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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Staking the heart of the SwiftVets vampire

From a piece today in Editor & Publisher" (boldface added; hat-tip to InstaPundit):

Some of the reporters covering Kerry said that the candidate had become less accessible on the campaign plane in recent weeks, with a few speculating that it might be because he did not want to face questions about the swift boat issue. But among them, different views arose over the swift boat story, with some saying it had gone on too long and others believing it was news that had to be covered.

"What I've heard from colleagues is that people feel it probably has had too long a life," said Frank James, a Chicago Tribune reporter. "We wish someone would put a stake in this vampire."

James also said some wondered why Kerry did not take on the issue himself earlier on. "He should have knocked it down early, but the campaign clearly thought it would go away."

Okay, fair enough.  Only one person — John F. Kerry — can stake the vampire, and the "stake" would consist of three parts:

  • He'd end the coverup:  Kerry would sign Standard Form 180 and authorize, even expedite, the release of every bit of the military's records regarding his combat service — all the after-action and spot reports, all the communications logs, all the medical records, all the backup for his commendations.  He'd authorize and encourage everyone from those days with first-hand knowledge to make themselves available for lengthy, detailed interviews by knowledgeable reporters in a public forum — no more hiding his friendly witnesses behind his campaign's handlers.  He'd release his wartime journals that have previously have been given only to Brinkley.  He'd turn over the home movies.  He'd bring out the medals and/or ribbons still in his possession.  He'd show us the original written citations for his medals and explain why there are multiple different versions of them.  Then he'd sit down in a public forum with John O'Neill and answer, without equivocation or making countercharges, the questions that O'Neill would put to him on behalf of the SwiftVets.  And at the end of it, he'd look the camera in the eye, and say, truthfully, "I've now done everything I can to bring to the American people all the details of my military service, from start to finish, and I'll let you decide if I did or didn't deserve the medals I received, and whether I did or did not serve with honor and distinction."

  • He'd apologize:  He'd call a press conference — maybe at the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial on the Mall in D.C.  He'd re-read the beginning of his testimony to the Fulbright Committee.  Then he'd admit that he had no first-hand knowledge of the brutal charges he made back then.  He'd admit that he'd knowingly and recklessly made statements that the North Vietnamese used to perpetuate lies and to humiliate and torture the comrades he'd left behind.  He'd admit that he consorted with this country's enemies when he met with representatives of the North Vietnamese government and Viet Cong in Paris while he was still an officer of the United States Naval Reserve.  And then he'd apologize, from the bottom of his heart, for the pain he caused his fellow veterans and the harm he did — not only to this country, but to millions of Southeast Asians who suffered at the hands of our enemies when our country lost its national willpower.

  • He'd promise to learn from his mistakes:  At that same press conference, he'd tell the American public what he's learned from all this.  He'd admit that he was wrong to repeatedly embellish and exaggerate his wartime experiences — like the "Christmas in Cambodia" story — for political gain.  He'd admit that he was wrong to blame President Bush for the anger and resentment that John Kerry had himself engendered among his fellow veterans and many in the general public.  He'd admit that he'd been mistaken in covering up the details of his war record that might not reflect well upon him.  And he'd promise that if elected, he'd never again unfairly impugn the honor of our country's men and women in uniform, nor give propaganda material to our enemies, nor cover up and blame others for his own mistakes.

That would slay the vampire.  It would require more bravery than he's ever shown during his entire life, and it would be more painful than all of his three Purple Heart wounds combined.  But he could be done with the whole controversy before the middle of September.  And then John Forbes Kerry could spend the rest of his campaign talking about the future — without saying another word, or answering another question, about Vietnam.

He could.  But he won't.

Posted by Beldar at 01:38 AM in Mainstream Media, Politics (2006 & earlier), SwiftVets | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Staking the heart of the SwiftVets vampire and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) Andy made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 2:20:53 AM | Permalink

Aaron Brown on CNN was trying to kill this story with a commentator from (responsible journalism) Washington Post saying it has run its course.

He also said the details were too arcane for people to understand and that the Swift Boat Veterans had used a 'shotgun' approach with multiple charges (so many) that Kerry couldn't possibly answer them all so some mud would stick.


(2) M. Simon made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 2:22:29 AM | Permalink

The E&P piece is unbelievable. All of those guys think they can control the flow of information. And most of them want to.

These fossils are beyond hope.

So is JFnnK.

There is no strategy that can help him. He is now damaged goods.


What is the War Hero Afraid of?
Form 180. Release ALL the records.

Video link

(3) quieti made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 2:25:53 AM | Permalink

He'd admit that he was wrong to repeatedly embellish and exaggerate his wartime experiences — like the "Christmas in Cambodia" story — for political gain.
But but but (Kerry would say) he wasn't wrong, because it was the embellishment and exaggeration that got him where he is today. How could it be wrong? It worked!

