frankly see the "Cambodia issue" as very much still up in the air, as shown by the following passages from today’s NY Times article:

John Kerry starts by showing the entry in a log he kept from 1969: "Feb 12: 0800 run to Cambodia."

He moves on to the photographs: his boat leaving the base at Ha Tien, Vietnam; the harbor; the mountains fading frame by frame as the boat heads north; the special operations team the boat was ferrying across the border; the men reading maps and setting off flares.

"They gave me a hat," Mr. Kerry says. "I have the hat to this day," he declares, rising to pull it from his briefcase. "I have the hat."

* * *

Some of Mr. Kerry’s friends and former Swift boat crew members made advertisements during the race to try to shoot down the group’s charges. But the campaign declined to air them widely because some strategists said that directly challenging the charges would legitimize them.

They approached Mr. Kerry after the election with the idea of setting the record straight.

So they have returned, for instance, to the question of Cambodia and whether Mr. Kerry was ever ordered to transport Navy Seals across the border, an experience that he said made him view government officials, who had declared that the country was not part of the war, as deceptive.

The Swift boat group insisted that no boats had gone to Cambodia. But Mr. Kerry’s researcher, using Vietnam-era military maps and spot reports from the naval archives showing coordinates for his boat, traced his path from Ha Tien toward Cambodia on a mission that records say was to insert Navy Seals.

 
Written By: Dan O’Day
URL: http://
My first reaction: let it be.

My second reaction: maybe this is a chance for the Swift Boat Vets to clear their own reputations after Kerry’s supporters’ counter-smears.

The evidence all around is vague (and the official reports - the one’s Kerry lets us see - seem likely to have been written by Kerry). So if it must come down to he said / he said, I think the honor and consequent veracity of the SBVs far outweigh that of John "Jengis Khan" Kerry.
 
Written By: equitus
URL: http://
;" the men reading maps and setting off flares"

Just out of curiosity, was there an explanation of why they were setting off flares in broad daylight on what was probably a mission to insert a seal team in as covert a manner as possible? Seal teams usually don’t seek to advertise their presence.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
John, I think you’re mistaken. Garbage like Kerry’s deceits and deceptions must be challenged every time it is resurrected.

Because that is how the left in America works. They repeat the same lies, the same tropes over and over again regardless of how often they are rebutted, in the expectation that the reptition will wear down their opposition and leave their stories unchallenged out of sheer ennui and frustration.
 
Written By: richard mcenroe
URL: http://
What Kerry did or did not do in Vietnam was never the issue. What Kerry did the minute he got back from Vietnam was the issue. The Winter Soldier fiasco. Meeting with the North Vietnamese in violation of US law. Voting to let Vietnam hang and the millions who died as a result. Give Kerry’s record in Vietnam a rest; it’s a red herring.

 
Written By: rightwingprof
URL: http://rightwingnation.com
Just out of curiosity, was there an explanation of why they were setting off flares in broad daylight on what was probably a mission to insert a seal team in as covert a manner as possible? Seal teams usually don’t seek to advertise their presence.
Not to mention that in that area were two special ops boat teams who’s job it was to do those sorts of insertions.

As I said in a 2004 post on this subject, quoting Rood who was defending Kerry:
The approach of the noisy 50-foot aluminum boats, each driven by two huge 12-cylinder diesels and loaded down with six crew members, troops and gear, was no secret. Ambushes were a virtual certainty, and that day was no exception.
Get the point folks? You don’t do "clandestine" insertions with ’noisy 50-foot aluminum boats, each driven by two huge 12-cylinder diesels’. You do clandestine insertions with stealthy craft which will go in undetected, not announce themselves a mile ahead of their arrival.
Tell me again how SEALS would want a rookie swift boat skipper and "his noisy 50-foot aluminum boats, each driven by two huge 12-cylinder diesels" to "clandestinely insert" them when they had their own, internal and relatively stealthy assets with which to do it?

It doesn’t wash.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
What Kerry did or did not do in Vietnam was never the issue.
What Kerry did there was an issue at the time the SBVT went after him because he made it the centerpiece of his campaign.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
One of the problems with Kerry’s version of the story on his first Purple Heart is his insistence that only three people could ride on the skimmer that he was on during the incident (which was recounted in the NY Times article).

