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Ted Koppel's Vietnam Quagmire

By and large, I think Koppel is one of the more balanced reporters in the big media. I also think, a minute tilt to the left aside, he is one of the best. That said, he got his hat handed to him by John O'Neil of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

For only the third time since the Swift Vets formed their organization, Nightline did a story on Kerry's war record. You can read the bulk of their report here. In this show, they went to Vietnam and interviewed the Vietnamese in the village where John Kerry got his Silver Star. [That was the one where a rocket hit close to Kerry's boat and he supposedly attacked, beaching the boat, jumped out and killed the guy with the rocket launcher.]

It promised to be intriguing. Rather than Kerry's side or the Swifies' side, they were going to get the story from people who did not have a dog in the fight. Unfortunately, the reporting was not as good as it could have been and left one of the major questions not only unanswered but even unasked.

The citation for his Silver Star commends Kerry for, "extraordinary daring and personal courage" for "attacking a numerically superior force in the face of intense fire" as he beached his boat and went ashore. John O'Neil in his book, Unfit for Command, says that statement "is simply false. There was little or no fire." [When Kerry attacked]

Nightline fails to resolve the issue, mostly because they don't even ask the right question. From their report:

Villagers say this is what they saw:

"Firing from over here. Firing from over there. Firing from the boat," [hands waving left and right as if to say firing from everywhere in video] Vo Thi Vi told Nightline.

She was only a couple hundred yards away when a Swift boat turned and approached the shore, she said, adding that the boat was unleashing a barrage of gunfire as it approached.

"I ran," she recalled, "Running fast. Ö And the Americans came from down there, yelling 'Attack, Attack!' And we ran."

Her husband Tam said the man who fired the B-40 rocket was hit in this barrage of gunfire. Then, he said, "he ran about 18 meters before he died, falling dead."

Was the man killed by Kerry or by fire from the Swift boat? It was the heat of battle, Tam said, and he doesn't know exactly how the man with the rocket launcher died. But he knows the man's name ó Ba Thang. He was one of the 12 reinforcements sent to the village by provincial headquarters, and after he died, the firefight continued, according to Tam.

"When the firing started, Ba Thanh was killed," Tam said. "And I led Ba Thanh's comrades, the whole unit, to fight back. And we ran around the back and fought the Americans from behind. We worked with the city soldiers to fire on the American boats." [emphasis mine]

The report only mentions the Americans shooting initially (other than the rocket shot that started it all) and indeed the Vietnamese man says they fought "back." Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but clearly if the reporter was there to clear up the issue, getting an accurate timeline from the witnesses was important. It sounds from the report like the rocket was fired, the Swift Boat attacked THEN the Vietnamese fired back. If that were the case, it would directly contradict the citation and support John O'Neil. The one chance ABC had to clear it up and the muddy it up more!

Further, from their own report, they found no evidence Kerry went ashore and shot the man with the rocket launcher. In fact, the reporter stressed these people had a great view of the whole thing because it happened in their front yard (literally) but none of them could remember a U.S. soldier hopping off the boat and killing a guy in their front yard? It seems that would stick in the brain if anything would.

Still, from the report, it sounded like John O'Neil was in trouble. I was surprised to see he was the guest for the interview section, I thought he was going to squirm. I was wrong.

When Koppel asked O'Neil to respond to the villagers who he, in an overstatement, said backed Kerry's claims, O'Neil -ever the trial lawyer- did what I did not think possible. He laid Koppel on the canvas.

O'Neil held up his book and read the part where he claimed there was only one VC soldier. THEN he held up the Boston Globe biography of John Kerry and he read the part where IT said there was only one VC solder... Then in a coup de gr‚ce, John O'Neil held up John Kerry's own AUTObiography and read the part where Kerry himself says he was glad there was only one VC soldier because he was not sure what would have happened if there had been "2, 5 or 10 of them."

The quaffed Koppel might have won on style but he took a thrashing on substance. He tried to get O'Neil to answer his question again and O'Neil repeated his answer. They did this for probably 4 iteration, each time Koppel getting more annoyed that he could not get O'Neil to squirm. At one point the exasperated Koppel said something to the effect of "Why not just admit Kerry was right?" It was a rather bold question considering the report was inconclusive at best.

