Swift Boat Veterans For Truth Archives

August 7, 2004

The Mistake Continues

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have finally unveiled their campaign against John Kerry this week, first in a 30-second televised ad, and now in a new book that's vaulted to #1 on the Amazon hit parade, according to Matt Drudge. Where the TV spot talks in general terms about Kerry's record in Viet Nam (with the effective use of highly-decorated vets who were there), the book takes specific aim at Kerry's narrative: George Bates, an officer in Coastal Division 11, participated in numerous operations with Kerry. In UNFIT FOR COMMAND, Bates recalls a particular patrol with Kerry on the Song Bo De River. He is still "haunted" by the incident: With Kerry in the lead, the boats approached a small hamlet with three or four grass huts. Pigs and chickens were milling around peacefully. As the boats drew closer, the villagers fled. There were no political symbols or flags in...

The Swifties Fire Back

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have hired their own lawyers in response to the Kerry/Edwards campaign's threat of ruinous lawsuits for anyone who allows the independent 527 to purchase ad time at their media outlet. For some reason, the Democrats seem to have a problem with the actual practice of free speech, even after having their party chairman, Terry McAuliffe, call George Bush a deserter and John Kerry question the quality of his National Guard service. When the shoe moves to the other foot, suddenly the Democrats switch from "Bring It On" to "We'll Sue You Into Silence," quite a difference in tone. Does America need a President this pusillanimous? At least now we understand the reason Kerry selected John Edwards as his vice-president. I suppose that we can expect trial attorneys to attack anyone who dares criticize John Kerry during a Kerry administration, only those trial attorneys will...

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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...

August 8, 2004

Christmas In Cambodia, Part II: Not Without My Shipmates

Drudge reports that the Christmas in Cambodia story continues to fall apart. John O'Neill of Swiftboat Veterans for the Truth writes in his upcoming book at more length on the Cambodia story than his letter to the station managers I reprinted last night. Here's the key passage that points out the dangerous situation the Kerry campaign faces: All the living commanders in Kerrys chain of command . . . deny that Kerry was ever ordered to Cambodia. They indicate that Kerry would have been seriously disciplined or court-martialed had he gone there. At least three of the five crewmen on Kerrys boat, Bill Zaldonis, Steven Hatch, and Steve Gardner, deny that they or their boat were ever in Cambodia [emph mine -- CE]. ONeill observed that the Cambodia incursion story is not included in Tour of Duty (Kerrys recent biography). Instead, Kerry replaced the story with a report about a...

Christmas In Cambodia, Part III: Time Flies

Tom Maguire at the excellent blog Just One Minute points out this AP story from twelve years ago explaining Kerry's Cambodia experience. See if you can point out the inconsistencies in Kerry's story back in 1992: Navy Lt. John Kerry knew he had no business steering his Mekong River patrol boat across the border into Cambodia, but orders were orders. A quarter-century later, Sen. John Kerry says newly declassified documents have convinced him fellow servicemen captured on such trips were left behind at war's end. ... But for Kerry, who spent six violent months commanding a patrol boat on the Mekong River, there's always been a ring of truth to allegations of abandoned Americans. By Christmas 1968, part of Kerry's patrol extended across the border of South Vietnam into Cambodia. "We were told, `Just go up there and do your patrol. Everybody was over there (in Cambodia). Nobody thought twice...

August 9, 2004

Christmas In Cambodia, Part IV: Patrol Or Tourist?

Longtime CQ reader Retired Military points out yet another article with yet another version of the Christmas in Cambodia story from John Kerry. Kerry had long insisted that he was ordered to patrol in Cambodian waters, and spoke of his disillusionment with the war and how it kindled when he heard the president deny that any servicemen were in Cambodia on Christmas Eve, 1968, while he patrolled their waters. He claims that the moment was "seared into his memory," an embittered recollection that would cause him to protest the war and American actions in it on his return to the US. However, in June 2003, as part of a profile written by Michael Kranish (a name that keeps popping up in Kerry mythmaking), John Kerry tells the Boston Globe that his patrol area was within South Viet Nam -- and he only went into Cambodia to chase down attackers: The...

Christmas In Cambodia, Part V: Close Enough For Government Work

Instapundit reports this evening that the Kerry campaign is now backing away from three decades of Kerry assertions that the young lieutenant took part in illegal military operations in Cambodia: Via the show, I heard a Carl Cameron story on the Kerry/Cambodia issue that ran last hour. It sounded devastating, and the Kerry campaign sounded disorganized and un-credible. They're now saying that Kerry was "near" Cambodia (58 miles away), but can't explain why he repeatedly said he was actually in Cambodia. If indeed the Kerry/Edwards campaign has retreated on this point -- and I don't have the Carl Cameron story on Fox to review -- then the effect will be staggering. The entire narrative of Kerry's transition from eager young lieutenant to disillusioned veteran supposedly began on that Cambodian Christmas Eve, when under fire in a country on which we had not declared war, he heard his President deny that...

August 10, 2004

Mark Steyn: Kerry Doesn't Add Up

The priceless Mark Steyn, the prose laureate of the Right, deconstructs the Christmas in Cambodia mythology with the skill of a surgeon in today's column. Steyn also answers those courageous Democratic Underground commenters here at CQ who called us Nazis for questioning Kerry's war record, but left no name or e-mail address on their missives: For decades, John Kerry has told anyone who'd listen that at Christmas 1968 he was on an illegal mission inside Cambodia. On the floor of the Senate in 1986, while attacking President Reagan for turning Central America into another Vietnam quagmire (wrong as usual), Kerry said: "I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by the 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...

Rassman Shoots Back, Readers Question His Presence

Jim Rassman, the Kerry campaign mainstay who reminds everyone that the young lieutenant saved his life under fire, attempts to return the favor in today's Wall Street Journal On Line. Rassman attempts to do this with a handy bit of misdirection and a few ad hominem attacks on the Swiftvets, in whose company he spent a few days back in 1969: While returning from a SEA LORDS operation along the Bay Hap River, a mine detonated under another swift boat. Machine-gun fire erupted from both banks of the river, and a second explosion followed moments later. The second blast blew me off John's swift boat, PCF-94, throwing me into the river. Fearing that the other boats would run me over, I swam to the bottom of the river and stayed there as long as I could hold my breath. When I surfaced, all the swift boats had left, and I...

Media Nibbling At The Edges Of The Swiftvet Story

There are finally some indications that the mainstream media may take a closer look at the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign on John Kerry's war record -- the main qualification that the Democrats have put forward for his candidacy. Last night, Nightline covered the story, although as Instapundit reports, not so much to cover the allegations as to cover the Swiftvets instead. Now John O'Sullivan takes up the cause in today's Chicago Sun-Times, and he's not Koppeling things over: When Sen. John Kerry saluted and announced that he was "reporting for duty" at last month's Democratic Convention, he made his military record a legitimate subject of political attack and journalistic investigation. That moment was the culmination of the powerful "Vietnam theme" that has distinguished the Kerry presidential campaign from almost all recent Democratic campaigns. He had turned around a failing primary season in Iowa with the filmed testimony of...

