KerryHaters was first to blog on the Christmas-in-Cambodia lie, way back on May 21. Too bad the elite media hadn't cast their net widely enough. They'd have had a scoop long ago.--Hugh Hewitt

Our friends Pat and Kitty at Kerry Haters deserve the blog equivalent of a Pulitzer for their coverage of Kerry's intricate web of lies regarding Vietnam.--Crush Kerry

Saturday, August 28, 2004
Blogger Roundup (Sorry for the Delay)

Matt's Rants wants Kerry in jail.

Manifest Content says you can learn a lot from a dummy.

Red Crabtree at American Gazette has a thoughtful look at 1968 in 2004.

Temujin points us to this excellent post at the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.
Might Be Premature

But John Hawkins of Right Wing News likes the smell of victory.
Steyn Throws the Haymaker

This is strong stuff:

So when John McCain sternly warns the swift boat veterans of ''reopening the wounds of Vietnam,'' it's worth asking: Why is Vietnam a ''wound'' and why won't it heal? The answer: not because it was a military or strategic defeat but because it was a national trauma. And whose fault is that?

Well, you can't pin it all on one person, but, if you had to, Lt. John F. Kerry would stand a better shot at taking the solo trophy than almost anyone. The ''wounds'' McCain complains of aren't from losing Vietnam, but from the manner in which it was lost. Today Sen. Kerry says he's proud of his anti-war activism, but that's not what it was. Every war has pacifists and conscientious objectors and even disenchanted veterans, but there's simply no precedent for what John Kerry did: a man who put his combat credentials to the service of smearing his country's entire armed forces as rapists, decapitators and baby killers. That's the ''wound,'' Sen. McCain. That's why a crummy little war on the other side of the world still festers. That's why the band didn't play ''Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be'' and move on to the next item of business. Because Kerry didn't just call for U.S. withdrawal, he impugned the honor of every man he served with.

Missed Being In Cambodia by That Much

Let's hope that the margin by which he misses being president is a little wider.
Tour of Doo-Doo III

This is a continuing series on errors, omissions, distortions, and conflicts in Tour of Duty, Douglas Brinkley's biography of John Kerry.

Distortion #2--The Curious Case of Kerry's Crewmate David Alston.

David Alston at the Democratic National Convention:

Manning the deck guns, most of us got wounded sooner or later, including Lieutenant Kerry. It would have been easiest, in an ambush, to simply rake the shore with return fire and roar on down the river to safety. But Lieutenant Kerry was known for taking the fight straight to the enemy. I can still see him now, standing in the doorway of the pilothouse, firing his M-16, shouting orders through the smoke and chaos.

Once, he even directed the helmsman to beach the boat, right into the teeth of an ambush, and pursued our attackers on foot, into the jungle. In the toughest of situations, Lieutenant Kerry showed judgment, loyalty and courage. Even wounded, or confronting sights no man should ever have to see, he never lost his cool.

Alston describes two different incidents there. The odd fact about these two memories is that Kerry was not at the first incident described, and Alston was not at the second.

This story was first broken at Captain's Quarters thanks to the research work of Tom (River Rat) Mortensen and The Bandit.

The interesting thing is the way Brinkley handled this in the book. First, understand that Brinkley was operating from a special disadvantage. At the time the book was published, Kerry and Alston were claiming that they had been together on January 29, 1969, when PCF-94 got into a fierce battle with Viet Cong forces. Byron York notes that Kerry had claimed this in 2002 at a speech, and that the story was on Kerry's campaign website perhaps as late as April.

In fact, the skipper of PCF-94 that fateful day was Edward "Tedd" Peck, and Lieutenant Peck was not likely to forget it as he was hit with three bullets including one which broke his leg and sent him home from Vietnam. Peck reportedly recognized the Kerry account of the story as his own (minus, of course, the wounds) and demanded that it be taken down.

Give credit to Brinkley, he refused to write the story as Kerry had told it. However, he went to great lengths to convince readers that Kerry and Alston did serve together while actually proving exactly the opposite.

Here's the distortion. Brinkley managed to create a strong image of Alston as one of Kerry's crewmembers when he took over PCF-94. However, that was not the case. First the actual status of Alston: He was wounded on January 29, like Lt. Peck, and was not on board the boat when Kerry took command; best estimates are that he actually served with Kerry for approximately a week (March 6-13, 1969); at most 13 days (March 1-13, 1969).

Now the distortion. Brinkley makes a big show of introducing the crew of PCF-94 in action the day before Kerry takes over. He telegraphs that these guys are important in the very title of the chapter "Taking Command of PCF-94". Then he introduces them with (page 262) "And what a crew they were. The crackerjack outfit that manned PCF-94 began with Leading Petty Officer Del Sandusky...

He introduces all five of the crew on the 94 boat on January 29, but he devotes special attention to David Alston. Sandusky, (Gene) Thorson, (Mike) Medieros and (Thomas) Belodeau each get a paragraph. Alston, the only black member of the crew, gets four paragraphs, almost a full page.

Then Brinkley describes the January 29, 1969 battle (pages 264-265). It is quite frightening, with Peck taking three wounds. But before he goes down, see if you recognize this part:

... suddenly there was a booming explosion that literally lifted PCF-94 right out of the water. Peck was standing in the pilothouse doorway with an M-16 at the ready to start strafing the jungle. Just as he pulled the trigger he was hit by two machine-gun bullets, one in his arm and one in his chest... [a]lthough bleeding profusely, Peck managed to continue firing back...

Sure sounds an awful lot like Alston's description at the convention:

I can still see him [Kerry] now, standing in the doorway of the pilothouse, firing his M-16, shouting orders through the smoke and chaos.

Significantly, Brinkley does not mention the full result of that engagement. He does point out that Peck was medevaced out once his boat escaped, but somehow he neglects to mention that David Alston was also medevaced out, although he does note that Alston was injured: (page 265)

David Alston, who had been grazed in the head by a bullet and took another in the arm....

There follows 23 pages of general stories about Kerry and his crew (and of course the Mystery Boat story), where Brinkley continues to lead us to believe that Alston is on the boat without ever saying so. Indeed, it is not until page 288 that we learn:

Meanwhile, rookie Gunner's Mate Third Class Frederic Short was now taking David Alston's place manning the twin .50-caliber mounted guns as the South Carolinian recuperated from his January bullet wounds.

January bullet wounds? But those could only have come in the January 29 battle with Peck commanding the 94 boat, which means that at this point, despite the four paragraph build-up, David Alston had never served on the same boat with John Kerry.

And indeed, that is the last time that Brinkley manages to mention Alston until the year 2003. That Alston was not with Kerry as late as February 28, 1969 is obvious; all the crew of PCF-94 received medals for that action (including Kerry's Silver Star), but Alston did not receive a medal; see page 4 of the photos in the Boston Globe Book which shows six proud recipients. However, Alston is clearly describing the Silver Star incident here:

Once, he even directed the helmsman to beach the boat, right into the teeth of an ambush, and pursued our attackers on foot, into the jungle.

Note: A lot of this was based on posts that appeared in the Captain's Quarters blog. CQ is a great blog; my choice for the best blog of 2004. But beyond Ed's superb writing and analysis are his amazing commenters, who function as an investigative army.

Previous Tour of Doo-Doo Entry.
Are the Media Turning on Kerry?


The NY Times runs a fairly balanced piece on John O'Neill, as does the LA Times.

The Washington Post prints the Christmas in Cambodia story as an obvious lie told repeatedly by Kerry:

Kerry repeatedly said in the past that he was ordered illegally into Cambodia during Christmas 1968. His detractors claim he never entered that country at all. In "Tour of Duty," Brinkley does not place Kerry in Cambodia but, quoting from Kerry's journal, notes that Kerry's Swift boat was "patrolling near the Cambodian line." Later in the book, Brinkley writes that Kerry and his fellow Swift boat operators "went on dropping Navy SEALS off along the Cambodian border."

"I'm under the impression that they were near the Cambodian border," said Brinkley, in the interview. So Kerry's statement about being in Cambodia at Christmas "is obviously wrong," he said. "It's a mongrel phrase he should never have uttered. I stick to my story."

The Chicago Sun-Times prints Tom Lipscombs' latest blockbuster on Kerry's changing citations for his Silver Star.