In reply, O'Neil took both Koppel and ABC to task for not asking any of the Swift Boat Vets on to tell their story and for not even telling John Kerry's own version of the story but for only going to communist country and asking our former enemies.

By repeatedly highlighting that John Kerry even agreed with his version of the events in question, John O'Neil deflated what should have been a very good show for ABC.

I invite you to read the report. I read it before the show and I found the text version more compelling. Watching it, I found it interesting that it appeared to be a third version of events, not a validation of one of the others. In the end though, ABC found little or nothing to discredit the citation nor support it, despite Koppel's claims in the interview section.

The only thing we learned from the show is that Koppel might be a decent interviewer -but he is no trial lawyer- and it showed. He was on his home turf and he was clearly outclassed. O'Neil came across as somewhat of a jerk... but a jerk with facts.


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Comments (24)

FWIW, the things that I tho... (Below threshold)
Anachronda:

FWIW, the things that I thought were interesting in what the Vietnamese said:

1) They said rocket launcher guy was indeed wounded. Seems to me there was some controversy about this (of the "if he was hit by a .50 caliber, he wouldn't be moving much" variety).

2) One of the Vietnamese said they were shooting at the Americans, but didn't hit anything.

Not saying I trust the Vietnamese, just saying I found these bits interesting.

I wrote this before the sto... (Below threshold)
Kaltes:

I wrote this before the story aired based on the ABC news web version fo the story. Here are my intial comments, I will place my comments on the Koppell/O'Neill exchange in the next post.

ABC news story online version: http://www.abcnews.go.com/Nightline/Vote2004/story?id=166434&page=1

What ABC news does not mention, is that the Swift Boat Veterans version of events was confirmed, and Kerry's version debunked, by the official navy after action report which surfaced several weeks ago: http://www.newscentral.tv/thepoint/attachments/attachments.htm for more commentary and analysis of this report, go here: http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/002506.php

ABC news quotes Kerry's silver star citation which was amended 3 times, long after the war, "the citation says, before commending Kerry's "extraordinary daring and personal courage" for "attacking a numerically superior force in the face of intense fire."" The problem with this is, of course, is that the official report proves that the enemy force was not only not numerically superior, they were vasty outnumbered.

ABC news then misquotes John O'Neill: "That account is disputed by Swift boat veteran John O'Neill, author of "Unfit for Command," who maintains in his book that the statement "is simply false. There was little or no fire." In fact, O'Neill actually wrote: "There was little or no fire after Kerry followed the plan." ABC's quote tricks the reader into thinking O'Neill claims there was no fire at any point, which is a blatant distortion.

ABC news cites the AAR to conform that Kerry chased the lone VC, but does not mention the AAR says the VC was wounded. Kerry has claimed the VC was not wounded.

Lets look at who ABC news interviewed:

Vo Van Tam, "a local Viet Cong commander during the war." and his wife Vo Ti Vi. These two were the principal sources quoted. "Vo Ti Vi said, just a few weeks after the attack, the Viet Cong raided a U.S. base stealing weapons and ammunition. The weapons remain in Nha Vi all these years later, she says, buried under her garden."

This was a Viet Cong village.

The viet cong commander says there were 20 troops there that day. The official navy after action report says there were 90 RFPF troops present along with 3 swift boat crews. The only viet cong mentioned in the report are the 3 killed in an earlier ambush, one fleeing wounded which Kerry killed, and two others who fled.

Even if there were 20 VC, most of whom didn't fight even if they were present, Kerry's subsequently amended silver star citation is nonetheless proven to be a lie.

Koppell asks O'Neill about some mystery figure claiming to be a Swift Boat Veteran. A more plausible explanation is that these mystery figures were involved with the recently released pro-Kerry propaganda Going Upriver. Work on that film did not even begin until late 2003, and most of the pro-Kerry vets contributed. Assuming the Viet Cong is telling the truth, there are any number of reasons a pro-Kerry interviewer would make a seemingly anti-Kerry statement, but the most obvious: the speaker was fishing for a denial along the lines of "Oh no! Kerry really did earn that medal!!" which sounds more convincing when taken out of context than a leading question's response: "Yeah, I guess he deserved it". Its a common trick.

