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July 28, 2004
Did Kerry Fake His Combat Films? Does It Matter?

Just when you thought this election could not get much weirder, somehow the Democrats find themselves further into the Twilight Zone. Matt Drudge reports that members of John Kerry's "band of brothers" claim the soon-to-be nominee faked combat footage while on tour in Viet Nam, and that his staged exploits will be presented to the country as actual combat footage in a Spielberg-associated short film:

A bombshell new book written by the man who took over John Kerry's Swift Boat charges: Kerry reenacted combat scenes for film while in Vietnam!

The footage is at the center of a growing controversy in Boston. The official convention video introducing Kerry is directed by Steven Spielberg protg James Moll. ...

"Kerry carried a home movie camera to record his exploits for later viewing," charges a naval officer in the upcoming book UNFIT FOR COMMAND.

"Kerry would revisit ambush locations for reenacting combat scenes where he would portray the hero, catching it all on film. Kerry would take movies of himself walking around in combat gear, sometimes dressed as an infantryman walking resolutely through the terrain. He even filmed mock interviews of himself narrating his exploits. A joke circulated among Swiftees was that Kerry left Vietnam early not because he received three Purple Hearts, but because he had recorded enough film of himself to take home for his planned political campaigns."

If true, and so far the Swiftees have been pretty rabid partisans, it makes the decision to include this footage rather questionable, especially if the film passes it off as actual combat film. It seems pretty unlikely that Kerry's crew would have toted a Super 8 camera into battle, as one presumes they would have been too busy with (a) shooting back, and (b) attempting to survive. I can't imagine that anyone other than a journalist would have had time during an actual battle to shoot film of John Kerry, and had this come from a journalist, we'd have already heard about it.

Even if this footage isn't presented as the real deal but merely to show a young John Kerry serving his country, it will come across to many as shallow and self-promotional to re-enact battle scenes with oneself at the center of the action, especially given Kerry's description of war crimes on his return from action. If he, as he testified at the Senate hearings in 1971, witnessed ongoing and systemic war crimes under fire, why would he be so anxious to film himself at the center of that activity in either case? Kerry pronounced himself disgusted with America's conduct under fire in Viet Nam, but felt sufficiently enamored of combat during his four months in the Swifties to film himself participating in it, real or re-enacted? It doesn't make much sense.

The Swiftees may have Kerry's number on this even if their re-enactment charges don't mean much, depending on how the material is presented. In fact, if he had his "band of brothers" carrying cameras trained on him during actual combat conditions, it speaks rather ill of his judgement as an officer and of his self-absorption as a person. Re-enacting the action on film, as the Boston Globe asserted in 1996, demonstrates a pride in combat that he renounced on his return.

In short, it doesn't add up, and neither does John Kerry.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 28, 2004 1:56 PM

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