Speaking of Lipscomb, Michael Dobbs, who had the superb article last weekend on the Bronze Star Incident, returns in the WaPo with an article on the Swiftees that mentions Lipscomb's major scoop from March:

According to FBI records first released to Nicosia, Kerry sometimes expressed fairly radical points of view. For example, he described North Vietnamese Communist leader Ho Chi Minh as "the George Washington of Vietnam." He also noted with some bitterness that out "of 234 congressmen's sons eligible for service in Vietnam, only 24 went there, and only one of them was wounded."

The FBI kept careful tabs on the protesters through a network of informers, who tracked Kerry's movements. The FBI records help to disprove a long-standing claim by Kerry that he resigned from the VVAW leadership in the summer of 1971, before the organization began to flirt with proposals for radical civil disobedience and even violence.

The FBI records show that Kerry was present for a particularly contentious meeting in Kansas City, Mo., in November 1971, at which plans were discussed for the assassination or kidnapping of government officials or the takeover of the Statue of Liberty. The proposal was overwhelmingly voted down, and the files record that Kerry wanted VVAW "to stay strictly non-violent." According to the FBI files, he resigned from the organization in Kansas City after an angry showdown with radicals led by a firebrand named Al Hubbard.

Told about the FBI records earlier this year, Kerry said through a spokesman that he now accepted he must have been in Kansas City for the November meeting while continuing to insist that he had "no personal recollection" of the contentious debate. Many people associated with VVAW find this difficult to believe.

I know it's Saturday, so they could be trying to bury stuff they feel they have to cover, but these are huge stories, and from the looks of my traffic meter a LOT of people are hearing about this and checking the blogs.
Brinkley Emerges from Seclusion

Hat Tip to Prestopundit, who sees his theory that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were formed in response to Tour of Duty endorsed by the author himself!

"I'm not worried about it being seen as a campaign vehicle for Kerry," Brinkley said of the book. "I'm sympathetic to Kerry in his 20's, and it's no secret I think he would make a first-rate president. But my book has caused Kerry pain, too. The fact it's out may not have helped him. I mean, 'Unfit for Command' might not exist without it."

The Washington Post has more, including this:

Kerry repeatedly said in the past that he was ordered illegally into Cambodia during Christmas 1968. His detractors claim he never entered that country at all. In "Tour of Duty," Brinkley does not place Kerry in Cambodia but, quoting from Kerry's journal, notes that Kerry's Swift boat was "patrolling near the Cambodian line." Later in the book, Brinkley writes that Kerry and his fellow Swift boat operators "went on dropping Navy SEALS off along the Cambodian border."

"I'm under the impression that they were near the Cambodian border," said Brinkley, in the interview. So Kerry's statement about being in Cambodia at Christmas "is obviously wrong," he said. "It's a mongrel phrase he should never have uttered. I stick to my story."

Which story? The story you told in your book, which had no mention of Kerry crossing into Cambodia, or the story you told the London Telegraph:

"Kerry went into Cambodian waters three or four times in January and February 1969 on clandestine missions. He had a run dropping off US Navy Seals, Green Berets and CIA guys…He was a ferry master, a drop-off guy, but it was dangerous as hell. Kerry carries a hat he was given by one CIA operative."

Tom Maguire was right; the story above is not going to be written.

Brinkley does give us one piece of welcome news:

The Kerry campaign has refused to release Kerry's personal Vietnam archive, including his journals and letters, saying that the senator is contractually bound to grant Brinkley exclusive access to the material. But Brinkley said this week the papers are the property of the senator and in his full control.

"I don't mind if John Kerry shows anybody anything," he said. "If he wants to let anybody in, that's his business. Go bug John Kerry, and leave me alone." The exclusivity agreement, he said, simply requires "that anybody quoting any of the material needs to cite my book."
Will Wonders Never Cease?

The NY Times puts together a reasonably fair profile of John O'Neill, the Swift Vets' principal spokesman and Kerry's personal nemesis.

To many Democrats, Mr. O'Neill, 58, is little more than a Republican hit man. Last week the Kerry campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission accusing the Swift boat group of coordinating its activities with the Bush campaign, a charge that the Bush campaign has angrily denied. A top campaign lawyer quit last week after disclosures that he had advised Mr. O'Neill's group.

But while enemies portray him as a one-dimensional partisan, Mr. O'Neill is man of intriguing contradictions. He has extensive ties to prominent Texas Republicans, but he has told friends he considers Mr. Bush an "empty suit" who is unfit to lead the country, and says he voted for Al Gore in 2000, and for Ross Perot in 1996 and 1992.

I did disagree with this point:

Mr. O'Neill, who says he graduated first in his class from the University of Texas law school and clerked for William H. Rehnquist when he was an associate justice, is known in the Houston legal community for a near-photographic memory and an ability to master complex facts and that have helped him win big trial judgments. Yet the book he co-authored against Mr. Kerry, "Unfit for Command," is riddled with inconsistencies and differences with the official record.

No offense, NY Times, but Douglas Brinkley is a trained historian who wrote Kerry's authorized autobiography Tour of Duty, a book which is riddled with inconsistencies and differences with the official record. That's just the nature of writing about Le Fraude who seems to reinvent his life story almost on a weekly basis.
Kerry Haters Makes the Weekly Standard!

We owe thanks to Hugh Hewitt, who obviously impressed upon Jonathan V. Last the addy of our blog! Thanks, Hugh, and thanks Jonathan!

The Swift boat story first surfaced on May 4, when an op-ed by John O'Neill ran in the Wall Street Journal, in print and online, and the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, to which O'Neill belongs, held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The event received scant notice by traditional media. CBS News mentioned it briefly and tried to tie the group to Bush. The Washington Post and New York Times had short items about it, as did the Boston Globe. The most in-depth coverage came from the Fox News Channel. On the May 4 edition of Special Report, Carl Cameron reported on the press conference, aired some of the Swifties' allegations, and then reported that certain of these veterans--Grant Hibbard and George Elliott--had previously supported John Kerry, immediately casting doubt on them.

The story went away for a while, but was always lurking in dark corners of the Internet, on websites like KerryHaters.blogspot.com. And clearly the big media weren't blind to it. "There are a few who served with him who dispute his record and question his leadership," Peter Jennings noted during an ABC News broadcast on July 29. "We'll hear from them in the weeks ahead," he continued, moving abruptly on to a pretaped package on Kerry's Vietnam heroism.

Ah, yes, the dark corner of the internet! Muahahahahah! Where the Digital Brownshirts reign!
Friday, August 27, 2004
Swift Boat Vet For Kerry Caught In Another Bogus Vietnam Story!

Sheesh, sometimes we overlook the obvious. I was looking at the fine Washington Post article from last week about the Bronze Star Incident (Kerry pulling Rassmann from the water) when this paragraph jumped out and bit me:

In his book, Brinkley writes that a skipper who remains friendly to Kerry, Skip Barker, took part in the March 13 raid. But there is no documentary evidence of Barker's participation. Barker could not be reached for comment.

Wow! Do you know what this means? A second Swift Vet for Kerry has tried to pretend he was with Kerry at one of Kerry's medal events! Alston pretended he was there for the Silver Star (according to Brinkley) and now Barker (according to the WaPo) pretended he was there for the Bronze Star.

You know the famous Swift Boat Vets picture of the skippers? Barker is the ONLY one left with Kerry when you click on the photo.

Kerry's got maybe 12 Swift boat vets working for his campaign. Two of which appear to have lied quite publicly about Vietnam for his campaign. That's about 17% of Kerry's Band of Brothers. So far the liberal commenters have proven to my satisfaction that one of the Swift Boat Vets for Truth has lied (but about sex, not Vietnam). That's something like 0.4%, and again, no proven lie about Vietnam.

Alright, who wants to become a world famous reporter? I got a scoop for you. My guess is Kerry made up the humanitarian story on page 271 of Tour of Duty. Barker was Kerry's only backup for that story, for which Brinkley provides NO FOOTNOTES. There should be some existing Navy paperwork if this story (which sounds very convenient for Kerry in the context of the book) is true. If not? Well, you could be famous by Friday!
Feel Free to Request a Link

I'm going to do another round up tomorrow afternoon. I definitely prefer Kerry-related posts, otherwise usual rules--no Bush-bashing or Kerry-celebrating, and no excessive swearing.
Caption It Yourself!