Silencing The Swifties

Apparently unable to respond substantively to the charges outlines by the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth, the Left has instead decided to run with the Kerry/Edwards strategy of suing them into silence. The AP reports that three so-called "watchdog" organizations have filed a complaint with the FEC, attempting to get an injunction against any further ad buys: Three campaign finance watchdog groups filed a complaint Tuesday accusing a group of Vietnam veterans of violating the campaign finance law by airing an ad that challenges Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's military record. Democracy 21, the Center for Responsive Politics and the Campaign Legal Center argue that the ad by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth violates a federal ban on the use of unlimited donations, often referred to as "soft money," to influence federal elections. In the ad, the group accuses Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran, of lying about his war...

Whither The Port Side Of The Blogosphere?

I was just on the Hugh Hewitt show, discussing the Christmas In Cambodia myth that just exploded in the Kerry/Edwards campaign's face. I joined Hugh and Roger Simon (hey, who says the blogosphere ain't cool?) in reviewing the latest developments in the story and trying to guess whether the mainstream media or the lefty bloggers would ever give this any play. We also discussed the moldy hat that Kerry toted around in his briefcase, informing anyone to whom he showed it that it was given to him by the CIA agent he took into Cambodia on his Swiftboat, as described by the Washington Post (via Power Line): A close associate hints: There's a secret compartment in Kerry's briefcase. He carries the black attach everywhere. Asked about it on several occasions, Kerry brushed it aside. Finally, trapped in an interview, he exhaled and clicked open his case. "Who told you?" he...

Stephen Gardner Speaks

Stephen Gardner, a member of John Kerry's Swiftbaot crew, appeared with Hugh Hewitt on his show tonight after I had already been on. Although I missed Hugh's show -- I was taking a break at work when I went on -- Hugh has posted the transcript of the Gardner interview on his blog. Gardner specifically and categorically refuted Kerry's Christmas in Cambodia story ... and since he served on Kerry's boat in December 1968, he should know: HH: Now you served with him on Christmas Eve 1968, correct? SG: That is correct. HH: What did you do on Christmas Eve 1968? SG: Well, I damn sure wasn't in Cambodia, I'll tell you that. HH: (Laughter) Do you remember? SG: We were basically just down in the lower part of the Sa Dec. just patrolling. HH: All right. Were you looking for Bob Hope that night? SG: No, (laughter) this was...

August 11, 2004

Christmas In Cambodia, Part VI: Silent Night (And Day)

Fox News updates the fallout from the collapse of the Christmas in Cambodia mythology (via Instapundit). After reviewing the story in a rather dispassionate manner, Fox includes this update to the Kerry camp's reaction: The Kerry campaign first asserted that the Massachusetts senator never said that he was in Cambodia, only that he was near the country. But when presented with a copy of the Congressional Record and asked about Kerry's letter in the Boston Herald, the campaign said it would come up with an explanation. After repeated phone calls, there was still no clarification. Can they still be trying to formulate a response? Or will they just remain silent on the issue as long as possible, while idiots like Atrios and Tom Tomorrow try to change the subject to George Bush's rugby career at Yale? (No, I'm not joking ... QandO has a great rundown on this.) Hugh Hewitt...

Christmas In Cambodia, Part VII: The Inevitable Flip-Flop

Unsurprisingly, the Swiftvets' attack on John Kerry's credibility scored its first direct hit even before their book Unfit For Command has been released to the general public, and the Kerry campaign has been forced into its usual strategy -- yet another flip-flop. Human Events Online notes the transcript from today's Fox and Friends, in which Kerry's advisor Jeh Johnson beats a hasty retreat from both Cambodia and the Swiftvets. First, here's what John Kerry told the Boston Herald in a letter dated October 14, 1979, and reproduced by the Swiftvets in their book: 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 being killed by our own allies in a country in which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops was very real. As discussed earlier, Nixon...

August 12, 2004

Does America's Media Outsource All Its Work To The UK?

The London Telegraph went where no American newspaper deigns to go this morning, taking a long and critical look at John Kerry's Christmas in Cambodia myth, doing the work that the American press claims it exists to do. The Telegraph's David Rennie takes apart even the newest claims from the Kerry campaign in its full retreat from this story: The Kerry campaign responded, initially, that Mr Kerry had always said he was "near" Cambodia. Then a campaign aide said Mr Kerry had been in the Mekong Delta "between" Vietnam and next-door Cambodia - a geographical zone not found on maps, which show the Mekong river running from Cambodia to Vietnam. ... In newspaper articles, interviews and at least one Senate speech, Mr Kerry has claimed that he spent Christmas 1968 inside Cambodia, at a time when even the US president was publicly denying that American forces were inside that country....

Buchanan Hit The Nail On The Head

Let me make one point before getting to the meat of this post: I dislike Pat Buchanan. Not personally -- he seems like an interesting character -- but politically, I find him to be a destructive force and I rarely pay attention to anything he does. However, last night he filled in for Joe Scarborough on MS-NBC and interviewed a number of people on the Swiftvet story. Buchanan scored a direct hit when dealing with Lanny Davis and really focused on the damage that Kerry's numerous lies have done to his credibility -- or should be doing, if they got the coverage they deserve. Here he speaks with Lanny Davis, who appeared on Kerry's behalf: BUCHANAN: But let me read you this. All right, hold it. Now, if John Kerry lied about being in Cambodia, if he lied about being on a secret mission like Martin Sheen, if he lied...

Christmas In Cambodia, Part VIII: Now It's Fete Du Roi?

With the Christmas in Cambodia myth collapsing all around him, Matt Drudge is flashing the news that John Kerry has turned to official biographer Douglas Brinkley -- whose previous work never mentioned Kerry's purported foray into Cambodia -- to recast his mission in January rather than December: TOUR OF DUTY author and John Kerry historian Doug Brinkley is rushing a piece for the NEW YORKER: to set-the-record-straight on Kerry's Christmas in Cambodia tale, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. Kerry has turned to author Brinkley for a "modification" after it was exposed that Kerry was not in Cambodia during Christmas of 1968, as he once claimed from the Senate floor. The Brinkley piece for the NEW YORKER will now say that Kerry was not in Cambodia during Christmas, but rather in January, publishing sources tell DRUDGE. Perhaps John Kerry meant the French celebration of Christmas, fete du roi, all along! The...

NY Sun Tries To Break The Media Blockade

I don't know how I missed this, but while the New York Times has been busy plugging its ears over the Christmas in Cambodia myth, Ira Stoll has been trying to get through the media blockade in the Big Apple. On Wednesday, Stoll ran this editorial in the Sun gently urging Kerry to clear the record and tell the truth: Mr. Kerry seems to want voters to think he's fit to lead in the current war because he fought in Vietnam. He says the president lied to America about Vietnam, and, similarly, he has accused President Bush of misleading America into war in Iraq. He vowed Friday to "get our troops home where they belong." It is this connection between the past war and the present one that makes the issue worth pursuing.Mr. Kerry returned from Vietnam, after all, to join with an anti-war movement that made wildly exaggerated, shameful...

August 13, 2004

Did David Alston Ever Serve On Kerry's Swift Boat?

Decorated Vietnam veteran (Navy) and CQ reader Tom "River Rat" Mortensen sent me an article that he also sent to media outlets as part of the campaign to reveal the truth about Kerry's service in Viet Nam. Much has been made about the Swiftvets not having served on John Kerry's boat, except for Stephen Gardner, who has been a tireless advocate for SBVT. Kerry's campaign keeps pointing to the men who sailed with Kerry on PCF-44 and PCF-94. One of them, David Alston, spoke at the Democratic convention in support of Kerry and remarked constantly about their service together. But did Alston, who suffered real and serious wounds from battle, ever actually serve on Kerry's boat as he and Kerry claim? Here is the article written by SBVT member Bandit and that Mortensen helped research. Because of its length, most of it is on the extended entry (click the link...

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Cambodian Christmas Flops -- In San Francisco

With his campaign being pounded by the very "band of brothers" that John Kerry invoked time and again on the stump, his advisors have been working overtime on two tracks: discredit the veterans he once presumed would wholeheartedly support him and keep the story out of the mainstream press. While the Kerry/Edwards camp has had some limited success in smearing a couple of the Swiftvets, the dam is about to burst on the second front, and the latest leak springs from San Francisco -- normally as safe as any area in the country for Kerry. The San Francisco Examiner published an op-ed by Kathleen Antrim today that challenges Kerry to open the records or admit he's lied: John F. Kerry's campaign for president is imploding. And he knows it. The anti-war candidate went public as a pro-war candidate this week, and the members of his beloved "Band of Brothers" are...

Swift Vet Ad Makes Strong Inroads Among Independents: Study

An independent analysis of the reaction of independent voters from the Swiftvet television ads has been completed by Muhlenberg College and HCD Research and the results posted here. The study group consisted of 371 independent voters who self-described their political leanings thusly: Conservative: 4.31 % Somewhat conservative: 12.67% Moderate: 42.32% Somewhat liberal: 16.98% Liberal: 4.31% Unsure: 19.41% As people can see, the moderates in the middle plus the "unsure" dominate the mix, but the outliers seem tilted a bit towards liberals. More on that later. I won't get into the entire methodology -- after all, the report is on line -- but the analysis is pretty thorough. Analysis is given on interest and credibility on a moment-to-moment basis throughout the commercial, and both rise continuously as the Swiftvets speak. But the Kerry camp has to be concerned with the overall analysis of the commercial's impact on independents: According to AdverTest...

More On Alston's Service With Kerry, From The Kerry Campaign

For those of you who may still be questioning Tom "River Rat" Mortensen's query about David Alston and his service with John Kerry, he dug up an interesting bit of information from the Kerry campaign web site itself. Here's the timeline that Kerry/Edwards provides on John Kerry's service in Viet Nam. Note that in December 1968, Kerry commanded PCF-44, while Alston served on PCF-94. Here's the critical timeline portion that makes little sense: January 22, 1969 Kerry and other Swift boat commanders travel to Saigon for meeting with Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, Commander Naval Forces Vietnam (COMNAVFORV), and Gen. Creighton Abrams, Commander United States Military Assistance Command Vietnam (COMUSMACV) Late January, 1969 Kerry joined his 5 man crew on PCF-94 Why "Late January"? After all, Zumwalt's meeting date is specifically given, and that seems a lot less memorable than receiving your second command in two months. How long was the meeting...

August 14, 2004

Alston Never Served Under Kerry

Thanks to reader Lori in Texas, I think we've just about pieced the record together on David Alston and his supposed service under John Kerry's command. Lori points out a sympathetic article on Del Sandusky, one of the few Swift boat veterans supporting Kerry and one that served on his boat, specifically gives the timing on Kerry's command of PCF-94: In January 1969, Sandusky's boat, PCF-94, came under attack during one such ambush. Lt. Ted Peck, the officer in charge, and another crewman were seriously wounded. Sandusky had to take command. The boat was sinking and on fire, but Sandusky steered it back to safety. They counted 155 bullet holes in the boat and found a live enemy rocket in the main cabin. It had come to rest in a sack of potatoes. For his actions, Sandusky would receive the Bronze Star. With their officer headed home, the crew of...

Alston Inconsistency On Record For Silver Star Action

On June 24th of this year, ABC ran a story on the action that gained John Kerry a Silver Star. ABC's Jake Tapper spoke at length with Kerry's crew members, including David Alston, who is quoted at length in the narrative. Alston makes it clear that he participated in this action, which took place on February 28th, 1969: Since Kerry will not talk about the day he killed a man, four of Kerry's crewmates from the Navy Swift boat he commanded sat down with Nightline to try to explain what happened, though not one was eager to revisit the events of that day. ... Alston recalled: "I know when John Kerry told Del to beach that damn boat, this was a brand-new ball game. We wasn't running. We took it to Charlie." ... The article also quotes Fred Short as one of the crew on the boat that day, even...

August 15, 2004

Media Blackout On Cambodian Christmas Begins To Lift

The utter media blackout on John Kerry's Christmas in Cambodia myth appears to be lifting, and in one of the least predictable markets. Scott Canon writes a Knight-Ridder wire article that at least covers the outlines of the story, and the Seattle Times -- serving one of the most liberal areas of the country -- becomes the second major newspaper to cover it as a news story (via NZ Bear): John Kerry's repeated claim that he spent Christmas Eve of 1968 upriver in Cambodia against official United States policy has drawn harsh criticism from anti-Kerry veterans. Roy Hoffmann, a retired admiral who was a Navy captain in command of Kerry's unit at the time, said the candidate's Cambodia statements can't be true. "I think he just outright lied," said Hoffman, a founder of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. "He never was there." Most of this will be...

August 16, 2004

The Alston Story Goes Back Farther Than First Thought

As early as May of 2002 the Rev. David Alston and Senator John F. Kerry commenced perpetrating a deliberate fraud on the American electorate a fraud to present Alston as an eyewitness to Kerrys self-reported heroics in battle. They lied about the action on 29 Jan 69 aboard PCF-94. Contemporaneous reporting from the Associated Press (Jim Davenport, 4 May 2002), The State (Columbia, S.C., John Huiett, 5 May 2002), and The Boston Herald reveals Kerry and Alston's untruthful representation of John Kerry's service in order to claim the record of an officer who was wounded in the very same action. We know from Spot Reports, the Command history of COSDIV 11, the Alston injury and evacuation report from 29 Jan 1969 taken from John Kerrys own website, Tour of Duty (pages 261-266), John F. Kerry, The Complete Biography by Michael Kranish (pages 93-95), and Ted Pecks press quotation in...

Novak Questions Kerry Credibility On War Record

Robert Novak writes about the Kerry counterattack on the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in his Chicago Sun-Times column today, focusing on the contributions of Lanny Davis. Davis, as you may recall, served as one of Bill Clinton's legal team during the impeachment, and made a name for himself with his cool demeanor and analytical approach. Davis abandoned both when he met John O'Neill twice to debate O'Neill on SBVT allegations that Kerry lied about his service record: The campaign accepted, and he jumped in -- too early. Bill Clinton's calm advocate became a shouter for Kerry who accused critics of being liars. Davis was not ready last Monday when the Kerry campaign placed him on Fox's ''Hannity and Colmes'' program. He had not yet read O'Neill's book, and mixed up an attack on one target, Louis Letson, a former Navy doctor who is quoted in the book as saying...

NRO Picks Up The Alston Story, Clarifies Time Line

Byron York at National Review Online has become the first major media correspondent to pick up on the David Alston story. Unfortunately, he failed to mention CQ, Tom Mortensen, or the Bandit for our work, but we'll forgive him, as he manages to both extend the story, correct some points in our posts, and emphasize that both Alston and Kerry lied about their joint service: In the last few days, there's been a new accusation floating around the Internet about John Kerry's Vietnam record. It involves speculation that David Alston, one of the "band of brothers" who served on board Kerry's Swift Boat, did not actually serve with Kerry at all. If such a story were true, it would be sensational news, given that Alston has made extensive public statements, including a speech at the Democratic National Convention, about his time with Kerry. The only problem is, it's not true....

