Swift Boat Veterans For Truth On Kerry’s War Record

Despite the fact that John Kerry has made his four months in Vietnam the centerpiece of his entire campaign, the mainstream media has given him a complete free pass on his time spent in Vietnam. Perhaps more importantly, the media has allowed John Kerry to gloss over his days after the war, when his disgraceful behavior could be fairly compared to that of other radical anti-war protestors like Ramsey Clark and Jane Fonda.

However, because of the Democrat’s foolish attempt to muzzle the VERY EFFECTIVE new Swift Boat Veterans For Truth ad, this entire issue is starting to break wide open.

Now, I’m not a vet, and I’m not going to criticize John Kerry for time in Vietnam. To the contrary, I applaud him for risking his life in Vietnam, serving his country, and winning medals. The White House has taken the same position. Here’s a quote from the Bush Admin in a misleadingly titled article called, “White House repudiates anti-Kerry ad”…

“We have been very clear in stating that, you know, we will not and we have not and we will not question Senator Kerry’s service in Vietnam,” spokesman Scott McClellan said as US President George W. Bush made a campaign stop here.”

Note that they did not actually repudiate the ad, they just ** WISELY ** said they’re not criticizing Kerry’s record (although blowhard John McCain, who loves nothing better than going against the grain in a situation like this in order to draw praise from a fawning press, did speak out against the ads).

That being said, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has members who fought beside of John Kerry (albeit in different boats), who were in his chain of command, & who actually had their photos used in Kerry campaign ads.

So as far as I’m concerned, they are VERY CREDIBLE and have EVERY RIGHT to publicly nail John Kerry if they think he’s exaggerating his record. In fact, I think they’re more credible than his shipmates in many respects. After all, you gotta figure it’s human nature for guys who fought together on the same boat to stick up for each other.

But, you have to wonder why almost everyone who served with Kerry other than his shipmates doesn’t seem to think much of him. What about the doctor who treated the wound — with a band-aid I might add — that led to Kerry’s first Purple Heart? Why doesn’t he support Kerry? Why is it that “19 of 23 officers who served with Kerry & every commanding officer he ever had in Vietnam” all think he’s “unfit to be commander-in-chief“? Why is it that men who were fighting side by side with John Kerry in other boats are telling stories like this one?

“Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, however, in signed affidavits now in UPI’s possession, say Kerry’s shrapnel wounds were self-inflicted earlier in the day when he tossed a grenade into a sampan carrying rice and that there was no enemy fire at Kerry’s boat or others involved in the incident. They point to mentions of the buttock wounds from the grenade and flying rice grains that appear in a number of stories by Kerry or about him in earlier articles and books, in contrast to his account for the casualty report.

They noted the self-inflicted rice injury was mentioned on page 105 of the book “John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography by the Boston Globe Reporters Who Know Him Best” and in the book “Tour of Duty.” But according to the official casualty report, “Lt. J.G. Kerry suffered shrapnel wounds in his left buttock and contusions on his right forearm when a mine detonated close aboard PCF-94” (his boat). There was no mention of a wound that would draw blood on the arm.

Swift boat veterans who spoke to UPI also said that when the mine exploded some 50 yards from Kerry, he initially “fled” the scene, leaving other patrol boats to circle the stricken vessel and rescue men in the water, before returning four to five minutes later to join the rescue effort when it was clear they were not under fire.

“The truth is, the one who left everybody behind was John Kerry. Everyone else stayed,” one of the Swift boat veterans said.

Rassmann, according to Thurlow, fell off Kerry’s boat after Kerry accelerated when the mine went off under the other boat, which was on the other side of the river.

“There was absolutely no fire coming from any direction,” Van Odell, a gunner aboard a boat behind the stricken vessel told UPI. “There were no tracers, there were no bullet holes in the boats, no one else was wounded. We came around (to rescue men) … and at this point, of course, Kerry’s boat was way down river.

“If there was any fire we should have had holes in our boat, we should have had other wounded. We didn’t. Kerry fled the scene and then he comes back. We couldn’t leave. The (damaged) boat was dead in the water. We stayed there to protect those people.”

The media should be asking why all these men who fought side by side with a war hero, not only don’t back him for President, but think he’s unfit to be commander-and-chief.

To make a long story short, this isn’t some bunch of kooks or a group secretly hand picked by Karl Rove. They’re vets, a lot of them knew John Kerry in Vietnam, & they risked their lives for our country too. So as far as I’m concerned, the voters deserve to know what these men have to say…

*** More quotes from the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth here. ***

*** Update #1 ***: Ugh…read this story about Kerry and ask yourself if we can trust him to be the next leader of the free world…

“George Bates, an officer in Coastal Division 11, participated in numerous operations with Kerry. In UNFIT FOR COMMAND, Bates recalls a particular patrol with Kerry on the Song Bo De River. He is still “haunted” by the incident:

With Kerry in the lead, the boats approached a small hamlet with three or four grass huts. Pigs and chickens were milling around peacefully. As the boats drew closer, the villagers fled. There were no political symbols or flags in evidence in the tiny village. It was obvious to Bates that existing policies, decency, and good sense required the boats to simply move on.

Instead, Kerry beached his boat directly in the small settlement. Upon his command, the numerous small animals were slaughtered by heavy-caliber machine guns. Acting more like a pirate than a naval officer, Kerry disembarked and ran around with a Zippo lighter, burning up the entire hamlet.

Bates has never forgotten Kerry’s actions.”

*** Update #2***: Here’s John O’Neill from Swift Boat Veterans For Truth tearing into John Kerry for his disgraceful behavior…back in 1971!

“I’d like to turn to a second issue. Mr. Kerry is the type of person who lives and survives only on the war weariness and fears of the American people. This is the same little man who on nationwide television in April spoke of, quote, “crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command,” who was quoted in a prominent news magazine in May as saying, quote, “war crimes in Vietnam are the rule and not the exception,” unquote. Who brought 50 veterans down to Washington to testify about alleged atrocities in April, the same 50 who after they had appeared on every major news network refused to provide any depositions or provide any details of any kind.

Never in the course of human events have so many been libeled by so few.

There were two and a half million of us who served there in Vietnam under the most severe restrictions in this nation’s history. We have brought this war close to a close. We never engaged in mass bombing of population centers, as all nations did in World War II, and the reason we did not is because we are a moral people.

Fifty-five thousand Americans died there in Vietnam no matter what they thought about the war because they believed in this country, and those of us who survived came back to this country, by and large determined just to resume our normal lives after the disruption caused by war.

We encountered a variety of problems: unemployment, discrimination, other problems, and then we encountered the biggest problem of them all, the big lie by Mr. Kerry and his group, that we were either each individually war criminals or that we were collectively the executioners of a criminal policy.

You’ve seen that all before, guilt by association. If one or 50 or 150 veterans testify as to war crimes, then all two and a half million of us must be war criminals. That’s the same as saying if one Jew or one black commits one murder in this country, then all the Jews and all of the blacks in this country must be murderers, and that is something that we must not stand for in this country….”

*** Update #3 ***: More from John Cole at Balloon Juice & BitsBlog on the way the Democrats & the press are dealing with these huge broadsides being leveled at John Kerry’s credibility.

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