Swift Boat Brouhaha

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The Dallas Observer has an interesting and balanced piece on one of the most heated sub-battles of Campaign 2004: Swift Boat Veterans for Truth vs. Veterans for Kerry. (I can't help thinking of these groups as somehow akin to the David Lee Roth Van Halen vs. the Sammy Hagar version.)

The story gives good background on John O'Neill, the vet who has battled with Kerry since the early '70s, arguing that the Bay State Blowhard mischaracterized American war crimes in 'Nam (the two memorably appeared on the old Dick Cavett show together and O'Neill eventually shilled for Richard Nixon at the GOP convention in '72).

Writes the Observer:

If there's any common ground between the two groups, it's that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth [SBVT] and Veterans for Kerry strongly believe in what they're saying, and they plan to keep preaching right up until the election. Their ongoing battle, they hope, will bring voters around to their side and their version of the truth. And so Americans are left to wade through the post-Vietnam muck, left to determine who's lying and who's not before casting their ballots. It is an important task for the country, and a difficult one, too–on that, there can be no disagreement.

The article also implicitly makes the case for 527 groups, those reviled organizations such as Moveon.org (and SBVT) that, whatever else you can say about them, have so far provided many of the most memorable moments in the current political season.

Whole thing here.

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  1. thoreau,

    In essence these SWVT folks are ticked off about Kerry’s remarks immediately following the war; and they are quite willing to try to create any controversy (false or not) to smear Kerry.

  2. a) boats leave their stations, and there are numerous rivers of various sizes that run between Camodia and the Cochin China region of Vietnam.

    b) “most all operations” does not mean “all operations,” and in particular does not mean “all operations, including highly classified, secret missions distinct from the boat’s normal duties.”

    c) Fake journals, especially fake logs, are a common part of covert tradecraft.

    d) In an area in which border incursions were common, borders poorly marked, and the local population ethnically and culturally Khmer (Cambodian), knowing precisely when you cross the border into Cambodia proper would not be a straightforward matter.

  3. dan,

    I’ve gotten the impression that all you are is a stuffed shirt; you’ve got your talking points, and when someone challenges them, you can’t respond with anything but your talking points.

  4. This whole swift boat controversy couldn’t be better for the Kerry campaign. While people are arguing over vague recollections of thirty years ago, Kerry is getting a pass on all of the senate votes that weakened our defense and intelligence capabilities. Whether or not Kerry was a hero is irrelevant, his senate record shows an awful disdain for military preparedness. That is the issue, not Vietnam.

  5. Mona,

    Why does it bother you so much more when Kerry lies than when Bush lies? Isn’t lying bad no matter who does it?

    Hank,

    Why does it bother you so much more when Kerry opposes military programs than when Cheney opposes the same programs? Is it ALWAYS bad to oppose ANY military program?

  6. (a) If his command didn’t know where he was he was AWOL. (b) He served with men on his boat, as well as mean on adjacent boats, and with US and native troops being transported on those boats. (c) There is considerable documentation of the Daniel Boone and similar operations; it isn’t clear to me that fake logs were created when considerable documentation of the actual missions was maintained.

    http://www.specialoperations.com/MACVSOG/Tales_from_SOG/Daniel_Boone/JulDec67.htm

  7. Les,

    When did Bush lie?

  8. Don,

    “(a) If his command didn’t know where he was he was AWOL.”

    Then apparently the hundreds of personnel involved the “Menu” campaigns were also AWOL, because their commanders didn’t know where they were either; indeed, they had no idea they were bombing Cambodia, they thought they were a hundred miles away in Viet Nam. Sorry, but your arguments get more silly by the minute.

    “(c) There is considerable documentation of the Daniel Boone and similar operations; it isn’t clear to me that fake logs were created when considerable documentation of the actual missions was maintained.”

    Fake logs were created for those missions (as well as for the “Menu” operations); hell, for the “Menu” operations there was a very intricate system of double bookeeping going on, with one set of books (the ones that showed where the bombers actually went) being destroyed and the fake books being treated as a realistic account of what actually happened.

  9. Les,
    I’m sure there are plenty of military programs I’d be against. I prefer spending money on deadly explosives and missle defense, Kerry rather the military be a jobs program. Which in this era of priortizing civilian protection over victory, may be the way to go. Unfortunately we lose a lot of ours this way.

  10. Gunnels,

    For someone who demands that everyone else “demonstrate” anything they say to your satisfaction, how come you haven’t asked Kerry to demonstrate that he was indeed in Cambodia, before you jump to his rescue?

    Kerry Campaign has stated that he didn’t claim to be in Cambodia, but ‘near’ Cambodia. He might have been near it, and might have exaggerated a little bit (like most all pols do – except, perhaps, Carter!) or whatever. But how did he demonstrate to you that he was really in Cambodia?

  11. Gunnels,

    “In essence these SWVT folks are ticked off about Kerry’s remarks immediately following the war; and they are quite willing to try to create any controversy (false or not) to smear Kerry”

    What facts do you base this one on? I thought you were going to wait until ALL FACTS are in. Are we back to “trading opinions”?

  12. Les,

    “Isn’t lying bad no matter who does it?”

    No, not if you are “only lying about sex” – that is not really all that bad. I am sure you would agree with that. John Kerry (and 50+ other senators, including a few Republicans) thought so!

  13. Don,

    Like I told Mona, we know that George W. Bush lied when he said, “when I was running for president, in Chicago, somebody said, would you ever have deficit spending? I said, only if we were at war, or only if we had a recession, or only if we had a national emergency. Never did I dream we’d get the trifecta.” He also repeated this story several times after it had been shown to be false.

    He might not have lied when he said, “We found the weapons of mass destruction” after two mobile trailer that the U.S. and U.K. determined were designed to fill weather ballons. He might have been stupid or incompetent enough to have believed it at the time (though, while I’m not convinced he’s intelligent, I don’t know if he’s THAT stupid).

    If one believes that he understands the things he’s instructed to say, he WAS being blatently dishonest when he said, ?The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was . . . enriching uranium for a bomb.? The “1990s” he was referring to was actually 1990, before the first Gulf War.

    He lied when he said he didn’t make decisions based on polls, when White House advisors admit that polls were used to determine it would be a mistake for Bush to admit making any mistakes in his April press conference (and, in my opinion, a man who won’t admit mistakes, isn’t really a man).

    He lied to a Dallas reporter when he said he hadn’t been arrested after 1969.

    There are lots of other instances where he said things that were blatently false, but could be attributed to “misspeaking,” but that would imply merely profound incompetence and ignorance instead of dishonesty.

  14. zorel,

    You’re absolutely right. Democrats defend the lies of Democrats and Republicans defend the lies of Republicans.

  15. Comment by: dan at August 11, 2004 12:43 PM

    dan,

    we went through this last fucking shit last night

    So? I’ve fucking served a lot of small boats, and I can tell you from PERSONAL EXPERIENCE that the notion that these guys in these other boats know what is happening on another boat is crap.

    Comment by: Gary Gunnels at August 11, 2004 12:56 PM

    dan,

    I’ve gotten the impression that all you are is a stuffed shirt; you’ve got your talking points, and when someone challenges them, you can’t respond with anything but your talking points.

    Comment by: Gary Gunnels at August 11, 2004 01:07 PM

    Gee, Gary, if somebody doesn?t reply to your very important posting within 11 minutes they must be avoiding acknowledging your command of the subject. Well excuse me.

    Swearing does not improve your already weak argument, nor does calling me names.

    So the other crews haven?t a clue what the other boats in their formation are doing or
    how their commander leads them? I?m so glad you cleared that up. Too bad I wasn?t here lastnight to acknowledge your greatness, please forgive me. I had no idea that I was
    in the presence of greatness.

    I don?t find anything to respond to in your vulgar postings because they do not address the points I made. Give it another try old friend, I?ll see if I can drum up the proper respect for your obvious authority.

  16. Man I’m going to be so happy when all these babybommers die off. You’re still arguing about Vietnam in 2004.

    I agree. This is silly. I can’t believe that a presidential election will turn on events that took place when I was a toddler. And it’s not like I’m young. I’m almost 40 years old, for cryin’ out loud. And I don’t care about Vietnam.

    Let me repeat that for you Kennedy-mythologizing, American-Bandstand-watching, Dr.-Spock-raised, Raccoon-hat-wearing, Great Society losers: Don’t. Care. At. All. About. Vietnam.

    It might as well be the Great Depression or the Spanish American War as far as I’m concerned. What’s next? Are we going to argue about the Rosenbergs? The Wobblies? The gold standard? Bleeding Kansas? Seward’s Icebox? Fifty-Four Forty or Fight? Shall we condemn the Democrats for the unconstitutional Louisiana Purchase?

    Here’s an idea: Why don’t you guys — presidential candidates included — retire to an old-folks home where you can play “Hawks and Doves” or “Hippies and Squares” all day if you want and leave the 21st century to those of us who actually *live* in it.

  17. annoyed-

    On a forum where people occasionally refight the Civil War (or the War Between the States as some posters will no doubt insist), refighting the Vietnam War is the equivalent of debating current events 😉

  18. Hey! The Wobblies are still active.

  19. Thoreau,

    I don’t think I’d be so annoyed if it was just this forum. 🙂

  20. zorel,

    If you read the linked to article, the guy who helped to start the group tells you his motives, and they are exactly as I have stated them.

    “…how come you haven’t asked Kerry to demonstrate that he was indeed in Cambodia, before you jump to his rescue?”

    Give me his phone number and I’ll be glad to ask him; after that, if you could give me Bush’s number, I’d be willing to ask him a few questions too. And I am not jumping to Kerry’s rescue; time and time again I have stated that Kerry’s story may be full of shit – nevertheless, I have also repeatedly stated that nothing which the anti-Kerry crowd has dredged up indeed demonstrates that Kerry was being untruthful – what they do is cast a shadow of doubt over things using some inconsitencies and some rank guesses. It reminds one of those 1970s books on the “Bermuda Triangle.”

    Dan,

    “Gee, Gary, if somebody doesn?t reply to your very important posting within 11 minutes they must be avoiding acknowledging your command of the subject. Well excuse me.”

    You’re not a stuffed shirt because you don’t reply quickly; you’re a stuffed shirt because you only reply with the same old mantra.

    “So the other crews haven?t a clue what the other boats in their formation are doing or
    how their commander leads them?”

    No, they haven’t a clue as to what is going inside another boat. Do pay attention to what I actually write instead of simply creating some alternative narrative that you can then attack. There is a significant difference between what another boat is doing – heading to starboard for example – and what is actually happening on said boat.

    “I don?t find anything to respond to in your vulgar postings because they do not address the points I made.”

    I don’t have to address the points you made because I addressed them thrice yesterday; you keep on repeating the same thing over and over again. Sorry, but repetition is not an argument. And hey, if I’m fucking vulgar, tough shit.

  21. Oh, Gary, I have been soooooo enlightened. Thank you sooooo very much.

  22. “No, they haven’t a clue as to what is going inside another boat. Do pay attention to what I actually write instead of simply creating some alternative narrative that you can then attack. There is a significant difference between what another boat is doing – heading to starboard for example – and what is actually happening on said boat.”

    The argument against Kerry’s Bronze is based upon what others claim Kery’s boat did during the action, not on the details of what happened on other boats.

    The argument against his Silver is based upon the larger context of what happened, which suggests that Kerry’s actions were less heroic than others performed shortly earlier.

    The I-boat captian who sank the Indianapolis was called up to testify at the Indianapolis captian’s courtmartial, and he probably never go closer than a half mile from the ship . . .

  23. Gary et al., go here: http://nooilforpacifists.blogspot.com/2004/08/kerry-tales-part-xliii-holidays-in.html

    Be sure to click for the update.

    John Kerry has made his Viet Nam record the CENTRAL theme of his campaign. “Reporting for duty!” and etc. Clearly, the DNC gambled that since he served 4 mos in country, and Bush has been attacked for his stateside service record, Viet Nam was a winner issue for Kerry.

    Very well, Edwards asked us to ask those who served w/ Kerry what they think of him. Apparently, by whopping margins, not much. If Viet Nam is irrelevant now, so is Kerry’s campaign theme– blame him, if you don’twant to hear any more about Nam.

    ***He put the subject of his Viet Nam days squarely at issue.*** A lopsided majority of swiftees from that time and place, and all of his direct, surving chain of command, repudiate him. Not all of the are political, much less GOP. They simply cannot stand John Kerry because of WHAT HE SAID about them that were lies.

    Please hear this: The Kerry Campaign is CONCEDING Kerry did not spend Xmas ’68 in Cambodia. That one of his fellow crew say he might not have known if he crossed into Cambodia, is not the same as finding even one member of that crew saying that they did, or that they were ordered there (illegally). Gary, you really think that John Kerry alone was informed the entire patrol was ordered into Cambodia, and that only he knew where they were supposed to be going and/or under circumstances where the others in the patrol might not have known where Kerry’s boat really was? Gary, you are a smart fellow: special pleading ill becomes you. (As do your crude and uncivil language, a behavior about which previously you have been quite the Miss Manners when remostrating with other such offenders.) And again: Kerry Co. now admits he was not in Cambodia that Xmas!

    I mean, how do you explain his authorized biography, which does not have him in Cambodia on Xmas Eve or Day? Notwithstanding that in ’86 he said his memory of being there that Xmas was “seared, seared” into his memory? Hmmm?

    The man lied, about our military and its chain of command, and repeated the lie in ’86 to directly influence Reagan foreign policy. Whether Bush has told knowing untruths or not, Kerry is a liar. Whether alone or also.

  24. GG,

    “give me Kerry’s phone number …”

    is that the best you can do? you sound like an imbecile – I know you are smarter than that. you post a lot of shit here; just include the bit that Kerry needs to ‘demonstrate’ the facts to your satisfaction.

    That would do.

    You still haven’t told us when you moved on from “waiting for the facts” to “trading opinions”

  25. Wow. I haven’t seen this much nonsense since the last time I turned on MSBNC. You guys are like a bad cross between Chris Matthews and Art Bell.

    Newsflash: Kerry is fudging his war record to look a bit more heroic than he was. Big surprise.

    Newsflash: George W. didn’t show up for Guard duty because his daddy was a bigwig and he didn’t have to. Wow, that’s never happened before.

    Newsflash: Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are lying because they’re on the GOP payroll and will say whatever they’re paid to say.

    Can we move on now?

  26. annoyed,

    Thank you premission to move on, sir.

    Do we need to sign your posting slip so that YOUR masters at the DNC/sKerryEdwards will cut you a check. Yeah, thought so.

    I’ll move on now. I’ll move on to reading the record and the latest flip, or is it flop, from
    YOUR masters.

    ammused, I am.

  27. “Newsflash: George W. didn’t show up for Guard duty because his daddy was a bigwig and he didn’t have to. Wow, that’s never happened before.”

    From what I’ve seen, Bush fullfilled his Guard duty.

  28. Mona, I’m still wondering if/why it bothers you more when a presidential candidate lies than when a president lies. I’m sincerely curious.

  29. Les, what of substance has Bush lied about? Not accurately remembering how, when a candidate, he communicated policy to a reporter? Telling a reporter something false about a conviction? That is no more serious than telling the public “I did not have sex with that woman.” (Though much less serious than declaring the latter under oath in a sexual harassment suit.)

    Almost all politicians play fast and loose with the truth. But Kerry told a total and utter lie about what our purportedly “war criminal” military ordered him to do in Viet Nam. *He* has demanded that we consider his war record, first and foremost, and to believe that it renders him more fit than Bush to be Commander in Chief of this military about which he lied. He said he was *criminally ordered* into Cambodia on Xmas Eve and Xmas Day — events that are “seared, seared” into his memory — when his own personal journal and authorized biography have him in base camp on Xmas Day, and he now admits he was 56 miles from Cambodia on Xmas Eve — about 3.5 hours by swift boat.

    To quote Lileks:

    “If Kerry?s story is a lie, it?s significant, but not because we have a gotcha moment ? gee, a politician reworked the truth to his advantage, big surprise. This is much larger than that. This is like Bush insisting that he flew an intercept mission with the Texas Air National Guard to repel Soviet bombers based in Cuba, and later stating that this event was ‘seared in his memory ? seared’ because it taught him the necessity of standing up against evil governments, such as the ones we face today. In other words, it would not only be a lie, but one that eroded the political persona he was relying upon in the election. Kerry has made Vietnam central to his campaign. If he?s making crap up, it matters.”

  30. Oh christ, not Lileks. That guy fills his diapers every time a 737 flies over his house.

  31. meh — interesting opinion on Lilek’s bowel habits. Now, about the substance of his argument?

  32. I personally could care less about Kerry’s Cambodian experience. Real hero’s would never mention their heroic deeds except in humility……Kerry is a bloviating fool who is going to soon be forgotten– along with his gold digging African-American wife. His traitorous actions against his comrades-in-arms will be his downfall.

