[UPDATE: A new cite for Kerry in Cambodia - a 1992 AP interview. "Everybody was over there."]
More detail is available in Chapter 3 of the Swiftees book (Christmas in Cambodia starts on p. 17 of the .pdf). Now, set aside (if you can) any sense of these guys as hatchet men, and focus on the specific sources they cite. For example, they claim that on March 27, 1986, John Kerry gave a speech on the Senate floor recounting his time in Cambodia (and deploring the evil President Nixon who sent him there.)
As Hugh Hewitt points out, this is objectively verifiable - someone needs to get the Congressional Record, and see whether these guys are quoting Kerry correctly, taking his words out of context, or what.
Similarly, the Swiftees guide us to the Kerry book by the Boston Globe team, available in bookstores now, as another source for this story. OK, are they lying? Or were the Globe reporters "misinformed" - it wouldn't be the first time, since Michael Kranish also fluffed Kerry's honorable discharge.
Based on Beldar's professional experience with John O'Neill, co-author of the Swiftees' "Unfit for Command", my guess is that the aspects of this book that can be researched will pass at least casual inspection.
For an excellent discussion that preceded the Swiftee book, check this out - these gents did a fine job of showing that Kerry was not where he said he was when Nixon wasn't saying that Kerry wasn't there.
Now, I can't help you find a bookstore. And I don't think you can find Kerry's 1986 speech online, since the Congressional Record is available online only back to 1994. However, this page helps you find libraries that carry it - I already have mine targetted.
MORE: Let's pre-empt one possible Kerry defense, which would be, hypothetically, "His phrasing may have been awkward, but he knew in 1970 that Nixon was lying because he had been there in 1968". Fine, but he wasn't there! Don't let his defenders rebut the minor point and slide past the big one.
UPDATE: All eyes turn to AntiMedia, who has dug up some Kerry speeches from 1986, but can't find the mystery speech - yet. This is far from over - the Unfit for Command book footnotes the Kerry floor speech cite, but, naturally, the portion of the book with the footnotes is not excerpted. However, as noted by Beldar, John O'Neill has done some research in his time.
UPDATE: We have a Bingo! On the major point, he really did tell the US Senate that he was in Cambodia. Good for the Swiftees, bad for Kerry. On the other hand, the Nixon connection is tenuous; let's score that minor point against the Swiftees.
How Kerry might reconcile his claim with his military records, I don't know. And the Kerry website won't help - it does not show after-action reports for December 1968. Why not?
And the Command History picks up on January 1, 1969. What unexpected bad luck.
Speech excerpted below:
132 Cong.Rec. S3564-02
AMENDMENT NO. 1718
(Purpose: To restrict assistance to the Nicaraguan democratic resistance to
humanitarian assistance, and for other purposes)
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts is recognized.
Mr. KERRY. Thank you, Mr. President.
What is worse, Mr. President, is that the Contras bring with them the inevitability of further U.S. involvement. I know there are many in here who said in the last days, oh, no, we do not want American boys down there. We have heard it from the White House-we are not going to widen this war. We are not going to see American troops down there. That is not our intention. How many times have we heard that in the debate?
Mr. President, how quickly do we forget? How quickly do we forget? No one wanted to widen the war in Vietnam. We heard that. Let me remind you of what we said during that period of time.
"There is going to be no involvement of America in war unless it is a result of the constitutional process that is placed upon Congress to declare it. Now let us make that clear." That was the President of the United States in 1954.
"We would not get into a war except by the constitutional process which, of course, involves the declaration of war by Congress." That was the President of the United States in 1954.
"Using United States ground forces in the Indochina jungle would be like trying to cover an elephant with a handkerchief. You just can't do it." That was the Senate majority leader in 1954.
"I would go to Congress before committing combat troops." That was another President in 1962.
"I would oppose the use of United States troops as the direct means of supressing guerrillas in South Vietnam." That was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1964.
"We have no plans at present to send combat troops to South Vietnam"-Robert McNamara, 1964.
"I don't feel expanded use of American ground troops to be an effective addition to the war"-the senior Senator from Arizona, in 1965.
"The commitment of American troops anywhere on Asian soil is a mistake"-the senior Senator from Arizona, in 1966.
"There is a grave danger at the present time that the administration will go overboard in increasing American forces in Vietnam. We might be able to win the war but by doing so we would have on our hands the dependency for a long time to come. That is the wrong way to handle it"-Richard M. Nixon, in 1966.
Those words did not mean anything. Then we got into the war. We began to say, We do not want to widen it. "The United States seeks no wider war"-Lyndon Johnson, 1964.
"We can plainly say we are not escalating the war." That was the Senator from Alabama.
"We seek no wider war"-William P. Bundy.
"We seek no wider war"- White House, February 1965.
"The United States still seeks no wider war"-Lyndon Johnson, 1965.
"We still seek no wider war"-Lyndon Johnson, later in 1965.
"The United States could not win militarily in a classic sense because our national policy of not expanding the war"-General Westmoreland. And so on.
Finally, President Nixon, 1970. "In cooperation with the armed forces of South Vietnam, attacks are being launched this week to clear out major enemy sanctuaries on the Cambodian-Vietnam border."
Mr. President, I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and have the President of the United States telling the American people that I was not there; the troops were not in Cambodia.
I have that memory which is seared-seared-in me, that says to me, before we send another generation into harm's way we have a responsibility in the U.S. Senate to go the last step, to make the best effort possible in order to avoid that kind of conflict.
Mr. President, good intentions are not enough to keep us out of harms way. The danger here is our support of the Contras. Everyone knows the Contras are our Contras. We have a proprietary interest in the Contras. So with that proprietary interest we will raise the stakes, and then will come the commitment of our prestige and worse our pride, our pride. How many battles do we fight for pride? The ultimate vote today on temporary policy to give lethal aid that everyone in this Chamber says is not enough to do the job-the job, I take it, meaning to overthrow the Sandinistas is the ultimate vote.
There is an enormous contradiction in that because we will see people come back to us at the same time next year and say to us, you know, we need more money. Now, I will hear it from the senior Senator from North Carolina, and others: We have backed these guys. We have given them guns. We have given them the hope for freedom. We have given them a stake in their own country. We cannot desert them now.
OK, by "the President", Kerry may have been referring to Johnson, who he quotes as being opposed to a wider war. Fortunately, that seems to be the lesser point.