VIETNAM VETS PRESS FOR TRUTH FROM JOHN KERRY. NO MATTER WHAT, HE’S NOT FIT FOR PRESIDENCY
By J. Grant Swank, Jr.May 7, 2004
"We feel it is very, very important that the American people get the actual truth about that three or four months Kerry served in Vietnam since he has made it a center piece of his biography," said John O'Neill, who took charge of Kerry's boat and crew after Kerry left Vietnam. "Second, we resent very deeply the false war crimes charges he made coming back from Vietnam. We think that those have cast aspersion on those living and dead.
"We think he knew he was lying when he made them. We think they are unsupportable. We intend to bring the truth about that to the American people. Third, we believe that based on our experience with him, he is totally unfit to be commander in chief."
So they report to Richard Tomkins, UPI White House Corespondent with headlines reading: "Vietnam Vets Slam Kerry."
It won’t let up. The Vietnam vets won’t be gagged about US Senator John F. Kerry’s testimony concerning his valor in combat nor his tales of murder mayhem. It’s a matter of truth to those who know first-hand differently than Kerry. Therefore, they continue to press the media to uncover Kerry’s lies so that reality can stand on its own.
"Sen. John Kerry's accounts of his service in Vietnam and his statements that he witnessed atrocities were attacked as fabrications and political opportunism Tuesday by a group of Vietnam veterans who served with him personally or in the units affiliated with him during his short tour of duty in Southeast Asia."
The vets also want Kerry to come clean immediately on all service records and all medical records. They call themselves the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth."
"’I do not believe John Kerry is fit to be commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces,’ said retired Rear Adm. Roy Hoffmann, chairman of the organization. ‘This is not a political issue. It is a matter of honesty.’"
Because these vets contend that Kerry lies, they conclude obviously that he’s not fit for serving from the Oval Office. They are incensed. They are diligent. They are vocal. And they know how to make their media connections so as to get across their anger and their truth data.
Kerry, knowing how persistent this group is, even tried for 45 minutes to persuade the leadership not to go ahead with their truth thrust. It was this same leadership that was there on the debate platform in 1971. It was on TV. Therefore, the leadership is not working from second-party detail but from "being at the same place and at the same time."
"In a letter to Kerry signed by more than 200 Swift boats veterans, they wrote, ‘It is our collective judgment that, upon your return from Vietnam, you grossly and knowingly distorted the conduct of the American soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen of that war (including a betrayal of many of us, without regard for the danger your actions caused us).
"’Further, we believe that you have withheld and/or distorted material facts as to your own conduct in this war.
"’We believe you continue this conduct today, albeit by changing from an anti-war to a 'war hero' status,’ the letter said."
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By Anonymous on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 04:41 pm:
Fog of war, partisanship cloud Kerry's Vietnam record
By Andrea Stone, USA TODAY
A clear picture of what John Kerry (news - web sites) did or did not do in Vietnam 35 years ago may never emerge, given the fog of war, the passage of time and the intense partisan sentiments of the players.
Kerry and his crewmates, as well as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group that opposes Kerry, are sticking with their versions of what happened during the four months when Kerry commanded two swift boats in the Mekong Delta. As the group prepared to release a second television ad Friday attacking Kerry's combat record, published reports cast doubt on some of the critics' claims:
•Kerry's Bronze Star. On March 13, 1969, Lt. (j.g.) Kerry pulled Army Green Beret Jim Rassmann from a river and saved his life. Kerry, Rassmann and all the surviving crewmembers of PCF-94 recall enemy fire from the riverbank after a boat in their squad hit a mine. Several sailors on other boats say there was no ambush.
One of the other swift boat commanders on the Bay Hap River that day, Larry Thurlow, swore in an affidavit that he "never heard a shot." Thurlow's contention is contradicted by his military records, posted on The Washington Post's Web site Thursday. They document his own Bronze Star earned that day and include references to enemy fire.
Thurlow told USA TODAY that he assumed he had won the award for his efforts to assist injured sailors on the mine-damaged boat. He said he left Vietnam shortly after the incident and didn't read the citation until he was back home in Kansas a few months later. "If being under fire is a requirement for getting that medal, then I didn't earn it," he said.
Thurlow said his and Kerry's Bronze Star citations were based on "fraudulent" after-action reports by Kerry. Van Odell, also serving there, said Kerry's report was "a hoax on the entire chain of command."
However, the single eyewitness listed on Thurlow's Bronze Star recommendation is not Kerry. It is "R.E. Lambert."
Michael Medeiros, one of Kerry's crewmates on his PCF-94, told USA TODAY that when a mine went off and badly damaged PCF-3, "that started a massive ambush. There were rockets and light machine gun fire plus small arms."
•Christmas Eve in Cambodia. Kerry has often said his opposition to the war was solidified by the forays he and his crewmates made into Cambodia, despite a U.S. policy that forbade troops from straying outside Vietnamese borders.
The Kerry campaign said his boat, PCF-44, was "deep in enemy territory" between Vietnam and Cambodia on Dec. 24, 1968. Kerry wrote in the Boston Herald in 1979 that he was "five miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our South Vietnamese allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas."
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth says Kerry was never in Cambodia and would have been court-martialed if he went there. They cite three members of his crew as denying their boat was in Cambodia.
One of them, Jim Wasser, told USA TODAY they were "within 50 yards of Cambodia" on a river where "the left bank was Cambodia and the right bank was Vietnam." He said the crew didn't take mortar fire on the border but did so two or three hours later in Vietnam. "He got his operations mixed up," Wasser said, referring to the Cambodian operations that Kerry's second boat, PCF-94, undertook. "I really don't think that he did it on purpose."
The Kerry campaign did not directly answer questions about whether Kerry's swift boat was fired on along the Cambodian border or later that day in Vietnam.
Stephen Gardner, a PCF-44 crewmember, denies they were there. It was "physically impossible" to approach the border because of a U.S. naval blockade, he said.
By on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 - 05:13 pm: