Powered by TypePad

« More On Pakistan Versus Al Qaeda | Main | A Trove Of Comedy Classics »

August 07, 2004



Thanks for the link, Tom.


I just blogged a Kerry speech from the Congressional Record. I'm checking for any others during that time frame that mention Cambodia and Nixon. Any I find will be blogged.


Oh, you're goading me! March 27, 1986 is supposed to be the magic day.

Can you share your secret?


Secret? I'm using Lexis-Nexis, and I"ve searched both the Congressional Record and floor statements for members, and I have been unable to locate the document referred to on page 18 of the released chapter. I'm still searching, but I don't think you'll find it on Lexis-Nexis. I've spent a great deal of time there and come up empty.

Patrick R. Sullivan

I can't find it either (using my local library's subscription to Lexis-Nexis). The search allows you to search for Kerry as speaking the words: Cambodia, Nixon, Christmas 1968.

However, that doesn't mean Kerry didn't say it on the floor. The Senators get to "revise and extend" their remarks, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone wouldn't have caught that error in chronology, and had Kerry move to excise it.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Btw, the Boston Globe reference to this is by Michael Kranish:


The Christmas Eve truce of 1968 was three minutes old when mortar fire exploded around John Forbes Kerry and his five-man crew on a 50-foot aluminum boat near Cambodia.

[big snip]

To top it off, Kerry said, he had gone several miles inside Cambodia, which theoretically was off limits, prompting Kerry to send a sarcastic message to his superiors that he was writing from the Navy's "most inland" unit.


Here's Kerry's Senate speech from 3/27/1986 as reported in the Congressional Record and emailed to Hewitt (if it gets lost in Inbox, maybe he will see it here). The asterisks represent deletions of introductory remarks and speeches from other Senators; and Kerry's comments before and after the relevant text where he discusses Christmas in Cambodia. Notice he doesn't mention Nixon in the actual "Christmas in Cambodia" sentence which follows a reference to Nixon in the previous sentence discussing Cambodia in 1970. . As an added bonus, see the final paragraph.

132 Cong.Rec. S3564-02

(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.

I remember a politician who ran for President in 1968 with the secret plan for peace, and he was elected. The only promise he kept was that 4 years later the plan was still a secret. At the time that he ran there were only 22,000 or so names eligible to be on the wall down there at the Mall. When he finished, there were 58,000.



OK, the VRWC thanks you; the crooked, lying Republican Attack Machine thanks you; and I thank you.

Your Dark Force Decoder Ring is in the mail, or will be as soon as someone around here overcomes their suspicion of Federal institutions and gets down to the Post Office.


Thanks, but Truth is its own reward (or something).

I doubt that the Nixon non-reference is critical even if Kerry added it in later stories. Should make for an interesting debate, no?


Well, the Nixon detail is easily grasped, and easily settled, so I wish it had held up.

"Proving" Kerry did not go to Cambodia has the look of a "he said-they said" brawl, with the Kerry side claiming that the US Navy and all its officers are just promoting the Johnson cover-up.

From what I have observed of the intellectual honesty of that side, it is hardly worth engaging the debate.

But we will!

Frank IBC

I'm guessing that the bill that is being debated is the infamous Boland Amendment, which featured prominently in the Iran-Contra scandal? If so, it's doubly ironic.


Hmm, this says the Boland Amendment was passed in 1983.

But aid to the Contras was a perennial.

And I had brain-lock earlier -the KH crowd used the Brinkley book to debunk the "Kerry in Cambodia" story.



Steve Gardner, who was with Kerry on the swift boat at that time and is a member of the swift vets group, says that the boat never got within 50 miles of Cambodia. He also has the boat log record which proves they never were in Cambodia.



Steve Gardner, who was with Kerry on the swift boat at that time and is a member of the swift vets group, says that the boat never got within 50 miles of Cambodia. He also has the boat log record which proves they never were in Cambodia.



Steve Gardner, who was with Kerry on the swift boat at that time and is a member of the swift vets group, says that the boat never got within 50 miles of Cambodia. He also has the boat log record which proves they never were in Cambodia.


Did anyone else notice how Kerry worded his speech to try to blame Nixon for 16,000 extra American deaths in Vietnam?

Those 16,000 deaths occurred in 1968, while Johnson was actually President.

If you look at Patrick's post above, you see that Kerry said that,
---when Nixon ran, there had been 22,000 deaths
---when Nixon was through there were 58,000.

Kerry wants his listeners to believe Nixon was responsible for 36,000 deaths.

In reality, closer to 21,000 died in ALL the years while Nixon was president.

16,000 died in ONE YEAR ALONE (1968) under Johnson.


