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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Three questions from four weeks in John Kerry's calendar

Let's set aside the swearing matches and the after action reports for a minute.  Let's look instead at something that's just dirt simple:

February-March 1969

Three questions for Sen. Kerry:

  1. So were you slacking during the week of March 2-8, 1969, or what?

  2. Were you really gung-ho enough to deserve four of this country's highest combat commendations in the space of three weeks plus one day?

  3. Obviously, you'd hit your stride, found your rhythm.  At this rate, you'd have finished your 12-month tour with something like 21 Purple Hearts, 10 Silver Stars, and 10 Bronze Stars.  So if your answer to Question No. 2 above was "yes," and you really were that gung-ho, why'd you bail out one-third of the way through your tour?

Posted by Beldar at 08:58 PM in Politics (2006 & earlier), SwiftVets | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Three questions from four weeks in John Kerry's calendar and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» The Kerry Grill - "You bet we might have" from Les Jones Blog

Tracked on Sep 12, 2004 10:13:15 AM


(1) Carole made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 9:14:45 PM | Permalink

What a shocker when it is presented like that!
Good for you to do this, it should be seen in
other websites.
Good job!

(2) Todd made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 9:27:56 PM | Permalink

Beldar, you crack me up. Nothing gets by you. As usual, well done.

(3) Jody made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 9:53:26 PM | Permalink

It's simple. They started serving Wheaties for breakfast on Thursdays and Fridays. Can't have a good day without a good breakfast.

(4) Al made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 10:03:38 PM | Permalink

If John Kerry got a Bronze Star for pulling Rassman out of the water under 5000 meters of fire....

Wouldn't there be a lot more than 2 other Bronze Stars handed out?

Thurlow got one for recovering #3 boat... under fire.
Lambert got one for being the helmsman and helping Thurlow get close enough to the moving #3 boat to get it under control... under fire.

But... Pees was pulled aboard by someone.
And the others (that all the versions acknowledge) had to be pulled out of the water by _someone_. There's 4 other guys on Thurlow's boat... and Chenowith's boat pulled people out of the water "...we would have got to Rassman, but Kerry got there first..."

(5) Roofer made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 10:13:16 PM | Permalink

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that Kerry put himself in for a Purple Heart very soon after the early December action in which he claims to have been wounded. His request was refused by his commander.

Later, after that man and others familiar with the incident had gone to other assignments, Kerry resubmitted his request for PH #1. It was approved.

In the context of the above timeline, I'm curious as to when Kerry resubmitted the request for PH #1 and when it was approved.

That could be an interesting piece of information worthy of insertion in the timeline ... or it could be a piece of useless trivia.


(6) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 10:24:23 PM | Permalink

Roofer, I think that would be among the backup documentation that Standard Form 180 would release, but that the Kerry campaign resolutely continues to cover up. You're right, though — it's got to be sometime pretty close in time to the later four medals.

(7) McTrip made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 11:13:37 PM | Permalink


Great stuff.

Please excuse my foreigner's ignorance and allow a few questions :
1. What would be released by John Kerry signing a consent form 180 - can you summarise what kind of information would be involved ?
2. I read somewhere last week that it could amount to 100 pages - does that sound typical or exceptional ?
3. John Kerry's evident reluctance to sign a release form 180 suggests that there is something embarrassing or incriminating he wishes to conceal from the world at large - taking this to be the case, is there speculation as to what this is all about - any clues ?
4. I understand that President George W. Bush has already consented to release of information about his service with the T.A.N.G., presumably by way of the selfsame form 180 route : is that true, and, if so, why is there not pressure from the much vaunted fourth estate of the U.S. for John Kerry to do likewise ?

(If the simple answer to number 4 is that you are [sadly] encumbered by print and broadcast media that are anti-Bush and pro-Kerry and manifestly biased in favour of liberal causes, then you need only say "4th estate = Liberal 5th column" and I will get it.
The upshot seems to me to be that the world of news and opinion blogging is "winning" against main stream media [just as talk radio has carved for itself a deserved and distinctive niche], the simple reason being that the "blogosphere" [whoever populates it - and taking account of all the biases and spins] is a surer source of the truth. What happens next will be interesting.)

Best wishes,

(8) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 11:52:08 PM | Permalink

My understanding — purely second- and third-hand, because I lack any military background myself and have no great familiarity either with the military records-keeping or -releasing process — is that if Kerry were to sign Standard Form 180, it would authorize the Department of Defense to release basically all of Kerry's military records. The SwiftVets contend that those records should include, for example, more of the evaluations he received from his superiors; the backup documentation for his various commendations; more after-action reports from his various combat incidents; more medical records; the casualty reports for his three Purple Hearts; and perhaps some other things as well.