Fred Short: Not Your Average Military Historian

Byron York of the National Review Online interviewed Fred Short in his investigation of the David Alston story, and Short gave his recollection that Alston returned to John Kerry's unit on or after 4 March. Earlier today, I gave Short the benefit of the doubt, because I didn't believe that Short had any particular axe to grind, except for his support for John Kerry. In the end, that testimony proves the specific points Tom "River Rat" Mortensen, The Bandit, and I (along with readers like Lori) have made about the lies built into the stories told by Alston and Kerry. Alston didn't take part in the action on 28 February and Kerry was not on PCF-94 on 29 January, as both had claimed since at least May 2002. However, an anonymous reader sent me a link to an AP story, still available at Fox News, which throws some doubt on...

August 17, 2004

Even Rabid Partisans Demand Answers From Kerry

More points of light are peeking out through the media blackout on the Christmas in Cambodia myth. In today's Boston Globe, rabid Kerry supporter Joan Vennochi insists that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are nothing more than Republican hacks ... and yet: Kerry offers the promise of a credible voice speaking truth to Americans and the world. Therefore, Bush's one hope for reelection rests in changing that perception about Kerry. The incumbent must somehow turn this election into a choice between liars. That's what the Bush campaign is doing via the book, "Unfit for Command," written by the Vietnam veterans who question Kerry's actions in the war, and via a Willie Horton-like television commercial by those same vets that has been denounced by Democrats and Republicans alike. However, having surrogates denounce an ad and question the motives of the attackers does not necessarily diminish their effectiveness. You really have...

Houston Chronicle Shines Light On Kerry

It appears that John Kerry's strategy of lying low in order to avoid the Cambodian Christmas fable has not worked. Today. Lee Cearnal of the Houston Chronicle excoriates his media colleagues for their silence, especially given their rabid pursuit of AWOL allegations against George Bush earlier this year. Cearnal manages to hit all of the salient points, and even includes the "magic hat": The same news media that demanded George W. Bush release his National Guard records and went over them with a microscope have shown an appalling lack of interest in John Kerry's military service. And as it turns out, there are far more legitimate questions about the latter than the former. Kerry has made his four months and 11 days in Vietnam the central theme of his presidential campaign. This is entirely understandable given his 20 years as the Senate's leading dove. He needs the cover...

The Alston Timeline (Updated)

Several of you have written to ask that the Alston/Kerry issue be put into some sort of timeline, and I think one would be helpful. Below is the timeline I can re-create using the information and links supplied to me by Tom "River Rat" Mortensen, The Bandit, Lori, and several others. I'll update this timeline as more information becomes available. The Bandit, whose work with River Rat formed the basis of this thread, has updated his original article, so be sure to check back there for more information. UPDATE: More background information from River Rat and a bump to the top of the blog. 06 December 1968 PCF-44 under the command Lt (jg) John Kerry (with Gardner, Hatch, Wasser, Whitlow, and Zaldonis) and PCF-57 under the command of Lt. Ted Peck (with Alston, Belodeau, Medeiros, Sandusky, and Thorsen) depart Cam Rahn Bay for an extended 4 day coastal passage (including...

August 18, 2004

Did Kerry Admit To Falsifying His First Purple-Heart Report?

CQ Reader Amelia picked up this intriguing report on World Net Daily, which may not be the most reliable resource on the Internet. However, this should be rather easily cross-checked, and would be if the mainstream media would ever get off its duff and started doing its job. According to Art Moore, Kerry's account of taking incoming fire as the reason for his first Purple Heart injury is disputed by his own journal: A previously unnoticed passage in John Kerry's approved war biography, citing his own journals, appears to contradict the senator's claim he won his first Purple Heart as a result of an injury sustained under enemy fire. Kerry, who served as commander of a Navy swift boat, has insisted he was wounded by enemy fire Dec. 2, 1968, when he and two other men took a smaller vessel, a Boston Whaler, on a patrol north of his base...

August 19, 2004

Captain's Quarters Inspires Washington Times Editorial

Reader and fellow blogger Pat Curley and also William Millan note that today's lead editorial in the Washington Times regarding John Kerry's conflicting claims for his first Purple Heart explicitly credits Captain's Quarters for raising the question: One of the criteria for awarding a Purple Heart is that the person in question was involved in action against the enemy. A wound resulting from friendly fire still qualifies for a Purple Heart as long as it was incurred while engaged with the enemy. We relate this information because the writers over at Captainsquartersblog.com have raised an interesting question surrounding John Kerry's first Purple Heart. By golly, they even get the domain name right! And that's not all -- they review the relevant facts without delving at all into motivations and point out that between his journal, his authorized biography, and his website, Kerry impeaches himself: According to Mr. Kerry's account of...

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...

Gray Lady Hides Kerry Behind Her Skirts

The expected broadside to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth came this evening, as the New York Times advances the campaign strategy John Kerry launched this afternoon -- ad hominem attacks and screeching about funding sources while paying little factual attention to the well-documented allegations from the Swiftvets. Trying to paint the 250 decorated Viet Nam vets as stooges for eeeeevil Republican-machine leaders, the Paper of Record manages to counter a story it ignored with copious silence over the past two weeks: Mr. Kerry called them "a front for the Bush campaign" - a charge the campaign denied. A series of interviews and a review of documents show a web of connections to the Bush family, high-profile Texas political figures and President Bush's chief political aide, Karl Rove. Records show that the group received the bulk of its initial financing from two men with ties to the president and his...

August 20, 2004

It Wasn't Tet, Either

CQ reader Ed Jordan, in another thread, pointed me to Virginia Postrel's Dynamist blog, where a reader asks if John Kerry's Cambodian Christmas myth could have happened at Tet instead, when Vietnamese would have been more likely to be celebrating: Kerry's biographer Doug Brinkley says that Kerry wasn't in Cambodia, or even close, on Christmas Eve 1968, which has been widely reported as proving that the story is false. But -- ain't that the LEAST important part of the story? The WSJ scoffed at Kerry's 'visions of sugar plums', but if you read what he actually said -- every time, he's been very consistent -- what 'seared' him is #s 1, 3, 4 and 5. Number two just happens to be a handle for the story, it's not essential. And it is false. But the error tends to corrororate the rest of the story. Cuz -- again, according to Brinkley,...

NY Post: Blogosphere Now Leading Edge On Kerry Vetting

The New York Post's Deborah Orin writes a great piece on the failure of the mainstream media to do their jobs in vetting John Kerry's campaign claims, especially when it comes to the Viet Nam service he has long proclaimed as his central qualification for the Presidency. As CQ reader Amelia discovered when she read the piece, Orin credits Captain's Quarters for uncovering the Alston dodge, which Tom "River Rat" Mortensen and I spent a lot of time and effort outlining: THERE'S now some real angst in Democratic circles be cause of the growing evidence that Democrat John Kerry's claim to have a memory "seared in me" of spending Christmas 1968 in Cambodia was false and just didn't happen. But what worries some pro-Kerry Democrats is the fear that Kerry has, as one put it, "an Al Gore problem" that he's a serial exaggerator. (Remember how Gore claimed...

The Magic PCF?

