« New ad from MoveOn PAC urges President to violate campaign finance laws | Main | Spin in your grave, Uday! Spin! »

Monday, August 16, 2004

SEALs smack senator

The Kerry campaign continues to insist that Sen. Kerry, while commanding his Swift Boat sometime after Christmas 1968, ventured into Cambodia to "insert" special forces or perhaps Navy SEALs.

Comes now Froggy Ruminations, another blogger speaking from first-hand knowledge as a Navy SEAL in the 1990s, who reports that he bounced his own skeptical reaction to Sen. Kerry's SEAL-story off his father-in-law, a SEAL who served in the Mekong Delta in 1970.

The subsidiary conclusions:  Wrong kind of boat.  Wrong chain of command for ensuring the kind of secrecy with which the SEALs operated.

Bottom Line......Kerry is a liar.

Mrs. Jon Lovitz a/k/a Morgan Fairchild ... on a mission with Sen. Kerry?Unless maybe Sen. Kerry is remembering that time when he and his crew transported the runaway animals from the Saigon zoo back to friendly habitats.  Yeah ... seals, sea lions, maybe a walrus or two.  That's the ticket!  Just ask that babe that Sen. Kerry dated before he hooked up with the condiments heiress — that's right, Jon Lovitz' wife ... Morgan Fairchild!

Hat-tip to Hugh Hewitt, who also quotes reactions to the implausibility of Kerry's (re-revised) stories from a spook and an ex-officer of the 82nd Airborne.

Posted by Beldar at 07:03 PM in Humor, Politics (2006 & earlier), SwiftVets | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to SEALs smack senator and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) Lovitz made the following comment | Aug 16, 2004 8:23:45 PM | Permalink

...whom I've seen naked! ;->

(2) Troll made the following comment | Aug 17, 2004 9:51:40 AM | Permalink

Mr. Lovitz:

John Kerry or Morgan Fairchild?

(3) Reg made the following comment | Aug 19, 2004 9:39:40 PM | Permalink

I disagree somewhat with what Froggy wrote.

I think it is too sweeping in its conclusions.
If this thread is still active I'll write more otherwise I'll save it for a future comment.

(4) Raven made the following comment | Aug 28, 2004 2:58:42 AM | Permalink

"Wrong kind of boat"?

See "Death of the [PCF-]43" — while transporting ten members of UDT-13 on 12 April 1969.

That must not have happened, huh.   So nobody died, right?   Wrong.

Notice that the OIC (and one of the two KIA) was LTJG Don Droz — who'd been with Kerry and Rood less than two months earlier, on the day for which Kerry got his Silver Star.   (Notice that Rood also mentions the PCFs carrying "Vietnamese regional and Popular Force troops and a Navy demolition team" on that earlier day, 28 February 1969.)

Here's Droz's widow writing on the SBVT/Kerry dispute this last week.

And here's an arricle interviewing her about what her husband had said on Kerry.

See PDF file of actual February 1969 spot reports for Kerry's own PCF-94, two of which are summarized here as: "12 FEB 1969 Two swiftboats inserted Navy Seals and conducted normal river patrols the night of February 12 and early morning of February 13.   ...   14 FEB 1969 Two swiftboats inserted seal team and provided protection for mission."

If Swift Boats weren't used for Special Forces insertions, then what did Don Droz die for?   Will you claim that he lied, too, in telling his wife about the mission that got him a Bronze Star (and Kerry a Silver Star)?

It's bad enough to rewrite history in order to defame the living, but must you defame the dead as well?

(5) Froggy made the following comment | Aug 29, 2004 5:42:49 PM | Permalink


Don't get your knickers in a bind. Let me give you an analogy that explains the what kind of insertions the PCFs conducted. On D-Day, the glider troops landed behind German lines in an effort to cut off reinforcements to the Norman coast. Those gliders were towed into the area by cargo planes and were released offshore. The gliders courageously navigated into the French countryside looking for an LZ in the dark. Did the cargo planes insert the gliders into France, well sort of. But did those cargo planes crash land in enemy territory as a part of a clandestine insertion? No, I don't think that anyone could say that the glider pilots and the cargo pilots actions were even remotely similar.

