Re-reporting for Duty, Sir!

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The Kerry campaign is starting to answer some of the charges emanating from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and Unfit for Command.

Reports The Washington Post,

In newspaper interviews and a best-selling book, Larry Thurlow, who commanded a Navy Swift boat alongside Kerry in Vietnam, has strongly disputed Kerry's claim that the Massachusetts Democrat's boat came under fire during a mission in Viet Cong-controlled territory on March 13, 1969. Kerry won a Bronze Star for his actions that day.

But Thurlow's military records, portions of which were released yesterday to The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act, contain several references to "enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire" directed at "all units" of the five-boat flotilla. Thurlow won his own Bronze Star that day, and the citation praises him for providing assistance to a damaged Swift boat "despite enemy bullets flying about him."

Whole thing here.

Various yak shows last night were asking whether this flap helps or hurts Kerry. The consensus was that it won't hurt the guy as long as it remains the province of the cable news world, where viewers already know who they're voting for. It remains to be seen if the controversy remains quarantined to the fever swamps of The O'Really Factors of basic cable. But it seems to me that simply having the discussion is, on balance, clearly a liability for Kerry (who hasn't helped things by changing his Cambodian story). Coming out of the convention, his main public persona was that of world-weary war hero; anything that makes him defend that conception is time taken away from articulating programs that would help him get elected (and takes time away from throwing the spotlight on Bush).

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  1. joe, “Evil Joe, it’s either that, or he signed off on a report that Kerry wrote (that Thurlow was supposed to write), and let untruths stand.”

    FYI: Uneven military service records have proved toxic to John Kerry’s campaign for president, prompting him to post his full military record on his Web site (www.johnkerry.com) for critics to peruse.
    But one sharp-eyed Washington Times reader ? a former B-52 pilot and U.S. Air Force colonel ? isn’t buying Mr. Kerry’s pre-emptive strike.
    I looked at that Web site and the first thing I looked at was Kerry’s Silver Star citation. Guess what? It is for an action that took place in 1969, but it is signed by Secretary of the Navy John Lehman. Strangely, Lehman was secretary of the Navy from 1981 to 1987,” he noted.
    How could Kerry have received a citation from an official that would not be in office for 12 years? This was NOT just a case of providing a new copy of a citation for the office to replace one that was lost (destroyed/thrown over a wall). This effort by Lehman & Kerry actually changed Kerry’s official Navy record, sometime in the 80s,” he continued.
    What other portions of his record did Kerry have Lehman sanitize or spiffy up? Evidently, Kerry did not think his original Silver Star made him look ‘heroic’ enough, so he provided ‘suggested’ words for a new certificate. This certainly calls Kerry’s entire Navy record into question.”

  2. joe, “Evil Joe, it’s either that, or he signed off on a report that Kerry wrote (that Thurlow was supposed to write), and let untruths stand.”
    FYI:
    Uneven military service records have proved toxic to John Kerry’s campaign for president, prompting him to post his full military record on his Web site (www.johnkerry.com) for critics to peruse.
    But one sharp-eyed Washington Times reader ? a former B-52 pilot and U.S. Air Force colonel ? isn’t buying Mr. Kerry’s pre-emptive strike.
    I looked at that Web site and the first thing I looked at was Kerry’s Silver Star citation. Guess what? It is for an action that took place in 1969, but it is signed by Secretary of the Navy John Lehman. Strangely, Lehman was secretary of the Navy from 1981 to 1987,” he noted.
    How could Kerry have received a citation from an official that would not be in office for 12 years? This was NOT just a case of providing a new copy of a citation for the office to replace one that was lost (destroyed/thrown over a wall). This effort by Lehman & Kerry actually changed Kerry’s official Navy record, sometime in the 80s,” he continued.
    What other portions of his record did Kerry have Lehman sanitize or spiffy up? Evidently, Kerry did not think his original Silver Star made him look ‘heroic’ enough, so he provided ‘suggested’ words for a new certificate. This certainly calls Kerry’s entire Navy record into question.”

  3. George W. Bush entered the Texas Air National Guard so he could play fighter pilot games with Prince Bandar. Then when they stopped flying together they super rich off eachother.

    Come on. Michael Moore’s research needs a lot of work.

  4. rl:

    That is toxic if true. Is there a link?

  5. rl:

    That is toxic if true. Is there a link?

  6. rl:

    That is toxic if true. Is there a link?

  7. I am not posting 3 times!!!!!!
    WTF is going on?

  8. Even if every accusation against Kerry’s military record is true, he still looks like fucking Rambo next to GWB

  9. It’s highly disingenuous to say that the controversy boils down to the opinions of ‘a couple of guys’.

    But I can see how you can get that opinion if you read nothing but the Washington Post and the New York Times.

    For example, Kerry’s entire freaking chain of command has denied that he was ever sent into Cambodia. When Kerry provided a date for one of those ‘missions’ so it could be checked, the story turned out to be invented. So now he’s saying he went in, but shucks he can’t remember when it was. But then three of his own crewmembers came out and said they can’t remember ever being in Cambodia. But the New York Times didn’t report that, did they?

    The documentary evidence for Kerry’s Silver Star shenanigans are out in the open in publically available documents. The citation says he turned his boat into ‘withering enemy fire’ and singlehandely routed ‘a numerically superior force’. That is indeed the stuff of Silver Stars.

    Unfortunately, NO ONE supports that story. Not Kerry’s crewmates, not even Kerry’s own journals. What actually happened is that a rocket was fired at them. They looked in that direction, and saw a young man in a loincloth jump up holding a rocket launcher. He turned to run away, and one of the gunners on Kerry’s boat shot him in the legs. The guy was mortally wounded and managed to crawl behind a hooch. Kerry jumped off the boat with two other men, ran after the guy, shot him in the back and killed him. There was no withering enemy fire, there was no numerically superior force.

    Kerry’s first purple heart came on a mission in which one of the people on the boat says there was no enemy fire. Kerry said there was. But his own journal has an entry several days after this mission saying, “The men are cocky now, because since we got to Vietnam we have yet to see any enemy fire”. Or words to that effect.

    For that matter, even putting aside all the facts and counter-claims, isn’t just the fact that so many of Kerry’s ‘Brothers in Arms’ are willing to go to these lengths to prevent him from becoming president a sign? What if Bush’s entire squadron and ALL of his superior officers from the Guard held a press conference saying that he was a person of bad character and not fit to be CinC? Even without any further allegations, wouldn’t that be news? And wouldn’t it give you second thoughts about the man?

  10. Joe, the Kerry web site has his records. http://www.johnkerry.com

  11. What if Bush’s entire squadron and ALL of his superior officers from the Guard held a press conference saying that he was a person of bad character and not fit to be CinC? Even without any further allegations, wouldn’t that be news?

    News? It would be a fucking miracle to actually a) locate Bush’s entire squadron and b) have them remember anything at all about him, since such fellow Guard members with good memories have been far and few between thus far.

  12. If Kerry’s Cambodia mission was secret, why has he been talking about it?

  13. Phil: In respect to the former guard members that served with Bush, Kerry had a much brighter spotlight on him by his own intentions. Had Bush been waving around the “I’m the CIA Director’s Son” flag then I suppose he would have received much more attention to provide fellow guardsmen with better recollections.