  33. CSPAN ran that old Dick Cavett show. John Kerry sat up there talking off the top of his head, responding thoughtfully to the questions, and demonstrating what was obviously a painful ambivalence about his service and his relationship with his comrades. John O’Neil had a thick, indexed binder of attack lines, that he’d flip through depending on what Kerry was saying, in order to get to the CREEP-prepared talking point his handlers decided he should use in each situation. He kept saying, “It’s interesting you should say that, because…” as he flipped through the big black binder to get to the scripted line he wanted for each turn in the debate.

    The Nixon White House really did lay the groundwork for the pit bull Republican politicking of the present day – shades of New Gingrich’s list of approved terms for Democrats.

  34. Whatever else is or is not true as between these competing vets, John Kerry manifestly lied about having spent Xmas Eve and Day in Cambodia, by virtue of illegal orders. It didn’t happen, notwithstanding that he has been saying so for years, including on the floor of the U.S. Senate in ’86.

    If nothing else “sticks” from the Swift Vets crusade and Mr. O’Neill’s book, it is this Xmas-in-Cambodia issue. Kerry simply lied, in order to buttress his claim that all of his command, and most soldiers on the gound, were “war criminals.” His own journal, and authorized biography, show he was nowhere near Cambodia, and in fact spent Xmas ’68 back at base camp.

    Lately, to the extent his campaign addresses the issue, it says he “got lost” and really, really had thought he was in Cambodia. The Swift Vets well detail how wholly absurd this spin is.

    So, to those who keep screaming “Bush Lied!” well, there is an instance of Kerry telling an *actual,* huge whopper to further his own political agenda, nevermind that it entailed lying about the military whom he now seeks to lead.

  35. Mona, false logs and journals are common practices when undertaking covert operations.

  36. Each time I read a lead article on H&R there is a moving add called Timm’s Shovel. It looks like a masterbation machine. It’s discusting. I mean WTF?

  37. ad, that is. not add.

  38. Joe, he isn’t even trying to claim he was in Cambodia that Xmas at this point. And not one of even those handful of swift vets who support him will endorse that story. By contrast, every member of the command and dozens of soldiers who served with him say it did not happen. No, what we get now is “he got lost.”

    Kerry kept his own personal journal. It says he was at base that Xmas, and the night before well outside of Viet Nam — his authorized biography now says this as well.

  39. A quick aside:

    A variety of left-wing supporters of censorsh…uh, “campaign finance reform” are trying to get the Feds to shut down the SwiftVets advertising campaign:

  40. Sorry, link got chewed up:

    HERE IS THE LINK

  41. Mona,

    I know you’re a big Bush fan and all, but you really must calm down.

    (a) That his command didn’t know about it would hardly be surprising (secret and “illegal missions” are aren’t exactly broadcast around the planet); (b) he didn’t “serve” with dozens of soldiers – he served with a few men; (c) and the journal can also be discounted as a fake (whether it was a “personal” journal is another matter – but are you sure that it was a “personal” journal, or the ship’s journal?).

    Now Kerry has not – to my knowledge – responded to these allegations, and he may very well be wrong; but the case is hardly as open and shut as the Kerry bashers appear to want it to be.

  42. Mona,

    “I was on that boat with him that Christmas, and we were not anywhere near Cambodia,” says Steven Gardner, who served as Kerry’s gunner’s mate on PCF-44 (patrol craft fast) and who is now a member of SBVT. PCF-44 was based in Cam Ranh Bay, a good distance from the Cambodian border. “He didn’t have the balls to do that and break international law, let alone do what we were supposed to half the time.

    “You have to put yourself in perspective with this. To have taken our boat and gone up into Cambodian waters would have been suicidal for Mr. Kerry because they would have put him in prison so fast for breaking international law that it was unreal, because there were no black ops, nothing like that with our boats. We’d take our guys and drop them into VC territory, of course, but nothing like what you hear these guys talking garbage about.”

    Jim Wasser disagrees. He was a radarman who was second in command under Kerry on PCF-44 and is now affiliated with his campaign as part of Veterans for Kerry. Wasser, who now lives in Illinois, says that it would be unusual for an enlisted gunner’s mate to specifically know the boat’s position at any given time.

    “I had to go on [Fox News show] Hannity & Colmes with him, and even though he’s wrong, and I truly believe that, he’s my brother, and veterans should never say anything about each other,” Wasser says of Gardner. “[Swift Boat Veterans for Truth] say they’re about the truth; that’s a falsehood.

    “On Christmas in 1968, we were close [to Cambodia]. I don’t know exactly where we were. I didn’t have the chart. It was easy to get turned around with all the rivers around there. But I’ll say this: We were the farthest inland that night. I know that for sure.”

    That two veterans who served on the same boat with Kerry remember the events in question differently is the essence of the dispute and the confusion. Both sides have strong opinions on Kerry’s service, and both have political ties that make their motives suspect. The back-and-forth battle parallels the Vietnam War itself–it’s a large mess with political ramifications that could help shape America’s future.

    ___________________________________

    So much for the notion that not one of Kerry’s crewmates states that they went into Cambodia; Wasser clearly states that Kerry’s boat could have gone into Cambodia, and he intimates only Kerry would know if they really did because Kerry had the charts.

  43. Gary, a} Kerry’s unit was stationed more than 50 miles from the closed any Cambodian river, the entrance of which was protected by concrete barriers and constant patrols by US. b) Kerry commanded a boat that was part of a patrol group, SWIFTS operate similar to fighter planes, a leader and a “wingman”
    paired up with another pair of boats, most all operations were multiple boat ops. that means that the crews of the boats worked as teams. Members of the teams serve together. they also live together on the base. c) so Kerry wrote down a lie? d) your knowledge of what Kerry has said needs to be updated.