My entry: "It's like my plan for South Vietnam--let the communists take over!"
Kerry On Folks Wearing Medals That Don't Belong to Them

From the Boston Globe, Via Kerry Spot:

“The military is a rigorous culture that places a high premium on battlefield accomplishment,” said Sen. John F. Kerry, who received numerous decorations, including a Bronze Star with a "V" pin, as a Navy lieutenant in Vietnam.
“In a sense, there's nothing that says more about your career than when you fought, where you fought and how you fought,” Kerry said.

“If you wind up being less than what you’re pretending to be, there is a major confrontation with value and self-esteem and your sense of how others view you.”

Of Boorda and his apparent violation, Kerry said: “When you are the chief of them all, it has to weigh even more heavily.”

Kerry Spot wonders about the now famous Silver Star with Combat "V" mentioned on Kerry's DD-214. I was able to find a picture of the "V" device here.

The Valor device is an award of the United States military

Also known as the “V” device, the Valor device denotes those individuals who were awarded a decoration as a result of direct combat with an enemy force. It may also denote accomplishment of a heroic nature or valorous acts in direct support of operations against an enemy force.

The first Valor devices were authorized in 1944 as an attachment to the Bronze Star Medals. Since then, the Valor device is authorized to medals which are awarded both for combat and non-combat actions. This is to distinguish those who were awarded a decoration through combat, compared to those who were awarded a medal for support roles or meritorious service.

An example of medals which are authorized the Valor device are the Commendation Medals, Achievement Medals, Air Medal and certain unit awards

Awards which are commonly bestowed for valor, such as the Medal of Honor and Silver Star are never awarded with the Valor device since valor is indicated by the award itself.

The Valor device is awarded as a single one time decoration only. A service member may not receive several Valor devices on the same decoration.

Of course, the only way I see this being a real issue is if there are photos of Kerry with the V device on his Silver Star.
Kerry's Bike Manufacturer Denies It's An Elitist Bike

I got a chuckle out of this:

But charges from conservative talk radio show hosts that Kerry's high-end, titanium-built frames are elitist are misguided, owner Serotta said. Because while Kerry may be the company's big-name rider, former Republican Vice President Dan Quayle preferred Serotta frames and forks, too, Serotta said.

Serotta, a registered Democrat, has spoken with Kerry multiple times, though not lately. His other customers include comedian Robin Williams and NBA stars including Shaquille O'Neill.

Ah, those average Joes!
Funny Anti-Kerry Song

The Kerry Back and Forth Song! Click on the "Play Song" button.

Hat Tip to Rick (at Patriotic Forums).
Only 67 Days Left Before He Can Go Back to Kite-Surfing

From the looks of things it won't come a minute too soon.

We're Not GOP Shills
President Bush can't stop us from telling the truth about John Kerry.
By John O’Neill
We formed Swift Boat Veterans For Truth for one purpose: to present to the American public our conclusion that John Kerry is not fit to be commander in chief. We are organized as a "527 group" with Adm. Roy Hoffmann at the helm, our leader today as he was some 35 years ago when we served under him in Coastal Squadron One in Vietnam. Our membership is transparent and shown on our Web site, www.swiftvets.com, currently including more than 250 Swiftees. We have 17 of the 23 officers who served with Mr. Kerry, most of his chain of command, and most sailors. We have more than 60 winners of real Purple Hearts. No one has a better right than we do to speak to the matters involving our unit.

Are we controlled by the Bush-Cheney campaign? Absolutely not. The Swift boat veterans who joined our group come in all political flavors: independents, Republicans, Democrats and other more subtle variations. Had another person been the presidential candidate of the Democrats, our group never would have formed. Had Mr. Kerry been the Republican candidate, each of us would still be here.

We do not take direction from the White House or the president's re-election committee, and our efforts would continue even if President Bush were to ask us directly to stop.

Why have we come forward? As explained in "Unfit For Command," Mr. Kerry grossly exaggerated and lied about his abbreviated four-month tour in Vietnam. He disgraced all legitimate Vietnam War heroes when he falsely testified to Congress that we were war criminals, daily engaged in atrocities that had the full approval of all levels in the chain of command. So, once Mr. Kerry decided to apply for the commander in chief's job with a war-hero résumé, we felt compelled to come forward to explain why he is "unfit for command."

We have faced assaults on our character, motives, personal backgrounds and honesty. We are told that Mr. Kerry's camp has prepared attack dossiers on the members of our organization. I have been charged with being a Republican shill. But for more than 30 years, I have been non-political, and have voted for as many Democrats as Republicans. In truth, I consider myself a political independent, regardless of how John Kerry and his supporters try to characterize me.

The Kerry-Edwards camp has threatened TV stations with libel suits should they choose to run our ads. Mr. Kerry has filed a complaint with the FEC, seeking to silence us.

How many different ways will John Kerry devise to ask President Bush to condemn our ads and squash our book? Why, Mr. Kerry, are our charges as a 527 group unacceptable to you, while the pronouncements from 527 groups favorable to you are considered acceptable, regardless of stridency and veracity? And we do not have a George Soros, willing to drop millions into our modest group. We control our message. To date, we have received $2 million from 30,000 Americans who have donated an average of around $64.

Mr. Kerry, we ask you not to repeat the same mistake you made when you returned from war: Please stop maligning your fellow veterans. Dealing with us should be easy. Just answer our charges. Produce your Vietnam journal and notes, and execute Standard Form 180 so the American people can see your complete military record--not just the few forms you put on your website or show to campaign biographers.

That’s the entire piece. Now, repeat after me:

Xenophobes for Kerry?

Why Are We Arguing About Vietnam?

Stanley Kurtz nails it.

The Swift-boat controversy is not an ancient molehill turned into a mountain. It's how we're stumbling toward a debate that the Democrats don't want to have — but that everyone knows exists anyway. The real issue here is Kerry's views on war and foreign policy. Kerry is a McGovernite — a long-time member in good standing of his party's dovish wing. Kerry has hidden that fact, but now the truth is slipping out. When Kerry tried to transform his original radicalism into a hawkish parable, those who knew him better rebelled. The ensuing mess has forced the story of who John Kerry is, and always has been, into the public's focus. Whatever secrets his journals and military files may hold, the secret of John Kerry's actual views on war and foreign policy is the more dangerous one — for him, and for us.

Hat Tip: Aaron at Something to
Cry About
Who's Calling Whom a Liar?--Update II

A regular commenter on this page is A Hermit, who keeps trying to accuse us of calling veterans liars. Just for fun, I decided to try doing a few Google searches.

I Googled the phrase "Jim Rassmann is a liar." Result? A grand total of one website came up, and even that was not a comment about Rassmann actually lying:

I suppose Jim Rassmann is a liar too since he never served on Kerry's boat.

Now, let's just take a little look at "John O'Neill is a liar".

Thirteen websites come up, and are very much claims about John O'Neill actually lying:

You have to remember that John O'Neill is a liar...

John O'Neill is a liar who has nothing to contribute to our public discourse...

Here's a three-fer:

Swift Vet John O'Neill is a liar.

Swift Vet Larry Thurlow is also a liar.

Swift Vet Steven Gardner is...guess what? Yup...a liar.

John O'Niell, head of the merry band of liars.... (comment by left-winger Tano).

Then I tried "Swift Boat Liars". Bingo! 7,450 hits, the first of which is Daily Kos, the second is eRiposte, the fourth from Democratic Veteran.

So it should be obvious which people are calling veterans liars; it is Mr Hermit's friends.

Update: I should stipulate here that I don't think there's anything wrong with calling a particular veteran a liar (Update II--provided of course you have some evidence to back up your claim). John Kerry lied about his Christmas Eve trip to Cambodia. It may be that members of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have lied; from a story I read today it certainly appears that Swiftee Al French lied to his boss about an affair he had (but that was just a lie about sex, right?). What I am amused at is liberals like A Hermit reacting like a Victorian lady with the vapors at the notion of calling veterans liars when in fact liberals are quite free to call the Swiftees liars.

