How Kerry Earned His Decorations
May 4, 2004 1:01 PM   Subscribe

How Kerry Earned His Decorations For all the loud mouths who shout out that Kerry is a traitor, a guy who did not earn his medals, read this and then compare your medals with his! Did he turn against the war? Sure. Many soldiers did too. The nation also turned against the war and, finally, some responsible for getting us into the war admitted their mistake. "Kerry is one of the Senate's most decorated veterans — though he has far fewer medals than friend John McCain — and his record is impressive for an officer who spent just 10 months in Vietnam. Each of the medals below came with a matching ribbon. Kerry wore his ribbons when he testified before a Senate committee in 1971; the next day, joining hundreds of other vets, he lobbed them at the Capitol. "
posted by Postroad (77 comments total)

 
Did he turn against the war? Sure. Many soldiers did too.

The point is, those other soldiers aren't running for president as a Vietnam veteran.
posted by MrAnonymous at 1:11 PM on May 4, 2004


Thank you for bringing this obscure issue to my attention.
posted by goethean at 1:21 PM on May 4, 2004


MrAnony: are you suggesting that some running for President shouldn't throw medals ? He damn well earned the medals so he can do whatever he likes with them, if you believe in freedom.

Also, throwing medals is indeed a political act but the reasons for which the medals were awarded remain the same.

So what is your point again ?
posted by elpapacito at 1:22 PM on May 4, 2004


The real question here anyway is since when was being a good soldier qualification for running an entire country? I don't particularly care how many times McCain or Kerry were shot or how many people they killed or how many years they spent in service or how many times W. dodged service; I just want to hear actual plans for an administration. This issue with military service is mostly irrelevant.
posted by xmutex at 1:23 PM on May 4, 2004


The sooner Matt gets election2004.metafilter.com up and running, the less tedious the front page is going to be.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:26 PM on May 4, 2004


I wish all front-page posts could be this refreshing and noteworthy!
posted by oissubke at 1:34 PM on May 4, 2004


since when was being a good soldier qualification for running an entire country?

If someone is willing serve his country even to death, for no reward other than a soldier's pay, I'm a bit less likely to expect them to sell out their country to corporate interests. But yeah, that's just feel good stuff. What this whole deal is about is not qualifications, but fighting the disqualification the right tries to throw at the left when it comes to patriotism and devotion to the country. Kerry's service in Vietnam clearly shows he has no qualms about pitching in to serve out nation's interest. His actions following his service in Vietnam demonstrate the same thing - when it became clear that fighting it Vietnam was not in our nation's interest, he did his damndest to end it. That is not waffling, it's wisdom. To abstain from any and all "waffling" is to ignore the continuing evolution of a complex geopolitical environment.
posted by badstone at 1:43 PM on May 4, 2004


Why Kerry threw his ribbons
posted by homunculus at 1:55 PM on May 4, 2004


"That is not waffling, it's wisdom"

What's waffling is his attempts now to have ti both ways, he threw them... but they weren't his or he borrowed them or something... or he threw ribbons but not medals... he got rid of them but still has them... or something.

Basically, pick soemthing and stick with it would be nice... and if you have changed your mind thats fine with me, jsut say that out loud.

I am more amused with what it says about Kerry that he wanted to APPEAR to throw his medals away whiel still finding a way to keep them :)
posted by soulhuntre at 1:56 PM on May 4, 2004


Hmm, yeah he got his medals all'right, although, you know, back
then, shrapnels weren't has bad as they are nowadays.

Anyways....

Oh, look here, outstanding medical records! Now, those are the
teeth of a real patriot! And there's more: honorable discharge. Wow,
that's something.
posted by NewBornHippy at 2:00 PM on May 4, 2004


Basically, pick soemthing and stick with it would be nice... and if you have changed your mind thats fine with me, jsut say that out loud.

squeak squeak.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:03 PM on May 4, 2004


What I'm saying is, if he threw is medals in protest of the war he served in, why is he now making that service that the basis of his campaign? You don't see Robert Byrd running for reelection on an ex-KKK platform, do you?
posted by MrAnonymous at 2:04 PM on May 4, 2004


MrAnonymous, it's really not that hard.

He fought bravely. It says a lot about him. He disagreed with the war. That says a lot about him too. Both facts are fair game for explaining who you are to likely voters.
posted by jragon at 2:11 PM on May 4, 2004


What I'm saying is, if he threw is medals in protest of the war he served in, why is he now making that service that the basis of his campaign?

If people actually believe that Kerry is running for President based on (as in because of, his platform stands for, etc.) his military record, than the neo-cons are better at winning hearts and minds than I thought.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:18 PM on May 4, 2004


I see it this way: he volunteered to serve his country in the war as a military officer. At some point, possibly while still serving, he came to believe that the war was not right (to oversimplify). If that change of opinion occurred while he was still in the service, he honored his commitment to serve his chain of command regardless of his current opinion.

After he was out of the military, he lobbied to change public opinion and public policy about the war.

I just don't see any inconsistency here. Why can't he have served dutifully and still have come to regard the war as wrong?

I'm impressed that he potentially honored his pledge to serve even after concluding that the war itself was wrong, and with this courage to stand against the war after leaving the military.
posted by tippiedog at 2:21 PM on May 4, 2004


Yeah, he fought bravely, and I applaud him for that. He volunteered for a war he didn't like. Illogical, but admirable. He came back and threw away his ribbons, a sign of protest against the war he had fought in. He threw away the symbols of his service. He effectively threw away his service. And now he wants it back because he realizes it is politically advantageous.

Wulfgar!, so his campaign isn't based on his Vietnam service. Fine. But why does he work it into every speech and interview?
posted by MrAnonymous at 2:22 PM on May 4, 2004


This is the group formed today by ex Navy vets to oppose him.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:33 PM on May 4, 2004


MrA, a few theories:

Because it is politically advantageous?
Because he's proud of his service, even if in a amoral war?
Because he sees parallels between himself and the "brave" (ahem) Commander in Chief, and wants others to look at those as well?

Seriously, I don't know (and for the most part, I don't much care why he brings it up. After all, as xmutex has said (and the White House desperately hopes) prior military service is a non-issue, yes?) However, since Kerry is a candidate running for President, and is answerable to the people both in person and online, why don't you ask him your question? It would certainly be more informative than either your or my suppositions, the RNC's token "waffle" attack points, and you may find that he has a platform and a will to promote it. I'm just suggesting ...
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:33 PM on May 4, 2004


"He effectively threw away his service."

This is stupid. Do you actually believe this? Since he came home from the war with the attitude that it was unjust, then he didn't serve his country? He didn't lead troops? Please share the logic. I'm mystified.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:35 PM on May 4, 2004


The Vietnam thing is his rhetorical campaign, not his substantive campaign. He's got to respond to Dubya's "war President" rhetoric, but yes, that is all just for the media/popularity contest. Only a very tiny minority of Americans actually care about The substantive issues, hence neither campaign is going to waste media dollars on those issues, especially since that very tiny minority knows how to point a browser at each candidate' web page and find out for themselves.

