President Willard?

|

Saigon, shit, I'm still only in Saigon.

I have to disagree with the usually sound Mark Steyn, John Kerry's Vietnam experience is not a "complete fantasy."

I swear Kerry saw Apocalypse Now during its first run and immediately began grafting parts of the story onto his own life. Boat into Cambodia? Check. Horrors and atrocities? Check. One tortured soul who sees through the lies? Check.

Never get out of the boat. Absolutely goddamn right. Unless you were goin' all the way.

Check.

NEXT: They'll Take Manhattan

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “U.S. incursions into Cambodia were pretty common by 1967; their code name was Daniel Boone.”

    These missions began in ’67; initially they were restricted to infiltration and exfiltration by foot. Helicopter exfiltration was permitted in emergencies. Later limited helicopter infiltration and exfiltration was permitted with many restrictions, including permission from Washington.

    In Dec 23 – 29 1967, there were eight missions, an at least two more from the previous period continued into this period.

    I’m not sure if there were any boat-launched missions.

  2. Gary,

    This web site:

    [url]http://www.pcf45.com/home.html[/url]

    indicates that the tour of duty was a full year:

    “Travel along with young American sailors as they experience a year’s tour on board Swift Boats during the late 1960’s.”

    . . . and I’ve heard that elsewhere, but I don’t know for sure.

  3. No where in the above qoutation does Kerry state that Nixon was President in 1968.

    It’s very, very strongly implied.

  4. Don,

    The Daniel Boone missions as a whole were disasters though. I’ve read that one of the reasons why they didn’t parachute in was due to weight of the Americans v. that of their Vietnamese compatriots.

    As I recall, by the early 1970s, boat incursions were occuring. The problem with Viet Nam is that ordering people to do things that were “illegal” wasn’t particularly uncommon; I think a perfect example of this are the procedures surrounding the “illegal” Menu bombing campaigns.

  5. Kurt,

    No, its not strongly implied.

  6. This site:

    http://216.239.57.104/search?q=cache:tqHPjZ_sQTMJ:www.berkshiredems.org/documents/VetWarsNYTimes5_23.doc+%22swift+boat+tour%22&hl=en

    had this comment:

    “O’Mara, when we first met, wanted to talk about Kerry’s three Purple Hearts, which, per Navy policy, allowed Kerry to cut short his Swift boat tour by eight months.”

    It appears that the tour was a full 12 months.

  7. Kurt,

    Indeed, as I recall, Kerry was likely responding to Nixon’s claim (or Kissinger’s) that the U.S. had never sent military forces into Cambodia. I read the qoutation in this context. Furthermore, this seems the more plausible inference on its face, rather than the strained attempt to spin this into some sort of lie on its face.

  8. Don,

    Oh, I understand that the official tour was 12 months; I am saying that on average, no one ever made that six months either due to wounds or death. In other words, it wasn’t particularly unusual for Kerry to get out after four months because perhaps that was the case with a lot of men who served in these swift boats.

    Of course IF the average was six months, one would still have to determine what the range of variance is.

  9. Gary, would you then like to explain the paragraph in question and why Nixon was related to Christmas, 1968? Are you saying that Nixon made the claim at a later date and that Kerry was merely making an anachronistic reference?

  10. Don,

    Something analagous to this would be the average number of bombing missions for a crewman over Europe in WWII v. what their official number of missions were to be. Given the attrition rate of bomber crews I don’t think the average approached that official number.

  11. Psion,

    I am saying that the Nixon administration claimed that the U.S. had never crossed into Cambodia and that Kerry was stating that this claim was simply wrong. Of course he really didn’t have to state that this was the case, since it had been known from ~1973 that the Nixon administration had lied about the Johnson & Nixon administration incursions into Cambodia.

    What Kerry can be accused of here is some grandstanding of course; but I don’t think that the qoutation implies that Kerry meant that Nixon was President in December of 1968.

  12. When did Hit and Run become a part of the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign? And when are you going to put up the little “Blogs for Bush” button?

