Swift Boat Nuts?
Drudge is continuing to flak the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth who, frankly, sound increasingly like lunatics.
VETS CHARGE: KERRY KILLED FLEEING TEEN; LIED FOR MEDAL
Slaughters Animals, Burns Down Tiny Village
A veterans group seeking to deeply discredit Democrat John Kerry’s military service will charge in the new bombshell book UNFIT FOR COMMAND: “Kerry earned his Silver Star by killing a lone, fleeing, teenage Viet Cong in a loincloth.”
“And if Kerry’s superiors had known the truth at the time, they would never have recommended him for the medal.”
The book also claims to detail how Kerry personally ordered the slaughter of small animals at a small hamlet along the Song Bo De River.
The book, set for release next week, hit #1 on the AMAZON hitparade after the DRUDGE REPORT revealed details of the book — a book the Kerry camapign believes is the”the dirtiest of all dirty tricks ever played on a candidate for the presidency.”
The Kerry campaign is planning to vigorously counter the charges and will accuse the veteran’s groups of being well-financed by a top Bush donor from Texas.
The vets have launched a blistering new TV commercial questioning Kerry’s honor and calling him a liar.
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.
UNFIT FOR COMMAND, DRUDGE has learned, claims Kerry “earned his Silver Star by killing a lone, fleeing, teenage Viet Cong in a loincloth.”
ARE THE VETS TELLING THE TRUTH?
“They hired a goddamn private investigator to dig up trash!” charged a top Kerry adviser traveling with the senator late Tuesday. “This is pay for play… How low can they go?”
Kerry supporters are comparing the effort by the veterans to the Arkansas State troopers tell-all against Bill Clinton.
John O’Neill, co-author of UNFIT FOR COMMAND, believes that “Kerry’s Star would never have been awarded had his actions been reviewed through normal channels. In his case, he was awarded the medal two days after the incident with no review. The medal was arranged to boost the morale of Coastal Division 11, but it was based on false and incomplete information provided by Kerry himself.”
According to Kerry’s Silver Star citation, Kerry was in command of a three-boat mission on the Dong Cung River. As the boats approached the target area, they came under intense enemy fire. Kerry ordered his boat to attack and all boats opened fire. He then beached directly in front of the enemy ambushers. In the battle that followed, the crews captured enemy weapons. His boat then moved further up the river to suppress more enemy fire. A rocket exploded near Kerry’s boat, and he ordered to charge the enemy. Kerry beached his boat 10 feet from the rocket position and led a landing party ashore to pursue the enemy.
Kerry’ citation reads: “The extraordinary daring and personal courage of Lt. Kerry in attacking a numerically superior force in the face of intense fire were responsible for the highly successful mission.”
Here’s what O’Neill and the Swiftees say: “According to Kerry’s crewman Michael Madeiros, Kerry had an agreement with him to turn the boat in and onto the beach if fired upon. Each of the three boats involved in the operation was involved in the agreement.” O’Neill writes that one crewman even recalls a discussion of probable medals.
Doug Reese, a pro Kerry Army veteran, recounted what happened that day to O’Neill, “Far from being alone, the boats were loaded with many soldiers commanded by Reese and two other advisors. When fired at, Reese’s boat–not Kerry’s–was the first to beach in the ambush zone. Then Reese and other troops and advisors (not Kerry) disembarked, killing a number of Viet Cong and capturing a number of weapons. None of the participants from Reese’s boat received Silver Stars.
O’Neill continues: “Kerry’s boat moved slightly downstream and was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. . . .A young Viet Cong in a loincloth popped out of a hole, clutching a grenade launcher, which may or may not have been loaded. . . Tom Belodeau, a forward gunner, shot the Viet Cong with an M-60 machine gun in the leg as he fled. . . . Kerry and Medeiros (who had many troops in their boat) took off, perhaps with others, and followed the young Viet Cong and shot him in the back, behind a lean to.”