I just watched the show and... (Below threshold)
Kaltes:

I just watched the show and I agree with Paul that John O'Neill ripped Ted Koppell a new one.

The one thing John O'Neill failed to point out is that the after action report contradicts Koppell's story rather than supporting it. Koppell tried to use the AAR as evidence against O'Neill when in fact it debunks ABC's whole story. Read my above posts for details. O'Neill hammered on the fact that John Kerry's own books contradict the Viet Cong version of events, which Koppell never responded to.

Ted Koppell also brazenly trumpets Kerry's thrice-amended, debunked citation, which claims Kerry fought a "numerically superior force" despite the facts in the AAR. The AAR states there were 30 RFPF troops in each swift boat. There were 3 swift boats. That makes 90 troops, PLUS the 3 crews with over a half dozen men. That makes over 100 men total on Kerry's side, up against, if you take the word of a VC commander at face value, 20 total enemy, most of whom ran away or hid once the fighting started.

From the ABC news story, one of the Viet Cong that was interviewed admitted he ran and hid until the battle was over, but then went on to make claims about what happened: how would he know what happened if he was hiding out of sight to avoid overwhelming enemy firepower.

Koppell makes a point to repeatedly stress that the Viet Cong had no reason to lie... Bullshit. If one of your friends died, would you speak of him as a lone teenager in a loincloth or would you say how great he was? Would you say he died because some cowboy American ran him down like a dog, or would you say that he died on his feet gunned down by ruthless machine gun fire? The fact is, the Viet Cong told a completely different story. In their version, John Kerry never even gets off his boat. He never chases anyone down. The lone VC died either by being shot in the chest facing down US machine guns, or being gunned down as he retreated from his hole. All of the men on both Kerry's side and the SBVT side contradict those stories.

So that is what we are left with: Viet Cong say 1 thing, every American who was there, both for and against Kerry, say another. What does Koppel do? Two things:

#1. He takes the word of the Viet Cong over about a dozen US soldiers, and attacks O'Neill repeatedly because O'Neill will not concede that these Viet Cong are credible.

#2. He uses the new story as told by the Viet Cong selectively: telling us that it contradicts and refutes the Swift Boat claims, while ignoring the fact that the Viet Cong versions refute Kerry's claims to an even greater extent.

Ted Koppell constantly tried to cut off O'Neill. You could tell O'Neill was hungry to speak. He was hungry to get the truth out so the public wouldn't be taken in by ABC's shameless and fraudulent attacks. Ted Koppell obviously planned to ambush O'Neill in two ways: (1) to spring the little tidbit that Deadmeat pointed out earlier, O'Neill confirmed that whoever that person was, he was not a member of SBVT, and (2) to follow in the footsteps of Dan Rather, hammering O'Neill with the Viet Cong's contradictory "fake but accurate" version of events, and trying to fault O'Neill when he refused to accept the VC testimony as absolutely true because John Kerry own version contradicts them. O'Neill even points out that he would believe Kerry's version before he believed the Viet Cong.

So Mr. Koppell, are you trying to tell the American people that the Viet Cong soldiers are more credible than John Forbes Kerry??

If you take 1 thing away fr... (Below threshold)
Kaltes:

If you take 1 thing away from my posts and 1 thing only, take this:

"So Mr. Koppell, are you trying to tell the American people that the Viet Cong soldiers are more credible than John Forbes Kerry??"

To believe the Viet Cong is to call John Kerry a liar. By pushing the credibility of the VC so strenuously, Koppell did exactly that. He told America that we should believe the Viet Cong over BOTH sides, the trick is he refused to talk about 1 side altogether (Kerry's).

Paul, Koppell is every bit as bad as Dan Rather in my eyes now. The fact is that these liberals are showing us their true colors now that the stakes are so high. For shame.