  44. Man I’m going to be so happy when all these babybommers die off. You’re still arguing about Vietnam in 2004.

  45. You just had to use the word shill, didn’t you Nick.

  46. These debates over where Kerry was on Christmas of 1968 make the Valerie Plame affair seem downright interesting by comparison.

    Somebody wake me up when we start debating the meaning of the word “is”. I have some good snarks for that one! ;->

  47. dan,

    “a} Kerry’s unit was stationed more than 50 miles from the closed any Cambodian river, the entrance of which was protected by concrete barriers and constant patrols by US.”

    Look, we went through this last fucking shit last night; repetition of remarks doesn’t make them true. I answered your positions, and I would expect the fucking courtesy of you actually responding to said remarks with something more that mere repetition of old remarks.

    “b) Kerry commanded a boat that was part of a patrol group, SWIFTS operate similar to fighter planes, a leader and a “wingman”
    paired up with another pair of boats, most all operations were multiple boat ops. that means that the crews of the boats worked as teams. Members of the teams serve together. they also live together on the base.”

    So? I’ve fucking served a lot of small boats, and I can tell you from PERSONAL EXPERIENCE that the notion that these guys in these other boats know what is happening on another boat is crap.

  48. Did Kerry ever state that he was ordered in Cambodia by “war criminals,” or is that your way of piecing together statements so as to fabricate a narrative that fits your ideology?

  49. Why do Gary and annoyed carry water for the sKerry/Edwards camp?

    Could they be focusing the debate on these insignificant 4 1/2 months 35 years age to keep attention from being focused on Kerry’s 20 year record of non-leadership in the Senate?

    I’m thinking a guy with 20 years in the Senate who can not point to a single legislative accomplishment might just be an attractive candidate to a libertarian, not.

  50. Gary writes: “Bush also demanded that we take his state as a “born again” Christian seriously (indeed, that’s one way he courted the opinion of various religious nutbars), then he lied about the existance of a criminal record (his DUI).”

    That was stupid– it is not a thing the press cannot be expected to unearth. But it is no more pertinent to his fitness to be President than was Clinton’s denial that he screwed Gennifer Flowers or got head from Monica. (At least not when he wasn’t under oath; lying under oath I do think is usually a disqualification for any state official.)

    >>Quite honestly I don’t see a sliver of difference between these two weasels,> but I’m also willing to be skeptical of these claims by the SBVT element (in part because they have a very real animosity towards Kerry based largely on Kerry’s post-Viet Nam activities and not on his actions in the service itself).

  51. Do we need to sign your posting slip so that YOUR masters at the DNC/sKerryEdwards will cut you a check. Yeah, thought so.

    Cute. Have you noticed this is a *Libertarian* message board? Attached to a *Libertarian* magazine? Have is it occurred to you that a great many of us plan to vote that way? Or that disliking a big government, tax-and-spend, militarily inept Republican doesn’t equal support for a big government, tax-and-spend, militarily vague Democrat?

    Didn’t think so.

  52. Gary, go here: http://www.learnedhand.com/kerryunfit.htm

    It is a free chapter of O’Neill’s book which will be released this weekend.

  53. annoyed writesCute. “Have you noticed this is a *Libertarian* message board? Attached to a *Libertarian* magazine? Have is it occurred to you that a great many of us plan to vote that way? Or that disliking a big government, tax-and-spend, militarily inept Republican doesn’t equal support for a big government, tax-and-spend, militarily vague Democrat?”

    Good points all. I did not vote for Bush in 2000. I in fact have not voted since ’92, because as a libertarian they all made me sick.

    But 9/11 changed much for me. I am now really focused on foreign policy and conviced that effete responses to things like the ’93 bombing of the WTC have put us in grave danger.

    I deplore much of Bush’s domestic policy, but broadly support his foreign policy and will vote for him in the upcoming election. Kerry would be a retreat to the timidity that invites attacks by religious zealots who want us dead.

  54. Mona,

    When Bush said, ?The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was . . . enriching uranium for a bomb,” he was justifying a war (A WAR) with a falsehood. Justifying a war with a falsehood is “of substance,” regardless of what party loyalties might make one think.

    Also, if you honestly believe that war crimes were not committed by members of the U.S. government in Viet Nam, then I can’t recommend enough that you go out and read a few books on the subject.

  55. Les, Bush repeated what was nearly universally held to be true. You fault him for relying on intelligence that was at the time widely accepted? That constitutes a “lie”?

    And yes, the U.S.committed some war crimes in Viet Nam. This happens in all wars, on all sides. No one sensible denies this. But were American GIs on a war crime rampage in Nam?

    Do you think the entire chain of command in Viet Nam was ordering or sanctioning war crimes?

  56. Mona, I agree with you 100% that the media should investigate ALL lies by ALL politicians. But I think you and I are cynical enough to know that only the entertaining lies, the one’s with mass appeal, will receive any real scrutiny.

  57. I agree that everyone should be leery of Kerry (that kind of rolls off the tongue, “leery of Kerry”). I just wish that those who are instinctively suspicious of Kerry would be as skeptical of our President who has been demonstrably dishonest and failed to show any evidence of the kind of intelligence necessary for the job.

  58. Les,

    That dumbass in the White House got the smart guy married to the billionheiress to vote for his (lying?) war. Yup, one of them sure ain’t be too smart.

  59. Dan,

    No, no, Kerry’s bright enough. He just has no personal sense of right and wrong beyond what he thinks the voters want. So we get to choose between an idiot and a shyster. Just like in 2000.