(Update II Contd) So far, the only veterans who seem to be proven liars are John Kerry, Kerry crewman and supporter David Alston (who has disappeared), and Al French about an affair that he had ten years ago, not about his Vietnam service. Kerry lied about being in Cambodia on December 24, 1968. Even the Kerry campaign admits this. Alston could not have witnessed the things he describes Kerry doing, at least not according to Douglas Brinkley's Tour of Duty, which shows that Alston was out for the entire month of February, as demonstrated by the fact that Kerry's entire crew got medals in the February 28, 1969 Silver Star incident, except for Alston.
Howell Raines on Intelligence

Sigh. It never fails. The Republican candidate is a dope, while the Democrat is a genius of staggering intellect. As it was with Eisenhower-Stevenson, Ford-Carter, Reagan-Carter, Reagan-Mondale, Bush-Dukakis, Dole-Clinton, and Bush-Gore, we again hear the refrain about Bush-Kerry being a matchup of intellectual unequals.

One highly imperfect but salient way to do so is at the level of campaign tactics. Does anyone in America doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush? I'm sure the candidates' SATs and college transcripts would put Kerry far ahead. Yet, at this point in the campaign, Bush deserves an A or a high B -- instead of a gentleman's C -- when it comes to neutralizing Kerry's knowledge advantage.

That's pretty silly. For starters, a high IQ does not imply a knowledge advantage; it implies a superior ability to learn. A boy of 10 with an IQ of 150 does not have a knowledge advantage over a housewife of 30 with an IQ of 100.

And I personally doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush. As for the SATs, we know that President Bush had a combined SAT score of 1206, which reportedly puts him in the 95th percentile. John Kerry could settle this matter by releasing his SATs.

We also know that John Kerry was far from an excellent student. From Tour of Duty, page 60:

"I used to fly [small planes] instead of going to class," Kerry confessed. "I majored in flying my senior year."

And from page 47: "I was a capable student but not a very dedicated one."

Again, this is something that could be settled by Kerry authorizing Yale to release his transcripts. I have a hunch that will not happen.
The Changing Commendations

This is pretty interesting.

The new citation for his Silver Star lauds the ex-Navy lieutenant's "brave action, bold initiative and unwavering devotion to duty" during a Feb. 28, 1969, enemy ambush.

That language, signed by Reagan-era Navy Secretary John Lehman, was not included in the 1969 original issued by Navy Pacific Fleet Commander John Hyland.

The citation for Kerry's Bronze Star, issued for rescuing Green Beret Jim Rassman in the Mekong Delta, adds that Kerry's "complete dedication to duty reflected great credit upon himself."

Curiouser and curiouser.

Plot thickens after checking records
The Kerry campaign has repeatedly stated that the official naval records prove the truth of Kerry's assertions about his service.
But the official records on Kerry's Web site only add to the confusion. The DD214 form, an official Defense Department document summarizing Kerry's military career posted on johnkerry.com, includes a "Silver Star with combat V."
But according to a U.S. Navy spokesman, "Kerry's record is incorrect. The Navy has never issued a 'combat V' to anyone for a Silver Star."
Naval regulations do not allow for the use of a "combat V" for the Silver Star, the third-highest decoration the Navy awards. None of the other services has ever granted a Silver Star "combat V," either.

Kerry's Web site also lists two different citations for the Silver Star. One was issued by the commander in chief of the Pacific Command (CINCPAC), Adm. John Hyland. The other, issued by Secretary of the Navy John Lehman during the Reagan administration, contained some revisions and additional language. "By his brave actions, bold initiative, and unwavering devotion to duty, Lieutenant (j.g.) Kerry reflected great credit upon himself... ."
But a third citation exists that appears to be the earliest. And it is not on the Kerry campaign Web site. It was issued by Vice Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, commander of U.S. naval forces in Vietnam. This citation lacks the language in the Hyland citation or that added by the Lehman version, but includes another 170 words in a detailed description of Kerry's attack on a Viet Cong ambush, his killing of an enemy soldier carrying a loaded rocket launcher, as well as military equipment captured and a body count of dead enemy.

Kerry's Web site also carries a DD215 form revising his DD214, issued March 12, 2001, which adds four bronze campaign stars to his Vietnam service medal. The campaign stars are issued for participation in any of the 17 Department of Defense named campaigns that extended from 1962 to the cease-fire in 1973.
However, according to the Navy spokesman, Kerry should only have two campaign stars: one for "Counteroffensive, Phase VI," and one for "Tet69, Counteroffensive."

For reference:
Here is the page listing
Kerry’s Military records.

Here's the DD-214:

It clearly shows the Silver Star with combat "V" (along with his Bronze Star with combat "V").

Here's the DD-215 correction:
It doesn't mention the Silver Star.
It says "Delete: Vietnam Service Medal. Add: Vietnam Service Medal with 4 bronze stars."
It appears to be dated March 12, 2001 (20010312).

Et Tu, Mumia?

Even left-wing icon (and convicted cop-killer) Mumia Abu-Jamal recognizes that Kerry's foreign policy hopes are ridiculous.

When, or if, a President Kerry speaks softly and perhaps in French, to Europeans, seeking an infusion of European troops into the rolling ruins of a burning Iraq, he will hear a polite yet firm response: "Pardon! Monsieur Kerry--mais non!" ("Sorry, Mr. Kerry--but no!")

Hat Tip: Best of the Web Today
Prestopundit: Did Brinkley Create the Swift Boat Vets for Truth?

We've hinted at this before, but I don't think we've said it directly. Prestopundit connects the dots.

DID DOUGLAS BRINKLEY single-handedly create John Kerry's Swift Boat nightmare? It appears so. First Douglas Brinkley inspired the founding of "Swift Boat Vets for Truth" with his book "Tour of Duty".

The only quibble I would have is with the term "single-handedly". It should be obvious that Le Fraude himself is as much responsible for Tour of Duty as Brinkley, especially its portrayal of Swift Boat Vets leaders Hoffman and Lonsdale. I do think that even without Tour of Duty there would have been a veterans' backlash against Kerry, and that John O'Neill would have had a significant role.
Showing That We Can Laugh At Ourselves

As you know, we support the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. But some Democrats have put together a parody of the Swiftees site that is actually pretty amusing. My favorite bit:

"George used to tell anyone who'd listen about the time he rescued a six-pack of Budweiser when it fell overboard a few miles offshore from Galveston. The way he'd tell the story, he lunged over the side of the boat, with no regard for his own safety, and snagged the Buds with his injured hand, which he'd cut earlier that day opening a beer can.

Only, I was there, and it didn't happen that way.

Now that is funny!

(Later note: Looking at this on the screen, I could see that some might become confused about the "laughing at ourselves" part of the title. For the record, I am not a Swift boat veteran, or a veteran at all.)
Steyn: Kerry Won't Get Three and Out from the Swiftees

This is one of those articles where it's really hard to pick just one paragraph to summarize.

The flaw in the Senator’s strategy to run for president as a plucky 24-year-old Swift boat lieutenant was an obvious one. The argument that his Swift boat command demonstrates his superb qualities of leadership falls apart once you notice his striking lack of the first ingredient of leadership: followers. Aside from the three or four Swiftees who’ve been persuaded to travel around the country with him, all the hundreds of other Swiftvets loathe him, and many of them are determined to stick to him like DNA to Monica’s dress. This was entirely foreseeable — I’ve been getting emails from aggrieved veterans for two years now, so I’d guess the Democrats have too.

But the party that likes to sneer that Bush never had a plan to deal with Iraq’s inevitable insurgents doesn’t seem to mind that Kerry never had a plan to deal with the Swiftees’ equally inevitable insurgents. A guy awash in gazillions from Barbra Streisand and co. who can’t see off a couple of hundred middle-aged ‘liars’ and their minimal ad-buy? Is that really the fellow you want to put up against al-Qa’eda, the ayatollahs and Kim Jong-Il?
O'Neill: We're Not Pro-Bush But Anti-Kerry

John O'Neill has a piece in the WSJ this morning.

Are we controlled by the Bush-Cheney campaign? Absolutely not. The Swift boat veterans who joined our group come in all political flavors: independents, Republicans, Democrats and other more subtle variations. Had another person been the presidential candidate of the Democrats, our group never would have formed. Had Mr. Kerry been the Republican candidate, each of us would still be here.

The reason behind Kerry's desperate attempt to connect the Swift Boat Vets with the Bush campaign is simple: He can't attack them without being inconsistent otherwise. As I pointed out last night, Max Cleland makes a big deal about how "Bush" has now smeared three veterans (McCain, Cleland himself, and John Kerry), and Max wants him to stop smearing Kerry by smearing 254 other Vietnam vets.

