Skip to comments.Book, ads assail Kerry's military record
Posted on 08/15/2004 6:12:20 AM PDT by Pikamax
Book, ads assail Kerry's military record
By The Dallas Morning News and St. Louis Post-Dispatch
DALLAS Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's much-vaunted military record is under attack in a controversial television ad and a newly released book.
The group behind the television attacks, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, has accused Kerry of exaggerating claims in order to earn medals and Purple Hearts during his tour in Vietnam almost 35 years ago.
Many members date their anger at Kerry to his anti-war activities after he returned from Vietnam, saying he slandered veterans.
The group has come under fierce counterattack by critics who say that the men featured in the ad did not serve directly with Kerry and that their charges are refuted by extensive military records and numerous eyewitnesses closer to the action than the group members. The Kerry campaign even notes that some of the accusers were superior officers who at the time gave the candidate glowing performance reviews.
The group's 60-second TV commercial is running in three closely contested states Ohio, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
Retired Rear Adm. Roy Hoffmann, an organizer of the group, says members expected attacks.
"We're not naive to think we're not going to get blasts," said Hoffmann, who, as commander of Coastal Surveillance Force, was Kerry's superior officer.
Jim Rassmann, a special-forces soldier who says Kerry saved his life, told CNN that the group's campaign is "very disingenuous," adding: "This is partisan motivation on his part and for the part of his whole organization."
The anti-Kerry book released last week also accuses him of distorting his military service for political gain.
The book, "Unfit for Command," is co-authored by longtime Kerry nemesis John O'Neill, a Houston lawyer who followed Kerry as commander of Patrol Craft Fast 94. The two squared off in the early 1970s in a famous TV debate about the war, and Kerry's campaign calls O'Neill a pawn of the Republican Party for more than three decades.
Hoffmann says his group was organized only when it became clear the Massachusetts senator would be the Democratic presidential nominee.
"We wouldn't be existing if someone else was nominated as president," he said.
In a phone interview last week from his home in Richmond, Va., Hoffmann called Kerry "a chronic liar who cannot tell anything without exaggerating or fabricating."
Hoffmann cited a few examples that he conceded were petty for example, a statement in Kerry's journals that the naval base at Cam Rahn Bay had a bowling alley. "There was no bowling alley," Hoffmann said. "That's insignificant, but it tells you the pattern of the man."
Kerry and his surrogates have touted his Vietnam service, opening up his record to scrutiny. He prominently featured his swift-boat crew members during the Democratic convention, and they told stories of his courage and leadership under fire.
The Kerry campaign has called the swift-boat group a Republican front operation. Houston home builder Bob Perry, a major financial supporter of President Bush and the Republican Party, has provided $100,000 to the group, about two-thirds of the organization's donations, according to recent federal records.
The White House and the Bush campaign say they had nothing to do with the ad but have declined to condemn it specifically.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a friend of Kerry's but who is supporting Bush's re-election, has called the TV spot "dishonest and dishonorable."
The Kerry campaign notes that none of the men in the ad were on Kerry's boats. And only one of the members of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth actually served on Kerry's boats. However, several of the men served on the same river patrols as Kerry, and three were on other boats during the rescue mission that resulted in Kerry's Bronze Star and third Purple Heart.
Much of the debate over the TV ad boils down to different versions of the events.
For example, the ad quotes Navy doctor Louis Letson as saying Kerry lied about his first Purple Heart, awarded for action on the night of Dec. 2, 1968. In the ad, Letson offers no details, and he was unavailable for interviewing.
But the issue is whether Kerry accidentally wounded himself while firing at phantoms on the beach. Hoffmann, the admiral, says Kerry was hit in the arm by a tiny piece of shrapnel from a round he himself had fired from an M-79 grenade launcher, a shotgun-like weapon.
Three reporters for the Boston Globe researched the event for "John F. Kerry," a book published this year. They say his commanding officer at the time, retired Lt. Cmdr. Grant Hibbard, "thought the wound was slight and he had questions about whether Kerry's boat had taken enemy fire."
