|I am adding this to the header. It contains a lot of links to sources.|
A Reprise Of The Kerry Controversies
Just one minute blog
Life is full of surprises, and it is certainly possible that the lying, crooked Republican Attack Machine has a few new aces up its sleeve for Tall John. However, the current Kerry Controversies may already provide adequate ammunition, so let's run through them quickly (and I think most people will find (6), "Happy St. Patrick's Day", to be news to them). A key ground rule - we encourage shameless self-promotion, so this is the time to hype your personal favorites down in the comments, and please leave links. We are even opening a thread to let people air some Bush laundry. Yes, this is my idea of a fine Labor Day - Bring it on!
1. Kerry's first Purple Heart - Three Men in a Boat:
Was Kerry's wound accidentally self-inflicted? Where is the paperwork? Here is a good Weekly Standard article (and my thoughts on it), and a recent discussion. The dagger, from Newhouse News:
Purple Hearts, lesser awards given for wounds received under fire, are even more subjective. Anyone can fill in the paperwork and forward it to a supervisor, who checks it and sends it up to an "approving authority." This may be a battalion commander, ship's commanding officer, or a medical officer in a combat hospital.
...Purple Heart citations "should be" supported by eyewitness statements.
None of that has been released. Kerry was wounded on Dec. 2, 1968; he moved to a new unit on Dec. 6; the citation for his first Purple Heart came through on Feb 28, 1969, which is roughly three months later. For comparison, his second Purple Heart had a two week processing gap, his third a gap of one month.
Kerry's CO on Dec. 2 (Hibbard) and the officer who oversaw the mission (Schachte) both seem to know nothing about the paperwork supporting Kerry's award, and were at least initially opposed to his being awarded a Purpel Heart.
Who filed the paperwork, who approved it, and what did the eyewitness statement say? Who knows? The records have not been released.
And Brinkley has not made available Kerry's War Notes for that incident. In "Tour of Duty", Brinkley does not mention Kerry's contemporaneous account, and instead relies on his own interview with Kerry in 2003. Kerry wrote nothing about his first combat, his first wound, his first award? Not even a letter home? How odd. Show us the Notes (Brinkley says that's fine, so it's up to the Kerry campaign).
My prediction - I have a somewhat lonely view that Kerry can defend the "accidentally self-inflicted" pretty well, but I don't know what surprises the records may hold, and he can be battered for the stonewalling.
2. Kerry's Silver Star with a "V". This has high octane potential. A prospective headline - "Swift Vet Allegations Lead to Pentagon Investigation of Kerry Medal". Oh, you don't like that, do you, Bob Shrum? (is he still with the campaign?).
OK, some of this may be trivial - the Navy has never awarded a Silver Star with a "V" for Valor, so Kerry can not possibly have one, regardless of what you see at his website on his DD-214. Clerical error.
But why are there three different citations for the same medal (two here, and the earliest version here)? Who knows? But Judicial Watch has triggered the beginnings of a Pentagon investigation. Maybe this will die a bureaucratic death right here. Or maybe not. Lots of links from Glenn.
3. "The Manchurian Candidate", or, "The Eagleton Has Landed"
Kerry has not released his medical records (Bush and Cheney have). Despite his recent prostate cancer (we remember the deeply regrettable Paul Tsongas situation) and after the surprising medical problems of Bill Clinton, does Kerry really expect us simply to trust medical summaries based on the word of the fellow who has been his personal physician for nearly two decades?
And hasn't Kerry been politicizing his own health care coverage, despite some odd gaps that stuck him with a $9,000 deduction of his tax return - what's with the health care that wasn't there?
These are prudent, responsible points that a Republican spokesperson, or even the NY Times, might be willing to raise. And if the medical records show Kerry with botox and Viagra, or a history of psychotherapy and sedation, well, imagine Karl Rove's surprise.
Kerry won't release his records if they are that ghastly, so we may have to settle for embarrassment and stonewalling. Later, we can mock the Times for going into the tank on this one (as they will, although see below).
4. Kerry was AWOL
I have heard this mentioned by a Rush sit-in on the radio. (To answer your question, no, there is nothing lamer. Except listening to the Sports Talk guys go on endlessly about the Mets).
The gist - Kerry was on Reserve Status from 1970 to 1972 (and still in the Reserve until 1978). Did he attend any drills, or do anything at all to meet his requirements? Or, were the requirements waived? Paperwork, please!
My assessment of this one - it may give momentary pause to the "Bush AWOL" crowd. But come on - Kerry had been on active duty, and the Reserve may have taken a very different view of the need to train him into fighting shape. What was the custom of the day, anyway - surely the military had plenty of excess bodies, and didn't need disgruntled vets hanging around?
I score this one as nearly legless, but that's just one opinion.
5. Stiil An Officer, If Not A Gentleman
Despite what you may have read, Hanoi John was still a officially a Reserve Officer during his protesting days from 1970 to 1972. you know I love this one. I ran it by a friend who had no interest in the "Kerry Awol" story, and he admitted that it gave him pause - didn't Kerry have some duty to what were then his fellow officers? How did he square that with accusing them of war crimes, throwing away his decorations, and meeting with the North Vietnamese? Beats me.
That said, this is a bit of an open secret, since the Kerry people have finally put the truth on their website. However, we have not seen corrections or new commentary in the media that mis-reported Kerry's status in April.
6. Happy St. Patrick's Day
According to Kerry's website, his last mission was on March 13 (the incident in which he saved Rassman and won a Bronze Star and his third Purple Heart). However, Brinkley's "Tour of Duty" tells us that Kerry's last mission was in support of Nixon's Operation Menu on March 18.
Well, well. Kerry's transfer order went out on March 20, and he took leave on March 28, so Kerry seems to have been on station around March 18, just as Brinkley reports. But wait! Did Kerry really take SEALs to Cambodia? The Command History says that on March 18 and 19, Kerry's PCF 94 and four other boats swept two rivers, including the "Bo De", destroying 67 structures and 43 bunkers but not reporting enemy contact.
Hmm, George Bates of the Swiftees told a grim tale of Kerry burning a hamlet on the "Song Bo De". Same river, same incident? The website has not released the after-action reports for March 18/19, although the campaign claims that all of Kerry's records have been released. Why the deception? Kerry has already confessed to war crimes, so a bit of documentation shouldn't shock anyone. Or would it? Release the records! And correct the website, too.
Actually, these documents should be available to the public at the Naval Historical Center, if a Washington based sleuth is interested. Bring a digital camera.
7. Campaign finance - Can't say John Kerry and forget Johnny "Ka-Ching" Chung. Glenn remembered recently, I kicked it around a while ago, and who knows where the wind might blow this one? A scandal with "Ka-Ching" Chung and "Lucy" Liu Chaoying has something going for it, yes? But not much.
8. Don't Mess With Taxes - does anyone still think we will get a look at Teresa's tax return? Don't you want a hint as to the sort of Benedict Arnold tax sheltering in which she engages? (Sorry, Benedict Arnold had something to do with outsourcing, until Kerry dropped it. But I am sure it is still bad.)
In April, even the NY Times cared enough to ask. The campaign's excuse back then was that Teresa was filing an extension until October (why she could not release her 2002 return instead, we don't know). Will the Times ask again? Don't be silly. Will unrelenting pedants at Fox and the Wall Street Journal ask? Probably. Will they strike gold? Probably not. In fact, applying circular Republican logic, if there is gold to be found, the Kerry folks will just endure the embarrassment of keeping the tax returns private. Fingers crossed!
Have a great holiday. Feel free to pile on.