    I look forward to this election being over, then maybe this blog will be the witty, informative blog it used to be, instead of the load of partisan crap that it has become.

  13. Psion, etc.,

    I take it as entirely plausible that Kerry is either dissembling about being in Cambodia, or is merely mistaken – but I don’t think that the qoutation (read in context) implies that he meant that Nixon was President in December of 1968.

    Indeed, one thing you discover when you read a lot of “first hand” accounts of events in war is simply how wildly inaccurate they can be – whether that is because someone is a liar or merely muddled in the head I can’t say because I can’t read people’s minds. A perfect example of this are all the “Panzer” tank sitings by American forces during D-Day – however, the only German tanks that saw much action on D-Day were over on the Sword beachhead of the British. It appears that American soldiers were either embellishing their war stories or misapprehending other, much smaller track-wheeled vehicles for the fearsome “Panzers.”

  14. …or conflating two events that occurred days or weeks apart into one. Memory is funny.

  15. When did Hit and Run become a part of the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign? And when are you going to put up the little “Blogs for Bush” button?

    I look forward to this election being over, then maybe this blog will be the witty, informative blog it used to be, instead of the load of partisan crap that it has become.

    Not pulling for either candidate myself, Brock, all I see is a lot of the same crap from both sides. It’s a damn good thing Bush and Kerry have you guys to field the really tough questions or they wouldn’t have any time to kiss babies. There’s more than enough partisan, apologistic, accusatory BS spewing from both sides here, thanks very much.

  16. Jeff, you’re missing the point about the Apocalypse Now connection.

    The point of this election is to let Kerry succeed the beloved war hero who’s currently occupying the White House – the same man who brought Kurtz to justice (or justice to Kurtz).

    Of course, there’s the 2008 ramifications to consider.

  17. “…now take off that ugly army-looking shirt and STOP SMOKING THAT DOPE!”

  18. Gary,

    Looking at the quote you provided, Kerry is describing a feeling he experienced in December of 1968 (“the absurdity . . . was very real”) which was induced by a claim that Nixon made. Therefore, in order for a Nixon claim to have induced this feeling, it (the claim) would have to have been made by or before December of 1968. Did Nixon say anything by or before 12/68 regarding whether or not there were troops in Cambodia? If not, Kerry could not possibly have felt, in 12/68, the “realness” of the “absurdity” of being somewhere Nixon said he wasn’t. Whether Kerry means to say that Nixon was president in 12/68 is irrelevant – unless Nixon made assertions about the presence (or absence) of American troops in Cambodia by or before 12/68, Kerry is fabricating this experience.

  19. Sorry, Gary, looks like you’re wrong and that Kerry did say Nixon was president at the time:

    http://www.washtimes.com/op-ed/20040809-090612-9480r.htm

    Writing for the Boston Herald in October 1979, Mr. Kerry said this: “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.”

  20. Gary,

    One more thing – you made a remark earlier in the thread about extraodinary accusations requiring extraordinary proof. I don’t claim any knowledge about your position on this question, but do you afford the same skepticism to people who accuse Bush of being AWOL or not complpeting his National Gaurd service?

  21. whatever Kerry did/said all that time ago is no big deal (to/for me). more importantly, he said he supported the Iraq war! cut & paste from Reynolds’ (instapundit) site:

    “Stripes: The charge is out there that Republicans are much better suited to handle defense issues. How do you counter that?

    Kerry: My record counters that, and my friends counter that. . . .

    They went into Iraq in a brilliant military strategy, which we all adopted and supported, but they didn?t have a plan to win the peace.”

    Wonder what the anti-war folks have to say now!

  22. PapayaSF,

    All you are is re-qouting what I qouted before!!! *cackle* *giggle* Do follow the thread please. 🙂

    Anyway, nowhere in that statement does he state that Nixon was President in December of 1968; you’re inferring that he’s saying that, but I find this a highly implausible inference. The more likely inference is that he was attacking Nixon’s statement that American forces had never been in Cambodia.