O’Neill concludes “Whether Kerry’s dispatching of a fleeing, wounded, armed or unarmed teenage enemy was in accordance with the customs of war, it is very clear that many Vietnam veterans and most Swiftees do not consider this action to be the stuff of which medals of any kind are awarded; nor would it even be a good story if told in the cold details of reality. There is no indication that Kerry ever reported that the Viet Cong was wounded and fleeing when dispatched. Likewise, the citation simply ignores the presence of the soldiers and advisors who actually ‘captured the enemy weapons’ and routed the Viet Cong. . . . [and] that Kerry attacked a ‘numerically superior force in the face of intense fire’ is simply false. There was little or no fire after Kerry followed the plan. . . . The lone, wounded, fleeing young Viet Cong in a loincloth was hardly a force superior to the heavily armed Swift Boat and its crew and the soldiers carried aboard.”
DRUDGE learns from UNFIT FOR COMMAND that if Kerry’s superior officers knew the truth, they would never have recommended the award:
“Admiral Roy Hoffmann, who sent a Bravo Zulu (meaning “good work”), to Kerry upon learning of the incident, was very surprised to discover in 2004 what had actually occurred. Hoffmann had been told that Kerry had spontaneously beached next to the bunker and almost single-handedly routed a bunkered force in Viet Cong. He was shocked to find out that Kerry had beached his boat second in a preplanned operation, and that he had killed a single, wounded teenage foe as he fled.”
“Commander Geoge Elliott, who wrote up the initial draft of Kerry’s Silver Star citation, confirms that neither he, nor anyone else in the Silver Star process that he knows, realized before 1996 that Kerry was facing a single, wounded young Viet Cong fleeing in a loincloth. While Commander Elliott and many other Swiftees believe that Kerry committed no crime in killing the fleeing, wounded enemy (with a loaded or empty launcher), others feel differently. Commander Elliott indicates that a Silver Star recommendation would not have been made by him had he been aware of the actual facts.”
Kerry has charged other Vietnam vets, with a rather broad brush, of war crimes and included himself in that number. I’ve never given much credence to either of those things. While I think those statements, which he’s never repudiated, help make him unfit to be commander-in-chief, these sort of allegations strike me as wholly incredible.
Other’s with a take:
- Rusty Shackleford disagrees and notes, at the very least, PETA will be upset.
- Scott Koenig observes, “I CAN ONLY HOPE, should I ever feel the urge to run for office, I don’t have a bunch of my former fellow officers waiting to ambush me like this. On the other hand, I’ve never gone before Congress and declared my brothers-in-arms to be a bunch of war criminals, so I guess I have nothing to worry about in that department.”
- Black-5 has a link to the TV ad (via SondraK).
- Steven Taylor is “skeptical” but keeping an open mind.
- Beldar has some personal knowledge of SBVFTT’s ringleader and finds him credible.
- Kevin Drum is ignoring this because SBVTT are “certifiable lunatics.”
John O’Neill is no nut. I’m frankly stunned that you’d say that, Dr. Joyner it’s not at all your style to shoot from the hip without checking the facts.
I practice law in Houston, and graduated from the same law school as John O’Neill albeit seven years later and without quite the same record he had. My clerkship was merely on the Fifth Circuit, while he clerked on the Supreme Court. And although I was very familiar with his reputation, I’d never met the man before the day I cross-examined John O’Neill as a hostile expert witness in a huge securities fraud jury trial in 1992. My take on that cross-examination, and Mr. O’Neill’s credibility, is here, if you’d care to take a look.
Why should Kerry’s statements about war crimes in Vietnam help make him unfit to be commander-in-cheif?
I wonder if this ad won’t more trouble for President Bush. Highly negative ads are likely to turn off swing voters and may create sympathy for the candidate who is being attacked. John McCain has denounced the ad and has called on the President to do the same. If Bush doesn’t, he will look terrible and McCain could make an issue out of it at the GOP convention. Also, the guy who claims Kerry saved his life is supporting Kerry, that’s very powerful counter testimony against what the Swift Vets for Truth are saying. I say this ad either goes nowhere or backfires.
I practice law in Houston, and graduated from the same law school as John OÃ¢Â€Â™Neill Ã¢Â€Â” albeit seven years later and without quite the same record he had.
Wow, sounds as if you’re about as qualified to comment on O’Neill as O’Neill is qualified to comment on Kerry.
