Our quick reactions:
(1) Michael Kranish has been covering Kerry's military service from the outset. We thought he went into the tank for Kerry on the Elliot story cited by Ms. Malkin, but he also followed up diligently (and fruitlessly) on other leads, such as the "Three Men in a Boat" mystery created by fourth man Admiral Schachte, or the question of Kerry's discharge (which I am still pegging as a non-story - I am backing the competing view that Kerry was purged in a routine Reduction in Force discharge).
Anyway, let's credit Kranish for being aware of the issues, and engaging the debate. Hard to believe he works for a NT Times subsidiary.
(2) Kranish does tackle the first Purple Heart controversy in his latest story, telling us there is nothing new in the records. I find that deeply odd, since the Navy announced last fall that, upon review, all of Kerry's medals had been properly awarded.
Well, then - one does not award a Purple Heart on the basis of one medical report. There ought to be an after-action report or some substitute, such as a witness statement. There also ought to be an application signed by an approving officer.
Maybe the records are simply incomplete, but that is not what the Navy said last year.
(3) Don't forget about the war diary - we still find it odd that on the subject of the first Purple Heart Brinkley makes no mention of a letter home, a diary entry, or any other contemporaneous reaction by Kerry. Instead, everything is based on interviews with Kerry by Brinkley and Kranish from 2003. Kerry's first combat, his first award, and he wrote nothing about it at all?
We are going to be hard to please on this one.
UPDATE: Beldar wants the Boston Globe to put everything on the web. Yes, but... I want another big-time media outlet to file a FOIA or 180 request for Kerry's records, and see what they get. The nominees I would trust - Matthew Continetti of the Weekly Standard, and James Taranto of the WSJ, but feel free to suggest your own.
MORE: Is Kerry really this stupid? Did we have this ongoing "release the records" brawl just so he could cover up his grades? C'mon, Steve Sailer blew this open last October, and Mickey Kaus of Slate and John Tierney of the Times publicized it.
NO SALE: Mickey has awkward quotes from Kerry, including:
I'd be happy to put the records out. We put all the records out that I had been sent by the military. Then at the last moment, they sent some more stuff, which had some things that weren't even relevant to the record. So when we get–I'm going to sit down with them and make sure that they are clear and I am clear as to what is in the record and what isn't in the record and we'll put it out.
Blogs for Bush (Update III) has heard from Swiftee John O'Neill, who is also unconvinced.
I suppose Kerry's target audience is Tim Russert, but if Tim thinks Kerry is trying to gull him...