He volunteered for a war he didn't like.
No, he volunteered for a war, then found he didn't like it.

He threw away the symbols of his service. He effectively threw away his service.
He threw away the symbols of his service, but he did not and cannot throw away the fact of his experience, the fact that he knows what war is up close and personal whether he agreed with the politics of the war or not.
posted by badstone at 2:36 PM on May 4, 2004


Combat Veterans As Truth Tellers

Not only did John Kerry show his character in war, he came home and showed it to his nation by standing up to tell us how wrong that war was. He did so at rallies, in parades, in demonstrations and before the Congress of these United States. And those who say his integrity gave comfort to the enemy obviously do not understand the value of democracy. One-dimensional war leaders hell-bent on proving their vision of the world through destruction never want to hear dissenting voices. They never want the people to learn that what they are doing is wrong and thus find it easy to label it “unpatriotic” by wrapping themselves un the flag and telling us “above all else, the troops must be supported.”

John Kerry was doing exactly that when he gave us a peek inside the horrors we call war. And do not think for one moment that those unthinkable acts men at war are capable of do not happen. They do. It is a powerful reason veterans have for not wanting to visit those same nightmares on innocent generations to come, especially now, when America has so many options to act otherwise.

As the sole superpower left standing we are obligated to forebear. If we do not, we are no better than any other of history’s tyrants. That is the vision combat veterans carry. That is their hard-won wisdom. That is the strength of John Kerry’s band of brothers and that is why he could do none other than to speak out against the war as he did both then and now. He knew the truth. All combat veterans do. And the truth shall set you free. Hear it or bear the consequences.



Combat Veterans As Truth Tellers: "And do not think for one moment that those unthinkable acts men at war are capable of do not happen." Bush: " For the vast majority of Iraqi citizens who wish to live as free men and women, this event brings further assurance that the torture chambers and the secret police are gone forever."
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:37 PM on May 4, 2004


Military service is usually brought up in context of the President being commander-in-chief of the armed forces. In other words, if you are going to send young boys (and now girls) into harm's way, you'd better have some idea of what shrapnel tastes like, etc.

Plus there's the macho factor of having served in wartime service, especially with Vietnam being a war that many of those called to serve opted out of. Bush's tacit dodging by way of service that he appears not to have served is also indicative of a character issue (e.g. "what sort of person would dodge service and then dodge service again")
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:39 PM on May 4, 2004


"We believe it is incumbent on ALL presidential candidates to be totally honest and forthcoming regarding personal background and policy information that would help the voting public make an informed decision when choosing the next president of the United States."
if these guys are anything other than a stealth group to help elect kerry, do they really want to go down this road?

i caught kerry here in minneapolis last night with a group of friends... most of us were expecting to be underwhelmed by kerry and his campaign which the liberal media has painted as being in the doldrums ... kerry suprised us by hitting the ball out the park.
posted by specialk420 at 2:53 PM on May 4, 2004


See I'm more concerned about Paul Martin's record in combat. He didn't go to Cyprus, or Somalia, or Bosnia. Meanwhile Stephen Harper conspicuously doesn't mention whether or not he even joined up.

Oh wait, you guys are talking about that other election right?

I can't wait until Matt puts up CanElection2004, it's almost too late. And it'll really keep the main page clear of all those pro-NDP posts.
posted by loquax at 2:54 PM on May 4, 2004


This is stupid. Do you actually believe this?

He believes it if he's actively looking for a reason to dislike Kerry. Look. Say what you want about his opinion of war (and his validity of speaking for the military as a president) after he fought for his country to the end of his service and was highly awarded for doing so, but he fought for his country to the end of his service and was highly awarded for doing so. It's the experience of war and it's very, very real -- some might say even valuable. Personally, I'd rather have him speak for armed forces of our nation than some guy who avoided service so much, he didn't even show up for cushy National Guard placement.

I'm just as stunned by all of this as you are, y6y6y6.
posted by teradome at 3:01 PM on May 4, 2004


How many medals did Bush earn? How many silver stars?

Chicken hawks can all go home now.
posted by caddis at 3:02 PM on May 4, 2004


Bush and Kerry
posted by homunculus at 3:25 PM on May 4, 2004


Kerry is going to lose because he is a Yankee.
posted by kablam at 3:40 PM on May 4, 2004


I cannot understand how or why the RNC is continuing to push this issue. Bush looks like a pansy who went AWOL to avoid his service. Kerry served and was decorated and then came home to protest the war.

Bush as a war president would be laughable if they weren't trying to continually ram it down the throat of everyone in the country.

On Preview: Kablam, um yeah, that makes sense. How about Bush is going to lose because he's a lying scumbag hate monger corrupt career moron?
posted by fenriq at 3:48 PM on May 4, 2004


Kerry served and was decorated and then came home to protest the war.

Yeah, but Bush blew out his flip-flop when he stepped on a pop-top.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:55 PM on May 4, 2004


Well, the RNC is most likely harping on it because it proves to be effective at swaying some people. I suppose that if you say something enough times while wearing a tie, people eventually believe it is true.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:58 PM on May 4, 2004


National Review continues to center the debate on Kerry's service record. Thanks guys! Keep it up!
posted by goethean at 3:58 PM on May 4, 2004


Bush is going to lose because he is a Yankee.
posted by badstone at 4:02 PM on May 4, 2004


fenriq: why RNC is pushing the medals pseudo issue ?

Probably because they stick with the idea that burning a flag is desacrating, throwing medals is desecrating and questioning the leadership is treacherous. It's the whole concept of "sacred object/being" they seem to be borrowing from social groups who use objects/icons to represent values (flag=nation/unity, medal=recognition of merit/honor, leader=The Enlightened) to attack their political rivals.

So if one throws a medal somebody will say "they're throwing the service" ..which is nonsense because, unless you're an armchair general who did nothing to get your medals, you actually served to get the medals : if you later want to reject the medal (recognition of merit) given you by some governement, that doesn't change the fact you earned them ; as opposed to people who didn't earn their medals who throw medals to make a statement, yet their statement lacks force as they didn't earn the medals.

So imho RNC choosed to attempt a character assassination of Kerry (he traitor who throws medals) as a comeback for the allegations on the shady military record of Bush (the pops help me I don't wanna go Vietnam coward) and they're probably pushing it for mediatic reason of repetition ad nauseam (which nauseates only people with a clue , not their base who probably likes superficial consistency)
posted by elpapacito at 4:47 PM on May 4, 2004


Kerry can't decide which lie is the truth, not that it matters.
posted by hama7 at 5:15 PM on May 4, 2004


I agree that this whole issue is a total unnecessary diversion from what we should be looking at. There is no question that Kerry has been a peacenik since he returned from Vietnam, and has consistently voted that way in the Senate (except, of course, when he voted to authorize the war in Iraq). A liberal voting record is fine if you only want to represent Massachusetts, but now he's got some explaining to do to the rest of the country.