The man has no concept of honor.

(4) M. Simon made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 2:40:11 AM | Permalink


How does Kerry explain consorting with the enemy in Paris?


What is the War Hero Afraid of?
Form 180. Release ALL the records.

Video link

(5) Steel Turman made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 2:48:09 AM | Permalink

Kerry is a metastification of Clinton. The
truth matters not, only the goal. I was in
country when he was in country and was shamed
by his vilifications. Character DOES matter
and he has none. But I bet he will prevail
in November. Woe be on us all. The only
bright side is that Hillary WON'T be elected

(6) M. Simon made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 2:49:41 AM | Permalink

When I ask for an explanation. What I mean is: how can we be sure he won't do it again?

His word?

Is this a joke?


What is the War Hero Afraid of?
Form 180. Release ALL the records.

Video link

(7) Geek, Esq. made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 2:57:16 AM | Permalink

The stake was put in the Swifties' heart tonight. The person responsible is . . . John O'Neill.

He shoulda remembered that Nixon taped everything.

Such as him telling Nixon he himself had taken his Swiftboat to Cambodia.

That sound is Kerry supporters dancing on the grave of the Swiftvets' credibility.

(8) Beldar made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 3:14:39 AM | Permalink

Geek, you're misinformed, or have been misled by something that was taken badly out of context. That's not what O'Neill said.

M. Simon, if Kerry would end the cover-up, apologize, and promise to learn from his mistakes, I'd be entirely willing to let the voters assess whether he'd be likely to keep his word. But it's all hypothetical; the voters will have to assess whether he's engaged in a cover-up, whether he should have apologized, and he'll never acknowledge the mistakes.

(9) Robert Crawford made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 6:38:24 AM | Permalink

Geek, assuming you're right, how does O'Neill -- who came in AFTER Kerry -- having gone to Cambodia make Kerry's statements truthful? I realize this is hard for you to grasp, but O'Neill's actions do not belong to Kerry, just like Peck's didn't ('tho Kerry tried to claim them).

More importantly, we absolutely, positively know that Kerry wasn't in Cambodia on Christmas 1968 listening to President Nixon tell the American people there were no Americans in Cambodia. Even Kerry's admitted he made that story up -- that he lied on the floor of the Senate while he was trying to protect the Sandinistas.

(10) DanNY made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 6:49:50 AM | Permalink

Naah, no apologies.

Let the bugger fry in the hell of his own making.

(11) ed made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 8:15:06 AM | Permalink


"how does O'Neill -- who came in AFTER Kerry -- having gone to Cambodia make Kerry's statements truthful? "

ROFL! I guess that put a stake in the heart of "Geek's" argument.

What a good point.

(12) Jabba the Nutt made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 8:31:44 AM | Permalink

If Kerry did what was suggested, yes it would end all Viet Nam questions...it would also end Kerry's chance to be elected. I can't see most union guys voting for him after that.

The time Kerry needed to do this was 2 years ago, 5 years ago, 10 or 20 years ago. It's too late.

Can someone explain to me, how it is a smear to quote a person's own words?

(13) Paul Zrimsek made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 8:34:35 AM | Permalink

Does anyone have a link to additional context on the O'Neill quote? What we've got doesn't tell us a whole lot: the conversation with Nixon was from 1971, we invaded Cambodia openly starting in April, 1970, and O'Neill was in Swift Boats into the summer of 1970. If his trips to Cambodia were part of the declared attack then the quote is no sort of vindication of Kerry.

(14) Geek, Esq. made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 9:09:23 AM | Permalink

Beldar, as an attorney you know how devastating that tape would be in court. Let's role play here and assume that the Swiftvets are plaintiff's witnesses, and that John O'Neill has just testified that:

"You asked about Cambodia. How do I know he's not in Cambodia? I was on the same river, George. I was there two months after him. Our patrol area ran to Sedek, it was 50 miles from Cambodia. There isn't any watery border. The Mekong River's like the Mississippi. There were gunboats stationed right up there to stop people from coming. And our boats didn't go north of, only slightly north of Sedek. So it was a made up story. He's told it over 50 times, George, that was on the floor of the Senate. He wrote articles about it, it was a malicious story because it painted all the guys above him, all of the commanding officers, in effect, as war criminals, that had ordered him into a neutral country, it was a lie."

Let's assume he then went on to say:

""By claiming we were engaged in a war crime and crossing international borders, John Kerry damaged the credibility of all the commanding officers above him and insulted the sailors who served with him" said John O'Neill, member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth."

Then, on cross-examination, the defense plays this tape of a young O'Neill speaking to the President of the United States of America:

O'NEILL: I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border on the water.