The Bandit at Talking Issues points out yet another inconsistency in Kerry's Viet Nam narrative, this one more subtle but just as perplexing. In the Bronze Star story, Kerry's PCF-94 patrolled the waterway with four other PCFs om 13 March, including PCF-3, which hit a mine and sustained crippling damage, throwing Special Ops officer Jim Rassmann overboard. According to the Kerry story, he commanded 94 to retrieve Rassmann under enemy fire and then towed 3 out of harm's way. Kerry won a Bronze Star and his third Purple Heart for this engagement. However, take a look at the official damage assessment for PCF-94, filed on 14 March: BRAVO: ... 2. PCF not capable of executing Market Time Patrol. ... DELTA: Two stbd and one port main cabin windows blown out. VRC-46 radio and all remote units pilot house inop. AC wiring shorted out. Onan generator inop. Steerage control after helm...

Lurching From Disaster To Disaster

John Kerry has the worst tin ear for politics than anyone at least since his former Massachussetts boss, Michael Dukakis, and perhaps even worse than that. All Dukakis did was ride around in a tank wearing a helmet that made his obvious pandering look like a grade-school stunt, and he received well-deserved hoots for his effort. However, Kerry has usurped the role that his Hollywood handlers strove to hang on George Bush and John Ashcroft, attempting to intimidate combat veterans, publishers, and retailers into censoring the free political speech of dissenters: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry asked the Federal Election Commission on Friday to force Republican critics to withdraw ads challenging his military service, and accused the Bush campaign of illegally helping coordinate the attacks. The Kerry campaign said it filed the complaint against the group behind the ads, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, "for violating the law with inaccurate...

Swiftvets Take The Words Right Out Of John Kerry's Mouth

John Kerry will have a very difficult time casting the main testimonial of the new advertisement of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as a pack of lies. The new spokesman for Swiftvet anger at John Kerry is -- John Kerry. You can play the second advertisment at the SBVT site yourself ahead of any ad buys. Through their juxtaposition of John Kerry's April 1971 testimony to the Senate and the personal stories of veterans and the impact it had on them, the advertisement may be the 2,000-lb JDAM that finally busts the bunker of the Kerry/Edwards campaign. Kerry's own voice from 33 years ago, shorn of its seasoning but full of its current arrogance, almost casually accuses American veterans of atrocities while those same men explain why his testimony was not only false but a complete betrayal: John Kerry: They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads....

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...

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...

Oliphant Rolls Into Ted Rall Territory

Pat Oliphant, the syndicated cartoonist whose work appears in numerous broadsheets across the US, published an editorial cartoon that attempts to paint the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as a bunch of drunk, wannabe sailors stooging it up for George Bush. Apart from the execrable Ted Rall, Oliphant may be the most disgusting example of left-wing character assassination in American politics today. Here's the cartoon, which the Minneapolis Star-Tribune saw fit to reprint in today's edition: In Oliphant's world, men like Paul Galanti -- who suffered torture for his country during his seven years as a POW in North Viet Nam -- are nothing more than drunkards indulging in resume-padding, in a gross reversal of reality. This is such a disgusting display that I find it difficult to describe it in polite terminology. Suffice it to say that Oliphant has aligned himself with the same quality of people who spat...

Rood Counters Swiftvets But Qualifies 250 Other Witnesses

As Mickey Kaus noted yesterday, Chicago Tribune editor William Rood broke 35 years of silence in order to counter one of the attacks in Unfit for Command, the Swiftvet book that has sold out seven printings around the country. Rood claims that the Swiftvet version of Kerry's Silver Star engagement is wrong, and Kerry's is correct: In February 1969, Rood was a lieutenant junior grade commanding PCF-23, one of the three 50-foot aluminum swift boats that carried troops up the Dong Cung, a tributary of the Bay Hap River. Kerry commanded another boat, PCF-94 and Lt. j.g. Donald Droz, who was killed in action six weeks later, commanded PCF-43. Ambushes from Viet Cong fighters were common because the noise from boats, powered by twin diesel engines, practically invited gunfire. Ambushes, Rood said, "were a virtual certainty." ... In the book, O'Neill and Corsi said Kerry chased down a "young Viet...

August 22, 2004

Rood Story Doesn't Quite Add Up

As William Rood's testimony gets parsed more closely and the initial novelty of a factual refutation of a Swiftvet allegation wears off, certain elements of the story will begin to beg nagging questions. The Bandit, with whom I've worked on elements of Kerry's presentation of his Viet Nam service, may be the first to spot some inconsistencies in Rood's recollection: In his eyewitness account, Rood describes coming under rocket and automatic weapons fire from Viet Cong on the riverbank during two separate ambushes of his boat and Kerry's boat. Bill Rood goes on to say "What we did on Feb. 28, 1969, was well in line with the tone set by our top commanders." Perhaps Bill Rood would be kind enough to provide evidence that he and Kerry's standing order's were changed from DO NOT EVER BEACH OR LEAVE YOUR BOAT DURING AN AMBUSH, to 'it's fine to beach in...

Newsweek: Kerry's Bronze Star Story Doesn't Hold Water

In the latest edition of Newsweek, reporters Evan Thomas and T. Trent Gegax take on the story of John Kerry's Bronze Star engagement of 13 March 1969 and write a fairly balanced article describing the controversy and the effect it has had on the Kerry campaign. In the middle of the article, Newsweek notes an interesting change of story from Del Sandusky, one of Kerry's crew (emph. mine): As sailors who weren't on Kerry's boat tell the story of what happened on March 13, 1969, Kerry did nothing very heroic. That day Kerry was leading five boats back from a mission up the Bay Hap River. Encountering a fishing net across the canal, the boats split. Kerry and one other boat went through a gap near the right bank, and the other three boats headed through an opening on the left. Suddenly, the lead boat on the left, some 25...

Squealing Like Schoolgirls

It seems like a far cry from "Bring It On!," but John Kerry and John Edwards are begging George Bush to violate election law and the First Amendment in order to force the Swiftvets into silence: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on Saturday night urged President Bush to "stand up and stop" what he called personal attacks on him over his combat record in Vietnam. Personal attacks? He's done nothing but hold up his Viet Nam narrative as his single best qualification for the Presidency since the beginning of this year. Perhaps his staff should play the videotape of his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention, or the speeches in support of him by the discredited David Alston and others, who couldn't talk about anything else. "That's why they're attacking my credibility. That's why they've personally gone after me. The president needs to stand up and stop that. The president...

August 23, 2004

Still Lurching Towards Greater Disasters

The Kerry campaign has decided that frontal assault on an entrenched foe, despite 140 years of military experience to the contrary, is the best strategy they've got in dealing with the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth. Adan Nagourney and Jim Rutenberg write in today's New York Times that Kerry's team plans an ad blitz labeling the Swiftvets as Republican stooges, even using John McCain footage to tie in the 2000 primary campaign attacks on the former POW to Kerry's current woes. However, in the first weekend of the counterattack, the Kerry campaign made the mistake of stirring a retired giant with a reputation for political infighting: Senator John Kerry released a television advertisement yesterday blaming President Bush for a campaign by a "front group" of veterans that Mr. Kerry said had smeared his Vietnam record, as he intensified his drive to gain control in a fight that some Democrats...

