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August 27, 2004

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» Swift and true? from Asymmetrical Information
I haven't been making much out of the Swift Vets controversy, because frankly, who cares? His silver star and bronze... [Read More]

» The Kerry Grill: William Schachte Comes Forward from Les Jones Blog
The Kerry Grill - where news about John Kerry and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is seared - seared! - into your memory Retired Admiral William Schachte has come forward. He disputes Kerry's claim of receiving incoming fire during his first purple h... [Read More]

» The Kerry Grill: William Schachte Comes Forward from Les Jones Blog
The Kerry Grill - where news about John Kerry and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is seared - seared! - into your memory Retired Admiral William Schachte has come forward. He disputes Kerry's claim of receiving incoming fire during his first purple h... [Read More]

» The Kerry Grill: William Schachte Comes Forward from Les Jones Blog
The Kerry Grill - where news about John Kerry and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is seared - seared! - into your memory Retired Admiral William Schachte has come forward. He disputes Kerry's claim of receiving incoming fire during his first purple h... [Read More]

» The Kerry Grill: William Schachte Comes Forward from Les Jones Blog
The Kerry Grill - where news about John Kerry and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is seared - seared! - into your memory Retired Admiral William Schachte has come forward. He disputes Kerry's claim of receiving incoming fire during his first purple h... [Read More]

» The Kerry Grill: William Schachte Comes Forward from Les Jones Blog
The Kerry Grill - where news about John Kerry and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is seared - seared! - into your memory Retired Admiral William Schachte has come forward. He disputes Kerry's claim of receiving incoming fire during his first purple h... [Read More]

Comments

stan

Political contributions do not constitute proof that someone is a liar. It is time for all of us to be sick and tired of this left-wing attack mode. Wilson and Clarke proved to be lying SOBs who used their lies to make themselves a bunch of money. Yet, the media accepted everything they said as gospel truth despite the fact that they were Democrats with a big axe to grind. Either we start calling everyone on both sides lying SOBs or we start treating honorable people as honorable until such time as we have evidence they are lying (see e.g. Christmas in Cambodia).

Michael Chandra

If Swift boat veterans who support Kerry are shown (a) to vote for/contribute to Democrats more often than not or (b) to oppose the re-election of Bush, then does that impeach their credibility?

We're in a bad state if Schachte _must_ either have equal or more financial contributions to Democrats or be a non-contributor for his representations to be credible. The world often just doesn't work out that neatly.


To be more complete, Schachte 1997-2004 political donations as reported by FEC Spy break down on party lines as follows:

Republicans: $7250 (last 2004)
Democrats: $2000 (last 2000)
Independents: $ 200 (last 2004)

This of course includes the two $1000 contributions to Bush-Cheney noted by Mr Maguire. Note, Schachte contributed to McCain's presidential campaign in Dec 1999 and switched to Bush in April 2000 when McCain was no longer viable.

GT

The problem I have with Novak's column is that it is not news.

We already knew what Schachte had to say because O'Neill reported it.

The basic problem with Schachte's testimony remains. He has no proof that he was there other than this word and he is contradicted by three other witnesses. So it's a he said/ he said yet again.

And, as Tom has mentioned elsewhere, there is nothing in the regulations that requires enemy fire for a PH. So long as Kerry was trying to kill the enemy it merits a PH. And Schachte has not challenged that.

Cecil Turner

It's worth pointing out Schachte's version is the only one which explains a shrapnel wound. Otherwise we're left wondering how all the guys on the boat could have failed to notice an incoming explosive round.

That says considerably more about the credibility of this particular story than political contributions (though I applaud using FEC spy to fact-check).

Cecil Turner

And for those who would like to read it, the actual criteria for awarding a friendly fire Purple Heart requires a bit more than just trying to kill the enemy. For one thing, the round must have been "released with the full intent of inflicting damage or destroying enemy troops or equipment. And in this case, that's clearly a judgment call for the commander:

"When contemplating an award of this decoration, the key issue that commanders must take into consideration is the degree to which the enemy caused the injury. The fact that the proposed recipient was participating in direct or indirect combat operations is a necessary prerequisite, but is not sole justification for award."
According to the commander (Hibbard), he considered it and said "forget it."

Douglas Johnson

Based on the logic you use in this article, I assume that you will also call for all reporters at all newspaper to disclose all of their political donations at the end of each article they print?

TM

Based on the logic you use in this article, I assume that you will also call for all reporters at all newspaper to disclose all of their political donations at the end of each article they print?