  14. Here is a retort to Kerry’s new Cambodia story:

    I understand that the campaign of candidate John Kerry is now asserting that not only did Navy Lt. Kerry visit Cambodia in his swift boat in 1968-69, but he performed four missions to drop off agents inside Cambodia. Perhaps, but I don’t think so.
    In my Aug. 13 column in this paper, I described my job in the American embassy 1968-1970 as the “Cambodia man.” My job was to follow events in Cambodia as they impacted the United States in Vietnam. This related in most part to border incidents. However, I did chair, on behalf of the American ambassador, a group known as the “Cambodia Committee,” composed of Army, Navy intelligence, CIA and Special Forces representatives. The function of this committee was to supervise authorized cross-border operations ? principally insertion of U.S. and Vietnamese Special Forces into the northeastern part of Cambodia and the panhandle of Laos to monitor the Ho Chi Minh Trail. This mountainous and jungled area had no civilian population, with the exception of some hill tribe villages. These teams performed very dangerous tasks, and the reaction of the Communists was invariably violent. Most extractions were done under fire.
    Main force American units also performed reconnaissance of Communist border concentrations in their areas of operations with Long Range Patrols, known colloquially as “LRPs.” Those that probed Cambodian base areas also received violent reactions. The Communist base areas after 1965 were extensive, well camouflaged and frequently underground. When U.S. and Vietnamese forces entered those areas during the incursions of May and June 1970, they encountered fierce resistance when destroying massive amounts of food and material. Military intelligence kept tabs on the more than one dozen base areas in Cambodia principally by signal intercepts, aircraft using side-looking radar, prisoner interrogation and some agent reports. At one Special Forces camp that I visited in the Mekong Delta swamps on the south side of the “Parrot’s Beak” of Cambodia, the Green Berets had a ground radar system for monitoring infiltration that could discern humans from cattle as well as direction of movement.
    I assisted in the delivery of five separate intelligence dossiers in 1968 on the Cambodian base areas through the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh to the Cambodian government. We know the dossiers had a significant impact on the Cambodians, and we began a low level of cooperation as a result of the information.
    The Navy kept track of Communist shipping to Cambodia, and the U.S. mission in Vietnam was persuaded that most of the munitions to the Communist forces in the southern half of South Vietnam were delivered through the Port of Sihanoukville.
    Line crossers were not generally used in the populated portions of Cambodia that stretched along the borders of Vietnam’s III and IV Corps to the Gulf of Siam because of the concern for the impact on civilians that could enrage Prince Sihanouk, the fiery head of state of Cambodia. Intelligence operatives had great trouble penetrating base areas. Even Cambodian provincial officials were prevented from traveling in their jurisdictions where there were base areas.
    This was, by the way, one key reason for the overthrow of Prince Sihanouk in March 1970. His seeming acceptance of Vietnamese Communist usurpation of Cambodian land alienated many of his subjects, including the peasants on the border who were shot at by both sides. The Cambodian farmers detested the land grabbing of the Vietnamese. The relative openness of the terrain also militated against armed groups of Americans scouring the countryside.
    I believe, based on the foregoing, that I would have been aware of Navy operations inserting agents into the southern parts of Cambodia.
    Andrew Antippas is a combat infantry veteran of the Korean War and served eight of his 32 years in the U.S. Foreign Service working on Cambodia.

  15. Here is a retort to Kerry’s new Cambodia story:

    I understand that the campaign of candidate John Kerry is now asserting that not only did Navy Lt. Kerry visit Cambodia in his swift boat in 1968-69, but he performed four missions to drop off agents inside Cambodia. Perhaps, but I don’t think so.
    In my Aug. 13 column in this paper, I described my job in the American embassy 1968-1970 as the “Cambodia man.” My job was to follow events in Cambodia as they impacted the United States in Vietnam. This related in most part to border incidents. However, I did chair, on behalf of the American ambassador, a group known as the “Cambodia Committee,” composed of Army, Navy intelligence, CIA and Special Forces representatives. The function of this committee was to supervise authorized cross-border operations ? principally insertion of U.S. and Vietnamese Special Forces into the northeastern part of Cambodia and the panhandle of Laos to monitor the Ho Chi Minh Trail. This mountainous and jungled area had no civilian population, with the exception of some hill tribe villages. These teams performed very dangerous tasks, and the reaction of the Communists was invariably violent. Most extractions were done under fire.
    Main force American units also performed reconnaissance of Communist border concentrations in their areas of operations with Long Range Patrols, known colloquially as “LRPs.” Those that probed Cambodian base areas also received violent reactions. The Communist base areas after 1965 were extensive, well camouflaged and frequently underground. When U.S. and Vietnamese forces entered those areas during the incursions of May and June 1970, they encountered fierce resistance when destroying massive amounts of food and material. Military intelligence kept tabs on the more than one dozen base areas in Cambodia principally by signal intercepts, aircraft using side-looking radar, prisoner interrogation and some agent reports. At one Special Forces camp that I visited in the Mekong Delta swamps on the south side of the “Parrot’s Beak” of Cambodia, the Green Berets had a ground radar system for monitoring infiltration that could discern humans from cattle as well as direction of movement.
    I assisted in the delivery of five separate intelligence dossiers in 1968 on the Cambodian base areas through the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh to the Cambodian government. We know the dossiers had a significant impact on the Cambodians, and we began a low level of cooperation as a result of the information.
    The Navy kept track of Communist shipping to Cambodia, and the U.S. mission in Vietnam was persuaded that most of the munitions to the Communist forces in the southern half of South Vietnam were delivered through the Port of Sihanoukville.
    Line crossers were not generally used in the populated portions of Cambodia that stretched along the borders of Vietnam’s III and IV Corps to the Gulf of Siam because of the concern for the impact on civilians that could enrage Prince Sihanouk, the fiery head of state of Cambodia. Intelligence operatives had great trouble penetrating base areas. Even Cambodian provincial officials were prevented from traveling in their jurisdictions where there were base areas.
    This was, by the way, one key reason for the overthrow of Prince Sihanouk in March 1970. His seeming acceptance of Vietnamese Communist usurpation of Cambodian land alienated many of his subjects, including the peasants on the border who were shot at by both sides. The Cambodian farmers detested the land grabbing of the Vietnamese. The relative openness of the terrain also militated against armed groups of Americans scouring the countryside.
    I believe, based on the foregoing, that I would have been aware of Navy operations inserting agents into the southern parts of Cambodia.
    Andrew Antippas is a combat infantry veteran of the Korean War and served eight of his 32 years in the U.S. Foreign Service working on Cambodia.

  16. I checked those links, I see nothing that even resembles evidence that Bush was AWOL. Actually, I don’t even see anything that is cause for suspicion. A few missing documents? Hell I lose documents all the time, that doesn’t mean what they were documenting doesn’t exist. This is clearly an instance of guys wearing tin-foil hats making up conspiracy theories for things that can be easily explained in much simpler terms. No, Moore may not be the only one making up this charge, but I haven’t heard from anyone more convincing. At least those accusing Kerry of lying actually could have been witnesses to what happened.

    This had better not get posted three times.

  17. the only striking thing to me in this entire putrid sideshow is how both sides imply that whither he dither or don’t makes the slightest fucking difference.

    alow me to resolve it all for you all: john kerry is an abhorrent, sorry liar of a man and will be nothing less than a reviling imperial dictator cloaked in propaganda and euphamism if elected in november.

    and the preceding statement comes with only one qualifier: george w. bush is an abhorrent, sorry liar of a man and will be nothing less than a reviling imperial dictator cloaked in propaganda and euphamism if elected in november.

    there. that settles the “trustworthiness” issue.

    now can someone please begin to talk about something relevant — such as whether or not we will extend our alexandrian adventure in the middle east; or whether or not we plan to destroy the dollar to inflate away the culpability for our debtors’ paradise and foist it on treasury-bond holders?

  18. gaius,

    Well said, but please have someone show you how to use the SHIFT key. 🙂

  19. lol — ib, i repeat myself: the refusal to capitalize is my contribution to the death of the written language in the post-literary age — in keeping with joyce, as has been noted.

    but it cud b wrse. i cud txt msg.

    or i could do this:

    http://www.veeshanvault.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3489

  20. Julian Sanchez,

    ‘there’s no way “a couple of hundred” people have the relevant information.’

    The Swiftvets make two separate separate sets of claims about Kerry.

    (1) Kerry lied before congress and in other forums about war crimes that the Swiftes and other Vietnam service people committed. All 250 Swiftvets can testify to the legitimacy of this assertion as they were all in Vietnam at the time.

    (2) Kerry lied or exaggerated about the specific events for which he got his five medals. At least one Swiftvet was in visual range of Kerry when each incident occurred.

    Given that the Swiftvets were unambiguously correct about Kerry’s Christmas-in-Cambodia story why shouldn’t some credence be given them?