What is disturbing is how many supposedly "responsible" liberals have picked up this charge and run with it. Peter Beinart of the New Republic, who has written some pretty darn good articles, was on Hugh Hewitt's radio show yesterday, began reciting this line chapter and verse. "Obviously" the Swift Boat Vets are coordinating with the Bush campaign. Indeed, he seemed to be admitting that Kerry and Move-On are coordinating as well. This is typical of liberals; ignore the rules, except when you think Republicans are breaking them.

Kitty has said this insistently and now I get her point: This is between the veterans and John Kerry. It has nothing to do with Bush.

The blog
Large-Regular has a running day-by-day account of Kerry’s potential meltdown. How soon we can forget names like Michael Kranish, Mary Ann Knowles, David Alston and William Ferris. And remember the term "just another goofy Ensign" ? It’s in there!

No Way to Run a Campaign
If it seems to you like every day something new and damaging to the Kerry Campaign pops up - it's because literally almost every day something damaging to the campaign has popped up.
Let's take a look at the month of August to illustrate how the Kerry Campaign has truly been the gang that couldn't shoot straight. (How come nobody has been fired for this epic bumbling?)
Aug. 1 - Normally a candidate gets a "bounce" in the polls immediately after his convention - not so for Kerry.

Hat tip to


Schachte didn’t want to get involved until Kerry challenged his credibility. So he granted an interview with Robert Novak.

Swift boat interview
By Robert Novak
Retired Rear Adm. William L. Schachte Jr. said Thursday in his first on-the-record interview about the Swift boat veterans dispute that "I was absolutely in the skimmer" in the early morning on Dec. 2, 1968, when Lt. (j.g.) John Kerry was involved in an incident which led to his first Purple Heart.
"Kerry nicked himself with a M-79 (grenade launcher)," Schachte said in a telephone interview from his home in Charleston, S.C. He said, "Kerry requested a Purple Heart."

Schachte said it "was not possible" for Kerry to have gone out alone so soon after joining the Swift boat command in late November of 1968.

Grant Hibbard, who as a lieutenant commander was Schachte's superior officer, confirmed that Schachte always went on these skimmer missions and "I don't think he (Kerry) was alone" on his first assignment. Hibbard said he had told Kerry to "forget it" when he asked for a Purple Heart.

"I was astonished by Kerry's version" (in his book, "Tour of Duty") of what happened Dec. 2, Schachte said Thursday. When asked to support the Kerry critics in the Swift boat controversy, Schachte said, "I didn't want to get involved." But he said he gradually began to change his mind when he saw his own involvement and credibility challenged, starting with Lanny Davis on CNN's "Crossfire" Aug. 12.


Chris, at KerryWaffles, is excited as hell since he saw President Bush in Albuquerque the other day. Read his account of seeing Bush. He’s loaded pictures, including a couple of Chris, and short video clips, plus he was interviewed for the news!!

Chris’s Excellent Adventures:
The crowds to see our President were amazing. 12,000 people in lines that stretched 4 city blocks. To our left were the John Kerry protestors against Bush. They were dressed in green t-shirts from some Kerry 527 group. The funniest thing about this rag tag bunch was their numbers. Only 40 people. 12,000 versus 40

I was also interviewed by Action 7 News. The reporter asked me why I was there. My response was, “Kerry lied about his service in Vietnam. Kerry smeared our vets with Jane Fonda when he came back. His Senate career has produced nothing and he doesn’t show up for work. He’s a poodle to rich women. Most importantly, he’s Al Qaeda’s choice for President. John Kerry scares the living hell out of me!” My Dad grinned and said, “That’ll never make it on the air.” It did and more on that later. After going through security, we finally made it into the air-conditioned comfort of the Convention Center.

On cue, out comes President Bush. The applause was deafening. Forget what our media has been conning us into believing. This man is a terrific speaker. He sounds like the guy next door. Somebody that you can relate to.


Pat Hynes, at CrushKerry, has written a piece for The American Spectator detailing how Kerry is suffering from (once again) self-inflicted wounds.

By Patrick Hynes
"The Kerry campaign has misplayed this issue from day one. Their incompetence has exposed a glass jaw, a fragile one at that," David Carney told The American Spectator. Carney served as White House Political Director for President George H. W. Bush.

Even Democrats agree. "The old chestnut is 'never repeat the charge.' Well, Kerry repeats it every morning with yet another harebrained stunt designed to discredit the Swiftees," one experienced Democrat operative, who asked to remain nameless, told us. "The Kerry campaign is helping to sear questions about their own candidate's honesty and service to his country into peoples' minds."

[I]n a political environment boiling with talk of war and terror threats, who wants a weak president?

Even one Democratic operative close to the Kerry campaign, who spoke to us on the condition of anonymity, expressed frustration that Kerry's signature issue has been tarnished. "We have spent months portraying this image. War hero, war hero, war hero. That's all we've talked about. Now, whenever we bring it up, we'll always be asked about the Swiftees," the operative stated.


There's hatred for John Kerry in America's Vietnamese community.

Little Saigon Eyes Kerry
By Pete Peterson
In "America's Most Republican County" (350 elected officials; registration 48.5% Rep./30.6% Dem.) Senator Kerry is considered a traitor to the Vietnamese cause. His anti-war antics that helped launch a thousand boats, coupled with his shelving of the 2001 Vietnam Human Rights Act (a litmus test for a majority of Vietnamese no matter what party), gives President Bush a golden opportunity to woo an often overlooked minority voting block.
"Kerry's action burned bridges nationwide" within the Vietnamese community, according to Garden Grove councilman and Republican California State Assembly candidate Van Tran. Sponsored in the House by Christopher Smith and co-sponsored by the unlikely bipartisan duo of Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA, whose district crosses into Little Saigon), the human rights act passed by a margin of 410-1. Kerry, then ranking member of the Senate subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, did not allow the legislation to come to the floor for a vote.

"It is intriguing about this election that Vietnam is coming in to play," Tran muses. "Vietnamese-Americans haven't forgotten John Kerry's anti-war stance. It would not be too much to say there is some hatred for him in the community." With a population of over a million in the U.S., and almost half of that in California, this sizable and vocal minority voting block may have some resonance during this election cycle.

AS FOR KERRY'S HANDLING of the 2001 Vietnam Human Rights Act, Nguyen says it further emboldened the communist government. "We accept democratic debate. We won almost unanimously in the House. When Kerry used his influence to squash the bill in the Senate, it was like he was thumbing his nose at us and making a mockery of the process." He says that the communist government has used Senator Kerry to make a point at home. "They make fun of America and its 'process.' They know that all they need to do is get one Senator to get what they want."
Nguyen says that the government has used the bill's defeat to enact a new crackdown on religious freedom in Vietnam. On the street in Little Saigon, people take a blunter view, and refer to Kerry as a communist sympathizer.

If There Were No Fox News....

The New York Times would have been able to ignore the Swift Vets' story.

Alison Mitchell, deputy national editor for The New York Times (Click for QuikCap), points to the changing media landscape and its impact on what newspapers choose to cover. "I'm not sure that in an era of no-cable television we would even have looked into it," she said. Near the top of a front-page article on Tuesday, the Times referred to the "mostly unsubstantiated accusations" of Kerry's swift boat critics.
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Swift Vet Roundup

Kerry's testimony used against US POWs in North Vietnam.

Rear Admiral Schacte: Kerry's first Purple Heart self-inflicted.

Nutty Bob Herbert reports that Max Cleland says "Keep in mind, this president has gone after three Vietnam veterans in four years. That's got to stop." And how would Mr Cleland like Bush to stop? By attacking some 254 Vietnam veterans.

Speaking of Cleland, did you know he was appointed to a $136,000 a year post by President Bush?

The New York Times, pathetically, rolls out the widow of a Swift boat skipper to tell us her husband certainly thought John Kerry a fine sailor. And just to affirm that she's a disinterested third party, they provide this:

Judith Droz Keyes, a lawyer, was a delegate to the 2004 Democratic convention.
I Have a Special Hat Too

Another Foreign Leader for Kerry

And Remember, As Vince Lombardo Said...