What logic is that? If man is reported to be non-partisan, and I find donations mainly to one party, I conclude that either the reporter was misled, or that the reporter deliberately concealed some information.

If the queston had not been raised by Novak at all, that would be slightly different. Or, if Schachte had simply said, I am a Bush contributor, but this has nothing to do with that, fine, we could judge him on that basis.

But Novak that the question was worth raising, and then delivered a misleading answer. I don't know whether Schachte told Novak the truth, and then Novak suppressed it, or whether Schachte deemed it irrelevant.

Gerry

"I also see contributions for Lindsay Graham (R, SC), and Ernest Hollings (D, SC), John McCain, and Wayne Allard (R, CO).

This doesn't mean the Admiral is lying, of course, about his politics or anything else "

Doesn't it imply that he wasn't lying? I see that he has, indeed, donated to Republicans, Democrats, and independents; more to the former two than the latter, but that makes sense because there are relatively few independents who are in a position to make a contribution actually meaningful.

And if you take out the contributions to Bush/Cheney, then it is only a 2-1 ratio for his contributions. And if the reason he is coming out is because he does not think Kerry has the integrity required, it only makes sense that his donations this cycle would go to the other guy.

Frank

Schachte didn't say he was non-partisan. He said he was a "political independent who has voted for candidates in both parties." His contributions the last 4 years seem to confirm that. What am I missing here?

Patrick R. Sullivan

In addition to Fritz Hollings he gave to:

SPRATT, JOHN MCKEE JR ID: H2SC05052
INCUMBENT

Office Sought: House
State: South Carolina
District: 05
Party: DEM (Democratic Party)

So, I'd say Schachte is probably being truthful.

Btw, for an economist, GT sure does have problems with simple arithmetic when it comes to counting witnesses.

jim jones

Well, maybe GT follows the krugman school of economics. Paul K did say his forecasting record was pretty poor.

All we need to make Bush a shoo in is for Krugman to say Kerry will win.

The Kid

Were it not for the fact that he’s such a dummy (Raines says so, no?), Bush might have been referring to Kerry’s pride of authorship regarding his military records. From today’s Sun-Times comes this:

The Kerry campaign has repeatedly stated that the official naval records prove the truth of Kerry's assertions about his service.

But the official records on Kerry's Web site only add to the confusion. The DD214 form, an official Defense Department document summarizing Kerry's military career posted on johnkerry.com, includes a "Silver Star with combat V."

But according to a U.S. Navy spokesman, "Kerry's record is incorrect. The Navy has never issued a 'combat V' to anyone for a Silver Star."

Naval regulations do not allow for the use of a "combat V" for the Silver Star, the third-highest decoration the Navy awards. None of the other services has ever granted a Silver Star "combat V," either.
[SNIP]
Kerry's Web site also carries a DD215 form revising his DD214, issued March 12, 2001, which adds four bronze campaign stars to his Vietnam service medal. The campaign stars are issued for participation in any of the 17 Department of Defense named campaigns that extended from 1962 to the cease-fire in 1973.

However, according to the Navy spokesman, Kerry should only have two campaign stars: one for "Counteroffensive, Phase VI," and one for "Tet69, Counteroffensive."

One B.G. Burkett – an acknowledged expert in finding fraud in military records – finds Kerry’s records suspicious, saying "The multiple citations and variations in the official record are reason for suspicion in itself, even disregarding the current swift boat veterans' controversy."

All hat and one calf Kerry? No wonder his bros don't care for him.

akmdave

GT,

A Purple Heart wound "must have required treatment by a medical officer." Successfuly asking a doctor to put a bandaid on your boo-boo doesn't necessarily mean that it "required treatment" by the doctor.

Further, in the case of a self-inflicted wound, getting the Purple Heart also requires that the wound occur "in the heat of battle" (questionable at best when not being fired at) and "not involving gross negligence" (I'd say firing a grenade too close, especially when not taking fire, is pretty negligent.)

5) Examples of injuries or wounds which clearly do not qualify for award of the Purple Heart are as follows: .... (h) Self-inflicted wounds, except when in the heat of battle, and not involving gross negligence.

GT


Yeah akm I'm sure you are quite the expert on what is gross neglicgence in war time.

Bob McGrail

Tom,

I appreciate your desire to provide an honest assessment of evidence, even more so when you apply it to those with whom you are likely to agree, such as Rear Admiral Schachte. However, if you are going to use statistics as evidence, then intellectual honesty requires you to apply proper statistical principles.

Here are my initial thoughts on analyzing the admiral's contribution data...

