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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

SwiftVets offer Kerry peace with honor

I didn't intend to blog tonight while I'm clearly in a ranting frame of mind, but an alert reader emailed me with a link to the new open letter today from the SwiftVets to Sen. Kerry, entitled "Senator Kerry: Tell the Truth and We'll Stop the Ads."

I believe they would, but of course, he can't/won't/dare not.

I'm particularly tickled to read, at the end of the third numbered paragraph of the letter, that the SwiftVets have finally picked up on the Belodeau Eulogy.  Another reader has emailed me to say that Brit Hume has mentioned it again on Fox News.

The path outlined in the letter would be pretty close to what I sketched out some days ago in my post entitled "Staking the heart of the SwiftVets vampire."  The SwiftVets' own proffered stake would actually be less onerous — they'd let him get away without signing Standard Form 180 and releasing all the military records and other documents that he's stonewalling.  Think about it, Senator — you're being offered, in effect, a free pass for your cover-up, when conventional wisdom is that the cover-up is always a bigger deal than the underlying offenses themselves.  Heckuva deal.

The letter's conclusion:

Please know that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are eager to close our own personal chapters on Vietnam and instead focus on the war we're currently fighting — the ongoing war on terrorism. In the absence of full public disclosure and a public apology, we will continue efforts to carry our message to an ever-expanding base of grassroots supporters.

Senator Kerry, we want to get Vietnam behind us. But, we can only do so if the truth is told.

Sen. Kerry, don't you remember when you were in the Navy's brutal SERE (survival, evasion, rescue, and escape) program in the fall of 1968?  Don't you remember the most terrible part of it, as your pet biographer Brinkley (without a trace of apparent shame or irony on his part or yours) related  at pp. 123-24 of ToD?

The first torture drill involved forcing seven [trainees being treated as pretend] POWs into a box, crammed in one against another.  After about thirty minutes claustrophobia set in.  Then they were all shoved into solitary confinement cells half the size of a country outhouse.  "I almost panicked," Kerry wrote his girlfriend of the ordeal.  "My head was crammed down between my knees and I couldn't move it up. I have always had a fear of small places — of being shut in something and not being able to move.  I have never thought that it might happen in such an awkward and frightening way."

Just in the nick of time, with Kerry at the end of his rope and pounding his fist, screaming for air, he was released.  "I don't know how many pounds I sweated off in those minutes in the boxes but I was wet from head to toe," Kerry recounted, "and so thirsty again that I determined to steal water."

.... But at dawn the men were called out into the courtyard.  "Up the flag pole went the Stars and Stripes in place of the Hammer and Sickle that had earlier been there and the [pretend] guards all translated their bows into salutes as we knew them," Kerry wrote.  "We stood there as relief and pride surged through every pore of the body."

Aren't you feeling now like you're back in that box again, Senator?  You can fire a few campaign aides and "bounce off the walls" in your frustration — but you can't get out, can you?  There's only one way out of the box of lies that you've constructed for yourself.

Can't you just imagine how good the relief and pride would feel, surging through every pore of your body again, if you would just tell the truth, finally?  You could look in the eyes, perhaps, the men who spent not a day or a long weekend as mock POWs, but year upon year upon bitter year in the Hanoi Hilton and worse, where the guards weren't pretend and the torture and executions weren't mock — where they were forced to listen not to mock propaganda, but the words of a brother officer named John Forbes Kerry calling them war criminals in sworn testimony before the United States Senate. 

This is a whole lot more generous offer than the capitulation peace plan you recommended that the United States follow after you returned from meeting in Paris with representatives of the North Vietnamese government and Viet Cong.  Dammit, man, you don't even have to "confess" to things you didn't do!  You don't have to sell anyone out.

All you have to do is tell the truth, and then you can get on with your campaign.  You might actually finally heal the enduring wounds of your country from Vietnam.  Win or lose in November, wouldn't that be a great way to be remembered in history, Sen. Kerry?

Posted by Beldar at 07:25 PM in Politics (2006 & earlier), SwiftVets | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to SwiftVets offer Kerry peace with honor and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» The Kerry Grill from Les Jones Blog

Tracked on Aug 31, 2004 10:48:48 PM


(1) Deb made the following comment | Aug 31, 2004 7:34:27 PM | Permalink

I wish he would take them up on the offer. I think everyone would rather see current issues being debated and addressed.

I don't think Kerry has the spine to be that sort of man, unfortunately.

