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Author Topic: SBVFT lay out case for factual basis of ad
Daruma28
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Vietnam Boomerang
John Kerry's "war crimes" libel returns to haunt him.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT

The issue here, as I have heard it raised, is was he present and active on duty in Alabama at the times he was supposed to be. . . . Just because you get an honorable discharge does not in fact answer that question.
--John Kerry, questioning President Bush's
military-service record, February 8, 2004.

A good rule in politics is that anyone who picks a fight ought to be prepared to finish it. But having first questioned Mr. Bush's war service, and then made Vietnam the core of his own campaign for President, Mr. Kerry now cries No mas! because other Vietnam vets are assailing his behavior before and after that war. And, by the way, Mr. Bush is supposedly honor bound to repudiate them.

We've tried to avoid the medals-and-ribbons fight ourselves, except to warn Mr. Kerry that he was courting precisely such scrutiny ("Kerry's Medals Strategy," February 9). But now that the Senator is demanding that the Federal Election Commission stifle his opponents' free speech, this one is too rich to ignore.

What did Mr. Kerry expect, anyway? That claiming to be a hero himself while accusing other veterans of "war crimes"--as he did back in 1971 and has refused to take back ever since--would somehow go unanswered? That when he raised the subject of one of America's most contentious modern events, no one would meet him at the barricades? Mr. Kerry brought the whole thing up; why is it Mr. Bush's obligation now to shut it down?

Simply because some rich Bush-backers are funding Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is hardly an adequate answer. Some rich Kerry-backers are spending far more to attack Mr. Bush's record, and the Senator was only too happy to slipstream behind Michael Moore's smear that Mr. Bush was a Vietnam-era "deserter."

In any case, anyone who spends five minutes reading the Swift Boat Veterans' book ("Unfit for Command") will quickly realize that their attack has nothing to do with Mr. Bush. This is all about Mr. Kerry and what the veterans believe was his blood libel against their service when he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the spring of 1971 that all American soldiers had committed war crimes as a matter of official policy. "Crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command" were among his incendiary words.

Mr. Kerry has never offered proof of those charges, yet he has never retracted them either. At his recent coronation in Boston he managed the oxymoronic feat of celebrating both his own war-fighting valor and his antiwar activities when he returned home. This is why the Swifties are so incensed, and this is why no less than World War II veteran Bob Dole joined the fray on the weekend to ask that Mr. Kerry apologize for his unproven accusations.

As Bill Lannom of Grinnell, Iowa, one of the Swifties, told the Washington Post last week: "He's telling untruths about us and his character. He's talking about atrocities that didn't happen. And then he's using that same experience to promote himself. He can't have it both ways."

We don't pretend to know the truth about how Mr. Kerry won his medals. There's no doubt that he pulled Jim Rassmann from the water (as Mr. Rassmann described recently in The Wall Street Journal), and that he put himself in harm's way and deserves respect for it. There's also little doubt that he has exaggerated some of his exploits--especially that Christmas in Cambodia sojourn we now know never happened--even to the strange extent of restaging events while in Vietnam so he could film them for political posterity. Modesty is not one of his virtues, in contrast to Mr. Dole and other modern veteran candidates (George McGovern, George H.W. Bush) who did not flaunt their noble service. But whatever doubts still exist could probably be put to rest if Mr. Kerry simply released all of his service records.

The "war crimes" canard isn't so easily handled, however. It relates directly to our current effort in Iraq, where U.S. constancy is as much an issue now as it was in Vietnam. Mr. Kerry's denunciation of the U.S. at that time presaged a career in which he has always been quick to attack the moral and military purposes of American policy--in Central America, against the Soviet Union, and of course during the current Iraq War that he initially voted for. It's certainly fair to wonder if Mr. Kerry will have the fortitude to fight to victory in Iraq if he does win in November. Or will he call for retreat the way he and so many other liberals did when Vietnam became difficult?

The irony here is that a main reason Mr. Kerry has focused so much on Vietnam is to avoid debating Iraq and the rest of his long record in the Senate. He wants Americans to believe that a four-month wartime biography is credential enough to be commander-in-chief. But a candidate who runs on biography can't merely pick the months of his life that he likes--any more than a candidate who makes Vietnam the heart of his campaign can confine the resulting debate to his personal home video.

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Pete at Home
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What I find most cowardly is how Kerry speaks out of both sides of his mouth regarding the Swifties.

Kerry says, regarding debate of his record, "bring it on." At the same time, Kerry shrieks at Bush to shut them down, and uses his influence to shut down the publishing and distribution of "Unfit for Command."

I decried the handful of Repubs that tried to shut down circulation of F911. Fortunately Bush was not one of them. So this isn't just one more piece of Kerry-doublespeak.

Under other circumstances, we might reasonably argue that the Cambodia lie mere "embellishment" of a story. 2 facts make that construction impossible here:

1. Kerry didn't just say that he remembered being in Cambodia when it happened. He asserted that he remembered it like it was yesterday or some such language.

2. Kerry was telling the story in order to compare GWB to Nixon, and to call GWB a liar, and the worst sort of liar, one who knowingly bears false witness in order to justify a war. Well, when you're calling someone a liar, it's rather bad form to "embellish" the facts.

You can't get around the fact that Kerry lied in order to discredit George W Bush. I realize there are people who have done the same thing so many times that they don't comprehend why this is so wrong. I hope that they don't represent most Americans.

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RickyB
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Another vet, this time a guinner from the swift behind Kerry's, conforms enemy fire took place:


link


Pete - I kinda agree. Kerry is being somewhat crybaby-ish about the whole affair. He would be much better served by a resigned and caustic attitude toward his tormentors. That's what I usually do with people who develop a hatred for me and spread lies about me. Not that I have as much at stake, but it works for me.

BTW, Kerry told the Xmas in Cambodia story back in '86 (first time was in '79, from what I read), not to make Bush look bad. It was Reagan he was criticizing [Smile]

Edited by OrneryMod to fix length of link.