Kerry asked for this diversion by trying to use his military service as cover for a weak national defense voting record. If Kerry wants Americans to believe he is strong on national defense issues, then he should (1) explain why his past voting record should be ignored and (2) tell us what he plans to do to fight terrorism at home and abroad, and what he plans to do any differently than President Bush is doing now in Iraq. What is he waiting for?
posted by Durwood at 5:22 PM on May 4, 2004


Bush vs. Bush
posted by y2karl at 5:40 PM on May 4, 2004


Cheney's past defense cuts questioned

Many of the Cheney-era cuts were made at the end of the Cold War, when the administration of President George H.W. Bush was seeking to reduce the size of the military and secure a ''peace dividend." But some of these downsizing efforts would have affected the military of today.

Cheney proposed, for instance, disbanding part of the Army's Fourth Infantry Division, Congressional Quarterly reported in 1989. Troops from that division captured former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein last December.

The latest Bush-Cheney campaign ad depicts weapons such as the B-2 stealth bomber flying over a battlefield and then disappearing into thin air, attempting to convince voters that if Kerry prevailed back then, US military forces would be underequipped.

Yet Cheney canceled the B-2 bomber program after 20 planes, even though the Air Force saidit needed 132. He also canceled the Navy's A-12 bomber and scaled back the Seawolf submarine.

During his Pentagon stint, the size of the Army was reduced by more than 26 percent, the Air Force by 22 percent, the Navy by 14 percent, and the Marines by 10 percent, according to the Pentagon's official biography of Cheney.


And from John Kerry's Defense Defense - Setting his voting record straight:

After completing 20 planes for which we have begun procurement, we will shut down further production of the B-2 bomber. We will cancel the small ICBM program. We will cease production of new warheads for our sea-based ballistic missiles. We will stop all new production of the Peacekeeper [MX] missile. And we will not purchase any more advanced cruise missiles. … The reductions I have approved will save us an additional $50 billion over the next five years. By 1997 we will have cut defense by 30 percent since I took office.

President George H. W. Bush

posted by y2karl at 5:50 PM on May 4, 2004


John Kerry's Military Records.

Not that I think it's important either way, but it's funnier than y2karl's link.
posted by loquax at 6:03 PM on May 4, 2004


The group also includes James Zumwalt, Lt. Colonel, U.S.M.C. (retired), representing his father, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, and brother, Lt. Elmo Zumwalt III, both deceased.

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is a Special Purpose Political Action Committee.
this is what I find when i go to the site of "swift boat guys."--one guy representing his father, who, on his deathbed no doubt told his son that Kerry was not fit to be commander in cheif; a special political action group! sure is.

Then you go to chat spot--not working. Then to bulletin board--also not working...

Many many years ago I heard a green beret on tv who was asked, How do you know when you are in a just war? The Green Beret (Viet vet) said: if the war is just, you have almost no men trying to avoid serving...when a war is unjust, many flee it or avoid going...compare then Viet Nam to WWII, where we had very few trying to avoid serving and many not qualified trying to serve. How large a group of Viet Vets turned against the war? I am unsure but I know I had seen many speaking out at various places, including teach-ins I attended.
posted by Postroad at 6:13 PM on May 4, 2004


If this is a non-issue, then shouldn't we treat is as such and stop giving it further attention by posting it to the front page of this website?
posted by Witty at 6:39 PM on May 4, 2004


John Kerry's Military Records.

Homunculus link is funnier than yours.
posted by y2karl at 6:55 PM on May 4, 2004


I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes.

G.W. Bush

Yet another knee-slapper!
posted by y2karl at 7:05 PM on May 4, 2004


To be actually concerned about the throwing of medals 30 years ago is a stand up opinion. to pretend to be concerned about it for political gain, that very revealing.
posted by MrLint at 7:14 PM on May 4, 2004


hmm Seems the Republicans thought Vietnam era military service was VERY important during the Clinton years....how often did we HAVE to hear about that?
posted by SweetIceT at 8:14 PM on May 4, 2004


It's blindingly obvious that there's no "have it both ways" dilemma here. There's nothing mutually exclusive about (1) Kerry being proud of his willingness to serve his country and any honorable things he did during tour of duty (and wanting to claim the insights and character developed from the experience as part of his appeal as a President ) (2) Kerry using awards given to him by a misguided government to protest their actions gone awry.

Of course, this false dilemma isn't really the source of the trouble. Kerry's in some trouble because the politcal message of throwing medals/ribbons has the subtlety of other messages involving national symbols: burning a flag, for example. Burning something might be a way to express contempt for something -- or it might be a way express reverence for it (by not allowing it to be subject to the ravages of decay and time). Or it might be something more complex. I tend think it's pretty clear from the context that Kerry's action was done as a protest of the Vietname war and of the evil he may have done there, not as a rejection of any of the good things that he or any other soldier has done during times of war. But nobody really knows what John Kerry was thinking except John Kerry (and perhaps not even him, considering that anyone who believed in their country enough to enlist in a war most everyone later came to realize was strategically and morally bankrupt must have had richter-scale feelings of internal conflict on the order of someone whose spouse cheats on them). So I'm not really interested in the question of what Kerry meant in tossing medals/ribbons.

I do think goethean's link probably needs an answer, though. I am as interested in any questions regarding the accuracy of his service record as I am in the questions of accuracy surrounding the incumbent.
posted by weston at 8:34 PM on May 4, 2004


well did he throw his real medals or not? I'm about to lose my mind over here! this is so important.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:30 PM on May 4, 2004


And Cheney, the great patriot, said on record that he had better things to do than fight in Vietnam.
posted by drezdn at 10:44 PM on May 4, 2004


So the answer is the Kerry threw his medals because they weren't really deserved and he wanted to give them back! I see!
posted by namespan at 1:32 AM on May 5, 2004


No, wait, I'm sorry. The answer is apparently cosh(x).
posted by namespan at 1:32 AM on May 5, 2004


From start to finish, the public took Dewey Canyon III at face value, not understanding that they were watching brilliant political theater. Kerry, a Kennedy protege with white-hot political aspirations, ascended center stage as both a war hero and as an antiwar hero throwing away his combat decorations. His speech, apparently off the cuff, was eloquent, impassioned.

But years later, after his election to the Senate, Kerry's medals turned up on the wall of his Capitol Hill office. When a reporter noticed them, Kerry admitted that the medals he had thrown that day were not his. And Kerry's emotional, from-the-heart speech had been carefully crafted by a speechwriter for Robert Kennedy named Adam Walinsky, who also tutored him on how to present it. TV reporters totally ignored another Vietnam veteran, Melville L. Stephens, a former aide to Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, chief of Naval Operations, who that same day urged the Senate not to abandon America's allies in South Vietnam. "Peace for us must not come at the cost of their lives," Stephens said in a speech he wrote himself.
-- from "Stolen Valor", B. G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley, Verity Press, 1998
______________________________________________

But the medals are less of an issue than the testimony, which is what really seems to piss veterans off, including the swift boat vets.

