Reader Mike Stopa comments on Rocket Man’s post immediately below regarding Adam Nagourney’s New York Times article:
I just read this NYT article by Nagourney and had much the same reaction as you. The clear assumption as that the ads and the reports questioning Kerry’s Vietnam service are a pack of lies.
But consider this further point. Nagourney is focusing his analysis on the strategy (of the Kerry camp) of (a) responding quickly and vigorously, (b) not responding at all (so as not to sell the opposition’s books for them), or (c) some intermediate course. Which is the best strategy ? Well, this question makes no sense without a judgement of the veracity of the claims themselves, as well as ancilliary issues such as how hard they will be to rebut, even if they are untrue. Nagourney’s article is shallow because he refuses to tread into the territory of what, exactly, the Kerry campaign thought of the substance of the charges against Kerry. For Nagourney to ask why the Kerry campaign responded as they did is in part tantamount to asking if the Kerry campaign viewed any of the charges as true. But, as you note, the premise of the article is that the charges are a pack of lies. Consequently, Nagourney is in a straitjacket.
To give an admittedly simplistic example: suppose that the Kerry people recognized that among the Swift Boat Verterans’ claims (and related challenges by other sources), say the Christmas in Cambodia issue, was potentially devastating. Suppose they then estimated that there was only a 10 percent chance that, if they said nothing about this at all, particularly if the candidate said nothing about this at all, the whole thing would blow over. They might still be willing to take the chance that the liberal media would protect them and that the issue might not gain any traction because to respond and draw attention to the matter (they would realize) courted the possibility of fanning the flames.
In short, one could easily argue that the fact that the Kerry campaign froze in the headlights indicates just how potentially explosive they regard these charges.
Reader Russ Vaughn makes a related point about Kerry himself:
The men who were best able to observe and judge John Kerry’s performance in combat were the men who had the same level of training and expertise that he did; and those are the young officers and noncommissioned officers who commanded the boats operating in close proximity to his, young men whose very lives depended on the coordinated action of all units participating in any particular mission. Successful riverine combat maneuvers require inordinate observational skills. So were these officers and NCO’s, all of them skilled observers, asleep at the wheel while some pillaging preppie ravished the countryside unbeknownst to all but himself?
Well, if you will but listen to them, no, they weren’t. These men, these Swiftvets, several dozens of them, who ate, slept and fought with John Kerry will tell you that, no, they were quite aware of what was going on around them, and that their recollection of events is far different from those attested to in Congress by their onetime comrade in arms. They are as befuddled as the rest of us that a man who launched his political career on claims of being duped into committing war crimes in an unjust war wants to now use his service in that war as the foundation of his campaign for the presidency.
Think about this: John Kerry had to know that his fabrications were ultimately unsustainable and that the men he falsely condemned would not remain silent were he to run for the presidency. Yet he has ignored that reality and attempted to build his whole campaign on his wartime service and his questionable awards. It would be interesting to hear what a psychiatrist might conclude from such bifurcated reasoning. Which brings us, unavoidably, to this question:
Does this sound like the kind of judgment we want in a Commander in Chief in this time of terror?
2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
Reader Tom Howard is a Marine veteran of combat in Vietnam. He makes a painful point about the effect of the Kerry doublecross:
John Kerry claims one accomplishment of the antiwar movement and his 1971 testimony was to shorten the war. I imagine that the Swift Boat Veterans don’t share Kerry’s view any more than I do.
The answer to this question is to look at what happened in Vietnam during 1970 through end of 1972. If our enemies had understood that the antiwar movement was only partially effective in turning the American people to accept an immediate end to the war on Hanoi’s terms, they wouldn’t have wasted hundreds of thousands of NVA and VC killed. This is what occurred during 1970 through 1972. It wasn’t until the 1972 election when Nixon won in a landslide, that Hanoi realized they had badly misread the situation.
A lot of people died because the fighting was needlessly prolonged. The historical record shows that Hanoi’s belief was they just had to survive until the antiwar movement turned the American people against the war.
Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Marines
Click here for the history of D/1/26 from reactivation in the spring of 1966 through withdrawal from Vietnam in early 1970.
Reader Bob Morrison is also a Marine veteran of combat in Vietnam, and angry about the Kerry doublecross. Bob’s message wouldn’t make it as a letter to the editor, but we’ll take advantage of our home on the Internet to let another authentic Marine voice be heard. He writes:
As a Marine who saw more combat in one week than the Pussy did in his 4 months of service, I can only say what a PUSSY. I did my full 13 months of service from Da Nang to the DMZ, and John Kerry is what we refer to as pussy. Pussy is the only word that fits his service in Vietnam. And to think that bastard came back and called us all baby killers, rapists. My closest friend pulled shrapnel out of his leg, put a bandage around it and kept going, he wasn’t like the Pussy Kerry who fled to sick bay and tried to get his Purple Heart for “self inflicted wounds.”
Reader Dale Smith implores us to change the focus from Kerry’s Vietnam service to Kerry’s Senate record:
Let us not get bogged down concerning his Vietnam service, or even get bogged down reviewing his dishonorable actions during the period of time when he was a leader in Vietnam Veterans against the War. John F. Kerry has been a member of the United States Senate for more than 20 years. His Senatorial voting record and his record of writing legislation provides us with enough history for a factual and reasonable assessment of his intentions as President of the United States of America to be made.
John F. Kerry’s voting record clearly shows the following: He is an ultra-liberal. He believes in income redistribution. He believes in social engineering. Taking that to its furthest degree, it is obvious that his belief and value systems have been completely Marxicized. He believes that the panacea of Liberal thought and Liberal values trumps the realities of a harsh and violent world filled with evil men.
Reader Mike Fox sends us the link to the Mark Shields/Bill Kristol segment on the News Hour last night with the comment: “The story is out.”