First I need to come up with some meaningful measure of the contribution breakdown (by party) of the typical political contributor. I will choose the proportion of money given to Republicans. I could just as well use the proportion for Democracts, but both are implicitly considered in your argument.

Next I need to make a reasonable hypothesis about what this proportion would be for a typical independently-minded person. This needs to take geography into account since in many states (MA, RI, NE) the most inspiring politicians tend to appear on just one side of th divide. Hence, for example, an independent in MA would probably rarely vote for a Republican. However, let's assume that he resides in a politically balanced area and that decent independent candidates are rare enough to merit a Repub proportion of .47. Let me also point out that your argument makes no such hypothesis.

Finally one needs to demonstrate that Adm Schachte's contribution proportion is rare among independently-minded voters. There is little hope that you can do this with this data, since the sample size (the number of contributions) is so small that one would expect very wild variation. In other words, his proportion (close to 3/4) is not that unusual given the limited number of contributions he has made and assuming that the average independent has one near .47.

I welcome someone with knowledge of both the raw contribution data and statistics to perform a full hypothesis test. Some of you might argue that my statistical approach is the wrong one, but it is clear that the original post made no proper use of statistics.

Bob McGrail

Pete Harrigan

What he said. (see Bob McGrail, above)

TM

Oh, man, we are going to lure Pete out of retirement!

My reaction is that Bob McGrail is thinking too hard - it is certainly a statistical probability that it is mere coincidence that Schachte is bashing Kerry and donating to Bush. But all I am asking for is disclosure - Schachte is smart enough to realize that his checkwriting is (a) public record); and (b) likely to be pointed out as discrediting evidence. He should heve mentioned it.

And, as I keep saying, maybe he did, and it is Novak who buried it. Well, then, naughty Novak.

But even if the donations are simply a statistical coincidence, it merits disclosure by one or the other of these guys.

Bob McGrail

Hmm... "Mathematical argument = thinking too hard." What an awful cliche...

There are really two reasonable courses of action:
1. Novak discovers no serious problems with Schachte's credibility and so publishes the piece.
2. Novak discovers some serious problem with his credibility and then does not publish the article, well at least not that article.

However, publishing that article along with some information that on the surface makes the admiral look bad, but is not as significant as Thomas Oliphant could make it seem makes no sense to me. Let Oliphant do his own misdeeds.

Beldar

Tom, thanks for the link here, and your thoughtful comment on my own humble blog.

With due respect, however, I really don't think the issue of Adm. Schachte's political contributions is a very big deal in assessing his motives or his credibility. I have nothing against contribution disclosure requirements. But perhaps the fact that they are discrete and numerical lures some folks into thinking that campaign contributions are more meaningful data points than they really are.

This man has a long career and resume. It's not the resume of someone who's been a political activist, or even politically very active.

When the question being asked is — "Who is Bill Schachte and why should anyone believe or disbelieve him?" — it would be very shallow, incomplete, and trivial to answer that question by saying, "He's someone who's given $2000 to BushCheney04." In the list of pertinent facts that make up a man's background and character, this wouldn't make the top 100 on my list of things to look at. It's losing sight of the forest for the twigs.

Mantic

Someone can give money to a political party and a candidate and not be intimately involved in the campaign. I think that Adm. Schachte's declaration is that he is not an agent of the Republican Party in this matter in any way. To think otherwise is to see a conspriracy that isn't there. Why is it that so many who contribute to or identify with the Republican party are to be held suspect in their actions, where there is no suspicion if the person is a Democrat?

perfectsense

He said he is a political independent who has voted for candidates of both parties.

Adm. William L. Schachte Jr. has probably been voting for 50 years. Therefore, using his donation data from the past 3-5 years to draw a conclusion about 50 years of voting and political support is nonsense.

perfectsense

He said he is a political independent who has voted for candidates of both parties.

Adm. William L. Schachte Jr. has probably been voting for 50 years. Therefore, using his donation data from the past 3-5 years to draw a conclusion about 50 years of voting and political support is nonsense.

Jumbo

"We already knew what Schachte had to say because O'Neill reported it."

heh. Not just wrong, not just misguided. But corrupt. This election's just gonna kill ol' GT.