[ August 25, 2004, 09:38 AM: Message edited by: OrneryMod ]

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Ron Lambert
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RickyB, you quote Langhofer again. As has been pointed out before, included in Langhofer's recollection of events was that Kerry DIVED in to rescue Rassmann:
quote:
Kerry also picked up support from Wayne D. Langhofer, who told The Washington Post he was manning a machine gun in a boat behind Kerry's and saw firing from both banks of a river as Kerry dived in to rescue Special Forces soldier James Rassmann, the basis for Kerry's Bronze Star.
Here is the link to the earlier article that includes the above sentence: Langhofer said Kerry dived in

NO other account agrees with Langhofer's. Even Kerry says he just reached in and pulled Rassmann out. It is interesting that in their retelling of it, The Boston Globe chose to omit that part of Langhofer's testimony. Sorry, guys, it's already out there, you can't hush it up now.

Since Langhofer has been contradicted on this point by everyone else, how reliable is the rest of his testimony? Remember, the other swift boats aimed suppression fire at both shores immediately after the mine exploded, and Kerry's boat only returned after it was clear there was no return fire from either shore. Langhofer may have been confused by the suppression fire.

[ August 24, 2004, 07:51 PM: Message edited by: Ron Lambert ]

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Redskullvw
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Paul,

Yep i ddefinately have a bias here, and that bias is reflected in my concern over his honesty when addressing Congress while giving testimony. If he stands by his testimony from 1971, then he is a murderer and is very unfit for command.

My assesment of his entire war record is that in all likelyhood he was as brave as the next guy. No more no less. It is what we expect from those who serve. I think he made a mistake however politicizing his war time experience and routinely and intentionaly drawing attention to his own Heroism. Kerry is definately not an Audy Murphy, yet if you swallowed Kerry's statements in there entirity, he seems to be placing himself on a level of heroism which would be as exceptional as Murphy's was.

My point is whether it is his Cambodia timeline snafu, or the actual actions he took saving a crewmember, or even possibly murdering an incapacitated enemy, we will never get to the bottom of the issue in such a way that everyone wouldn't be screaming partisan plotting. Kerry's military service has become a liability because he sought to agrandize its importance in his personal development and makeup. Considering how apparently ashamed he was of his participation in the war when he testified in 1971, his recent embracing of his wartime role sounds politically motivated.

In essence we have as I pointed out, at least 3 versions of what happened which are demonstrated to be equally falible and contradictory. Kerry has not helped his credibility by messing up key factual points such as simple items like what President was in office on the most searing memory of his own personal involvement in the war. But at the same time, the Swift Boat vets are likely to be as equally fallible in their recollections as well. Even the documents submitted for his medals was apparently standard fill in the blank boiler plate written by some annoymous company clerk, and contradicts the recollections of both Kerry and the Swift boat vets. In any point of view, no matter how hard anyone tries, no one can definitively state that Kerry did or did not do anything with any degree of reliable factual judgement.

Its like arguing the existance or non existance of God, it is ultimately impossible to prove anyones version. Therefore Kerry has commited a political blunder which has been compounded by the ongoing public contradictions being stated by the Swift Boat Vets. Instead of being seen as a political leader qualified to guide military policy, he is fighting a 527 group for political traction. What may be the real root of his political problem regarding this issue is that Americans do not as a rule award military braggarts who repeat ad nauseum their heroic deeds. We prefer our heros to be self depricating in regard to their military actions.

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ATW
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:


As for the quote by the Navy guy - he wasn't there. Does he know for a fact the guy Kerry shot was wounded? Does he know for a fact the guy was not posing a threat? This is ridiculous. A bunch of right wingers, who are the first to justify preemptive violence and the bombing of wedding parties, are now sifting through testimony from an incident 36 years ago and criticizing someone for shooting an armed enemy in a combat zone. The people who saw this from up-close ALL say that the vietnamese guy was armed with a rocket launcher, was a threat to them, and that Kerry's action eliminated that threat.


http://www.s-t.com/daily/10-96/10-28-96/a03sr015.htm

An article from Kerry's 1996 senate campaign

excerpt

Stung by a column questioning the circumstances of his greatest war triumph, Sen. John F. Kerry gathered his commanders and crew from Vietnam yesterday to rebuff what several called an assault on his integrity.
Mr. Kerry, visibly angered, recounted how he chased down a Viet Cong soldier in February 1969 and killed him as he was just about to fire a rocket into Mr. Kerry's Swift boat. The action earned him the Silver Star, the country's third highest honor for bravery.
The critical column, however, quoted the boat's forward gunner as saying Sen. Kerry actually finished off the soldier after the gunner wounded him.

Yesterday, the gunner, Tom Belodeau of Dracut, stood beside Sen. Kerry and said he had been misquoted.
"This man was not lying on the ground. This man was more than capable of destroying that boat and everybody on it. Sen. Kerry did not give him that opportunity," Mr. Belodeau said.
Mr. Belodeau did concede that he may have wounded the Viet Cong soldier with a burst from his own gun, but he said Sen. Kerry did more than just finish him off. The columnist, an economics writer David Warsh for a Boston newspaper, noted that such a "coup de grace" would have been considered a war crime.
"The soldier that Sen. John Kerry shot was standing on both feet with a loaded rocket launcher, about to fire it on the boat from which (Mr. Kerry) had just left, which still had four men aboard," Mr. Belodeau said.

A three-boat flotilla Mr. Kerry was commanding on a river in South Vietnam came under fire and Sen. Kerry took his boat directly into it. By the end, a Viet Cong soldier was dead and Sen. Kerry was carrying an enemy rocket launcher with a rocket still loaded in the chamber.
In the column, Mr. Warsh quotes Mr. Belodeau as saying in the course of their interview, "You know, I shot that guy. ... When I hit him, he went down and got up again. When Kerry hit him, he stayed down."

Sen. Kerry's staff arranged a news conference at the Courageous Sailing Center in the Charlestown Navy Yard. It also flew in several people who attested to Sen. Kerry's character and his version of events.

Also participating by phone from San Francisco was Michael Medeiros, who was the rear gunner on the Swift boat.

Mr. Medeiros, who was chasing after Sen. Kerry and the fleeing soldier, said he did not see Sen. Kerry kill him but had no doubt that the senator did so.
"The only one that was there was Senator Kerry," he said.