In my previous post, I should have referred to ter0's post of Kerry's speech.

ted volckhausen

The O'Neill book does not say that Kerry attributed the denial that American troops were in Cambodia to Nixon on the Senate floor. It says he attributed it to Nixon in an interview with the Boston Herald. That also ought to be checkable, though it would always be possible for the reporter to have inserted Nixon's name on his own. You probably couldn't check that. It's also possible Kerry in the interview was speaking loosely, meaning, "Later, when Nixon said we had no troops in Cambodia, it was seared in my memory because I had been there." The point is, he almost certainly wasn't there.

ted volckhausen

The O'Neill book does not say that Kerry attributed the denial that American troops were in Cambodia to Nixon on the Senate floor. It says he attributed it to Nixon in an interview with the Boston Herald. That also ought to be checkable, though it would always be possible for the reporter to have inserted Nixon's name on his own. You probably couldn't check that. It's also possible Kerry in the interview was speaking loosely, meaning, "Later, when Nixon said we had no troops in Cambodia, it was seared in my memory because I had been there." The point is, he almost certainly wasn't there.

ted volckhausen

The O'Neill book does not say that Kerry attributed the denial that American troops were in Cambodia to Nixon on the Senate floor. It says he attributed it to Nixon in an interview with the Boston Herald. That also ought to be checkable, though it would always be possible for the reporter to have inserted Nixon's name on his own. You probably couldn't check that. It's also possible Kerry in the interview was speaking loosely, meaning, "Later, when Nixon said we had no troops in Cambodia, it was seared in my memory because I had been there." The point is, he almost certainly wasn't there.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Kelly's point about Kerry's attribution of deaths to Nixon is a good one, and deserves a broader context. Here are the deaths by year in Vietnam:


Nixon didn't take office until 1969, so his policies weren't inplace until later in that year. Thus some of '69s should legitimately be LBJ's legacy. Still, Nixon cuts American deaths by 35% in HIS FIRST YEAR, by Vietnamizing the war.

By 1970, Nixon has cut them almost in half from '69, and they're less than a third of what they were in LBJ's last year ('68). This is when Kerry begins his anti-war career! That's right, in the middle of fabulous success in extricating America from JFK_LBJ's war, Kerry is whining.

By '71 it's practically over, but Kerry is still making a name for himself on the Cavett show and elsewhere decrying the horrible and senseless loss of American life. Great judgment, John.

Finally, note that there were only 300 American deaths in 1972. That's the year (in May) GW Bush gives up flying for the ANG. Because the war was almost over, there were now way too many fighter pilots competing for cockpit time. Bush sees the handwriting on the wall, and decides to get on with the next phase of his life; Harvard Business School.


Kelly and Patrick,

Good analysis. It looked fishy to me too in that I expected a more bell-shaped distribution given the ramp up and winding down history of the war. Thanks for the chart proving exactly that.

Many Kerry critics have attempted to steer away from VietNam issues as distractions from the more important focus on Kerry's Senate record. Since he has no signature legislation, this probably means analyzing votes and speeches for inconsistencies with his current policy positions. The Christmas in Cambodia speech is really a twofer -- a VietNam lie and Senate record lie.

With that in mind, what if a reporter picked at random 100 Kerry speeches on any topic and checked them for (a) significant factual errors, or (b)obvious attempts to bolster his argument through misleading statements like the one you cited ("at the time that [Nixon] ran..." statement)?

In view of Kerry's "Bush Lied" but I won't campaign theme it would be an interesting project to add to the flip-flop analysis.


World net daily quotes him follows:

> I remember spending Christmas Eve of 1968 five miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our South Vietnamese allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas. The absurdity of almost being killed by our own allies in a country in which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops was very real.

That's in 1979. I think he backs off it later, because someone said, "Um, John, Nixon wasn't president in 1979."


R. Flink

RE: Kerry in Cambodia...
somebody should research when and if President Johnson or Nixon ever said there were no troops in Cambodia.
Then cross-reference with Kerry´s tall tale.

Tommy G


Look - I'm on-board, but I have one small quibble before some lefty gets all wise with us.

Given the context, the "Mr. President" that Kerry keeps referring to is either the then-current POTUS, RWR, or the Prsident Pro Temp of the Senate, not LBJ or RMN.

Please adjust fire - somebody give me a damn polar...

Tommy G

...on the tempore. Nevermind, I'll do it myself: Strom Thurmond. I didn't think I needed to look up the POTUSS for you : GHWB


According to my reading, Kerry's supposedly contemporaneous typewritten diaries say
he was in Sa Dec, Vietnam during the only Christmas he was in Vietnam.

And NOT Cambodia.

(If you don't want to read the whole thing, just scroll down to the last line.)

here's the link:


John Kerry's Vietnam War journal

Excerpt from a type-written journal kept by John F. Kerry during his tour of duty in the Vietnam War:

You wake up with a start thinking that something is wrong and you grab the bars over your rack and swing down onto the metallic deck in the main cabin. Suddenly you are really awake and realize sheepishly that the startled concern that consumes you is prompted only by the conglomeration of noises that fill POF 44 and the fitful sleep that has characterized the nights on patrol. This is the fourth time during the night that sleep has been startled into movement - and each time the boat was riding smoothly and quietly. Once you were so sure of danger that you ran up into the pilot house and grabbed the throttles only to laugh with you men at your over-concern and reaction but deep inside you know and understand the pressures that are being brought to play with the mind and the body. And once you laughed at the Captain who talked in his sleep and who demanded that he be notified of any and all changes.

