John Kerry told many lies in the course of his Meet the Press appearance yesterday, several of which occurred in his jocular comments on his 1971 Meet the Press appearance. In “Kerry’s Meet the Press lie” our friend Tom Bevan of RealClearPolitics identifies a whopper we had overlooked:
MR. RUSSERT: You’ve been, obviously, extremely critical of President Bush’s handling of foreign policy and his role as commander in chief. A year ago in March you made a commitment, and this is what you said. You “voted to authorize military action but has accused President Bush of rushing into war, [but he] said he will cease his complaints once the shooting starts. ‘It’s what you owe the troops,’ said a statement from Kerry. ‘I remember being one of those guys and reading news reports from home. If America is at war, I won’t speak a word without measuring how it will sound to the guys doing the fighting when they’re listening to their radios in the desert.'” Are you concerned that you’re sending the wrong message to the troops by not showing solidarity in terms of the war in Iraq? And have you broken your pledge?
SEN. KERRY: No, I haven’t. Because, number one, I did adhere strictly to that through the period of the success of the war, when we finally had taken control of the country.
Yeah, right. This must be a different John Kerry than the one who said on April 3, 2003 that “what we need now is not just a regime change in Saddam Hussein and Iraq, but we need a regime change in the United States.”
Fox News even described the remark by saying, “Kerry’s lapse from a pledge to refrain from criticism may have been a crowd pleaser intended to fight off the narrowing gap that former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is eager to close.”
Just to get the timeline nailed down, the invasion of Iraq began on March 20, the statue of Saddam fell on April 9, and Tikrit fell on April 15 which was when the Coalition effectively declared the war over.
My day job colleague and JAG Reserve Lt. Peter Swanson makes the following observation on Kerry’s current reiteration of alleged American war crimes:
As an Army JAG, I conducted training in rules of engagement and law of war for a combined audience of over 1000. I was also privileged to serve with Vietnam veterans as an enlisted reservist.
One of the old wives tales is that it violates the Geneva and Hague Conventions to use crew-served weapons (such as the M-2 .50 cal) on troops rather than on vehicles or equipment. The belief was that it was only permissible to shoot at troops with a rifle or pistol. Some of the senior guys in my reserve unit would joke that you should shoot at the enemy’s belt buckle, which would count as “equipment.”
This was a widespread mistaken belief. It is lawful (but not always wise) to shoot at individual troops with any weapon in the NATO arsenal. It may be unlawful to use the weapon in a particular way, however. An example of this would be the Germans’ use of the Spandau machine gun in WWI, where the body was riddled with bullets so quickly, it stayed alive on its feet, demoralizing the allied troops.
Kerry is mistaken if he thinks that it is a war crime simply to use a .50 cal against troops.