Captain's Quarters Blog

« Bringing It On | Main | Vote Your Pocketbook »

August 24, 2004
The Post Runs A Stake Through The Heart Of Kerry's Cambodian Fable

Joshua Muravchik writes an article that may prove mortal to John Kerry's presidential aspirations in today's Washington Post. Muravchik's piece, entitled "Kerry's Cambodia Whopper," not only dissects the meaning of the collapse of this so-called epiphany, but it also moves the story forward, thanks to Kerry's hagiographer, Douglas Brinkley:

Kerry argued that contra aid could put the United States on the path to deeper involvement despite denials by the Reagan administration of any such intent. Kerry began by reading out similar denials regarding Vietnam from presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. Then he offered this devastating riposte:

"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."

However seared he was, Kerry's spokesmen now say his memory was faulty. When the Swift boat veterans who oppose Kerry presented statements from his commanders and members of his unit denying that his boat entered Cambodia, none of Kerry's shipmates came forward, as they had on other issues, to corroborate his account. Two weeks ago Kerry's spokesmen began to backtrack. First, one campaign aide explained that Kerry had patrolled the Mekong Delta somewhere "between" Cambodia and Vietnam. But there is no between; there is a border. Then another spokesman told reporters that Kerry had been "near Cambodia." But the point of Kerry's 1986 speech was that he personally had taken part in a secret and illegal war in a neutral country. That was only true if he was "in Cambodia," as he had often said he was. If he was merely "near," then his deliberate misstatement falsified the entire speech.

Of course, all of this has been explored on numerous blogs, including here. But Muravchik adds this bombshell that has been missed thus far:

Now a new official statement from the campaign undercuts Brinkley. It offers a minimal (thus harder to impeach) claim: that Kerry "on one occasion crossed into Cambodia," on an unspecified date. But at least two of the shipmates who are supporting Kerry's campaign (and one who is not) deny their boat ever crossed the border, and their testimony on this score is corroborated by Kerry's own journal, kept while on duty. One passage reproduced in Brinkley's book says: "The banks of the [Rach Giang Thanh River] whistled by as we churned out mile after mile at full speed. On my left were occasional open fields that allowed us a clear view into Cambodia. At some points, the border was only fifty yards away and it then would meander out to several hundred or even as much as a thousand yards away, always making one wonder what lay on the other side." His curiosity was never satisfied, because this entry was from Kerry's final mission [emph mine - CE].

John Hurley and the rest of the talking heads that the Kerry campaign has sent out over the past two weeks to debunk the debunking of John Kerry's Excellent Cambodian Adventure/Bogus Journey can't spin out of that one. If he had spent time in Cambodia, he would have known exactly what lay on the other side of the banks, if indeed he ever even got that close to Cambodia in the first place. And the revelation that his later journals were actually written after his return to the States for an abortive book proposal makes this even more odd, since he had already begun his anti-war activities -- and an illegal Cambodian excursion would not only add to his radical street cred, but it would have made a book deal more likely.

This Washington Post opinion piece marks a signal from the mainstream media that they have turned the corner on this issue, thanks in no small part, I'm sure, to Kerry's decision to go nuclear against the Swiftvets. Expect coverage in the news sections to follow and the Kerry collapse to continue in the days ahead.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 24, 2004 7:30 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Post Runs A Stake Through The Heart Of Kerry's Cambodian Fable:

» Getting so ugly I almost feel sorry for John Kerry from The Pink Flamingo Bar Grill
So much ambition for such a long time coming to naught. One might be forgiven for feeling a little sorry for this stack of nothingness if he hadn't slandered brave men for such a long time. But given the facts I say continue driving stakes into this pe... [Read More]

Tracked on August 24, 2004 10:22 AM

» Sticking the fork in from Posse Incitatus
Is this it? Captain Ed points to a long-overdue Washington Post article dissecting the Christmas in Cambodia lie. The Posse agrees that this mainstream exposure is very damaging and could impose lethal doubt on Kerry's candidacy. This entire bizarre ep... [Read More]

Tracked on August 24, 2004 10:24 AM

» Kinky and Linky from FlashBang
Marines are cutting their training time in half. That's really strange. And bad, most likely. via... [Read More]

Tracked on August 24, 2004 10:36 AM

» Let the feeding frenzy begin from Brain Shavings
Unlike the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Washington Post has finally put John Kerry's "Christmas in Cambodia" lie front and center, and this will almost certainly signal that it's open season on the Democratic nominee. Now a new official statement from... [Read More]

Tracked on August 24, 2004 11:55 AM

» Bush Did It... from Somewhere on A1A...
Not everyone was happy with what they found, but at least the President released ALL of his military records. John Kerry has refused. Today the Washington Post has called for him to release the records.Indeed, the Kerry campaign ought to... [Read More]

Tracked on August 24, 2004 12:09 PM

» In the mainstream from Right Reading Room
The Captain ( editorialized about Joshua Muravchik's article today in the Washington Post. "Christmas in Cambodia" is now in the mainstream media and mainstream journalists are beginning to understand it's significance in the b... [Read More]

Tracked on August 24, 2004 12:14 PM

» Kerry's Cambodia Whopper, with Special Sauce from dislogue
Today's article by American Enterprise Scholar Joshua Muravchik in the Washington Post titled "Kerry's Cambodia Whopper" signals the explosion of the dam that was the major media's attitude towards this story. It's tucked away back on page A17, but it... [Read More]

Tracked on August 24, 2004 2:02 PM

» POLITICS: Don't Know Much About Cambodia from Baseball Crank
Captain Ed, who's been one of the blogosphere's All-Stars lately, notes a Washington Post article that puts the final nail in John Kerry's claims to have a "memory . . . seared -- seared -- in me" of making an... [Read More]

Tracked on August 24, 2004 5:26 PM

» Pulling the String from
Like that little annoying string  that you have to keep pulling on until the whole sweater unravels, so has the Kerry campain begun to notice the emperor has no clothes or in this case the emperor is full of $%it.  Captain Ed has all the particulars [Read More]

Tracked on August 30, 2004 4:03 AM

Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!