Sleep is probably one of the biggest battles of all on patrol. There is the constant temptation just to let go and relax and sleep all night -- trusting to the enth degree the young men who man your boat and who make up your watch sections. Eventually you begin to succumb and leave you life and that of the boat in your mouth and with eye lids that cascade down over dirty cheekbones, the sleep is light and restless. The radio cracks "Priority" and you are awake; loud explosions that rock the boat from the distance and the not-too-distant make you jump with a start ; ; but in a day you will be back in port and have a bed in which to lose completely the last three days of your life -- and then you think (unable to read 2 words) if you will lose these days.

A shower is two days behind you and two days hence but some how dirt doesn't (unable to read) you at all. It's good to be alive and to see the small ducks following their mother to food somewhere in the mangroves that line the bank of the river. Ducks remind you of geese and geese bring back the cold of Massachusetts and the memories of warm fires and chestnuts and houses that have been turned into Christmas lights and the feeling of warm skin meeting cold leather as you climb into a frosted automobile that will skid and slide and precariously take you to the even more precarious Christmas shopping.

You are running on one engine to preserve gas because your station is at the mouth of the Co Chien River and there is no outpost to give you fuel and no LSP to (unable to read) with milk and warm food. Today though luck is with POF 44 and her small generator is still running; still capable of warming the hotplate and giving you fried eggs for breakfast. For some reason though you don't feel like fried eggs and so you open a O-ration can that has peanut butter in it -- (unable to read) 11 which is smooth -- and also a can of strawberry preserve and a sandwich satisfies an already deranged stomach.

Today you move to the northern end of the area -- towards Cambodia -- and excitement tingles the nerves that appreciates the new and the unexplored and you enjoy starting the other engine, hearing the deep throb of the diesel engine and the hums as the boat reaches for the step and shoots spray out on both sides as she moves up the river. The (unable to read) shows you where you are and where you are going and you trust the mesmeric sweep that illuminates islands and boats and jumps and sandbars. The (unable to read) hasn't been working very well and without it speed can be dangerous but you have moved over this part of the river before and nothing can stop you now. A (unable to read) sweeps by on one side and you feel large and protective(?) compared to this small fiberglass hull. The patrol officer warns you of a sandbar ahead in an area that you haven't traversed and you thank your wisdom for stopping and asking advise about the upper reaches of the river.

Everything you around you is quiet and the only humdrum breaking an otherwise still southeast Asian morning in the now high whirl of your engines. All across the river, in splotches of green, are pieces of mangrove that have eroded away from the banks which are now plying a drifting and uncertain route with the tidal current that sweeps through the Co Chien.. It makes you think of the story of the wooden seagull that followed the air currents of the world and that saw the movements of all the world's people below its graceful and motionless wingspan. You wish that you could be transformed into that itinerant nothingness that lets you watch the world pass by with all its gross trimmings but which demands nothing of you. To be free so that you can comment or not comment as you see fit and then just hop on a breeze and be blown restlessly to some new horizon with new hope and new strength. You think for a moment of Pogo and cartoon characters who have all the freedom of the world and whose audience, it seems, pays acute attention to his pronouncements while he is really quite free from their criticisms - that is at least his ears aren't scorched by the vulgarities of people who know nothing and so nothing and sense nothing. Lucky Pogo you think and then your boyish reverie come quickly to a close.

Ahead lies the APL from which you will refuel and steal a morning meal. Both operations completed you pass from the Navy and again enter the world of beauty that surrounds you as you move up the meandering channel of the main water route to Cambodia. Its daylight now and moving with you are junks and barges and swamps of all sizes and shapes and colors and within each person with a world of his own fears and hopes and aspirations. Simplicity characterizes everything around you and because of this an unassuming peace envelopes the fatigue with which you (were) traveling). A small canal looms up on the left and methodically, as though the chart by your side were slave to the wheel, you turn the boat into it and enter still a more perfect world of shapes and colors.

With the early morning sun the green of the rice paddies that are only a few scant years from you on either side assume a dark, rich sunglass tint that reeks of Polaroid lens but which brings to you all the yen and desire to lie down in it and romp. Trees grow out of the water and buffalo, dark black and strong, rub their backs against them and rid themselves of pesky itches. It is almost a crime that you should cause ripples to disturb this scene and you slow the boat to minimum revolutions -- an act that causes you to almost drift with ghost like qualities through the morning mist and the beauty that is all around you. Yes, it is good to be alive but suddenly you see helicopters move in formation, ugly and insect-like across the sky en route to some encounter with Charlie. They blot the sky and your mind and you think again of losing all that is in front of you. Too quickly though this country reaches out with its naturalness and beauty to bring thoughts back away from the dismal. In front of you now is a town -- a complete town lying on the water with all its life and hustle-bustle and hurly-burly rustling energetically in front of your eyes. (unable to read) in the market and houses on thin poles rising above the mud; Vietnamese flags blowing in the wind from trees and houses and poles and windows.; it looks almost like a tournament in the days of the round table and you expect knights on horses, sweaty and ready for combat to come prancing out into the center and receive the blood thirsty acclaim of the multitude that crowds the street along the canal and the boats and craft that play in it.

