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Monday, September 06, 2004

WaTimes reminds WaPo to chase the smoking gun found by Dobbs

The Kerry camp will respond with derision, "That's just those Moonies again, yer gonna believe them?"

But Nat Hentoff's op-ed in today's Washington Times is very clever indeed, because it relies upon and quotes heavily from Michael Dobbs' August 22 article published in the WaTimes' cross-town rival, the Washington Post:

Deep in a long front-page article in The Washington Post by Michael Dobbs, "Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete," there is a smoking gun. In the Aug. 22 piece, Mr. Dobbs largely gives credit to Mr. Kerry's version of one of the controversies — whether there was enemy fire on March 13, 1969, the day Mr. Kerry rescued James Rassmann from the water. But the smoking gun appears later:

"Although Kerry campaign officials insist they have published Kerry's full military records on their Web site (with the exception of medical records shown briefly to reporters earlier this year), they have not permitted independent access to his original Navy records."

On tumultuous cable talk shows, Kerry defenders repeatedly maintained that all of Mr. Kerry's Vietnam records are on his Web site. But, writes Mr. Dobbs:

"A Freedom of Information Act request by The Post for Kerry's records produced six pages of information. A spokesman for the Navy Personnel Command, Mike McClellan, said he was not authorized to release the full file, which consists of at least 100 pages."

What is in these 100-plus pages? Since the centerpiece of Mr. Kerry's presidential campaign is not his 20-year Senate career, but what he did in Vietnam, including his medals, aren't voters entitled to look at the entire record? If not, why?

In the same article, Mr. Dobbs points out that while both sides in this volatile debate have a lot of information on their respective Web sites, both "the Kerry and anti-Kerry camps continue to deny or ignore requests for other relevant documents, including Kerry's personal reminiscences (shared only with biographer Brinkley)" and the boat log....

The Post story continues: "The Kerry campaign has refused to make available Kerry's journals and other writings to The Washington Post, saying the senator remains bound by an exclusivity agreement with Brinkley." (In a subsequent Post story, Mr. Brinkley said those papers are in Mr. Kerry's "full control." Why not release them?) ...

A post-Vietnam fog of war does indeed hover over the Kerry candidacy. And why has most of the mainstream media not followed up on this smoking gun about Mr. Kerry's failure to release all of his Vietnam documents? 

Whatever one may think of its ownership, I'm pretty sure that the Washington Times is definitely on WaPo's radar screens.  It's got to be embarrassing to WaPo to have its upstart rival point out that WaPo's not following up on the story its own reporter broke more than two weeks ago.

As good as Dobbs' August 22 article was, it barely scratched the surface of what good investigative reporters could and should do — notwithstanding the Kerry cover-up of essential documents.  There's plenty of material out there — heck, WaPo could run at least two weeks' worth of articles that would be entirely new to the mainstream media out of my index page alone!  And each one of them could repeat what Dobbs said (too politely, and buried too deeply) on August 22, and what Hentoff's op-ed has just repeated:

Cover-up.  Stonewall.  Hidden records.  Cover-up.  If he'd only come clean!  Smoking gun.  Evasion.  Cover-up.  Won't return calls.  Stonewall.  Won't answer questions.  Cover-up.  What's he got to hide?  Cover-up.  Sing it with me brothers and sisters!  Form 180.  Stonewall.  Brinkley's seen 'em, why can't we?  Cover-up.  Right here in Potomac City!  How dare we?  Cover-up.

The only way to break Kerry's stonewall is to apply continuous, ever-building pressure, until the entire country's aware that Kerry's hiding documents and can draw the obvious inference that he's hiding them because there's something in them he needs to keep hidden.  The blogosphere snapped to this three weeks ago.  Will WaPo?

(Hat-tip, yet again, to PrestoPundit.)

Posted by Beldar at 05:38 AM in Mainstream Media, Politics (2006 & earlier), SwiftVets | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to WaTimes reminds WaPo to chase the smoking gun found by Dobbs and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» Nat Hentoff Criticizes John Kerry's Refusal to Release His Military Records from Patterico's Pontifications

Tracked on Sep 6, 2004 2:57:03 PM


(1) Norman Rogers made the following comment | Sep 6, 2004 6:58:11 AM | Permalink

I've been pressing this point:

The relevant question about the Bronze Star incident is not whether there was enemy fire, but when -- and for what duration any such fire may have occurred.

