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August 21, 2004
CNN Tries To Run Interference For Kerry

After the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth released their latest advertisement, a devastating look at John Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony that branded Viet Nam veterans as war criminals, Kerry's mainstream media supporters have rallied to his side. CNN attempts to use a little misdirection on his behalf to turn Kerry into a reporter (scroll down to subheader "Selected Comments"):

The latest ad selects quotes from Kerry's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971. In the ad, Kerry says, "They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads," "randomly shot at civilians," and "razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Kahn."

The ad does not include Kerry's preface, in which he said he is reporting what others said at a Vietnam veterans conference. Instead, a swift boat group member refers to the statements as "accusations" Kerry made against Vietnam veterans.

An official transcript shows Kerry was referring to a meeting in Detroit, Michigan, that was part of what was called the Winter Soldier investigation. He told the Senate committee that veterans had testified to war crimes and relived the "absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do."

I think you can expect that to be the defense strategy of the Kerry campaign -- "All he did was represent the testimony of the Winter Soldiers." John Kerry didn't say that all Viet Nam veterans were war criminals; he claimed that the Winter Soldier witnesses claimed to be. Of course, CNN's argument misses excerpts like this:

So what I am saying is that yes, there will be some recrimination but far, far less than the 200,000 a year who are murdered by the United States of America ...

A few dozen servicemen testifying in Detroit could not possibly be responsible for murdering 200,000 people a year -- and if they could, then having them all in Detroit would have solved the problem. No, Kerry went to the Senate to proclaim the results of the Winter Soldier investigation, a mechanism that he helped build in order to give polite cover to the baby-killer protests from his new band of anti-war brothers. He used his former comrades-in-arms (and some in POW camps as he spoke) as the cannon fodder for his political offensive, a term I use in every sense of the word.

If this is the best defense that Kerry and his media cohorts can muster against the second advertisement, they should be praying for a spectacular Republican convention to move the Swiftvets out of the center of attention in nine days. Perhaps some of the broadcast networks may rethink their time commitment to televising the prime-time speeches for that purpose...

UPDATE: Randy from the blog Conservative Minnesotan reminds me that Kerry said this on Meet the Press at the same time he appeared in the Senate:

LT. KERRY: "There are all kinds of atrocities and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free-fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used 50-caliber machine guns which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search-and-destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare. All of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down. And I believe that the men who designed these, the men who designed the free-fire zone, the men who ordered us, the men who signed off the air raid strike areas, I think these men, by the letter of the law, the same letter of the law that tried Lieutenant Calley, are war criminals."

That is lifted from the MS-NBC transcript of a Meet the Press appearance from this year, when Tim Russert used a clip of the 1971 appearance for Kerry to discuss. As far as I know, NBC still has the original clip embargoed; they will not release either the rest of the videotape or a transcript of what was said. So much for the people's right to know.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 21, 2004 9:10 AM

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» Do you agree with LAT that the 2nd SwiftVets ad takes Kerry out of context? from BeldarBlog
The FULL context of Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony shows that Kerry claimed to speak FOR more than just war protesters, and OF more than just the 150 so-called "Winter Soldiers." [Read More]

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