"By and large, I think Kopp... (Below threshold)

"By and large, I think Koppel is one of the more balanced reporters in the big media. I also think, a minute tilt to the left aside, he is one of the best."

I just can't let that go unanswered. Saying Ted Koppel's the least biased MSM reporter is a bit like praising "the best French Restaurant in French Lick, Indiana."

This is the Ted Koppel who spent an entire Nightline reading Iraq War casualties as a political protest against the war.

This the Ted Koppel who said things like these on the air or in public:

ďIf things are really bad in Iraq, bypassing the mainstream media wonít make them any better, and thatís what the Bush administration seems to be trying these days....There is, actually, a solution and itís deceptively simple: level with the American public about what is going wrong....Whatís been found in the way of weapons of mass destruction does not measure up to the pre-war warnings. When the administration starts dealing forthrightly with those issues, the good news will speak for itself.Ē

"When you say [Rush Limbaugh is] Ďa good and decent man,í I donít know him that well personally myself, I have no way of judging one way or the other. But I must tell you I often listen to him when Iím driving into work, and what I hear on the radio is frequently Ė I donít want to say hateful, thatís going a little too far Ė but he says and does things on the radio that are so disparaging of homosexuals, African-Americans, the homeless. As I say, I think itís clearly part of the act, but itís not gentlemanly, itís not kind.Ē

To Leon Panetta, on the occasion of the California Recall: "A lot of California Democrats were salivating at the thought that Mr. Panetta himself might jump into the Governorís race. He joins us tonight from Seaside, California. You had too much common sense, or what?...Not to press the issue too much, but since itís gonna happen anyway, why not have a, you know, a good, strong, sensible politician like yourself to say, well, letís make the best of a bad deal and here I am and Iíll try and help make it work?Ē

"ďMy level of cynicism about the reasons that took us to war against Iraq remain just as well-developed as they were before I went....The young men and women who carried out the orders of their civilian masters did it in a brilliant fashion. They worked hard, they are to be admired....Was what they were told to do necessary? The jury is still out on that one.Ē

I could go on, but this is too long already.

You make a good point(s) Sp... (Below threshold)
Paul:

You make a good point(s) Spoons... I must confess I have not watched Nightline in years, though it used to be a nightly ritual.

Perhaps if I was more up-to-date my opinion might be more harsh.

P

This is even worse than Rat... (Below threshold)
Jim Hines:

This is even worse than Rathergate.

For all we know they shot this in Florida.

From start to finish you have to accept every frame on pure faith.

It's like Bush in the first debate. There is so much to refute you don't know were to start and are left speechless.

We are in trouble folks. Because the vast majority of people in this country simply accept what they see on television as the unadulterated truth.

Critical thinking skills are in short supply.

They will use what I believe is a compelling argument by O'Neill as evidence he is "damaged" by Vietnam because he didn't display the proper robotic self control that the media elite have concluded represents the truth teller.

why didn't the nightline fo... (Below threshold)
daniel:

why didn't the nightline folks get kerry on to answer the same questions they asked oneill?

DUH!

oneill was GREAT!

he clobbered ted.

Did not see the actual repo... (Below threshold)

Did not see the actual report on Nightline, but I did read the online version yesterday prior to the airing and my first thought was, "What was this supposed to accomplish?" It seemed to me their goal from the story was to muddy the waters. That's what you do when you are trying to discredit someone and the facts are on that someone's side - you try to make everyone else confused and scratching their head so they tune the subject. If a viewer were to say, "To hell with both of 'em," then Ted and ABC accomplished exactly what they wanted. Looks like John O'Neil did not let that happen. I'm not surprised - if there is anyone associated with this campaign the voters can count on to have integrity, strength and honor it's John O'Neil. I believe Bush holds those qualities better than most people, but Bush is NO trial lawer when it comes to communication.

Cheers!

Don't work yourselves into ... (Below threshold)
Pat Adkins:

Don't work yourselves into a lather, thinking the truth will be told by the MSM's. I cannot think of a single news anchor that does not wear his/her political leanings on their sleeve.