==

So let's look at the story as seen before the presidential campaign, organized swift boat vets, etc.

There were three boats involved in the incident which means 15 crewmen. RickyB, when you said, that navy guy wasn't there, looking back through the thread, I don't know which navy guy you were referring to.

"Does he know for a fact the guy Kerry shot was wounded?" Belodeau, the person on Kerry's boat who wounded the enemy said the enemy was wounded. If this article isn't enough for your purposes on that point, I've read Kerry's accounts of the incident and can get you a url with Kerry saying it.


"Does he know for a fact the guy was not posing a threat?"

Reading what the Belodeau said, the enemy was wounded and running away.

Kerry left the boat and was chasing the enemy. That's not in dipute by anyone.

Belodeau changed his story. First he said Kerry finished the guy off.

When that story was published and turned out to be embarrassing to Kerry, Belodeau changed his story to: "The soldier that Sen. John Kerry shot was standing on both feet with a loaded rocket launcher, about to fire it on the boat from which (Mr. Kerry) had just left, which still had four men aboard,"

Then Medeiros, who is now one of Kerry's band of brothers, is brought in by Kerry to substantiate the story.

Medeiros said he left the boat too chasing both Kerry and the enemy. But Medeiros said he was unable to see Kerry as he was killing the enemy.

Medeiros was closer to what was happening than Belodeau was. Medeiros couldn't see what was happening but in Belodeau's revised story Belodeau could see the guy with the rocket launcher threatening the four men in the boat.

Swift boats have five people to run them. Kerry and Medeiros were gone leaving three people left on the boat. Unless Belodeau would care to change his story yet again (which would be tough since he died in 1997).

other sources

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/08/06/veteran_retracts_criticism_of_kerry?mode=PF

In an interview for a seven-part biographical series that appeared in the Globe last year, Kerry said: ''I don't have a second's question" about killing the Viet Cong. ''He was running away with a live B-40, and, I thought, poised to turn around and fire it."

Asked whether that meant that he had shot the guerrilla in the back, Kerry said, ''No, absolutely not," adding that the enemy had been running to a hut for cover, where he could have destroyed Kerry's boat and killed the crew.

[note: he could have stopped running from the armed soldiers chasing him plus the .50 caliber machine guns on the boat at any point and made a stand with his single shot B-40. Also realize Kerry's version, that the guy was still running when Kerry killed him, contradicts Belodeau's second story that the guy had stopped and was trying to fire on the boat.]

http://washingtontimes.com/national/20040219-115623-9539r.htm


Questions arose during his 1996 Senate re-election campaign about whether Mr. Kerry deserved the awards, in particular the Silver Star. Accounts of the incident vary, but essentially Mr. Kerry chased down a wounded Viet Cong fighter, killed him and stripped him of the B-40 rocket launcher he had just fired at Mr. Kerry's swift boat.
The Viet Cong fighter had already been wounded by the boat's machine gunner, according to various reports from eyewitnesses, who had "laid down 50 rounds" into the hootch where the man had run to hide and from which Mr. Kerry emerged after applying what some described as the "coup de grace" to the wounded Viet Cong.

[Well, maybe he could have taken a stand with his single shot B-40 if he hadn't already fired it. I'm sure Kerry would have let him have the time to re-load in the interests of fairness.]

=====

Now as to whether charging the position was heroic or not:

The B-40 "rocket launcher" was the vietnam-era communist version of the rocket propelled grenade. It couldn't hit the broad side of a barn at distances over 25 yards.

Standard operating proceedure of the day would have been to back the boat off beyond that distance, say 40-60 yards, and rake the enemy position with Swift boat's .50 caliber machine guns.

If you want to see how primative-looking the B-40 was, here's a picture. Little more than a metal pipe from a 7th grade shop class and a wooden grip.

http://www.c22inf.bravepages.com/richardson.htm

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Everard
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"Reading what the Belodeau said, the enemy was wounded and running away."

It would help if you read your own quotes, before saying something like this...I mean, Ididn't even need to go hunting to refute this statement...

"The soldier that Sen. John Kerry shot was standing on both feet with a loaded rocket launcher, about to fire it on the boat from which (Mr. Kerry) had just left, which still had four men aboard," Mr. Belodeau said."


"Belodeau changed his story. First he said Kerry finished the guy off.

When that story was published and turned out to be embarrassing to Kerry, Belodeau changed his story to: "The soldier that Sen. John Kerry shot was standing on both feet with a loaded rocket launcher, about to fire it on the boat from which (Mr. Kerry) had just left, which still had four men aboard,""

You are aware these stories do not contradict each other, but clarify?

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stayne
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ricky,
quote:
Yeah. I wasn't there, but my understanding is thatKerry turned around to go pick up Rassman. The other boats, who didn't know Rassman had fallen overboard, only saw Kerry lead his boat away from the pack. Very easy, in a reconstruction session (theinfamous "indoctrination meeting") to distinctly remember kerry moving away from the pack ("bailing"), and then brush aside the fact that he did it to save Rassman as something that's unclear, in doubt, and anyway, the important thing is that this guy is a scumbag and we can't let him get away with it . I bet you anything that something very much alongthoselines was repeated many times during the sessions.
I think you are getting confused about the point. I thought we both agreed that the SVBT did not question that he got the guy out of the water. I though the point of contention was whether or not they were under hostile fire when it happened. The sotry keeps changing, it seems. (Not meaning you're chaning it, just that it's a big mess.) Am I wrong? Are they claiming he did _not_ save the guy?

quote:
I find it telling that both Kerry's medals were earned away from the pack . Once turning around to save Rassman, and once chraging into fire and beaching his boatto takeout aVC warrior with a rocket launcher.
Again, thought the charges were in regard to the purple hearts, not the others. As I understand it, the criticism is that Kerry was trying to shorten his tour by reaching the '3 purple hearts', and that he was not honest about the 'enemy fire' requirement.