(6) Raven made the following comment | Sep 4, 2004 12:10:31 PM | Permalink

That's nice, Froggy, but Swift Boats were neither gliders nor the cargo planes that towed them.   Swift Boats went at water level, on the surface of the same waterways as the sampans that they sometimes had to fight, well within range of VC small-arms and automatic-weapons fire, and also well within range of (sometimes being destroyed by) remote-control mines.

Kerry's and Rood's fellow skipper Don Droz died when a mine destroyed his PCF-43, just a month after he participated in the event that led to Kerry's Bronze Star.

By the way, both those missions (the one that got Kerry his Bronze Star, and the one that killed Droz) were insertion missions.   Rassmann (whom Kerry pulled aboard) was a Green Beret, and has stated that he worked with Kerry on many Special Forces insertion missions.   That group of boats took both mine damage and SA/AW fire on that occasion.

So your analogy really doesn't fit "what kind of insertions the PCFs conducted".

(7) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 4, 2004 4:13:09 PM | Permalink

It's a question not of whether Kerry's PCF sometimes ferried SEALs and Special Forces and CIA guys, nor of whether they were in dangerous operations — no one disputes any of that — but of where he took them.

Kerry claims to have done "secret insertions" of those folks into Cambodia. Not 50 yards away, but across the border. As recently as this past week, Terry McAuliffe was claiming that he'd done it twice.

But there's not a single one of Kerry's "Band of Brothers" who's spoken out in public to support that, and several have denied knowing of any such missions.

And if a Navy vessel, so marked, were to have done that — which is itself improbable, since it would have been begging to get discovered and that would have caused an international incident —

[e]very time they had so much as fired an M-16 round into the Cambodian underbrush it seemed the U.S. State Department had received a complaint from Prince Norodom Sihanouk [ToD at page 323]

— there's no way the Navy would have chosen an extremely loud PCF when there were dozens of quieter, more manuverable PBRs available.

Raven, nobody on this blog is questioning the honor of Lt. Droz, and with due respect to his widow (a Berkeley-trained lawyer who was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention and is a long-time Kerry friend — nothin' wrong with that, just sayin'), she's not exactly in a position to support these outrageous Christmas-or-anytime-in-Cambodia claims. (And she doesn't.)

Stay on topic, please — this one's Cambodia — and knock off the straw-men arguments. When and if your candidate comes up with an ounce of evidence besides his own inconsistent recollections to support the notion that he did insertions into Cambodia, feel free to let us know. We're all still waiting for Brinkley — the only person besides Kerry who's had full access to his archives — to write that promised New Yorker article, so maybe when he does, he'll shed some new light on the subject. (His last word on the topic was that Kerry should have never made his Christmas in Cambodia claim, which Brinkley described as a "mongrel phrase.")

But don't come to my blog and accuse me or other commenters here of dishonoring men (including Lt. Droz) whom everyone here has treated respectfully when you haven't offered — and I'd suggest, can't offer — either arguments or evidence that's on-topic. Dissenting views are very welcome on this blog, when civilly expressed, but I'd strongly suggest that your next one, at least on this particular thread, include the word "Cambodia" in it.

(8) Raven made the following comment | Sep 5, 2004 3:05:23 AM | Permalink

Beldar, perhaps you missed or forgot what Froggy had actually posted.   The comment you summarize above as "Wrong kind of boat" was not limited to Cambodia:

Well, I am a former Navy SEAL that served in the 1990s, my father in law is a former SEAL and he served in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam in 1970. I spoke with him about the likelihood that this story could be correct. My contention was that Swift boats were too large to be routinely used as an insertion platform for SEALs.

SEALs typically used the Medium SEAL Support Craft (MSSC) or the LSSC. My dad's platoon, had one of each assigned. These boats were designed by SEALs and specially built for the Teams to use on clandestine riverine insertions at night of usually no more than 8 operators. Swift boats operated in groups as independent entities, and not as insertion/extraction platforms for small units.
Again, this isn't just denying that PCFs inserted SEALs into Cambodia, it is denying that PCFs inserted SEALs at all.