A briefing with the Navy and another refueling and then away again. You have lost half the day just relaxing at Sa Doc, taking in the scene and basking in the security of your thoughts and the memories that today come steadily and quickly.

Again you pull away from a pier and you start out on patrol -- through a rickety drawbridge that pulls only one side up at an angle and that forces you to daringly pas your radar only inches away from destruction and court martials and investigations and when you get through you say the hell with the world and bask in self congratulations and cockiness. Again out into the big river where you can move with Huck Finn and the myriads of rafts that have traveled rivers and where you can again sense the life of the peasants around you.

No snow, no sleighs, no fat jolly Santa Claus on a corner with frosted lips and frozen hands and an outstretched arm that begs for the little more that people have at this time of year. Indeed, there is no familiarity with the date. Endless green and rainbows streaking cloud swept skies; more green and palm bushes swaddling muddy banks with knee deep footprints, soldier and peasant. Thatched roofs reaching out with dryness and beckoning for Robinson Crusoe to give up his weapon and join the hardy man; silence broken by airplane thunder and dusty swirls smoking upwards -- the trails from a lonesome bus on a rustic one-place road. Sampans drifting by caressing river currents and swirling with the swirl of eddies; a woman holds her baby tight against bare breast and nipple firm, gives life; my voice asks where she is going and unabashed she bares her breast to replace the youngsters fumbling, tiny lips.

An evening sun breaks though long, grey veneer of cloud that bangs mysteriously on the horizons edge, a rebel to the boring waste of blue (unable to read) it; more clips of weed pass under our keel as we charge forward. You wait sometimes for an explosion it there is a mine in once but there is none.

Tiny faces, wide-eyed and wondering, sad and bewildered, knowing death but not knowing why, knowing like but living it half dead, stare out of huts and hovels as we the bold go by. An outstretched palm speaks of self-determination and of all the good that we have done.

Fish nets dangling from teepee poles on the lush river bank are empty now, swaying to the gentle evening breeze. Waiting for high tide they will not fill tonight because it is nearing the hour for countrymen to go inside. Damn the fish and food your property is mine.

With the sun goes more than light,. With it goes life and country for with the darkness come the curfew and the silent stealth and steal of night. Nothing moves or red streaks dart across the pitch blackness to end the intent that was. What was that intent? It's curfew and there's no one there to tell. Wisps of smoke from errant fires blow with the wind and it you could read signals it would tell you of the things to come and the things that were.

Droning engines, throbbing on and on, mesmerize and push you towards the next turn and the next. An eye flickers up and catches sight of the world around you, glimpsing through your now idylls haze of reverie and wonders where you are. Two (unable to read) stalk your side and make you stop and you hold a mid stream briefing for the nights patrol. Suddenly there is an explosion and a mortar lands on the bank near all these boats. You jump and grab binoculars and search the back for activity but there is none and you wonder who sent it and from where. You call on the radio and tell headquarters that someone has shot a mortar near your boat and are there any friendly troops in the area. They say no and so you resign yourself that it is one of Charlie's continual sniper harassments. You continue to talk when with a thumping crash another mortar round lands fifteen yards away in the water. The boats come alive. You scramble. Before all the lines are untied you are going full speed, the two (unable to read) beside you. Then, while you radio and say that you are receiving fire they turn sharply to the right and go up a river in back of where the fire come from. Two men run madly down the beach in your direction and yell for your boat to come over and you charge the engines whit all their force and not caring if there is sand or rock or no water at all the boat begins to charge the beach, jumping with excitement and with the power of a horse that has just been uncaged from the starting gate. You stop dead in your tracks and the men yell that the VC attacked their village and wounded one man and they have roved down in the direction of where we are. So Charlie had shot at us hoping we would answer with a hail of fire that eliminate our own troops. I looked quickly at my watch and noticed that it was three minutes after this truce has been initiated. So this was Charlie's truce.