quote:
This means that the swifties (none of whom was on Kerry's boat, remember), were dozens, if not hundreds of yards away from the events in question. So these guys can claim that they were "yards away" from Kerry's boat, and maybe they often were. But when the events that he's testifying about happened, THEY WEREN'T. Since they didn't (and couldn't) quite see what happened, they amount to crap as eyewitnesses.
Again, does this mean that the question is not of enemy fire and the purple hearts? We need to pin down what we're talking about, before we can make any sense of it. (Not that we necessarily will, anyway. As you note, neither of us were there. But there were trained observers, some of whose accounts conflict.)

quote:
Hmmm, maybe Kerry WAS in Cambodia on Xmas EVE, 1968 after all. Read Fred Kaplan's reading of Brinkley's book. Yes, by the time Xmas was officially on (after sunset, Dec. 24th), Kerry was at Sa Dec, 50 miles from the border. But where was he EARLIER that day?:
You know, I don't really buy this whole Cambodia argument. I can believe that Kerry might have _thought_ he was in Cambodia. I can even believe he _was_ in Cambodia, wasn't supposed to be, and naturally, documentation should show otherwise. I can believe that Kerry may have become less convinced over the years as to where he was. I just don't see how any of this demonstrates and dishonesty, really. Being wrong, or being unable to demonstrate your honesty due to realpolitik, is not dishonest. It's kind of the same take I have on the WOMD thing. I don't think Bush was dishonest about that. He may have been mistaken. Or, hell, there may have been WOMD, and they just don't see a compelling reason to tell us. I have often hought that there was a downside to revealing such a discovery (panic, revealing sources of information to the enemy), and no real upside (ABB'ers would claim they were planted.) I don't think we should ascribe malice to either case.

quote:
By the way, do you deny that it's human nature not to want to believe good things about someome you hate and despise? Do I need to prove this as as an extant motivation in the human mind? I'm not saying it's a prime directive, or that all people feel this way to an equal degree, but if Rassman can be lying to cover for someone he only believes saved his life, then psychological suppositions regardingthe swifties are equally valid.
No, I don't disagree with your comment on human nature, here. But you're trying to equate 'lying to save your pal's ass' with 'lying as an attack', which, in my mind, are two very different things. But do note, as I learn more about the claims, I don't really think Rassman can even be accused of lying. He could very easily have believed that they were under fire at the time. He fell off the boat. There was hella shooting. I think he's probably telling he truth, as he sees it. I just find more reason to believe the other observers as to whether they were being fired upon.

quote:
Why this isn't evident to everyone in this context again has to do with the psychology of bias, imho.
Of that, there can be little doubt. Both you and are are kind of exemplary of it. At the very least, both of us must concede that it seems the other has formed judgements based on just such thinking. I am not sure how either of us could really demonstrate objectivity.

But let us note, I base my POV on the general trustworthinessof military men. You base yours on the trustworthiness of politicians. [Wink]

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Ivan
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I'm sorry for not posting a full reply to all of your thoughts Gary, (it seems that much interesting stuff is afoot), but reading through, this bit struck me and I felt it needed a response.

quote:
Clips of Kerry's testimony were used during the torture of POW's to help break American soldiers. Think about that one a moment. Kerry, by proxy, participated in the torture of American servicemen.
This is just as offensive and absurd as those post-9/11 commercials that said that using pot ("drugs") was akin to supporting terror. They tried to blaim drug users for murdering US civilians. Now you're accusing US citizens exercising their Constitutional right to question their government of torturing enemy troops. It's just rediculas. Why not accuse the people who broadcast Kerry's testimoney of aiding and abetting the enemy?? Arn't they just as responsible for those video clips getting to the enemy? And what about the people questioning him? Shouldn't they have insisted that cameras not be let in so that the enemy couldn't gain access to this? They were criminally irresponsible, no?

There's plenty of useful information in your threads. Why call what you post in to question with rhetorical flourishes like this one? [Wink]

And while we're on the topic once again, I consider the fact that we found now WMD and that Iraq did not present an imminent threat to the US to be some rather vital facts concerning President Bush's testimony, while the exact date Kerry was in Cambodia (and Ricky's source seems pretty good, so it may have been a few hours difference, not even days) has minimal relevance to the fact that he was there while his President was assuring the Americans he was serving as well as the rest of the world that he was, in fact, not.

I'll try to respond to other issues in this thread later... but I've got a class at 10 tomorrow, so I've really got to get to bed an hour ago. >_<

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OhPuhLeez
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New information surfaces...


quote:
Unit's Report Supports Kerry's Version

By MATT KELLEY, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The Navy task force overseeing John Kerry (news - web sites)'s swift boat squadron in Vietnam reported that his group of boats came under enemy fire during a March 13, 1969, incident that three decades later is being challenged by the Democratic presidential nominee's critics.

The March 18, 1969, weekly report from Task Force 115, which was located by The Associated Press during a search of Navy archives, is the latest document to surface that supports Kerry's description of an event for which he won a Bronze Star and a third Purple Heart.

The Task Force report twice mentions the incident five days earlier and both times calls it "an enemy initiated firefight" that included automatic weapons fire and underwater mines used against a group of five boats that included Kerry's.

Task Force 115 was commanded at the time by retired Rear Adm. Roy Hoffmann, the founder of the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which has been running ads challenging Kerry's account of the episode.

A member of the group, Larry Thurlow, said Tuesday he stood by his assertion that there was no enemy fire that day. Thurlow, the commander of another boat who also won a Bronze Star, said task force commanders probably relied on the initial report of the incident. Thurlow says Kerry wrote that report.

The document, part of thousands of pages of records housed at the Naval Historical Center, is one of several that say Kerry and other servicemen were shot at from the banks of the Bay Hap River on March 13, 1969. The Associated Press located the document Tuesday during a search of available records.

Earlier this month, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth aired a television ad claiming Kerry lied about the circumstances surrounding his medals. Several members of the group who were aboard nearby boats that March 13 said in the ad and in affidavits that there was no enemy gunfire during the incident.

The anti-Kerry group has not produced any official Navy documents supporting that claim, however. The man Kerry rescued, Jim Rassmann, and the crew of Kerry's boat all say there was gunfire from both banks of the river at the time.

Meanwhile, Benjamin Ginsberg, a lawyer for the Bush campaign, acknowledged Tuesday that he has given legal advice to the anti-Kerry group. Ginsberg said he never told the Bush campaign what he discussed with the group or vice versa, and doesn't advise the group on ad strategies.