In Douglas Brinkley's "Line of Duty," also published this year, Kerry says he fired an illumination flare and saw men running from beached sampans, whereupon Kerry and his crew opened fire. But the book makes no mention of return fire at Kerry's boat. At any rate, the consensus holds that the wound was little more than a scratch.
Kerry's Silver Star the military's third-highest award for heroism in combat was awarded for his actions on Feb. 28, 1969, when he beached his boat, went after a Viet Cong guerrilla who was carrying a rocket launcher and fatally shot him.
The anti-Kerry group claims the guerrilla actually was a wounded boy, who was shot in the back while fleeing a charge that first surfaced during Kerry's 1996 Senate campaign. Several of Kerry's crewmembers, along with the late Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, came to Kerry's defense at that time.
Kerry's Bronze Star was awarded for his actions March 13, 1969, when he was credited with pulling Rassmann out of the water during an ambush.
The citation says that despite an arm injury, Kerry exposed himself to enemy small-arms fire to rescue an Army Green Beret officer who had fallen into the water.
Van O'Dell, a gunner aboard another swift boat said that as the patrol passed a fishing weir across the Bay Hop River, another boat hit a mine. O'Dell said he fired "a couple of hundred rounds" from a machine gun but did not see return fire. Two others who commanded other swift boats that day, Larry Thurlow and Jack Chenoweth, supported his version.
Thurlow, who also won a Bronze Star that day for coming to the aid of the wounded sailors in the craft that hit the mine, said that what Kerry did was routine.
"One of the main criticisms is that there was no hostile fire and all Kerry did was pull a guy out of the water," said Thurlow, who now lives in Kansas.
Rassmann, a Republican, volunteered to campaign with Kerry. He has said repeatedly that Kerry saved his life, and as recently as last week in an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal, said Kerry's boat was under heavy enemy fire.
And in a telephone interview last week from Clearwater, Fla., Del Sandusky, the driver of Kerry's boat that day, was asked about O'Dell's quote.
"That's a lie," he said. "I saw the gun flashes shooting at us from the shore. I saw the rounds hitting the water. O'Dell is full of crap."
Then there should be no problem for Mr. Heinz Kerry to file Form SF-180 and realease his military personnel record to the public.
What is the media's agenda? It's certainly NOT trying to find out whether or not what the SBV say is true!
If the focus is put on Vets are PO'd about Kerry "activities" after he returned home Kerry is winning the PR.
Right now Kerry is w/o a doubt winning the PR.
Gee, why hasn't the AP sued for the release of those records? Ya know...like they did to get GW Bush's records?
*Sigh*. Welcome to Seattle, gang: where the two daily papers run the entire gamut from liberal to despotic socialist, and back again. :-/
No mention of the Cambodia lie. Figures.
Notice how their is nothing in the story about the motivation of the pro-Kerry veterans. Nothing about how they are being PAID to participate in the campaign and are being put up in high dollar accomodations. And how most of them are Democrats to begin with.
I wrote this, and even I don't know what I was trying to say! Let me try this:
The MSM is going to put the focus on Vets being upset with Kerry for slamming them after he came back from VN. They will stay away from whether on not Kerry lied about all this stuff. That's why I think the focus should be taken OFF VN and put on his seate record because the MSM will be forced to acknowledge the lack there of!
No matter how many rocks the media throws at the Swifties, notice that they won't run the ad. One reason is they don't want it to get any free exposure, but IMHO, I think the ad is so effective it scares the. The media definitely doesn't want the ad judged on its face.
and Kerry's campaign calls O'Neill a pawn of the Republican Party for more than three decades.
If O'Neill is a Republican pawn,Then what is JFnK?
There is no doubt that the DNC, RNC and the press all know the Swiftboat Veterans speak the truth. But everybody is busy playing their own strategeries.
