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October 21, 2004

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» JIM RUTENBERG from PRESTOPUNDIT -- "It's a team sport, baby!"
two days ago: [the documentary is] rife with out-of-context and incomplete quotations .. many accusations in it were not provable or stretched far beyond reality. Now take a look... [Read More]

» NYT review of "Stolen Honor" from BeldarBlog
Like many others (e.g., InstaPundit, Just One Minute, Smash, and PrestoPundit), I was surprised to see this generally sympathetic review of "Stolen Honor" in the NYT [Read More]

» "A POW STORY: from PRESTOPUNDIT -- "It's a team sport, baby!"
Politics, Pressure and the Media" will be broadcast Friday, October 22, 2004 at 8:00 p.m. (E) by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. The news program will contain portions of the... [Read More]

» Free Speech -- for Some from InstaPunk
. . . then, get a case or three of Mousehead and cook up some Texas Chili, put on the DVD, and have some fun. You can even invite Kerry supporters. They\'ll at least like the Chili and the Mousehead. [Read More]

Comments

Kathleen A

So is it just me or did this article just posted on Yahoo! News completely get the whole gist of Kerry's testimony WRONG? Anti-Kerry Movie. First off - John Kerry said he committed other 'war crimes' (see O'Neill/Kerry on Dick Cavitt). I get really aggravated when I know more about a subject than a professional journalist. It's their job to find these things out. They totally lie about the movie in that article.

_Jon

I don't care what the rest of the world thinks of America. If they wanted to be American, they could have immigrated here. Which way are the boats heading?

100% of the Afghanistan boys under Taliban rule believe that there were no Muslims in America. There are over 7 million.

Most Chinese get their information on America from the BBC. Most Chinese believe the US citizens hate each other.

There are three forms of lies - little lies, big lies, and statistics.

During his campaign, Clinton used statistics to show that there was a 38% increase in employment while he was Governor. There was a 38% increase - in pig farming.

Nice statistics.

_Jon

Oh, that comment disappeared.... :shrug:

TM

Sorry, Jon - that comment was so off-topic I figured it must have been meant for some other blog. (If the author intended to post it here, feel free not to.)

From the Yahoo story:

The film also falsely implies that Kerry either committed atrocities himself or personally witnessed them. Kerry told Congress he was summarizing accusations made by other servicemen at an earlier event, and not relaying personal experiences.

I can't find a transcript for "Meet the Press", but Kerry was quite clear that free-fire zones were a war crime in which he participated when he debated John O'Neill on the Dick Cavett show.

Of course, the Boston Globe recounts some incidents that might count as atrocities:

In the free fire zone

The possibility of killing innocent civilians haunted Kerry. With many of the South Vietnamese waterways in ''free fire zones'' - meaning that the US Navy was authorized to shoot anyone who was violating a curfew - the likelihood that innocent villagers could be killed was high.

One of Kerry's crewmates on swift boat No. 44 said such an event happened. Drew Whitlow of Arkansas said he was on patrol with Kerry when Whitlow spotted movement along the shore and yelled, "I'm going to fire!" The quiet river exploded in gunfire, with people on the shoreline dropping, dead or wounded, and no fire being returned.

Whitlow recalled the scene: "This is a free fire zone, I will fire, I will put rounds in, I'm doing my thing, I'm feeling Mr. Macho. But then when you get close, you see the expressions of the village people, people waving their arms, saying, `No, no, no! Wait a minute, hold this off.' I ended up putting a few down, and then I found out it was friendlies."

To make matters worse, a mortar round ricocheted back at the boat and wounded three crewmen.

Kerry, asked about Whitlow's account, said he had no recollection of the episode and wondered whether Whitlow was confusing it with another event or whether he was with Whitlow on that occasion. Naval records do not resolve the matter. After being told about Whitlow's recollection by the Globe, Kerry discussed the matter with Whitlow and said he still doesn't remember it.

But Kerry does recall a harrowing incident, which he has never previously publicly discussed, in which he said a crew member shot and killed a Vietnamese boy of perhaps 12 years of age.

A member of Kerry's crew announced he was shooting, and the air filled with the ack-ack-ack of gunfire. The rounds blasted into a sampan, hurling the child into the rice paddy. The mother screamed as the flimsy craft began to sink, and Kerry, shining a searchlight, yelled, "Cease fire! Cease fire!"

Kerry said his crew rescued the mother, took her aboard the Navy vessel for questioning, and left the child behind. Due to the dangerous location, and the possibility that the gunfire had drawn the notice of Viet Cong, Kerry never had a chance to see whether the woman was hiding weaponry in the sunken boat, and does not know to this day whether his crew faced a real threat.

"It is one of those terrible things, and I'll never forget, ever, the sight of that child," Kerry said. "But there was nothing that anybody could have done about it. It was the only instance of that happening.

