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Kerry's Cambodia Whopper

Well- It took the Washington Post a while to find the Cambodia story but when they did, it was devastating.

Kerry's Cambodia Whopper

Most of the debate between the former shipmates who swear by John Kerry and the group of other Swift boat veterans who are attacking his military record focuses on matters that few of us have the experience or the moral standing to judge. But one issue, having nothing to do with medals, wounds or bravery under fire, goes to the heart of Kerry's qualifications for the presidency and is therefore something that each of us must consider. That is Kerry's apparently fabricated claim that he fought in Cambodia. ...

When the Swift boat veterans who oppose Kerry presented statements from his commanders and members of his unit denying that his boat entered Cambodia, none of Kerry's shipmates came forward, as they had on other issues, to corroborate his account. Two weeks ago Kerry's spokesmen began to backtrack. First, one campaign aide explained that Kerry had patrolled the Mekong Delta somewhere "between" Cambodia and Vietnam. But there is no between; there is a border. Then another spokesman told reporters that Kerry had been "near Cambodia." But the point of Kerry's 1986 speech was that he personally had taken part in a secret and illegal war in a neutral country. That was only true if he was "in Cambodia," as he had often said he was. If he was merely "near," then his deliberate misstatement falsified the entire speech.

Next, the campaign leaked a new version through the medium of historian Douglas Brinkley, author of "Tour of Duty," a laudatory book on Kerry's military service. Last week Brinkley told the London Telegraph that while Kerry had been 50 miles from the border on Christmas, he "went into Cambodian waters three or four times in January and February 1969 on clandestine missions." Oddly, though, while Brinkley devotes nearly 100 pages of his book to Kerry's activities that January and February, pinpointing the locations of various battles and often placing Kerry near Cambodia, he nowhere mentions Kerry's crossing into Cambodia, an inconceivable omission if it were true.

Now a new official statement from the campaign undercuts Brinkley. It offers a minimal (thus harder to impeach) claim: that Kerry "on one occasion crossed into Cambodia," on an unspecified date. But at least two of the shipmates who are supporting Kerry's campaign (and one who is not) deny their boat ever crossed the border, and their testimony on this score is corroborated by Kerry's own journal, kept while on duty. One passage reproduced in Brinkley's book says: "The banks of the [Rach Giang Thanh River] whistled by as we churned out mile after mile at full speed. On my left were occasional open fields that allowed us a clear view into Cambodia. At some points, the border was only fifty yards away and it then would meander out to several hundred or even as much as a thousand yards away, always making one wonder what lay on the other side." His curiosity was never satisfied, because this entry was from Kerry's final mission.


If -- as seems almost surely the case -- Kerry himself has lied about what he did in Vietnam, and has done so not merely to spice his biography but to influence national policy, then he is surely not the kind of man we want as our president.


Although, I note this is an editorial opinion piece. Presumably, an editorial opinion piece is an opinion based on the stories run in the paper. Sadly for the WaPo, this editorial opinion piece must be shocking news to their readers who had no idea this information is weeks old and the Post has ignored it.


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Comments (16)

It's not an editorial, it's... (Below threshold)

It's not an editorial, it's an opinion piece -- by someone who works at AEI, no less.

I agree with everything he says but you're making it sound here like he's speaking for WaPo, which he most definitely is not.

you are ten thousand percen... (Below threshold)

you are ten thousand percent correct, slip of the keyboard but it is germane. thanks

Before you go whining- I di... (Below threshold)

Before you go whining- I did not delete you because you disagreed, see the post below. I disagreed because you are an idiot.

And if you took that readin... (Below threshold)

And if you took that reading lesson I suggested, you'd know I already corrected it.

Grow up

Was Kerry the one giving tr... (Below threshold)

Was Kerry the one giving troop directions?
Is it not possible Kerry was brought into combat by others who could have misinformed him of the location? Maybe he asked where they were and his commander said 'near cambodia' on the border of cambodia. Who knows, that is as much an assumption as assuming he lied, not just made a mistake.

Bush made a mistake on the WMD.. and you know you proably hate when people call him a liar.

Actually nitro- If... (Below threshold)

Actually nitro-

If you want to reduce it to a semantical word game- Bush was not mistaken on the WMD, the intelligence folks were, he repeated it.