John McCain calls these people ‘dishonest and dishonorable’ and says Bush should condemn the ad immediately.
Kerry could clear up the questions about his Purple Hearts by releasing his military medical records, as the DNC has asked Bush to do. He has lots of documentation on his website, but none that actually describes the injuries. For a guy who has traded on his Vietnam medals his whole career, you would think that Kerry would have released this stuff a long time ago to show what a hero he is–unless, of course, it’s unflattering and backs up the swift boat vet’s claims. Why doesn’t the media simply ask Kerry to describe his injuries? Bush’s military record certainly isn’t stellar, but then he hasn’t based his entire campaign on service in Vietnam. The press went after him and they better go after Kerry too.
Thanks for this, and confirming my respect for you, despite disagreements. It’s hard to write a partisan blog that can be read by people of all stripes (I certainly don’t), but willingness to go against your team when they’re doing things that are just plain wrong is a big plus mark in my book.
ryan: your response to Beldar shows you didn’t read it carefully: he said he had personal experience with Mr. O’Neill cross-examining him. I suggest that does qualify Beldar to comment on his apparent credibility as a witness.
Kerry has pratically built his entire campaign on his Vietnam war service.
If he wanted to us to focus on his political career/accomplishments, he should have just shut his mouth about his 120 days in Vietnam.
He is starting to reap what he has sown.
“Highly negative ads are likely to turn off swing voters and may create sympathy for the candidate who is being attacked.”
Then Bush should win in a landslide thanks to Michael Moore and the Soros funded groups.
McCain is now calling on Bush to blast these ads?
An odd claim to be making, since Kerry managed to change his middle name to ‘served in Vietnam’ and spent months campaigning on that one point, with nary a peep from McCain. Now suddenly he’s concerned?
How uterly transparent.
As for you, James…These poeple are no nutjobs… and I must being taken aback by your comments.
I think McCain put forth a defense both because he’s a gentleman and because he’s been victim to attacks that were similar in tone if not in credibility. Related discussion at this post.
The men in that ad are the same ones in the “Band of Brothers” photo Kerry has used in his ads*. They served with Kerry in Vietnam and know his record firsthand. Why should vets who praise Kerry be given a free ride while those who condemn him, especially those who served with him, be ridiculed and attacked? Don’t they have the same First Amendment rights to voice their opinion of Kerry as anyone else?
*Only 1 of the men in that photo with Kerry support his election. That tells me a lot about Kerry.
ryan, I’ve linked to your comment, and posted an overlong response, in an update at the bottom of my own blogpost on this subject. The update concludes with this description of my first-hand experience cross-examining John O’Neill under oath:
Thanks for helping me clarify my thoughts.
It’s all really sad, ya know? Andrew Sullivan is lionized by conservative bloggers, then he decides he’s going with Kerry, and suddenly he’s a money-grubbing attention-seeking f**. Zell Miller is the star of the Old South Democrats, then he throws himself behind Dubya, and suddenly he’s a traitorous cryptoracist slimeball.
Here James says what a lot of people, conservative and liberal, are thinking — that the charges themselves are wholly incredible, and that these guys look like “lunatics” or at least out to stretch the truth in order to make a buck. What happens? A bunch of you conservatives jump all over him.
What’s the difference between these charges and some of the outside-of-reality stuff that has bantered around about Dubya’s Guard service? What’s the difference between these charges and the wholly unfounded allegations that Clinton had Ron Brown and Vince Foster killed? Here, I’ll answer it for you: Politics. Screw the truth (or even weighing to see if something could be true). What’s important is that it MUST BE TRUE. Loyalty above all.
Politics has so run over the real issues that real debate has been replaced with a game of who can shout their talking point loudest. Disagree and be shot to pieces by withering blog fire. When the hell did the Corleones take over leadership of the Dems and the GOP?