The Kerry campaign has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (news - web sites) accusing the Bush campaign and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth of illegally coordinating the group's ads. The Bush campaign and the veterans group say there was no coordination.

Kerry is the subject of complaints by the Bush campaign and the Republican National Committee (news - web sites) accusing his campaign of illegally coordinating anti-Bush ads with outside groups on the Democratic side, allegations he and the groups deny.

Kerry has denounced the assertions from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as lies made as part of a Republican smear campaign. Most of the group's members and early financial backers are Republicans and one member who appeared in an ad, Ken Cordier, was a volunteer member of the Bush campaign. The campaign cut its ties with Cordier last week.

President Bush (news - web sites) has said his campaign had nothing to do with the veterans group and said all such advertising by outside groups should cease. An anti-Bush group has run television ads saying Bush shirked his duty in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam war.

Kerry highlighted his Vietnam service during the Democratic convention last month, recounting the March 13 incident and having Rassmann join him on stage.

On that day in 1969, Kerry's PCF-94 was part of a five-boat group heading downriver. An underwater mine exploded underneath another boat, PCF-3, injuring its entire crew. Kerry's boat was then hit by another explosion that knocked Rassmann, an Army Green Beret, into the water. Kerry hurt his right arm in the explosion.

Kerry turned his boat around to rescue Rassmann, pulling the soldier into the boat with his injured right arm, while the other boats rushed to help PCF-3. All the official Navy reports on the incident say the boats were under heavy fire from the riverbanks at the time. Those records include the official after-action report, citations for Bronze Stars awarded for heroism that day and now the Task Force 115 report.

The weekly report cites the incident twice, referring to its code name of Sea Lords 358. The first reference says the boats "encountered an enemy initiated firefight with water mines and automatic weapons fire." The second reference also mentions "an enemy initiated firefight ... with water mines and automatic weapons."

Thurlow, the commander of another swift boat who won a Bronze Star for helping the crew of PCF-3, insists there was no enemy gunfire during the incident. The citation and recommendation for Thurlow's Bronze Star, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, also mention enemy fire, however.

Thurlow's medal recommendation, for example, says he helped the PCF-3 crew "under constant enemy small arms fire." That recommendation is signed by George Elliott, another member of the anti-Kerry group. It lists as the only witness for the incident Robert Eugene Lambert, an enlisted man who was not on Kerry's boat who also won the Bronze Star that day.

Thurlow stood by his claim that there was no gunfire that day and said his Bronze Star documents were wrong.

Kerry's campaign has released copies of the after-action report and Kerry's Bronze Star nomination and citation for the incident, but not the weekly report.


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ATW
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Since Kerry frequently insisted on being the person to write the after-action reports in which his unit participated, I'm not shocked that the report reflects what Kerry says.

Whether Kerry is telling the truth about what happened is the issue. Reading what Kerry wrote about it doesn't exactly shed a new light on the subject.

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ATW
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quote:
Originally posted by Everard:
"Reading what the Belodeau said, the enemy was wounded and running away."

It would help if you read your own quotes, before saying something like this...I mean, I didn't even need to go hunting to refute this statement...


It would help if you would understand the context of the article before commenting.

The article is Kerry & his band of brothers' response to an earlier article where Belodeau repeats the Kerry version of the story to a columnist. The Kerry version of the incident is that the guy was wounded and running away.

If you aren't trying to spin that in order to make it look good, it looks bad. And the column looked very bad for Kerry.

So Belodeau in this article is changing his story away from the Kerry version to something else to make Kerry look better.

Then Kerry brought in more people who confirm the Kerry version of the story which Belodeau had by that time backed away from.

Actually pretty funny how disorganized the Kerry response is. At least this time around they've had an extra eight years to get their story straight. Not that its helping them much.

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Gary
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quote:
Originally posted by Ivan:
quote:
Clips of Kerry's testimony were used during the torture of POW's to help break American soldiers. Think about that one a moment. Kerry, by proxy, participated in the torture of American servicemen.
This is just as offensive and absurd as those post-9/11 commercials that said that using pot ("drugs") was akin to supporting terror. They tried to blaim drug users for murdering US civilians. Now you're accusing US citizens exercising their Constitutional right to question their government of torturing enemy troops. It's just rediculas. Why not accuse the people who broadcast Kerry's testimoney of aiding and abetting the enemy?? Arn't they just as responsible for those video clips getting to the enemy? And what about the people questioning him? Shouldn't they have insisted that cameras not be let in so that the enemy couldn't gain access to this? They were criminally irresponsible, no?
Criminally irresponsible for broadcasting it? I don't think so. Maybe irresponsible but not criminally so. The responsibility ultimately resides with the perpetrator of the lies. In this case, those lies are very likely criminal.

If you read the article this came from, it's clear that Kerry's false testimony before Congress was used as part of a torture program to break down US servicemen. Kerry willingly and knowingly supplied false testimony that was used by the enemy. I'll grant that he may not have thought beyond his own personal political gain when he perjured himself before Congress. The fact that he did not intend to provide torture material to the enemy is not important - that he did it is. Is unintentionally aiding the enemy still treasonous? I'm not entirely sure but it certainly shows a tremendous lack of judgement.

It's well documented he lied in his Congressional testimony. It's also well documented how that testimony was used. As Bob Dole suggested, it would behoove Kerry to admit it and offer a sincere apology to those he betrayed. That Kerry was a proxy participant in the torture of POW's may be offensive but it is not absurd.

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ATW
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The enemy would have found something else with which to torture out troops if it weren't the Kerry lies. Personally I'd rather watch Kerry's testimony than get beaten or have my fingernails pulled off. YMMV, admittedly a close call. [Wink]

Kerry was in the naval reserve til 1978. IMO, the navy should have picked him up outside the capitol after his testimony in 1971 and charged him with not reporting the war crimes to the military authorities.

IRL, Kerry eventually over the next couple of years was cornered into debating O'Niell (one of the writer's of the current anti-Kerry book "Unfit for Command"). In that debate, contrary to the impression he left on the law-makers, Kerry admitted he didn't witness any of the autrocities he testified to.

