Captain Ed has the complete text of the letter that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth spokesman John O’Neill has sent to television stations in response to the Kerry campaign’s threat to sue them if they run the veterans’ ad. O’Neill’s letter is absolutely devastating. If the facts surrounding John Kerry’s fabrication of claims about his Vietnam service, and his slander of his fellow servicemen after he returned home after a mere four months in Vietnam, were widely known, Kerry would not stand a chance in November.
One key Kerry fabrication is the “Christmas in Cambodia” story that he has told over and over again throughout his career. O’Neill’s letter treats this issue briefly:
If there is a consistent[ly] repeated story by John Kerry about his Vietnam experience, it is his story about how he and his boat spent Christmas Eve and Christmas of 1968 illegally present in Cambodia and, listening to President Nixon’s contrary assurances, developed “a deep mistrust of U.S. government pronouncements.” See Exhibit 24, Kranish book, p. 84. The point of his story was that his government and his commanders were lying about Kerry’s presence in Cambodia on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. During a critical debate on the floor of the United States Senate on March 27, 1986, Senator John Kerry said:
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 . . . .
Exhibit 25, Congressional Record – Senate of March 27, 1986, page 3594.
By way of further example, Kerry wrote an article for 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.”
See Exhibit 26.
The Christmas in Cambodia story of John Kerry was repeated as recently as July 7, 2004 by Michael Kranish, a principal biographer of Kerry from The Boston Globe. On the Hannity & Colmes television show, Kranish indicated that Kerry’s Christmas in Cambodia was a critical turning point in Kerry’s life.
The story is a total preposterous fabrication by Kerry. Exhibit 8 is an affidavit by the Commander of the Swift boats in Vietnam, Admiral Roy Hoffmann, stating that Kerry’s claim to be in Cambodia for Christmas Eve and Christmas of 1968 is a total lie. If necessary, similar affidavits are available from the entire chain of command. In reality, Kerry was at Sa Dec — easily locatable on any map more than fifty miles from Cambodia. Kerry himself inadvertently admits that he was in Sa Dec for Christmas Eve and Christmas and not in Cambodia, as he had stated for so many years on the Senate Floor, in the newspapers, and elsewhere. Exhibit 27, Tour, pp. 213-219. Sa Dec is hardly “close” to the Cambodian border. In reality, far from being ordered secretly to Cambodia, Kerry spent a pleasant night at Sa Dec with “visions of sugar plums” dancing in his head. Exhibit 27, p. 219. At Sa Dec where the Swift boat patrol area ended, there were many miles of other boats (PBR’s) leading to the Cambodian border. There were also gunboats on the border to prevent any crossing. If Kerry tried to get through, he would have been arrested. Obviously, Kerry has hardly been honest about his service in Vietnam.
The other aspect of this story that is completely phony, but is not noted by O’Neill, is that Richard Nixon was not the President in December 1968. Lyndon Johnson was. It is simply incredible to me that for many years, reporters have mindlessly repeated this obviously false story without, apparently, noticing that it couldn’t possibly be true.
And, if you’re thinking that Kerry may inadvertently have gotten the year wrong, forget about it: Kerry was only in Vietnam for four months, and he spent only one Christmas there. It was 1968.
Those who think this story doesn’t have legs are wrong. Kerry has made his service in Vietnam the centerpiece of his campaign, for reasons I can’t understand. In contrast, his nineteen years in the Senate are a well-kept secret. So he has obviously opened the door to scrutiny of his record. Yesterday, we spent most of the first hour of our radio show talking about the Swift Boat Vets’ charges. The response was unbelievable. The phones were ringing off the hook; we’ve never gotten so many calls. One Vietnam veteran was in tears as he talked about an upcoming family reunion, and wondered whether his nephews and nieces would think he was a war criminal, because of Kerry’s slanders. Two Democrats called and tried to argue with us. A mistake.
The facts that the Swift Vets are prepared to prove are nuclear, far worse than one would assume from reading general newspaper coverage of the controversy. It is not enough to say that the Vets’ evidence shows Kerry to be a liar. That is an understatement. In my opinion, they show Kerry to be a sick, deeply delusional man whose tenuous connection to reality would make a Kerry presidency an unacceptable danger to our country.
One of the Swift Boat Vets has said that he and his colleagues–who represent nearly all of the surviving veterans who served with Kerry in Vietnam–feel that they have been called to serve their country a second time. The veterans’ problem, of course, is that they don’t have any money. While borderline-criminal multi-billionaires like George Soros and spoiled entertainers like Ben Affleck have the Democrats’ coffers overflowing with tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars, the veterans have been able to raise only a pitiful $150,000–most of it from a single home-builder in Houston, who has been slandered for his efforts.
The newspapers and television networks will do their best to kill this story; it will never see the light of day unless citizens pay to put the veterans’ ads on the air. We will never be able to match the Democrats’ money, but you can do your part to help the veterans get their message out here.
DEACON adds: Richard Nixon (or was it Lyndon Johnson) was a pretty smart fellow. It appears that he knew more about where John Kerry spent Christmas 1968 than John Kerry did. And Nixon/Johnson didn’t even have the benefit of a “seared” memory.