Bush and the RNC are taking the high road of the campaign - because they know they have a strong hand in presenting the positive aspects of his presidency - and they don't want to be seen as denigrating the service of a veteran (no matter HOW dishonorable), since this may be perceived as a low blow by the barely-informed but all-important swing voter. However, he will not undercut the Swiftboat Vets by condemning their charges, since he knows they speak the truth about Kerry, and he also knows that the vets will be much more effective, if they lead an independent grass-roots effort to illuminate this cockroach of a candidate.
The DNC 'Rats and media also know Kerry is a pompous, lying blowhard. But they think of Kerry as a Lenin, a Che Guevara, or a Mao Tse Tung. They are willing to forgive any lie, any failing, any crime (read Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton), to elect a person they think will be capable of leading them to their promised "progressive" land. So they also ignore the substance of the charges made by the Swiftboat Veterans.
Ahhh, but the 'Rats have a problem with this approach. This ain't their Daddy's airtight Goebbels machine. Fighting yesterday's propaganda battles don't cut it no more. The internet is leaking the truth like a sieve, and their failure to address it leaves their 'Rat followers with no pack of lies to counter these devastingly documented accusations.
So, like the 5 year-olds they are, they come whining to Daddy-President, demanding he tell everybody that Kerry isn't a liar, a fraud, and a charlatan. Bush rightly ignores the request, as well as the smashed cookie jar and the crumbs all over the bum's face.
And what about Fox News? Fox News is currently in a very confused phase. There is no question that they have achieved their success by gathering conservatives disgusted with the mainstream media, who tuned in to hear the news presented in a less blatantly leftist fashion. But, being a victim of its own success, it now wants to jump to the next level of mainstream-tivity. And what does that call for? Being a little more like the Goebbels machine. Ignore the truth a little more. Parrot some fashionable lies. Pose as more circumspect about the relative merits of the Weimar Republic versus Nazism. There are two sides to every issue, eh? Good plan, Fox. We can tune you out too. We still have the internet - and we can also re-annoint another outlet that has the courage to present the substantial and obvious truth.
Three said there was no return fire from Charlie.
" ... in a telephone interview last week from Clearwater, Fla., Del Sandusky, the driver of Kerry's boat that day, was asked about O'Dell's quote.
"That's a lie," he said. "I saw the gun flashes shooting at us from the shore. I saw the rounds hitting the water. O'Dell is full of crap."
Well one thing is certain ... someone is lying!
Shall we convene a meeting with the lie detector?
Be sure to bring them all, Vietnam hero Kerry, including the stallwart, invisible man ... David Alston.
"the focus should be taken OFF VN and put on his
Bingo. Kerry would rather defend his lies about Vietnam than talk about the reality of his voting record. What does that tell you?
The anti-Kerry group claims the guerrilla actually was a wounded boy, who was shot in the back while fleeing -- a charge that first surfaced during Kerry's 1996 Senate campaign. Several of Kerry's crewmembers, along with the late Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, came to Kerry's defense at that time.
This artilce misses, completely, the point of contention. The point of contention has nothing to do with whether the VC shot was a boy, shot in the back, shot by Kerry or not. Nothing. That point is IRRELEVANT.
The relevant point is the number of VC firing on the flotilla when Kerry gave the order to beach. The Silver Star was awarded on the basis of engaging a numerically superior enemy. The citation letter says so. The people who were there say otherwise.
How about trying fourth-highest. If the writer had said The Silver Star is the third highest military award designated solely for heroism in combat. he or she would have been correct.
The Distinguished Service Medal, higher in precedence than the Silver Star, is awarded for both combat valor and non-combat services of exceptionally meritorious service to the government in a position of great responsibility.
Especially important are certified copies of his medical records. The probability is high that he contracted some type of venereal disease while there that would now be embarrassing to him and his family. This statement is based on the info that is already out in the public domain. These records would also address the questions of his purple hearts.
He hasn't put up a defense to the Switfees allegations.
On the matter of Senate record, since the RNC is not connected with the Swiftees, it (the RNC) is free to attack Kerry on his Senate record. What are they waiting for?
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