    Tim Higgins,

    “Looking at the quote you provided, Kerry is describing a feeling he experienced in December of 1968 (‘the absurdity . . . was very real’) which was induced by a claim that Nixon made.”

    No, its the feeling he had after Nixon made his comment about no US troops ever being in Cambodia, not the feeling he had in December 1968. There are two temporal points here – Kerry’s “presence” in Cambodia (let’s assume that he was indeed there), and Nixon’s statement. Kerry appears to be merely stating that Nixon’s statement was incorrect because there had been US service personnel in Cambodia from before he even entered office.

    As your premise is incorrect I need not address the rest of your statement.

    And yes, I am skeptical about claims that Bush was AWOL.

  23. How’s this for proof:

    Three of the five men on Kerry’s boat deny they were ever in Cambodia. The other two decline to comment.

    One of the members of Kerry’s boat describes the river entrance to Cambodia as being blocked with concrete pilings, with an LST stationed nearby to guard it, and with warning signs all over. He says it is totally, categorically, flatly impossible to travel into Cambodia by accident.

    Kerry’s own journal shows that he was at his base at Sa Dec on Christmas eve, 1968.

    Sa Dec is 55 miles from the Cambodian border, which is a 3 1/2 hour ride on a Swift Boat. You don’t get there by accidentally taking a left turn at Albequerque.

    The other day when Kerry’s campaign was asked about Cambodia, they claimed that Kerry never said he was IN Cambodia – only ‘near’ it. When they were shown an excerpt from the Congressional Record in which Kerry went on in great detail about what it was like to be in Cambodia, being shot at by the Khmer Rouge, Cambodian forces, and his own forces, and how it was ‘seared’ into his memory, they said, “We’ll get back to you.”

    Kerry’s official bio, “Tour of Duty”, doesn’t even mention Cambodia, despite Kerry claiming earlier that his Cambodia incursions contributed greatly to his coming to detest the war. Strange that such a formative episode, which was ‘seared’ into his memory, wouldn’t even be mentioned in his official biography.

    Kerry has claimed other missions into Cambodia. Early in the campaign he opened his briefcase and prominently displayed a Boony Hat, which he claims was given to him by a CIA agent while they were on a secret mission to Cambodia, and that it means so much to Kerry that he’s been carrying it in his briefcase for twenty years. My BS detector was chattering when he said that at the time – I figured it was just a clever way for him to show reporters what a tough military Vietnam veteran kinda guy he was.

    Kerry cannot produce a single witness that he was ever in Cambodia. Steve Gardner, who was on his boat, says he has the boat logs, which show the boat nowhere near Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1968. His entire chain of command denies he ever went there.

    Despite this, Kerry has repeated the story on numerous occasions over the years, including in testimony on the floor of Congress, his experience in Cambodia offered as evidence in support of Kerry’s policy objectives.

    The Cambodia issue goes right to the heart of Kerry’s credibility. If he wasn’t there, then he’s been telling a complex lie for decades, for no reason other than to puff himself up. And if the Swiftvets were telling the truth about Cambodia, then maybe their other charges deserve a hearing as well.

  24. Dan,

    I can pretty much say that their other claims are bullshit at this time. I think that’s demonstrated by the websites I posted earlier.

    As to the mission to Cambodia, etc., this is my response:

    Three of the five men on Kerry’s boat deny they were ever in Cambodia. The other two decline to comment.

    Were these three men part of the men who were on Kerry’s mission to Cambodia (assuming that he went)?

    One of the members of Kerry’s boat describes the river entrance to Cambodia as being blocked with concrete pilings, with an LST stationed nearby to guard it, and with warning signs all over.

    There is more than one river entrance to Cambodia from South Viet Nam; all of SE Asia is full of rivers.

    Kerry’s own journal shows that he was at his base at Sa Dec on Christmas eve, 1968.

    That’s not exactly damning information because most of the covert operations in Cambodia created fake logs, journals, etc.