Via Hugh Hewitt and the Kerry Spot, CBS News reports:

On Wednesday, Kerry made his third visit to Green Bay, Wis., this year and made it a point to focus on the main thing the city revolves around: football and the Green Bay Packers.

As he was taking questions from the audience, he referred to the legendary Packers stadium, Lambeau Field (which has been called that for 39 years) as "Lambert Field."

Tour of Doo-Doo Part II

Here's another problem with Tour of Duty.

Error #1. Page 9 of the photos shows a photo at the bottom of the page which says "A Swift boat convoy heading up the Bo De River". However, if you look at the picture right above of another Swift boat (PCF-9), it should be obvious that the boats shown in the lower picture are not Swift boats. According to a post over at Michelle Malkin's blog, they are PBR's.

Previous Tour of Doo-Doo post.
Blogger Roundup

ACE gives us the news that Kerry's testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee back in 1971 will shown be on C-Span tonight.

Paul at Bush-Haters finds himself agreeing with Donald Rumsfeld. NOTE: Paul seems to be a nice guy, but his blog is obviously, given the name, diametrically opposed to our blog. If you go over there, please don't troll in his comments. Kerry Haters has picked up a few reasonable Democratic readers who use intelligent arguments and link to stories making their points. A Hermit, for example, has been vigorously attacking the Swiftees, but not with ad hominem comments, but by linking to articles (if only James Carville, Lanny Davis and Chris Mathews tried that approach). That's the way to influence people on the other side of the political spectrum.

Matt's Rants doesn't buy Terry McAwful's argument that the Democrats are not aiding the morons who will be protesting the Republican National Convention next week.

I wonder how many left wingers realize that Tom Daschle's ads in his Senate campaign in South Dakota feature Disappointed Boy hugging President Bush! Daschle V Thune explains why South Dakotans shouldn't be misled by Daschle's pretense of bipartisanship.
Nickname Roundup

It's been awhile for this Kerry Haters tradition, but here's your chance to add to the list of nicknames we've found for Senator John F. Kerry:

Le Fraude, International Man of Apology, The New-Wonk of Nuance, Lord of Louisburg Square, the Boston Fog Machine, Nuancy Boy, Botoxicated Brahmin, Lurch, Herman Munster, International Man of Mystery, the Pandescenderer, Flipper, Mr Ed, Ol' Horseface, Flapjack, John Facade Kerry, John F'ing Kerry, John F Skerry (Scarey), Live Shot, The Againster, DYKWIA, Botox Boy, Ol' Sourpuss, Hanoi John, Hanoi Boi, Pterodactyl, Man from Mope, A Dressed-Up Abbie Hoffman, Scary Kerry Quite Contrary, International Man of Science, Running Eagle, International Man of Farming, The Wizard of Wienieness, The Frenchurian Candidate, Senator Botox, the Boston Strangler.

Bring it on!
All Indicators Agree; Kerry is Sinking

The LA Times couldn't oversample Democrats enough to manage to show a lead for Kerry. They report Bush leading by 49%-46%, but get this:

With independent voters splitting evenly in the survey between the two men, one key to Bush's tentative new advantage was his greater success at consolidating his base. While 3% of voters who called themselves Republicans said they would vote for Kerry, Bush drew 15% of all Democrats, and 20% of Democrats who consider themselves moderate or conservative, the poll found.

Crush Kerry found some more details. Apparently Republicans prefer President Bush by a 93%-3% margin, while Democrats broke for Kerry by 81%-15%. I did some playing with the numbers and it looks like they significantly oversampled Democrats. If we assume that the independent voters made up 30% of the respondents, then the only way the numbers could work is if 38% of those polled were Democrats and 32% Republican. So even with the polling skewed with almost 20% more Democrats than Republicans, Kerry still loses by 3 points. No wonder the Republicans for Kerry blog is having trouble getting a real Republican to run the blog.

And it's not as if nobody's noticing. The Iowa Electronic Markets shows President Bush with a pretty significant lead right now.
Swift Vets Hit Kerry On Christmas in Cambodia

The third ad is out here. This is going to be a tough ad for Kerry; it ensures that the Cambodia story stays front and center, and it's the one aspect of his service that he won't be able to get anybody to cover for him, since he's already admitted he lied about it.

Hat Tip: KH Reader Chuck (aka Phillies Fan)
Thursdays 'R' for Thune--Updated

(Note: This post will be promoted to the top periodically during the day. Please scroll down for newer content.)

Update: Longtime KH reader Gayle sent me a copy of a letter she received from Bill Clinton. Get this:

"Don't put John Kerry in the position I faced when I was President--an obstructionist Congress thwarting my every move."

We can certainly agree with the first part of that--let's not put John Kerry in the same position Bill Clinton was in in 1993. And let's help President Bush by getting rid of Tom Daschle. End update.

Kerry Haters have adopted the John Thune for Senate campaign as our second priority in 2004. It is important not only to win the presidency, but to make sure that President Bush has the necessary people in Washington who will work with him in his second term, not obstruct him as Tom "I'm very disappointed" Daschle has done.

Here's the revelevant section of John's biography:

In 1996, John decided it was time to stop talking about the need for smaller government and lower taxes and do something about it. With a shoestring budget and the support of family and friends, he set out across the state discussing the issues. After a hard-fought campaign, he won his first term as South Dakota’s lone member of Congress. John was reelected to a second term by the largest margin in South Dakota history. He returned again to Washington in 2001 to serve his third term in the House.

Thune amassed an impressive legislative record. He fought for South Dakota’s priorities while working with his colleagues to balance the federal budget, reduce taxes on hard-working Americans, and give our nation the tools it needs to create jobs and protect our homeland.

As a member of the House Transportation Committee, John worked to secure record funding commitments for highway and bridge projects across our state. Following the record-setting blizzards and floods of 1997, he led the fight for disaster assistance for South Dakota in the House. Working with Congress and President George W. Bush, he was able to secure approval of critical water projects such as the historic Lewis and Clark Rural Water System. As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, John had the opportunity to work hard for South Dakota farmers and ranchers to write a new Farm Bill and successfully added County of Origin Labeling to the bill. Along with other dedicated leaders from across our state, John has led in the development of value-added agriculture.

As we reported last week, the Thune/Daschle race is a tight one, with Daschle's lead inside the margin of error of the polls. And that was before the first debate, where Thune beat Disappointed Boy like a bongo drum. But remember, money is the mother's milk of politics. Tom Daschle will not lack for help from the Democrats; they know that a Thune victory would be a real black eye for them.

Please look in your wallet and see if you can cut loose with a spare $25 or $50 to help John Thune beat Tom Daschle. You can also send a check to:

John Thune for US Senate
P.O. Box 3308
Sioux Falls, SD 57101

If sending a check, please include your employer name and occupation, for federal election monitoring purposes.
Even If Kerry Is Telling the Truth

Lorie Byrd notes eight things that we've learned from the Swiftees.

4) John Kerry believes in free speech only if those speaking it agree with him. If they don't, they face lawyers trying to silence them, attempts to ban their book, personal attacks, and attempts to have their ads pulled.
Let Me Make One Thing Perfectly Clear

John Kerry, speaking Tuesday in Philadelphia:

"The truth, which is what elections are all about, is that the tax burden of the middle class has gone up while the tax burden of the middle class has gone down," he said.

Hat Tip: John Kerry Question Fairy, an intelligent, funny blog that I highly recommend.
Request Your Post Be Linked

I've been too busy lately to do my usual blogger roundups. So I thought I'd try something different to reward the other bloggers who are also Kerry Haters readers. I'd like you to nominate a post of yours to be included in a blogger roundup post this afternoon/evening. We will link to all the posts, provided they are: a) not anti-President Bush or Pro-John Kerry, and b) reasonably clean. Please include the link to your post in the text of your comment (I compose my comments in blogger, then paste into the comments section).

Remember, this blog gets about 1,400 hits a day. Here's your chance to get some of our traffic!
Caption It Yourself!


