by John Hawkins | August 30, 2004 12:01 am
In my opinion, the most fascinating thing to come to light during the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Vs. John Kerry brouhaha that has played out this month has been the sheer number of times that John Kerry’s own biography, “Tour of Duty,” has directly contradicted his version of events. Let me show you what I mean….
Event: John Kerry’s 1968 Christmas trip to Cambodia.
Kerry’s Version: Originally, Kerry claimed he was in Cambodia on Christmas Eve of 1968,
“I remember Christmas of 1968, sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia, I remember what it was like to be shot at by the Vietnamese and the Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and the President of the United States telling the American people that I was not there, the troops were not in Cambodia. I have that memory which is seared — seared — in me.”
Since then, the story has changed, but the Kerry campaign is still claiming Kerry was in Cambodia at some point, although they have been unable to produce any sort of verification for that beyond John Kerry’s word.
SBVFT Version: Kerry was not in Cambodia on Christmas of 1968. To the best of their knowledge, Kerry was never in Cambodia at all.
From “Tour of Duty” — which never makes any mention of Kerry going into Cambodia on any occasion by the way,
“Christmas Eve, 1968, turned out to be memorable for the men of PCF-44 though not in the jingle-bells sense folks were enjoying back home. The only concession to the holiday spirit was that morning’s rare breakfast of scrambled eggs, after which the crew headed their Swift north [from Sa Dec] up the Co Chien river to its junction with the My Tho only miles from the Cambodian border.”
Event: John Kerry’s first Purple Heart
Kerry’s Version: Kerry was hit by hostile fire which led to him later getting his first Purple Heart.
SBVFT Version: Kerry was not under fire. Instead, he was scratched (the wound was fixed with a band-aid) by a fragment from a grenade fired by his own M-79 grenade launcher. Kerry was attempting to hit a fleeing VC, but aimed at an object too close to his own position. That means he was ineligible for a Purple Heart.
From “Tour of Duty” on December 11th, 9 days after Kerry received his Purple Heart…
“They pulled away from the pier at Cat Lo with spirits high, feeling satisfied with the way things were going for them. They had no lust for battle, but they also were not afraid. Kerry wrote in his notebook, ‘A cocky feeling of invincibility accompanied us up the Long Tau shipping channel because we hadn’t been shot at yet, and Americans at war who haven’t been shot at are allowed to be cocky.”
Bonus: Here’s the Kerry campaign’s Clintonian explanation of why “we hadn’t been shot at yet” didn’t actually mean that they “hadn’t been shot at yet”.
Event: Kerry’s Third Purple Heart
Kerry’s Version: Kerry received his Purple Heart for “shrapnel wounds in left buttocks and contusions on (the) right forearm when a mine detonated close aboard”.
SBVFT Version: A bruise on Kerry’s arm would not have been enough to qualify him for a Purple Heart and the wound to his buttocks was accidentally self-inflicted earlier in the day when Kerry was not under fire. That means Kerry’s third Purple Heart was a fraud as well.
From “Tour of Duty” on the same day that Kerry later received his Purple Heart…
“The Nung blew up some huge bins of rice they had found, as it was assumed, as always, that these were the local stockpiles earmarked to feed the hungry VC [Viet Cong] moving through the Delta smuggling weapons. ‘I got a piece of small grenade in my ass from one of the rice-bin explosions, and then we started to move back to the boats, firing to our rear as we went,’ Kerry related.”
Event: The “No man left behind” incident. It happened during the engagement in which Kerry received his third Purple Heart & Bronze Star.
Kerry’s Version: All the other Swift Boats ran from the ambush while Kerry’s boat charged to the rescue. From a January press release by the Kerry campaign.
“Rassmann, a Green Beret, was traveling down the Bay Hap river in a boat behind Kerry’s when both were ambushed by exploding land mines and enemy fire coming from the shore. Kerry was hit in the arm, while a mine blew Rassmann’s boat out of the water. With enemy fire coming from both sides of the river and swift boats evacuating from the area, Kerry’s crew chose to turn their boat toward the ambush to save Rassmann.”
SBVFT Version (In part — they actually dispute a lot of what was said to to have happened on that day including that they were ever under enemy fire): Kerry’s boat was the only one that evacuated the area while all the other boats stayed to helped the people injured.
From the “Tour of Duty” description of what happened…..
“I turned the boat into the fire on the left with the intention of trying to get the troops ashore on the outskirts of the ambush, but Sandusky, who was driving the boat and who had his eyes glued on the crippled 3 boat, pointed out to me how badly hit they had been. We veered back toward her then and tried to provide cover from the engaged side.”
So who’s lying here — John Kerry or his own biography?
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