That does not appear to be factually accurate, as can be seen by the description and pictures of the Boston Whaler (the craft used on that training mission).

Secondly, Kerry himself admits that this was a training mission, SOP would have required that he be accompanied by a more senior officer.

Finally, I think it is pure BS to claim that "Naval records and accounts from other sailors contradicted almost every claim they made." Absolute rubbish.
 
Written By: Carrick
URL: http://
Wasn’t his first purple heart the one his commanding officer turned down, but he somehow received it anyway?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Wasn’t his first purple heart the one his commanding officer turned down, but he somehow received it anyway?
Yes. So he waited until his entire chain-of-command had left the country and resubmitted it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
"On the other hand, I found nothing wrong with the award of the Silver Star."

I had some questions about that incident so I read your link. I disagree; I don’t think stupidity and incompetence should be rewarded. For one thing, it sets a bad example. But that’s just a semi-informed opinion.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Unfortunately "stupidity and incompetence" are often rewarded. Just review the last list of Medal of Freedom recipients.

His operation, the one he was in charge of, was successful. At the time, as a bit of background, Adm. Zumwalt was on a tear about making "impact" awards as a way of raising morale. Such an operation was perfect, and Kerry got the award.

Tactically, I think what he did was stupid. That, of course, is an opinion. But stupidity has a tendency to be ameliorated by sucess and like it or not the operation was a success and fit neatly into the higher level command’s desire to make the impact awards I noted.

Such is life. There’s really nothing there to argue about on a technical level.

You can certainly disagree as to whether he deserved it or what he did rose to the level of a Silver Star, but then you’re faced with the fact that his commanders there felt otherwise, or would have never signed the award. It was written up, justified and awarded in the manner it should have been. What happend really happened, unlike his Bronze Star which was the result of wholesale fabrication in my opinion.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
"Such is life."

Sad but true. It is indeed an imperfect world, with imperfect choices. sometimes I think that if people realized how much sheer luck was involved, rather than just skill and training, you couldn’t round up enough soldiers, on any side, to make a good bar fight. sort of a Dirty Harry thing.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I do think Kerry should release his records more fully if he wants to do more damage to their claims, but it’s kinda difficult to definitively determine the winner of a "did so/did not!" argument.
Not in a situation where, as here, one side has access to the evidence that could prove whether he "did so" or "did not," yet refuses to produce it.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com/
I find it surprising that you rate the Swift Boat vets credibility so low. Have you read John O’Neil and Jack Corsi’s book?

Some key points:

Contrary to the media narrative, those with the most knowledge of a Swift Boat captain’s activities were captains of other Swift Boats, not the crew. A Swift Boat had a small crew, and in combat they were too busy to watch what their CO was doing. But (rarely mentioned by the media) the Swift Boats operated in small squadrons, not alone, so the captains had to watch the other boats (and hence the actions of the other captains) in order to maintain situational awareness.

Hence there are many captains who operated with Kerry, and almost all of them hold him in contempt.

Check out this picture: http://ice.he.net/~freepnet/kerry/index.php?topic=SwiftVets to see how many of Kerry’s fellow captains came out against him (you have to click the picture).

Kerry’s crew who appeared with him at the Democratic convention had a total, between them, of six days on his boat. The media never mentions that , allowing the fraudulent notion that these guys operated with him enough to know his abilities.

However, the person who spent the most time on Kerry’s crew, his tub gunner, has declared that Kerry committed at least one war crime, and gave details.

The SBVT folks were certainly greatly offended by Kerry’s actions after ’Nam, but they also did not want him to be president because of what they knew of his actions in country. EVERY ONE of his commanding officers or those above them in the chain of command through CINCPAC (the late Adm. Zumwalt as represented by his Vietnam Vet son) appeared at a press conference on May 4, 2004 to state that Kerry was unfit to be CIC. This was before the nomination, because (according to John O’Neil in a conversation with me) they wanted to stop the nomination so that other Democrats could take the nomination - O’Neil personally favored Edwards, not Bush - so much for the standard narrative that these guys were Rove operatives doing the Republiccan bidding.