(2) OhMike made the following comment | Aug 31, 2004 10:17:46 PM | Permalink


Kerry should let the SwiftVets make like Cincinnatus. If Kerry comes clean, I'm sure the Swiftees would go back to their farms.

(3) Polaris made the following comment | Aug 31, 2004 10:21:51 PM | Permalink

Kerry should take the SBVT up on their offer, but he won't. I don't know if it is pride, arrogance, fear, or all the above. I do know that by this point (having seen political campaigns from the inside when I was very young), that accepting the SBVT's terms would amount to political suicide by Kerry at this late date.

(4) lyle made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 4:22:40 AM | Permalink

Kerry has to do something. His poll numbers are teetering on the edge of a cliff. The Swiftees are destroying him. He may use the Nashville event to deliver an apology to veterans.

If he can muster an ounce of modesty, integrity, or charm, an apology might work.

(5) Greg D made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 4:42:44 AM | Permalink

A beautiful, and deadly, offer.

Kerry can't take it, without totally alienating his base.

But, it appears quite reasonable, which means voters who learn about it will beceome even more anti-Kerry.

(6) Cap'n DOC made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 6:39:03 AM | Permalink

I haven't been holding my breath for 34 years, and I don't intend to hold it until November either. Everything that the SwiftBoatVets have said up to now has been the antithesis of everything Kerry has said. The Kerry Campaign has done everything in their power to discredit them and it has not worked. I could care less if he comes clean at this point. His fate with me was sealed three months ago with his 'over the top' explanation for his lies.

He made his bed.

(7) akmdave made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 8:08:09 AM | Permalink

I think the SBVT overplayed their hand slightly. If they had just 2 requirements for stopping their ads:

1) Apologize for calling us war criminals.
2) Sign form 180 to release your military records, and release what you gave your pet historian (and we'll see whose version is the truth).

Then even most Democrats would be made uncomfortable about Kerry's refusal to do so. As it is, the shear number and length of the points means few people will hear them all, and no one who is currently leaning toward Kerry will see anything wrong with Kerry's ignoring them.

The fewer points the better. Perhaps even better to skip #1 above, leaving just: "sign form 180 to release your records, so the American people can see who's telling the truth" is even better. Kerry's camp says he's released his records, and no one relying on TV news knows otherwise. Hit him on the one thing that matters, so he can't continue to be evasive.

(8) jim made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 11:53:22 AM | Permalink

Kerry's entire life has been built on this faked foundation. He can't give it up.

And past the 'Vietnam hero' then 'Vietnam protester' ploys, the rest of his entire career has been an amazing string of nothings or less.

In psych parlance, I'll bet that by November the characters hitherto known for their imaginings named Don Quixote, Baron Von Munchausen and Walter Mitty will be substantially replaced by John Kerry.

Did the DNC REALLY believe that 'Anyone But Bush' sentiment was so strong that it would let this utter impostor slip through? And what does that say about how seriously they take running and protecting this nation?

(9) Lan Nguyen made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 12:21:17 PM | Permalink

Kerry will take the offer and offer a non-committal position that is he will admit but not admit the truth, will appologize but not really appologize. Then he can come back with the aid of the old media to nail the SWFT on renegate their deal. Then they can turn the debate to a different direction which the SWFT will not have an upperhand position as they have now.

The leftist liberal nihinist language is equivalent to the communist language and I have ceased to be surprise how people still making offer based on their own honesty's assumption irregard of such double talk language and double think mindset with plenty of examples since 1900.

(10) Todd made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 1:17:23 PM | Permalink

I think the Swiftees' strategy is typically brilliant.

For one thing, their letter keeps stirring the pot and keeps the Swiftees and Kerry's Vietnam service in the news.

For another, if Kerry did accede to their demands, he'd basically be admitting that the Swiftees were right all along and that he was untruthful in his denunciations of them. Thus, they've boxed him in yet again.

Finally, even if Kerry did grant every one of their conditions for an "armistice," other groups, like Vietnam Veterans Against Kerry, would likely continue to hammer at Kerry's service record, allowing the Swiftees to have their cake and eat it, too.

These guys are just too much fun, the only compelling thing in an election that isn't all that interesting (important, yes, but interesting, no) to me otherwise.

(11) Greg D made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 4:38:40 PM | Permalink


You're right, but you're wrong.

If there was any chance of Kerry taking the offer, or of the MSM covering it fairly, you'd be right.