"It angered me," Kerry said. "But, look, the Viet Cong used women and children." He said there might have been a satchel containing explosives. "Who knows if they had -- under the rice -- a satchel, and if we had come along beside them they had thrown the satchel in the boat. ... So it was a terrible thing, but I've never thought we were somehow at fault or guilty. There wasn't anybody in that area that didn't know you don't move at night, that you don't go out in a sampan on the rivers, and there's a curfew."

The details of the episode are murky, however, because none of Kerry's crewmates remembers it the way Kerry does. The closest recollection comes from William Zaladonis, a crewmate on No. 44 who vividly recalls killing a 15-year-old boy, but does not remember a mother being rescued. "I myself took out a 15-year-old" when the crew came across a sampan in a free-fire zone, Zaladonis said. "It was all legitimate. We told them to stop. When we fired across the bow, people started jumping from the boat. At that time my officer, whoever it was, told me to open up on them, and I did. And there was one body still in the boat, a 15-year-old kid. But over there, 15-year-old kids were soldiers."


SM

I have reviewed the movie on the internet and appreicate that some of these men have not had the opportunity to discuss this in the past 30 years. It is more about their pain, their feelings, and their outlet to finally be heard. You can agree or disagree with their understanding of what happened...but remember they were in the prison camps NOT you, not me, and certainly NOT John Kerry. While he had the right to protest the war some of them were actually dying in the prison camps.

It's their story and they have a right to be heard. After all, they weren't the ones who pronounced themselves "reporting for duty."

SM

I have reviewed the movie on the internet and appreicate that some of these men have not had the opportunity to discuss this in the past 30 years. It is more about their pain, their feelings, and their outlet to finally be heard. You can agree or disagree with their understanding of what happened...but remember they were in the prison camps NOT you, not me, and certainly NOT John Kerry. While he had the right to protest the war some of them were actually dying in the prison camps.

It's their story and they have a right to be heard. After all, they weren't the ones who pronounced themselves "reporting for duty."

SM

I have reviewed the movie on the internet and appreicate that some of these men have not had the opportunity to discuss this in the past 30 years. It is more about their pain, their feelings, and their outlet to finally be heard. You can agree or disagree with their understanding of what happened...but remember they were in the prison camps NOT you, not me, and certainly NOT John Kerry. While he had the right to protest the war some of them were actually dying in the prison camps.

It's their story and they have a right to be heard. After all, they weren't the ones who pronounced themselves "reporting for duty."

Paul Hupf

John Kerry betrayed his comrades in arms. To this day he refuses to apologize. Absent apology he should be disqualified from any office in the United States Government.

FREEPer

Can't wait to see impact of this show on polls.

SM

I just downloaded it. Everyone should download and watch it.... Let's get it out there for all to see.

Whoever

When the voice of the people doesn't work as it should, to enforce our country's laws against illegal campaign contributions, at least you can count on the power of the almighty buck.

It appears what actually aired on the Sinclair Propaganda network was sufficiently defanged of its original intent, and according to those who saw it, even rather favorable to the senator.

Gives me hope that the American people will never ALL become good Germans.

Where's The Beef?

Kerry's Fulbright testimony is a sombering read each time it appears today. Also, it is interesting to consider Fulbright's introductory comments that praised Kerry's leadership of the VVAW as a group that has earned the righ to be heard.

Today one could say the same about the book and film of the Swift Vets and the POWs respectively. But on the contrary civil men like John O'Neill get shouted down or are subjected to ad hominem attacks.

Senator J. W. Fulbright (Chairman) referred to Kerry and the VVAW, but think of O'Neill and the Swiftees/POWs:

1. These are men who have fought in this unfortunate war in Vietnam. I believe they deserve to be heard and listened to by the Congress and by the officials in the executive branch and by the public generally.

2. I want also to congratulate [you] upon the restraint that you have shown ....

3. I personally don't know of any group which would have both a greater justification for doing it and also a more accurate view of the effect of the war.

Where's The Beef?

Also Senator Javits:

1. I am very proud of the deportment and general attitude of the group.

2. I think it is our job to see that you are suitably set up as an alternative so that you can do what you came here to do. I welcome the fact that you came and what you are doing.

Now none of these introductory remarks would have been uttered if not for Kerry's cache. He had raised 40% of the VVAW's funds. He was the political face for an unruly and radical group. That's were the comparison with the Swifts/POWs ends, of course. Still, when you see how O'Neill has remained calm underfire and his talking head opponents have freaked, it is worth remembering how the naval officer with Kennedy connections and political contacts had scored a propaganda victory just by showing up dressed in gear with ribbons on his chest. And how that doesn't seem to be respected by Kerry's defenders today when the war veterans are Kerry detractors.

[sorry for the double post]

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