Yesterday, while Max Cleland wheeled himself into Crawford doing Kerry’s dirty work, Kerry was busy with his beloved photo-ops: playing football and impersonating a lobster. The irony of Kerry proudly displaying boxing gloves while he doesn’t have the courage to face the Swift Boat Vets or Bush himself.

lost two legs and an arm in Vietnam — hence the wheelchair — but we won't patronize him by pretending he is anything other than what he became after losing his Senate re-election race two years ago: bitterly resentful, highly partisan and an effective deflector shield for Kerry whenever the latter's military bona fides are called into question.
There is some irony in this.
Cleland earned no Purple Heart for his grievous injuries (they were not suffered in combat), and he regularly is called on to defend Kerry — who received three Purple Hearts, but who seems not to have a scar on his lanky body to show for it.

But the Bush people had a compelling counter:
"You can't have it both ways. You can't build your convention and much of your campaign around your service in Vietnam, and then try to say that only those veterans who agree with you have a right to speak up," said a Bush spokesman.
Quite so.
We suspect that anti-Kerry vets are more angry with what the senator said and did after returning from Vietnam than about whatever happened — or didn't happen — while he was there.

From Kerry's testimony on April 22, 1971 United States Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Washington, D.C.
I said, "If I take some crippled veterans doesn't to the White House and we chain ourselves to the gates, will we get coverage?" "Oh, yes, we will cover that."



Click on the picture for more on the documentary.

Judgment and Character
By R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
There was his early lie that he never made an issue about being Irish. Then there was his lie to feminists that his first speech in Congress was in support of abortion rights. In both instances fact checkers exposed him. Then there was the imbroglio over his skiing exploits where he denied that he suffers the occasional mishap while skiing. At a Colorado ski resort in his boastful (and vengeful) mode Kerry claimed, "I don't fall down. That son of a bitch ran into me." From his bruised gluteus maximus he pointed to an embarrassed member of his Secret Service detail. His falls were a matter of record. And forget not the dispute over his claim that "foreign leaders" told him they endorsed his presidency, though his travel records revealed his claim to be preposterous. Since then Kerry has been caught lying about the vehicles he owns. He has been ensnared in lies about policy and legislation. There have been other scrapes, schedules revised for $100 haircuts, scrapes where he has been overheard calling the Bush Administration "crooked." And now we have all his conjurings with his Vietnam record and the records of his combat critics.
What ought to be raised is the issue of his judgment. What does it tell you about this fantastico that he has made his controversial service of 35 years ago the fulcrum on which he wages his campaign for the presidency?

Do we really want a reckless self-promoter governing us in time of war? Do we want a man with so little judgment and regard for the truth overseeing American foreign and domestic policy?

By The Prowler
"We have the documents," says the campaign source. "It's not clear that the campaign did this or that it was done by an outside group and given to us. Either way, we have the stuff and we're going to use it."
In some cases, the material is said to include psychological evaluations from the post-Vietnam era, employment records, and criminal and civil court records (including divorce and child support data).

"The only way they are going to get out of this is through a war of attrition and with the help of the media," says the Democratic strategist. "You watch CNN and Chris Matthews and read the New York Times and you can just tell from the faces of the anchors and the words on the page that they are disgusted by this story and want to wash their hands of it. Kerry has to figure out a way to make it easy for them to do it, and that's through dirty politics of their own."

This info was first reported by
CrushKerry from a source inside the DNC 3 weeks ago here, the infamous “BROWN BOOKS.”

The Ad That Worked
By David Frum
The people who keep track of these things expect 2004 to be the first billion-dollar election in American history. Yet the single most effective ad campaign of the election cycle has thus far cost only about $500,000: the campaign launched at the beginning of this month by the new anti-Kerry group, Swiftboat Veterans for Truth.

According to some reports, the Swiftboat vets' site is now drawing more traffic than the official Kerry-Edwards Web site, and the little group's servers have been overwhelmed.

Kerry made himself vulnerable by refusing to acknowledge his anti-war past. Throughout this campaign, Kerry has refused to reconcile the contradiction between praising Vietnam veterans as his "band of brothers"--and his own accusations against his "brothers" back in 1971. At the convention in Boston, Kerry could have and should have done so, in much the same way that George W. Bush acknowledged and dispatched his youthful errors in his speech at Philadelphia in 2000. ("I believe in grace because I've seen it, and peace because I've felt it, and forgiveness because I've needed it.")
Kerry, however, could not bring himself to reckon with the dark passages in his own life. And the brothers he once scorned are now stepping forward to repudiate him in their turn.

The Chutzpah Campaign
By James Taranto
Ginsburg tendered his resignation today to defuse the controversy. Yet if you read the articles all the way through, you find that this is either a complete nonstory or something of which both sides are equally guilty. Here are the final two paragraphs of the AP dispatch:
Joe Sandler, a lawyer for the [Democratic National Committee] and a group running anti-Bush ads, MoveOn.org, said there is nothing wrong with serving in both roles at once.
In addition to the [Federal Elections Commission's] coordination rules, attorneys are ethically bound to maintain attorney-client confidentiality, Sandler said. They could lose their law license if they violate that, he said.
And here's the fourth paragraph of the Times piece:

The campaign of Senator John Kerry shares a lawyer, Robert Bauer, with America Coming Together, a liberal group that is organizing a huge multimillion-dollar get-out-the-vote drive that is far more ambitious than the Swift boat group's activities. Mr. Ginsberg said his role was no different from Mr. Bauer's.


Unfit to Soldier
By George Neumayr
In the 1970s, John Kerry complained of Nixonian pols intimidating Vietnam veterans into silence. Now Kerry has become one of those intimidating pols himself. Kerry seeks to confiscate Unfit for Command with a zeal rarely seen since Richard Nixon went after the Pentagon Papers.

Max Cleland, Kerry's emissary to Crawford, Texas, demands that the president of the United States muzzle Vietnam veterans and stop their "slanderous attacks" against Kerry because "if one veteran's record is called into question, the service of all American veterans is questioned."
On those grounds, Nixon could have prevented the publication of The New Soldier, Kerry's slanderous attacks on the American military. What are Vietnam Veterans Against Kerry saying that he didn't say himself? … Since Vietnam veterans who oppose Kerry aren't supposed to speak before an election, perhaps an advertisement consisting wholly of Kerry's own self-indictment could appear. Or do his words constitute actionable slander too?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Walter Mitty Scores Again!

This is the Guy Who's Going to Stare Down Iran and North Korea?

Tour of Doo-Doo

On balance Tour of Duty by Douglas Brinkley has been an unmitigated disaster for the Kerry campaign. Conceived as a hagiography of the candidate it has mutated until it has become one of the most potent weapons against John Kerry.

Tour of Duty established that not only did John Kerry know he couldn't back up the Christmas Eve in Cambodia story, but that he was running away from it as hard as he could when the book was published. That Brinkley did not mention any actual incursion into Cambodia in his account was quite startling and resulted in my longer follow up to Kitty's original post, breaking the news to Kerry Haters readers almost 80 days before the rest of the world heard of the story that Kerry had claimed to be in Cambodia on 12/24/68 and now was backing away from that claim.

But the book has been an embarrassment in other ways to its author. As time goes by a surprising accumulation of errors, omissions, distortions and conflicts has arisen. So I am starting a series of posts on these problems with Tour of Duty. Please feel free to mention other errors that you or other blogs have found in the book.

Conflict #1: Christmas Eve in Cambodia. Kerry has claimed at many times to have been illegaly in Cambodia on Christmas Eve, 1968; Brinkley declined to mention the actual border crossing. As a conflict this has been resolved in Brinkley's favor, with the Kerry campaign now acknowledging that Kerry was not in Cambodia on 12/24/68.

Distortion #1 and Omission #1 Christmas Eve in Cambodia. Although Brinkley did not actually place Kerry in Cambodia, he did make a ferocious attempt to conceal that fact. The book covers Christmas Eve from pages 209-219. On page 209:

...[T]he crew headed their Swift up the Co Chien River to the its junction with the My Tho only miles from the Cambodian Border. Because they were only an hour away from that neighboring country...

Here's a map of the area. As you can see, the Co Chien meets the My Tho at Vinh Long, which is before Sa Dec. But we know Sa Dec is about 58 miles from the Cambodian border. Vinh Long appears to be another 12 miles or so further than Sa Dec, which would make the total distance at that point 70 miles. So to say it was only miles away, or only an hour away (in a boat that reportedly got up to 23 MPH) is a distortion.