It is worth repeating: EVERY ONE IN KERRY’s VIETNAM CHAIN OF COMMAND through CINCPAC publicly declared him incompetent to be Commander in Chief in a press converence. That is a historic event, to my knowledge completely unprecedented (and very, very poorly reported)

As quoted on the same page as the picture reference, "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was launched on May 4, 2004 at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington. More than 250 Swift boat veterans contacted by the group have agreed to sign an open letter to Senator John F. Kerry that challenges his fitness to serve as America’s Commander-in-Chief. Signers of the letter include the entire chain of command above Lt. John Kerry in Vietnam: ..."

As to the SBVT’s charges being vague, I would again suggest reading the book. The information is far from vague. It is, certainly, based on personal memories, because there weren’t video cameras everywhere. On the other hand, Kerry, egomaniac that he is, recreated some situations after the fact, in order to have them filmed! Comparing the eyewitness accounts to "official records" is naive when one considers how and when those records were made. Anyone who has spent time in the service should know that. I would suggest one consider specifically the case of Kerry’s first Purple Heart to see what was going on.

Furthermore, the media was very quick to grab the smallest tidbit of "official" information to refute SBVT claims. They would take one questionable, fragmentary item and use it to impeach the reports of a number of SBVT officers who had been on the scene. In one case, a SBVT person modified his affidavit slightly, and the media immediately reported that he had renounced his testimony against Kerry. I have that modified affidavit, and no such thing happened - in fact, the affidavit states clearly that the modifications were not material to the charges against Kerry, but were rather just minor corrections.

The media also ignores the merger of the POW’s anti-Kerry organization and the SBVT. If the SBVT were of such questionable veracity, one would not expect a Vietnam POW group to join with them. But before the election, that is exactly what happened.

A post-Vietnam item illustrates the press’s very selective interest in issues. The Boston Globe reported that Kerry got an early honorable discharge from the Navy in 1970. Kerry’s campaign web site left that same impression. But Kerry joined in 1966 and could not have been discharged in 1970 - rather, he was separated from active duty. In fact, he was discharged in 1978 (meaning he was a US Naval Officer during his anti-war activities including his meeting with enemy agents - two meetings per FBi records - one covert). When he was forced to post some of his records, his web site changed, dropping any mention of his discharge dates.

This leaves the very interesting question: why 1978 and not 1972, per his enlistment contract? He did not serve in the active reserves after 1970, and should have been discharged in 1972. But according to the records, he was not discharged until 6 years later. This has led to what is admittedly informed speculation: that the 1978 discharge was a result of the Carter Amnesty, and that he had received a less-than-honorable discharge in 1972, which was expunged in 1978. This speculation was aired by two members of Navy JAG who were involved in cases where this is exactly this scenario. A number of his other records have dates after 1978, but are of actions pre-1972. Odd? Where are the investigative reporters when you need them?

There are many other points, but who has the time?

There is a good website, which has a link to the SBVT web site. Between the two of them is a vast trove of information about Kerry’s Vietnam and post-Vietnam activities. See http://www.wintersoldier.com/

Finally, one has to wonder why this issue has surfaced again. Is Kerry trying to squash it so he can run again in 1978? After all, allies of his have sued a documentary producer and a POW who criticized the "Winter Soldier" event, in which Kerry participated. Are they trying to warn us off of raising the issue in ’78?

Or is this just bugging him?

In any case, it is clear that the Times is carrying his water. The article referenced is terribly biased, and clearly pro-Kerry, anti-SBVT propaganda disguised as news.
 
Written By: John Moore
URL: http://www.tinyvital.com/blog
Not in a situation where, as here, one side has access to the evidence that could prove whether he "did so" or "did not," yet refuses to produce it.
Perhaps. But the Navy looked into the validity of his medals and called them legit. Sen. John Warner backed him up, too.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
There are institutional reasons that the Navy doesn’t want to rescind medals - especially those that are held by someone who is now a US Senator, with all the power that implies. Furthermore, the Navy, unlike normal human beings, is forced to rely on the documentary record.

Keep in mind the following things:

(1) many of the documents submitted to request medals for Kerry were held back until those who could refute them were no longer in his chain of command. His former commander joined SBVT only after discovering that Kerry had been awarded a medal for an incident that took place under this person’s watch and for which the medal had been denied twice (the first purple heart in the whaleboat incident). Because of this timing, there was no contradictory documentation submitted.

