Boydot’s epistemology

Our Northern Alliance colleague the Elder at Fraters Libertas wrote a terrific letter to the editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune supporting us in response to Jim Boyd’s personal attack on Rocket Man and me in the Star Tribune this past Sunday. Here’s his letter to the editor:

Perhaps if Jim Boyd wasn’t so busy selectively cherry-picking the arguments presented by Scott Johnson and John Hinderaker that he claimed to be fact checking and scurrilously attacking the characters of both men in his editorial that appeared in Sunday’s paper, he might have found the time to address the key component of their argument that has yet to be rebutted. There is no evidence anywhere, other than John Kerry’s own words, that he was ever in Cambodia at all, be it Christmas 1968 or January 1969. There is nothing to support the various claims that he and/or his official historian, Douglas Brinkley have made over the years that he was running guns to anti-communist rebels there, dropping off SEALs for clandestine operations, or delivering CIA agents in exchange for charmed chapeaus. The issue is not John Kerry’s service in Vietnam. Rather, it is the tall tales that he has told since the war about his time in Vietnam that seek to create a larger-than-life heroic persona in order to further his political ambitions.

Did the Strib run the letter? Not a chance. But here’s the rest of the story.
As revealed immediately below, Boydot has yet to respond to our email message challenging him to debate us on the charges made in his column. I still can’t figure out how the Elder rates the personal touch, but Boydot has nevertheless pulled the Elder’s letter out of the stack and deigned to respond directly to him:

Hey, Chad. How do you know there is nothing to support that? Or do you really mean there is nothing you’ve seen? And how could you see all?
Here’s a challenge for you: I served for a year with an Army outfit named U.S. Army Field Activities Command in Washington. I’ll give you a week to find ANY mention of it anywhere. I’ll give you two weeks to find out what it really was. I’m not making it up. my DD214 says I served there.
My point: It was a secret agency doing secret work in secret places.
Also, did you see this:
John O’Neill of Swift Vets, in a taped 1971 conversation with President Richard Nixon:
O’NEILL: I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border on the water.
NIXON: In a swift boat?
O’NEILL: Yes, sir.
I’m not making that up either. It comes from Fox, the Hannity and Colmes show, as well as CNN’s Newsnight with Aaron Brown.

The Elder comments:

Apparently in Boyd’s world, if John Kerry claims that he paraglided into Hanoi and shaved off a strand of Ho’s beard as a souvenir, we would have to believe it unless we could absolutely 100% disprove it. I can definitely see why he is ducking the debate at The Fair. If this e-mail is any indication of his intellectual horsepower, you guys would be running laps around him within five minutes.

Will you forgive me for letting Boydot’s message speak for itself until Rocket Man — our official Power Line epistemologist — is able to turn his attention to it?
HINDROCKET takes up the challenge: Truth be told, I’m a little rusty on epistemology, although it was a bit of a specialty of mine, and Deacon’s as well, in college. But I’m a state of the art Google searcher, so it took me about a minute and a half to respond to Jim Boydot’s challenge. The U.S. Army Field Activities Command does not appear to be a super-secret organization, as Boyd suggests, given that the official, publicly-available Dept. of the Army account of the year 1973 notes that: “Pursuant to the action to terminate area intelligence collection activities, the U.S. Army Field Activities Command was disestablished in November 1972 and its remaining responsibilities assumed by the 902d Military Intelligence Group.”
Another reference to the supposedly hush-hush Field Activities Command can be found here.
No doubt if you Googled for another five minutes, more references to the Field Activities Command would tumble out. What is striking to me about this exercise is the spiritual kinship between John (pocketa-pocketa-pocketa) Kerry and Jim (pocketa-pocketa-pocketa) Boyd. Apparently Boyd, like Kerry, envisions himself as a sort of Secret Agent Man. Boyd alluded–vaguely and irrelevantly, of course–to his own Vietnam doings in castigating us as fraudulent, lying smear artists, and, like Kerry, he seems to think that his own Secret Agent Man status gives him a license to slander others while conferring immunity against any response. In that context, it is easy to see why Boyd rises so readily to the defense of Kerry’s fantasies. Boyd harbors fantasies of his own.
That wasn’t, of course, the epistemological problem that the Trunk posed. But it doesn’t take a philosopher to figure out that when there is no record of Kerry’s being ordered into Cambodia; Kerry’s crewmates say they were never in Cambodia; Kerry’s boat was unsuitable for secret missions to Cambodia; no CIA man has come forward to confirm the story of the Magic Hat; there are no documents suggesting that Kerry was ordered into Cambodia; Kerry’s journals don’t say he was in Cambodia; and the last entry in Kerry’s journal depicts him looking wistfully over at the Cambodia border and wondering what is on the other side–well, as I say, you don’t have to be an epistemologist to conclude that Kerry was never in Cambodia.

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