Here's an article regarding John O'Neill, who wrote the letter they presented today.
"We are going to be presenting a letter that deals with Kerry's unfitness to be commander and chief that has been signed by hundreds of swift boat sailors, including most of those who served with Kerry," O'Neill explained.

"The ranks of the people signing [the letter] range from admiral down to seaman, and they run across the entire spectrum of politics, specialties, and political feelings about the Vietnam War," he added. "Comrades who actually served with him, almost all of them, are opposed to him, and believe he would be an unfit commander in chief and intend to bring the truth of his actual record to the attention of the American people," O'Neill said.

O'Neill hopes the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth can reveal to the American people what he sees as Kerry's flawed character.

"In the military, loyalty between commanders and the troops serving them is a two-way street. We have here a guy (Kerry) that with all of us in the field [in Vietnam] -- actually fighting the North Vietnamese -- came home and then falsely accused all of us of war crimes at a time when the people in uniform couldn't even respond," O'Neill said.

"And he did that knowing that was a lie," he added
.
Here's an op-ed piece, Unfit for Office, also written by John O'Neill from today's Wall Street Journal. It's not clear if this is a separate writing or an excerpt taken from the actual letter.
Like John Kerry, I served in Vietnam as a Swift Boat commander. Ironically, John Kerry and I served much of our time, a full 12 months in my case and a controversial four months in his, commanding the exact same six-man boat, PCF-94, which I took over after he requested early departure. Despite our shared experience, I still believe what I believed 33 years ago--that John Kerry slandered America's military by inventing or repeating grossly exaggerated claims of atrocities and war crimes in order to advance his own political career as an antiwar activist. His misrepresentations played a significant role in creating the negative and false image of Vietnam vets that has persisted for over three decades.

Neither I, nor any man I served with, ever committed any atrocity or war crime in Vietnam. The opposite was the truth. Rather than use excessive force, we suffered casualty after casualty because we chose to refrain from firing rather than risk injuring civilians. More than once, I saw friends die in areas we entered with loudspeakers rather than guns. John Kerry's accusations then and now were an injustice that struck at the soul of anyone who served there.

During my 1971 televised debate with John Kerry, I accused him of lying. I urged him to come forth with affidavits from the soldiers who had claimed to have committed or witnessed atrocities. To date no such affidavits have been filed. Recently, Sen. Kerry has attempted to reframe his comments as youthful or "over the top." Yet always there has been a calculated coolness to the way he has sought to destroy the record of our honorable service in the interest of promoting his political ambitions of the moment.
______________________________________________
And this from Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking intelligence officer ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc.
Part of Senator John Kerry's appeal to a certain segment of Americans is his Vietnam-veteran status coupled with his antiwar activism during that period. On April 12, 1971, Kerry told the U.S. Congress that American soldiers claimed to him that they had, "raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned on the power, cut off limbs, blew up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan."

The exact sources of that assertion should be tracked down. Kerry also ought to be asked who, exactly, told him any such thing, and what it was, exactly, that they said they did in Vietnam. Statutes of limitation now protect these individuals from prosecution for any such admissions. Or did Senator Kerry merely hear allegations of that sort as hearsay bandied about by members of antiwar groups? To me, this assertion sounds exactly like the disinformation line that the Soviets were sowing worldwide throughout the Vietnam era. KGB priority number one at that time was to damage American power, judgment, and credibility. One of its favorite tools was the fabrication of such evidence as photographs and "news reports" about invented American war atrocities. These tales were purveyed in KGB-operated magazines that would then flack them to reputable news organizations. Often enough, they would be picked up. News organizations are notoriously sloppy about verifying their sources. All in all, it was amazingly easy for Soviet-bloc spy organizations to fake many such reports and spread them around the free world.

As a spy chief and a general in the former Soviet satellite of Romania, I produced the very same vitriol Kerry repeated to the U.S. Congress almost word for word and planted it in leftist movements throughout Europe. KGB chairman Yuri Andropov managed our anti-Vietnam War operation. He often bragged about having damaged the U.S. foreign-policy consensus, poisoned domestic debate in the U.S., and built a credibility gap between America and European public opinion through our disinformation operations. Vietnam was, he once told me, "our most significant success." As far as I'm concerned, the KGB gave birth to the antiwar movement in America.

Leftist intellectuals in America now look to Europe — steeped for years in anti-American propaganda from the Soviet Union — for "a sane and frank European criticism of the Bush administration's war policy." Indeed, anti-Americanism in Europe today is almost as ferocious as it was during Vietnam. France and Germany insist we are torturing the al Qaeda prisoners held at Guantanamo Base. The Mirror, a British newspaper, is confident that President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair were "killing innocents in Afghanistan." The Paris daily Le Monde put Jean Baudrillard on its front page asserting that "the Judeo-Christian West, led by America, not only provoked the [September 11] terrorist attacks, it actually desired them."

In June 2002, a documentary film on "U.S. war crimes" in Afghanistan was shown in the German Bundestag by the crypto-Communist Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS). The film faithfully reincarnated the style of old Soviet-bloc "documentaries" demonizing the U.S. war in Vietnam. According to this 20-minute movie, American soldiers were involved in the torture and murder of some 3,000 Taliban prisoners in the region of Mazar-e-Sharif. One witness in the film even claimed he had seen an American soldier break the neck of one Afghan prisoner and pour acid on others.

During my last meeting with Andropov, he said, wisely, "now all we have to do is to keep the Vietnam-era anti-Americanism alive." Andropov was a shrewd judge of human nature. He understood that in the end our original involvement would be forgotten, and our insinuations would take on a life of their own. He knew well that it was just the way human nature worked.
posted by David Dark at 2:27 AM on May 5, 2004


THE REAL JOHN F. KERRY AND HIS ANTI-AMERICAN PAST
By: David T. Pyne
When he first ran for Congress in 1970, he advocated doing away with the CIA and bringing all US troops abroad under the direct command and control of the godless anti-American United Nations. According to excerpts obtained by the Boston Globe in June 2003, Kerry told a college paper that it was time to "almost eliminate CIA activity." He also stated that he wanted to see U.S. troops "dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations." Kerry also authored an anti-war book, "The New Soldier." When he ran for Congress, he tried to suppress reproduction of the cover picture of his book, which depicts a bunch of druggies trying to mimic the pictorial of the Iwo Jima memorial with an American flag turned upside down in an attempt to mock the famous photo of the U.S. Marines at Iwo Jima.

posted by David Dark at 2:42 AM on May 5, 2004


Wow, David Dark. How cool. You've convinced me he'd get my vote if I was American!
posted by Jimbob at 3:44 AM on May 5, 2004


So...?

Possibly related: I just watched "The Quiet American". With the DVD is a timeline of the Vietnam war. I had no idea that the US supported the Viet Minh (Viet Cong) in WWII against the Japanese and, by default, the French (who had a Vichy-like relationship with the Japanese in Indo-china). This fact and the history that followed -- all before 1964 -- reveals a fascinating complexity and flip-flopping government policy. To suggest any one person should not be allowed to display similar changes/doubts/complexity is shortsighted and without basis in reality.

