August 22, 2004

Christmas in Cambodia


From U.S. News & World Report's Michael Barone: Winter in Cambodia?.

This month the Kerry Campaign abandoned one claim that John Kerry had made for years about his Vietnam War service and put another into question. The claim that has been dropped: that Kerry was in Cambodia at Christmastime in 1968. In a 1979 review of the movie Apocalypse Now in the Boston Herald, Kerry wrote, "I remember spending Christmas Eve of 1968 5 miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our Vietnamese allies." In a 1986 speech on the Senate floor, Kerry said, "I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. . . . I have that memory which is seared -- seared -- in me." In a 1992 interview with States News Service, Kerry claimed, "On Christmas Eve of 1968, I was on a gunboat in a firefight that wasn't supposed to be taking place." That year he also told the Associated Press, "Everybody was over there [in Cambodia]. Nobody thought twice about it."

These are vivid statements full of colorful detail -- South Vietnamese soldiers shooting off guns to celebrate Christmas. But, as Emily Litella used to say on Saturday Night Live, "Never mind." Historian Douglas Brinkley's bestselling Tour of Duty, based partly on Kerry's wartime journals, places Kerry on Christmas 1968 in Sa Dec, 50 miles from Cambodia.

Swift Boat Veterans For Truth has more details here.

Investor's Business Daily reminds Senator Kerry: We Are Waiting.

John Kerry says he'll fight claims he lied about or exaggerated his service in Vietnam. The best way to fight such charges would be to stop calling people names and start providing some answers.

He'll have to show that the charges by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are false. That's a tall order. The allegations are numerous, well documented and quite serious.

In general, they insist that Kerry has consistently overstated his heroism, that many accounts of his service in Vietnam are not true and that he has slandered his fellow veterans by claiming they were guilty of widespread war crimes and atrocities.

It's too bad Kerry has responded to these charges and particularly those raised in the book "Unfit for Command" by former Swift boat commander John O'Neill by vowing to "attack."

So far, his "attack" seems to be of the political and personal kind, with Kerry and his followers claiming that O'Neill, and the 250 or so Swift boat vets who back him, are Republican Party shills. On Friday, Kerry filed a legal complaint about O'Neill's group.

But that won't do. Only answers will.

(Links via InstaPundit and Little Green Footballs)

Posted by Forkum at August 22, 2004 09:22 PM