John Kerry's a serial liar. Especially about his service in Vietnam. On March 27, 1986, Senator Kerry discussed his experience in Vietnam on the Senate floor. See 132 Cong. Rec. S3594 (1986). Blogger Tom Maguire reprints the speech, which includes this:
Mr. President, I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and have the President of the United States telling the American people that I was not there; the troops were not in Cambodia. I have that memory which is seared--seared--in me, that says to me, before we send another generation into harm's way we have a responsibility in the U.S. Senate to go the last step, to make the best effort possible in order to avoid that kind of conflict.Instapundit prints a photo of Kerry's quote in the Congressional record.
Powerline Blog also cites an article Kerry published the Boston Herald on October 14, 1979:
I remember spending Christmas Eve of 1968 five miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our South Vietnamese allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas. The absurdity of almost killed by our own allies in a country in which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops was very real.The Kerry-friendly Globe repeated this claim as recently as mid-June.
Ignore the fact that Nixon wasn't President on December 25, 1968. The real scandal is that Kerry couldn't have been in Cambodia at that time. None of Kerry's crewmates remember Cambodia. American armed forces didn't enter Cambodia until Spring 1970, which prompted widespread protests and "four dead" at Kent State University--on May 4, 1970, not year-end 1968. Even the authorized hagiography of Kerry in Vietnam, Douglas Brinkley's Tour of Duty, says Kerry wasn't there, in Chapter 10, second paragraph:
Christmas eve, 1968, turned out to be memorable....the crew headed their Swift...only miles from the Cambodian border. Because they were only an hour from that country, Kerry began reading up on Cambodian history.Brinkley's book says Kerry's boat stopped in the town of Sa Dec, Vietnam that day and Kerry's diary says he spent half the day in Sa Dec--which is about 60 miles away, closer to Vietnam's sea coast than to Cambodia. The official campaign website's no help--it includes some Navy records, but both the summary and the "Command History" begin in 1969. And Kerry couldn't have innocently mis-remembered the year--his Vietnam service ended by April 1969.
Kerry clearly lied. Should it matter? Were it only braggadocio, no. Some otherwise reliable vets tell tall tales. But Kerry's foreign policy platform is founded on lessons he learned in Vietnam. For example, Kerry used his mythical memory of Cambodia (quoted above) as evidence against Republican foreign policy:
Kerry attacked President Reagan's actions in Central America, charging they were leading the United States into another Vietnam. He claimed he could recognize the administration's errors because he had firsthand knowledge that the Nixon administration lied about American incursions into Cambodia.Maguire also unearthed a 1992 AP article where Kerry further embellishes his tale to make a point about missing POWs/MIAs.
In sum, the Democrats nominated a long-standing liar with a worldview from wonderland. A man whose experiences, though "seared," are false. Someone who relies on his record of service, while withholding relevant service records.
Except among the partisan press--is the fact-checker union on strike?--diagnosing this Dem isn't difficult. In two seconds flat, we'd call Kerry crazy.
The always-delightful Mark Steyn, in today's Washington Times, takes Kerry's Vietnam meme to its logical conclusion:
[I]nsofar as I understand the rules of Campaign 2004, every time any member of the administration says anything about the present conflict, he is accused by Democrats of shamelessly "politicizing" it. Whereas every time John Kerry waxes nostalgic about those fragrant memories of the Mekong Delta, he should be allowed to take his unending stroll down memory lane unmolested. After all, as everyone from John Edwards to Max Cleland to Bill Clinton has assured us, being a Swift boat commander for four months is the indispensable qualification for being president. When Hillary runs in 2008, no doubt she'll be leaning heavily on her four months running a Swift boat up and down the Shatt al-Arab during the Iraq war.(via Instapundit)
Tom Maguire dug up an article in the May 8, 2000, US News and World Reports. The opening sentence adds a new claim: "Sen. John Kerry made his first forays into Cambodia during the Vietnam War as a Navy lieutenant on clandestine missions to deliver weapons to anticommunist forces." Kerry's suggested this before. So, candidate Kerry (or your shipmates that Christmas eve): were you acting on secret orders to infiltrate Cambodia? Can Defense, State or CIA confirm?
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Updates here and here.