    Refusing to examine the Swiftvets and their claims in detail because you don’t like the consequences if their claims are true, is irresponsible and some kind of political version of religious faith.

  21. Shannon Love,

    Julian is rightfully suspicious of such a claim. And they were not unambigiously correct about the Christmas in Cambodia issue; indeed, the matter remains ambigious. Finally, you mischaracterize (as is your habit) Julian’s statement; he is not (from my perspective at least) refusing to look at their claims.

  22. Perhaps this is a bit late, but umm, Thoreau, it’s pretty difficult in this country to run for President under 40 since you have to be 35 to be eligible in the first place and it generally takes that long to establish credentials that will keep you from being laughed out of living rooma all over Iowa…

  23. Perhaps this is a bit late, but umm, Thoreau, it’s pretty difficult in this country to run for President under 40 since you have to be 35 to be eligible in the first place and it generally takes that long to establish credentials that will keep you from being laughed out of living rooma all over Iowa…

  24. caltechgirl-

    Well, if all of us under the age of 40 actually voted we could probably elect a President who realizes several things:

    1) The war in Vietnam ended a long time ago.
    2) The culture war was decided a long time ago, even if some people still feel like fighting.
    3) Technology has done more to save the world than any amount of hand-wringing, protesting, regulating, governing, or whatever else the Boomers have been up to.
    4) Free pills for old folks aren’t actually free, since we’ll be the ones paying up the whazoo for it.

  25. thoreau,

    As much I am loathe to do so, I have to take issue with the philosophical implications of one of your statements:

    3) Technology has done more to save the world than any amount of hand-wringing, protesting, regulating, governing, or whatever else the Boomers have been up to.

    Your statement seems to disassociate technology from human action, when in fact, technology is the direct result of human action, much of that human action being the hand-wringing, protesting, etc. that you appear to despise. Technology (or at least the technology that humans make) wouldn’t exist without the effort of humans – it doesn’t spring from out of a box somewhere, in springs from human actions and decision-making.

  26. Regardless of what actually happened Kerry did see some combat in VN. Bush was awol from the National Gaurd. Who cares, they both suck. Vote Libertarian!

  27. Gary Gunnels,

    Kerry was not in Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1968. His campaign has admitted as much. He may have gone over the border later in Jan-Mar 1969 (although none of his band of brothers remembers any such missions).

    If I misread Juilian then I owe him an apology but I thought ‘there’s no way “a couple of hundred” people have the relevant information.’ was a pretty straight forward statement. I read that as stating that he believed that all the 250 Swiftvets claimed to have first hand knowledge of Kerry’s medal actions. Obviously, that many people could not so he therefor believed they were dishonest.

    However, even the most cursory research would have revealed that all the Swiftvets never claimed that all 250 members had first hand knowledge of Kerry’s medal actions. Therefor, I conclude that Julian didn’t even try to research the matter.

    If I read him wrong then I apologize.

  28. When are you going to post on Badnarik polling higher than the difference between Bush and Kerry in Nevada?

  29. “And they were not unambigiously correct about the Christmas in Cambodia issue;”

    Yess, they were: Kerry has admitted it, the Kerry campaign has admitted it…

    Unless you think they are lying NOW instead of then.

    The SwiftVets ARE “unambigiously correct about the Christmas in Cambodia issue”.

    End of story. Get used to it. And, from your comments, I, too, would think you are not even looking at their claims (and the evidence they have to go with it.

    Oh, and one more important thing:

    Krry HAS NOT released his records. He has released SELECTE records. BUSH released ALL his records (Form 180, which Kerry hasn’t signed.)

  30. Gary-

    Right. I should have said that technological innovation has done more than protesting and regulating.

    joe-

    Badnarik polling more than the difference in NV? Awesome! Do you have a link?

    I wonder what it would take to establish legal residence in NV in time to vote this November… 🙂

    I also understand that NH is a swing state. (Correct me if I’m wrong) If a bunch of libertarians do end up moving to NH (not that I’m holding my breath for the project to succeed, but stranger things have happened), that could be, well, interesting.

    Then again, 20,000 libertarians all living in one small state could be, um, interesting, no matter how narrow or wide the margin is. Not necessarily good, but, um, interesting…

  31. Gary-

    Right. I should have said that technological innovation has done more than protesting and regulating.

    joe-

    Badnarik polling more than the difference in NV? Awesome! Do you have a link?

    I wonder what it would take to establish legal residence in NV in time to vote this November… 🙂

    I also understand that NH is a swing state. (Correct me if I’m wrong) If a bunch of libertarians do end up moving to NH (not that I’m holding my breath for the project to succeed, but stranger things have happened), that could be, well, interesting.

    Then again, 20,000 libertarians all living in one small state could be, um, interesting, no matter how narrow or wide the margin is. Not necessarily good, but, um, interesting…

  32. Apologies for the double post. I got an error message on my first post, so I tried a second time.

  33. Shannon Love,

    Kerry was not in Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1968. His campaign has admitted as much. He may have gone over the border later in Jan-Mar 1969 (although none of his band of brothers remembers any such missions).

    Can you please provide me with a link to said admission? I’ve asked for it before from you and others, yet no one has ever seen produced it.

    If I misread Juilian then I owe him an apology but I thought ‘there’s no way “a couple of hundred” people have the relevant information.’ was a pretty straight forward statement. I read that as stating that he believed that all the 250 Swiftvets claimed to have first hand knowledge of Kerry’s medal actions. Obviously, that many people could not so he therefor believed they were dishonest.

    In relationship to the remark that Julian Sanchez was responding to he was spot on in making his comment – see R.C. Dean’s statement above.

    thoreau,

    I don’t think you’re the only one double-posting here. 🙂

  34. Given the media blackout, I don’t think you will see this anywhere:

    “Statement By Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Member Larry Thurlow

    I am convinced that the language used in my citation for a Bronze Star was language taken directly from John Kerry’s report which falsely described the action on the Bay Hap River as action that saw small arms fire and automatic weapons fire from both banks of the river.

    To this day, I can say without a doubt in my mind, along with other accounts from my shipmates — there was no hostile enemy fire directed at my boat or at any of the five boats operating on the river that day.

    I submitted no paperwork for a medal nor did I file an after action report describing the incident. To my knowledge, John Kerry was the only officer who filed a report describing his version of the incidents that occurred on the river that day.

    It was not until I had left the Navy — approximately three months after I left the service — that I was notified that I was to receive a citation for my actions on that day.”

    full statement

    It seems that Thurlow never made any report at the time of the event. So he is not contradicting himself now.

    But I am dubious about the claim that Kerry’s boat “fled the scene” I think that’s probable negative spin applied to a practical response to an explosion that grazed his boat. Accelerating out of the attack zone would seem a reasonable response and Kerry must of turned his craft around within minutes and returned.

  35. R C Dean asks:
    What lies, Josh?

    • There was no enemy fire during the incident in which Kerry earned his Bronze Star.
    • Kerry didn’t deserve one or more of his Purple Hearts.
    • The guy Kerry killed when he earned his Silver Star wasn’t a threat to Kerry’s boat.

    There’s more, if you care to look. O’Neill has also lied about his donations to the GOP, for example.

    Call me snake asks:
    Imagine for a moment Bush had said he “flew an F-104 into Cuban airspace in 1971 and it was seared in his memory” during the TX ’94 gubernatorial race.

    Imagine also that he actually flew an F-104 into Cuban airspace in early 1972 instead of late 1971. (This is purely hypothetical, of course, as Bush had no intention of risking his life for his country.)

    Why do we have to imagine that, anyway? Bush has lied about his service: he has claimed to have served in the US Air Force and to have kept flying jets for several years after completing his basic training. There has been little or no outrage over those comments – probably because they’re only slightly more insignificant than the allegations about Kerry’s trip(s) to Cambodia.

    Joe (the evil conservative one) writes:
    I have not seen any evidence that thurlow wrote the after action report.

    I haven’t seen evidence that Kerry wrote it, either, but that doesn’t stop Thurlow from claiming that Kerry must be responsible for the parts in it that contradict Thurlow’s lies. If Thurlow didn’t write it, he should have. On the off-chance that he’s telling the truth now, other eyewitness accounts to the contrary, he also should have said something when he was given his Bronze Star.