    When they were shown an excerpt from the Congressional Record in which Kerry went on in great detail about what it was like to be in Cambodia, being shot at by the Khmer Rouge, Cambodian forces, and his own forces, and how it was ‘seared’ into his memory, they said, ‘We’ll get back to you.’

    Got a link to that testimony?

    Kerry’s official bio, “Tour of Duty”, doesn’t even mention Cambodia, despite Kerry claiming earlier that his Cambodia incursions contributed greatly to his coming to detest the war. Strange that such a formative episode, which was ‘seared’ into his memory, wouldn’t even be mentioned in his official biography.

    Yeah, that is a bit odd.

    Early in the campaign he opened his briefcase and prominently displayed a Boony Hat, which he claims was given to him by a CIA agent while they were on a secret mission to Cambodia, and that it means so much to Kerry that he’s been carrying it in his briefcase for twenty years.

    That someone would hold to something like this that long doesn’t strike me as odd; and the CIA had been crawling all over SE Asia since the 1950s; indeed, they ran a “secret war” in Laos.

    Kerry cannot produce a single witness that he was ever in Cambodia. Steve Gardner, who was on his boat, says he has the boat logs, which show the boat nowhere near Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1968.

    Again, the boat logs aren’t as convincing as they would seem.

    His entire chain of command denies he ever went there.

    And this isn’t as convincing as it might seem since his chain of command could have been totally unaware of what was going on; that’s exactly how the “Menu” bombing raids worked after all.

    Whether Kerry is being truthful or not I cannot say; however, I can say that the case is as hardly open and shut as some of the anti-Kerry crowd would like to make out. Anyway, I await a response from the Kerry team on the matter before I take a more affirmative stance.

  25. Dan, the incursions into Cambodia were illegal. Anyone sent there would have been ordered, on pain of punishment, not to admit to it.

    zorel, “Wonder what the anti-war folks have to say now!”

    1. Anti-war folks never liked Kerry much anyway, and knocked him pretty hard during the primary for voting for the authorization of force. You don’t recall the Deanies calling him “Bush-lite?” Though this latest statement may come as a shock to some people, actual “anti-war folks” have known that Kerry took a moderately-hawkish line for two years.

    2. “He’s not Bush.”

  26. No, its the feeling he had after Nixon made his comment about no US troops ever being in Cambodia, not the feeling he had in December 1968.

    I don’t think that interpretation is supported by the quote. He’s very clearly talking about his feelings at the time (“I remember spending Christmas Eve…the absurdity WAS real.” If he had said President Nixon *had subsequently* said there were no troops in Cambodia, or something along those lines, you would be correct.

    I appreciate your bringing in the context, but just looking at the quote itself, your interpretation is wrong.

  27. Kurt,

    No he’s not talking about his feelings at the time; he’s talking about his feelings with regard to Nixon’s claims. And you’re the one who is wrong.

  28. If there were one single other person who interpreted the quote the way you do, Gary, I might be willing to reconsider.

  29. Kurt,

    Argument’s from popularity, etc., are hardly arguments at all.

    BTW, I would appreciate it if someone actually would actually dredge up the ENTIRE article instead of these excerpts.

  30. Gary:

    Here’s an excerpt from Kerry’s journal which shows conclusively what he was doing on Christmas eve: Journal Excerpt

    Here’s what Kerry said on the floor of Congress:

    “Mr. President, 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, that says to me, before we send another generation into harm’s way we have a responsibility in the U.S. Senate to go the last step, to make the best effort possible in order to avoid that kind of conflict.”

    Here’s what he told the Boston Herald in 1979:

    “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 killed by our own allies in a country in which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops was very real.”

    Here’s what his book Tour of Duty says about that night:

    “Christmas eve, 1968, turned out to be memorable….the crew headed their Swift…only miles from the Cambodian border. Because they were only an hour from that country, Kerry began reading up on Cambodian history. ”

    Note that this account flat-out contradicts Kerry’s Senate testimony. It says he was an hour away from Cambodia, and that the incident spurred him into starting to read about Cambodia.

