Saturday, August 21, 2004Not So Swift, pt. 2
William Rood, one of the only other people on earth who really knows what happened on the day that the Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth" have called into question (an exclusive group that doesn't include any of the vets who have disputed Kerry's Silver Star), has come out after 35 years of silence to refute the claims made against Kerry.
For years, no one asked about those events. But now they are the focus of skirmishing in a presidential election with a group of swift boat veterans and others contending that Kerry didn't deserve the Silver Star for what he did on that day, or the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts he was awarded for other actions.
Many of us wanted to put it all behind us -- the rivers, the ambushes, the killing. Ever since that time, I have refused all requests for interviews about Kerry's service -- even those from reporters at the Chicago Tribune, where I work.
But Kerry's critics, armed with stories I know to be untrue, have charged that the accounts of what happened were overblown. The critics have taken pains to say they're not trying to cast doubts on the merit of what others did, but their version of events has splashed doubt on all of us. It's gotten harder and harder for those of us who were there to listen to accounts we know to be untrue, especially when they come from people who were not there.
( read the rest )
Can any conservative readers of this blog -- and I know there are at least two of you -- explain to me how smearing the service of not only Kerry, but also of every other soldier who fought in that battle, fits in with the concept of "supporting the troops"?
Although the 15 veterans featured in the attack ad all state "I served with John Kerry," none of them served on the same boat with him. Those who did, such as retired Chief Petty Officer Del Sandusky, 60, of Clearwater, Fla., praise Kerry for his leadership and credit him with keeping them alive to make it home.
"We are really upset at this stuff," Sandusky told Knight Ridder. "They are calling us all liars. They dishonor us and they dishonor all those who died over there."
Addendum: This is just too good not to post:
Roy Hoffman, today: "John Kerry has not been honest."
Roy Hoffman, 2003: "I am not going to say anything negative about him — he's a good man."
Adrian Lonsdale, today: "He lacks the capacity to lead."
Adrian Lonsdale, 1996: "He was among the finest of those Swift boat drivers."
George Elliot, today: "John Kerry has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam."
George Elliot, 1996: "The fact that he chased an armed enemy down is something not to be looked down upon, but it was an act of courage."
George Elliot in 1969: "In a combat environment often requiring independent, decisive action, LTjg Kerry was unsurpassed... calm, professional and highly courageous in the face of enemy fire."
Larry Thurlow, today: "...there was no hostile enemy fire directed at my boat or at any of the five boats operating on the river that day."
Larry Thurlow's Bronze Star citation, 1969: "...all units began receiving enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire from the river banks."
Dr. Louis Letson, today: "I know John Kerry is lying about his first Purple Heart because I treated him for that injury."
Medical records, 1968: "Dr. Letson's name does not appear on any of the medical records for Mr. Kerry. Under 'person administering treatment' for the injury, the form is signed by a medic, J. C. Carreon, who died several years ago."
Grant Hibbard, today: "He betrayed all his shipmates. He lied before the Senate."
Hibbard's evaluation of Kerry, 1968: "Mr. Hibbard gave Mr. Kerry the highest rating of 'one of the top few' in three categories—initiative, cooperation and personal behavior. He gave Mr. Kerry the second-best rating, 'above the majority,' in military bearing."
Quoth Mr. Drum,
They were either lying then or they're lying now. Take your pick.
(Lifted directly from Political Animal, but for the sake of truth and goodness. I'm sure he won't mind.)