Did Kerry Stage War Footage?
Matt Drudge is breaking what, if true, would be perhaps the most bizarre general election campaign story in my memory:
A bombshell new book written by the man who took over John Kerry’s Swift Boat charges: Kerry reenacted combat scenes for film while in Vietnam! The footage is at the center of a growing controversy in Boston. The official convention video introducing Kerry is directed by Steven Spielberg protÃƒ©gÃƒ© James Smoll. Smoll was given hours of Kerry’s homemade 8 millimeter film to incorporate into the convention short, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
“Kerry carried a home movie camera to record his exploits for later viewing,” charges a naval officer in the upcoming book UNFIT FOR COMMAND. “Kerry would revisit ambush locations for reenacting combat scenes where he would portray the hero, catching it all on film. Kerry would take movies of himself walking around in combat gear, sometimes dressed as an infantryman walking resolutely through the terrain. He even filmed mock interviews of himself narrating his exploits. A joke circulated among Swiftees was that Kerry left Vietnam early not because he received three Purple Hearts, but because he had recorded enough film of himself to take home for his planned political campaigns.”
The BOSTON GLOBE reported in 1996 that the Kerry home movies “reveal something indelible about the man who shot them – the tall, thin, handsome Naval officer seen striding through the reeds in flak jacket and helmet, holding aloft the captured B-40 rocket. The young man so unconscious of risk in the heat of battle, yet so focused on his future ambitions that he would reenact the moment for film. It is as if he had cast himself in the sequel to the experience of his hero, John F. Kennedy, on the PT-109.”
Several possibilities here:
- The author has an axe to grind and is simply lying.
- There is an “innocent” rationale for the films (orders from on high for training purposes, perhaps?).
- This is actually true as reported.
If it’s #1, it will be a major distraction until it gets cleared up, likely dampening any convention bounce, with a probable equal and opposite bounce once it is. Possibility #2 is a stretch, but weirder things have happened. If it’s #3, this would be simply devastating for the Kerry campaign, removing the lynchpin of his backstory.
More on Moll’s film here.
Update (1432): Part 1A is almost certainly true. The author in question is John E. O’Neill of Swift Boat Veterans Against Kerry.
Whether he’s lying is beyond my ability to ascertain at this stage.
Smash is a bit skeptical as well. Some interesting discussion is taking place in his comments section.