    In 1992, there was an AP article in which Kerry said this:

    “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 about it,” Kerry said. One of the missions, which Kerry, at the time, was ordered not to discuss, involved taking CIA operatives into Cambodia to search for enemy enclaves.

    “I can remember wondering, `If you’re going to go, what happens to you,”‘ Kerry said.”

    (complete article cited here)

    An interesting question is, if Kerry was ordered not to discuss it, why was he giving all the details to the AP in 1992, and why did he bring it up repeatedly from immediately after the war on?

    And if the ‘statute of limitation’ has passed on revealing secret trips into Cambodia, why won’t any of his fellow officers or commanding officers back him up on this? NONE of them say it happened. Three of the men who say it never happened are working for the Kerry campaign, and have no reason to lie. And they couldn’t be mistaken about where they were – by Kerry’s accounts there could be no mistaking their location, and by Gardner’s account there was no way to get into Cambodia without running a gauntlet of security and somehow getting past the concrete pilings blocking the river entrances.

    The Cambodian border wasn’t even patrolled by Swifts. The larger LSTs were used for that job. Notice that in Kerry’s journal even being an hour away from Cambodia was enough to raise his hackles and getting him thinking about the country, indicating that that was the first time they’d ever even gotten within 20 miles of Cambodia. Kerry was sent home three months later.

    As for the Boonie Hat, no it’s not surprising that someone would hang on to it for 30 years – but would they carry it around all the time with them in their working briefcase? Boonie hats are pretty big. It just seems like a weird thing to do, and my guess at the time is that Kerry put it in his briefcase so that it would be spotted by reporters when he conveniently opened the case in their view, and it would give him the opportunity to once again showcase his Vietnam experience. The whole episode struck me as a phony setup.

  31. So, through all of this, we have one candidate apparently lying about being in Cambodia and the other apparently lying about being in Alabama. Fascinating.

  32. factcheck.org has really dropped the ball on the Kerry swiftvets issue, to the point that they’ve been factchecked themselves:

    http://qando.net/archives/003752.htm

    (Link stolen from Instapundit)

  33. Dan,

    Here’s an excerpt from Kerry’s journal which shows conclusively what he was doing on Christmas eve…

    Did you even READ my comment?

    Here’s what Kerry said on the floor of Congress:

    “Mr. President, 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, that says to me, before we send another generation into harm’s way we have a responsibility in the U.S. Senate to go the last step, to make the best effort possible in order to avoid that kind of conflict.”

    This only further illustrates my point that Kerry was indeed referring to two temporal points – his time in Cambodia in December of 1968 (if indeed he was there) and Nixon’s later denial that American forces had ever been in Cambodia.

    Here’s what his book Tour of Duty says about that night:

    “Christmas eve, 1968, turned out to be memorable….the crew headed their Swift…only miles from the Cambodian border. Because they were only an hour from that country, Kerry began reading up on Cambodian history.”

    Alright, now we have elipses and the breaking up of statements. I would like the statement in full please. Sorry, but my bullshit detector starts going off when I see butchered qoutes like this.

    Note that this account flat-out contradicts Kerry’s Senate testimony. It says he was an hour away from Cambodia, and that the incident spurred him into starting to read about Cambodia.

    Well, that part of the book says this; does it state anything about actually going over the border or not? Indeed, the qouted text neither confirms nor denies his story. What you’re doing is jumping to a conclusion.

    An interesting question is, if Kerry was ordered not to discuss it, why was he giving all the details to the AP in 1992, and why did he bring it up repeatedly from immediately after the war on?

    Quite obviously because he wanted to spill the beans about the matter. Majro Hal Knight was ordered not reveal what he knew about the “Menu” bombings of Cambodia, yet he did it anyway. Same deal.

    And if the ‘statute of limitation’ has passed on revealing secret trips into Cambodia, why won’t any of his fellow officers or commanding officers back him up on this? NONE of them say it happened.