Business Week: Kerry Made His Bed By Lying In It

Roger Franklin at Business Week writes a clear-headed editorial in today's edition, which forms a partnership with an opposing piece in the same issue by Thane Peterson. Peterson makes the claim that despite John Kerry's promotion of his Viet Nam experience as his primary qualification for the presidency, Bush and his alleged front organization are behaving unethically for questioning that credential: No moral equivalency exists between Kerry and Bush on the issue of service in Vietnam. Kerry served in combat. He was shot at. Not Bush. ... Why the so-called called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth -- only one of whom served on the same vessel with Kerry -- have decided to attack their fellow vet is a bit hard to decipher, too. I suppose it could partly be an honest difference of opinion. Maybe the "fog of war" led vets to have different memories of the same events. Peterson...

Fact-Checking The Gray Lady

As a rule, media critics do better when they stick to media matters rather than insert themselves into political controversies. Here in the Twin Cities, we have ringside seats to the never-ending entertainment of Brian Lambert and his fact-free insertions of political commentary in his media reviews at the Pioneer Press. Well, never-ending until just recently, when the Pioneer Press announced that Lambert would no longer handle the media beat, anyway. The New York Times apparently has a similar problem with its media critic Alessandra Stanley. In covering the Swiftvet controversy (hey, at least she's covering it at the NYT!), she makes this whopper of a misstatement while attempting to tweak Fred Barnes: Fred Barnes, the executive editor of The Weekly Standard and a regular Fox commentator, ardently defended the Swift boat critics of Mr. Kerry, saying on Fox that a majority of the senator's Vietnam brethren believed that Mr....

August 24, 2004

Kelly: Blogosphere Triumphs Over Traditional Media

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Jack Kelly reviews the devastating effect that the Swiftvets have had on John Kerry and his campaign during the short time that they've advertised their claims im his new column for Jewish World Review (which has an abundance of terrific commentary -- a great site). Kelly focuses on the Swiftvet victory on the Cambodian Christmas story which is now widely discredited: When John Kerry went postal last week, the major media's preferred strategy for dealing with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to ignore them went down the toilet. Kerry melted down because the Swifties' exposure of Kerry's "Christmas in Cambodia" fantasy has struck a nerve, and is gaining traction, despite the major media's refusal to report on it. Kerry has claimed on dozens of occasions most notably in a speech on the Senate floor in 1986 to have spent Christmas eve, 1968,...

Has Kerry Backed Off Of First Purple Heart Claim?

A number of people have written to me overnight stating that a Kerry campaign spokesman has acknowledged on Brit Hume's Fox news show that John Kerry's wound on 2 December 1968 came from an unintentionally self-inflicted wound -- an accident, in other words. So far, I find nothing on this on the Fox web site, but they are notoriously poor at posting transcripts, or even summaries of their own programs. Can someone post the link in the comments section of this post if any confirmation can be made? UPDATE: Here's the link to the Fox News report from Major Garrett. It mostly covers the Chris Wallace interview with John Hurley and CNN's interview of Bob Dole. Towards the end, Garrett talks about the first Purple Heart: GARRETT: And questions keep coming. For example, Kerry received a Purple Heart for wounds suffered on December 2nd, 1968. But an entry in Kerry's...

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...

McQ Figures Out The 13 March Engagement

McQ at QandO has figured out what the COSDIV 11 chronology for John Kerry's Bronze Star engagement means, and it casts a lot of doubt on Jim Rassmann's version of events -- and by definition, Kerry's as well. I must admit that I missed this, and hopefully McQ will be more forgiving to me than he is to the New York Times: Anyway to the point at hand which will demonstrate two things: A) The NYT deliberately left out some of the report. B) The NYT writers who used the report had no idea about the meaning of what they were reading. First the report (you'll find it on page 8 of the pdf): "March 13, 1969: PCF's 3, 51, 43, 93 and 94 with MSF RF/PF troops conducted SEA LORDS operations in Bay Hop river and Dong Cong canal. A mine detonated under PCF 3 and units were taken...

August 25, 2004

Whose Smear Machine Is This Again?

The New York Daily News reports that "a group of Democratic loyalists" plan to target one of the less public figures from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth by using humiliation to intimidate him into silence (2nd item): Sen. John Kerry called a member of the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth over the weekend to try to reason with him over the group's attacks on his record. But fellow Democrats aren't hesitating to try far more aggressive tactics. A group of Democratic loyalists is compiling incriminating dossiers on the members of the veteran group - and they sent us a preview of what might be in store for Swift Boat activist James Zumwalt, son of illustrious Adm. Elmo Zumwalt - and it isn't pretty. Zumwalt "attempted to kill himself with an overdose of prescription drugs," after the murder of his ex-wife's fiance, John Kowalczyk, according to the dossier, which is...

Still More Inconsistencies Between Kerry's Viet Nam Narratives

Now that John Kerry's Viet Nam narrative, which once formed the center of his campaign, has come under a sort of peer review, major and minor inconsistencies keep popping up more often than VC the Wonder Dog. CQ reader Sam Conner notes another one, and in light of speculation about Kerry's Cambodian adventures, it bears investigation. Kerry's last combat mission has widely been considered his Bronze Star engagement of 13 March, the same mission where he rescued Jim Rassmann from the river and sustained an injury to his arm or shoulder. According to the timeline on the Kerry campaign site, this mission came four days before he put in his request to be reassigned based on his three Purple Hearts. No other combat missions are listed. In the Boston Globe article written by Michael Kranish on June 16, 2003, at the start of Kerry's campaign for president, Kranish confirms the...

August 26, 2004

Kerry Campaign Inspiring All The Wrong People

Instapundit notes today that "You won't like Bob Dole when he's angry," and he's definitely not a happy man. Dole appeared on Scarborough Country last night and reminded everyone why the Kerry campaign had to be insane to poke this sleeping giant: So this time youve got a candidate named John Kerry who had a good record in Vietnam, came back from the service, denounced the war, in effect, trashed the Americans who were still fighting there. Went before a Senate committee in April of 1971, threw away his ribbons or his medals or whatever and now is standing before the American people and saying youve got to elect me because Im this Vietnam hero. ... John Kerrys a friend of mine. I sent a signal about two or three months ago on television, John, back off. You know, cool it. Dont make the Vietnam War the centerpiece of your...

Kerry Campaign Undermines First Purple Heart Story -- Again

Alert CQ reader Martin points out that the "clarifications" continually being offered by the Kerry campaign are boxing John Kerry into more and more contradictions in his Viet Nam narrative. Yesterday, in response to the revelation of Kerry's 11 December journal entry in which he wrote that "we had not yet been shot at" despite later putting himself in for a Purple Heart for a wound suffered on 2 December, a campaign spokesperson attempted this explanation: A Kerry campaign official, speaking on background, told The Washington Times yesterday that the "we" in the passage from Mr. Kerry's journal refers to "the crew on Kerry's first swift boat, operating as a crew" rather than Mr. Kerry himself. "John Kerry didn't yet have his own boat or crew on December 2," according to the aide. "Other members of the crew had been in Vietnam for some time and had been shot at...

This Explains A Lot

CNS News reports on a piece of John Kerry's testimony that, judging from my e-mail, explains a lot about the limited records that the Kerry campaign has released regarding his medals and the combat from which they came. While testifying to the Fulbright Commission, Kerry himself claimed authorship for many of the after-action reports: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's 1971 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reveals that the then anti-war activist admitted to writing many of the battle reports during his four months of combat in Vietnam. Kerry told the committee on April 22, 1971, "...I can recall often sending in the spot reports which we made after each mission..." Kerry also said that many in the military had "a tendency to report what they want to report and see what they want to see." Kerry's comments about the battle reports came in response to a question from...

