The Shotgun Blog
Friday, August 27, 2004
Kerry: The Unravelling Continues
The "mother of all backlashes" has created a backlash of its own. After spending most of the week combing the records of the swift boat veterans a few media outlets are finally starting to comb Kerry's. And someone whose name was bandied about a little too loosely has broken his silence.
Retired Rear Adm. William L. Schachte Jr. said Thursday in his first on-the- record interview about the Swift boat veterans dispute that "I was absolutely in the skimmer" in the early morning on Dec. 2, 1968, when Lt. (j.g.) John Kerry was involved in an incident which led to his first Purple Heart.
"Kerry nicked himself with a M-79 (grenade launcher)," Schachte said in a telephone interview from his home in Charleston, S.C. He said, "Kerry requested a Purple Heart."
Kerry was turned down, and filed the request with a later commander.
Schachte described the use of the skimmer operating very close to shore as a technique that he personally designed to flush enemy forces on the banks of Mekong River so that the larger Swift boats could move in. At about 3 a.m. on Dec. 2, Schachte said, the skimmer -- code-named "Batman" -- fired a hand-held flare. He said that after Kerry's M-16 rifle jammed, the new officer picked up the M-79 and "I heard a 'thunk.' There was no fire from the enemy," he said.
"I was astonished by Kerry's version" (in his book, "Tour of Duty") of what happened Dec. 2, Schachte said Thursday. When asked to support the Kerry critics in the Swift boat controversy, Schachte said, "I didn't want to get involved." But he said he gradually began to change his mind when he saw his own involvement and credibility challenged, starting with Lanny Davis on CNN's "Crossfire" Aug. 12.
Chicago Sun Times has been combing the records on Kerry's campaign website, and discovering some of the same discrepencies noted for weeks by various military bloggers and commentors.
The Kerry campaign has repeatedly stated that the official naval records prove the truth of Kerry's assertions about his service.
But the official records on Kerry's Web site only add to the confusion. The DD214 form, an official Defense Department document summarizing Kerry's military career posted on johnkerry.com, includes a "Silver Star with combat V."
But according to a U.S. Navy spokesman, "Kerry's record is incorrect. The Navy has never issued a 'combat V' to anyone for a Silver Star."
There is curiosity about the fact that three separate citations exist for this medal - from three different people. Two are on Kerry's website, the first isn't.
Normally in the case of a lost citation, Milavec points out, the awardee simply asked for a copy to be sent to him from his service personnel records office where it remains on file. "I have never heard of multi-citations from three different people for the same medal award," he said. Nor has Burkett: "It is even stranger to have three different descriptions of the awardee's conduct in the citations for the same award."
Reporting by the Washington Post's Michael Dobbs points out that although the Kerry campaign insists that it has released Kerry's full military records, the Post was only able to get six pages of records under its Freedom of Information Act request out of the "at least a hundred pages" a Naval Personnel Office spokesman called the "full file."
What could that more than 100 pages contain? Questions have been raised about President Bush's drill attendance in the reserves, but Bush received his honorable discharge on schedule. Kerry, who should have been discharged from the Navy about the same time -- July 1, 1972 -- wasn't given the discharge he has on his campaign Web site until July 13, 1978. What delayed the discharge for six years? This raises serious questions about Kerry's performance while in the reserves that are far more potentially damaging than those raised against Bush.
Posted by Kate McMillan on August 27, 2004 | Permalink
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And why was he running off at the mouth in congressional hearings while still not officially discharged?
This all smells a bit, no?
"Here is what Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking intelligence officer ever to defect from the Soviet bloc, had to say in the National Review, February 26, 2004:
"'As a spy chief and a general in the former Soviet satellite of Romania, I produced the very same vitriol Kerry repeated to the U.S. Congress almost word for word and planted it in leftist movements throughout Europe.'"
Posted by: Kathy Shaidle | 2004-08-27 9:00:57 AM
I can't imagine what would ever disillusion an electorate more than an election fought over the basis of 30 year old paperwork.
Candidates and media (present company included) should find a mirror and take a good hard look.
Posted by: Tach | 2004-08-27 9:09:22 AM
Tach, your post is indicative of the smokescreen arguments being tossed to try to protect Kerry. To quote him "Bring it on!"
So, it's being brought on. And how is he reacting? "Make them stop!"
The issue is not Vietnam. It's not about who served or how, or when.
It's about truthfulness, integrity and character and it asks a fundamental question about his strengths and weaknesses - is a man who embellishes a military record, who tells two, three different versions of events depending upon the audience, who then chooses that brief experience in his youth as the centerpiece for his political campaign - a campaign that has called Bush a deserter, Cheney a coward - then cries foul when it is challenged by the very people he served with...
fit to be in charge of the most powerful military on the planet?
It's not about his service, but his exploitation of the Vietnam War to serve his political agenda.
Kerry chose the path, one cannot blame the opposition and the media for chasing after him when he starts to run.
Posted by: Kate | 2004-08-27 9:21:58 AM
This is a pretty darn funny parody (or is it . . . ?)
Posted by: tj | 2004-08-27 9:41:07 AM
This is a pretty darn funny parody (or is it . . . ?)
Posted by: tj | 2004-08-27 9:41:51 AM
You have to expect this to show up in a Kerry campaign commercial before too long:
"I think Senator Kerry should be proud of his record... No, I don't think he lied." -George W.Bush
Posted by: Kelsey | 2004-08-27 11:05:07 AM
On the possibly related topics of Kerry's somewhat mealy-mouthed commitment to Israel and rather unexceptional leadership on the Syrian Accountability Act, see:
Posted by: The Shamir Worm | 2004-08-27 12:15:43 PM
The questioning of Kerry's record in Viet Nam is sleazy. He was no great hero, but he did choose to serve his country under fire. That's more than many others did.
Kerry's real weakness is his shameful testimony to the Senate. It's typical of the man that he wants to have it both ways, the war hero now and the anti-war activist then.
Posted by: Marc | 2004-08-27 2:30:40 PM
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