Let me see if I understand your argument for believing John Kerry about any of the combat incidents which were later brought into question by SBVET:

1) The commander of the craft says he received hostile fire and returned that fire.
2) Most sailors under his command agree there was hostile fire on more than one occasion.
3)The same sailors say the commander at all times acted correctly and bravely, saving their lives.
3)Commanders of and sailors on nearby craft say there was no hostile fire.
4) The commanders of the nearby craft think the other commander may have panicked or acted inapproapriately by returning fire.
5)The recollections of the commander and sailors on the craft under fire are the most credinble, since they were there.
6) The opinions of the sailors on the craft under fire about the wisdom and bravery of their commander's actions should outweigh all others, becasue it was their lives in the hands of that commander.
7) The critics of the commander have ulterior motives, perhaps motivated by jealousy, in attackig his jufgment.
7) Who would make up stories about hostile fire, anyway?

Do I have it right? Are those generally, as far as they go, your points?

Very well. Congratulations, President Johnson. By your finding that the commander of the USS Turner Joy was credible, and that North Vietnamese PT boats indeed fired on his ship on August 3-4, 1964 in the Gulf of Tonkin, and that he was justified in returning fire, you have also found his critics on the USS Maddox or on his own ship to be motivated by personal animosity. Based on your findings, air raids are now in progress on several North Vietnamese airfields and coastal fortifications.
It should be a very quick campaign, sure to be applauded by the American public.

syn

Kerry's failure to release all of his military records is devisive and deceptive. He had the same effect in 1971. If Kerry wants to put Vietnam to rest, he needs to release all his records.

That said, one reason why I will not vote Kerry is based on his healthcare plan. What benefit is received in instituting socialized healthcare if we lack qualified doctors in the medical profession available to treat those receiving their free governmental health care insurance? Why should qualified doctors practice when medical malpractice insurance drives them out of practice? Odd that Kerry's running mate had made his millions suing the medical profession. My understanding is Kerry wants to give 'medical' tax exemptions for low income tax payers. Does Kerry know the tax margin for low income tax payers? In return, middle to high income tax payers whose marginal tax rates are still too high will receive an increase in premiums to make up for the government loss. Basically, paying more for less. How can the government force insurance on individuals, anyway. Under Kerry's plan only the ultra-rich like Teresa Heinz-Kerry will be able to afford qualified doctors and the common person will pay dearly with our health and our bank accounts.

If Kerry's idea of "we can do better" is poverty oriented than I am voting for his opponent. I find Bush's platform far more positive towards creating prosperious and healthy environments for all.

In summary, tort reform now, socialized medicine sucks and strive for prosperity!

steve

O'Neill used Schachte's recollection for his book and cited him often in recent interviews. Then why hasn't Schachte spoken before now or signed the SBVT affidavit? Because it's a position he knows three others on the boat that day dispute. They say Schachte wasn't even there.

Novak quotes Navy vets saying Kerry was too junior to have gone out alone at that point and Schachte would have been the one most likey to have skippered the vessel. That isn't evidence. Bottom line.. nothing is settled. Kerry may have been wounded the same way Bob Dole got his very first Purple Heart:

"As we approached the enemy, there was a brief exchange of gunfire. I took a grenade in hand, pulled the pin, and tossed it in the direction of the farmhouse. It wasn't a very good pitch (remember, I was used to catching passes, not throwing them). In the darkness, the grenade must have struck a tree and bounced off. It exploded nearby, sending a sliver of metal into my leg -- the sort of injury the Army patched up with Mercurochrome and a Purple Heart." (Bob Dole, 'Laughing (Almost) All the Way to the White House,' 1988)

The wound was so minor that Dole led another patrol the next day.

No one should vote for Kerry because of what he did in four months in 'Nam. But let's quit giving him a rectal over essentially irreconcilable accounts.

Jumbo

"But let's quit giving him a rectal over essentially irreconcilable accounts."

I agree that parsing and rehashing every little apparent inconsistency does no one any real credit. BUT. There is a distressing pattern to Kerry's Colonel Blimp tales: he never underplays his role; if anything, the opposite. Too much like LBJ for my tastes.

Jumbo

"But let's quit giving him a rectal over essentially irreconcilable accounts."

I agree that parsing and rehashing every little apparent inconsistency does no one any real credit. BUT. There is a distressing pattern to Kerry's Colonel Blimp tales: he never underplays his role; if anything, the opposite. Too much like LBJ for my tastes.

Jumbo

"But let's quit giving him a rectal over essentially irreconcilable accounts."

I agree that parsing and rehashing every little apparent inconsistency does no one any real credit. BUT. There is a distressing pattern to Kerry's Colonel Blimp tales: he never underplays his role; if anything, the opposite.

steve poling

I think it would be wise to remember that sometimes a more conservative Democrat runs against a more liberal Republican. For instance, I am proud to say that I voted against Paul Sarbanes of Maryland when he was a Republican.