NIXON: In a swift boat?

O'NEILL: Yes, sir.

The question then becomes whether O'Neill lied to the President (and his Commander in Chief if he hadn't been discharged) without any incentive to do so, or is lying now, when he has an overwhelming incentive to do so.

Either way, O'Neill has zero credibility to an impartial juror. And his rationale for saying that Kerry couldn't have gone to Cambodia for the same reasons he didn't go to Cambodia, is of course, completely sunk.

(15) Marc made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 9:10:43 AM | Permalink

I would agree Kerry needs to set the record straight on your three points. He also should be required to explain why he attempted to block the Vietnam Human Rights act (HR2833). And this little tidbit that may involve nepotism on Kerry's part when looking to renew trade relations with Vietnam:

"Long after he changed sides in congressional hearings, Mr. Kerry lobbied for renewed trade relations with Hanoi. At the same time, his cousin C. Stewart Forbes, chief executive for Colliers International, assisted in brokering a $905 million deal to develop a deep-sea port at Vung Tau, Vietnam - an odd coincidence."

And considering he now desires to speak about current events while on the campaign trail, he can also explain this, that is of a more recent vintage.

(16) ed made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 10:22:16 AM | Permalink


@Geek: "The question then becomes whether O'Neill lied to the President (and his Commander in Chief if he hadn't been discharged) without any incentive to do so, or is lying now, when he has an overwhelming incentive to do so."

You know. If you knew what the hell you were talking about, and could read a map, you'd be dangerous. But that's evidently not the case.

Here's a couple clues for you:

1. If you're going to chop someone's words to your advantage, then you're an ass. Maureen Dowd does this to no useful effect whatsoever. But, since she's made a career out of this, I suppose it works for her.

It however doesn't work for you.

2. The river O'Neill is discussing is the Giang Thranh which basically runs from Ha Tien, on the shore of the Gulf of Thailand, to Giang Thranh, deep in Vietnam. The river runs along the Cambodian border and comes very close to it in a few places. While the river doesn't cross the border, SWIFT boats can and did moor their boats on the northern bank of the Giang Thranh.

Still not in Cambodia though.

3. "Either way, O'Neill has zero credibility to an impartial juror."

Are you really able to make that judgement? Your point is laughable and demonstrably wrong. There wouldn't need to be a juror in the first place since the case would have been thrown out.

4. " And his rationale for saying that Kerry couldn't have gone to Cambodia for the same reasons he didn't go to Cambodia, is of course, completely sunk."

Kerry stated that he was explicitly ORDERED into Cambodia. That it has been proven, especially by his retraction, that he was NEVER ORDERED into Cambodia rather proves you wrong.

In case you didn't get it, O'Neill never claimed to have been ORDERED into Cambodia.

5. And yet again a Kerryite attacks a Swiftee and does not refute the allegations. Again you've conceded that the allegations are true.

You lose.

(17) quieti made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 10:41:54 AM | Permalink

Personally I was stunned when Alan Colmes brought up the O'Neill in Cambodia issue yesterday, because the Kerry camp has already conceded that Kerry was fabricating the whole story. They've already capitulated on that point, and they are not going to be rushing to shine the spotlight on the fact that Kerry lied, repeatedly, and oh, by the way, they've already admitted it. I'm sure they're about ready to kill anyone who even mentions "Cambodia" in any context whatsoever.

As stated so eloquently above, O'Neill's actions were not Kerry's. In a court room scenario, O'Neill's lawyer would take the oportunity, in cross-examination, to put O'Neill's statements to Nixon in context: his service near Cambodia was on a different river, and at a later time than Kerry's "seared - seared" claimed experience.

Cambodia is a dead issue. Move along now.

(18) anon made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 10:48:06 AM | Permalink

One minute John Kerry is telling the critics of his Vietnam record to "Bring it on!". The next minute he's pleading with George Bush to "Make them stop!". Is this how he'd deal with the Iranians or the North Koreans? God forbid. Kerry's response to the swiftboat controversy tells us everything we need to know about his fitness to serve as commander-in-chief.

Look for increasing signs of panic from the Kerry campaign. They're beginning to realize just how vulnerable they are. They know they're not far from the tipping point. They hear the limb beginning to crack. And it's a long way to the ground.

Kerry has wrapped himself in a clumsily sewn facsimile of the American flag. It's beginning to unravel, and there's nothing on underneath. Soon it will be seen by everyone that the candidate has no clothes.

The Swiftboat Vets performed a vital service by breaking the taboo on questioning Kerry's record on Vietnam. For the moment the press is obfuscating their basic message by focusing on disputes over details. But as the focus moves to Kerry's antiwar activism, the key point will become clear: John Kerry's portrayal of his Vietnam service, the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, is an immense fraud.