Curiously, it was our unwavering support of France that brought us into opposition Ho Chi Minh. If seen though as the Taliban of their time, we might have avoided years of imbroglio by choosing to continue the support of the Viet Minh -- except for the most-spurious of all political theories ever: the Domino Theory.

Speculation: Are those "druggies" not likely veterans of Vietnam? If so, do they not deserve the same respect as a veteran of today's armed services?
posted by Dick Paris at 3:48 AM on May 5, 2004


Thanks for that David. Although to find out that politicians really are conniving bastards is not very surprising. How do you know when a politician is lying to you, you can see his mouth moving.
posted by johnnyboy at 3:52 AM on May 5, 2004


When he first ran for Congress in 1970

yoh david dark - lets talk about what the other candidate bush was doing in 1970 when senator kerry was continuing years of service for his country? starting with those frosted nostrils... and that community service issue?

what hypocrites you clownies your righties can be - kerry's statements and deeds 30 years ago are relevant, but bush's aren't because he found the lord.

sheesh.
posted by specialk420 at 9:53 AM on May 5, 2004


DavidDark, there's a few things here I find suspect:

We are going to be presenting a letter that deals with Kerry's unfitness to be commander and chief that has been signed by hundreds of swift boat sailors, including most of those who served with Kerry

People who served with Kerry in the same way O'Neill did -- that is, not actually at the same time? I hope that letter presented lists dates and capacities in which the men who sign it had served with Kerry, or it's worthless.

[Kerry] came home and then falsely accused all of us of war crimes at a time when the people in uniform couldn't even respond.... Neither I, nor any man I served with, ever committed any atrocity or war crime in Vietnam. The opposite was the truth. Rather than use excessive force, we suffered casualty after casualty because we chose to refrain from firing rather than risk injuring civilians.

O'Neill doesn't seem to realize that both his own good conduct and Kerry's accusations of war crimes can be simultaneously true. I don't doubt there are many American soldiers with an internal moral compass, with an integral humanity that would keep them from commiting atrocities or war crimes. I also don't doubt that war can bring out the worst in everyone. There is not a contradiction in that.

If O'Neill and company can produce damaging testimony from a majority of soldiers who can document that they served with Kerry, that's something. If the best O'Neill can do is give the testimony of someone else who served in Vietnam at a different time and never saw any attrocities, he can't call Kerry's integrity or service into question, only offer a different point of view about that war.

Kerry told the U.S. Congress that American soldiers claimed to him that they had, "raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned on the power, cut off limbs, blew up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan." The exact sources of that assertion should be tracked down... To me, this assertion sounds exactly like the disinformation line that the Soviets were sowing worldwide throughout the Vietnam era. KGB priority number one at that time was to damage American power, judgment, and credibility.

So the question is did the KGB feed the line directly to Kerry, right? Or did they both get it from the same source -- reality?
Pacepa is right at least about one thing, what he hits in an almost tangential manner when he says the sources should be tracked dow. What matters is whether or not what Kerry said happened actually happened.

Kerry told a college paper that it was time to "almost eliminate CIA activity." He also stated that he wanted to see U.S. troops "dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations."

The CIA did some pretty inhumane covert stuff back then -- Guatemala is still trying to get back up from what we did to them in the late 1950s when the United Fruit Company whispered "communism" in the ears of US officials. Wanting to reign in the CIA's activity wouldn't be the least bit anti-american. The later bit about US troops being deployed elsewhere with only the good will of the UN is a pretty idealistic comment, but hardly counts as a traitorous sentiment.
posted by namespan at 10:19 AM on May 5, 2004


lets talk about what the other candidate bush was doing in 1970

There are hundreds of threads dedicated to talking about Bush. Can't we talk about Kerry without trying to avoid the subject by changing it to Bush?
_______________________________________________

People who served with Kerry in the same way O'Neill did -- that is, not actually at the same time?
. . .
If O'Neill and company can produce damaging testimony from a majority of soldiers who can document that they served with Kerry, that's something.


O'Neill:

"We have 19 of 23 officers who served with [Kerry]. We have every commanding officer he ever had in Vietnam. They all signed a letter that says he is unfit to be commander-in-chief," O'Neill said.
_______________________________________________

Or did they both get it from the same source -- reality?

I think the word "disinformation" says a lot about the validity of the claims.

Pacepa is right at least about one thing, what he hits in an almost tangential manner when he says the sources should be tracked dow. What matters is whether or not what Kerry said happened actually happened.

Agreed.

O'Neill:

During my 1971 televised debate with John Kerry, I accused him of lying. I urged him to come forth with affidavits from the soldiers who had claimed to have committed or witnessed atrocities. To date no such affidavits have been filed. Recently, Sen. Kerry has attempted to reframe his comments as youthful or "over the top."

That means lying, doesn't it?
_______________________________________________

Wanting to reign in the CIA's activity wouldn't be the least bit anti-american.

'Reign in' is markedly different from 'almost eliminate'.
posted by David Dark at 10:54 AM on May 5, 2004


So the question is did the KGB feed the line directly to Kerry, right? Or did they both get it from the same source -- reality?

Ahahahahahahahaahah! Did you really suggest that?

What Kerry did or didn't do is none of my concern, but let's not go nuts and believe that one iota of information that was ever disseminated by the KGB, or the Securitate, or the Stasi was ever more than absurd self-serving propaganda.
posted by loquax at 11:11 AM on May 5, 2004


Can't we talk about Kerry without trying to avoid the subject by changing it to Bush?

the bushies don't want us to talk about:

a. bushs' past (especially the 60's and 70's)
b. what bush actually did prior to being appointed president
c. his record for the last 4 years
d. the mess he has made for us in iraq
e. what he did to prevent terrorism prior to 9-11
f-z.



of course you/they want us to focus on the john kerry's flaws (and detractors) rather than the bush record and the real issues facing this nation and the world.

so, to answer your question... if you are someone that cares about the big picture and the future of this country/world: no.
posted by specialk420 at 11:49 AM on May 5, 2004


specialk420: so, to answer your question... if you are someone that cares about the big picture and the future of this country/world: no.

I don't know. I find it pretty pathetic that we are arguing about two candidates who are both apparently engaged in trying to spin the facts about their military service into political capital, on the basis of who is telling the more damaging lie.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:11 PM on May 5, 2004


the question should be about who's vision for america and the world in the next 4 years do you most agree with ... and on their record of service taken as a whole.

neither are perfect. end of story.


record of service taken as whole: kerry wins hands down.

vision for america, the environment, our relationship with other countries, education, health care, jobs, general intelligence: kerry wins hands down.

sees issues as black and white in a world that is neither: bush wins - and is almost always wrong in his choice.
posted by specialk420 at 12:22 PM on May 5, 2004


Who is John O'Neill?
posted by homunculus at 12:28 PM on May 5, 2004


let's not go nuts and believe that one iota of information that was ever disseminated by the KGB, or the Securitate, or the Stasi was ever more than absurd self-serving propaganda.

