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November 1, 2004
Kerry Discharge "Other Than Honorable": NY Sun

Our friend Thomas Lipscomb writes today at the New York Sun that based on records produced at the John Kerry campaign website and military regulations and practice at the time of Kerry's Navy career, John Kerry received a less-than-honorable discharge for his service. Because of Kerry's refusal to make all of his records public and the Privacy Act of 1974, Lipscomb's sources would not go on the record. However, a reserve JAG and a former Navy officer from the Bureau of Personnel have helped Lipscomb build a strong circumstantial case for the negative separation:

The "honorable discharge" on the Kerry Web site appears to be a Carter administration substitute for an original action expunged from Mr. Kerry's record, according to Mark Sullivan, who retired as a captain in the Navy's Judge Advocate General Corps Reserve in 2003 after 33 years of service as a judge advocate. Mr. Sullivan served in the office of the Secretary of the Navy between 1975 and 1977.

On behalf of the Kerry campaign, Michael Meehan and others have repeatedly insisted that all of Mr. Kerry's military records are on his Web site, except for his medical records.

"If that is the case," Mr. Sullivan said, "the true story isn't what was on the Web site. It's what's missing. There should have been an honorable discharge certificate issued to Kerry in 1975,if not earlier, three years after his transfer to the Standby Reserve-Inactive."

Another retired Navy Reserve officer, who served three tours in the Navy's Bureau of Personnel, points out that there should also have been a certified letter giving Mr. Kerry a choice of a reserve reaffiliation or separation and discharge. If Mr. Meehan is correct and all the documents are indeed on the Web site, the absence of any documents from 1972 to 1978 in the posted Kerry files is a glaring hole in the record.

Sullivan notes the possibility that Kerry received no discharge at all when he separated from the service between 1972 and 1975. Commonly at that time, eligible officers were only issued discharges when being involuntarily separated from the service if their service was deemed honorable; the lack of any discharge was considered a stigma and a highly negative comment on an officer's record.

Lipscomb also has more circumstantial evidence of the aftermath of Kerry's discharge which indicates it was either dishonorable or "undesirable". After Kerry left the Navy, he intended on entering law school, but had trouble getting accepted. The official Kerry explanation is that his applications were too late for most schools to consider for the term Kerry wanted to start, but that's not how Lipscomb's source at Harvard remembers it:

Certainly something was wrong as early as 1973 when Mr. Kerry was applying to law school.

Mr. Kerry has said, "I applied to Harvard, Boston University, and Boston College. I was extremely late. Only BC would entertain a late application."

It is hard to see why Mr. Kerry had to file an "extremely late" application since he lost the congressional race in Lowell, Mass., the first week of November 1972 and was basically doing nothing until he entered law school the following September of 1973.A member of the Harvard Law School admissions committee recalled that the real reason Mr. Kerry was not admitted was because the committee was concerned that because Mr. Kerry had received a less than honorable discharge they were not sure he could be admitted to any state bar.

The fact that Mr. Kerry had cancelled his candidacy for a Congressional seat in 1970 in favor of Father Robert Drinan cannot have hurt Mr. Kerry's admission to Boston College. The Reverend Robert Drinan's previous position was dean of the Boston College Law School.

Read all of Lipscomb's article. With a day to go before the election, Kerry managed to skate by without releasing his complete service records, even admitting it on NBC before NBC decided to "sanitize" the records and remove the admission from its interview with Kerry. It follows a pattern of complicity in the mainstream media to cover up John Kerry's even while hypocritically demanding transparency on George Bush's honorable discharge, received normally and on time for his service.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 1, 2004 4:45 AM

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