This makes it relevant that PCF-43's last mission, on which Don Droz died, was conveying ten UDT members (one of whom also died, and another of whom wrote this essay) on a SEALORDS operation.

(Note: despite the separate name, what were then called UDTs are now counted as SEALs. I discussed this here, here, here.)

(9) Raven made the following comment | Sep 5, 2004 3:15:26 AM | Permalink

More of what Froggy posted:

Furthermore, neither myself or my father in law knows anyone who was inserted anywhere by a Swift boat during Vietnam. It just wasn't done. It wasn't something SEALs wanted, and it wasn't something Swifties did.
This essay, by one of the UDT members who survived the destruction of PCF-43, lists names. Perhaps Froggy or his father-in-law may recognize some of them.

(10) Raven made the following comment | Sep 5, 2004 5:14:08 AM | Permalink

Here's more on the use of Swift Boats by Special Forces (including UDTs/SEALs):

"Ambushed on the Song Ong Doc":

Members of Underwater Demolition Team Thirteen Detachment GOLF, augmented by a number of Frogmen from Underwater Demolition Team Twenty-One, were preparing to embark on a search and destroy mission up this slow moving brown waterway of the Mekong Delta.   ...

On this day, in May 1969, we were to travel up the river with a small flotilla of six Swift Boats, take aboard some RFPFs (Regional Forces and Popular Forces, commonly called Ruff Puffs), then proceed further up river in an attempt to locate and destroy bunkers and other structures that could give the Viet Cong cover during attempts at ambushing and destroying American and South Vietnamese Riverine craft.

"SEAL History" (at www.seal.navy.mil):

The development of a robust riverine warfare capability during the Vietnam War produced the forerunner of the modern Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman. Mobile Support Teams provided combat craft support for SEAL operations, as did Patrol Boat, Riverine (PBR) and Swift Boat sailors.

"Ranger History":

Vietnam War Rangers   ...   Modus Operandi for patrol insertion varied, however, the helicopter was the primary means for insertion and exfiltration of enemy rear areas. Other methods included foot, wheeled, tracked vehicle, airboats, Navy Swift Boats, and stay behind missions where the Rangers remained in place as a larger tactical unit withdrew. False insertions by helicopter was a means of security from ever present enemy trail watchers.

"Navy Museum gets Vietnam-era patrol boat":

At 51 feet long and with a draft of four feet, swift patrol boats operated in the shallow, confined waterways of southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, delivering and extracting combat forces in hostile areas.

(11) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 5, 2004 9:34:59 AM | Permalink

Raven, if you want to argue with Froggy's post, go do it on his blog, please, or on your own. You're wasting my bandwidth and trying my patience. I think you're mischaracterizing Froggy's use of the word "insertion," which I think the context shows he was limiting to covert missions, secret insertions, whether in Cambodia or elsewhere. Regardless of what he meant, however, my post was and is limited to the subject of covert insertions into Cambodia.

I repeat, if you have something to support the claim that Swift Boats were used to do covert insertions into Cambodia or to back up Kerry's claims that he did that, fine. But this is your last warning — I hate to block URLs and delete comments, but you're on the borderline because of your insistence in going off-topic. I don't run my blog for you to use as a link aggregator for off-topic subjects, sir, and I don't dispute that Swift Boats were used to ferry — and deposit onto land, very loudly — all sorts of personnel, including SEALs, Special Forces, and perhaps even CIA operatives.

(12) Raven made the following comment | Sep 5, 2004 11:35:20 PM | Permalink

Beldar, I have argued with Froggy on his blog — and so has a Swift Boat veteran (from PCF-35, 1969-1970) who says, "we inserted SEALS quite often.   ...   Granted we didn't like taking them because they were always going some place bad - very, very bad.   It's quite agrivating to see people write that Swift Boats never inserted SEALS just to make a Presidential Candidate look bad."

But you made the issue relevant and on-topic in this thread when you opened it with that post asserting:

Comes now Froggy Ruminations, another blogger speaking from first-hand knowledge as a Navy SEAL in the 1990s, who reports that he bounced his own skeptical reaction to Sen. Kerry's SEAL-story off his father-in-law, a SEAL who served in the Mekong Delta in 1970.

