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August 13, 2004

Comments

Greg F

"Evidently some of us are not quite as "used to an innocent until proven guilty ethic" as others."

Indeed your honor, I submit the following as evidence of Monique's hypocrisy and failure to submit herself to such a standard.

"We have in office a President who himself dodged the draft ..."

To which Monique's standard, "This is hearsay and conjecture and rumor and innuendo.", apparently doesn't apply. She "made an allegation against another man's character, burden of proof on the accuser", which she supplies none.

"...under Democrats we not only paid down the deficit but accumulated a surplus."

I would like to enter into evidence a copy of the US Constitution that clearly shows the purse strings are controlled by congress. I further submit that said congress in question was of a Republican majority.

"...for the Bush supporters I mean. It's a trick that Goebbels had described very well, that all a leader needs to do is make the people think they are in danger..."

I submit to the court that Monique is involved in character assignation. The events of 9/11 not withstanding, "This is hearsay and conjecture and rumor and innuendo."

“They must really think we are dumb.”

Indeed, Monique attempts to apply a legal standard which she ignores in her own accusations.

GT

The last is the SS.

Several points:

1) There were two events cited in awarding the SS. The first in not disputed by anyone.

2) Elliot claims he was misled but provides no evidence of that. It's simply a 35 year old he said/he said.

3) Elliot says he would have not recommended the SS if he had known that all Kerry did is shoot a single wounded soldier. Several problems with that. The citation does not talk about Kerry killing anyone and the citation is the only document we have that tells us why Kerry was given the award. The citation talks of more than one event (see point 1).

SO all we have left is a he said/she said. And, YET AGAIN, we have one version from those that were there and another from those accusing and were not.


http://abcnews.go.com/sections/Nightline/Politics/kerry_medal_040624-2.html

Patrick R. Sullivan

"I think O'Neill's accusations have shown to be, to be charitable, utterly unproven and unprovable."

Actually, to anyone not committed to exonerating Kerry from charges of living in a fantasyland, the physical evidence supports the SBVFT. Consider this description of the Bronze Star incident from the Congressional Record of January 28, 1998:

---------quote------------
Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed
in the Record the text of the eulogy I gave for my friend, Thomas
M. Belodeau, on November 10, 1997.

There was the time we were carrying Special Forces
up a river and a mine exploded under our boat sending it 2
feet into the air. We were receiving incoming rocket and small
arms fire and Tommy was returning fire with his M-60 machine gun
when it literally broke apart in his hands. He was left holding
the pieces unable to fire back while one of the Green Berets
walked along the edge of the boat to get Tommy another M-60. As he
was doing so, the boat made a high speed turn to starboard and the
Green Beret kept going--straight into the river. The entire time
while the boat went back to get the Green Beret, Tommy was without
a machine gun or a weapon of any kind, but all the time he was
hurling the greatest single string of Lowell-Chelmsford curses
ever heard at the Viet Cong. He literally had swear words with
tracers on them!
-------endquote---------

First note the bit about the boat being sent two feet into the air; that's what happened to PCF-3, according to eyewitnesses. And on PCF-3 everyone was either blown off into the river, or wounded. But, according to this version by Kerry NO ONE on his boat is blown off, and no one (other than Kerry's bruised right arm) is injured.

Note also that the description of Rassman being dumped into the river is consistent with the other eyewitnesses testimony.

Finally, PCF-3 was so badly damaged by the mine that lifted IT into the air, it had to be towed by one boat, with two others tied to either side to keep it from sinking. Yet according to Kerry, he sustained the same kind of hit and withstood it. And it was PCF-94 that had the towline on PCF-3's bow to get it safely home.

And that's just the evidence from the mine explosion(s). As to the enemy fire from the river banks, no one was hit by it, and no boats had bullet holes. Perhaps GT would like to put some of his professional training at our disposal and calculate the probabilities here.

Frank IBC

"Character assassination...fishing expedition...hearsay...innuendo...witch hunt..."

Don't you people get tired of trying to avoid actually having to refute these very serious charges leveled against Kerry?

If this were liberals writing about conservatives, you'd be saying

"hard-hitting investigative reporting..."

Frank IBC

>> There was the time we were carrying Special Forces up a river and a mine exploded under our boat sending it 2 feet into the air...the boat made a high speed turn to starboard...

Er, how soon did the boat make a "high speed turn to starboard" after it was sent "2 feet into the air"?

>>he was hurling the greatest single string of Lowell-Chelmsford curses ever heard at the Viet Cong. He ***literally** had swear words with
tracers on them!

