Bloggers on the Radio

Matt Yglessias and Citizen Smash were just on the Hugh Hewitt show. The discussion centered mainly on John Kerry’s Vietnam records and whether his statement on Meet The Press Sunday that he’d already released the records, when he in fact just released them today, was a lie that was going to be a big issue in the campaign. Matt and Smash were both rather adamant that there didn’t seem to be much to it, but Hewitt persisted for the entire segment.

Unless there’s some monumental revelation forthcoming here, this is a decided non-issue. I think Kerry’s flip-flopping will be a cornerstone of the Bush campaign and could well stick. This particular instance is less than trivial, though. And, as has been pointed out here and elsewhere, one doesn’t have to be greviously injured to get a Purple Heart.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. mark says:

    I am confused as to why he did not just release all the records to begin with. It makes me wonder if there is an “Admiral Borda” scandal brewing…

  2. R Gardner says:

    The latest is that his records are on his website (120 pages worth), but some of the press reports are silly, “show a highly praised naval officer with an Ivy League education who spoke fluent French and had raced sailboats — the fruits of a privileged upbringing that set him apart from the typical seaman.” Kerry was an officer, so of course he isn’t the typical seaman. And all Naval Line Officers of that era were expected to have at least basic understanding of sailing (I used to teach it a couple of decades later).

    I love the part where thay are quoting a form that Kerry himself filled out listing his education and experiences as something specifically noted by the military.

    Likewise, the recommendation for early promotion to O-3 is mentioned as if it was something special. My experience is much later, but I’m pretty sure that 90%+ of O-2s got this recommendation. It would have been notable if he hadn’t gotten it. Without a baseline to compare against, it is meaningless. For example, it mentions that he had some “average” marks. In the 80s average marks were career ending beyond the schools (sort of like Lake Wobegone, where everyone is above average).

    The service records of an O-1 (Ensign) are useless, unless documenting problems, or spectacular achievement (top 10 in class of 200, or some such). His O-2 (LTjg) records, particularly when serving at an operational command are important for making O-3 (LT), and of marginal value for assessing him today unless there is some major screw-up in them that was being hidden (which reflects directly on today).

    In any case, press reviews of any military service records are apt to show press ignorance of things military, so I’m sure we’re in for more of this.

  3. Attila Girl says:

    Speaking from the non-military point of view, though, every time one of his contemporaries pops up to remark that he sustained equivalent injuries but did *not* apply for a purple heart, I think Kerry looks bad.

  4. cherkov says:

    So Flip-Flop-Kerry releases all his records under pressure.

    Now, if we had all of the Bush records released we might have an issue.

    So far all i can see is a rather disgusting discussion about one guy’s injuries (the guy who actually did serve in Vietnam) vs. a dead topic on the other guy (who checked the box “do not volunteer for overseas duty”, whatever he did afterwards is still unclear).

    Mind you, i’m not sure anybody should run on his war record, but since the issue was brought up…

  5. capt joe says:

    I do believe that all Bush’s records have been released. Not all Kerry’s records have been released yet. Particularly the circumstances of the medical reports on his purple hearts.

    Now, you can dance around and conspiracy monger that there are some super secret special records yet to be found. I doubt that people like you would ever be satisfied no matter what.

    The issue was that the Kerry/McAuliffe Camp was raging on GWB for “hidden” records while Kerry’s own records were not released. Likewise, Dean on GWB’s supposedly sealed governers records (which weren’t sealed at all) vs his own sealed vermont records (which were sealed for longer than the normal amount of time). In other words, the issue was one of massive hypocrisy.