    R C Dean writes:
    I think you meant to say “a couple of hundred.” Kinda makes a difference, doesn’t it?

    Actually, only a couple of them have claimed that he lied about his military service. Most seem to be mad about Kerry’s anti-Vietnam War activism. Watch their ad, for example. The charges are kept purposefully vague, so that people will think the vets are talking about Kerry’s Vietnam service when they in reality refer to what Kerry did after coming back to the US.

    What makes a difference in how one should look at this story is that the people who served with Kerry on the same boat, bar one, are on his side. If he had behaved disgracefully, why are the people who were closest to him sticking up for him?

    rick laredo quotes a random Moonie Times reader:
    I looked at that Web site and the first thing I looked at was Kerry’s Silver Star citation. Guess what? It is for an action that took place in 1969, but it is signed by Secretary of the Navy John Lehman. Strangely, Lehman was secretary of the Navy from 1981 to 1987,” he noted.

    The documents – there are two – can be viewed here.

    First of all, the two documents have the same wording. The first is signed by Admiral John J Hyland, Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet from 1967-1970. Is the sharpeyed reader of the venerable Moonie Times alledging that the Kerry campaign forged Admiral Hyland’s signature – in addition to somehow convincing Reagan’s Secretary of the Navy to tart up his citation(s)?

    The second document has been signed by John [unintelligible], Secretary of the Navy. The last name isn’t clear, but it could easily be ‘Lehman’; The Secretary of the Navy at the time was John H Chafee. What I don’t understand how the Moonie Times guy is so certain that the second document couldn’t have been a case of providing a new copy of the old citation.

    Dan writes:
    For example, Kerry’s entire freaking chain of command has denied that he was ever sent into Cambodia.

    Untrue. To give just one example, Elmo Zumwalt, a member of Kerry’s chain of command, has been dead for years and never commented on the matter when he was alive. (This is yet another common lie from the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush: they say Kerry’s entire chain of command agrees with them, which is patently untrue.)

    But then three of his own crewmembers came out and said they can’t remember ever being in Cambodia.

    Another example of misleading claims. The same people didn’t serve with Kerry throughout his stay in Vietnam. After all, we know at least eleven people served regularly on his boats (ten of whom are on Kerry’s side).

    The quotes I’ve seen were talking about the Christmas Eve mission, and even then they stated that they were close to the border and they couldn’t really tell with authority on which side of the border they were at all times.

    The documentary evidence for Kerry’s Silver Star shenanigans are out in the open in publically available documents.

    Unfortunately for Bushies, the publically available Navy documents support Kerry’s side of the story.

    The citation says he turned his boat into ‘withering enemy fire’ and singlehandely routed ‘a numerically superior force’.

    Wrong. Kerry was in charge of “a three-boat unit”. According to the citation, all boats opened fire on the enemy, so he hardly acted singlehandedly.

    That is indeed the stuff of Silver Stars.

    Indeed, and it’s only one of two incidents described in the citation.

    What actually happened is that a rocket was fired at them. They looked in that direction, and saw a young man in a loincloth jump up holding a rocket launcher.

    Now you’re talking about the second incident. You’re doing a poor job of describing it, too. Allow me to quote from the citation:

    After proceeding approximately eight hundred yards, the boats were again taken underfire from a heavily foliated area and a B-40 rocket exploded close aboard PCF 94 [Kerry’s boat]. With utter disregard for his own safety and the enemy rockets, he again ordered a charge on the enemy, beached his boat only ten feet from the VC rocket position, and personally led a landing party ashore in pursuit of the enemy. Upon sweeping the area, an immediate search uncovered an enemy rest and supply area which was destroyed.

    He turned to run away, and one of the gunners on Kerry’s boat shot him in the legs. The guy was mortally wounded and managed to crawl behind a hooch. Kerry jumped off the boat with two other men, ran after the guy, shot him in the back and killed him. There was no withering enemy fire, there was no numerically superior force.

    The above is the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush’s version of the events, but as we’ve learned, those people lie. A lot.

    The gunner’s name was Tommy Belodeau. Here’s what he had to say about the incident:

    “This man was not lying on the ground,” Belodeau said of the Viet Cong soldier, who was armed with a rocket-launcher. “He was more than capable of destroying that boat and everything on it. Senator Kerry did not give him that opportunity. For that reason, myself and three other people are here today.”

    Other people who were on board that day were Short and Sandusky. Would you like to see quotes from them? Rest assured, they agree with Kerry’s account.

    But his own journal has an entry several days after this mission saying, “The men are cocky now, because since we got to Vietnam we have yet to see any enemy fire”. Or words to that effect.

    Words to that effect, indeed.

    For that matter, even putting aside all the facts and counter-claims, isn’t just the fact that so many of Kerry’s ‘Brothers in Arms’ are willing to go to these lengths to prevent him from becoming president a sign?

    It’s a sign that they think a soldier shouldn’t become a war protester or are staunch Republicans. (Is that redundant?)

    KentInDC writes:
    If Kerry’s Cambodia mission was secret, why has he been talking about it?

    He has mentioned it a handful of times during over three decades. All the mentions have come after it became general knowledge that American troops did, in fact, make excursions into Cambodia.

    rick laredo again quotes from the Mooney Times:
    I understand that the campaign of candidate John Kerry is now asserting that not only did Navy Lt. Kerry visit Cambodia in his swift boat in 1968-69, but he performed four missions to drop off agents inside Cambodia.

    The guy’s problem is right there. The Kerry campaign of course asserts no such thing.

    nick wrote:
    At least those accusing Kerry of lying actually could have been witnesses to what happened.

    The majority of the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush were not present to witness what happened. They’ve made extremely few claims based on things any of them have personally witnessed. Thurlow has made one such claim, and has now been shown wrong.

    Shannon Love writes:
    Kerry lied before congress and in other forums about war crimes that the Swiftes and other Vietnam service people committed. All 250 Swiftvets can testify to the legitimacy of this assertion as they were all in Vietnam at the time.

    Rubbish. Being in Vietnam in no way means that if you didn’t see war crimes, they didn’t happen. In fact the sort of things Kerry described, based on testimonies from his fellow veterans, in his statement to Congress did happen. At best they could argue that Kerry exaggerated the atrocities’ prevalence.

    Kerry lied or exaggerated about the specific events for which he got his five medals. At least one Swiftvet was in visual range of Kerry when each incident occurred.

    Huh? I’d really like to see a list of the incidents and the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush who claim to have been present. If that’s true, which I very much doubt, then they’re going about this thing ass backwards. The best they could do in the case of Kerry’s first Purple Heart, for example, is a doctor who claims to have heard from someone that some unnamed member of Kerry’s crew had said there hadn’t been enemy fire. If one of them was present, why would they put this poor doctor up to make claims based on (quite possibly made up, anyway) third-hand knowledge?

    Given that the Swiftvets were unambiguously correct about Kerry’s Christmas-in-Cambodia story why shouldn’t some credence be given them?

    It’s because of all the lies they’ve told. (See above for examples.)

  36. Gary Gunels,

    “Can you please provide me with a link to said admission?”

    The statement was apparently a press release. I can’t find the original but this Google news search points to numerous references to it. It was made by Michael Meehan of the Kerry campaign.

    The biggest chunk I could find:

    “”During John Kerry’s service in Vietnam, many times he was on or near the Cambodian border and on one occasion crossed into Cambodia at the request of members of a special operations group operating out of Ha Tien.

    “On December 24, 1968 Lieutenant John Kerry and his crew were on patrol in the watery borders between Vietnam and Cambodia deep in enemy territory. In the early afternoon, Kerry’s boat, PCF-44, was at Sa Dec and then headed north to the Cambodian border. There, Kerry and his crew along with two other boats were ambushed, taking fire from both sides of the river, and after the firefight were fired upon again. Later that evening during their night patrol they came under friendly fire.