This is not aimed specifically at Kerry, but I really really hate people who misuse the word "literally".

Cecil Turner

GT,

You can't get a PH from a self-inflicted wound unless it's "in the heat of battle, and not involving gross negligence." (emphasis added). I leave it to your judgment on whether discharging a grenade launcher so haphazardly that it completely misses the enemy, but you get a piece, is grossly negligent. Again, if it happened as stated by the Kerry critics, he doesn't rate the award.

"Grant Hibbard, claims, with nothing to back it up, that Kerry did not face enemy fire that day. But the people who were actually in the boat disagree."

Your link got truncated. But the contention from the Swiftvets wasn't that there was no fire from the boat, it was that the the guys on the bank weren't shooting back. And the bit you quoted doesn't contradict that.

ed

Hmmm.

1. "So what you're saying is, it means nothing that his name isn't on the paperwork because that's common."

Have you ever been treated for an illness requiring time in a hospital? This is how it works in both the military and civilian medical institutions. This is ALSO how it works in businesses. You don't see senior level managers do their own filing do you? You don't see executives trying to type a letter or collate reports do you?

2. "And it means nothing that he remembered an insiginificant wound in the midst of a sea of desperate combat injuries, because that happens."

Keep attacking the person and not the allegations. Yeah that's the ticket. That's success that is.

3. "And it means nothing that he came forth only 30 some years later because he's just a great guy like that."

And you know that he's NOT a great guy how? Since you're accusing him of being a liar I think you need to step up and actually, you know, support your allegations.

So far you've done nothing but speculate with no basis for it whatsoever.

4. "And he remembered Kerry's purple heart because it was common knowledge, ..."

Do you have any idea what you're talking about?

5. "This is hearsay and conjecture and rumor and innuendo."

Wrong.

Hearsay is when you repeat what someone else told you.

Conjecture is when you make shit up, like what you're doing.

Innuendo is when you make a baseless accusation, which is what you're doing.

....

If this is the best you've got, you've got nothing worth mentioning. I'd add more, but it'll be lost amidst all that denial.

Patrick R. Sullivan

First, it's notable that in the Cavett debate, Kerry talks quite a bit about Laos. but only mentions Cambodia in a passing reference. Why not speak up in 1971 about his Valentine's Day holiday in Cambodia then?

Now, let's see how well the facts fit GT's claim that Kerry's Silver Star wasn't for the killing of the VC:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04221/357838.stm

---------quote--------
As the boat skidded on land, a teen-age insurgent rose up only a few feet away, hoisting a B-40 grenade launcher.

"I could see the hairs of his mustache," said gunner Fred Short. "Why he didn't fire, who knows? I guess we scared (the) hell out of him."

Tom Belodeau, the other gunner, got off a burst. Wounded in the leg, the youth hobbled behind a hut with his weapon. Armed with an M-16 rifle, Kerry ordered Belodeau and mate Mike Medeiros to follow, then sprinted ahead. "We were all firing, but the skipper got him," Short recalled.

No one had a clear view of the shooting. But "next thing we know, there's Kerry with the B-40 in his hand," Sandusky said.

Kerry's charge won him a Silver Star, awarded by Zumwalt in a Saigon ceremony.
----------endquote-------

Or;

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/Nightline/Politics/kerry_medal_040624.html

---------quote---------
I guess we had gotten 800 yards or 1,000 yards at the most," recalled crewmate Fred Short. "And this time, another B-40 rocket hit, and maybe a couple more. But this one was close aboard. It blew the windows out of the crew cabin. I see out of a spider hole a Vietcong stand up dressed in a loin cloth, holding a B-40 rocket."

"Charlie would have lit us up like a Roman candle because we're full of fuel, we're full of ammunition," said Sandusky.

Protocol at the time would be for Kerry's Swift boat to fire to shore and then take evasive action. But Kerry ordered Sandusky, his second-in-command, to drive the boat onto the beach — directly into the ambush.

"I knew right away that, you know, uh-oh, we're in the doo-doo now," Sandusky said. "But, yeah, I knew — you know, John was intent. You know: 'We got to go and get this guy.' There was no way we were going to back down off the beach." Alston recalled: "I know when John Kerry told Del to beach that damn boat, this was a brand-new ball game. We wasn't running. We took it to Charlie."

They saw their enemy up close, Short noted. "I would say he was so close that I could see that he had a mustache, a very weak mustache, that he was growing. I could see the mustache on his face. And things were going slow-motion now, because you feel you were, you know, this is really getting scary."