I've seen a reference in one or another press accounts, from newspapers who've tried to get at some of the same material using the Freedom of Information Act, to the effect that there are more than 100 pages of information that is exempt from disclosure under that Act and that can only be released with Kerry's consent via Form 180. I'd be very surprised if, for someone with the length of Kerry's service both on active duty and in the Naval Reserves, there were not several hundred pages of records.

Given that the Kerry campaign has plastered large, but carefully selected, portions of Kerry's military documentation on his website, I think it's a reasonable inference that Kerry is refusing to sign Form 180 because he believes the material released would show irregularities or otherwise be unfavorable and inconsistent with the portrait of his service he's carefully constructed.

I frankly don't know whether Bush signed Form 180 or whether instead the release of his military records was done pursuant to his authority as Commander in Chief.

WaPo's Michael Dobbs, among other mainstream media reporters, has acknowledged that Kerry's blocking the release not only of military records that Form 180 would permit, but also other materials, including those documents like his wartime journals to which Kerry biographer Douglas Brinkley was given access. I'm extremely disappointed that the press hasn't made more of an issue about this. It's a cover-up, plain and simple, and that usually gets the press to salivating and twitching, but Kerry's getting a free pass, for whatever reasons.

(9) McTrip made the following comment | Sep 2, 2004 12:58:24 AM | Permalink

Beldar - thank you : very informative and blogtacularly quick!

(10) Birkel made the following comment | Sep 2, 2004 4:38:03 AM | Permalink

McTrip and Beldar,

I heard conjecture that Kerry had a "urinary tract infection" (read: the clap) that might be revealed with the release of Form 180. That would be humiliating and might account for the reluctance. Yet, I can't see why a curable STD from 35 years ago would matter to his base and/or swing voters. Youthful indiscretion, what with the R&R with the hookers and all...

That might be reading the evidence in the 'light most favorable to the defendant' though.


(11) Dan S made the following comment | Sep 2, 2004 7:50:16 AM | Permalink

Beldar didn't mention medical records specifically. Kerry hasn't released those either. Form 180 would. HIPAA requires permission from the patient for most public releases of protected health care information (which this would be) and other law, such as the Privacy Act, probably play into things like valuations. I'm sure there are also military regulations involved.

I suspect the medical records are one reason for reluctance. Perhaps there is something in those we only conjecture upon (see above). If othing else, however, they might specify triviality in the PH wounds.

The medal paperwork might give evidence that Kerry himself started that peperwork, or at least lead us to the responsible parties. Considering the three versions of SS citations, I would not be surprised to find more irregularities that Kerry might consider damaging (his fault or not).

The after-action reports may well contain language that contradicts the extant stories, also considering what we've seen to date.

My initial plunge into Tour of Duty leads my to believe that book is a pure exercise in mythmaking. That unreleased material should have been dealt with in the context of that book, where Brinkley pretty clearly takes some liberties, as advanced damage control. To some degree that may have taken place, but we can't know until we know what is in those records.

My long-winded and pseudo litcrit take on the open is posted here:

Torture of Duty

(12) BarCodeKing made the following comment | Sep 2, 2004 8:57:12 AM | Permalink

Beldar, the answer to Question #3 is quite simple: Kerry just thought it wouldn't be sporting to keep getting all of those medals and making lesser service members look bad. He'd bagged his limit and thought he'd leave some game for the other hunters. What a guy!

(13) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 2, 2004 11:42:56 AM | Permalink

BarCodeKing, if he were that sporting, he'd have stopped after one heiress.

(14) James B. Shearer made the following comment | Sep 2, 2004 11:51:04 AM | Permalink

According to bird dog on tacitus, Bush has not in fact released all of his records. See

Bush Bash Bonanza

(15) Les Jones made the following comment | Sep 2, 2004 2:50:02 PM | Permalink

According to WizBang, Bush hasn't signed a form 180.

Kerry's communications director, Michael Meehan, is on the record admitting that Kerry hasn't signed a 180, though he maintains that all of the records have been released (yeah, right).

The Boston Globe has more from earlier this year about mis-direction from the Kerry campaign regarding Kerry's records.

(16) d made the following comment | Sep 2, 2004 3:52:38 PM | Permalink

Perhaps Kerry won't sign the Form 180 because his complete records have reprimands and threats of court marshal in them. One speculation is that one of his fitness reports contains the phrase "unfit for command".

(17) J Taylor made the following comment | Sep 14, 2004 10:26:34 AM | Permalink

I recently visited the Navy Archives (13 Sep 04) -- the reason Kerry did not win any medals from March 1 to March 13th is because according to the Market Spot Reports for operation Sea Lords PCF 94, Kerry's boat, did not participate in any missions during that time period. If Kerry's boat did go out during those days, I could have missed a day or two, there was no enemy action on any of those days, just some destroying of bunkers and sampans.

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