But that's not going to happen. So, instead, they made an offer that tells anyone who hears it that Kerry is undeniably a liar.

Remember, never hit a man when he's down. Kick him, it's easier.

This was a good kick to the groin.

(12) Cap'n DOC made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 6:32:07 PM | Permalink

Quote from Time, September 6th edition, page 15:

"...A kerry speokesman, meanwhile, says Schachte was not even on the boat that day and claims this is only the latest evidence of Bush Campaign ties to SBVT."

This is pretty easy to refute, but the fact MSM is leaving the perception (via the LAST sentence in this 'article') that the SBVT are recruiting Liars (which Schachte is not) for their cause, when in reality, the only answer that the Kerry camp can use is to call these Veterans a bunch of Bush Supporters.

I notice I'm still a Baby-killer and monster...

(13) Todd made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 7:31:14 PM | Permalink

A good point, Cap'n DOC. The fact that the Kerry response to the Swiftees has basically been to shoot the messenger tells you everything you need to know about the truth of those allegations.

If Kerry could win on substance, he would address their contentions. The fact that his campaign is becoming increasingly hysterical (e.g., the McPeak response to Rove's criticism of Kerry's attacks on his fellow vets following his return from Vietnam)suggests just how panicked the Kerry Campaign is right now. It couldn't happen to a more deserving creep.

(14) Todd made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 7:31:41 PM | Permalink

A good point, Cap'n DOC. The fact that the Kerry response to the Swiftees has basically been to shoot the messenger tells you everything you need to know about the truth of those allegations.

If Kerry could win on substance, he would address their contentions. The fact that his campaign is becoming increasingly hysterical (e.g., the McPeak response to Rove's criticism of Kerry's attacks on his fellow vets following his return from Vietnam)suggests just how panicked the Kerry Campaign is right now. It couldn't happen to a more deserving creep.

(15) OhMike made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 7:38:17 PM | Permalink

Beldar, you're a wry one. Your allusion to the Vietnam war through the "peace with honor" formulation was a nice way of tying this little thread to Kerry. Of course you know that "peace with honor" led down the path to defeat.

Did you mean to imply that the Swiftvets are close to checkmating Kerry?

(16) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 10:36:45 PM | Permalink

OhMike, it's indeed a phrase with historical significance. I'm not sure I'd agree that it "led down the path to defeat," but it would depend on what you meant by that. In my view, "defeat" came in early 1975, when the North Vietnamese finally overran the South after the United States cut off military and economic aid and air support that, prior to that point, had prevented that overrun. "Vietnamization" and the withdrawal of American ground forces were somewhere upstream in the chain of causation, but in my opinion (others may disagree), the more proximate cause of the defeat was the loss of American will and cut-off of American support that triggered the South Vietnamese government's simultaneous loss of will and military defeat.

Although I was aware of its historical significance, however, in titling this post I used the phrase in a very literal and current sense.

(17) OhMike made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 11:22:07 PM | Permalink


Here's what I meant:

When Nixon announced the agreement negotiated in Paris in 1973 that called for withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam, he said (and maybe believed) that it would achieve "peace with honor." Nevertheless, the fact that we were eager for a way out, a way of withdrawing without dishonoring ourselves, shows that we were looking for what today we call an exit strategy.

The peace agreement that we signed got us out, but it didn't achieve peace and didn't bring us honor.

One might argue that the loss of support for the war, lack of will to win, Vietnamization, the fall of Saigon, and our defeat are manifestations of the fact that we wanted out more than victory.

I thought you were pointing out that the Swiftvets made Kerry an offer he couldn't refuse to refuse. Yes, he could try to free himself from his current Vietnam quagmire by agreeing to the Swiftees' peace terms. But that would only lead to the fall of his campaign since he would be admitting that he lied and is unfit for command.

In this chess game, the Swiftees offered Kerry a chance to concede defeat. I doubt that Kerry will tip his king, since he is too arrogant to see that his defenses have been dismantled.

Me, I believe that the Swiftees are waging a military campaign, not suing for peace. In this chess game, they seem to be the ones with a coherent strategy. Now, we'll have to see where the end game leads...but I don't think the Swiftvets ever expected Kerry to accept their peace offer, because he knows it would lead to his fall.

Does that make sense?

(18) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 11:54:40 PM | Permalink

Yup. I dunno if it'd be tipping his king, but it might be sacrificing a rook or a queen, and I agree he won't do it under any circumstances.

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