Things almost went against the sailors. "He needed like, 25, 30 yards to arm that rocket, all right," Sandusky said, "and as we beached, he could not aim it at us. So he got up out of the spider hole, started running."

Tommy Belodeau was manning the boat's M-60 machine gun, Short said. "Tommy in the pit tank winged him in the side of the legs as he was coming across," he said. "But the guy didn't miss stride. I mean, he did not break stride."

Kerry assessed their options quickly, according to Sandusky. "John sized up the situation and realized that once Tommy had started shooting at the guy and wounded him in the leg, you know, that this was the only course of action — you know, John was going to chase this guy down and kill him. 'Cause if he didn't, we were all dead."

The man was still running down a path when they got to the bank. Kerry, Belodeau and Michael McDarris, in hot pursuit, saw the Vietcong soldier. Short recalled: "The guy was getting ready to stand up with a rocket on his shoulder, coming up. And Mr. Kerry took him out … he would have been about a 30-yard shot. Which, we were dead in the water up on the bank, point blank. If he missed us, he would have to, you know — there's no way he could miss us. He could've thrown a rock and taken me out."

The others agreed that it was a close call. "If this guy would have got up, and he had a clear shot at us, we would have been history," Thorson said. "Wouldn't have been no doubt about it." "If that RPG had exploded in the pilot house or anywhere in that area," Short said, "we were toast."

A Difficult Burden

Kerry and Mike Medeiros searched the soldier's corpse, confiscated the rocket launcher and returned to the boat. Kerry did not talk to the crew about what he had just done. But for a Navy man, killing a man face-to-face was unusual.

"We usually didn't see Charlie," Sandusky explained. "So, to do an actual event like John did, you know, he never came back and displayed any symptoms or signs of problems that it bothered him. But I know it would have bothered me, you know, to do that actual, you know, kill a man, face-to-face."

Short added: "When you're close enough to see him, to count the whiskers on their face, to be that close to someone, it becomes very personal. And that would affect anyone, I would suspect."

Kerry refuses to discuss in public how that event shook him and shaped him. And his crew will not betray matters he has told them in confidence about that moment.

Back at the base in An Thoi, Kerry's commander said — half tongue-in-cheek — he didn't know whether banking the boat and chasing down the Vietcong soldier merited Kerry a medal or a court-martial.

But days later in Saigon, Kerry was awarded the Silver Star for valor by Vice Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, the commander of Naval forces in Vietnam.

-----------endquote------------

So, the people actually on the Swift Boat--though it's something of a mystery as to Alston's whereabouts that day--are convinced that Kerry got the SS for the incident with the VC with the rocket launcher. Yet GT feels strongly they're wrong?

Greg F

GT wrote:
“The citation does not talk about Kerry killing anyone and the citation is the only document we have that tells us why Kerry was given the award.”

You should try reading the citation before making such silly claims.

From the citation:
"... an enemy soldier sprang up from his position not ten feet from Patrol Craft Fast 94 and fled. Without hesitation Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry leaped ashore, pursued the man behind a houtch and killed him,"


GT wrote:
“Elliot says he would have not recommended the SS if he had known that all Kerry did is shoot a single wounded soldier”

And if you actually read the citation you will notice there is no mention of the fleeing enemy being wounded.

See page 7
http://www.johnkerry.com/pdf/jkmilservice/militaryrecords_1.pdf

ed

Hmmm.

"Luckily for all of us, we cannot be convicted of a crime on the word of a man who claims, with absolutely no documentation, to remember an event 30 years after the fact."

ROFLMAO!!!

OMG! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

Ummm. This isn't a criminal court. This isn't, as yet, a criminal case .......

funny people.

Cecil Turner

"1) There were two events cited in awarding the SS. The first in not disputed by anyone. "

ISTM when Elliott says he wouldn't have approved the award if he'd known all Kerry did was chase down a single, wounded VC, he's disputing any suggestion there was more to it than that. And frankly, all the stories about the incident, including Kerry's, focus on that part of it. If your contention is that the Silver Star would have been awarded anyway, it'd be nice to find some description of the basis for it.

TM

A US diplomat discusses the Cambodian border.

GT

Cecil,

On the PH: As the links I provided show the people on the boat did think they were engaing the enemy. They saw VC on the shores and shot at them. I haven't found any links that show that the crew says they were not uinder fire but, if you read the PH regulations, IT DOESN'T MATTER. So long as the injury derives from engaging the enemy it is valid. As for gross negligence I think I will trust Kerry's crewmates more than I trust you to judge that.

It seems you have a problem accepting what the PH is for. I didn't make the regulations. They are clear to anyone willing to read them.