Bush would no doubt win by a HUGE landslide if he didn't have all the negative BS being spouted by major "news" media. I'm surprised Bush is holding his own, given the forces aligned against him.

And, regretfully, I have to agree with Michael Moore on one point. "Americans are stupid", if they base their election decision on the debates, which appears to be the case, judging by the polls. Americans (at least 48% of us)are too lazy to do any research on the candidates, but depend on the sound bites fed by liberal media.

Of course the Vietnamese ha... (Below threshold)
Igoramus:

Of course the Vietnamese have an interest in Kerry winning. With Kerry's post-Vietnam POW/MIA coverup and the multiple secret trips to Paris talks, they have so much dirt on Kerry, that they can "persuade" him to do anything.

And did Mr. Koppel inquire ... (Below threshold)
The Old Coot:

And did Mr. Koppel inquire as to why Mr. Kerry has not signed a DD-180? Guess he must have forgotten about that little item.

PS: Just heard a rumor that... (Below threshold)
The Old Coot:

PS: Just heard a rumor that a Kerry-signed DD-180 was found in a dumpster behind a Kinko's somewhere in Texas. Let's rush that to the Rather and Koppel so they can discover what Kerry is hiding.

I used to like Ted Koppel, ... (Below threshold)
Bill V:

I used to like Ted Koppel, but now even he has been bought.
There is irony in the fact that all of the SBV testimony is invalidated by the same media because they did not serve on PCF94 but were on boats nearby,even though Gardner was a gunner on the 94 boat. Therefore only the men on PCF94 can say anything true. But now we hear testimony from an enemy admiting she was a couple hundred yards away and she is to be believed. And so now the testimony od a VC 35 years afdter the fact is more credible than any of our soldiers who were their. Makes perfect sense Ted. And they wonder why people question their veracity. It appears that they have a voracity for anything in the liberal agenda.

- The fact that the Kerry c... (Below threshold)
Hunter:

- The fact that the Kerry camp and Kerry himself have totally dug in their heels on that form DD180 or concurently a copy of his DD214 discharge certificate actually says it all. The information contained therein must be at least damning enough that they feel it would outright cost Kerry the election. they essentially refuse to even respond to any questions in those areas, always choosing to point to the Kerry website and repeat the outright lie that all the service records have been released and posted.

- The upcoming Sinclair special provides yet another opportunity to call Kerry out on this equivacation publicly. A concerted Emailing by conservative voters has been undertaken to suggest that very possibility. The bottom line is that in view of all the waffling and evasions, if Kerry's record is clean there would be no need for all the tap dancing....

Dan Rather's producer is/wa... (Below threshold)
Roberto Keen:

Dan Rather's producer is/was Mary Mapes.
So, I wonder who Ted Koppel's producer is, and why they didn't produce Viet Cong memos to support their case.
After all, those "MS Word font style" typewriters were surely available in 'Nam at the time, weren't they?
Vo Van Tam could be the Vietnamese "Bill Burkett", and his wife Vo Ti Vi might translate to Lucy Ramirez.
The MSM talking heads seem quite willing to go down with their ship. Instead of leaving like the rats they are, they all seem to climbing on. It's not hard to imagine that their days are numbered. And IMHO, rightfully so.

I am at a complete loss to ... (Below threshold)
Bostonian:

I am at a complete loss to understand how the ABC story supports or vindicates John Kerry in any way.

Either John Kerry lied in his autobiography and lied to his biographers OR these villagers are lying. This is obvious, right?

Neither alternative is good for Kerry.

John is an experienced liti... (Below threshold)
Clayton Chambers:

John is an experienced litigator and anybody that takes him on should be well prepared. Kopel clearly wasn't. John missed some opportunities and could have hammered ABC even more for the shoddy report. But hey, he is on the firing line every day against these guys and should be commended for carrying the fight to the enemy. I think I will donate some more to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth!

Two observations: A communi... (Below threshold)

Two observations: A communist questioned in the presence of a government minder is not to be believed. I can't believe Koppel could do that with a straight face. And secondly, why not let the woman prove her veracity by digging up some of those weapons buried in her garden? That would have given the story even more "dramatic effect."