August 27, 2004

Lipscomb: US Navy Disputes Kerry Combat Awards

An old friend of the Northern Alliance, reporter Thomas Lipscomb (who broke the stories of the Phoenix Project shortly after Kerry took control of the primaries), writes in today's Chicago Sun-Times that the US Navy disputes the records that John Kerry insists backs up his combat stories: In the midst of the controversy between the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth and Kerry campaign representatives about Kerry's service in Vietnam, new questions have arisen. The Kerry campaign has repeatedly stated that the official Naval records prove the truth of Kerry's assertions about his service. But the official Naval records on Kerry's website only add to the confusion. The DD214 form, an official Department of Defense document summarizing Kerry's military career, posted on johnkerry.com, includes a "Silver Star with Combat V." But according to a spokesman for the US Navy, "Kerry's record is incorrect. The Navy has never issued a "Combat V" to...

August 28, 2004

The Media Breakthrough Has Begun In Earnest

After waiting weeks for the mainstream news media to cover the collapse of John Kerry's narrative on Viet Nam, and waiting out the media attack on the testimony of over 200 combat veterans, two bellwether media outlets have suddenly reversed themselves and reported on Kerry's lies and prevarications in their news sections, as pointed out by CQ reader Bill Millan. First, the Los Angeles Times publishes a profile of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth organizer John O'Neill which, surprisingly, remains positive and balanced towards its subject. Scott Gold cuts through all of the hysterical Republican-shill charges thrown about by the Kerry campaign and its sympathizers and presents a much more interesting look at O'Neill and what motivates him: He portrayed himself as a political independent a Reagan Democrat, he said, if he had to have a label. Although he typically supports GOP candidates, he says, he voted for Democrat...

Lehman: I Never Signed Kerry's Modified Silver Star Citation

Thomas Lipscomb breaks another major development in the Chicago Sun-Times this morning, and the Kerry campaign may need to do more backpedaling as a result. Former Secretary of the Navy and 9/11 Commission member John Lehman denies ever signing the modified citation Kerry's site has prominently displayed for months, and states categorically that he didn't write the additional language describing the engagement: Former Navy Secretary John Lehman has no idea where a Silver Star citation displayed on Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's campaign Web site came from, he said Friday. The citation appears over Lehman's signature. "It is a total mystery to me. I never saw it. I never signed it. I never approved it. And the additional language it contains was not written by me," he said. The additional language varied from the two previous citations, signed first by Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and then Adm. John Hyland, which themselves...

September 6, 2004

Kerry Advisor: Print Press Deliberately Targets Swiftvets

Today's Boston Globe runs a lengthy article about John Kerry's decision to feature his Viet Nam service as the centerpiece of his presidential campaign. Patrick Healy's report uncovers several interesting nuggets from his in-depth research into this ultimately disastrous strategic choice, but none quite so interesting as this assertion by David McKean, a Kerry advisor: Yet in meetings with Kerry, McKean and other advisers say, they told the Democrat that he had an extraordinary story of heroism to tell Americans. Campaign advisers say they felt sure of two things: Past Vietnam critics like John O'Neill, now a leader of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, would probably resurface, but Kerry and his allies could neutralize the criticism as they had done before. The attacks on Kerry by the swift boat group, however, have stunned many in the camp and left Kerry frustrated that the media have not dismissed the charges...

Further Analysis Of Kerry's Medals

CQ readers Bandit and Tom "River Rat" Mortenson have completed an extensive analysis of John Kerry's medals during his tour in Viet Nam. Bandit and Mortenson did in-depth research into the qualifications of each award type and the circumstances at each engagement described by Kerry and the other men present at each one. They conclude that all of the medals Kerry received, with the exception of his second Purple Heart, have some taint due to misreporting by Kerry himself. For instance, they deconstruct the first Purple Heart, which we all covered earlier at Captain's Quarters: Action: December 2, 1968 while patrolling in a small foam-filled boat, known as a Boston Whaler or "skimmer" that floats silently on a river without its engines running, with three other men in the darkness of early morning. The mission, apparently, was a training patrol in an area that was known for contraband trafficking. Upon...

Continue reading "Further Analysis Of Kerry's Medals" »

September 13, 2004

Silver Star Spot Report Surfaces

The spot report for John Kerry's Silver Star action has resurfaced at Bandit's Hideout, and it affirms the story told by the Swiftvets while contradicting the later two versions of his citation. Bandit, who has done yeoman work on Kerry's Viet Nam narrative, has posted scans of the two-page document from Newscentral.tv. Fox News reports that this spot-action report was written by Kerry himself, ironically, since it supports the Swiftvet version of events for the engagement. I've transcribed the relevant portion here: ...While troops conducted sweep, PCF 94 and 23 movefauimkiver [sic] towards area from which Army advisor reported gunshots. PCF 43 remained at original ambush site to provide support for troops. PCF 94 and 23 proceeded to VQ 984831 and then turned to return to PCF 43 location. At VQ 984830 a B-40 rocket exploded in water close aboard PCF 94 blowing out window frame. Both units received heavy...

September 15, 2004

NY Post Verifies Silver Star After-Action Report

Deborah Orin -- one of this blog's favorite columnists -- verifies the after-action report from John Kerry's Silver Star action which I reviewed earlier this week: A newly surfaced document from John Kerry's Navy record says he shot a lone, wounded enemy who was running away in the incident that led to his Silver Star, his highest military decoration. Members of the anti-Kerry Swift Boat Veterans for Truth say the report vindicates their claim that Kerry didn't show the kind of valor that merits a Silver Star. The after-action report was obtained from the Navy archives by syndicated TV commentator Mark Hyman of "The Point." A Navy official confirmed its authenticity. This report came from Bandit's review of previously overlooked documents at the Naval Archives, which the intrepid CQ contributor is still reviewing. Expect more revelations if Bandit's track record holds up, and hopefully I can help get the word...

September 16, 2004

Kerry Rewrote History In 1971 Testimony

CQ reader Cwiregrass e-mailed me with an intriguing perspective on John Kerry's Senate testimony in 1971. While we all know that Kerry testified that American soldiers and their command routinely participated in atrocities, accusing the US of "murdering" 200,000 Vietnamese every year, what we missed was an early example of Kerry's penchant for rewriting history. In another foreshadowing of Kerry's campaign style, anti-war activist Kerry transferred a sentiment from Great Society Democrat Lyndon Johnson to centrist Republican Richard Nixon. John Kerry testified to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the U. S. Senate on April 22, 1971 accusing U. S troops of Vietnam of war "crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command," The entire official transcript of this hearing is available on C-Span. In addition to this infamous unsubstantiated war-crime statement, with great certainty Kerry also testified that Republican President...

September 18, 2004

Kristof Gets It Wrong

Nicholas Kristof purports to take an objective look at the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth claims in an op-ed for today's New York Times, but instead mostly just mouths the Kerry campaign's obfuscations instead. Kristof starts by taking aim at the easiest target for Kerry's counterclaims -- his supposed volunteerism for hazardous duty, a claim contradicted by Kerry's own words in a 1996 interview: Did Mr. Kerry volunteer for dangerous duty? Not as much as his campaign would like you to believe. The Kerry Web site declares, "As he was graduating from Yale, John Kerry volunteered to serve in Vietnam - because, as he later said, 'It was the right thing to do.' " In fact, as Mr. Kerry was about to graduate from Yale, he was inquiring about getting an educational deferment to study in Europe. When that got nowhere, he volunteered for the Navy, which was much less...