The subsidiary conclusions: Wrong kind of boat. Wrong chain of command for ensuring the kind of secrecy with which the SEALs operated.

Bottom Line......Kerry is a liar.
You presented Froggy's claim as evidence that Kerry lied.   It would be, if it were true.   If Swift Boats never inserted SEALs anywhere, it would follow that they never inserted SEALs into Cambodia.

The fact that Swift Boats were used to insert SEALs and other Special Forces, during the Vietnam conflict, doesn't actually prove that they were used for this purpose in Cambodia (though it does make that contention plausible).   However, it does demolish the supposed proof you offered, in this thread, for your claim that "Kerry is a liar".

The purported truth of Froggy's claim underwrote your "Bottom Line" in this thread.   That makes its falsehood relevant in this thread.

Your witness is impeached, counselor.   The defendant you've accused is entitled to make the jury aware that the testimony against him was false.   And the jury is entitled to take that into account in their deliberations.

I recognize your attempt to shift the ground of argument (and burden of proof), but my posts were not about — and were not claimed to be about — proving that Kerry did insertions into Cambodia (though I referred you to spot reports, on file for 35 years, indicating Kerry did insert SEALs).   They were directed toward — and accomplished — disproof of a claim you presented here, that Swift Boats never inserted SEALs anywhere at all.

So it wouldn't come as a surprise that you might "block URLs and delete comments".   It's much easier to win an argument if no-one's allowed to present an effective refutation or rebuttal.

You conclude, "I don't dispute that Swift Boats were used to ferry — and deposit onto land, very loudly — all sorts of personnel, including SEALs, Special Forces, and perhaps even CIA operatives."

That's nice.   Then perhaps you should have considered more carefully your presenting, as evidence supporting you, a blog post which does dispute, and outright deny, that Swift Boats were used to insert SEALs.

(13) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 5, 2004 11:47:36 PM | Permalink

Raven, I'll tell ya what. You've made your case, for whatever it's worth. I'll let my readers decide if it's persuasive.

When and if you find evidence to support your candidate's claim that he did covert insertions of anyone into Cambodia, feel free to pay me another visit.

(14) mark made the following comment | Sep 7, 2004 12:41:14 PM | Permalink

...so...is he blocked or not?

(15) Jim Patrick made the following comment | Sep 25, 2004 1:32:29 AM | Permalink

Who cares if Raven made his case, was blocked or whatever. It was a strawman technicality he was arguing, a distracting nit-pick.

The crux is that Swiftboats were big, loud, high in the water, and clearly marked as USA Navy craft. They are one of the last boats any covert operation would choose.

Sure, Swiftboats delivered/ferried/inserted material and personnel of all sorts; including Seal teams and no doubt spooks too. If any personnel needed to get from one point to another a Swiftboat might be a valid mode of transport. The person may even have been on an operation of some sort; perhaps going to Camp C or Base D.

The idea of using a Swiftboat to "insert" --ie to covertly transport and disembark, or it's reverse-- is ludicrous at best. For starters it's horribly dangerous, the boats simply attracted attention. The diplomatic consequences (and legal problems to all involved) of border running in a noisy, huge coastal boat need to be considered.

But the logic is immaterial. For that matter, all armed services are known for routinely doing some really dumb things, though things that get people court-marshalled or killed are rarer. Combat and jail tend to reduce that clutter even more.

The logic is immaterial. The reality is that Kerry lied, and lied while claiming clear recollection: "...I have that memory which is seared — seared — in me." Documents, witnesses, and other proofs flatly contradict him; and the burden is on Kerry to apologize or provide overwhelming evidence.

To date there's not a shred of evidence to support Kerry's word. Apologizing would open up a whole spectrum of other problems; though I'd contend given the seriousness and breadth of Kerry's charges, if he was serious about the Presidency, he'd have apologized years ago.

Kerry lied; lied for his own gain, lied at others' (many others) expense, lied as a witness to the Senate, and never repudiated the lie. The fact that he (or his staff) made that time period a major part of his campaign is stu.... well, it doesn't inspire confidence.

The comments to this entry are closed.