We moved down towards the small stream where some sampan activity has been sighted and there you sweated while you waited for the (unable to read) to come from the side they had dispersed to. You will send them up the stream which is too small for you to enter and you will cover them from as close as possible. You look around and hear your own breathing, smell the hear in the air, see your men now in flak jackets and battle helmets and ready for might come. The (unable to read) arrive and then again, from the bushes, we start to take sniper fire, small arms weapons that can kill but which you feel is just a ploy by Charlie to bring the fire in. Suddenly, in a flash that is a moment of hell and blindness the read erupt and bullets walk out across the water at your boat and those around you. Then screaming flashes of tracer, red and deadly come at you with a terrifying suddenness that catches all by surprise and you watch for a moment as red streaks move at you in a three dimensional kaleidoscope out of the water. From (unable to read) and Swift a cacophony or explosions as they answer with anger shame and surprise the wall of fire that met theirs. Quickly, too quickly you are past the ambush point and you wheel your boats around to run back and out into the main river. From somewhere reason calls and you grab the loud speaker and yell to your men to hold your fire until right on top of the spot and then there is thunder again and no hearing and only red streaks tearing towards the land. You are in the river and away and you slow your boat. The (unable to read) are with you and you stop to catch you breath. Somehow, while firing you had grabbed the radio and told headquarters that you were receiving automatic weapons fire and were clearing the area to the north and you remember how you had to shout to make yourself heard. Now you hear them recalling the help gunships that were scrambled while you were in there and you realize how quickly help was on the way. You cannot help but feel a throaty exhilaration because you have gone through and there are no scratches and you are still free. Two friendly troops have been wounded, Vietnamese you are told and the (unable to read) are called to Medvac them. While you sit in the river and rearm the smaller boats beside you receive twenty rounds of sniper fire from the bank on the other side but it falls short of the boat and so you don't give a damn.

You head back towards Sa Dec to make your report while transiting the night darkness is broken by tracers flying up out of a Vietnamese outpost that is celebrating Christmas. The bullets pass dangerously near your boat and you think of the stupidity of the whole thing and the ridiculous waste of being shot at by your own allies and so angry you jump on the radio and ask who the hell is shooting at you and inform your seniors that they had better squared away before you return fire. Apologies are quick to (unable to read) but they mean nothing amidst all the chaos and waste.

It's cool now and the evening has closed around you to become full night. The night for once is comforting and you take a coke and some peanut butter and jelly and go up on the roof of the cabin whit your tape recorder and sit for a while, quietly, watching flares float silently through the sky and flashes announce disquieting intent somewhere in the distance. You call down to one of your men and ask him to draft a message to the Admiral in Command of all Naval Forces in Vietnam and also to the Commander of Market Time. IT says "Merry Christmas from the most inland Market Time unit." You hope that they'll court marshal you or something because that would make sense. But the night soothes everything and the people and things that are close to you dart through the mind and bring the only warmth and peace that there is. Visions of sugar plums really do dance through your head and you think of stockings and snow and roast chestnuts and fires with birch logs and all that is good and warm and real. It's Christmas Eve."


Oh what an idiot I am! I will vote for Bush. He just disappeared from active duty for 2 months, and hid out drinking. That's a hell of a better thing to do than actually going to a country we're fighting in.



Oh yeah and Bush liked coke! Wee. 4 more years!



Get your facts straight. Bush didn't disappear from active duty for 2 months; he was in the Reserves. In his billet, all he had to do was to get 50 drill points per year. Due to the nature of his specialty (flying), he double or triple drilled some months and didn't drill at all during other months. Not an uncommon pattern. So knock off the BS already!


So it doesn't bother you that Kerry lied about his Cambodian adventure? It doesn't bother you that every single CO he served under thinks he is unfit for command? You're not at all disturbed by the fact that while the men on his boat love him, his fellow officers think he lied to get his medals?

It doesn't bother you at all that a bunch of old vets, of all political affiliations, feel strongly enough about Kerry to put their reputations at stake over this?

(Why oh why couldn't we have had any other Democrat?!!!)


I know where I was Christmas, 1968. Phouc Vinh, Vietnam. No one, but some 'sneaky petes' were going into Cambodia. We (US Army Helicopters)flew the borders and supplied all the fire bases and camps along the border. We didn't go into Cambodia until the spring of 1970, when the "great incursion" was made by President Nixon. Then Army units went in to hit the base camps and supply depots that were supporting the NVA attacks in III Corp area. Nixon's biggest sin was that he didn't check first, and receive permission from, the elite liberal media.
Now, for Lt. Kerry. He got those medals in country. Probably there was 'medal inflation'. Depending on the integity of you unit, the commanders, and who was given the task to write the recommendation for award would have a profound affect on whether or not the award was made. In our unit, no Purple Hearts unless, truely caused,and verified, by hostile fire. No bumps, brusies,cuts, broken bones need apply. Further, because we lacked a dedicated person for awards, there were individuals who should have received DFC's, or V Devices for there Bronze Stars and Commendation medals. We all felt that we were doing our jobs. The grunts could have them all, they were the ones paying the price.
This being said, I feel Kerry left his medals on the battlefield when he came home and worked (not against the war) to defame those that served and were still serving. We were venerable, in battle and fighting an unpopular war and here he is talking trash about murdering civilians,bombing, burning, raping and pillaging the countryside. His actions contributed to the extention of the war, as well as the prolonged suffering by our POW's. For this I will never forgive him. It's payback time. The Swiftvets have nuked him. Bravo for them.