I don’t know if any of this is true, but saying that “well, he seemed to be smart” makes as much sense as defending dumping your life savings into a pyramid scheme because “a real smart guy explained it, so it has to be true.” All I know is that if Kerry were a Medal of Honor winner a bunch of you would spend days on end saying how he didn’t deserve it and someone on the committee must have lied or been paid off. And don’t think I’m saying that it wouldn’t happen to Dubya — if he got the frikkin Peace Prize there’d be talk about how he threatened to invade Norway unless he got it.
I’m tired of this crap. This isn’t politics. This is Weekly World News crap. I was 3 when Saigon fell. Nam has as much relevance to me as the assassination of Franz Ferdinand has to you older folks. And both Nam and Franz Ferdinand have no relevance to how I’m going to vote this fall. Vietnam isn’t plotting dramatic suicide bombings, and Franz Ferdinand has solution to offer for the screwed-up health care system. And this is just another book to toss in the Michael Moore Memorial Book Shredder for Worthless Reading Propaganda.
Look at the scare tactics the Democrats are tryng to pull over this. They’re clearly desperate to silence the vets.
This kind of scare tactics is what the Nazis used.
Is there any doubt about who is trying to silence whom? If there was ever any doubt in anyone’s mind wbout going forward with this ad, there should be no longer.
These guys aren’t lunatics. Have any of you read the excerpt made available by Human Events. It’s sober well-sourced stuff, much of it easily verifiable. Meanwhile Kerry’s “band of brothers” and Kerry himself have told contradicting stories. For instance Kerry bragged to congress in ’86 about illegally spending Christmas ’68 in Cambodia, but changed the story for the Brinkley bio. So far the only defense I’ve seen Kerry offer is to attack Bush. Why doesn’t he describe his wounds and tell us how he really deserved a Purple Heart? Can he at least show us a few scars?
dw – The relevance to Vietnam is
* A candidate for president is mainly touting his war record as his qualifications. If there is something skeevey with his record, perhaps we should take that into consideration before we vote.
* We are now seeing the same kind of media distortions re Iraq that we saw during the Vietnam war.
As someone once said, “The past is prologue”.
Beldar didn’t cross-examine O’Neill regarding a partisan matter.
O’Neill is utterly lacking credibility, considering that he was a willing pawn and servant of the dark lord himself, Richard Nixon. He’s been waging a 30+ year jihad against Kerry.
Geek, you’re right, it was a securities fraud lawsuit, not Bush v. Gore. When I cross-examined O’Neill, it was only about a seven-figure legal bill in a lawsuit over eight-figure damages pretty trivial stuff, I guess.
As I noted in response to one of your comments on another blog, though, we’re all still waiting for your proof about the 30-year jihad.
And frankly, your comment isn’t interesting enough to make it worth my time to find the links (although I’ll match you link for link if you’ll make any effort), but I’m pretty sure I recall reading that O’Neill came to Nixon’s attention after the Dick Cavett Show debate, on the basis of which Nixon invited him in for a chat at the White House. That alone makes someone “a willing pawn and servant of the dark lord himself”?
If you’re genuinely a lawyer, I hope you do a better job supporting your clients’ arguments in their cases, sir or ma’am.
So, of twenty one (includes Kerry) swiftboat officers only ONE, Kerry, is an honorable man?
Those other officers are all picking on Kerry and they stole his strawberries, too.
The Captain Queeg defense.
Jack Okie — that is crap, and you know it. If Kerry didn’t mention his Vietnam war record once during the campaign, these Swift boat guys would still get hauled out. Hell, if he didn’t mention it, then there’d be endless speculation about him hiding something in his past… maybe that rant on war crimes before the committee was referring to himself?
How many times did Dubya mention his Guard service in 2000? Zero times. How much press was there about it? How about Dan Quayle? Or Bill Clinton? To say that “he brought this on himself” isn’t the whole truth. There are numerous reports that these guys were calling Kerry’s old war buddies looking for dirty laundry.
You run for public office, this crap happens. And people wonder why there’s no leadership in politics anymore. I doubt that even Reagan could run in this political climate.
Snopes has been disassembling some of the Kerry stuff and has been trying to figure out what’s truth and what’s misrepresentation.
“This kind of scare tactics is what the Nazis used.”