(2) To this day, a number of the documents have not been released to the public, but only to select members of the MSM who are reliable Kerry supporters (as I hope my last two posts have demonstrated).

(3) Unlike other soldiers, Kerry actively sought medals. Normally medals were awarded by command without foreknowledge, much less active seeking, of the awardee.

(4) one of Kerry’s commanders claimed (this has not been verified by others) that he and some others conspired to make sure Kerry received 3 purple hearts as soon as possible, because that allowed them to throw him out of Vietnam, something his commanders dearly wished to do. Reportedly they told him, after he received the third medal, that he was no longer welcome (which wouldn’t have fazed a "hero").

..............

Regarding media veracity and eagerness to discredit anti-Kerry stories, consider the following...

During the fuss about the whale boat incident, the Media discounted the attending doctor’s report because it was signed by a corpsman. The media claimed that this showed that the SBVT had lied - that the doctor hadn’t signed the report, implying that the doctor wasn’t there, but rather this unknown person had done so.

Had they the slightest interest in truth, or any knowledge of the Navy, they would have known that an assistant to a Doctor in the Navy, if not a nurse, is an enlisted man with the specialty of "Corpsman," and that is who signed the report - a normal event. Thus, this signature did not discredit the book and the doctor’s statements.

There were many such examples, regarding the SBVT attacks on Kerry’s medals. This is how the media was able to claim that all of the SBVT claims had been refuted - the standard for refutation was absurdly easy and ignorant, while the standard for verification was impossible to meet - in otherwords, they were biased as hell.

Also, regarding Kerry’s "hero" status...

When Kerry requested Swift Boat school (after having served in the less politically salable job of Electrical Officer on a destroyer), the Swift Boats were engaged in relatively safe activity: Operation Market Time, in which they patrolled the coastline to reduce NVA smuggling by water into the south (they did suffer combat casualties doing this, but a relatively small number). Under these conditions, they could choose their engagements, couldn’t be ambushed (they had the ocean to retreat into), could bring their huge firepower (for such a small vessel) to bear only when they had a decisive advantage, and in general engage in combat with little risk. This was a great way to get a few medals and combat chops.

Kerry was an admirer of (and acquaintance of) John F. Kennedy, who had also used his experience as a small boat (PT) commander to gain a reputation as a military hero. Note that, as a very junior office (LTJG), Kerry could not command anything larger. Furthermore, Kerry, according to accounts from before then, already had his sights set on the Presidency, and was apparently trying to emulate the Kennedy model.

Per O’Neil’s book (and Kerry has not challenged this). shortly after Kerry returned to ’Nam as a Swift Boat commander, the mission was changed by Zumwalt from the relatively safe coastal patrol to riverine warfare, which was much more dangerous. Kerry’s first assignment was upriver on the Mekong, and he did his best to get out of it. Per the book, his commander on that assignment was so angered by Kerry’s campaign to avoid danger in the smaller rivers that he assigned Kerry the meaningless duty of steaming back and forth in the middle of the Mekong until orders could be obtained sending Kerry back to the Swift Boat command at Cam Rahn bay (on the ocean).

(3) If one examines the medal incidents one by one, some are more questionable than others. For example, the first purple heart, the whale boat incident, was clearly (to those on the scene at the time) not deserving of the award. Kerry appealed to the doctor who treated the scratch (and who marvelled at how the piece of shrapnel stayed in the wound long enough to reach the infirmary), and to his CO. Both rejected his claim, the CO on the grounds that no enemy was present and that the wound was unintentionally self inflicted. The wound was very minor (a small scratch) and most soldiers in ’Nam wouldn’t want a Purple Heart for it.

A SEAL team leader friend of mine, Capt. Larry Bailey, suffered a similar wound from his M-79 grenade launch (at a VC who popped out of a spider hole), and was knocked to the ground by the small fragment that hit him between the eyes. He refused to let the corpsman recommend him for a PH, because he would have been laughed out of his team! Larry was so upset by Kerry’s behavior that became cofounder of a sister group (VVT) of the Swifties.