Nice work. Now how about sending the sleuths on the trail of cocaine snortin' W - where was he when Kerry was in Vietnam? Why don't the true vets have a problem with the fact that his silver spoon (positioned, no doubt, under his right nostril) kept him out of the war entirely?


Ray knows about what he speaks. The Swiftvets have got the man, check to checkmate. Kerry talks the talk, but he never walked the walk. The Green Hornet, Superman and old Spidey himself have nothing on that dude's 4 month record. Nerves of steel and skin of iron, never having been put on restricted duty for even a day.
He can't make up his mind. He can't relay the same thing twice. When he tossed those medals, he tossed you and me. Medals aren't for one, they are for the others who gave it all beside you. They are for the hero, a term that he cheapens, for the ones who didn't come back.
It's great that he writes such pretty stuff- I sure can't. It's great that he can put on the dog with botox and 1000 dollar haircuts- wouldn't do me any good. Still leaves central questions looming in my non-Yale mind; just where was that guy (we know he was eating pb&j sandwiches and drinking Coke in Sa Dec on Xmas eve nite), just what did he DO in Nam, and why isn't Jane Fonda his running mate?

Sandy Claws

"Just a Gigolo"? Fuck you.

Robert Waldmann

Frankly I find this post pathetic. You claim that the swift boat veterans for truth have caught Kerry in a lie on the grounds that you have found a claim by Kerry which you can't prove to be true. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Kerry lied from time to time, but only the completely insane would demand that someone have documentary proof of every claim he makes.

You note that Kerry's military records do not include time in Cambodia. In 1968 the Johnson denied that US servicemen were entering Cambodia. If this claim was false, you shouldn't expect to find written records proving the President a liar. The incursions would be covert and not written up.

You write "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."

A claim which can be supported only by assuming that casual inspection does not reveal that Richard Nixon was not president in 1968. Someone who can read "December 1968 ... the president" as Richard Nixon clearly is not capable of reasearch that will pass even casual inspection and This in post that claims the swiftees are up one on Kerry. I'd say Kerry caught (so far) in 0 errors, the swifty one small error. Score Kerry 0.1 swifties 0

By the way for further scoring. The swifties claimed that no one but Kerry received a medal for heroism in the battle where Kerry received a bronze star. This is false. One of them received a bronze star. No one forgets how he won a medal. He hasn't returned that medal which he claims should not have been awarded (is that legal) Score 1.1-0 Kerry. Eliot retracted his claim that he thinks Kerry did not earn a silver star. One of the swifties claims Kerry is a hero. 2.1-0 Kerry. The signature doctor who claims he treated Kerry's first wound and it was minor does not appear on Kerry's medical record signed by another doctor. 3.1-0. The head of the swifties publically claimed he had no way of knowing about Kery's claims of valor before claiming that he knows and they are false 4.1-0.

O'Neill does not seem to have done simple research on his co-author who admits that he claimed on Freerepublic.com that the pope doesn't give a damn about pedophilia. This makes association with the swifties political poison yet O'Neill doesn't seem to have managed to find this out. The left blogosphere had the goods before the book was out.

Personally, I think the only way to make sense of all this is to assume that the swifties are determined to guarantee Kerry's election. That is the only way to reconcile their behavior with the assumption that they are not insane.


Kerry's diary entry, so kindly posted above, seems to be the most contemporaneous information on his position Christmas, 1968. And if you look at the references to CoChien and to Cambodia, he places himself on a major waterway heading north ****towards Cambodia!****

You SBVers are going to have to find something else. Right about now you look like you have your collective heads up yer asses.


these continual claims that kerry was lying when he mentioned various atrocities committed in vietnam are quite tiresome.
numerous sources document such atrocities in vietnam and in ALL wars.
one can read of GIs in WWII cutting off ears, taking gold teeth from dead japanese soldiers, etc.
In one famous incident, I believe a GI sent FDR an ashtray or soemthing made out of a japanese skull--or some similar artifact.

The Toledo Blade recently won a Pulitzer prize for a series of articles on atrocities committed in Vietnam by just one unit, add this to the more well-known MY Lai massacre, and Kerry and the other VVAW vets claims about atrocities are well-documented.

blade series is here:


And note, nowhere in his statements does kerry claim that swift boat vets cut off ears, raped women, etc. He states that swift boats, as a matter of official policy, deployed Harassment and interdiction fire--this means they randomly shot up or ordered arty and air strikes against villages and other areas thought to be harboring VC--as well as operated in "Free fire zones" which means that in certain areas of river and land they were allowed to shoot/kill anything that moved because it was all defined as "enemy." Kerry also stated that he believed that burning down villages was a war crime as well. This WAS policy, and one can find all sorts of footage of GIs putting the zippo to the thatched huts of vietnamese villlages.