But keep swinging a hockey stick at baseballs. Sooner or later you'll get a touchdown.

Oh Holy Mother of GOD!... (Below threshold)

Oh Holy Mother of GOD!

Kerry was the boat commander. It was his responsibilty to know where in God's green earth his command was located at any given time of day or night.

That these is so much wiggle room of the location that he was at, just speaks volumes about how big a load of crap his 'seared' memory is.

He was the boat commander a... (Below threshold)

He was the boat commander also during the crossings into cambodia? I have not seen refrence to his position during this event. If so, concider me corrected. My bad.

An opinion piece is not "an... (Below threshold)

An opinion piece is not "an opinion based on the stories run in the newspapers". As often as not, it's based on a point of view opposed to the opinions or facts as presented by the newspaper. Do you ever read the op-ed page?

<a href="http://slate.msn.c... (Below threshold)


This article argues that Kerry was in Cambodia. And even if he wasn't, he was so close that this "lie" (a misuse of the word which I find highly reprehensible) is hardly a "whopper."

I must say, this whole argument seems ridiculous. Even if Kerry's boat didn't enter Cambodia, this fact: that the border was unmarked and combatants on both sides crossed the border regularly and without obstruction, argues for the meaninglessness of it all.

Kerry was on a mission to deliver black ops guys into Cambodia. Does anyone seriously doubt that?

It's like arguing with your hiking buddy if you crossed into Montana from Wyoming while visiting Yellowstone National Park. Any objective third party watching the argument would likely conclude that those hikers have "serious issues".

The "Christmas in Cambodia"... (Below threshold)

The "Christmas in Cambodia" speech Kerry gave in the US senate in 1986 is important for only one reason, and it's not that he lied. All politicians lie. It's important because of the reason WHY he was there in the senate to give a speech in the first place. He had just returned from Nicaragua, having met with Daniel Ortega, the communist leader of the Sandanistas. Kerry gave that speech to try and convince President Reagan to hold off on supporting the Contras. During that speech, Mr. Ortega was on a plane to Moscow to make sure he had Moscow's backing for his revolution. If you read the whole speech, it's about how Daniel Ortega "Had no connection to the Soviets" and a communist take over was impossible. Taken with the fact that Kerry met with North Vietnamese officials in France during the Vietnam war and tried to give them tips on how to assure Nixon's eventual pullout, I guess one could surmise Mr. Kerry is a communist in Democrats clothing.

Stewart, the land borders ... (Below threshold)

Stewart, the land borders with Cambodia were unmarked and spottily guarded, actually less spotty than one would think but, yes, someone on land could easily inadvertantly or purposely cross that border. Trouble is, Swift Boats didn't have either legs nor wheels.
All, repeat all, navigable waterways had control points belonging to both sides. By late '68 these were quite elaborate. The roadways in the area were, and probably still are, so rudimentary and primitive that the easiest way to move heavy munitions was, and probably still is, by water. In case you don't know, armies care about interdicting the routes over which one moves heavy munitions.
Mr. Kerry's lie is actually fairly easy to visualise. I'm told that those Swift Boats were some fifty feet long. Imagine sneaking a semi-trailor past a checkpoint.

David Corn: In 1978, Bush, ... (Below threshold)

David Corn: In 1978, Bush, while running for Congress in West Texas, produced campaign literature that claimed he had served in the US Air Force. [cut] Bush had never served in the Air Force.


John O'Neill is on tape tel... (Below threshold)

John O'Neill is on tape telling Nixon he went into Cambodia on a Swift Boat. Is he a liar too? If so, then why in the world does anyone believe his lies in his book written with the anti-semite Corsi?

Bush supporters sure pick strange champions.

It seems fewer and fewer pe... (Below threshold)

It seems fewer and fewer people believe the SBVT.

Mainstream news agencies, who lean on the "he said / she said" model, almost never come out and say someone "LIED", but the Associated Press just did:

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

Other items:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kerry-Loathing Swift Boaters Sinking Facts (NY Observer)

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

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

And finally,

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

Congrats Raven, You have pr... (Below threshold)

Congrats Raven, You have proven the media is trying to duck the story. Welll Done.






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