In any case Cam Rahn was a very safe place - one reason the training was done there. I was there a couple of months before Kerry, and it was considered so safe that one of the beaches was used for R&R.

Consider the Silver Star award. Even if Kerry’s version is accepted, the award is questionable. Since when are Silver Stars awarded to someone who fires in self defense in a situation where he has no other choice? According to Kerry’s version, the VC was about to shoot the boat with a version of an RPG, so Kerry killed him with an M-16. Silver Star action? Come on. Furthermore, Kerry violated Swift Boat doctrine by beaching his boat in that incident, which made it impossible for the appropriate weapon, the dual .50 caliber tub machine gun to engage the enemy. He was almost courts martialed for that, according to his commander.

Also notice that Kerry left Vietnam after four months, because he had received three purple hearts (even though he had never spent even a day in the hospital). This is not the action of a hero, who would have stayed with his unit until the end of his tour. Leaving behind your fellow combatants, because you can get out on a technicality, was certainly done - but was hardly honorable or the actions of either a leader, a hero or a team member.
..............

All of this in mind, my groups, Vietnam Veterans Agains Kerry, which I founded, and Vietnam Vets for the Truth, in which I was an early participant, limited our attacks to Kerry’s actions after the war. We didn’t have members with direct personal experience with him in combat.

We were a bit surprised when SBVT, with whom we were working, decided to go after Kerry’s medals. However, SBVT had tried a more direct and powerful (in a sane world) approach of having a press conference at the Washington National Press Club. There, EVERY ONE of Kerry’s commanders, and many other Swift Boat veterans, individually and publicy, gave their opinions of Kerry - one in which all of his chain of command declared him unfit for the presidency.

However, the SBVT, composed of ordinary citizens who happened to be Vietnam Swift Boat combat veterans, not politically operatives, were naive. They were surprised when main stream press (MSM) suppressed (in some cases, like the AP), grossly mischaracterized (in some other cases like CBS) or simply barely reported this enormously significant event. I did a Nexis search, documented this biased and scanty coverage and sent it to John O’Neil.I have since run an informal poll of many people, almost none of whom are aware that this event happened. Can anyone claim that, if the same thing had happened with Bush’s chain of command,it would have been treated the same way?

SBVT felt as if they had run into an "iron curtain" thrown up by the MSM - they were unable to get out the word to the public that all of Kerry’s chain of command had denounced him (in fact, that word NEVER got out). Hence they decided to write the history of Kerry during and after Vietnam to bypass the press. O’Neil wrote the part about Kerry’s Vietnam time, since O’Neil had later commanded Kerry’s boat in Vietnam. Dr. Corsi, a historian with expertise in the Vietnam period "anti-war" movement including the Vietnam Veterans against the War, wrote that section.

Producing a detailed and controversial book bypassed the press. The necessity of this is obvious when one considers the reaction to the press conference, and that the book was number one on the NYT non-fiction list for weeks before the MSM (including the NYT) bothered to even mention it.

But the book led to interest by ordinary Americans, and controversy, which brought lots of attention to what the SBVT were saying. This led to numerous media appearances by John O’Neil, their very eloquent spokesman. John is a political independent and a very well respected (for his code of honor among other this) corporate trial lawyer.

When the organization first started, John left his hospital bed (he had just donated a kidney to his ailing and now recently deceased wife) to do his duty. His appearances and the book got the attention, and hence increased funding by small donors (contrary to media assertions, they raised a huge amount of money - something like $5 million, from tiny individual donations). The massive endorsement by individual donors, the attention that they were receiving, and the character of the members of the group and their message is what led some big money funding to the group, enabling their controversial but very effective (and accurage, btw) television ads.

In other words, from the start the MSM tried to discredit and downplay the Swifties and any other critics, and only radical action on the Swifties’ part - action which bypassed the press and created controversy which could not be ignored - led to their achieving publicity and gettting their message to the people.

In contrast, our VVT was never able to get press attention, even when we had original material.

We discovered and got very strong evidence (including from people who literally risked their lives to verify the information) that John Kerry’s picture was on the wall of a room in the Saigon War Museum which honored foreigners who helped the North win the war - i.e. its placement was a recognition by the Vietnamese dictatorship of Kerry’s aid to them. This was utterly ignored by the MSM - not a big deal, but certainly as interesting and worthy of press as the media focus on the minutae of the later days of George Bush’s National Guard service!