In that sense, kerry is making an argument about the rules of war, which in his interpretation in 1970s forbid such activity. MANY other legal scholars and historians have supported this interpretation of US military policy in Vietnam.

carpet bombing villages from 39000 ft with b-52s, using chemical weapons to destroy jungle AND agricultural lands, randomly shooting arty into remote villages without at first observing if there was any enemy there, etc. are all questionable activities and kerry rightly ciritcized them in the early 1970s as a young and disillusioned veteran of the war.

at this same time, GW Bush was "ghosting" from his guard duties, failing to show up for his flight physical, and partying down in alabama, unable to fulfill his cushy guard commitment which involved flying high performance fighter aircraft--a job most people would give their left testicle for...

Only int he bizarro world of right wing politics could one attack someone else for volunteering for service, volunteering for vietnam, once in theater on a missile friagte volunteering for a more dangerous assignment aboard a swift boat, being awarded tweo medals for bravery, being wounded three times, and then having the moral fortitude to come home and try to stop the madness while the right wing choice used his family name to jump a waiting list and secure a cushy slot in the ""champagne squadron" where privileged rich boy promptly went AWOL and quit flying.

of course, the right wing mind is rarely capable of understanding such things, and it thus simplistically reduces kerry's statements about atrocities to the simplistic and factually incorrect position that "kerry said swift boat people raped women, shot animals, cut off ears and did so as part of official military policy."

it also attacks someone whose mempory may be faulty, who may have messed up a date, or who may have embellished a war story--gee, never heard of a vet doing that EVER!?!?!?

AND, GW Bush cannot produce a single person to say he was in alabama and not awol, yet still his service is somehow better than kerry's?

this is NOT true, and represents more of the typical right wing bullshit.

And as a veteran myself, I find this soirt of activity despicable and one more example of why the right needs to be removed from power ASAP

J Liversedge

Glad someone posted about the Christmas EVE diary entry. Also thought this was interesting [swiftvets.com]:

"I was in An Thoi from June of '68 to June of '69, covering the whole period that John Kerry was there. I operated in every river, in every canal, and every off-shore patrol area in the 4th Corps area, from Cambodia all the way around to the Bo De River..."

-- William Shumadine


Okay, so he hates John Kerry but to question the secret missions to Cambodia out of hand is perhaps a little evidence other than the fact that he didn't write about it.

And for God's sake, read the transcript with a mind in that everything is not happening in 1968. Goodness, it's not that difficult.


From Kerry's Fitness Report, 28 Jan 1969 (page 24 of this PDF):

LTJG Kerry was assigned to this division for only a short time but during that time exhibited all the traits desired of an officer in a combat environment. He frequently exhibited a high sense of imagination and judgement in planning operations against the enemy in the Mekong Delta. Involved in several enemy initiated fire fights, including an ambush during the Christmas truce, he effectively suppressed enemy fire and is unofficially credited with 20 enemy killed in action. Though relatively new to the PCF he is thoroughly knowledgeable of all aspects of his boat and PCF operations. He was instrumental in planning of highly successful Sea Lords Operations. He was cited for his performance during action against the enemy by Commander Task Force in his message 080807Z Jan 69.
Note that "performance during action" doesn't sound like his only participation was "planning".

Now to add that "Sea Lords Operations" involved incursions into Cambodia.

As to whether it's implausible that a SWIFT boat might go into Cambodia and drop someone off there, note: "The fellow on the right was a freelance journalist and photographer that had caught a ride into Cambodia on a US Swift Boat. He asked to be dropped off on the shore to proceed on his own. It is hoped that he found what he was looking for and survived to tell about it."

Sure doesn't sound like getting a Swift boat into Cambodia was a "physical impossibility", as Steve Gardner claimed.

In fact, the Navy said Swift boats were involved in those Cambodian incursions:

An acronym for "Southeast Asia Lake, Ocean, River, Delta Strategy", SEALORDS started on October 18, 1968 when a Navy Swift boat (PCF) reconnoitered the entrance to the Cua Lon River on the Gulf of Thailand side of the Ca Mau Penisula. Following this mission, Swift boat crewmen conducted a series of incursions along the southern rivers and canals upsetting base camps and cutting Viet Cong supply and communication lines.

So Gardner simply lied.


Raptor writes:

we know he was eating pb&j sandwiches and drinking Coke in Sa Dec on Xmas eve nite
Er, no, we don't.

His Fitness Report of 28 Jan 1969 (page 24 of this PDF) refers to his being in "several enemy initiated fire fights, including an ambush during the Christmas truce".

"Ambush" indicates that the attack happened in the field, on a mission or patrol, not "an attack on the base".

So he wasn't safely docked at Sa Dec when it happened.

This had to have been at least toward Cambodia from Sa Dec, since missions & patrols from Sa Dec went either along or across the Cambodian border.

In fact, Kerry's contemporaneous journal entry of that Christmas firefight refers to going back toward Sa Dec after the incident.


Swift Boat Writer [John O'Neill] Lied on Cambodia Claim (AP)

Who is Steve Gardner?   Swift Boat Vet "eyewitness" was not present for events leading to Kerry's medals or Purple Hearts   ... "Yet in repeated media appearances, conservative hosts have presented Gardner as an eyewitness to key Kerry events. And in at least two interviews, Gardner has falsely claimed that he was present for the incidents leading to Kerry's receipt of awards." ...