Thus, the statements by Admiral Schachte that he's voted for members of both parties is both reasonable and consistent with the background info about the Admiral presented here.

mcg

It looks like the interview that the Admiral gave to Lisa Myers is VERY complete and forthcoming, including specific information about his financial contributions to Bush and so forth. So it sounds to me that the Novak article simply suffers from its short length. I encourage everyone to read the full transcript of Lisa Myers' interview on the MSNBC web site. I think most here will agree that the interview exonerates the Admiral, in that it demonstrates he is not attempting to hide anything.

TM

That Lisa Meyers interview (linked in the UPDATE) shuts me up on this point.

Now, a bonus question - can't Schachte go through the same procedure Kerry has gone through to get his records released? If Schachte ran a skimmer op a dozen times (as he tells MS. Meyers), and was always on the boat with one other officer and one enlisted man, wouldn't he be able to produce records to verify that?

Put another way, Schachte says he was the operations officer in charge of keeping records for that unit - he must have a good idea what sort of records were kept (and maybe had a friend give a retired Admiral a sneak-peek). Why would he lie if he could reasonably expect the records to later discredit him?

But why would the two sailors who have come forward to back Kerry be lying? Or, if we accept their sincerity, how did someone get so confused?

Scott

Hence, for example, an independent in MA would probably rarely vote for a Republican.

I would hope that every independent(and any honorable Dems) would donate the maximum to whoever runs against Cptn. Ted Kennedy(USS Oldsmobile).

Just because...

robert0

My word, can you just imagine, old soldiers embellishing old war stories. And the litany of Bush lies goes unnoticed.

robert0

My word, can you just imagine, old soldiers embellishing old war stories. And the litany of Bush lies goes unnoticed.

Scott

Hence, for example, an independent in MA would probably rarely vote for a Republican.

I would hope that every independent(and any honorable Dems) would donate the maximum to whoever runs against Cptn. Ted Kennedy(USS Oldsmobile).

Just because...

robert0

My word, can you just imagine, old soldiers embellishing old war stories. And yet the litany of Bush lies goes unnoticed.

Jumbo

"Kerry may have been wounded the same way Bob Dole got his very first Purple Heart"

Sure. Not a damn thing wrong with it: but that's not what he said happened. He's never even come close to saying his own grenade got him. You can't make the admission for him; it just doesn't work that way.

But it's not just a failure of recollection: his errors always work to the glory side. And it's not just the puffing of his combat experiences: Shakespeare knew all about how a man's warlike deeds can be recalled "with advantages" years later. But there are so many contested , and not illegitimately so, areas of his service, that you cannot help but question his character.

In the last 75 years America has suffered two presidents of such base character, such craven self-serving instincts, that the country truly suffered because of the kind of men they were, not just what they did: Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. Both were intelligent and extremely competent, but so morally warped they were unable to truly see, much less take responsibility for, their failings.

I'm not about to argue Kerry is as deficient in character as either of those two, but there is a whiff of the blowhard braggart, a faint air of a man so afraid of what he is that he cannot admit error. A lot of people are like that. I just don't want them to be president.

mcg

Jumbo, you're right on the first point: that Dole has never denied the self-inflicted nature of his wounds, whereas Kerry has done so. But there is a second point: Dole was in "the heat of battle" in the presence of enemy fire when he hurt himself. That is why the Schachte claim that there was no enemy fire is important: Purple Heart awards require that injuries occur during combat.

mcg

Wow, a troll so nice, he posts thrice.

robert0

there is a whiff of the blowhard braggart, a faint air of a man so afraid of what he is that he cannot admit error. A lot of people are like that. I just don't want them to be president.

Too late.

Greg F

"there is a whiff of the blowhard braggart, a faint air of a man so afraid of what he is that he cannot admit error. A lot of people are like that. I just don't want them to be president."

"Too late."

Yea, but we survived Clinton none the less.

antimedia

I'm getting sick and tired of going to blog comments and seeing GT repeat this misrepresentation of the requirements for a Purple Heart - "there is nothing in the regulations that requires enemy fire for a PH. So long as Kerry was trying to kill the enemy it merits a PH." This is simply false. Not only do you have to be engaged with the enemy, commanders are supposed to consider to what degree the enemy was responsible for the injury.

For example, if a sniper shot an enemy combatant and then fell out of the tree he was in and broke his arm, he would not receive a Purple Heart. There is a reason that Max Cleland is missing a Purple Heart as well as three limbs. He was not engaged with the enemy when he lost his limbs.