I found a propaganda article, published in the middle of the campaign by the communist Vietnamese, in which they used Kerry’s post-war lies to bolster their own position defaming the United States. Despite this being brought to the attention of the press, only World Net Daily (a right wing internet news site) found it worth reporting. Check out the link - it’s a disgusting article. Can you imagine, again, if this had been tied to the Republican candidate instead of Kerry? If a foreign power used lies by George Bush to defame the United States?

In any case, our 527 group (VVT), with no media attention, still was able to attract 7,000 Vietnam Vets to a rally in DC. We also received enough small donor funding to put up well over 100 billboards in critical election districts just before the election, to put on the rally on the Capitol Grounds, and to host a celebratory "Un-inauguration" Party at the National Press Club on January 20th, 2005.

As an aside, at our Capitol grounds rally, one of the "witnesses" at Kerry and Fonda’s Winter Soldier "investigation" spoke about how Kerry had coached him in what to say about atrocities, but that he actually had seen none. He tearfully asked for, and received, our forgiveness.

Pulling this divergent thread just a bit farther... Congressional and military investigators were not able to sustain ONE of the Winter Soldier charges, but did determine that many of those who testified were impostors, or had exaggerated their Vietnam war experiences, and could not possibly have been at the site of the atrocities they testified to. Nevertheless, Kerry used this "investigation" as fodder for his infamous testimony before the Senate in 1971.

..........

Since Senator Warner was brought up, consider Senator Denton:

Senator Denton called Kerry a traitor (he didn’t use the word, but he used the language from the constitution that defines treason). Denton was the one of the first Vietnam POWs and gained fame in 1966 in a TV interview as POW for blinking with his eyes the morse code for "torture." By the time I went through Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school, they had taught us a (classified) method for signalling torture or coercion, since the NVA caught on to the eye blinking trick.

Denton stacks up pretty well against Kerry in the medals department:

Navy Cross

Dept. of Defense Distinguished Service Medal

Navy Distinguished Service Medal

Three Silver Stars

Distinguished Flying Cross

Five Bronze Stars

Two Air Medals

Two Purple Hearts

Combat Action Ribbon

Numerous combat theatre, campaign,
and occupation awards.

How much press do you think Denton’s statement got?
 
Written By: John Moore
URL: http://www.tinyvital.com/blog
"(4) one of Kerry’s commanders claimed (this has not been verified by others) that he and some others conspired to make sure Kerry received 3 purple hearts as soon as possible, because that allowed them to throw him out of Vietnam, something his commanders dearly wished to do"

I was thinking of that reason myself because I know of another similar case. In my battallion, and I assume others did likewise, it was not uncommon to remove unsuitable,for whatever reason, personnel from line units where they were a danger to their own side or seriously unpopular. Most often they were, ironically, assigned to coveted rear area jobs usually reserved for those who had earned them. In one case that I witnessed, an individual was awarded his 3rd PH for a Kerry-type injury that could only remotely be considered as inflicted by enemy action and sent home.

"In any case Cam Rahn was a very safe place"

Well, maybe if you don’t count the sea snakes. They were a real hazard for swimmers and water skiers. At least that is what the lifeguards told me. And heat stroke was always ready to strike the unwary sunbather, which is why the patients at the convalescent center always did their pt in the morning.


 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The problem I see is that the logical wall between "Kerry in Vietnam" and "Kerry after Vietnam" is being blurred. So animosities due to Kerry’s anti-war stances after he left Vietnam are being used as evidence of what he did or didn’t do while he was in Vietnam. The issues are completely separate. "Kerry after Vietnam" is well-documented. People are free to agree or disagree with what Kerry stated after he left Vietnam. That is a matter of opinion. But those opinions are not evidence one way or the other as to the incidents in question while Kerry was in Vietnam.
 
Written By: Dan O’Day
URL: http://
A simple solution to the question is to release all records. End of story. Let people view the official records for themselves and get the spin doctors away from it all. Form 180 is simple. Anyone can fill it out in fifteen minutes and the entire "controversy" would be finished. Let’s see it.
 
Written By: Alan Breck
URL: http://

 
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