Skip to comments.Hugh Hewitt on SwiftVets and "Christmas in Cambodia"
Posted on 08/06/2004 2:57:40 PM PDT by Steven W.
The focus on the Swift Boat story is not where it should be (though the KerrySpot is working hard to get it where it needs to be.) The first question is does the book Unfit for Command contain new and credible information, and if so, what aspects of John Kerry's qualifications to be president does that information inform? The super-charged debate on the ad and the first Purple Heart are exactly the wrong places to begin the investigation. Journalists ought to instead ask "What's new in the book that is susceptible of being proven true or false, leading to increases or decreases in the critics' or Kerry's credibility?"
Which means they should start with the "Christmas in Cambodia" section of the chapter of the book already available online.
Incredibly, many people with opinions on the ad, the swift boat critics of Kerry and the relevance of Kerry's service haven't even bothered to obtain the free chapter of Unfit for Command, available from HumanEventsOnline. As I discussed at length on air yesterday, the most revealing --and easily checked-out-- story in the available chapter concerns the accusation in the book that John Kerry has for a long time, including during his Senate career, claimed that he was sent illegally into Cambodia on Christmas Eve, 1968. The book quotes Kerry saying in the Senate on March 27, 1986:
"I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by the Vietnamese and the Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and having the president of the United States telling the American people that I was not there; the troops were not in Cambodia. I have that memory which is seared --seared-- in me."
The book also quotes Kerry telling the Boston Herald the same story:
"I remember spending Christmas Eve of 1968 five miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our South Vietnamese allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas. The absurdity of almost being killed by our own allies in a country in which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops was very real."
Now some obvious things jump out here, including the fact that Nixon wasn't the president on Christmas Eve 1968, and that this tale doesn't show up in Douglas Brinkley's Tour of Duty. The new book concludes that "[d]espite the dramatic memories of his Christmas in Cambodia, Kerry's statements are complete lies. Kerry was never in Cambodia during Christmas 1968, or at all during the Vietnam War." If the book's conclusion is correct, and if it quotes Kerry correctly from the two sources, this is a major, major story, indicating that Kerry has lied in detail about a crucial part of his Vietnam biography. Such a sweeping -- indeed, almost pathological-- lie would undermine Kerry's credibility on all other aspects of his memories and recountings of his Vietnam experience. On the other hand, if the book's authors fabricated this section, the book's credibility is shot. One or the other is true: Someone is lying --either Kerry's critics or Kerry. And this should have been the lead today in many newspapers because the chapter was available yesterday.
I return to my point yesterday: This book's allegations should receive the same scrutiny as Michael Moore's and Terry McAuliffe's charges about George Bush being AWOL received. They have not yet received anything like that sort of examination; proof, I think, of a huge double-standard among the media elites in favor of John Kerry.
The next time John Kerry comes in range of a serious interview, he ought to be asked, in this order, these exact questions:
Have you ever claimed to have been in Cambodia during your Vietnam service?
When did you make that claim?
Did you make that claim in the Senate on March 27, 1986?
Were you sent to Cambodia?
If his story has not changed since 1986, the evidence of that story having been fabricated can then be truthed. If Kerry recants, the seasoned interviewer will ask questions about his motive for lying so forcefully and in such detail, especially in his capacity as a United States Senator, and what he measures the damage to his own credibility given that lie and the place from which it was delivered. But someone has to ask these questions. Will anyone? (Other than Roger L. Simon, who is on the same kick as I am. I mean someone with Kerry in a studio.)
Recall that when Tim Russert had Kerry on last, Kerry falsely stated that he had released all of his military and health records. Then Kerry stonewalled and then he finally allowed some papers to be released, but not all of them, and the press has let the matter drop. Before we even approach the moe controversial allegations being made about Kerry --see Kevin McCullough's blog today for some interesting audio in this area-- let's establish some understandings about Kerry's credibility on Vietnam-era story telling. It isn't hard to do, and it could put this book on the remainder shelf very quickly if Kerry's been falsely maligned, or damage Kerry's believability beyond repair.