Sure, sure. I see it now. “You better not say nasty things about the Fuehrer or our brownshirt lawyers will sue your sorry ass.” I heard they assigned the top SS lawyers to sue the Jews, just ’cause they didn’t like them.
And then they launched a class action against Poland. Now Poland, they didn’t have any money to hire good lawyers, so they pretty much had to settle out of court.
Why should KerryÃ¢Â€Â™s statements about war crimes in Vietnam help make him unfit to be commander-in-cheif?
Quite simple: he got up in front of Congress and swore that his testimony was based on the word of “150 highly decorated vets”. A subsequent NCIS investigation proved most of them to be neither highly decorated, nor vets. Some of them were Black Panthers who had never been in the military at all and had been coached.
Although offered immunity if they would testify not one single of these 150 ‘vets’ agreed to corroborate their earlier testimony under oath.
Senator Kerry is well aware of this, yet for over 30 years he has never moderated or retreated from his testimony.
Is this an honorable course of action for a US Senator and former Naval Officer?
If he witnessed/committed atrocities, as a commissioned officer and commanding officer of a Swift Boat, did he feel no duty to report any of this?
One more comment (sorry!)
I find it interesting that after trying to hold press conferences and being virtually ignored by the media this Spring, the Swift Boat vets got disgusted and paid for an ad so they could get the word out.
The media ignored what they tried to say a few months back.
Contrast this with the treatment of the Bush AWOL thing.
And you’re screaming about timing? What’s suspicious about this whole thing is that this information has been out there ever since I can remember, but the media has shown a total disinclination to cover it.
There are a lot of vets groups that have formed to oppose Kerry – I get email from them all the time. Some frankly are not credible. Others are sincere and do a good job of assembling reasons why Kerry is unfit. But God help them if they try to go around the media (who won’t cover the story) to get the word out. They must be lunatics.
James is, of course, entitled to his opinion.
I was taken aback to see it, but everyone has to make up their own mind and we can agree to disagree. But it only seems fair to look into this, the way the Bush AWOL debacle was looked into, without slinging mud at the people who raised the issue.
Is it partisan to want people to look at this objectively and address the facts, without blackening the names of the accusers?
Funny, I’d call it evenhanded. Or maybe fair.
Sure, sure. I see it now. Ã¢Â€ÂœYou better not say nasty things about the Fuehrer or our brownshirt lawyers will sue your sorry ass.Ã¢Â€Â
So in their initial stages of moving towards power, the Nazi movement didn’t use legal twists to silence many of their opposition?
Cassandra, your comments here are spot on, IMO.
The rabid foaming reaction of the Kerry people to the story getting traction is enough to tell me they’re scared to death of it.
I don’t think they sound like lunatics. They
want to set the record straight about Kerry.
We all know the media is biased, otherwise why
blog? Kerry lied under oath. They have nothing
to lose over telling the truth. Why now?
Why not? We know Kerry’s record in the Senate is
appalling, not to mention his sweeping under the rug
any chance we might have had to bring POWs and
MIAs home, and THAT doesn’t raise some flags?
He is a known internationalist who wants to
have the UN micro manage every world situation?
I think they deserve a chance to be heard and we
need to hear what they have to say. I don’t like
Kerry anyway and am not going to vote for him.
BUT you also have the right to free speech and I respectfully disagree with you.
And the Ryan person can go over to Beldar’s blog and read about his experience cross examining
John O’Neill. Savvy?
Gee, Bithead, why are you being all sarcastic on me when I obviously agree with everything you say?I mean, even if the Nazis didn’t sue anyone ever, the Dems are still a lot like them, right?
Of course. Also a lot like Stalinist commies and kitten eaters. It’s true!
There is an even stronger video message, just as true, that could bring Kerry out into the light of day once and for all: You take Kerry’s voice testifying on war atrocities for the Senate Congressional Committee. You place a contemporary profile of his in front of a close up of a background of the Vietnam memorial with the names visible. You let the names shift behind a static profile of Kerry while his pompous, self-righteous voice goes on and on lying about disproven atrocities and bogus ‘witness soldiers’. You run that a few times daily for the last two weeks in October and he’s cooked. And all you are using are his own words and image.
What is the controversy here?
