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Saturday, August 28, 2004

Third Time Unlucky

Front Page Mag has a detailed comparison of the original and subsequently revised (sanitized) citations that accompany John Kerry's Silver Star, and examination of the questions they raise.

Citation 3, like Citations 1 and 2, is undated.  But, again, we can narrow the time frame, since it was signed by John Lehman as Secretary of the Navy.  Lehman served from February1981 to April 1987—long after Kerry left Vietnam, long after he was separated from service, and during Kerry's tenure as a United States Senator.

While it is not difficult to understand why Kerry apparently sought and obtained a sanitized second version of his Silver Star citation, at first glance it is not so easy to surmise why Kerry went after yet a third citation, this time from Lehman (especially because the third citation is word-for-word, in every important respect, the same as the second).  One theory dovetails with what may well have motivated him, at least in part, to prefer Hyland's imprimatur over Zumwald's.  Kerry, now a senator, may have been trying to upgrade his award, issued by a couple of "mere" admirals, to one issued by the Secretary of the Navy.

According to Front Page, correcting a citation isn't easy.
This means that in order to obtain Citation 2, Kerry would have had to prove that there was an "error" in Citation 1 and/or that the existence of that citation somehow constituted an "injustice."  Was the error in Citation 1 that he had shot the enemy soldier in the back, or that it was somehow an injustice to Kerry for the citation to say so?

As to obtaining Citation 3, there are two problems for Kerry.  First, since it is virtually identical with Citation 2, there could be no error or injustice.  Second, even if arguably there were, since the three-year statute of limitations had passed by the time Lehman was in office, in order for Kerry to obtain the correction, he would have had to prove that correcting Citation 2 was "in the interest of justice".

The article was published Aug. 24.

This morning, one of the questions is cleared up by none other than former Navy Secretary John Lehman himself.

"It is a total mystery to me. I never saw it. I never signed it. I never approved it. And the additional language it contains was not written by me," he said.

Complete Front Page article.

Posted by Kate McMillan on August 28, 2004 in International Politics | Permalink


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I'd put my money on VC the wonder dog eating citation 2.

Posted by: Kateland62 | 2004-08-28 12:53:59 PM

On The Al Franken Show, Franken, a friend of the late Bud Zumwald said that the Admiral originally wanted to give Kerry the Navy Cross, but couldn't approve the award himself. Wanting to boast unit morale Zumwald issued a Sliver Star on the spot, instead sending it back to Washington.

Perhaps this is why Kerry sought an upgrade of the medal.

Posted by: Ian Gillespie | 2004-08-28 7:07:14 PM

Ian, you should go read the link I posted. The three citations do not "boost" anything but the rank of the person issuing them. They are edits of the accounts of what happened.

Boosting morale is an odd argument - the incident involved several of Kerry's crewmates, but only Kerry got the Silver Star.

Posted by: Kate | 2004-08-29 7:31:34 AM

Hi Kate! I think you need to close italics in this post... :)

Posted by: Ghost of a flea | 2004-08-29 8:40:19 PM

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