Friday, August 13, 2004

"One Night in Cambodia"--the Lt Kerry Story

Continued mixed news for the Dems:
  • Bad news for Kerry is a Washington Times Op-Ed by a retired foreign service officer named Andrew Antippas. He was stationed first in the U.S. Embassy Saigon (March 1968 to February 1970) and then at the Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (1970 to 1972). His conclusion seems well supported and convincing--that Kerry couldn't have been in Cambodia near Christmas 1968:
    [C]oncerning the assertion that Mr. Kerry was shot at by the Khmer Rouge during his Christmas 1968 visit to Cambodia, it should be noted that the Khmer Rouge didn't take the field until the Easter Offensive of 1972, when the Vietnamese forces that had attacked the Cambodians initially in March 1970 pulled out of Cambodia to attack the U.S. and Vietnamese forces in Vietnam. Only Vietnamese Communist soldiers were found on the battlefields of Cambodia in 1970-72.

    The bottom line of all this is that in the 15 years of active American military involvement in Vietnam and Cambodia, between 1961 and 1975, there was ongoing attention and scrutiny paid to the border because of the political sensitivities over the neutrality of the Cambodians. While things may have happened that no one ever found out about in Saigon, the Cambodians yelled bloody murder to the world press and the ICC whenever they found Americans trespassing.
    Moreover, Kerry Haters has a comprehensive analysis and timeline casting grave doubt on the possibility that Kerry might have been in Cambodia in January 1969.


  • The good news for Kerry is the silence of the lambs in the press. As reported by Prestopundit, Kerry's demonstrably false claim about Cambodia has appeared in only three major U.S. newspapers: the Washington Times (column quoted above), the New York Sun, and today's Investor's Business Daily:
    Kerry's camp must know his 1986 statement in the Senate about being in Cambodia is a lie -- either that or he was in Cambodia against the orders of his superiors, which is a serious matter in itself -- because it has offered no evidence that backs up his claim.

    Instead, it has conducted personal attacks against the Massachusetts senator's critics.
    Outside of those three, plus the British Telegraph, the media's mute. The first and only WaPo reference to Cambodia was Kristinn Taylor's letter to the editor today:
    The Aug. 12 editorial did not mention one charge that gives credence to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth: that Sen. John F. Kerry lied when he repeatedly stated that he was on a mission in Cambodia on Christmas Day, 1968. In a floor speech in the Senate on March 17, 1986, Mr. Kerry said the memory of being in Cambodia that day was "seared" in him.

    Now that he has been challenged on that by his fellow officers, Mr. Kerry, through a spokesman, says his seared memory is now a "mistaken recollection" and he's not sure where he was that day. His fellow officers say that they and he were 50 miles away at Sa Dec on the Mekong River. Mr. Kerry has been proven to have spoken falsely about one major aspect of his service that he has used to score political points. Rather than pointing an accusatory finger at Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, The Post should give Mr. Kerry's record the thorough vetting Americans need before they decide this year's presidential contest.
    Apart from those few articles, the media's self-censoring--which prompted this from Instapundit:
    A Kerry claim proven false, a retraction, and a retrenchment -- and absolutely no coverage at all. If we were seeing the same sort of questions raised about George W. Bush I think we'd be getting wall-to-wall coverage. It's as is they're letting their coverage be shaped by the fact that they want Kerry to win or something. Kind of makes you wonder what else they're leaving out.
    Ann Coulter is deeply cynical about the process:
    With the media playing their usual role as Truth Commissar for the now-dead Soviet Union, the Swiftees are having to purchase ad time in order to be heard. No Tim Russert interviews, no "Today" show appearances, no New York Times editorials or Vanity Fair hagiographies for these heretics against the liberal religion. The only way Swift Boat Veterans for Truth could get less attention would be to go on "Air America" radio.
  • Could the bad news hurt Kerry? Yes, for two reasons. First, as Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard previously argued, Kerry himself put Vietnam in play. Mona Charen confirms that, "Kerry has draped himself in red, white and blue for 2004. But his new clothes cannot obscure the truth -- that his record is one of appeasement and weakness." Similarly, Investor's Business Daily warns: "With all the doubt surrounding Kerry's Vietnam service, which he has made the foundation of his campaign, it's impossible to have confidence in him. His credibility is a red-hot question mark."

    Second, as I've said before, the candidate's lies are consequential. Pat Buchanan nails it:
    Kerry has falsified a central event of his life. For Mr. Kerry has used this story repeatedly, and it has been used by admirers to explain how the idealistic young warrior lost his faith in the U.S. government. Nor is this an unserious matter. For the charges against Mr. Kerry in "Unfit for Command" go to an issue the media failed to address in 1992, to the detriment of this country: the issue of character and credibility.
  • Conclusion: Kerry bases his values and proposals on made-up memories and embellished experiences. But fibs and fantasies are a poor foundation for leadership. As most of Kerry's Navy colleagues recognize: during last year's Swiftboat reunion, attended by about 300 vets, Kerry was voted, in absentia, 'Most Likely to Run for President on His Phony War Record.'

    In sum, John Kerry imagines important events to augument his apparent acumen. He's no more reliable than someone who sees pink elephants or claims to be Napoleon.
More

The press boycott of the Cambodia "Kerry tale" may be erroding. First, the San Francisco Examiner weighed in Friday:
The anti-war candidate went public as a pro-war candidate this week, and the members of his beloved "Band of Brothers" are exposing a whole book's worth of ugly lies. And they've got details, evidence, footnotes, signed affidavits and witnesses who back up their claims.

Kerry himself bestowed immense credibility on his "Band of Brothers" when he used a picture of some of them in his campaign ad titled "Lifetime."

Essentially, Kerry made Vietnam, and these men, the centerpiece of his campaign. Of course, that was when he thought they'd support his candidacy. No matter that he'd never bothered to ask their permission to use them to promote his political career.

Now, however, the Kerry campaign is on a search-and-destroy mission to attack the credibility of these same men -- calling them liars, all 60 of them, and saying they didn't serve in the military with him. Really? Then why'd Kerry use their pictures in his ad campaign?
The Examiner Op-Ed agrees with my demand that Kerry release his Navy records. And the SF daily warns that "John F. Kerry's campaign for president is imploding. And he knows it." (via Instapundit)

Second, in today's Rocky Mountain News, Dave Koppel blasts the boycott, and doesn't spare his own paper:
The News ignored the story of Kerry retracting three decades of Christmas-in-Cambodia tales. The Post also ignored the story, and instead ran the attack on John Corsi which had appeared the day before in the News. It is as if the media had covered the Bush National Guard story only by impugning Bush's critics, while barely acknowledging the substance of the charges.
(via Powerline)

Finally, here's talk show host Neil Boortz on press partisanship:
The mask is off. Further denials are useless. After the events of the past seven days the ingrained leftist, pro-Democratic Party bias of the nation’s mainstream media has been fully exposed. All it took was for a certain Vietnam veteran to write a book daring to question the war hero status of Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry. Media lips are now drawn into a permanent snarl; the knives are out and the scent of blood is in the air. Circle the wagons and may the effort to protect the Democratic candidate proceed.
(via Instapundit)

1 comment:

Republicanpundit said...

Here is how a war story starts...

Honest, fellows, here is was on Christmas, 1968..er maybe not...er maybe Jan 1969, and I was surrounded by the evil...Oops, I can't tell you, it was a clandestine mission..once..twice..maybe three times...

Ha Ha!! I've heard much better war stories than that at any NCO club I was in!

Did I ever tell you about the time...?