  60. “I agree. This is silly. I can’t believe that a presidential election will turn on events that took place when I was a toddler. And it’s not like I’m young. I’m almost 40 years old, for cryin’ out loud. And I don’t care about Vietnam.”

    Well you can thank the Kerry campaign for making it the focus. They are the ones who made a strategic decision to try to capitalize on his Vietnam “hero” status – ostensibly to take the focus off of his long liberal senate voting record, his flip-flopping on a buhch of major issues and the war protesting shennanigans he engaged in once he got back from Vietnam.

    Having decided to focus on Kerry’s Vietnam service, the Democrats think they should be allowed a “gimmee” on the issue – that Kerry should be free to use his veteran supporters as props to shape his image and that any criticism should be stifled as “unseemly”.

    I, for one, have no doubt that Kerry fudged the truth about his Vietnam service. It fits the right in with his pattern of his flip-flopping and spinning on everything over his senate career.

    A guy who changes his name and his religion just to make himself more electable will say whatever is expedient about anything – including his Vietnam service.

  61. I thought it was a choice between 2 businessmen and 2 shysters.

  62. Les writes: “Mona, I agree with you 100% that the media should investigate ALL lies by ALL politicians. But I think you and I are cynical enough to know that only the entertaining lies, the one’s with mass appeal, will receive any real scrutiny.”

    At the risk of unseemly outbreaks of accord on this board, I agree with your assessment as far as it goes. The challenge for the SBVTs now is to NOT let this campaign revolve around who said what about Kerry’s Viet Nam record and whether the declarant is credible & etc. Of the many spokesmen they have some MUST have political or other skeletons in their closets, or may even be playing fast and loose with the truth themselves: there are some 250 of them, and like any such population they cannot all be saints safe from media scrutiny.

    Keep the focus on Kerry, on Xmas in Cambodia, but off of his medals and the bona fides of all the vets attacking him. If there is a child molestor, or check kiter, or whatever, in that crowd of 250, the Kerry forces will find it.

    Keep it simple. When he said he was in Cambodia on Xmas Eve and Day ’68, ordered there by war criminals in his command, he lied. Short. Accurate. Easy for the public to understand.

  63. Well you can thank the Kerry campaign for making it the focus.

    You miss the point. I hold you *all* accountable. It’s not about Kerry vs. Bush. It’s about me being annoyed by a bunch of geezers who’d rather talk about things that happened 40 years ago than things happening today.

    And what is it with you GOP shills? I’ve said nothing that promotes Kerry. You seem incapable of understanding that disliking Bush is not the same thing as supporting Kerry. There are other parties out there. But since you only show up here to spout Bush propaganda, and don’t bother to discuss or try to understand the philosophy behind this magazine and this message board, that nuance seems to have eluded you. You’re like a graffiti artist. You’re just looking for a surface to cover with spraypaint.

    Take your paint somewhere else.

  64. Dan,

    But I see Bush and Cheney as more than just “businessmen,” who are, on the whole, competent, honest people.

    At what business has Bush been independently successful? How many truly thoughtful, intelligent things has he said off-script? How long has Cheney actually gone without telling a bald-faced lie?

    If Bush was intelligent or even curious enough for the job and Cheney ceased his endless string of dishonest statements, then they’d just be “businessmen.”

  65. But 9/11 changed much for me. I am now really focused on foreign policy and conviced that effete responses to things like the ’93 bombing of the WTC have put us in grave danger.

    Mona, I understand where you’re coming from. I think I went the opposite way. I’m a military isolationist. I don’t think we should have troops in Iraq or Germany or Japan or Korea or anywhere else.

    I supported the strike on Afghanistan because I think it’s appropriate to retaliate against a direct attack. But attacking Iraq took our attention away from Afghanistan. And that’s where it should have stayed. If we’d let Saddam rattle his rusty saber and ignored his delusions of grandeur while we focused all our efforts on aiding Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Taliban, I think we’d be better off.

    I think militgary force works best when it’s limited, measured and focused, not scattered and directionless. Which is what Bush, in my opinion, has given us.

  66. “You miss the point. I hold you *all* accountable. It’s not about Kerry vs. Bush. It’s about me being annoyed by a bunch of geezers who’d rather talk about things that happened 40 years ago than things happening today.”

    I didn’t miss a thing. What I did was CORRECTLY point out that it is Kerry who made Vietnam the focus.

    As for who you hold “accountable” – I couldn’t care less – since I’m not “accountable” to you.
    You’re not in charge of anything.

    “And what is it with you GOP shills? I’ve said nothing that promotes Kerry. You seem incapable of understanding that disliking Bush is not the same thing as supporting Kerry.”

    I never said you were a Kerry supporter.

    “But since you only show up here to spout Bush propaganda, and don’t bother to discuss or try to understand the philosophy behind this magazine and this message board, that nuance seems to have eluded you. You’re like a graffiti artist. You’re just looking for a surface to cover with spraypaint.”

    What “eludes” me is any valid reason why I should consider YOU as a judge of understanding philosophy or the nuances of anything – particularly since you’ve nver said anything that demonstrates the slightest superior capability in that regard.

    “Take your paint somewhere else.”

    Take a hike yourself, boy.

  67. I’ll have to go with SBVT and Sammy Hagar.

  68. GARY GUNNELS,

    Do you claim to know better than Kerry campaign whether he was in Cambodia or ‘near’ Cambodia?

    If you can’t admit to it, STFU and go away; don’t continue the tiresome nonsense.

    http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=4771

    scroll down to this bit –

    “But today, on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” Kerry Campaign Advisor Jeh Johnson had this to say to the show’s co-host Brian Kilmeade:

    JOHNSON: John Kerry has said on the record that he had a mistaken recollection earlier. He talked about a combat situation on Christmas Eve 1968 which at one point he said occurred in Cambodia. He has since corrected the recorded to say it was some place on a river near Cambodia and he is certain that at some point subsequent to that he was in Cambodia. My understanding is that he is not certain about that date.