Kerry and the swift boat snipers   "So far, Kerry's critics appear far more inconsistent in their stories than Kerry. Not only do their accounts contradict military records, they often contradict the critics' own previous statements. As more witnesses come forward, Kerry's version of the handful of events in question gets more backing."

Swiftboat Crewman: Kerry Boat Took Fire (AP)
Retired Chief Petty Officer Robert E. Lambert joins in supporting Kerry's version of events

Swift boat memories: Eagle Point vet who was there backs Kerry's assertion that bullets were flying the day he won two medals on a river in Vietnam (Jackson County [Oregon] Mail tribune)

Ads anger Colorado vet: Telluride man says he saw Kerry rescue soldier from river (Rocky Mountain News) "Retired Navy lieutenant Jim Russell, 60, backed up Kerry's version of an incident more than 35 years ago."

Navy records appear to support Kerry's version (MSNBC)
Swift Boats came under fire, task force reported

Kerry-Loathing Swift Boaters Sinking Facts (NY Observer)

Assault on Kerry Dishonors G.O.P. (NY Observer)

These Charges Are False ... It's one thing for the presidential campaign to get nasty but quite another for it to engage in fabrication. (LA Times) "No informed person can seriously believe that Kerry fabricated evidence to win his military medals in Vietnam. His main accuser has been exposed as having said the opposite at the time, 35 years ago. Kerry is backed by almost all those who witnessed the events in question, as well as by documentation. His accusers have no evidence except their own dubious word. ... These charges against John Kerry are false."

And finally,

Bush Dismisses Idea That Kerry Lied on Vietnam (NY Times)


Holiday in Cambodia
The "Christmas Eve" attack on Kerry is cheap and almost certainly wrong.


1. The Swift Boat incursions were not into Cambodia but into Viet Cong controlled areas within the Mekong Delta -- entirely inside the borders of Vietnam. Read the text a bit more carefully.

2. The journalist who was dropped off in Cambodia had gone up with the Swift Boats during the May 1970 invasion of southern Cambodia. The Swifts went up the major waterways, which would have been blocked when Kerry was in-country -- Dec 1968 to mid-March 1969.

3. Gardner was correct: it was a physical impossibility for Kerry to have taken PCF-44 into Cambodia at Christmastime 1968. Kerry's patrol area was in the vicinity of Sa Dec; there was no way he went far afield from his assigned patrol -- first because he was responsible for that area, second because he was not familiar with the routes (as indicated in his own journal), and third because the ambush that he reported would have not gone unnoticed by his fellow officers, chain of command, and his own crew on that very boat. None of these men have corroborated Kerry's story.

4. So Kerry defenders have misconstrued the obvious facts.

5. Kerry had not gone upriver prior to this patrol, probably. He had done coastal patrol near An Thoi for a week before being transferred back up the coast in mid-December 1968. He was a rookie OIC on a Swift Boat; these boats were only just being ordered inland on the major routes to free-up the PBRs for patrols on the lesser waterways. It was all new to him. He exagerated his feeling of being near the border when he was always about fifty miles away from it. Going a few miles that way and then returning to Sa Dec would have been the norm for a Swift on patrol at that time. He was not racing up to touchbase on the other side of the Cambodian border patrol limits.

6. There is no evidence provided by Kerry to support his positive assertion that he had been in Cambodia -- at Christmastime or anytime during his service in Vietnam. He made the assertion. He ought to provide the proof. Three men who were on PCF-44 (2 of them pro-Kerry) say they did not go into Cambodia; and altogether their time on that boat covers the time that Kerry was in charge of PCF-44. And the pro-Kerry Medieros was on PCF-94, Kerry's second boat, for the entire time that Kerry was in charge; Medieros also says that he did not go into Cambodia. Only Kerry makes this claim. Aside from his varying word, there is no reason to believe that Kerry had ever been in Cambodia, at all.

7. Personal attacks on Gardner do not change the facts. Even Kerry's own campaign now concedes that Kerry was wrong about being in Cambodia at Christmastime. If he ever was in Cambodia, he went without his Swift Boat crew. And since his campaign claims he went on special ops missions in February 1969, he has to sort out when he could have done anything like those missions given his whereabouts -- according to Navy records and the recollections of his fellow Swiftees. He was not equipped and he was not trained and had no access to the means to enter Cambodia -- other than by the major routes which were barred.

8. The evidence points to falsehoods repeatedly asserted by a presidential candidate who asks for the trust of the electorate and of the men and women serving in our military. He owes the country an explaination that withstands scrutiny. He has shown his contempt by his refusal to provide the support for the stories he has told about his character was formed by his Vietnam experience. He has asked detractors to "bring it on" and now he has scurried away from answering the substantiated allegations against him.


FF11 is very famous now. My friends like to play it and buy FFXI Gil.


When you have LOTRO Gold, you can get more!

The comments to this entry are closed.