On the SS: I repat what I wrote before. There is no evidence anywhere of what Elliot was thinking 35 years ago. What we do have is the official citation and that citation lists two events and neither event talks of Kerry killing anyone.

GregF,

Maybe you can tell me where in the official citation you found that sentence. It certainly isn't in the copy I read.

http://www.johnkerry.com/pdf/jkmilservice/Silver_Star.pdf

GT

Funny thing.

I checked GregF's link and there seems to be another citation. I'm not sure what the
diference is between the two.

The second citation is abit more detailed then the one I've been using. And a couple of points come to mind.

First, the killing of the VC is simply one of many things listed in the citation. There is no way of reading that citation and claiming that the SS was based exclusively on the killing of the VC.

Second, the second citation also makes clear that Kerry only killed one VC. So nobody lied about there being many.

Since all the crew members who were actually there (see the ABC news link above) agree that the VC soldier was armed with a weapon capable of destroying them, was not incapacitated, and that he had not surrendered it's irrelevant whether he was wounded or not. In any case the only way to know how wounded he was was to examine him closely.

Greg F

"Maybe you can tell me where in the official citation you found that sentence. It certainly isn't in the copy I read."

Page 7 of the pdf document, roughly 3/4 of the way through the citation on that page.

GT

Tom,

You asked me something about the number of enemies.

As you can see from the citation GregF links to that question is moot. That citation makes clear Kerry only killed one VC.

I still don't fully understand the difference between the two citations.

david

There's an interesting question about Alston, whether he was ever on a boat with Kerry, even though that's how Kerry attributes their relationship. Where was Alston on the SS day?? I saw on another site (which I've managed to misplace) that evidence suggestes the he and his skipper were seriously wounded on the 94 boat before Kerry was its skipper.

Patrick R. Sullivan

"I checked GregF's link and there seems to be another citation. I'm not sure what the
diference is between the two."

It's the same difference between the two Bronze Star citations, GT. John Lehman's signature.

John O'Neill, on, iirc, Hannity's show claimed Kerry had his citations rewritten in the 80s. In the case of the Silver Star there is significant withdrawal of specifics.

If I was a Kerry supporter, I'd be feeling a little queasy just now.

david

Just found the information on Alston over at Instapundit. He did NOT serve with Kerry, but said so in a dramatic speech for the DNC convention. How bad is this?? Any trollers want to debate this issue? I'll bet not.

david

Oh, and if anyone wants to accuse me of being partisan? Damn right!

Patrick R. Sullivan

There is a description of the damage to the boats on the March 13, 69, Bronze Star mission, here:

http://www.johnkerry.com/pdf/jkmilservice/SpotReports_March1969.pdf

Scroll to the bottom of the last page, where you can see them listed as: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, and Echo. PCF-94, Kerry's boat, is "Alpha", and it has the hull taking "battle damage", as does the "Echo" boat.

Now look at the "Delta" boat. It is obviously PCF-3, the boat that hit the mine. Note the extensive damage:

"Two stbd and one port main cabin windows blown out. VRC-46 radio and all remote units pilot house inop. AC wiring shorted out. Onan generator inop. Steerage screws curled and chipped. Radar gear box frozen. Main engines experienced rpm drop."

Would GT like to explain how Kerry's boat could hit a mine, be blown 2 feet out of the water, and not sustain anything like the damage to "Delta"?

GT

Patrick,

I am surprised you still insist on the BS accusations. Sometimes you post smart stuff. Others you really enter into tinfoil hat terrritory.

I will simply trust that Rassman isn't lying. You trust who you want.

As for the second citation,if anything, the second citation makes Kerry's case even stronger. The second citation shows that Elliot is a fool or a liar. Elliot claimed he did not know that Kerry killed only one VC. But the citation says that explicitly. So either Elliot lied or he did not bother to read the citations.

Monique

I realize this is not a court of law. It's a political campaign. Some people have produced a book filled with stories they do not ever have to prove, based on conveniently resurfaced memories they never made public before. Having accused a man, putting the burden of proof upon themselves, and knowing they will never have to prove any of it, they now say the only way for the man to absolve himself of their charges is to prove them false. It's despicable, but it's par for the course in politics.

There are vets who were approached by the writers, and were asked to say that Kerry inflicted his own wound from a flare. They refused, and are nowhere mentioned in the book.