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Gary
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Here's an intersting story.

At issue is Kerry's first purple heart awarded for action on Dec. 2, 1968. Kerry claims to have been under fire on that date and thus deserving of the purple heart. However:
quote:
A journal entry Mr. Kerry wrote Dec. 11, however, raises questions about what really happened nine days earlier.
"A cocky feeling of invincibility accompanied us up the Long Tau shipping channel because we hadn't been shot at yet, and Americans at war who haven't been shot at are allowed to be cocky," wrote Mr. Kerry, according the book "Tour of Duty" by friendly biographer Douglas Brinkley.

So what's the Kerry response?
quote:
A Kerry campaign official, speaking on background, told The Washington Times yesterday that the "we" in the passage from Mr. Kerry's journal refers to "the crew on Kerry's first swift boat, operating as a crew" rather than Mr. Kerry himself.
"John Kerry didn't yet have his own boat or crew on December 2," according to the aide. "Other members of the crew had been in Vietnam for some time and had been shot at and Kerry knew that at the time. However, the crew had not yet been fired on while they served together on PCF 44 under Lieutenant Kerry."
Mr. Kerry's campaign could not say definitively whether he did receive enemy fire that day.

So it all depends on the meaning of "we". Does it mean we as in 'all of us'? Does it mean we as in "them but not me"? Or does it mean we as in "not all at the same time"? Am I going to need a dictionary every time Kerry speaks now?

It's odd the Kerry campaign is now waffling on the enemy fire claim though.

Where would Kerry like us to focus now? Here:
quote:
At a fund-raiser last night in Philadelphia, Mr. Kerry defended his anti-war activism upon his return from Vietnam, which also has come under attack by the Swift Boat Veterans, as "an act of conscience."
"You can judge my character, incidentally, by that," he said.

Has Kerry lost his mind? He's saying we can judge his character by fraudulent testimony during Congressional hearings that was used during the torture of US servicemen. I mean really, has he lost his mind? Why would he invite this new direction? I thought making his Vietnam record the campaign centerpiece was a huge mistake but this may actually eclipse that.
quote:
"Because when the time for moral crisis existed in this country, I wasn't taking care of myself, I was taking care of public policy," Mr. Kerry told his audience. "I was taking care of things that made a difference to the life of this nation. You may not have agreed with me, but I stood up and was counted, and that's the kind of president I'm going to be."
He's saying he's going to be the kind of president that lies to Congress. Yeah, he's lost his mind. [Eek!]
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ATW
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Setting aside the issue for a moment, I think having someone in the White House who waffles and re-writes what he says is dangerous.

When Kerry really gets down to the last straw and wants to tell some foreign power in no uncertain terms that they'd better not do something or else, how do they know at what point to take him seriously?

Seems likely they'd not be able to tell when he is posturing and when he's deadly serious.

And since most presidents spend more of their time posturing than being deadly serious, it'd lead countries and organizations to cross lines which are best left uncrossed.

Thank God the Cold War is over.

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Gary
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quote:
Originally posted by ATW:
The enemy would have found something else with which to torture out troops if it weren't the Kerry lies.

Then I say, let them find something else. Can you imagine the shock of hearing this testimony from Kerry? You're isolated in a small cell that you get drug out of occasionally and severely beaten. Your torturers are trying to get you to admit to heinous and terrible crimes.

Then you get to hear a highly decorated veteran openly and willingly confirming that you are indeed the rapist and murderer the brutes ripping you fingernails out say you are?

How would that make you feel? You spend years resisting the pressure to lie and "confess" to the crimes. You behave honorably and rely on your fellow warriors to do so as well. Kerry knew they were there, knew they were being tortured (Jane Fonda surely clued him in).

Kerry betrayed them and dishonored himself. He has never tried to reconcile this dishonor, in fact he has reveled in it and even now tries to make the case his betrayal and lies were somehow honorable. It's despicable.

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ATW
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I'll take psychological torture over physical torture any day.

A political cartoon I don't have the art skills to draw:

John McCain and a fellow prisoner sitting with their hands shackled above their heads. Both are wearing panties on their heads.

McCain turns to his fellow prisoner and says, "This is kind of fun compared to most days. Let's see if we can do this again tomorrow."

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RickyB
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stayne, the swifties are attacking the medals as well, not just the purple hearts.
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Sancselfieme
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Bush campaign linked to and cooperating with Swift-Boat Vets group: Lawyer Advising Vets Quits Bush Campaign


quote:

WASHINGTON (AP) - One of President Bush's top lawyers resigned from his campaign Wednesday, a day after disclosing that he had given legal advice to a veterans group airing TV ads against Democrat John Kerry. The guidance included checking ad scripts, the group said.

Benjamin Ginsberg, who also represented Bush in the 2000 Florida recount that made the Republican president, told Bush in a letter that he felt his legal work for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth had become a distraction for the re-election campaign.

"I have decided to resign as national counsel to your campaign to ensure that the giving of legal advice to decorated military veterans, which was entirely within the boundaries of the law, doesn't distract from the real issues upon which you and the country should be focusing," Ginsberg wrote.

The Kerry campaign portrayed Ginsberg's departure as another sign of ties between the Bush campaign and the veterans group, which has been airing ads accusing Kerry of exaggerating his Vietnam War record.


"The sudden resignation of Bush's top lawyer doesn't end the extensive web of connections between George Bush and the group trying to smear John Kerry's military record," said Kerry-Edwards campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill. "In fact, it only confirms the extent of those connections."



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ATW
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Great editing on that article cutting it off just before it was in any danger of revealing the rest of the truth.

Here's a more complete look at the story from the same media outlet.

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20040825/D84MC15O1.html

An election lawyer for President Bush who also has been advising a veterans group running TV ads against Democrat John Kerry resigned Wednesday from Bush's campaign.

"I cannot begin to express my sadness that my legal representations have become a distraction from the critical issues at hand in this election," Benjamin Ginsberg wrote in a resignation letter to Bush released by the campaign.

"I feel I cannot let that continue, so I have decided to resign as national counsel to your campaign to ensure that the giving of legal advice to decorated military veterans, which was entirely within the boundaries of the law, doesn't distract from the real issues upon which you and the country should be focusing."