By his own admission Kerry is a war criminal! The question is does this make him unfit to be President. Well ask yourself this, are the Abu-Garab prison guards unfit to be president?
If you are honest the answer would certainly be yes.
God said pray, not hold up a picket sighn or post a web site. I believe if we prey to the good Lord, the rite man will be placed in office. GOD bless Gorge Bush. GOD bless the USA.
This slandering of John Kerry’s war record is so mean spirited. I am a veteran of the US Navy and served for three years during the Vietnam War. I was a WAVE, stationed in California. I was married to a sailor on the USS Constitution that spent a year in Nam. I had many friends and acquaintances who served in Vietnam. I met many enlisted servicemen at the USO in Oakland, California. Some of these men were recovering from wounds received in Vietnam.
I do not think a man of John Kerry’s character would ever mislead the public about his military career. There have been too many opportunities to review it in all the years since John Kerry returned from Nam. I keep hearing Mr. Kerry’s opponents say that he left his tour early. Please remember: this was John Kerry’s SECOND tour of duty and was duty that Mr. Kerry volunteered for. When a soldier receives a medal or commendation, the soldier does not write the citation himself. This is done by senior officers, garnered from fellow servicemen who served with the servicemen being considered for a citation. And there is a rule in the military that three purple hearts entitles you to return home. Mr. Kerry did not escape any duty. I think the underlying reason for all these vicious attacks is that Mr. Kerry came home from the war and began to oppose the war. Remember…it was the Vietnam Veterans Against the War who helped to turn the public’s opinion of that war. No person has more right to criticize that war than someone who was in it. That war was wrong and many servicemen were killed for an unjust cause. They thought they were doing their duty, saving the world from the advance of communism. The public was misled. Mr. Kerry does not dishonor the soldiers of that war or the soldiers of the war in Iraq. He is opposed to the policies that sent those soldiers into harm’s way in both wars. John Kerry is a man of great integrity. He has nothing to reprove himself of. This is a Republican-funded attack on the credentials of a war hero. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Maire Pearl
My father retired as a Regimental Sgt. Major, USMC. He fought in China, Korea and Vietnam. He taught me about honor and I recognize it in John Kerry. I haven’t seen any of it in the President or the president’s men. They make me laugh. Thank you.
For what it is worth:
1. In the Drudge Report, the part which begins “Doug Reese, a pro Kerry Army veteran, recounted what happened that day to O’Neill, ..”
I have never, ever, recounted anything to John O’Neill about that day.
2. I DID recount, to a degree, the events of that day to the private investigator hired by O’Neill. I suppose that wouldn’t have looked as good as saying that I talked to O”Neill, though, so I can see why someone, well, lied.
3. For those of you who actually shelled out $25 for Unfit for Command, I suggest you ask for (at least) a partial refund. The Silver Star incident, for which I am used as a reference, is misrepresented. So much so, that I would have to say the overall impression one comes away with after reading those pages is markedly different from those of us who were there that day.
It rises up to, but doesn’t not quite cross the line, where it could be called a lie. That’s a good lawyer for you.
We who were there know John Kerry’s actions that morning were not as portayed by John O’Neill.
Annandale VA (Just barely outside the Beltway!)
Get the truth! An editor, William Rood, for the never-to be-confused-with-liberal-media, Chicago Tribune was a skipper on of one of the three boats with Kerry on Feb 28, 1969. In the Sun, Aug 22 issue of the Tribune, Rood tells his story for the first and what he says will be the last time. O’Neill is the big loser in this–Rood makes it clear he is not coming forth to help Kerry, but the other vets that O’Neill’s lies are hurting. Read the facts for yourself.
Please point out where you disagree with O’Neill’s account.
Second tour of duty?………My understanding is that he served ONE truncated tour in nam…..please correct me if i’m wrong.
To Agraham: I am responding to your query regarding my assertions that John Kerry was on his second tour of duty in the Navy. This is accurate. A time of enlistment in the Navy is called a tour of duty, no matter where you are stationed. John Kerry was in Vietnam on his second tour of duty in the Navy. Hope this clears up the confusion. Maire Pearl