    Because none of them knew of the mission(s)?

    Three of the men who say it never happened are working for the Kerry campaign, and have no reason to lie.

    And again, they might not have been on this mission (I believe I’ve already tread over this ground though).

    And they couldn’t be mistaken about where they were – by Kerry’s accounts there could be no mistaking their location, and by Gardner’s account there was no way to get into Cambodia without running a gauntlet of security and somehow getting past the concrete pilings blocking the river entrances.

    Again, see my comments above; merely repeating yourself over and over again is not really a demonstration of your argument. BTW, did you even READ my comments? I begin to wonder.

    The Cambodian border wasn’t even patrolled by Swifts. The larger LSTs were used for that job.

    Well, where the LSTs normally “patrolled” would seem an unlikely place for an incursion; furthermore, the LSTs would seem an unlikely boat for an incursion given their size.

    Notice that in Kerry’s journal even being an hour away from Cambodia was enough to raise his hackles and getting him thinking about the country, indicating that that was the first time they’d ever even gotten within 20 miles of Cambodia. Kerry was sent home three months later.

    (a) The journal could be a fake; (b) did Kerry ever state that he had been in Cambodia prior to December of 1968?

    The whole episode struck me as a phony setup.

    Now your just trading in personal opinion.

  34. Finrod Felagund,

    All that site does is reiterate the claims that were originally made; it doesn’t demonstrate that they were true.

  35. GG,

    Are you confusing panzer with Tiger?

    There was a tendency among American troops (and probably our allies as well) to call every German tank a Tiger. In fact, the Panzer Mk IV (roughly equivelent to the Sherman) was the most common German tank up until nearly the end. Panzer divisions typically were equiped with Mk IVs and Panthers in 1944; Tigers had their own special units that could be attached to divisions as needed (I think there were several divisions that had organic Tigers). The 2nd SS division shown in Saving Private Ryan actually first contacted the Brits, and did not have any organic Tigers in its make up.

    Similar is true of the German 88 mm FLAK guns; Americans tended to label all German artillery 88s, even though 105 mm howitzers were the most common artillery we faced.

  36. Don,

    No, I’m being sloppy in my use of language.

    Nevertheless, Americans saw no German tanks on the first day of the invasion; what they tended to run into on that first day were French-made light tanks that had been captured in 1940 and thrown into use for coastal patrols, defense, etc.

    The only panzer division to see action – as I recall – on that first day was at Sword, and that was limited because they arrived late in the day.

    And the incident protrayed in Saving Ryan’s Privates didn’t occur.

  37. Gary,

    IIRC, the death or injury rate for Swiftees was about 75%, according to one of their commanders. I assume that nearly 25% went the full 12 months.

  38. Anyway, I’m taking a wait and see approach at this point, unlike some others.

  39. Don,

    Sounds like Kerry’s exit from the swift boat service might not be that unusual then.

  40. Amazon.com has a great resource that lets you search the contents of the books they sell.

    Here is the result of the search for ‘cambodia’ in Tour of Duty: Cambodia search results

    The account of Christmas even 1968 starts on page 209. Here’s a full excerpt, showing that I left nothing crucial out with the ellipses – in fact, the fuller account makes it even more clear that Kerry is lying about going into Cambodia that night:


    Christmas Eve, 1968 turned out to be memorable for the men of PCF-44 though not in the jingle-bells sense folks were enjoying back home. The only concession to the holiday spirit was that morning’s rare breakfast of scrambled eggs, after which the crew headed their Swift north up the Co Chien River to its junction with the My Tho only miles from the Cambodian border. Because they were only an hour away from that neighboring country, Kerry began reading up on Cambodia’s history in a book he had borrowed from the floating barracks in An Thoi.

    Later it says:

    Kerry was keyed up that Christmas Eve by PCF-44’s position; he had never been that far up the rivers before, in the upper reaches of the Mekong Delta where the brown-water navy earned its stars and bars. He and his crew were deep in enemy territory. “The Swift seemed to sense the spirit of exploration as she kicked a symmetrical wave out behind us, breaking an even spray to both sides of the bow” he wrote in his notebook. “It was nearly morning – not yet light. Ours was the only movement on the river, patrolling near the Cambodian line.