It is perfectly plausible to me that some American soldiers committed atrocities in Vietnam, and that the Soviets were happy to spread and exaggerate self-serving propaganda along the same lines. Propaganda doesn't have to be absurd, you know, it just has to work.
posted by furiousthought at 12:58 PM on May 5, 2004


"The ranks of the people signing [the letter] range from admiral down to seaman, and they run across the entire spectrum of politics, specialties, and political feelings about the Vietnam War," he added. "Comrades who actually served with him, almost all of them, are opposed to him, and believe he would be an unfit commander in chief and intend to bring the truth of his actual record to the attention of the American people," O'Neill said.

Swift Boat Veterans for a Big Lie

Let's put "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" under a microscope:

1. Their call for Kerry to release his Naval records is a little odd, because, uh, Kerry's already released all his Naval records. The original documents can be downloaded from his web site here...

2. "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" says "We have every commanding officer he ever had in Vietnam." That's just completely false, or, more diplomatically put, "a fucking lie." "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" also says, "They all signed a letter saying he is unfit to be commander-in-chief."
Hmmm... There are 29 pages of officer evaluation reports on Kerry (scroll down to "Fitness Reports" if you want to download) that were filled out by Kerry's commanding officers while he served in the Navy. How in the world could "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" read the following descriptions from Kerry's C.O.'s as "unfit"?

October 19, 1967, evaluation from Captain Allen W. Slifer:
A top notch officer in every measurable trait. Intelligent, mature, and rich in educational background and experience, ENS Kerry is one of the finest young officers I have ever met and without question one of the most promising.

September 3, 1968, evaluation from Captain E.W. Harper, Jr.:
LTJG KERRY is an intelligent and competent young naval officer who has performed his duties in an excellent to outstanding manner.

December 18, 1969, evaluation from LCDR George M. Elliott:
In a combat environment often requiring independent, decisive action LTJG Kerry was unsurpassed. He constantly reviewed tactics and lessons learned in river operations and applied his experience at every opportunity. On one occasion while in tactical command of a three boat operation his units were taken under fire from ambush. LTJG Kerry rapidly assessed the situation and ordered his units to turn directly into the ambush. This decision resulted in routing the attackers with several enemy KIA.
LTJG Kerry emerges as the acknowledged leader in his peer group. His bearing and appearance are above reproach. He has of his own volition learned the Vietnamese language and is instrumental in the successful Vietnamese training program.
During the period of this report LTJG Kerry has been awarded the Silver Star medal, the Bronze Star medal, the Purple Heart medal (2nd and 3rd awards).


Evaluation co-signed by Joseph Streuli and George M. Elliott on January 28, 1969, and March 17, 1969, respectively:
... exhibited all of the traits of an officer in a combat environment. He frequently exhibited a high sense of imagination and judgment in planning operations against the enemy in the Mekong Delta.

March 2, 1970 evaluation from Admiral Walter F. Schlech:
... one of the finest young officers with whom I have served in a long naval career.

I could continue with more positive evaluations of Kerry's service, but quite frankly all the excellence is boring me a bit.

There aren't any negative descriptions. None.
3. Perhaps more important than Kerry's C.O. evaluations are the evaluations of the men under his command. From USA Today (a Rupert Murdoch-owned paper) [correction: I'm wrong– USA Today, as several helpful readers have pointed out, is owned by Gannett, but the point remains that they're no lefty outfit. My apologies for the mistake]:

Interviews with 18 officers and enlisted sailors who served with Kerry in Vietnam mostly portray a young leader with an aggressive command style. Many recall a warm, compassionate officer who cared deeply about his working-class crew. They also remember a warrior who ferried pregnant women and hungry villagers down river for medical care and food.

They recall how he initiated water-balloon fights to break the tension. How he asked his crew to call him "John" on the river and "sir" back at base. And how he listened to their problems in a way that foretold a career in politics.

"His concern for us was overwhelming," says Fred Short, a PCF-94 gunner's mate who would get the shakes when the adrenaline of battle wore off. "He would come around then and put his hand on your shoulder and ask if you're all right," says Short, 56, of North Little Rock "I never had another officer do that."

Even those soldiers who didn't like Kerry had respect for him:

"John was a master at looking out for John," says Larry Thurlow, a fellow boat commander. "John has never been bashful about saying, 'Man, I'm a war hero.' "

Yet, except for one crewmate, even those who felt betrayed by Kerry for later leading Vietnam Veterans Against the War and who call themselves Bush supporters acknowledge that he showed courage under fire. "He was extremely brave, and I wouldn't argue that point," Thurlow says.

Stephen Gardner is the one guy who served alongside Kerry who has negative things to say about his courage under fire (some "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" guys claim they "served with" Kerry, but actually I think it would be more accurate for them to say they served "around the same time," and perhaps on a different planet, than Kerry did):

Stephen Gardner, a gunner's mate on PCF-44, spoke out for the first time last month after hearing conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh question Kerry's war credentials. Gardner, who says "this country's in a world of trouble" if the Democrat is elected president, calls Kerry a "hesitant" commander who shunned danger.

Gardner, 56, claims Kerry retreated during a firefight under the pretense that he wanted to get Gardner medical attention. "It was a panic run," says Gardner, who calls his wound superficial. While he refuses to call Kerry a coward, he recalls "a guy who was protecting himself most of the time."

That view does not square with the recollections of eight other enlisted sailors who served with Kerry and were interviewed for this story. Kerry and other PCF-44 veterans say the shooting was over when they turned back to base.

"I never saw John back down from anything," crewmember Bill Zaladonis says.

"I have no idea where he's coming from," Kerry says of Gardner.

Rassmann also dismisses the idea of a cautious Kerry. He says he is alive today because of Kerry's courage during a vicious battle in March 1969. The special forces soldier had been blown off PCF-94 by a mine that also injured Kerry's right arm. Swimming in the river while being strafed from both banks, Rassmann was convinced he was about to die before Kerry's boat returned. As the soldier struggled to climb scramble nets draped over the boat's bow, Kerry reached down with his uninjured arm and pulled him on board.

"He was frankly nuts coming up to the bow and exposing himself" to the barrage of bullets and mortars, Rassmann says.

posted by y2karl at 3:22 PM on May 5, 2004


And from the same link as above:

The other "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" point person is...

John O'Neill

After Kerry made a mark as an anti-war veteran in 1971, he earned a spot on Nixon's enemies list. On the Nixon tapes, White House special counsel Charles Colson can be heard assuring Nixon that "We'll keep hitting him [Kerry], Mr. President." In addition to putting Kerry under FBI surveillance, Colson and Nixon recruited cleancut Vietnam vet and toe-the-line right-wing ideologue John O'Neill, who had an hour-long meeting with the President in which Nixon coached him to "Give it to him, give it to him." I've seen a picture of O'Neill and Nixon sitting in front of that White House fireplace. I suppose O'Neill saw his "Kerry character assassination" assignment from Nixon as a 33 year gig.