    It is an acknowledged fact that Swift Boat crews regularly operated along the Cambodian border from Ha Tien on the Gulf of Thailand to the rivers of the Mekong south and west of Saigon. Boats often received fire from enemy taking sanctuary across the border. Kerry’s was not the only United States riverboat to respond and inadvertently or responsibly across the border. In fact, it was this reality that lead President Nixon to later invade Cambodia itself in 1970.”

  37. Deoxy writes:
    BUSH released ALL his records (Form 180, which Kerry hasn’t signed.)

    That’s the first I hear of Bush doing anything of the sort. A Washington Post article from February 14, 2004, doesn’t seem to agree:

    The White House, seeking to quell a revived controversy over Bush’s Guard service, released hundreds of pages of records that were previously withheld. The documents include what the White House describes as all the non-medical elements of Bush’s military personnel file, including performance evaluations, documentation of his honorable discharge, and a thick bureaucratic paper trail of applications, promotions and transfers.

    The records show Bush was an eager fighter pilot who said he wanted to spend a lifetime in aviation. But they provide no evidence that he did any military service in Alabama, to which he had requested a transfer in May 1972 to work on a Senate campaign that ended in November 1972.

    And the records show officials from Bush’s home base in Texas declining to provide details of his activities between May 1972 to April 1973, even though such documentation was requested by National Guard headquarters.

    The article makes reference to the fact that Bush’s medical records have not been released – something that’s frequently demanded of Kerry by Bush supporters who don’t understand the criteria for awarding Purple Hearts. Also, had Bush made all of his records available, releasing some of them would be nonsensical. How do you release something that wasn’t confidential in the first place?

    Shannon Love writes:
    It seems that Thurlow never made any report at the time of the event. So he is not contradicting himself now.

    It seems Thurlow is asking us to believe he never saw the citation for his own Bronze Star.

    The statement was apparently a press release. I can’t find the original but this Google news search points to numerous references to it. It was made by Michael Meehan of the Kerry campaign.

    The biggest chunk I could find: […]

    That wasn’t really an admission, was it?

  38. The larger issue here is that Kerry has made much of contrasting himself with Dan Quayle, George Bush and Dick Cheney by emphasising that he DID serve in Viet Nam in a combat zone…rather than unmistakeably avoiding service as others had done.

    This played well for him so long as the general public was largely unaware that he left long before his tour was up, and while he was fit to serve- most folks simply didn’t know this.

    A long time ago his excuse was revulsion at alleged US mis-conduct…but this is a theme he doesn’t dare pursue any longer. More recently he has relied on an impression that he was seriously wounded…but all the recent attention (if it has done nothing else) has de-bunked that notion. Kerry was able-bodied when he elected to leave.

    Until now, he mostly counted on the public not understanding this at all- he hasn’t played up his short tour!

    Kerry’s actions are probably unique for a Naval officer during the period. I wonder whether there is another example of an officer who left a combat assignment while able-bodied and fot for duty. You can “forgive” him certainly…but it creates a certain moral equivalence, and thus defeats the purpose of retailing the story at all.

  39. Fodderstompf,
    The submarines on which I served have been decommissioned for years and much information (some of it correct) about them has been available from sources such as Jane’s for decades. I still won’t tell people any more about performance, missions, etc. than I would have told them twenty years ago. I must have missed the memo saying that when something becomes “general knowledge” (However that is defined.), it is acceptable to share classified information – including details that are most definitely NOT common knowledge.

    You must have been very close to Admiral Zumwalt to know everything he said in the 31 years between Kerry’s Cambodian holiday and the admiral’s death in 2000? You must have also led a Forrest Gump-like existence to have been in just the right places at just the right times to know who is telling the truth in every disputed account. Truly amazing – as is your ability to perceive the true intentions of W over thirty years ago. Maybe you and the “Moonie Times guy” share the same superpowers.

  40. Fodderstompf,

    “That wasn’t really an admission, was it?

    Depends, it does seem to be an explicit admission that Kerry was not in Cambodia on Christmas eve and that he was not involved in any kind of covert, illegal actions.

    Compare that Kerry’s original version of the story in an article he wrote for the October 14, 1979 Boston Herald. Scan of Article

    “On more than one occasion, I like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now, took my patrol boat into Cambodia. 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 [sic] claimed there were no American troops was very real.”

    He has told variations of this story over the years. The guts of the story is that he is running covert ops into Cambodia on Christmas eve. The supposed hypocrisy of this makes him bitter and alienated.

    I think it’s pretty clear that Kerry embellished his actions, shifting the time to a more emotive date and casting it all under of black ops cloak.

    The “clarification” is a real snoozer of tale by comparison.

  41. It doesnt matter how many times they refute these lies. Once it is in the public domain, there will be people who will cling to it and defend it to the bitter end. The undecideds, who dont pay close attention to all the details of such stories, will see two sides arguing, and will have no more reason to believe one side is telling the truth than the other.

  42. Andrew writes:
    This played well for him so long as the general public was largely unaware that he left long before his tour was up, and while he was fit to serve-most folks simply didn’t know this.

    That he received three Purple Hearts and was able to transfer out of Vietnam because of them is general knowledge. That he went to Vietnam during his second tour of duty is something with which the public isn’t familiar.

    More recently he has relied on an impression that he was seriously wounded…

    No, he hasn’t. Seriously. When the issue of why he decided to leave when given the opportunity is broached, he still says he was angry at what was going on in Vietnam at the time.

    Until now, he mostly counted on the public not understanding this at all- he hasn’t played up his short tour!

    Second tour.

    KentInDC writes:
    I still won’t tell people any more about performance, missions, etc. than I would have told them twenty years ago.

    Good for you. Now, is there some particular reason why Kerry shouldn’t talk about the time he ferried a couple of guys over to Cambodia several decades ago? Does it, for example, hurt national security?

    You must have been very close to Admiral Zumwalt to know everything he said in the 31 years between Kerry’s Cambodian holiday and the admiral’s death in 2000?

    I know enough about the little critters who are desperately trying to dig up dirt on Kerry that if Zumwalt had said something that corroborates any of their various claims, it would have been trumpeted from the rooftops by know. I know it’s physically impossible for Zumwalt to support a group that was founded after his death. Most importantly, I know that it’s not required of me to prove that Zumwalt agrees with the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush; that’s their duty, if they want to claim that Kerry’s commanding officers are on their side.

    I’ve also read things Zumwalt said about Kerry. In Kerry’s Bronze Star citation, Zumwalt wrote:

    Lt. Kerry directed his gunners to provide suppressing fire, while from an exposed position on the bow, his arm bleeding and in pain, with disregard for his personal safety, he pulled the man aboard. Lt. Kerry then directed his boat to return and assist the other damaged craft and towed the boat to safety. Lt. Kerry’s calmness, professionalism and great personal courage under fire were in keeping with the highest traditions of the US Naval Service.

    I also know that Zumwalt stepped up to defend Kerry back in 1996 when the GOP first tried to use the lie about Kerry’s Silver Star against him. (Lonsdale and Elliott did the same, but I’d like to think that Zumwalt had more integrity than those two have.)

    When the Swifties claim that Kerry’s commanding officers are now campaigning for Bush, we should keep in mind that none of these people said a negative word about Kerry at the time. Hoffmann says Kerry weaseled his way into a Purple Heart, yet back in ‘Nam he rated Kerry highly in his evaluation of Kerry’s behavior. Something’s off about it. I think the explanation is simple: Kerry hadn’t yet protested against the war, so they had no reason to badmouth him.

    Truly amazing – as is your ability to perceive the true intentions of W over thirty years ago.

    Well, there’s that famous form in which Dubya checked the box marked “DO NOT VOLUNTEER FOR OVERSEAS”. Then there’s the fact that he chose the Texas Air National Guard in the first place. It was a place where one had to volunteer to go to Vietnam, and Bush did no such thing. (He claims he considered it, natch.)

    Shannon Love writes:
    Depends, it does seem to be an explicit admission that Kerry was not in Cambodia on Christmas eve and that he was not involved in any kind of covert, illegal actions.

    It doesn’t seem that way to me. In addition to what you quoted, this Meehan fellow had this to say:

    During John Kerry’s service in Vietnam, many times he was on or near the Cambodian border and on one occasion crossed into Cambodia at the request of members of a special operations group operating out of Ha Tien.

