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August 19, 2004
Brinkley Must Answer For Incompetence

Hugh Hewitt writes another of his must-read columns in today's Weekly Standard challenging historian/Kerry biographer Douglas Brinkley to come out of hiding and explain his incompetent work on Tour of Duty:

Drudge announced last week that Brinkley was rushing a New Yorker piece into print that would defend Kerry's magic hat account, but does Brinkley really want to bet his reputation on Kerry's journals at this point? Or does he want to step back and ask himself whether a senator who invented "searing" memories might have had a creative pen along with his movie camera during his tour of duty?

It remains possible that Kerry's magic hat and his gun-running are true accounts that neither his campaign nor Admiral Hoffman know of, and which have somehow eluded the historians' accounts of the "Salem House" operations of the Studies and Observations Group that was running the covert insertions into Cambodia in early 1969.

What is more likely is that Kerry has expanded his Vietnam service whenever necessary for the advancement of his career, that he has molded it to the exigencies of the speech he needed to give or the attention he needed to gain. Kerry did not anticipate the internet or the power of a thousand pairs of eyes checking and rechecking, and he may not have counted on the instinct of a historian to preserve his reputation even at the expense of his access.

Douglas Brinkley owes the public an accounting of John Kerry's accounts. Perhaps he will salvage the senator's Cambodian tale. And perhaps he will sink it.

Brinkley forgot to be a biographer and a historian and turned himself into an unquestioning, unreasoning shill -- a black mark on any professed historian. Brinkley needs to come clean and quit hiding. Read all of Hugh's post.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 19, 2004 7:23 AM

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