And Schachte is supported by two witnesses as well as all the available evidence. Both Hibbard and Drew affirm that Schachte was always on the skimmer ops (they were his idea, after all) and that there were always two officers and an enlisted man on the engine.

GT should give up his lame attempts to defend the indefensible.

Terry Ott

Jumbo: Your post about the consequences of Nixon and Clinton mirrored and helped crystallized my own thinking, and like you I "just don't want (people like) them to be president".

I'm brand new to this blog, so I don't have the advantage of knowing what you've said in other posts --- but I have a question. Let's say someone also has significant misgivings about how Bush runs the shop, but agrees wholeheartedly with you on the "character thing" as it relates to Kerry.

What is that person to do on election day, especially if that someone resides in one of those "key" (up for grabs) states?

Choices that occur to me:
(1) Decide which 1-3 issues one knows and cares the most about, and pick a candidate based on that/them --- overlooking the other intangibles (like character)?

(2) Abstain, as we all have the right NOT to vote if we see no candidate that we can feel somewhat good about?

(3) Vote Bush to cancel out the vote of a spouse who will vote Kerry, thus effectively creating a "household abstention"

(4) Write in a non-candidate (or minor party candidate) that one wishes had been on the ticket of one of the major parties.

(5) Flip a coin, vote based on the chance outcome, and open some beer.

mcg

Terry, I'd say 2 and 4 are equivalent, and 5 is nearly so. Besides, given that the future President IS going to be Kerry or Bush, no matter whether you vote or not, you ought to register your preference.

Choice 3 is an illusion. You are voting for Bush but making yourself feel better knowing that someone else is voting for Kerry. But it is still a vote for Bush.

So that leaves 1. Sorry Terry, you're actually going to have to make a (gasp!) reasoned decision! :-)

All the best

HH

Wait a minute I thought these were the "same people who smeared McCain!"

Tim West

I think the whole Swift Boat "Issue" is just another way for both major party candidates to remain above the current issues and not have pointed questions about such actual issues like "how the hell are you going to pay for the Boomers Social Security?" and "Since the Constitution only allows Congress to declare war, isnt the entire Iraq war illegal since it was voted by Congress to authorize it by unsing power they dont have the authority to give?"

You know, real questions that real reporters whose bosses are not supposed to be lap dogs for both Bush and Kerry forbid them from asking and require that the questions be approved in advance or NO MORE ACCESS FOR YOU.

The whole Swift Boat thing is 100% BS. Get em to punch each other over events that happened 35 years ago and they dont ever need to answer the real questions, and the poeple just go along with it all.

Beldar

Tom, if I understand correctly what Schachte was saying about records, if there was no enemy fire received, and no Americans injured, the mission — like the one Kerry was on — wouldn't have generated a paper trail.

On the other hand, if enemy fire was received and an American was injured -- both of which should be true if Kerry's 1st PH was justified -- then there should be a paper trail, i.e., an after-action report and a casualty report, and both should have been essential for a properly issued Purple Heart. We don't have those documents for Kerry's first PH because Kerry won't sign Standard Form 180.

Thus the irony of Lisa Myers skepticism of Schachte's inability to produce documentation to prove that he was there. If such documents existed, Kerry's hiding them.

Greg F

"Since the Constitution only allows Congress to declare war, isnt the entire Iraq war illegal since it was voted by Congress to authorize it by unsing power they dont have the authority to give?"

Kerry logic in it's finest hour!

TM

Beldar - I agree with you that Schachte is saying that this specific mission did not result in a paper trail. However, I wonder whether Schachte can produce documents for *other* skimmer ops - they might buttress his assertion that it was always two officers and one enlisted, for example.

I am hoping to whip up a post on this - peering through the Brinkly book, I am somewhat surprised that Brinkley's account of the incident is based on his recent interview with Kerry; Brinkley also credits the 2003 Kranish article, back in the chapter notes.

What is missing is any mention of how Kerry described this incident in what we thought were his voluminous War Notes and correspondence, which the WaPo wants to see released.

A related question - the Globe story does *not* specifically have three men in the boat (and *does* quote Schachte). So, are there any accounts of Kerry's version prior to the Brinkley book - people found various versions of the Rassman story over the years, for example.

Or, if the three men in a boat version originated in 2003, let me ask a different question - Kerry was on the base that performed the skimmer ops for about three weeks; each skimmer crew was an ad hoc collection of "volunteers", who didn't necessarily serve with each other before or after.

What was it about this night that made is so memorable for Zaledonis (sp?) and Runyon that they were able to come forward 35 years later, sure that they had gone out with Kerry and each other, and not some other strange officer on some other skimmer op?