    KILMEADE: I think the term was he had a searing memory of spending Christmas – back in 1986 in the senate floor in Cambodia.

    JOHNSON: I believe he has corrected the record to say it was some place near Cambodia he is not certain whether it was in Cambodia but he is certain there was some point subsequent to that that he was in Cambodia.”

  69. Mono wrote: “Good points all. I did not vote for Bush in 2000. I in fact have not voted since ’92, because as a libertarian they all made me sick.”

    For the record, I voted for Bush in 2000 (I was a Libertarian at the time, and still am). I voted Libertarian in ’92 and in ’96 (I was a Republican back then).

    For Joe:

    Kerry tried, but failed, to obtain at Vietnam deferment.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/03/07/wkerr07.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/03/07/ixnewstop.html

  70. Kerry “Corrects Record,” “Seared” Memory of Christmas in Cambodia Now “Mistaken Recollection”
    Wednesday, August 11, 2004 | Kristinn

    Posted on 08/11/2004 6:41:38 AM PDT by kristinn

    In an interview this morning on Fox and Friends, Kerry spokeman Jeh Johnson backed off of Democrat presidential nominee Senator John Kerry’s repeated statements that he had spent Christmas 1968 on a secret mission in Cambodia.

    Fox’s Brian Kilmead asked Mr. Johnson whether Sen. Kerry would release the action report from January 20, 1969 regarding purported action in Cambodia.

    Mr. Johnson said, “I believe you’re referring to an incident that happened near Cambodia. Okay, well John Kerry has said on the record that he had a mistaken recollection earlier. He talked about a combat situation on Christmas Eve, 1968, which at one point he said occurred in Cambodia. He has since corrected the record to say it was someplace on a river near Cambodia and he is certain that at some point subsequent to that he was in Cambodia. My recollection, my understanding is he was not certain about that date.

    Mr. Kilmead brought up Sen. Kerry’s 1986 floor speech in the Senate where he talked about spending Christmas in Cambodia as being “seared—seared” in his memory.

    Mr. Johnson replied, “I believe he’s corrected the record to say it was someplace near Cambodia, but he is not certain whether it was actually in Cambodia but he is certain that there was some point subsequent to that that he was in Cambodia.”

    Mr. Johnson also repeated Sen. Kerry’s canard that he left Yale in 1966 and turned down all options to further his education by choosing to serve his country. As was (barely) reported in March of this year, Sen. Kerry asked for and was denied a one year deferment to study in Paris.

  71. Mona,

    “Les, Bush repeated what was nearly universally held to be true. You fault him for relying on intelligence that was at the time widely accepted? That constitutes a “lie”?”

    Bush was NOT repeating what was universally held to be true. By saying “the 1990’s” instead of “1990” he was trying to make people believe that Iraq had a nuclear weapons program more recently than they did. The IAEA found that Iraq?s nuclear capacity had been completely dismantled by 1998 and the current IAEA inspector reported to the UN Security Council in January 2003 ?we have found no evidence that Iraq has revived its nuclear weapons program since the elimination of the program in the 1990?s.?

    In September 2002, Bush claimed an International Atomic Energy Agency report stated that Iraq was ?six months away from developing a [nuclear] weapon.?

    No such report exists. A 1998 report concluded that there ?are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance.”

    So if that’s not a lie, what is it?

    Bush said, ?Iraq had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent . . . [and] has given no evidence that [it] has destroyed them.?

    That was false according to U.N. weapons inspectors AND the Defense Intelligence Agency which in September 2002 reported that there was ?no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons. . . . A substantial amount of Iraq?s chemical warfare agents, precursors, munitions and production equipment were destroyed between 1991 and 1998 as a result of Operation Desert Storm and UN actions.?

    So, if that wasn’t a lie, if contradicting what your own intelligence is telling you isn’t a lie, what is it?

    “And yes, the U.S.committed some war crimes in Viet Nam. This happens in all wars, on all sides.” “Do you think the entire chain of command in Viet Nam was ordering or sanctioning war crimes?”

    Of course not, but a lot of them did their best to cover up the ones that were discovered. And “all sides” in “all wars” don’t develop and implement civilian assassination programs as the U.S. had in Viet Nam.

  72. http://www.foxnews.com/video2/windows/0,3783,11333:300,00.wvx

    I believe that this is the video of the above Fox interview.

  73. zorel,

    “is that the best you can do?”

    Do you honestly expect me to ring up Kerry then? You’re the one who demanded that I talk to Kerry after all, not I; that I treat it as a silly gesture should not be surprising.

    Mona,

    Very well, Edwards asked us to ask those who served w/ Kerry what they think of him. Apparently, by whopping margins, not much.

    All of which is of course entirely beside the point.

    A lopsided majority of swiftees from that time and place, and all of his direct, surving chain of command, repudiate him. Not all of the are political, much less GOP. They simply cannot stand John Kerry because of WHAT HE SAID about them that were lies.

    I think this only illustrates what I said was the real motivation for the SBVT’s action; and they weren’t lies – even the guy who got the ball rolling admits that atrocities were commited in SE Asia (see the originally linked article). Hell, The Blade just won a Pulitzer for its expose of wartime atrocities committed by American soldiers.

    The Kerry Campaign is CONCEDING Kerry did not spend Xmas ’68 in Cambodia.

    URL?

    That one of his fellow crew say he might not have known if he crossed into Cambodia, is not the same as finding even one member of that crew saying that they did, or that they were ordered there (illegally).

    Actually its repudiation of enough from my perspective; indeed, the fellow states quite clearly that the individual who said that they were never in Cambodia didn’t have the expertise nor the access to charts to make such a claim.