I really don't think the Kerry supporters are feeling queasy. No one is paying attention to this. The last few times ONeill got on the air he was getting beat up pretty bad. He tried to hide behind his "decorated veteran" honor, but thats a hard thing to hide behind when you've just pulled it out from under someone else. In effect, these men have diminished all of their own medals, or would be if anyone were listening, by claiming the process of awarding medals was flawed in Vietnam.

Kerry is doing rather well in the states that matter these days. He is drawing huge crowds and not making a one of them sign a loyalty oath. Most people are making up their minds based on the economy and the wisdom of the Iraqi war. They really don't have time or interest to be sifting through this kind of trash. And the mass media, including Fox News, is quite done with it. It was clever of them to plan this assault for the period between the conventions, when Kerry was going to not be running commercials, but it was a strategic propaganda risk that has at this point probably failed. Not that they didn't leave a few shit stains, the true aim of this kind of dirty politics, but likely not enough to matter.

david

Monique, where do you get the info that "other vets" were approached and refused to give accounts? Who? Where? Who interviewd them? Come on, if you are honestly dealing with this, rules apply to both sides, right?

david

Also, there are plenty of posts, many linked here, that point to evidence of Kerry's lies. Evidence, know what that is? And you should be queasy, 'cause, ya know, it's all over the blog world and will likey have to be addressed by the media.

Patrick R. Sullivan

"I am surprised you still insist on the BS accusations. Sometimes you post smart stuff. Others you really enter into tinfoil hat terrritory.

"I will simply trust that Rassman isn't lying. You trust who you want."

I trust the evidence, and I note that you won't address any of it. For instance, how did Kerry's boat hit a mine, lift two feet out of the water, and sustain no damage compared to PCF-3?

Patrick R. Sullivan

Btw, GT, if you trust Rassman isn't lying then you trust Kerry IS lying when he said:

"There was the time we were carrying Special Forces
up a river and a mine exploded under our boat sending it 2
feet into the air. We were receiving incoming rocket and small
arms fire and Tommy was returning fire with his M-60 machine gun
when it literally broke apart in his hands. He was left holding
the pieces unable to fire back while one of the Green Berets
walked along the edge of the boat to get Tommy another M-60. As he
was doing so, the boat made a high speed turn to starboard and the
Green Beret kept going--straight into the river."

That's not consistent with Rassman's story that he was blown into the water by the explosion.

GT

Patrick,

Seriously. I am not interested in conspiracy theories. You were not there. O'Neill was not there.

Rassman was.

Those are the facts.

GT

Patrick,

I'll make it simple.

35 year old memories about combat are useless to determine anything. What happened, exactly, no one will ever know.

But Rassman and Kerry and the crew all agree that Kerry saved Rassman's life and Rassman says he was being shot at.

Period.

Monique

david, "it" is only in the arch right wing blog world. It kind of passed through both left wing and mainstream blogging about five days ago.

Sorry, can''t link to the accounts of other vets, though I know that weakens my position. I only trot through the political blogs, find them utterly fascinating and often comical, but don't stop to link and save. I'm not trying to debate you. As I heard a comedian say on the radio the other day (sorry for the political incorrectness): "Arguing on the Internet is like competing in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded." I admit to the folly of arguing politics online, but I won't sacrifice hours of my time to legitimizing it for people I'll never convince. That's your game. I know, I've read the Right Wing Rules of Engagement. Methinks they take themselves a bit too seriously, and overestimate themselves mightily. Kind of like John O'Neill and that freaky bigot guy he's colluding with.

Plus, Earth to David: The media has moved on.

John Earnest

"Plus, Earth to David: The media has moved on."

God, don't you guys hope so. "Nothing to see here. Move alomg!"

Not that it's much a yardstick of crdibility, mind you. And it looks like they're going to be forced to examine it or be humiliated. heh

david

Monique, I'm glad you make up your own rules. by the way, I'm a lifetime Dem that's fed up with the nuts who have taken over, and wouldn't want to elect a man who has to make up a military career of 30years ago in order to campaign. What else should we focus on, his Senate record??

TM

From GT:

I will simply trust that Rassman isn't lying.

and a bit later:

35 year old memories about combat are useless to determine anything. What happened, exactly, no one will ever know.

On the Rassman story, I have been in broad agreement with point (2) from the outset. Of course, that contradicts point (1)...

On the question of Altson NOT having served with Kerry, I noted as an updat to a different post to be cool on that - they have good evidence that Alston left for medical treatment before Kerry took over PCF 94; they have no evidenc that he returned.

But absence of evidence is conclusive. Maybe the records are spotty, or whatever. Time will tell.

GT

TM,

It doesn't contradict.

First, my statements should not be interpreted as some sort of absolutist declaration. It's all a question of degrees.