September 20, 2004

Kerry's Alston Source Made Clear

Frequent CQ contributor Bandit has uncovered a box of papers at the Naval Archives regarding John Kerry's service during Viet Nam and has started the painstaking task of scanning and analyzing each new document. One new document answers one of the questions that arose during our Alston investigation, which was where Kerry came up with his story about the 29 January engagement in which Alston was seriously wounded. Kerry and Alston had passed himself off as the commander during that battle even though Tedd Peck had commanded PCF-94 on that day and had also been seriously wounded in that battle, one in which Kerry never took part. Here's what Kerry told a South Carolina veteran's group in May 2002 about his purported service with Alston (who was present and had spoken earlier on the same topic) according to The New Republic: "He [Alston] sat up in a turret above my...

September 22, 2004

WaPo Swings And Misses On Swiftvets

The Swift Boat Veterans For Truth released their latest ad against John Kerry's candidacy, and it's as devastating as any they've produced thus far in the campaign. The Swiftvets also make the seventh chapter of their book, Unfit for Command, available online for free as an explanation of the commercial's charges. Here's the money graf from the chapter: Loyal Americans think twice about violating the legal provision against negotiating with foreign powers (18 U.S.C. section 953) and the Constitutional prohibition against giving support to our nation's enemies during wartime (Article III, Section 3). Anti-Communists do not openly support proposals that amount to an American surrender to Communist enemies, plus a demand to pay war reparations. ... There must have been contact between Kerry or his representatives and the representatives of the Vietnamese Communists. Which Communists assisted Kerry in arranging his meeting with Madame Binh, and why? Kerry has long argued...

October 1, 2004

Lipscomb: Kerry Wrote After-Action Report For Bronze Star

Thomas Lipscomb writes a fascinating article about his clever piece of detective work which demonstrates that John Kerry wrote the after-action report that led to his Bronze Star for an engagement that almost all witnesses claim never involved enemy fire. Lipscomb uncovered a 35-year-old operations order which narrows down the source of the story Kerry denies inventing: A faded 35-year-old operations order recovered from the Naval Historical Center in Washington bears directly on the ongoing dispute between Sen. John Kerry and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth about who wrote the key after-action report that ended Kerry's service in Vietnam. The report appears in the official Navy records and is posted on Kerry's presidential campaign Web site. The report details Kerry's participation in a naval operation on the Bay Hap River on March 13, 1969, in such glowing terms that he was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star...

October 13, 2004

Questions About Kerry's Discharge Make The Mainstream Media

For weeks, speculation has swirled on e-mail regarding the discharge granted to John Kerry. Some have speculated that Kerry received a dishonorable discharge that only was reversed under Bill Clinton. As these charges have been largely unaccompanied by objective evidence, I've passed on mentioning them here at CQ. I know that the Swiftvets and their supporters such as River Rat and Bandit have been researching the issue more carefully, and that if anything reportable arose , we''d hear it soon enough, if an enterprising reporter or two didn't. Now the ever-enterprising Thomas Lipscomb has pieced together some interesting information regarding Kerry's discharge and reported them in today's New York Sun (subscription only). I've received a slew of e-mails from my regular readers on this article, and it looks very interesting indeed: An official Navy document on Senator Kerry's campaign Web site listed as Mr. Kerry's "Honorable Discharge from the Reserves"...

November 29, 2004

The Man O'Reilly Should Be Honoring

Today's Chicago Sun-Times chronicles the aftermath of the election for the most notable of Kerry's Band of Brothers -- the one who openly campaigned against him. Mary Laney reports that Stephen Gardner now finds himself broke and unemployed as a result of speaking out against a man he finds "dangerous": "They said I had a political agenda. I had no and have no political agenda whatsoever. I saw John Kerry on television saying he was running for the Democratic nomination for president, and I knew I couldn't ever see him as commander in chief -- not after what I saw in Vietnam, not after the lies I heard him tell about what he says he did and what he says others did." Gardner explains he was sitting at home in Clover, S.C., when he first saw Kerry on television. It was before the primary races. For 35 years, Gardner says,...

November 30, 2004

How To Help Stephen Gardner (Update: Millenium Responds)

Many people wrote to me after the post about Stephen Gardner's financial woes about how they can assist him during this tough period. I'm sure the best solution would be a good job, but to tide him over -- especially during the holiday season -- Stephen has a PayPal account to which you can donate. Simply log into your PayPal account and send whatever you can afford to this e-mail: sgardner5@carolina.rr.com. You can also snail-mail a check to this address: P.O. Box 908; Clover, SC 29710. The Power Line guys and Tony Snow are the ones who got this information. (Hey, Trunk's getting a signed photograph -- how does he rate, anyway?) Big hat tips to them for staying on this story. I've already sent my donation; hopefully, many more will follow. UPDATE: I've corrected the e-mail address, and re-sent my donation accordingly. It's correct as shown now. UPDATE II:...

May 28, 2006

Why Kerry Is The Democrat's Nightmare

The New York Times reports that John Kerry wants to re-fight the Swift Boat debate, two years after his serial exaggerations and outright lies about his military service cost him the presidential election. The only possible reason for raising this issue would be to clear the decks for another presidential run in 2008, but like 2004, it shows that Kerry's only strategy for elections is to live in a refashioned past: Three decades after the Vietnam War and nearly two years after Mr. Kerry's failed presidential bid, most Americans have probably forgotten why it ever mattered whether he went to Cambodia or that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth accused him of making it all up, saying he was dishonest and lacked patriotism. But among those who were on the front lines of the 2004 campaign, the battle over Mr. Kerry's wartime service continues, out of the limelight but in...

June 5, 2006

Lipscomb Fisks The Gray Lady

Thomas Lipscomb, whose writing on the John Kerry campaign in 2004 earned him a Pulitzer Prize nomination, has fired a salvo back at Kate Zernike and her article on Kerry's attempt to re-engage on the Swift Boat campaign. In an article at Real Clear Politics, Lipscomb deftly points out the journalistic, evidentiary, and logical flaws in Zernike's rather naive reporting: Kate Zernike's story on the front page of the Memorial Day Sunday New York Times, "Kerry Pressing Swift Boat Case Long After Loss," is an unfortunate reminder of the Times's embarrassingly poor coverage of Kerry in the face of the Swift Boat Veterans' for Truth charges in the 2004 election. Now as then, the Times acts as if the issues involved were between Kerry's latest representations of his record and the "unsubstantiated" charges of the Swift Boat group. The Times used the term "unsubstantiated" more than twenty times during its...

June 12, 2006

Lipscomb Continues The History Lesson

Thomas Lipscomb continued to give John Kerry the rematch he demanded on the Swift Boat debate, this time by addressing one of Kerry's rebuttals about the first Purple Heart medal. Lipscomb revisits the skimmer mission that resulted in his eventually winning the medal after first having it denied by his commanding officer and later caused Kerry to call an admiral a liar: According to Kerry's accounts in both Michael Kranish's Boston Globe reporting, the Brinkley account of TOUR OF DUTY, and the Zernike Times piece, Kerry, an officer stationed at Coastal Division 14 at Cam Ranh Bay, still in training before being assigned a Swift boat, who had never been in combat before, "volunteered for a special mission on what the Navy called a skimmer but he knew as a Boston Whaler." Coastal Division 14 operations officer Bill Schachte, who says he was glad to have Kerry volunteer, agrees so...