Kerry claims that he volunteered to serve in the Vietnam War because, as a patriot, he wanted to fight for his country. That's how he's selling himself to the American people. But it's simply not credible. It can't be true.

Kerry's radical antiwar politics after he returned from military service are well-known. But the fact is, he held these very same views as a college student at Yale BEFORE HE JOINED THE SERVICE. The idea that his opposition to the war was a reaction to what he experienced in Vietnam is a myth. And the fact that his antiwar convictions predate his military service creates a huge contradiction.

Kerry believed that the American war effort in Vietnam, and American resistance to Communist expansion generally, was immoral imperialism. He did not believe that the fighting in Vietnam was defending America, he thought it was destroying America. So how could he possibly have wanted to join the military and go to Vietnam to fight for his country? He couldn't. He didn't.

But why then did Kerry choose to join the military? The answer is simple: he had no choice. He had a student deferrment while at Yale. As graduation approached he applied for a deferrment to continue as a student in Paris. His draft board declined, and advised him that he could expect to be drafted. So Kerry enlisted in the Navy to avoid being drafted. Either way, he was going to be in the military. (For Kerry, as for Bill Clinton, political aspirations precluded the option of going to Canada.)

Kerry's first tour was peripheral to the fighting. (And arguably less hazardous than flying a jet in the Texas Air National Guard.) It was honorable service, and satisfed his military obligation without involving him in the hated war.

But what about Kerry's decision to serve a second tour, as a swiftboat captain, in very dangerous combat operations?

One thing we know: Kerry's antiwar views hadn't changed. So it's impossible to believe that he volunteered for combat in order to advance the American cause in Vietnam. Part of the answer is that when Kerry chose swiftboat service, he believed his mission would be comparatively quiet coastal patrol. When it didn't turn out that way, he elected to get out of the war zone at the first opportunity.

(The real issue with Kerry's three Purple Hearts is not so much how he got them, but how he used them to cut short his service. The wounds were minor, and there was no reason why Kerry could not have stayed to complete his tour. If he was really there because he wanted to fight for his country, he would have stayed.)

It is true that Kerry did choose to apply for swiftboat service. He didn't have to. But the only plausible explanation is that Kerry had realized that he could use military service in Vietnam to advance his political agenda. Being a Vietnam veteran (with decorations and 8mm footage to prove it) would give his antiwar message credibility. Indeed, within months of returning from Vietnam, he launched his political career on this basis. As reported in a 1970 interview with Samuel Z. Goldhaber:

In America, "everybody who's against the war is suddenly considered anti-American," Kerry said. "But I don't think they can turn to me and say I don't know what's going on or I'm a draft dodger." Referring to the House Armed Services Committee, chaired by L. Mendel Rivers (D-S.C.), Kerry said, "I want to go down to Washington and confront Medel Rivers, who never fought in a war."

Simply put, John Kerry went to Vietnam, not to advance the American cause there, but to betray it.

In the current presidential campaign, John Kerry is deliberately attempting to mislead the voters about the fundamental motivation for his Vietnam service. Once this becomes clear, he is finished.

Kerry's problem is not that he lied in 1969, or 1971, but that he's lying NOW. The American people will not tolerate this. The charade of Kerry's candidacy will soon be over.

(19) recon made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 10:52:54 AM | Permalink

Geek, FOAD.

Anyone who heard the accusations AS THEY WERE BEING STATED against O'Neill in person last night knows that he admitted being conversational with Nixon, but was taken woefully out of context, and his immediate response was "Why didn't you play my very next sentence?" Only because you KNOW it would negate that comment.

O'Neill is too good a trial lawyer to be taken on something so shamelessly ludicrous.

CU, useless troll.

(20) recon made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 10:55:27 AM | Permalink

Read Captains Quarters blog this morning.

Every time there has been a conflict between a communist and an anti-communist, Kerry has loudly supported the communist 100% of the time.

It is the single and worst consistency in his entire life.

(21) TGWShark made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 3:32:23 PM | Permalink

That would explain the frenzied calls from the Kerry staff to one Sarah Michelle Gellar. Wait until they find out that she's no more a vampire slayer than Kerry was a visitor to a Christmas in Cambodia rally.

(22) Patrick R. Sullivan made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 3:57:48 PM | Permalink

The O'Neill interview can be read at the Hannity & Colmes section of Fox Nes website. Just click on O'Neill's picture.

It's well worth reading just to see Colmes make a complete fool of himself over the Mekong Delta's geography.

(23) Assistant Village Idiot made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 9:09:32 PM | Permalink

This is as good a place as any to bring back Ion Mihai Pacepa's February comments about where Kerry's Senate testimony may have come from. http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/pacepa200402260828.asp

Bear in mind that it's not proof of anything, just highly suggestive.

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