Brinkley goes on and on about the proximity to Cambodia without ever quite putting Kerry in that country, despite the memory that was seared--seared in the junior senator from Massachusetts. It seems plain to me that Brinkley was trying hard to create an impression that was untrue to save Kerry on the Christmas in Cambodia story, which he had to have heard, because it was published in the July 2003 series on Kerry in the Boston Globe.

The Christmas Eve truce of 1968 was three minutes old when mortar fire exploded around John Forbes Kerry... [t]o top it off, Kerry said, he had gone several miles inside Cambodia, which theoretically was off limits, prompting Kerry to send a sarcastic message to his superiors that he was writing from the Navy's "most inland unit."

I'm sorry, I just don't see how Brinkley completely missed the story about Kerry claiming to have been in Cambodia on Christmas Eve. Was he obligated to expose Kerry on that issue? Debatable, but Brinkley certainly appears to be guilty of omission and distortion here.

Next Tour of Doo-Doo Post Here
Who Throws Better, Kerry, or Bobby Layne?

I'd have to guess Kerry, but not by much. After all, Bobby Layne's been dead for 18 years.

And what's with the yellow bracelet? Is this another daisy zipper pull incident?
Chapter 5 of Unfit for Command

Wow. I have always agreed with Hugh Hewitt that we shouldn't be debating the medals, that it's much easier to hang him on the Cambodia story and on his anti-war behavior. But after reading this chapter, I gotta admit, maybe we should be focusing on the medals.

The problem that Kerry has is that there are too many stories that don't quite mesh with his recollections(including some of his own). Tour of Duty, which was largely written from Kerry's viewpoint, contains a stunning number of inaccuracies, errors and even an occasional rowback to rescue a Kerry anecdote or biographical datum that turned out to be unsupported by the testimony of even Kerry's few military friends.

But reading John O'Neill's book after reading Brinkley, suddenly all the inaccuracies and errors and rowbacks begin to make sense. It is obvious that Kerry constructed an elaborate fraud around his service in Vietnam. But he had a couple problems; nobody remembered events the way he did and his lies were susceptible to confusion in his own mind with real incidents, which meant that there are occasional stunning inconsistencies even in Kerry's own accounts. To give an example, consider the Christmas in Cambodia story juxtaposed with the passage cited yesterday in the Joshua Muravchik piece in the Washington Post, where Kerry fantasized about what Cambodia well after he supposedly was there on Christmas Eve. How could Kerry miss that inconsistency? Because both things were true to him, even though they would be obviously inconsistent to anyone looking hard for it.

Read it all. Great stuff.

Secret FBI Documents Reveal Kerry Accepted Laundered Contributions

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released recently declassified documents showing that Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry accepted laundered contributions for his 1996 re-election campaign from the Communist Chinese government and that, in exchange, he may have arranged meetings between Chinese aerospace executives and U.S. government officials.

Dear John Letter

Reading this letter, I'm reminded of the famous Celtics broadcaster Johnny Most's description of a particularly egregious foul:

"Oh! [Wilt] Chamberlain just jabbed his chin into [Bill] Russell's elbow!"

Kerry just jabbed his chin into President Bush's elbow.

Dear Senator Kerry,

We are pleased to welcome your campaign representatives to Texas today. We honor all our veterans, all whom have worn the uniform and served our country. We also honor the military and National Guard troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan today. We are very proud of all of them and believe they deserve our full support.

That’s why so many veterans are troubled by your vote AGAINST funding for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, after you voted FOR sending them into battle. And that’s why we are so concerned about the comments you made AFTER you came home from Vietnam. You accused your fellow veterans of terrible atrocities – and, to this day, you have never apologized. Even last night, you claimed to be proud of your post-war condemnation of our actions.

We’re proud of our service in Vietnam. We served honorably in Vietnam and we were deeply hurt and offended by your comments when you came home.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t build your convention and much of your campaign around your service in Vietnam, and then try to say that only those veterans who agree with you have a right to speak up. There is no double standard for our right to free speech. We all earned it.

You said in 1992 “we do not need to divide America over who served and how.” Yet you and your surrogates continue to criticize President Bush for his service as a fighter pilot in the National Guard.

We are veterans too – and proud to support President Bush. He’s been a strong leader, with a record of outstanding support for our veterans and for our troops in combat. He’s made sure that our troops in combat have the equipment and support they need to accomplish their mission.

He has increased the VA health care budget more than 40% since 2001 – in fact, during his four years in office, President Bush has increased veterans funding twice as much as the previous administration did in eight years ($22 billion over 4 years compared to $10 billion over 8.) And he’s praised the service of all who served our country, including your service in Vietnam.

We urge you to condemn the double standard that you and your campaign have enforced regarding a veteran’s right to openly express their feelings about your activities on return from Vietnam.


Texas State Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson
Rep. Duke Cunningham
Rep. Duncan Hunter
Rep. Sam Johnson
Lt. General David Palmer
Robert O'Malley, Medal of Honor Recipient
James Fleming, Medal of Honor Recipient
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Castle (Ret.)

Ow! As Bill Clinton would say, you might want to put some ice on that, John!
Kerry's Real Band of Brothers

This is pretty good.
Swift Boat Vets Ad One of the Classics

Michael Doyle of the Sacramento Bee points out that the Swift Boat Vets ad is already one of the most famous political ads in history; arguably topped only by the Willie Horton ad and LBJ's Daisy ad.

In a textbook example of how small-time buys can bring big returns, an ad originally purchased for a few battleground states has taken over the nationwide presidential campaign. If nothing else, that makes the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth effort a case study in political technique and journalistic practice.
Pushing Back for the Swiftees

One of the stronger arguments against the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is that several of the Swiftees had previously supported Kerry in his campaigns for the Senate. Notably, George Elliot, Roy Hoffman and Adrian Lonsdale (who all appeared in the first Swift Vets ad), had previously supported Kerry, with Elliot and Lonsdale riding to Kerry's rescue in 1996. From the New York Times:

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."

So what happened between 1996 and now that caused Lonsdale, Hoffman and Elliot to change their opinion of Kerry?

The Times provides the explanation:

It all began last winter, as Mr. Kerry was wrapping up the Democratic nomination. Mr. Lonsdale received a call at his Massachusetts home from his old commander in Vietnam, Mr. Hoffman, asking if he had seen the new biography of the man who would be president.


Both Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Lonsdale had publicly lauded Mr. Kerry in the past. But the book, Mr. Brinkley's "Tour of Duty," while it burnished Mr. Kerry's reputation, portrayed the two men as reckless leaders whose military approach had led to the deaths of countless sailors and innocent civilians. Several Swift boat veterans compared Mr. Hoffman to the bloodthirsty colonel in the film "Apocalypse Now" - the one who loves the smell of Napalm in the morning.

Indeed. Now the Times wants you to focus on Hoffman and Lonsdale's reneging on their support for Kerry. But you have to wonder about the stupidity and lack of loyalty on Kerry's part. These are men who rode to the rescue when Kerry was facing his toughest reelection contest, against then-Massachusetts Governor William Weld.

And it is certainly accurate to describe Tour of Duty as savaging the reputations of Hoffman and Lonsdale (the book is actually pretty sympathetic towards Elliot). Lonsdale is first mentioned on page 168 in connection with the Bo De Massacre, and it's safe to guess that his blood pressure must have risen on reading this passage:

Just before the incident, Brant had complained about the lack of air support to Area Commander A. L. Lonsdale. Undaunted, Lonsdale radioed back and ordered the boats to go in anyway. They did. Within five minutes of entering the Bo De River, the VC started firing from both banks and sliced the Swifts to ribbons. Seventeen men were wounded in the fiasco; one officer's leg was shot off. It seemed a miracle that no one was killed.

And this passage on page 298:

Lonsdale didn't really answer the lieutenants' questions, instead telling them that he was only doing what he was told and that he couldn't fight it.

Hoffman is described as a ladder climber/cowboy in this bit from page 177:

The new commander, hawkish Captain Roy Hoffman was ecstatic about Sealords. He knew that military reputations were made in wartime and he was determined to make his in Vietnam. What's more, he had a genuine taste for the more unsavory aspects of warfare, and truly wanted to smoke the Viet Cong out of their tunnels, burn their jungle outposts, and annihilate them once and for all... In short, Captain Hoffman sought to convince his Swift boat skippers to do whatever it took to notch splashy victories in the Mekong Delta and thereby get him promoted.
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