Second, the two statements refer to slightly different issues. To me how Rassman ended in the water, exactly, is unresolvable (and irrelevant). That's why I wrote that 35 year old memories are suspect.

But on the core of the issue, did Kerry save Rassman's life and did he do so in dangerous conditions, while we can't know exactly what happened, the fact that all those in the boat agree on the fundamentals and those that disagree were not present in the boat leads me to believe Rassman.

Monique

John Earnest, who is going to "force" the media to focus on your preferred subject? You wouldn't be suggesting that the administration in any way tells the media what to cover, would you? You men seem like nice middle aged gents, probably rather well off and comfy in your lives. Do you think you represent the only matters of interest to the American public? Do you think you can tell them it is more important to examine unsubstantiated, unsubstantiable attacks from politically financed partisans than it is to examine the policies of the two candidates and the ways in which they intend to address the issues facing the actual lives of the American people?

I'd be happy for the American public to focus on Kerry's Senatorial record. Honestly presented, of course. They would see that he, like most senators and congressmen, including Dick Cheney, voted to reduce military spending in the postwar, preterrorist era. That is a fact. They would also see that he has represented the best interests of the middle class and struggling poor of this country on a consistent basis, on education, on health care, on veterans benefits, on deficit reduction. Not a problem.

It isn't important what silly little Monique or silly litte GT or silly little Patrick R. or John Earnest says in a blog maybe 50 people in all the world read. What's important is how these candidates present themselves at debate in six weeks time.

As advocates of democracy around the globe, I'm sure it doesn't frighten you that in the end it will be the will of the American people that will speak. Hopefully without any Diebold voting machine controversy.

TM

"Contradict" was the wrong word, but you pounced before I could gracelessly backpedal. Let's say, the two views are inconsistent.

I don't doubt Rassman's sincerity. But there were several guys in the water, and another boat fishing them out, and a damaged boat which was eventually towed back - surely these guys were also witnesses, with their own memories, however suspect?

And Rassman spent much of his time bobbing down to the bottom of the canal to avoid being shot at - did he really spend a lot of time figuring out whether the shots he heard were the good guys with suppressing fire, or the bad guys with what I saw described as sniper fire?

And he is the one who put Kerry up for the Bronze Star (Silver, IIRC, but it was donwgraded). So he is a bit invested in a certain viewpoint, regardless of what others also saw.

I have modest hopes of doing a Rasmann-Roshoman post, but the best I could hope for is to persuade folks that other versions are also plausible - until we invent a time machine, we just won't know.

Greg F

Hey Monique, could you can the dribble and at least attempt to stay on topic?

GT

Tom,

Sorry to have pounced.

:)

I agree that there are many possible and plausible versions. But this is a serious accusation and the burden of proof, as it should be is on the accusers.

And they have provided nothing. You'd think that if Kerry had lied and made up how he got his medals as the Swifies claim that they could find eyewitnesses who were actually in the boat with him.

After all the Swifties are not just accusing Kerry of lying but also his crewmates and Rassman.

Greg F

"I agree that there are many possible and plausible versions. But this is a serious accusation and the burden of proof, as it should be is on the accusers."

Like the burden of proof was put on those that accused Bush? This is not a court, all Kerry needs to do is sign form 180.

Cecil Turner

GT,
"On the PH: As the links I provided show the people on the boat did think they were engaing the enemy. They saw VC on the shores and shot at them. I haven't found any links that show that the crew says they were not uinder fire but, if you read the PH regulations, IT DOESN'T MATTER. "

It does matter if you are claiming the SwiftVets are lying when they say "Kerry did not face enemy fire that day." Which goes to credibility. If you're conceding you have no evidence Hibbard's claim is incorrect, then I agree it is not dispositive as to whether the PH is earned.

So long as the injury derives from engaging the enemy it is valid. As for gross negligence I think I will trust Kerry's crewmates more than I trust you to judge that. "

Umm, no. If you drop a grenade at your feet during a firefight, it doesn't rate a PH. Similarly, if you fumble an M-79 round into a near miss on yourself, it doesn't rate a PH. I'm not claiming to have first-hand knowledge of the event, but I am saying you can't dismiss the Swiftvets' claims by saying "it doesn't matter." Because it does.

robert0

From the original blog:

"But when was the Chinese New Year that year (and is that celebrated in South Vietnam?)"

It's Vietnamese New Year. It's called Tet, and it's the biggest holiday of the the year.

TM

GT, if we didn't snap at each other, we might actually solve something, and then where would we be?