I was in the Mekong Delta a year before Kerry -- 9th Infantry Division, U.S. Army. Kerry is indeed a scum unfit for command. This one is personal. He not only needs to be defeated, he needs to be crushed and humiliated.

This is a new low...<... (Below threshold)

This is a new low...

America, clean the Media's House!

My letter to Nightline:<br ... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

My letter to Nightline:
Mr. Koppel

it was interesting watching you attempt to dismiss John O'Neill. I heard you say that the after action reports and the Navy citations support the assertion that there was a "numerically superior force" that Kerry faced on 28 Feb 1969.

In fact, the first version of the Silver Star citation makes no mention of a "numerically superior force." Neither does the second. It is only in the third version of the citation in which the enemy force miraculously expands. That the citations were twice re-written is itself an anomaly- which Nightline for some reason (wink, wink) saw as not important to report. It would be of considerable interest to know how the enemy force grew over time, as the third citation was re-issued (that's right, RE-issued, in 1985). They had to be re-issued for an undisclosed reason, which some assert was a less-than-honorable discharge.

You also made reference to the after-action reports of 28 Feb 1969 supporting the numerically superior force.

The Spot Report for 28 Feb 1969 reads this way-

PCF REMAINED AT ORIGINAL AMBUSH SITE TO PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR TROOPS. PCF 94 AND 23 PROCEEDED TO VQ 984831 AND THEN TURNED TO RETURN TO PCF 43 LOCATION. AT V1 9843O A B-40 ROCKET EXPLODED IN WATER CLOSE ABOARD PCF 94 BLOWING OUT WINDOW FRAME. BOTH UNITS RECEIVED HEAVY SMALL ARMS FIRE AND OTC AGAIN CALLED UNITS TO TURN INTO FIRE AND CHARGE AMBUSH SITE. PCF 43 WAS CALLED TO AND MOVED IMMEDIATELY TO ASSIST. PCF 94 BEACHED IN CENTER OF AMBUSH IN FRONT OF SMALL PATH WHEN VC SPRUNG UP FROM BUNKER 10 FEET FROM UNIT. MAN RAN WITH WEAPON TOWARDS HOOTCH. FORWARD M-60 GUNNER WOUNDED HIM IN LEG. OINC JUMPED ASHORE AND GAVE PURSUIT WHILE OTHER UNITS SATURATED AREA WITH WITH FIRE AND BEACHED PLACING ASSULT PARTIES ASHORE. ONIC OF PCF 94 CHASED VC INLAND BEHIND HOOTCH AND SHOT HIM WHILE HE FLEED CAPTURING ONE B-40 ROCKET LAUNCHER WITH ROUND IN CHAMBER.

There is no mention of a "numerically superior force." It was written in 1969 immedately after the incident. Where exactly did you get your information? It is incorrect. Neither the Spot Report nor the first two versions of the Silver Star citations make any mention of a "numerically superior force." Only in reports written, or rewritten, much later do any of these interesting little facts appear.

The after-action report on Kerry's own website reads: 28 FEB 1969 Bay Hap River
Three PCFs were traveling up the Bay Hap River with 70 South Vietnamese Militia investigating an area where the boats were ambushed the previous night. During the patrol, the boats came under heavy fire from the shore. Kerry, serving as the Officer in Tactical Command of the mission, ordered the units to turn toward the fire and beach. As the boats approached shore, more than 20 Viet Cong troops stood up and ran. They were quickly overrun when the Marines troops reached the shore. While the Militia searched the area, PCFs 23 and 94 left to investigate another site where an Army advisor reported gunshots. Returning from the site, a B-40 rocket exploded close to PCF94, blowing out one of the windows. Kerry again ordered the units to turn into the fire and charge the ambush site. PCF 94 landed in the center of ambush and a man jumped up holding a B-40 rocket launcher and started to run. The forward M-60 gunner on PCF94 wounded him in the leg as Kerry jumped off the boat and chased him inland behind a hooch and shot him. Marines swept the area, and received fire from snipers and small arms that was suppressed with the assistance of mortars and gunfire from the swiftboats. The landing parties found vast stores of rice, ammunition and clothing. The boats were fired on one additional time as they were heading back down the river. The site of the second ambush was believed to be a major Viet Cong supply point. Kerry received the Silver Star for this operation.