Any honest analysis of the the events that night must conclude that the rescue of Rassmann was NOT under enemy fire.

Kerry's military records won't add to our understanding of this incident. Only a no-holds barred press conference (with Kerry and his band-of-brothers), might.

(2) Bird Dog made the following comment | Sep 6, 2004 9:14:56 AM | Permalink

That's what I keep asking! Dobbs' piece was the best on the Swiftvet matter. Continetti's at Weekly Standard was pretty good, too, because he stepped back and examined the available evidence. I've written about Kerry's stonewalling several times, here, here, here and here.

(3) mcg made the following comment | Sep 6, 2004 10:33:07 AM | Permalink

What struck me about the Dobbs article was indeed its attempt to provide balance by claiming, rightly or wrongly, that neither side has been forthcoming, that both sides have left out information.

Fine. But only ONE side is running for President.

So even if both sides are in the wrong, it is the Kerry campaign that deserves the stricter scrutiny.

(4) MaDr made the following comment | Sep 6, 2004 11:00:15 AM | Permalink

It's taken me approximately three weeks, but I finally got the Dallas Morning News(DMN)to print a opinion letter asking for Kerry to sign standard Form 180. I had to couch it in terms of "please let us get to the issues". I'd previously tried attacking individual awards and even those items where Kerry had already retreated, leaving the credibility of other claims in question.

I don't think Kerry's records will yield any solid gotchas, but knowing Kerry he will never release them. If the volume gets turned up for their release, his stonewalling will be more damning than anything the records might reveal.

(5) ncoic6 made the following comment | Sep 6, 2004 11:14:27 AM | Permalink

Beldar: The fact that Hentoff has grasped the import of the SBVT story is an important development, in and of itself. As much as the MSM wants this story to go away, the MSM editors are tracking what shows up in their competitors wares. At some point you will see a story come in the middle of the MSM papers with headline that says something like this, "Questions Persist". Such an article would contain new facts raised or settled by further digging.

In order to solidify the point made by Rogers, SBVT group should ascertain from Chenoweth whether he was going "downstream" when heading towards Rassman. Kerry was coming upstream. Chenoweth moving downstream would be a powerful indication that the 5 boats had drifted out of range of any ambush that may have been set.

A weakness of the "Unfit for Command" book is that it resembles an overzealous prosecutor's brief. It is hard hitting and very convincing in the case that presents. However, as Beldar can attest to from his own experience, a prosecutor's presentation is one part of the story, and an entirely different one may emerge under skillful cross-examination.
Just as critical inquiry into the Kerry camp defense is justified, so is such scrutiny waranted of the SBVT claims.

Did O'Neill's investigators attempt an objective recreation of the 13 Mar 69 PCF3 incident, or were they focused on gathering rebuttal points to the official Kerry version?

(6) Al made the following comment | Sep 6, 2004 12:01:37 PM | Permalink

If the Rassman rescue happened close to the ways Kerry and the citation say... shouldn't it be a "Bronze Star with V"? Being _in_combat_ makes it a _V_.

The Bronze Stars _without_ V's were more for doing heroic but non-combat things... like leaping from one moving boat to another to capture a runaway vessel. Or steering the chase boat in that same situation.

Is someone making a graphic with the flying dog too? ;)

(7) Gary B. made the following comment | Sep 7, 2004 9:20:01 AM | Permalink

The US Navy is now investigating Kerry's medals, because he has a silver star with a combat (V), and a bronze star with a combat (V) because apparently they don't issue the silver star with the special (V). I just hope he will not accuse the Navy of being part of the Bush smear machine too?

(8) M. Simon made the following comment | Sep 7, 2004 11:38:29 AM | Permalink

The Debates are next.

As soon as Kerry takes a position all Bush has to do is to ask why it differs from Kerry's previous position.

(9) ricardo made the following comment | Sep 8, 2004 9:43:31 AM | Permalink

For those who don't know, Nat Hentoff is a columnist for the Village Voice! -- no mere Washington Times moonie. Hentoff has describes his unique niche: "I'm a Jewish atheist civil-libertarian pro-lifer."

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