Hmm, that would pretty much *be* the post...

ed

Hmmmm.

1. Why you guys even bother responding to "gt" I can't quite figure out. His arguments are worthless and his responses are trite. It can't even be called debating as his simply ignores any points made and reiterates the same trash endlessly.

But hey, if you like wasting your time then go right on ahead.

2. The really interesting interview is with Zaladonis. This guy is not credible in any way, shape or form. The single biggest running thread in his interview is that he couldn't see anything.

a. He couldn't see if there were any enemies.
b. He couldn't see if there was any enemy return fire.
c. He couldn't see if he was actually shooting at any enemies as he relied on Kerry to direct him.
d. He didn't see the wound that Kerry supposedly had.
e. When tehy returned to the Swift boat he and Pat went to the fantail for a smoke while Kerry immediately went into the pilothouse.
f. He thinks they discussed Kerry's wound on the way back to the Swift boat but only knew that it wasn't serious because of their discussion.

In every respect this guy's testimony is utterly worthless. What is interesting to me is that Schachte's interview made a lot of sense. It wouldn't be wise to put a green untried officer in charge of a dangerous mission. Instead I could easily see why they would insist on a senior officer to command this.

What is curious is that Kerry supposedly went out on a mission with two ratings instead of a single rating and another officer. Could Kerry have gone on another mission *after* his with Schachte? One that Schachte didn't know about?

Raven

TM wrote:

A related question - the Globe story does *not* specifically have three men in the boat (and *does* quote Schachte).
It's worth quoting the Globe story on this point:
Kerry experienced his first intense combat action on Dec. 2, 1968, when he "semi-volunteered for, was semi-drafted" for a risky covert mission in which he essentially was supposed to "flush out" the enemy, using a little Boston Whaler named "Batman."   A larger backup craft was called "Robin."

Unfortunately, Robin had engine trouble, and Batman's exit was delayed until the boats could depart in unison.   The Batman crew encountered some Viet Cong, engaged in a firefight, and Kerry was slightly wounded on his arm, earning his first Purple Heart on his first day of serious action.

"It was not a very serious wound at all," recalled William Schachte, who oversaw the mission and went on to become a rear admiral.
Now, if there really wasn't a firefight with the Viet Cong, wouldn't Schachte have mentioned that?

One of the SBVT contentions is that there was no enemy fire in this incident.   Wouldn't Schachte have mentioned that?

Schachte himself now says that Kerry hurt himself and endangered everyone else.   Wouldn't Schachte have mentioned that a year ago, when interviewed for this article?

The SBVT book Unfit for Command (chapter 3) claims that Schachte's call sign was "Batman" and Kerry's call sign was "Robin" — but also that Schachte and Kerry were on the same boat:

The truth is that at the time of this incident Kerry was an officer in command (OinC) under training, aboard the skimmer using the call sign "Robin" on the operation, with now-Rear Admiral William Schachte using the call sign "Batman," who was also on the skimmer.
But why have two call signs for one boat?   Generally the call sign is for the boat, not for each individual on the boat.

And if, as reported earlier, "Batman" and "Robin" were two separate boats, how can Schachte have been on the same boat as Kerry, as he now claims?

(Note that the 2003 article clearly says Kerry was on "Batman", not on "Robin".   Note also that it says the "Batman crew" — rather than both crews — engaged in the firefight with the VC... so where was "Robin" at the time?)

"Robin" was larger than "Batman".   Why would the officer who oversaw the mission command the smaller boat?

There are just too many discrepancies between the SBVT version that Schachte now tells and the version that even he didn't contradict in 2003.

Patrick R. Sullivan

' Why you guys even bother responding to "gt" I can't quite figure out.'

The same reason Randy Johnson likes to see the opposing pitcher step into the batters box.

Greg F

Robin wrote:
~~~
"It's worth quoting the Globe story on this point:

Kerry experienced his first intense combat action on Dec. 2, 1968..."
~~~

No it isn't mentioning the Globe story. If you go to the "Sen. Kerry Versus Admiral Schachte" blog you will find this:

~~~
“Kerry sustained a very minor wound to his arm, probably caused by debris from his own boat's salvoes. The scratch earned him his first Purple Heart, a medal awarded for those wounded in combat. Actually there's no evidence that anyone had fired back, or that Kerry had been in combat, as becomes obvious when we read an entry from his diary about a subsequent excursion, written on December 11, 1968, nine days after the incident that got Kerry his medal. "A cocky air 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."
~~~

Get it? The Boston Globe article is contradicted by Kerry's diary.