I am still non-plussed about two different versions of the citations, although I haven't studied the second one.

Jim Glass

Gee, 142 comments and 16 track backs so far.

When is this blog going to start taking advertising?

robert0

Monique said:

"What's important is how these candidates present themselves at debate in six weeks time."

Go on, tell me how you guys can't wait to get GW up there so he can clearly articulate his viewpoints on matters of national importance.

That shit is going to hi-f***in-larious!

John Earnest

monique said: "You men seem like nice middle aged gents, probably rather well off and comfy in your lives."

(He puts down his cigar, careful not to bruise the Armagnac just coming to life in the Baccarat snifter he had just passed over what he had thought mere moments ago was the deliciously roasting tip of the Churchill. Life had been full of the richness that was his due, his tribute. But that was before...monique. Now, suddenly, nothing was right. Nothing suited. Even his smoking jacket felt shabby and off-the-rack. Something most definitely had to be done.)

"Consuela! Consuela! Damn your eyes! Where are you! What the hell do you think I bought you for? Goddammit, I will put your bony ass in a gasoline tanker headed back to Guatemala! CONSUELA!!"

"Si, Senor Juan?"

"Dammit, it's 'Senor John'! You people are so stupid you make me sick. Where is Quang Phu?"

"It is Saturday night, Senor John; he went to visit his family downtown."

"Mother of God! Am I running a relief mission here, or a household befitting a middle-aged gent with a comfy life? I swear to God, I told the little bastard I would make a call to Hanoi if he didn't keep his end of the deal. I imagine the boys in Ho City would love to know where the last Deputy Chief of Intel is! I bet those jokers would get a laugh to think they would be sending a hit team to off a damn garden boy!

His temples throbbed. These people were so useless. "Oh, never mind! Go to my shoe closet. On the Mephisto end I want you to lift the cedar board. You'll find a small box. Bring me the leather bag that is in it. NOW, damn you!"

The small woman, deathly frightened, but determined not to show it, walked, chin up and with the great dignity of her forebears, to the smallest of the closets on the third floor. Even though her keen intellect enabled her to find the bag immediately, she intentionally delayed her return. Not to provoke the raging, middle-aged comfy gent. Rather, it was out of respect for the spirit of her noble ancestors, whose royal blood coursed through her veins. She came from an ancient and great, powerful people. They had vast cities, incredible wealth, time and space travel, handicap-accessible public transportation and free public housing millenia before the Europeans knew where babies came from. Her people's brilliant science had abolished all disease, even yeast infections. Their greatness was such that their prisoners of war begged for the honor of being ritually emasculated on the steps of the Temple of the Jaguar X12. Yes, they were gods who had walked the earth, and they were her people. And they were lords of all, until Pope Rictus X issued the secret Bull of Pamplona in 1489, calling for the utter destruction of all peace-loving indigenous peoples whose superior accomplishments might embarass Europe in the future...

"Consuela! Dammit, do I have to get the cat out again? Bring it to me! NOW!"

Slowly she turned, a yeast-free princess of a noble race. She placed the small leather bag in his outstretched, grasping, presumptuous, middle-aged, comfy hand.

"Get the hell out!"

The rainforest-mahogany door closed behind her.

He took a small, gold telephone out of the bag made from a Tibetan panda's scrotum. He could not resist rubbing the supple leather across his face, savoring the piquant aroma. Those Halliburton boys sure knew how to show their appreciation.

He dialed. "Dick. It's me. Sorry to call so late, hope I didn't wake Lynne. Look, there's this girl who comments on "justoneminute"...it's a website. Her name is monique. I think we have a problem. Can you handle it?" Within seconds the call ended.

He picked his Churchill back up, gently nudging $100 worth of ash from the tip. He reached for the Armagnac, but wondered aloud if he shouldn't drink the Calvados instead. Life was better. Much, much better. All Dick had to say was, "We're on it." He knew it would be taken care of. Hell, any guys who have the style to hand out a panda's ballsack as a party favor can track down one little lefty who didn't know when to shut up. He smiled. Yes, life was comfy.

earl holiday

Too much time on our hands, John Ernest?

TM

Ok, John, that was fun. We try for a bit of everything on a Saturday night.

Back to the Silver Star citations - the "pursued the man behind a hootch and killed him" version is signed by Zumwalt (p. 7), who we remember as the architect of SEALORDS, and a contemporary of Kerry's in that theatre.

The less graphic version is signed by John Hyland, Admiral, US Navy, Commander in Chief US PAcific Fleet.

And Hyland held that post from 1967 to 1970, which overlaps with Kerry.

