…in the dam. Yesterday, columnist Kathleen Parker had a good op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel titled “Kerry’s Quagmire.” She reviews, in an objective manner, the controversy surrounding Kerry’s Vietnam service, and concludes with Kerry’s Christmas in Cambodia:
If Kerry didn’t fabricate, he exaggerated. Or misspoke. Or got confused. Or something. But whatever the differences among versions, the story is part of a larger narrative that may matter more than the details.
It is a story of naked ambition and grandiosity, the narrative of a self-absorbed man who always needed to be best and first, whether captain of the boat in Vietnam or winner of the debate in school. Who, when accidentally knocked off his snowboard as an adult fumed, “I don’t fall down.”
He’s the sort of man who thinks to take a movie camera to war to document himself for uses now known to be political; who willingly exploits his heroism in ways real heroes never do; who builds a career on disgust toward a war he later characterizes as the crowning achievement in a life that seems more resume than real.
So far, the only newspaper that I can see has picked up Parker’s column is in Yankton, South Dakota.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer also has a neutral recitation of the main controversies surrounding Kerry’s military record, which concludes with the Cambodia claim:
Kerry also said in the Senate in 1986 that he entered Cambodia on secret missions, which would have been illegal, and in other accounts he specifically recalled being there on Christmas Eve, 1968, a memory “seared” in his mind. Fellow officers and living commanders said he was 55 miles from the Cambodian border and never entered Cambodia.
They also criticize him for associating President Nixon with the alleged Cambodian incursions of 1968, since Nixon didn’t take office until 1969.
Kerry adviser Michael Meehan said on Friday that Kerry was “near and around the border” on Dec. 24, 1968 – Christmas Eve – and “for certain he transported Special Operations folks into Cambodia” other times.
The print media continue to lag far behind the blogosphere on this story, but that’s par for the course.
UPDATE: Readers have written in to let us know that Parker’s column has run in the Daily Oklahoman, in the Louisville Courier-Journal, and in the Arizona Republic. Reader Mark Tyler writes that the column also appeared in the Oregonian:
Yes, even in the Peoples Republic of Multnomah County where the closet is a thing of the past… (darn), we read Kathleen’s commentary and liked it! It represented the 1% of right tilting commentaries in our “Daily Dead Fish Wrapper” (read Oregonian).