Ginsberg's acknowledgment Tuesday evening that he was providing legal advice to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth marked the second time in days that a person associated with the Bush-Cheney campaign had been connected to the group, which Kerry accuses of being a front for the Republican incumbent's re-election effort.

The Bush campaign and the veterans' group have said repeatedly that there is no coordination.

Bush campaign chairman Marc Racicot released a statement calling Ginsberg a "friend, public servant and statesman" and saying, "For the past five years, he provided the president with first-rate campaign legal advice."

Lawyers on the Democratic side are also representing both the campaign or party and outside groups running ads in the presidential race. Ginsberg's dual role has drawn attention because of an ad the Swift Boat Veterans group ran accusing Kerry of exaggerating his Vietnam War record, an issue that has dominated the campaign since early August.

Kerry has fired back by accusing Bush of using the group to run a smear campaign for him. Democrats have jumped on any tie, even if legal, to back up that claim.


"The sudden resignation of Bush's top lawyer doesn't end the extensive web of connections between George Bush and the group trying to smear John Kerry's military record," Kerry-Edwards campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill said Wednesday. "In fact, it only confirms the extent of those connections."

In Ginsberg's letter to Bush, he accused the media of a "stunning double standard" between its focus on the activities of groups supporting Kerry and those that oppose him.

Kerry is the subject of complaints by the Bush campaign and the Republican National Committee accusing his campaign of illegally coordinating anti-Bush ads with soft-money groups on the Democratic side, allegations Kerry and the groups deny.

Neither campaign has produced proof of coordination on the part of its rival.

Joe Sandler, a lawyer for the DNC and a group running anti-Bush ads, MoveOn.org, said there is nothing wrong with serving in both roles at once.

In addition to the FEC's coordination rules, attorneys are ethically bound to maintain attorney-client confidentiality, Sandler said. They could lose their law licenses if they violate that, he said.

Ginsberg said Tuesday he never told the Bush campaign what he discussed with the veterans group, or vice versa, and didn't advise the group on ad strategies.


The group "came to me and said, 'We have a point of view we want to get into the First Amendment debate right now. There's a new law. It's very complicated. We want to comply with the law, will you keep us in the bounds of the law?'" Ginsberg said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I said yes, absolutely, as I would do for anyone."

Ginsberg said he had not yet decided whether to charge the Swift Boat Veterans a fee for his work.

On Saturday, retired Air Force Col. Ken Cordier resigned as a member of the Bush campaign's veterans' steering committee after it was learned that he appeared in the commercial.

Ginsberg represented the Bush campaign in 2000 and became a prominent figure during the Florida recount.

He also served as counsel to the RNC in its unsuccessful lawsuit seeking to overturn the new federal campaign finance law, which banned the national party committees from collecting corporate and union contributions and unlimited donations known as soft money and imposed stricter rules on coordination involving parties, candidates and interest groups.

Larry Noble, head of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics campaign watchdog group and former FEC general counsel, said it's true that serving as a lawyer for both a campaign and a soft-money group isn't considered automatic evidence of coordination under commission rules, but he added that it doesn't mean the FEC won't look at it.

"I think there's a valid question about when you're talking about strictly legal advice and when you're talking about policy issues and strategic issues," Noble said. "It's fair to ask what the advice is about."


[ August 25, 2004, 05:00 PM: Message edited by: ATW ]

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javelin
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Please, everyone READ THE LINK that Sanc provided - wouldn't want anyone to think the article that he so carefully quoted says something different than it does. And here's a better (IMHO) article posted by CNN: CNN Article on Resignation by Lawyer

Thanks!

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Daruma28
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The acknowledgment by attorney Benjamin Ginsberg is being cited as supporting the Kerry Campaign's complaint that Bush is coordinating with the Swiftees. But Ginsberg says the group came to him only for advice on how to properly follow the wretched disaster known as the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation. There are only so many lawyers that know how it works, and he is one of them.

Since the media won't tell us about it, shall we highlight the extensive ties between Kerry's campaign and the Bush-bashing Moveon.org? The lawyers for the DNC are doing the same thing. That's right...you have all this outrage on the left over all this supposed "coordination" but the Democrats are doing the exact same thing. You want a name? The lawyer's name is Joe Sandler, and he works for both the DNC and Moveon.org.

Let's recap, shall we?

- The Swiftees go to Benjamin Ginsberg, an acknowledged expert on McCain-Feingold, and asks him for advice on how to abide by the law as they run their ads. The Kerry campaign cites that as proof of collaboration between the Bush campaign and the Swiftees, and the media jumps right on board.

- Joe Sandler works for both the DNC and Moveon.org, and the media ignores it.

In neither case is a law or rule being violated. When the Democrats do it, it's fine. When the Republicans do it, it's evil.

[Roll Eyes]

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WarrsawPact
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This needs to be split into different threads for each allegation.
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Ivan
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This lawyer thing is a non-issue. It's not like he's coordinating between the two. The reason it's a thing is because the other guy who worked for the Bush campaign in some capacity and is featured in the next SBVT add just resigned so the media is hungry for more.

This issue is irrelevant.

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Daruma28
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Agreed Ivan. Too bad the mainstream media doesn't see it that way. Every top of the hour newscast on all different Radio stations have been breathlessly reporting this story to imply that their is some kind of underhanded tactic at play here and that it should somehow invalidate the SBVFT's argument that Kerry is Unfit for Command.

It's not an issue that is relevant. The real issues are:

1) Are the SBVFT's being truthful;

and 2) This whole 527 flap is just more proof that McCain-Feingold is a complete sham and an unconstitutional infringement on the freedom of speech that Bush should NEVER have signed into law.

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Doug64
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Whether or not the SBVTs are being truthful I don't know, though I do lean their way, but your second point is dead on right and I don't know what the Supreme Court was thinking when it signed off on it. What part of "Congress shall make no law ..." is so hard to understand?