Although O'Neill had taken over Kerry's Swift boat command after he left Vietnam, before they met on a Dick Cavett Show debate he had never seen Kerry in person. But he despised him. He admonished Kerry everywhere for standing up against Nixon: "The President does our talking for us, as with most Americans. Mr. Kerry certainly does not."

33 years ago O'Neill wanted everyone to shut up so Richard Nixon could lay down the law, just as I'm sure he'd like to crush all dissenting voices to Bush's today. John Kerry stood up then to Nixon, and he stands up now to Bush.

According to Brinkley, O'Neill "truly believed in the U.S. incursions into Cambodia and Laos." That's pretty much all you need to know about the guy, that he would provide unwavering support for a war in Cambodia that was not only blatantly illegal, entirely secret, and abhorrently inhumane, it was also a complete tactical failure. It accomplished absolutely nothing except multiples of thousands of deaths of poor Cambodians. I can't even begin to understand somebody whose ideology is so unclean that he can see goodness in that. You could take a stroll with O'Neill and spot some dogshit and he'd try to convince you that it was a delicious green apple.


33 years ago O'Neill wanted everyone to shut up so Richard Nixon could lay down the law, just as I'm sure he'd like to crush all dissenting voices to Bush's today.

Hmm, remind you of anyone here?
posted by y2karl at 3:26 PM on May 5, 2004


Kerry Was a Loose Cannon in Vietnam
John Kerry's former swift boat commanders and colleagues on Tuesday described the presumptive Democrat nominee as a self-absorbed and devious sailor during the Vietnam War who was there merely to advance a future political career.

A group of 18 veterans gathered in the nation's capital asking Kerry to authorize the Department of the Navy to independently release his military records, including medical information, about his service during the Vietnam War. Many said Kerry was unfit to be commander-in-chief of the U.S. military

More than 200 veterans have signed a letter from the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth seeking the release of records. Retired Rear Adm. Roy Hoffmann commanded the fleet of swift boats -- the Navy's Task Force 115 -- during Kerry's tour of duty. Today he serves as chairman of the veterans' group.

"He arrived in country with a strong anti-Vietnam War bias and a self-serving determination to build a foundation for his political future," Hoffmann said. "He was aggressive, but vain and prone to impulsive judgment, often with disregard to specific tactical assignments. He was a loose cannon.

"In an abbreviated tour of four months and 12 days," Hoffmann added, "and with his specious medals secure, Lt. j.g. (junior grade) Kerry bugged out of Vietnam and began his infamous betrayal of all United States forces in the Vietnam War."

But according to Hibbard, one of Kerry's commanders in Vietnam, questions remain about the three Purple Hearts that Kerry was awarded for injuries in Vietnam. Based on Hibbard's recollection, one of Kerry's injuries didn't appear to warrant a medal.

"He showed me a scratch on his arm and a piece of shrapnel in his hand that appeared to be from one of our own M-79s," Hibbard said. "He later received a Purple Heart for that scratch, and I have no information as to how or whom."

Another officer, retired Capt. Charley Plumly, said Kerry was under his command for two or three naval operations. He criticized Kerry's attitude and behavior.

"Kerry would be described as devious, self-absorbing, manipulative, disdain for authority, disruptive," Plumly said, "but the most common phrase you would hear [was] 'requires constant supervision.' "
And once again, certain "Anyone but Bush!" commenters try to take the focus off their man and smear somebody else, in this case John O'Neill, who writes:
Since 1971, I have refused many offers from John Kerry's political opponents to speak out against him. My reluctance to become involved once again in politics is outweighed now by my profound conviction that John Kerry is simply not fit to be America's commander in chief. Nobody has recruited me to come forward. My decision is the inevitable result of my own personal beliefs and life experience.

"We endorse nobody at all for president. If Kerry drops out and allows the Democratic Party a genuine choice, a fit choice to be commander-in-chief, we're all going home," O'Neill said. "We're unified on absolutely nothing, except one thing: John Kerry is not a fit commander-in-chief based on our experience with him."
Your vehement defender of JK, karl. . . MattGunn.com -- a political diary from a slightly above average man. What a fucking tool. Reminds me of John Kerry.

Did you happen to notice, every entry on his entire blog is about John Kerry. He even blogs about himself blogging about John Kerry:
I revisited what I wrote last year on May 2, 2003 –

"My only hope is that John Kerry will be the Democratic nominee. . ."
Jesus. No bias there, no inclination to defend Kerry no matter what the allegation. Hmm, remind you of anyone here?
posted by David Dark at 5:27 PM on May 5, 2004


John Kerry's Official Naval Records

Fitness Reports

Boy, you've come a long from the disgruntled Gore voter, haven't you?

The Mel Gibsonesque guy-on-guy sexual imagery has been a constant, however.
posted by y2karl at 5:48 PM on May 5, 2004


He's my friend. He'll continue to be my friend. I know his service was honorable. If that hurts me politically or with my party, that's a very small price to pay.

Senator John McCain

Unfair attacks on Kerry's service record

It seems to be a habit. When Bush faces a Vietnam War hero in an election, a Vietnam veteran perfectly happy to trash his opponent always turns up. In the case of Ted Sampley, the same guy who did Bush's dirty work in going after Sen. John McCain in the 2000 Republican primaries is doing the job against Kerry this year.

Kerry counting on veterans to help him win

Some veterans resent Kerry for his anti-war activities, including congressional testimony in which he described atrocities fellow soldiers said they had committed in Vietnam. Ted Sampley, a North Carolina conservative who tried to discredit former prisoner of war John McCain as anti-veteran in 2000, runs a Web site called Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry.
posted by y2karl at 6:08 PM on May 5, 2004


O'Neill: "We have 19 of 23 officers who served with [Kerry]. We have every commanding officer he ever had in Vietnam. They all signed a letter that says he is unfit to be commander-in-chief," O'Neill said.

The thing that set alarm bells off in my head about O'Neill was his insinuation of serving... well, adjacent to Kerry in time, if not with him in place -- that he knew something about Kerry's service from firsthand observation, when in fact, this doesn't seem to be the case, but it's easy to take that impression away from O'Neill's words without a careful reading. Hence my skepticism about "served with [Kerry]." So until he produces said letters and can verify dates and tours on which the authors of / signatories to such letters served with him, this remains a curiousity rather than evidence of anything.

Furthermore, even if real, unless they reveal a particular falsehood in Kerry's record of service, they would constitute opinions of his character rather than evidences of crime or deception -- ie, there's a difference between: "We don't like the kind of man Kerry is" or "We're not sure he deserves his recognition" and "Kerry did not participate in the missions he said he did, Kerry did not fight, Kerry did not work to achieve our given objectives, Kerry himself ripped ears off of Villagers". Those opinions may still be worth taking into account, or they may not.