Again, no mention of any "numerically superior force." You specifically said that the after action reports support your claim of numerical superiority. It does NOT. You lied, Mr. Koppel.

To suggest that the Communists of Vietnam do not have an agenda is patently absurd. John Kerry was the best friend the Vietnamese Communists ever had, and it is why his picture hangs today in the Hall of Heroes in Ho Chi Minh City, something you clearly did not want O'Neill to make known.

You broadcast an essentially false report. You accepted the word of the Vietnamese over that of the decorated Swift Boat vets and even that of John Kerry himself. You have omitted critical details that change entirely the perspective. It was totally dishonest.

Sincerely

Doctor John,I too wr... (Below threshold)
SMSarge:

Doctor John,
I too wrote comments to Nightline, though not as erudite or well thought out as yours: I immediately jumped out of bed and vented my spleen on this smear job. I encourage others who have written here to also tell Nightline, and perhaps ABC (above ABC news) what they think of the Koppel 'piece'. I wrote:
---
I'm certain that in the eyes of all but the most rabid Bush-Haters, Ted Koppel's attempts at misdirection failed miserably.

The play by play so far: Kerry makes printed comments about a combat event where he garnered a medal. The Swiftees point out Kerry's actions were hardly worthy of that medal based upon Kerry's own words and the observations of other Americans present. Nightline dredges up some old Viet Cong decades later who assert that what happened was closer (in the eyes of ABC) to the "official" report. How is that relevant to John O'Neil's and the Swiftees argument that Kerry (by his own words!) supports their assertion he didn't deserve the medal? Is it ABCs contention that an official report of unknown pedigree should be believed over Kerry's public assertions now that the report is 'corroborated' by a former enemy combatant still living under a Communist regime (that considers Kerry one of THEIR war heroes)?
This was the best cherry-picking ABC could do? I particularly like the assertion that the old VC was approached by a Swiftee and the alleged dialog between them. I guess if the VC say a Swiftee approached them that's good enough for ABC? What if a Swiftee DID approach a VC to learn something about the incident? I guess the VC's summary about the content of the conversation would be proof enough for ABC as well? Nice investigative 'journalism' there boys.

Too bad (for you) it didn't play out to your script. O'Neil stayed true to the Swiftees argumentative course, while Koppel performed the journalistic equivalent of pointing out into space and shouting "Hey! Isn't that the Goodrich Blimp?". On a personal note Ted, that pasty white blob of lard that O'Neil handed you...was your ass.
---
Check Six everyone!

I made the mistake of readi... (Below threshold)

I made the mistake of reading the comments over on Kevin Drum's posting about this. Talk about bizarre.

In Wizbang's comments section, I get facts. In Drum's comment section, no facts were circulated, It was all ad hominem attacks and how Koppel pissed all over O'Neill and made him seem "pathetic" by repeating himself. They neglected to mention that what O'Neill was repeating suggests Kerry is a liar. Their worship of Kerry is pretty astounding. And O'Neill's criticism of him is seen as paranoia, rather than an all-out effort to prevent a dishonest man from gaining power.

Oh, yeah, and it's all Karl Rove's fault, but he'll be out of here soon because they're digging up dirt on him "as we speak." I don't think they realize that even if a report entitled, "Karl Rove caught blowing goats in 1983" surfaced, the majority of the US population would say, "Who's Karl Rove?" And they would continue to be skeeved out by Kerry.

Thank God for you, Wizbang.

Hey let's focus on the wron... (Below threshold)
Brad:

Hey let's focus on the wrong things because it is convenient for our point of view. One could endlessly argue the details of what happened a long time ago but John was in Vietnam and George had strings pulled so he could hide during the war stateside. The rest are just details!!




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Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

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