by John Hawkins | August 11, 2004 6:37 pm
Washington, DC – Aides to presidential candidate John Kerry today dismissed as “obscene libel” and “preposterous lies” a new book that questions Kerry’s service during the Vietnam War.
Written by a group of veterans who served with Kerry during his 4-month tour, “Misfit For Duty: John F. Kerry’s Christmas Turkey” claims that Kerry embellished his war exploits, including a clandestine mission to the Arctic ocean on Christmas Eve 1968 to assassinate a rogue island of misfit toys.
Democratic spokesman Lanny Davis ripped the book as “unvarnished lies straight from Santa’s North Pole sleaze workshop, dictated to a cabal of unhinged losers who represent a only a tiny majority of John Kerry’s beloved Band of Brothers.”
At Salon.com, Joe Conason also slammed the authors, writing that “I find it ludicrous that anyone would seriously believe anything a typical Vietnam vet psychopath would say about John Kerry.”
Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill noted while the authors some may served with Kerry, none had been on his polar boat, and several were members of the Republican party.
“The fact that these men do not support John Kerry in the election, well, that pretty much sums up where they’re coming from,” says Cahill.
Despite threats of “legal action and/or incineration” from Kerry campaign lawyers, the book has risen to #1 on several online bookseller sites. Some analyst attribute its rapid sales to promotion on right-wing internet sites. Others point to billionaire Democratic financier George Soros, who yesterday announced a $5 million campaign to buy and burn the entire first printing.
Whatever the case, the book has sparked renewed controversy over the Vietnam war, and Kerry’s part in it.
‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
The harrowing story of a daring foray to the North Pole has long been a staple of Kerry’s Vietnam biography. In 1970 as a 26-year-old veteran, Kerry testified to a Senate Committee that he and other US soldiers had participated in atrocities against indiginous Misfit Island toys, “including rape, torture, dismemberment, firecrackers, and other so-called ‘reindeer games.'”
“Christmas ’68, I remember it as if it were yesterday,” Kerry is quoted in a 1985 interview with the Boston Globe. “There was Linus, and me, and Herbie the Elf, dodging tracer fire from reindeers and misfit toys alike, and unloading .50 caliber rounds into the Abominable Snowman. Herbie got taken out by AW fire from a spotted elephant. He was just a damned kid, who only wanted to get back stateside and study dentistry.”
In the interview, Kerry said the episode scarred him, turning him against the war and for truth in government.
“It was completely surreal,” recalled Kerry. “We we taking clay fire left and right, and styrofoam shrapnel, and meanwhile the President was all over CNN claiming we weren’t even there. It was then I finally realized that Ronald Reagan’s Vietnam adventure was nothing but a lie.”
In a later recollection during a 1991 Senate floor speech denouncing the Gulf War, Kerry said he was recruited for the secret holiday mission during a Bob Hope USO Christmas special.
“Hope was Nixon’s shadow CIA station chief in Saigon,” said Kerry. “During a skit with Phyllis Diller, he blinked a morse code message that I was to take his covert bikini go-go girl assassination squad to the Arctic to take out the a nest of Khmer Blanc.”
The illegal mission was “seared, seared into my memory,” said Kerry, who used it as an example of how war corrupts government officials.
“There I was, strafing helpless misfit toys with Joey Heatherton, Jill St. John, Lola Falana and Raquel Welch,” said Kerry. “Our fire dispersed the insurgents, and I could have shot several of the fleeing toys in the back, but I didn’t. Down in Saigon they say, my small heart grew three sizes that day.”
In a 2003 Washington Post profile, Kerry even displayed a souvenir from the mission.
“Who told you about this? Even my friends don’t know about it,” said Kerry, pulling a musty fur bikini top from a secret compartment in his attache case. Kerry said it was “a good luck charm” given to him by covert CIA agent Nancy Sinatra.
Putting on the bra, Kerry formed his hands into pantomime guns.
“Pow! Kapow! k-k-k-k-brrrudda brrrudda shpeww!” he added, blowing imaginary smoke from his fingertips.
In his recent biography A John Kerry Christmas, the candidate seemed to back off his earlier claims, saying that he and his crew were only “near the Arctic.” However, he provided biographer Douglas Brinkley additional background details of the mission.
“I can only speculate why Bob Hope recruited me,” said Kerry. “I know he was concerned that his ex-partner Bing Crosby had been ‘flipped’ by Viet Cong agent David Bowie when they taped that ‘Little Drummer Boy’ duet.”
After returning from the mission, Kerry told Brinkley that Hope offered him a co-starring role in the secret CIA musical comedy ‘Road to Cambodia,’ but he was determined by then to speak out against the war.
“There must have been some magic in that old Vietnamese silk hat I found,” said Kerry. “For when I put it on my head I began to change around.”
NAUGHTY OR NICE?
In stark contrast to his personal recollections of the mission, the authors of “Misfit For Duty” maintain that neither Kerry’s crew, nor Nancy Sinatra, can recall having ever been to the Arctic. The authors also claim that Kerry’s Swift Boat would have neither the fuel nor speed to travel 11,000 nautical miles to the Arctic Sea in one night, and that its aluminum hull would not have been able to penetrate the thick December ice pack. The book also cites official Navy logs that place Kerry in a safe billet that night, and notes several studies that question the existence of Santa Claus, a key component of Kerry’s CIA mission story.
While maintaining the charges “did not merit a response,” Kerry campaign manager Cahill refered reporters to the landmark 1946 case of Gimbel v. Kringle.
“If the GOP’s hatchetmen want to argue before the American people that there is no Santa Claus, I say bring it on,” said Cahill, who added that Kerry’s story was “fully verified” by the late Burl Ives in 1971.
As of posting time, the sharply conflicting accounts were drawing the increasing scrutiny of the press. All major news networks have announced major psychiatric investigations of the book’s authors, as well as their religious affiliations, drinking habits, links to the Republican Party, Rupert Murdock, the Illuminati, and the Rotary Club.
“It’s time we get to the bottom of why these so-called ‘war heroes’ would make such unbelievable, scurrilous allegations of a war hero,” said ABC Nightline correspondent Jake Tapper.
“They say the first casualty of war is truth,” he noted. “What kind of ghouls go around parading the corpse?”
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