    Aside from not providing dates, that’s pretty consistent with the couple of comments Kerry has made about the issue over the years.

    The guts of the story is that he is running covert ops into Cambodia on Christmas eve.

    Well, no. The guts of the story is that he was in Cambodia at the receiving end of friendly fire. Apparently the story is true up to the point that he might have been on the Vietnamese side of the border on that particular day.

    And now a question for people who think this is a big deal: if proven, do you think that it’s a bigger or smaller deal than Bush’s claims that he served in the US Air Forces (as opposed to the Air National Guard) and that he flew jets for several years after completing training (as opposed to less than two years)? Keep in mind that we’re talking about getting a frigging date wrong, of all unimportant things.

  43. What lies, Josh?

    Until today, I haven’t seen any substantive refutation yet, just ad hominem attack and an admission that the Christmas in Cambodia fable is just that.

    Thurlow stands by his story, and speculates that Kerry wrote up the colorful afteraction report to justify his own medals.

  44. How I long for the day when all candidates were still in diapers when the last helicopter took off from Saigon.

    One last fart in the face from that misbegotten adventure.

    Oh, and an aside to the people who are saying that “medals don’t mean anything, you could wtite your own recommendation, I got a Purple Heart for a case of VD…” I will remember it next time I see someone in uniform.

  45. Which story does Thurlow stand by – the one he told immediately after the events, or the one he’s telling now?

  46. C. Hitchens-style thought experiment, courtesy of Lileks: Imagine for a moment Bush had said he “flew an F-104 into Cuban airspace in 1971 and it was seared in his memory” during the TX ’94 gubernatorial race.

    Apoplexy would not begin to describe the media reaction.

    To Gillespie’s point, (and Jeff Taylor’s earlier this week) about 250 people decide what goes on TV and in the newspaper. As Evan Thomas said, they’re probably going to want to portray Kerry in a positive light. Therefore Kerry’s military lies/truths are not going anywhere other than FNC and other cable chat shows.

    Republicans/conservatives should move on…the DC press corps is biased against Bush…adapt, overcome, improvise.

  47. Lets see, evidence that Kerry lied about his military service: A couple fellow veterans said so. Evidence Bush lied about his national guard service: Michael Moore said so.

    Neither is a smoking gun, but if the Democrats were willing to support Moore’s AWOL claim when it came out, I don’t really think they have grounds to whine about the swiftboat claims.

  48. The only thing behind the Bush AWOL story was the word of Michael Moore? That’s funny, I seem to remember missing evidence, recollections from servicemembers who didn’t see him there…and the name “General Turnipseed” is seared in my memory.

  49. nick,
    The Bush AWOL story came out well before Moore picked it up. It never got legs in 2000. I’m not saying it’s true, but it’s based on far more than Michael Moore.

  50. Joe:

    I have not seen any evidence that thurlow wrote the after action report.

    Sincerly:
    Joe

  51. Joe:

    I have not seen any evidence that thurlow wrote the after action report.

    Sincerly:
    Joe

  52. Joe:

    I have not seen any evidence that thurlow wrote the after action report.

    Sincerly:
    Joe

  53. Joe:

    I have not seen any evidence that thurlow wrote the after action report.

    Sincerly:
    Joe

  54. Joe:

    I have not seen any evidence that thurlow wrote the after action report.

    Sincerly:
    Joe

  55. Joe:

    I have not seen any evidence that thurlow wrote the after action report.

    Sincerly:
    Joe

  56. Lets see, evidence that Kerry lied about his military service: A couple fellow veterans said so

    I think you meant to say “a couple of hundred.” Kinda makes a difference, doesn’t it?

    the name “General Turnipseed” is seared in my memory.

    That would be the General who said his remarks about Bush were taken out of context, and that he has absolutely no grounds for believing Bush went AWOL or otherwise failed to fulfill his duties?

  57. See how evil I am?
    I posted three times!

    (sorry)

  58. See how evil I am?
    I posted three times!

    (sorry)

  59. “I think you meant to say ‘a couple of hundred.’ Kinda makes a difference, doesn’t it?”

    Yeah, it makes me more inclined to discount the whole thing as a hatchet job, because there’s no way “a couple of hundred” people have the relevant information.

  60. Evil Joe, it’s either that, or he signed off on a report that Kerry wrote (that Thurlow was supposed to write), and let untruths stand.

    I can smell the credibility from here.

  61. Please don’t think that way, Tina. Medals like the Purple Heart, Silver Star, or Victoria Cross (Brits, etc.) as opposed to service/theatre medals should be revered for what they symbolize: The willingness of a citizen to put him or herself in harms way to preserve the nation state in which they reside. I had the privilege of speaking once with a Victoria Cross recipient. This medal is awarded, simply, “For Valor”. It is the highest award for bravery awarded in the British Commonwealth, and far more rare than the Congressional Medal of Honor. I later learned that the soft spoken man I met that day received his medal during WW2. He spent a long night next to a wrecked jeep trying to keep his wounded Lieutenant and another soldier from dying of wounds sustained in an ambush. In addition, he repulsed their attackers single handedly, and in 2 subsequent engagements that night, destroyed 2 German tanks and an armored personnel carrier. The following morning he carried the wounded man back to friendly lines, returned to where his officer had insisted on staying, and carried him back as well. The only thing this man would say about his time in Italy was, “I did the job I was trained for”.

    Not everybody with a medal is a phony. Sorry for the long post.

  62. nick,

    It goes back a lot further than Michael Moore–at least to Hatfield’s *Fortunate Son*, and probably earlier. And there’s a whole lot of analysis of the evidence out there, and it doesn’t look good for Bush. Calpundit was one of the best analyists. He sifted through all the available NG evidence, along with all the eyewitness accounts, and compared them to Bush’s claims.

    None of this stuff went very far in the mainstream press–mainly because the professional stenographers who pass for “investigative journalists” these days aren’t very good at researching the written word. Thank God we’ve got the blogosphere to do their damned jobs for them.

  63. nick,

    It goes back a lot further than Michael Moore–at least to Hatfield’s *Fortunate Son*, and probably earlier. And there’s a whole lot of analysis of the evidence out there, and it doesn’t look good for Bush. Calpundit was one of the best analyists. He sifted through all the available NG evidence, along with all the eyewitness accounts, and compared them to Bush’s claims.

    You might check out this or this or this

    None of this stuff went very far in the mainstream press–mainly because the professional stenographers who pass for “investigative journalists” these days aren’t very good at researching the written word. If those blow-dried “professionals” ever learn to use Google and a library card, I’ll be surprised. Anyway, stuff like that detracts from the important business of reporting on Scott Peterson and Kobe Bryant. Thank God we’ve got the blogosphere to do their damned jobs for them.

    R.C. Dean,

    If Thurlow stands by his story, doesn’t that mean he knowingly accepted a medal under false pretenses?

  64. “Lets see, evidence that Kerry lied about his military service: A couple fellow veterans said so. Evidence Bush lied about his national guard service: Michael Moore said so.

    Neither is a smoking gun, but if the Democrats were willing to support Moore’s AWOL claim when it came out, I don’t really think they have grounds to whine about the swiftboat claims.”

    No, the Documentary evidence says so. Bush’s military records, as well as Kerrys are public record. The swift vets claims and the defense of Bush service in the guard are based on hearsay, thirty years later, after the questions have been politicized.

    And what about the Vets who actually served with Kerry on his boat (including Rassmann, the guy who’s life Kerry saved and a lifelong republican), who have consistently backed up Kerry?

  65. nick,

    It goes back a lot further than Michael Moore–at least to Hatfield’s *Fortunate Son*, and probably earlier. And there’s a whole lot of analysis of the evidence out there, and it doesn’t look good for Bush. Calpundit was one of the best analyists. He sifted through all the available NG evidence, along with all the eyewitness accounts, and compared them to Bush’s claims.