But anyway, it's speculation until "We have these letters and this is what they say" becomes "We have posted these letters for your perusal and have explained carefully in what context these men knew Kerry. Draw your own conclusions."


I think the word "disinformation" says a lot about the validity of the claims.

So in other words, you'd argue that these things never happened -- "soldiers raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned on the power, cut off limbs, blew up bodies, randomly shot at civilians"?

Remember, these things needn't have been the norm to make that statement true. Disinformation can be completely fabricated, but it can also have a core of truth. Hence the exaggeration that will likely follow the Abu Ghraib scandal.

Furthermore, even if those actions were completely fabricated, a triump of the KGB, this doesn't prove Kerry a liar. Seeing as how Kerry was not the first or only person to come back from vietnam with those kinds of stories, what it would seem to indicate is that they succeeded so totally that they had U.S. Soldiers telling each other those stories.

I suppose the other possibility is that some soldier (maybe even Kerry himself -- a goddam commie!) worked for the KGB and spread the stories himself. But Pacepa didn't say that, and presumably he'd be in a position to know.

I lean towards the kernel of truth possibility myself.


To date no such affidavits have been filed. Recently, Sen. Kerry has attempted to reframe his comments as youthful or "over the top."

That means lying, doesn't it?


Over the top can also mean a red-faced, screaming stumping speech you give to a crowd of supporters in Iowa after you lost a caucus, which is taken out of context and used as evidence of your persona instability. It can also mean a red-faced, screaming speech you give at a DC demonstration when you find out the country you love was party to a war you find unconscionable. What part of his own speech did Kerry say was over the top? The delivery? The content? I've only got O'Neill's words for context.

'Reign in' is markedly different from 'almost eliminate'.

In the context we're speaking of, not more than marginally. Dismantling the CIA's covert ops but leaving in place their intelligence gathering capacities would have eliminated more than half of the CIA. Despite the fact that the CIA clearly made a literal hell of a mess in a number of countries on earth, I'm not going to argue this was necessarily the right thing to do, but I can't fault a young idealist for seeing such negative fruits from the CIA's efforts that they'd propose its elimination. Ditto with the arguments about the controlled foreign projection of U.S. military power. I can't think of an opportunistic motivation for making those remarks, but it's easy for me to see them coming from someone who is concerned with how those with their hands on the reigns of the considerable power of own country are using it.

Unless of course, Kerry's a soviet agent. I actually kind of like that story. It's so much less nuanced and complex and would probably be easier for much of the american public to classify.

There are hundreds of threads dedicated to talking about Bush. Can't we talk about Kerry without trying to avoid the subject by changing it to Bush?

I am trying to stay off this topic, because I really am interested in exploring Kerry rather than just throwing sacks on the see-saw, but I have to agree with the other posters in this thread. Whatever Kerry looks like when we get to the bottom of all this, he's not being considered in a vacuum: he and Bush are being measured side by side for candidacy for office. Every American will have to measure the tangle of stuff they've heard about Bush's and his past next to what they've heard about Kerry's and his.
posted by namespan at 6:11 PM on May 5, 2004


CJR Campaign Desk:

US News & World Report asks the question: What were George and John up to in 1971? The answer is pretty much what you'd expect: Kerry was married, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and pursuing a career in politics, while Bush was a fighter pilot in the Air National Guard and a "fun-loving party guy who bounced from job to job." Kerry, who the authors equate with the John Lennon song "Imagine," "enjoyed folk music and sang with [Peter] Yarrow [of Peter, Paul, and Mary] at parties and gatherings. Sometimes Kerry played guitar." (That doesn't make this any less embarrassing, however.) What about Bush, "the drifter?" "He held his own in a drinking game called Dead Bug. When someone shouted 'dead bug!' everyone had to drop to the floor, belly up, twitching their arms and legs." The last man on the ground bought the next round.
posted by y2karl at 6:36 PM on May 5, 2004


Boy, you've come a long from the disgruntled Gore voter, haven't you?

Um... DavidDark, I just read the link y2karl provided and I am really curious: what happened?
posted by namespan at 7:09 PM on May 5, 2004


such nice language mr. dark has... single handedly keeping mefi threads out of many schools and libraries ...
posted by specialk420 at 9:04 PM on May 5, 2004


single handedly keeping mefi threads out of many schools and libraries ...

Um... don't you think the term single-handedly might be just a wee bit unfair?

I myself used the term "bullshit" the other day.
posted by namespan at 10:51 PM on May 5, 2004


Smear Boat Veterans for Bush

After journalist Gregory Vistica exposed the Thanh Phong massacre and the surrounding circumstances in the New York Times magazine three years ago, conservative columnist Christopher Caldwell took particular note of the cameo role played by Kerrey's C.O., who had warned his men not to return from missions without enough kills. "One of the myths due to die as a result of Vistica's article is that which holds the war could have been won sensibly and cleanly if the 'suits' back in Washington had merely left the military men to their own devices," Caldwell wrote. "In this light, one of the great merits of Vistica's article is its portrait of the Kurtz-like psychopath who commanded Kerrey's Navy task force, Capt. Roy Hoffmann."

Arguments about the war in Vietnam seem destined to continue forever. For now, however, the lingering bitterness and ambiguity of those days provide smear material against an antiwar war hero with five medals on behalf of a privileged Guardsman with a dubious duty record. The president's Texas allies -- whose animus against his Democratic challenger dates back to the Nixon era -- are now deploying the same techniques and personnel they used to attack McCain's integrity four years ago. Bush's "independent" supporters would apparently rather talk about the Vietnam quagmire than about his deadly incompetence in Iraq.


F.B.I. Papers Describe Role of Young Kerry Against War

A confidential F.B.I. memorandum dated April 29, 1971, on a just-concluded antiwar march on Washington by Vietnam Veterans Against the War concluded that the group's nominal leaders had been overshadowed by "a more popular and eloquent figure, John Kerry," who was "glib, cool and displayed best what the moderate[*] elements wanted to reflect."

One version or another of that assessment of the young Mr. Kerry is echoed repeatedly among 20,000 pages of once-secret F.B.I. files, released on Wednesday in response to Freedom of Information Act requests from news organizations. A memorandum from November 1971 notes that Mr. Kerry told students at the University of Oklahoma that members of the veterans' group "are against any type of violence."


Crewmates defend Kerry's war record

The only of Kerry's crewmates to criticize him, Steve Gardner, yesterday said Kerry ''made indecisive moves'' that put their boat in jeopardy.

But Kerry crewmate Drew Whitlow called that charge ''totally false.'' ''They're entitled to their opinions, (but) I served alongside him,'' Whitlow said.

posted by y2karl at 9:26 AM on May 6, 2004


I myself used the term "b*llshit" the other day.

my apologies :) here's a pat the back for you too.
posted by specialk420 at 9:37 AM on May 6, 2004


Oh, * meant remember this was J. Edgar Hoover's FBI talking--the champs of the right-wing smear campaign, as in Mratin Luther King is a commie, etc....
posted by y2karl at 9:53 AM on May 6, 2004


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