    I got tired of typing at this point (can’t copy from the amazon service), but the account goes on to describe how they met another U.S. boat shortly thereafter.

    There is not a single mention in the entire book of Kerry ever having been in Cambodia, despite the numerous accounts he had offered before of multiple missions into that country.

  41. Does anyone have a link to the 1979 Boston Herald interview that Gary provided a quote from? It should settle the question of whether Kerry might have been referring to multiple points in time in the provided quote, as Gary claims. The quote by itself is certainly not sufficient to resolve this – I am skeptical of Gary’s interpretation, but I can imagine a context that would support it.

  42. ***”Mr. President, 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, that says to me, before we send another generation into harm’s way we have a responsibility in the U.S. Senate to go the last step, to make the best effort possible in order to avoid that kind of conflict.”

    [Gary]This only further illustrates my point that Kerry was indeed referring to two temporal points – his time in Cambodia in December of 1968 (if indeed he was there) and Nixon’s later denial that American forces had ever been in Cambodia.***

    This quote does not support your conclusion, Gary. “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.” These are all the same tense! He remembers . . . “to be shot at” (present tense) . . . “President telling the people I was not there” (present tense). This supports my reading – that he is speaking of a memory of a single point in time.

  43. I couldn’t care less about the pissing contest of John Kerry trivia (Vietnam edition).

    But I’m excited to see a poster named Finrod Felagund!

    Finrod’s story is proof positive of Washington’s admonition to avoid entangling alliances. You never know when a promise made in time of war will come back to haunt you, and you wind up being attacked by werewolves in Sauron’s dungeon of Tol-in-Gaurhoth. And all because some love-struck kid is holding you to this promise of assistance so he can steal some jewels and pacify his girlfriend’s father.

    Me, I would have told Beren to get some cubic zirconium Silmarils from a pawn shop, but what do I know?

  44. I’ve pretty much written what I’m going to write until I see some more salvos between the contestants.

  45. Wow,

    About 30 posts since I pointed out that most of you are simply pawns shilling for the real movers arguing about stuff that PARTY VOLUNTEERS feel they’re above.

    I’m glad it’s finally cooled down a bit though. I mean, I’ve had enough time to go to Best Buy, purchase Kill Bill vols. 1 & 2, and watch them since my last post.

    I bet I had more fun than you guys…and had about the same effect on the outcome of PrezElect ’04.

  46. “Sounds like Kerry’s exit from the swift boat service might not be that unusual then. “

    Oh, its unusual, all right. Most guys who left when Kerry did left in a basket or a bag. Kerry had just a few scratches. Two self-inflicted.

  47. But Kerry’s no Martin Sheen.

  48. Cheney would be Marlon Brando?

    Seriously, is there like a sign that sez “You are now in Cambodia”?

    I’ll give the Bush buttboys and apologists something. Faced with their boy’s military record they . . . attack Kerry’s?

  49. And he had a fellow swabby take action pictures of him–using an 8 mm motion picture camera supplied by the subject, right?

    Four months of war was hell, eh?

  50. It strikes me that any politician, any promoter of a politician, or any detractor of a politican who brings up service or lack of service in the Vietnam war in 2004 is an asshole. Period.

  51. Dude….know something about buttboys, do ya?

  52. Willard’s already President.

    I never would have guessed that he’d go on to study economics.

    Anyway, the part where the senior officers deny that they gave him an illegal order…very convincing.

  53. gawdamman – let’s just be friends

    To complete the trifecta I guess Bush would be Dennis Hopper.

  54. Did you know you could get out of Vietnam if you got three purple hearts or two 48’s. Two 48’s means you received two purple hearts that required you to spend at least 48 hours in the hospital each time.