    You might check out this or this or this

    None of this stuff went very far in the mainstream press–mainly because the professional stenographers who pass for “investigative journalists” these days aren’t very good at researching the written word. If those blow-dried “professionals” ever learn to use Google and a library card, I’ll be surprised. Anyway, stuff like that detracts from the important business of reporting on Scott Peterson and Kobe Bryant. Thank God we’ve got the blogosphere to do their damned jobs for them.

    R.C. Dean,

    If Thurlow stands by his story, doesn’t that mean he knowingly accepted a medal under false pretenses?

  66. Sorry about the double post. I got tired of waiting a half hour for the fucking page to load, pressed “cancel,” and tried again.

  67. Am I the only GenXer who’s utterly uninterested in a bunch of Boomers arguing over whose war story is true?

    Let’s see, a Navy veteran exaggerating tales of battle. Gee, that’s never happened before. Stop the presses!

    And a rich kid who pulled strings to avoid the draft and then missed some of his duty because, well, why should somebody with his lineage have to take responsibility? OMG!!!

    And, lo and behold, both of these boomer candidates support a massive intergenerational transfer of wealth to fund the boomer retirement.

    If these guys were just a litle bit older we Xers could lock them in a retirement home and wash our hands of them. Well, maybe we could get W declared mentally incompetent already. In Kerry’s case, we’ll probably have to put up with dubious war stories for a while longer yet. Personally, I prefer my eccentric Buchanan-voting uncle who tells stories about how all of the money is worthless and the global financial system is on the verge of meltdown. He’s one of nicest guys I know, even if he is a little bit strange.

    Can somebody find me a candidate younger than 40?

  68. Fodderstompf, two words describe your rants:diarrhea and vacuous.Together they speak of abnormally frequent intestinal evacuations lacking content.Clean up your own shit.

  69. bush did sign the form to release all records that kerry won’t sign

    we spent months impugning bush over a 4 month excused absence (to participate in our democracy) out of 5 years of piloting military jets for this country, at a time when his dad was cia chief and it wouldn’t have been smart for us to have him outside our borders, let alone close to enemy lines

    kerry, setting the speed record for staging and filming his heroism, could fit his whole tour in bush’s break from service

  70. Fodderstompf,
    Yes, there is a particular reason Kerry shouldn’t talk about “ferrying a couple of guys over to Cambodia several decades ago” if the mission was secret – the fact that it was secret. I guess if Fodderstompf can’t see the significance to national security, it shouldn’t be a secret, huh? Have you ever held a security clearance and, if so, did you share this novel view of classified material with the background investigators?

    You are doing exactly the same thing with Zumwalt of which you (rightfully) accuse the “Swifties” in regard to Vietnam atrocities – trying to prove a negative. For all you know, Zumwalt’s favorite topic of conversation around the dinner table was whether Kerry was ever in Cambodia. I doubt if he ever brought it up, but you are making statements for which you can’t possibly have any support – just as some of the “Swifties” are doing.

  71. david53 quips:
    Fodderstompf, two words describe your rants:diarrhea and vacuous.Together they speak of abnormally frequent intestinal evacuations lacking content.Clean up your own shit.

    There’s no need to be rude, young man. I’m sure there’s some other blog where the Swift boat lies can get an airing without being debunked. *giggle*

    eponymous writes:
    bush did sign the form to release all records that kerry won’t sign

    You wouldn’t mind offering some proof for that, would you, now?

    we spent months impugning bush over a 4 month excused absence (to participate in our democracy)

    There’s no need to feel all martyred and stuff. Few gave a flying fuck (pun intended) about it when it first came up, and fewer still do today, even if MoveOn is apparently trying to bring the issue back. For better or worse, the left-wing sleaze machine is vastly inferior to the right-wing one.

    at a time when his dad was cia chief and it wouldn’t have been smart for us to have him outside our borders, let alone close to enemy lines

    George H W Bush wasn’t the CIA Director at the time, just a GOP bigwig.

    kerry, setting the speed record for staging and filming his heroism, could fit his whole tour in bush’s break from service

    Everyone here knows that the claims Kerry reenacted battle scenes aren’t true, right? Good.

    By the way, readers interested in the topic would do well to check out the excellent article “Friendly Fire: The Birth of an Anti-Kerry Ad” by Kate Zernike and Jim Rutenberg in today’s New York Times. Here are a few money quotes:

    Records show that the group received the bulk of its initial financing from two men with ties to the president and his family – one a longtime political associate of Mr. Rove’s, the other a trustee of the foundation for Mr. Bush’s father’s presidential library. A Texas publicist who once helped prepare Mr. Bush’s father for his debate when he was running for vice president provided them with strategic advice.

    Rove’s buddy is later in the article identified as Bob J Perry, Texas GOP’s biggest donor and the main funder of the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush. Be sure to check out the paragraphs on Merrie Spaeth, too. I guess Bush still has plausible deniability, but people who aren’t hopelessly na?ve should realize what’s going here.

    [In an interview with Douglas Brinkley] Roy F. Hoffmann, a retired rear admiral and a leader of the group, allowed that he had disagreed with Mr. Kerry’s antiwar positions but said, “I am not going to say anything negative about him.” He added, “He’s a good man.”

    In a profile of the candidate that ran in The Boston Globe in June 2003, Mr. Hoffmann approvingly recalled the actions that led to Mr. Kerry’s Silver Star: “It took guts, and I admire that.”

    George Elliott, one of the Vietnam veterans in the group, flew from his home in Delaware to Boston in 1996 to stand up for Mr. Kerry during a tough re-election fight, declaring at a news conference that the action that won Mr. Kerry a Silver Star was “an act of courage.” At that same event, Adrian L. Lonsdale, another Vietnam veteran now speaking out against Mr. Kerry, supported him with a statement about the “bravado and courage of the young officers that ran the Swift boats.”

    “Senator Kerry was no exception,” Mr. Lonsdale told the reporters and cameras assembled at the Charlestown Navy Yard. “He was among the finest of those Swift boat drivers.”

    Those comments echoed the official record. In an evaluation of Mr. Kerry in 1969, Mr. Elliott, who was one of his commanders, ranked him as “not exceeded” in 11 categories, including moral courage, judgment and decisiveness, and “one of the top few” – the second-highest distinction – in the remaining five. In written comments, he called Mr. Kerry “unsurpassed,” “beyond reproach” and “the acknowledged leader in his peer group.”

    Why have these people changed their story so drastically? If you believe their current claims, can you explain why they lied for Kerry in Vietnam, in 1996, and even in 2003?

    Patrick Runyon, who served on a mission with Mr. Kerry, said he initially thought the caller was from a pro-Kerry group, and happily gave a statement about the night Mr. Kerry won his first Purple Heart. The investigator said he would send it to him by e-mail for his signature. Mr. Runyon said the edited version was stripped of all references to enemy combat, making it look like just another night in the Mekong Delta.

    “It made it sound like I didn’t believe we got any returned fire,” he said. “He made it sound like it was a normal operation. It was the scariest night of my life.”

    Frigging sleazebags.

    The group also offers the account of William L. Schachte Jr., a retired rear admiral who says in the book that he had been on the small skimmer on which Mr. Kerry was injured that night in December 1968. He contends that Mr. Kerry wounded himself while firing a grenade.

    But the two other men who acknowledged that they had been with Mr. Kerry, Bill Zaladonis and Mr. Runyon, say they cannot recall a third crew member. “Me and Bill aren’t the smartest, but we can count to three,” Mr. Runyon said in an interview.

    Oopsie.

    The group says Mr. Kerry himself wrote the reports that led to the medal. But Mr. Elliott and Mr. Lonsdale, who handled reports going up the line for recognition, have previously said that a medal would be awarded only if there was corroboration from others and that they had thoroughly corroborated the accounts.

    “Witness reports were reviewed; battle reports were reviewed,” Mr. Lonsdale said at the 1996 news conference, adding, “It was a very complete and carefully orchestrated procedure.” In his statements Mr. Elliott described the action that day as “intense” and “unusual.”

    Oopsie^2.