    Gary, you really think that John Kerry alone was informed the entire patrol was ordered into Cambodia…

    Its certainly a possibility; such mission-sensitive material could have been thought only something which the boat’s skipper should have. Keeping folks in the dark is a pretty common military procedure after all.

    (As do your crude and uncivil language, a behavior about which previously you have been quite the Miss Manners when remostrating with other such offenders.)

    No I haven’t been; I’ve never complained about someone using terms like fuck, cunt, screw you, etc. Indeed, anyone who knows me well will tell you that I often curse like a sailor; its part of my plebian background.

    Kerry Co. now admits he was not in Cambodia that Xmas!

    Link?

  74. Now Kerry’s claim is that he is sure he was in Cambodia at some point, he just can’t remember when. This, of course, is unfalsifiable because no matter what evidence you come up with that any specific mission didn’t go into Cambodia, he can always say “it was some other one”.

    So we have to examine the very notion that a Swift would be sent on clandestine missions into Cambodia in the first place. Swift boats were NOT used in that role. They are large, ocean-going vessels about the size of a tugboat (51 feet long!). They have 1000 HP, with twin propellers and are wholly unsuitable for sneaking through small tributaries and marshy areas.

    Any “CIA injection” secret ops would have been done by PBR, which is a smaller, 21 foot, jet-propelled boat that is quieter and capably of travelling through marshy areas.

    The Swifts patrolled the large Mekong waterways and large tributaries. They weren’t stealthy in any way, shape, or form. And if you look at a map of the Mekong near the Cambodian border, it looks like there are only two ways into Cambodia big enough for a Swift, both of which were heavily guarded.

    No one would be mistaken about whether they were in Cambodia or not. And in a four-month tour, no one forgets just when they might have been there, and especially they don’t ‘forget’ that they weren’t there on Christmas eve. Kerry only spent one Christmas in Vietnam – I imagine that if he were in Cambodia that day it really would be “seared – seared!” into his memory. He wasn’t. He lied.

    And it’s not a trivial lie. It’s not just a tall fish story. It was a specific claim he made to attack the U.S. government. He repeated it in support of legislation on the floor of Congress. He carries around a Boonie Hat that he says was given to him by a CIA agent whom they inserted into Cambodia. It’s all lies. Very elaborate, very disturbing lies. Kerry is running on his Vietnam record, and now it turns out that a big part of that record is a complete fabrication.

    This should be a big deal. It goes right to the heart of the man’s psyche and trustworthiness. I’ve known people who continually tell stories that everyone knows are a load of crap. They have a character flaw that makes you very leery of them.

  75. Gary, I posted a link above that will quite comprehensively answer all of you questions about Kerry’s Xmas in Cambodia nonsense. It is fulsome itself, and links to other sites that more than answer your inquiries.

    And you do have a record here of admonishing people for incivility — I’ve rolled my eyes reading these posts of yours in light of your own form. You said in another current thread that Hanah makes you want to vomit — you have several times taken others to task for such low “argument.” Physician, heal thyself.

    As for this: “I think this only illustrates what I said was the real motivation for the SBVT’s action; and they weren’t lies – even the guy who got the ball rolling admits that atrocities were commited in SE Asia (see the originally linked article). Hell, The Blade just won a Pulitzer for its expose of wartime atrocities committed by American soldiers.”

    Yes, they were lies. Kerry was not ordered into Cambodia Xmas ’68 by “war criminals,” and the SBVTs know that — hence, the overwhelming number of them who are outraged by his claims. Nor were the vast majority of them complicit in other war crimes, contrary to what Kerry said. He lied about Xmas in Cambodia, and lied about the pervasivness of other war crimes.

    One of the SBVT vets was very seriously wounded and is disabled. Because of Kerry’s obscene rhetoric — which he now says was wrong, and he back-peddles from having used the word “atrocities” — this vet came back to have his friends and family ask him if he was, like most vets, a war criminal. I’ll find the link if you like. This disabled vet was breaking into tears when he spoke at the D.C. SBVT May press conference and his story is covered in O’Neill’s book, which is no. 1 at Amazon before release this weekend.

    Read the link I already gave. Kerry concedes he was not in Cambodia Xmas Eve or Day of ’68. So if he was ordered there, did he fail to follow such orders? Phhhht.

    Doncha rather think Kerry is now really regreting making Nam the centerpiece of his campaign?

  76. Mona,

    Bush also demanded that we take his state as a “born again” Christian seriously (indeed, that’s one way he courted the opinion of various religious nutbars), then he lied about the existance of a criminal record (his DUI). Quite honestly I don’t see a sliver of difference between these two weasels, but I’m also willing to be skeptical of these claims by the SBVT element (in part because they have a very real animosity towards Kerry based largely on Kerry’s post-Viet Nam activities and not on his actions in the service itself).

  77. Mona,

    If you can’t give me a link which directly qoutes Kerry or someone on his team stating what you claim then I really can’t take you seriously.

    And again, all the post-service fulminations are beside the point, though they are at the same the real heart of this story, and are why these SBVT are so willing to fabricate non-sensical stories about Kerry’s actual service.

  78. Les, if your facts and interpretation are true, then Bush lied, and the media should explore that. The Kerry campaign would be justified in exploiting it.

    Just as the media should explore Kerry’s lies and his critics are justified in exploiting them. O’Neill’s book is #1 at Amazon BEFORE its release this weekend. If it makes bestseller lists, the media will be forced to interview him, to give the SBVTs a platform.

    BTW, when O’Neill was recruited by Nixon to counter Kerry’s claims back in ’71, the Nixon tapes show he said he came from a family of Democrats and had vote for Humphrey in the prior election.

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