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August 7, 2004
Christmas In Cambodia: Kerry's Intellectual Laziness On Parade

One more thing about the Swiftvets and John Kerry that certainly indicates that Kerry habitually either exaggerated or lied about his service in Viet Nam appears in the letter posted below. John Kerry has repeatedly insisted that he spent Christmas Eve 1968 in Cambodia, which would have been an illegal act as we were not at war with Cambodia at that time. Kerry said his disillusion with the US government and the war began on this night, as he spent his night in Cambodia listening to President Richard Nixon claim that no American troops were there. Here's the relevant section of John O'Neill's letter:

If there is a consistent[1] repeated story by John Kerry about his Vietnam experience, it is his story about how he and his boat spent Christmas Eve and Christmas of 1968 illegally present in Cambodia and, listening to President Nixon's contrary assurances, developed "a deep mistrust of U.S. government pronouncements." See Exhibit 24, Kranish book, p. 84. The point of his story was that his government and his commanders were lying about Kerry's presence in Cambodia on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. During a critical debate on the floor of the United States Senate on March 27, 1986, Senator John Kerry said:

Mr. President, I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and have the President of the United States telling the American people that I was not there; the troops were not in Cambodia.

I have that memory which is seared -- seared -- in me ....

Exhibit 25, Congressional Record - Senate of March 27, 1986, page 3594.

By way of further example, Kerry wrote an article for the Boston Herald on October 14, 1979:

"I remember spending Christmas Eve of 1968 five miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our South Vietnamese allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas. The absurdity of almost killed by our own allies in a country in which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops was very real."

See Exhibit 26.

The Christmas in Cambodia story of John Kerry was repeated as recently as July 7, 2004 by Michael Kranish, a principal biographer of Kerry from The Boston Globe. On the Hannity & Colmes television show, Kranish indicated that Kerry's Christmas in Cambodia was a critical turning point in Kerry's life.

The story is a total preposterous fabrication by Kerry. Exhibit 8 is an affidavit by the Commander of the Swift boats in Vietnam, Admiral Roy Hoffmann, stating that Kerry's claim to be in Cambodia for Christmas Eve and Christmas of 1968 is a total lie. If necessary, similar affidavits are available from the entire chain of command. In reality, Kerry was at Sa Dec -- easily locatable on any map more than fifty miles from Cambodia. Kerry himself inadvertently admits that he was in Sa Dec for Christmas Eve and Christmas and not in Cambodia, as he had stated for so many years on the Senate Floor, in the newspapers, and elsewhere. Exhibit 27, Tour, pp. 213-219. Sa Dec is hardly "close" to the Cambodian border. In reality, far from being ordered secretly to Cambodia, Kerry spent a pleasant night at Sa Dec with "visions of sugar plums" dancing in his head. Exhibit 27, p. 219. At Sa Dec where the Swift boat patrol area ended, there were many miles of other boats (PBR's) leading to the Cambodian border. There were also gunboats on the border to prevent any crossing. If Kerry tried to get through, he would have been arrested. Obviously, Kerry has hardly been honest about his service in Vietnam.

Here's a fun fact for those who think that Kerry told the truth and the Swiftvets are just dishonorable (and highly decorated) veterans trying to grab some attention to themselves -- Nixon wasn't President in 1968. Sure, he'd been elected in November, but he didn't take office until 1969, and it would be highly unlikely that Nixon would have been pontificating about military deployments over which he had no control. Nixon hadn't even been in government for eight years.

For over 30 years, Kerry has told that story, apparently far too intellectually lazy or simply stupid to cross-reference an encyclopedia in order to identify the occupant of the White House in 1968. And Democrats call George Bush stupid?

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 7, 2004 9:48 PM

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