    Several veterans insist that Mr. Kerry wrote his own reports, pointing to the initials K. J. W. on one of the reports and saying they are Mr. Kerry’s. “What’s the W for, I cannot answer,” said Larry Thurlow, who said his boat was 50 to 60 yards from Mr. Kerry’s. Mr. Kerry’s middle initial is F, and a Navy official said the initials refer to the person who had received the report at headquarters, not the author.

    At this point I began to feel sorry for these guys.

    A damage report to Mr. Thurlow’s boat shows that it received three bullet holes, suggesting enemy fire, and later intelligence reports indicate that one Vietcong was killed in action and five others wounded, reaffirming the presence of an enemy. Mr. Thurlow said the boat was hit the day before. He also received a Bronze Star for the day, a fact left out of “Unfit for Command.”

    Asked about the award, Mr. Thurlow said that he did not recall what the citation said but that he believed it had commended him for saving the lives of sailors on a boat hit by a mine. If it did mention enemy fire, he said, that was based on Mr. Kerry’s false reports. The actual citation, Mr. Thurlow said, was with an ex-wife with whom he no longer has contact, and he declined to authorize the Navy to release a copy. But a copy obtained by The New York Times indicates “enemy small arms,” “automatic weapons fire” and “enemy bullets flying about him.” The citation was first reported by The Washington Post on Thursday.

    I bet Thurlow’s got that sinking feeling right about now.

  72. KentInDC writes:
    I guess if Fodderstompf can’t see the significance to national security, it shouldn’t be a secret, huh?

    You’re damn right about that, Kent. Sadly, I doubt many will be convinced by that point, as sensible as it is. Still, it’s exceedingly difficult to see any reason why this mission, even if it was secret at the time, should remain so now. If Kerry is breaking some law, I’m certain he’ll be brought to justice forthwith. With that in mind, and leaving the always convincing “because They sez so” aside for a moment, why shouldn’t he discuss what he did?

    For all you know, Zumwalt’s favorite topic of conversation around the dinner table was whether Kerry was ever in Cambodia.

    For all I know, Zumwalt spent his dinners lecturing his family on the breeding habits of manatees. All I’m saying is that if the SBVT want to act as spokespersons for everyone in Kerry’s chain of command, they ought to deal with the fact that at least one member of the chain of command is dead – and defended Kerry’s war record in public when he was alive. Otherwise they’re just feigning to speak for everyone.

  73. Why do I have the sneaking suspicion (and sinking feeling) that the same sub-genius behind “Gary Gunnels” and “Jean Bart” is behind “Fodderstompf”?

  74. Fodderstompf:

    “To give just one example, Elmo Zumwalt, a member of Kerry’s chain of command, has been dead for years and never commented on the matter when he was alive.”

    “All I’m saying is that if the SBVT want to act as spokespersons for everyone in Kerry’s chain of command, they ought to deal with the fact that at least one member of the chain of command is dead – and defended Kerry’s war record in public when he was alive.”

    Seems more like you are crawfishing on your original statement to me.

    The reason your policy on confidential material is not “sensible” is that there is no point to having security classifications if everyone with a clearance is able to let his conscience be his guide on disclosure. I can just see the defendant using the Fodderstompf defense now: “Oh, I didn’t see the significance of that security classification to national security before I discussed the matter with my North Korean friend.”

    I feel certain that Kerry won’t be prosecuted because I seriously doubt he has told of any real secret missions and self-promotion is not a crime as far as I know. I’ve known hundreds of former Navy SEALs. In fact, I have probably known more former SEALs than there have ever been SEALs. I take Kerry’s stories as seriously as I do theirs.

  75. not again,

    Why can’t you make an argument? 🙂

    BTW, there is a simple whay to determine whether I Mr. Fodder (aside from variance in prose style that is blindingly obvious); look up our IP addresses.

    My advice to you is that instead of practicing the art of inane insults you actually engage a poster in reasoned discourse. Enjoy.

  76. Shannon Love,

    It seems that Thurlow never made any report at the time of the event. So he is not contradicting himself now.

    Let us note here that you are purposefully leaving out – to justify your own spin presumably – that Thurlow claims that he “lost” his citation, which is pretty fucking convenient if you ask me. Sorry, but Thurlow’s story stinks of bullshit; and him implying that his citation was part of some Kerry “conspiracy” pushes Thurlow into the crackpot zone.

    BTW, the statement that you provided does not refute Kerry’s claim; you claimed that there was some sort of “admission,” yet the statement that you provide carries no such admission.

    You stated that an “admission” was made; what you gave me wasn’t anything remotely close to the sort of claim that you made earlier. BTW, this was the same crap you were pulling a week ago.

  77. not again! writes:
    Why do I have the sneaking suspicion (and sinking feeling) that the same sub-genius behind “Gary Gunnels” and “Jean Bart” is behind “Fodderstompf”?

    Maybe you read it in article in the Washington Times? or in an affidavit from George Elliott? A Jerome Corsi post on Free Republic, perhaps? Mind-reading? Tarot? C’mon, don’t keep the readership in suspense.

    KentInDC writes:
    Seems more like you are crawfishing on your original statement to me.

    Not really. I’m approaching the same central claim – Zumwalt was a part of Kerry’s chain of command and the Swifties can’t speak for him, their claims to the contrary not withstanding – from different angles. The fact of the matter is that had Zumwalt attacked Kerry like the SBV”T” are attacking him now, we’d never hear the end of it. The Swifties may not be particularly good at making up believable stories, but they’re competent at digging up quotes. (In this case the record indicates that Zumwalt actually stood up for Kerry when the GOP first attacked his Silver Star in 1996.)

    The reason your policy on confidential material is not “sensible” is that there is no point to having security classifications if everyone with a clearance is able to let his conscience be his guide on disclosure.

    Ah, the old slippery slope argument – never mind that there’s flatland for miles around us. I’m sorry, but this still seems like piddling objecting-for-objecting’s-sake type of thing to me.

    I feel certain that Kerry won’t be prosecuted because I seriously doubt he has told of any real secret missions and self-promotion is not a crime as far as I know.

    I, too, feel certain that Kerry won’t be prosecuted, but shouldn’t he at least be investigated? Surely spilling top secret details – that he shipped unidentified people at an unidentified date several decades ago to an unidentified location in Cambodia – is a serious matter. If this is allowed to stand, what will keep government officials from outing CIA operatives with impunity? What will stop administration insiders from naming double agents in the press when they need some good PR? It’s a slippery slope, Kent, and lax attitudes like yours are causing us to ski down it.

  78. (The link above is the source of the paraphrase in my original post.)

    Malak: I agree. I don’t want my BS radar to go off when I see a soldier wearing medals. I want to assume that he/she took a major risk in order to defend his country, and, by extension, me. I want to wonder what noble deed he did, and I want my eyes to fill with tears. I want to believe that the military doesn’t give these out like Tic Tacs. I want – can I call it – the illusion of honor?

    This is rather old-fashioned of me, I know, but there are simply some things that shouldn’t be publicly aired. The repercussions are earth-shattering. Once Clinton’s affairs hit the front page, that made it open season for everyone’s sexual history to be pored over in public. Yuck. Now, a chestful of medals and a couple of missing limbs will only get you a derisive sniff, a request for multiple affidavits from everyone within 200 miles at the time, and (if you’re lucky), a grudging “OK, maybe you’re legit.” (Remember Max Cleland?)

    Karma will not be denied. Wait for the caterwauling when a Republican war hero gets trashed in a couple of years.

    I don’t think the SBV people really understand what they’re doing. Now whenever I see a decorated soldier, there will be a little voice whispering in my ear, “I wonder if he really deserved those?” Do they really want the phrase “war hero” to be forever prefaced with “alleged”? Or always put in quotes? That’s the logical outcome of this process.

    The-XMas-in-Cambodia-that-turned-out-to-be-New Year-50-miles-away has definitely bothered me. To the point where I don’t think I can vote for Kerry. But that won’t put me in the “R” column either.

    So, SBV, you lost Kerry a vote. Bravo, well done, mission accomplished (pace GWB on the carrier). But you’ve planted a foul seed of doubt in my mind (and probably others) about our Army. Thanks, jerks.

    (So, I respond to your long post with an even longer cri de coeur of my own. Apologies.)

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