    John Kerry is one lucky dued, in just 4 months of active duty, he received three purple hearts, one bronze star and one silver star, and he never had to spend any significant time in a hospital recovering from wounds received.

  55. U.S. incursions into Cambodia were pretty common by 1967; their code name was Daniel Boone.

  56. “I’ll give the Bush buttboys and apologists something. Faced with their boy’s military record they . . . attack Kerry’s?”

    1) The people attacking Kerry’s record are his fellow Swiftees, some of the primary ones claim to be Democrats.

    2) Kerry has consistently campained on his 4 months of duty way back when, making his service record the cornerstone of his campaign. Consequently he has opened it to question.

    3) Bush’s service record was just fine.

  57. This is a pretty good website regarding the whole purple hearts, silver & bronze star, etc. issue:

    http://www.factcheck.org/article.aspx?docID=231

    There is also Kerry’s site:

    http://www.johnkerry.com/rapidresponse/080504_truth.html

    I’m of the opinion that – to paraphrase Lance Armstrong – extraordinary accusations require extraordinary proof.

  58. Don,

    As I understand it (and correct me if I’m wrong), average service on a swift boat in Viet Nam was around six months.

  59. Parsing words Gary?? Reporters and fanatics do that. Concerned people want facts not supositions and “spin”.

  60. i would totally consider thinking a nice thought about bush if he spoke like hopper’s character in AN.

  61. Gene,

    What words am I “parsing?”

  62. I wish I was lucky enough to have 35 year old shrapnel in my body.

  63. “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.”

    LBJ was President on Christmas Eve 1968, but let that pass.

    No where in the above qoutation does Kerry state that Nixon was President in 1968.

  64. Struggling… to… care……. failing….

  65. The area around the Co Chien River was commonly referred to as “Cochin China.” It is also called “Khmer Krum.” It is populated by Camodians, not Vietnamese, and continues to be disputed. The border with Vietnam is very porous.

    Don’t know if this helps.

  66. ‘moderate’ writes: “Two self-inflicted.”

    Well, yeah, he did sign up for duty at the front. So to that extent it is “self-inflicted”.

    As opposed to Bush’s self-inflicted alcoholic brain damage.

  67. From Kerry’s Fitness Report, 28 Jan 1969 (page 24 of this PDF):

    LTJG Kerry was assigned to this division for only a short time but during that time exhibited all the traits desired of an officer in a combat environment. He frequently exhibited a high sense of imagination and judgement in planning operations against the enemy in the Mekong Delta. Involved in several enemy initiated fire fights, including an ambush during the Christmas truce, he effectively suppressed enemy fire and is unofficially credited with 20 enemy killed in action. Though relatively new to the PCF he is thoroughly knowledgeable of all aspects of his boat and PCF operations. He was instrumental in planning of highly successful Sea Lords Operations. He was cited for his performance during action against the enemy by Commander Task Force in his message 080807Z Jan 69.

    Note that “performance during action” doesn’t sound like his only participation was “planning”.

    Now to add that “Sea Lords Operations” involved incursions into Cambodia.

    As to whether it’s implausible that a SWIFT boat might go into Cambodia and drop someone off there, note: “The fellow on the right was a freelance journalist and photographer that had caught a ride into Cambodia on a US Swift Boat. He asked to be dropped off on the shore to proceed on his own. It is hoped that he found what he was looking for and survived to tell about it.

    Sure doesn’t sound like getting a Swift boat into Cambodia was a “physical impossibility“, as Steve Gardner claimed.

    In fact, the Navy said Swift boats were involved in those Cambodian incursions:

    An acronym for “Southeast Asia Lake, Ocean, River, Delta Strategy”, SEALORDS started on October 18, 1968 when a Navy Swift boat (PCF) reconnoitered the entrance to the Cua Lon River on the Gulf of Thailand side of the Ca Mau Penisula. Following this mission, Swift boat crewmen conducted a series of incursions along the southern rivers and canals upsetting base camps and cutting Viet Cong supply and communication lines.

    So Gardner simply lied.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.