Greg F

"But why have two call signs for one boat? Generally the call sign is for the boat, not for each individual on the boat."

Wrong, each individual had their own personal call signs.

ed

Hmmm.

1. Batman was the skimmer.

2. Schachte was Batman.

3. According to Schachte the skimmer was always backed up by a larger boat.

4. The larger boat was a *SWIFT* boat.

5. Kerry couldn't have been in command of the Swift boat, since he hadn't been assigned one yet.

6. "Now, if there really wasn't a firefight with the Viet Cong, wouldn't Schachte have mentioned that?"

Whether or not Schachte mentioned that is not divulged in the article you quoted. However Schachte's assertion that the wound was "not very serious" ties directly with his later assertions.

7. "One of the SBVT contentions is that there was no enemy fire in this incident. Wouldn't Schachte have mentioned that?"

Again, the article quoted doesn't mention it either way. Schachte isn't given any space but a single quote. If you have a problem with this then, logically, you need to discuss this error with the Boston Globe. Schachte can hardly be blamed for not being fully quoted.

8. "Schachte himself now says that Kerry hurt himself and endangered everyone else. Wouldn't Schachte have mentioned that a year ago, when interviewed for this article?"

Yet again it's clearly simple to point out that it is the Boston Globe that is responsible for this. If you want to try and prove that Schachte said something else, rather than that he was largely edited out, then you need to go to the source of the article itself.

Frankly this repetitive refrain of yours may seem to you to be some incredible stroke of logic, but to me it's utterly banal, inane and useless. You need to provide different arguments if you want to prove a point. However you cannot blame Schachte for not getting more of his interview inserted into an article that is little more than a literally hand-job for Kerry.

9. "But why have two call signs for one boat? Generally the call sign is for the boat, not for each individual on the boat."

Wrong. The callsign was for the *commander*. I.e. Schachte was Batman and the Swift boat was Robin. In other words Schachte was ALWAYS Batman. That's why Kerry called him "Batman" when they met in Washington many years later.

10. "And if, as reported earlier, "Batman" and "Robin" were two separate boats, how can Schachte have been on the same boat as Kerry, as he now claims?"

Because Schachte was the **senior** officer. The one who devised this technique and one who had run this same gauntlet many times. Need I remind you that Schachte was the XO?

11. ""Robin" was larger than "Batman". Why would the officer who oversaw the mission command the smaller boat?"

Because, as Schachte illustrated, the job of skimmer was far more dangerous and needed an experienced officer to conduct. This is why there were TWO officers and ONE enlisted on the skimmer.

12. "(Note that the 2003 article clearly says Kerry was on "Batman", not on "Robin". Note also that it says the "Batman crew" — rather than both crews — engaged in the firefight with the VC... so where was "Robin" at the time?)"

And yet again Schachte also puts Kerry on the skimmer. And why was only Batman shooting? Because nobody was shooting back, otherwise the Swift boat would be intervened.

Where was Robin? Waiting for Batman to stop dicking around and get on with the job probably.

....

Color me unimpressed. Review your debating points and try again tomorrow.

Karen

I didn't read all the comments but of those I did I noticed no one pointing out that Kerry was only granted the first purple heart after he had a new chain of command a few months later when Hibbard, etc where all gone. Doesn't that in itself seem suspicious? If there was enemy fire, there would have been an after action report and if he was injured, he would have had no problem getting the first purple heart. So why the lack of paperwork and the application for the heart months later? It's a little bizarre and makes me believe the Adm, Hibbard, Letson more. They wouldn't give him a purple heart, so he tried to get it from someone else. He got the heart and got to go home early.

Raven

What's interesting is that SBVT's own website originally contradicted Schachte:

The action that led to John Kerry's first Purple Heart occurred on December 2, 1968, during the month that he was undergoing training with Coastal Division 14 at Cam Ranh Bay. While waiting to receive his own Swift boat command, Kerry volunteered for a nighttime patrol mission commanding a small, foam-filled "skimmer" craft with two enlisted men.
It has now been revised to follow the new party line:
The action that led to John Kerry's first Purple Heart occurred on December 2, 1968, during the month that he was undergoing training with Coastal Division 14 at Cam Ranh Bay. While waiting to receive his own Swift boat command, Kerry volunteered for a nighttime patrol mission on a small, foam-filled "skimmer" craft under the command of Lt. William Schachte. The two officers were accompanied by an enlisted man who operated the outboard motor.
One of the hallmarks of SBVT honesty:   they've never changed their story.

No, really, there's no hint on the SBVT website that the story was ever changed.

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