Now, sheer speculation - if higher-ups rewrite the submitted citations, as seems to have happened here, would the original Elliott draft be available, and what might it say? That seems like one way to guess whether Elliott was misinformed (although he might have deliberately hyped Kerry's conduct because he wanted some heroes in his command, or to boost Kerry's morale, or because all Silver Star citations are hyped - I have no idea).

But the two drafts / two signatures question doesn't look awkward.

Cecil Turner

"he might have deliberately hyped Kerry's conduct because he wanted some heroes in his command, or to boost Kerry's morale, or because all Silver Star citations are hyped"

In my limited experience (I've drafted a few medal recommendations, and helped on the SOAs for two silver stars--only one of which was approved), they are all hyped. At least the language is flowered up to make it sound more dramatic. And Kerry's appears to be a fair example of the genre, but hardly exceptional. (Though if you accept the contention that it's about chasing a single VC, that bit about "enemy rest and supply area" was particularly inspired.)

It's also worth pointing out the standard procedure is for the commander recommending the award to provide an award recommendation (a cover form with mostly admin data), a "summary of action" (a 1-2 page statement of what happened, along with witness statements if necessary) and proposed citation. In the case of a boat, that would normally be the skipper doing the write-up. The award paperwork then goes up the chain, with several reviews (depending on the level of award) where higher headquarters validates the report based on the paperwork submitted. Rewrites are common.

And although an award recognizes exceptional performance, the point (at least in the US system) is to encourage others to emulate it. Hence the relative importance of ensuring the citation is worthy of recognition. And though the act should be congruent, in practice it is prone to some abuse (especially from officers, who receive a disproportionate share of medals). It's no secret that the US system awards too many medals, and it resembles sausage-making if you look at it too closely. (Which I suspect is one of the main reasons we don't talk about it much.)

Commanders are supposed to ensure the integrity of the system, usually by checking with their junior officers. There's nothing implausible about Elliott feeling misled or annoyed if he thinks the version he received was puffed up. A public statment, however, is remarkable. And I suspect the motivation is more a sense of betrayal over some post-war statements than politics.

Patrick R. Sullivan

We don't need to juxtapose two separate posts to see the glaring CONTRADICTION:

-----------quote-------------
I'll make it simple.

35 year old memories about combat are useless to determine anything. What happened, exactly, no one will ever know.

But Rassman and Kerry and the crew all agree that Kerry saved Rassman's life and Rassman says he was being shot at.
------------endquote----------

It seems that to GT some 35 year old memories are more equal than others.

And I repeat, yet again, that GT has not responded to the evidence: PCF-94 wasn't damaged anywhere near as badly as PCF-3. We have DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE for that, and it contradicts Kerry and Rassman.

Frank IBC

Patrick Sullivan -

>> "Two stbd and one port main cabin windows blown out. VRC-46 radio and all remote units pilot house inop. AC wiring shorted out. Onan generator inop. Steerage screws curled and chipped. Radar gear box frozen. Main engines experienced rpm drop."

>> Would GT like to explain how Kerry's boat could hit a mine, be blown 2 feet out of the water, and not sustain anything like the damage to "Delta"?

And I'd like see him explain how it managed to do a "high-speed turn to starboard", apparently just a few seconds later.

Kevin Mudd

I found another Kerry lie. In the following Kerry claims he was always shot at first.

http://www.nationalreview.com/york/york200408160842.asp

Paying tribute to Alston's service during a speech before a South Carolina veterans' group in May 2002, Kerry said, according to an account in The New Republic, "He [Alston] sat up in a turret above my head in the pilot house — firing twin fifty-calibers to suppress enemy fire from ambushes. We were extremely exposed — always shot at first....

But in this one he wasn't shot at first.

http://www.insightmag.com/news/2004/04/27/Politics/Purple.Hearts.Three.And.Out-656749.shtml

According to Kerry's own description in Douglas Brinkley's Tour of Duty, the Dec. 2, 1968, mission behind what he has claimed to be his first Purple Heart was "a half-assed action that hardly qualified as combat." Indeed. Kerry was stationed with Coastal Division 14 at Cam Ranh Bay. At that time he piloted a small foam-filled boat, known as a Boston Whaler, with two enlisted men in the darkness of early morning. The intent, apparently, was to patrol an area that was known for contraband trafficking, but it was an undocumented mission. Upon approaching the objective point, the crew noticed a sampan crossing the river. As it pulled to shore, Kerry and his little team opened fire, destroying the boat and whatever its cargo might have been.

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Wilson/Plame