As for the overall issue, here is the view of one retired Army officer: HEROES DON'T SHOUT

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ATW
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LOL, McCain-Feingold was a complete sham from before it was ever named. It only got started because the Democrat party was caught red-handed accepting illegal campaign contributions from the chinese. Their way of defusing the issue was to call for new campaign finance laws. (Ignoring that their actions had clearly violated the existing campaign finance laws as well as any new campaign finance laws likely to be proposed.)
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Anonymous24
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Has this been posted yet?

quote:
The chief critic of John Kerry (news - web sites)'s military record told President Nixon in 1971 that he had been in Cambodia in a swift boat during the Vietnam War — a claim at odds with his recent statements that he was not.



"I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border," said John E. O'Neill in a conversation that was taped by the former president's secret recording system. The tape is stored at the National Archives in College Park, Md.


In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, O'Neill did not dispute what he said to Nixon, but insisted he was never actually in Cambodia.


"I think I made it very clear that I was on the border, which is exactly where I was for three months. I was about 100 yards from Cambodia," O'Neill said in clarifying the June 16, 1971, conversation with Nixon.


http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=694&e=1&u=/ap/kerry_critic_swift_boats

[ August 26, 2004, 01:34 AM: Message edited by: Anonymous24 ]

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WarrsawPact
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Everyone read the entire article.
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ATW
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I read the article yesterday. Not much to it.

O'Neill was a boat commander who says he served closer to the cambodian border than Kerry. He says on the tape that he was in cambodia but immediately clarifies it to Nixon that he meant he served on the border. He's saying the same thing now that he said on the tape back then.

Where's the story?

Now he did say on ABC recently that "Our boats didn't go north of, only slightly north of Sedek," which he said was about 50 miles from the Cambodian border.

But its not clear if O'Niell was referring to Kerry's unit or to his own. I'd assume from the context of the conversation that O'Niell was talking about Kerry since that's why he was invited onto the show.

(I haven't been able to find a satisfactory Vietnam map. When the north took over the south, they renamed most every town and village so its hard to find places names and their relation to other place names.)

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Doug64
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For those who might not have heard, C-SPAN will do a broadcast dealing with Kerry's 1971 testimony tonight at 8 p.m. eastern, 11 p.m. eastern, and once more in the early morning. It'll start off with the SBVT ad followed by a Kerry rebuttal ad, followed by his Congressional testimony and the following question-and-answer session. This program will not be archived because NBC maintains exclusive right to the footage, so if you want to see it program your VCRs.
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Doug64
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And as for the question of who wrote the after-action reports and how accurate they were: Kerry, in 1971, Admitted Writing Combat Reports
quote:
According to the testimony, which is available in the Congressional Record, Sen. Symington asked Kerry, "Mr. Kerry, from your experience in Vietnam do you think it is possible for the President or Congress to get accurate and undistorted information through official military channels.[?]"

Kerry responded, "I had direct experience with that. Senator, I had direct experience with that and I can recall often sending in the spot reports which we made after each mission; and including the GDA, gunfire damage assessments, in which we would say, maybe 15 sampans sunk or whatever it was. And I often read about my own missions in the Stars and Stripes and the very mission we had been on had been doubled in figures and tripled in figures.

Kerry later added, "I also think men in the military, sir, as do men in many other things, have a tendency to report what they want to report and see what they want to see."


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RickyB
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Oy, credibility:

A man from Larry Thurlow's boat says they WERE under fire:

http://www.mailtribune.com/archive/2004/0826/local/stories/01local.htm

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Gary
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Oy, credibility:

A man from Larry Thurlow's boat says they WERE under fire:

http://www.mailtribune.com/archive/2004/0826/local/stories/01local.htm

Not quite:
quote:
Lambert said Wednesday afternoon. "Well, I sure was under the impression we were."

....

"Anytime you are blown out of the water like that, they always follow that up with small arms fire," he said.

He's not saying they were defintely under fire. It appears more like he is assuming they were under fire (a smart assumption to make under those conditions but nevertheless an assumption) and began to fire back.

Perhaps Kerry and a few others were under the same mistaken assumption?

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velcro
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"Since Kerry frequently insisted on being the person to write the after-action reports in which his unit participated, I'm not shocked that the report reflects what Kerry says."

He wrote some. Prove he wrote the ones that earned him a medal.

Gary wrote
quote:
At issue is Kerry's first purple heart awarded for action on Dec. 2, 1968. Kerry claims to have been under fire on that date and thus deserving of the purple heart.
All the official documentation and eyewitness accounts, INCLUDING KERRY'S say he was not under fire. There is one witness who says that Kerry claimed to be under fire once, but the official reports do not claim this. I debunked this already, Gary, stop repeating it.

Gary once told me that 1+1=4. I have just proved Gary is a liar.

That is your evidence for this particular point.

What exact records would you like Kerry to release? They would have to be records that were unavailable to those investigating his medals, because if they contradicted the facts stated in his medal records, they would never have been awarded. Please feel free to make up a hypothetical situation where the official records would make a difference in his medals.

And once again, just to make it clear, Bush has never said that the SBVT ads should be pulled for CONTENT, just for funding.

Bush said Kerry served with honor. If that is true, the SBVT ads are lies. Bush refuses to denounce lies (as admitted by him) for their content, only for their funding.

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RickyB
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He's saying that he remembers it so. "I sure was under the impression we were" means "I sure saw it that way".

That's why he chose to speak up. PLease, enough with this splitting of hairs when convenient and glossing over when convenient.

Have SOME intellectual honesty, people. I know it's deliciously tempting for y'all to believe this crap, but no serious examination bears it out.

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musket
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Meanwhile, while what should be the real issues of this election have been diverted by this garbage, same as it was for awhile by garbage about Bush's ANG records--

http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0827/p10s01-usec.html

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javelin
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RickyB - you have yet to prove, in any conclusive way, that these allegations are crap. I'm still waiting.
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Anonymous24
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The point of the article is that if O'Neill can be misinterpreted when describing whether or not he was in Cambodia("I was in Cambodia; I mean, I was along the border") its possible that Kerry was also being misinterpreted. It's possible Kerry meant he was patrolling the border of Cambodia when he said that he spent Christmas in Cambodia.

[ August 26, 2004, 09:29 PM: Message edited by: Anonymous24 ]

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