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August 20, 2004
My Top Three Questions For A John Kerry Press Conference

I posted below that I would love to get the chance to be credentialed for a John Kerry press conference where he would face all questions regarding his Swiftboat service. A reader suggested that I share what questions I would prepare for such an event, assuming it ever happened, which I believe is now unlikely. The challenge is irresistable, though, and so here are the top three questions I would put to Kerry, given the opportunity.

1. For over two years, you and David Alston have spoken about your combat service together and used the engagements of 29 January and 28 February as examples of your combat bond. However, your campaign recently recanted both stories, as records show that you were not part of the 29 January engagement and Alston did not participate in your Silver Star mission. How could it be possible for you to mistake Ted Peck's mission for your own, given that his injury allowed you to take command of his ship the next day, and with the picture of your crew from the Silver Star engagement in your office, how could you allow David Alston to take credit for that mission?

2. Senator, your first Purple Heart came from an event on 2 December 1968 which you describe on your website as "intense combat". Yet, your authorized biography, based on your journals, shows your passage for 11 December 1968 as saying that 'A cocky feeling of invincibility accompanied us up the Long Tau shipping channel because we hadn't been shot at yet, and Americans at war who haven't been shot at are allowed to be cocky'. The Long Tau trip came after the 2 December engagement. How can you reconcile your journal entry with your report that led to the first Purple Heart? Can you have "intense combat" when no one shoots at you?

3. During your public life, you have often spoken of the epiphany you experienced as a young man in Cambodian territory on Christmas Eve 1968, ordered there by the government run by the man who you heard that day denying any involvement in Cambodia. You told that anecdote as far back as 1979 and as recently as 1994, and even used it on the floor of the Senate in 1986 to argue against supporting the Nicaraguan contras, claiming the event was "seared" into your mind. Yet when your crewmates and your own journal proved that to be incorrect, your campaign responded by claiming you never said it, and then that you meant you were only near Cambodia, and then that you went into Cambodia inadvertently, and then that you went there to support Special Ops insertions. Given that all of these explanations are mutually exclusive, how would you explain to undecided voters these sudden changes in your story and how that affects the credibility of the epiphany that you earlier claimed changed your entire life?

Then I would offer him a copy of the form 180 I would take care to pack for just such an occasion, in order to assist him in getting the truth out about his service record.

Now, if you had the same opportunity, what questions would you ask?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 20, 2004 10:41 PM

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