If you make up an illegal order to cross into Cambodia, after all, what else wouldn't you make up when it served your purpose? James gets it:
"So I dont want to spend 9000 words on the Swift Boat vets right now. There are two tales here: the story, and how the story will be played in the dino media. I have nothing to add to the first and its too early to comment on the latter. This is not about Vietnam. This is about character, and this is about spin. Over the next week theres going to be a lot of discussion in newsrooms about what this story means, and how the mainstream medias handling of the charges will affect their image. They can tear the story down to the foundation and root for the truth, or they can hide behind he-said-they-said reportage. Its their Waterloo. Well see."
The "Christmas in Cambodia" story - if / as proven false - puts the lie to all that upon which Kerry has based his positioning etc. on over the past years; albeit his testimony before the Senate in 1970's, his rant against Reagan supporting the Butcher of Managua in the speech on the Senate floor in the 80's to his comments about Bush and lying or war today, everything, down to the utter core of his soul (whatever is there) is derived from these events. If / as proven wrong, every essence of his being and the statements or policies or positions he derives from such, literally crumble under the weight of the intellectual fraud on which this story is based.
GET A COPY OF THE SENATE TESTIMONY & KERRY WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE!
Kerry's already been caught in several lies such as his ever changing story about the medal tossing event.
"Journalists ought to instead ask "What's new in the book that is susceptible of being proven true or false, leading to increases or decreases in the critics' or Kerry's credibility?"
Call me a cynic, but what I think concerns journalists is saving Kerry's campaign from becoming a disaster for him and a monumental humiliation to the Democrats.
Reminds me of the get out the vote commercial with the people all standing around saying: do something!
Well, these two quotes should be easy to research. Can't anyone research them?
Then it is just a matter of finding out if he really was there or not.
Does he really think that there are going to be discussions about that in the newsrooms. I doubt it.
An earlier release of the book "Unfit For Command", would have had a more damaging effect on the Kerry campaign. This is mostly information that was already in the public domain and is far too late in the anti-Kerry opposition gameplan to have a serious effect on the outcome of the election.
Btw. Even though its been 30 years since Watergate, whenever the name Richard Nixon is mentioned in todays political environment, people don't think of a great statesman. They think of someone who broke the law and walked on prosecution and jail time.
Call it lies, call it distortions, call it whatever you like. Most Americans have moved on and aren't interested in revisiting stories from the Vietnam War era. Kerry's record post-Vietnam and his 19 years in the US Senate should be made an issue of.
I'm sorry but this is not fair and balanced and, therefore, the ultra-left wing neocommunist media will not touch it. The NYT, IIRC, maintained absolute secrecy on all classified and secret matters regarding Nam and would be unable to comment on whether traitor John had ever been in Cambodia.
VAN SUSTEREN: Michael, did he cooperate at all with this or participate or sit down for interviews?
MICHAEL KRANISH, KERRY BIOGRAPHER: Well, sure. We did a series last year. It was a seven part series that ran 14 pages in the newspaper and he sat down for about ten hours of interviews for this series.
The book was written during the time when he was still running for the nomination right at the height of the Super Tuesday primaries and so forth, so our material for interviews was from the series.
To go back to your question you asked Nina, you know, he's also a skeptic of government. So, you ask why does he go, some people say flip- flop, other people would say why does he question things the way that he does?
A very short anecdote, he was in Vietnam and he was in Cambodia as part of a mission. I don't know if he intended to go but that's where he was but the government that was running the war knew that troops were in Cambodia but Nixon, President Nixon at the time was telling the American public, "We're not in Cambodia."
So, from a very early time, John Kerry is skeptical of government and he came back to protest the war that he participated in, so this is where some of this inner belief comes from. He does -- he did serve but he also questioned.
Was he lost?
by the way, Nixon was not President at the time, I am told.
Personally, I think he was ticked off because he was told to go home.
Christmas Eve 1968 Johnson was in office, not Nixon
That's the point. Kerry was lying if you believe what John O'Neill wrote in his book. Nixon wasn't in office and Kerry was never in Cambodia. Just trying to find a primary source to prove it.
WOW!! Christmas in Cambodia story!! This story is a centipede it has so many legs!!
Golly....Nixon didn't take office until Jan.20th,1969.
...hmmmmm "I'll take " kerrys Fabricated Lies Told to Try to Become President for $1000. Alex"......
Kerry was known to get lost while commanding his boat. It is possible he wandered into Cambodia :)
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