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August 16, 2004

A Matter of Honor

I continue to follow the research and analysis of matters related to the war record of John Kerry. I haven't written more on it myself because others are doing such a good job I haven't really felt compelled. I do jump into the various comments section fairly often to argue with the anyone-but-Bush factions, not so much to try to convince those hopeless cases, but to ensure their silliness does not stand unrefuted. Most of their comments fall into the category of ad hominem attacks against the Swift Veterans for Truth, The President, or those involved in the research and analysis, or they are tiresome repetitions of the old canards, long factually refuted, but still repeated in "big lie" fashion by those without anything better to say.

What inspired me to write on it again is the first real review of the whole book, Unfit for COmmand, that I've seen published so far. We have seen a lot of reviews based on the one free chapter released onto the web, the one with the whole Cambodia story. McQ, at QuandO blog, has read it, and has posted his thoughts in "Unfit for Command:A Review." Central is his conclusion, documented from the text, that the driving motive for the book and the campaign by the Swift Veterans for Truth is not revenge, as those few in the major media who have commented have claimed, rather it is a matter of honor. Kerry has dishonored the U.S. Navy, the Vietnam Veterans with whom he fought, and the whole U.S. military. McQ puts it thus:

"So for Admiral Hoffmann and the rest of the Swiftees, this isn’t about Republican or Democrat. Its not about wealth or power. This is a matter of honor. The Swift Boat Veterans, as a group, and you’ll find this mostly true of most veterans and particularly Vietnam and Vietnam era veterans, the problem they have with Kerry is a matter of honor. They feel he dishonorably lied about them and their service after he left Vietnam, that he dishonored those who were a part of the very same operations he now claims for his awards through his exaggerations and fabrications and he dishonored the thousands who’ve given lives and limbs for the very same awards they allege he faked."

I have not read the book yet (most of us are still waiting for the backlog to clear out), so I cannot comment on how the book supports this beyond the cites given by McQ. But I can speak from my personal reactions to this whole issue and Kerry's post-war activities. Kerry has betrayed his country, in my opinion, and that is over and above the obvious betrayal of his fellow veterans. Having seen much of the documentary evidence as reflected in web forums, whether quotes or pdfs of actual source documents, I have no doubt that Kerry has lied repeatedly, and has done so with specific intent. That intent has been to serve specific political goals, often in conflict with his nation's, or has been meant to create a false image of himself that he and his advisors (over a long span of time) imagined would create a more electable personna.

Kerry was get elected to the Senate based on his claims to have overcome in the struggle to sap our national will in combatting communists in Vietnam. He did not stand up and point to his achievements in protesting the war and encouraging more draft-dodging and violence here in the United States. He did not tout his televised speeches in which he claimed all United States forces in Vietnam were war criminals. He did not brag that American prisoners of war in Vietnamese prisons were forced to watch replays of his speeches. He did not proudly list his accomplishments in his meetings as a private citizen (in contravention of United States law) with Vietnamese communists in Paris while his fellows were fighting and dying in Vietnam. He did not then, nor has he since, pointed out how venerated and admired he is in communist Vietnam now, so much so that a room in a war museum is dedicated to this friend of Vietnam.

No, he ran and runs on his "record" as a heroic riverboat sailor fighting (and thrice wounded) for his country. He runs as one of a loyal "band of brothers," without mentioning how he left them as soon as he could manage, and returned to the United States to spit on them, call them war criminals, and do his best to give aid and comfort to their enemy. He brings a very small subset of those with whom he fought into his campaign to lead the unsuspecting to extrapolate from them a broad support and respect from the United States military, when in reality his name is abhorred and vilified.

The scariest part about the management of Kerry's image is the span of time over which it has been built and that it has never been subject to real scrutiny from the major media whose responsibility it is (they keep reminding us) to see to it that the American public, and by extention the American voter, is informed. For all the horror I feel at Kerry's campaign to achieve the Presidency, what shocks me more is them complicity of our major media outlets. Clearly they have redefined "truth" to be what serves them. That sort of truth will never set anyone free.

I do not hate Kerry, not even knowing all this. But I am very fearful of what he would do (or not do) as President. Honor does matter to me. I want our Presidents to honor their commitments, honor the institution, and honor the Constitution. Kerry's record before the revelations of the Swift Veterans for Truth did not support the idea that he is that sort of man. Following those revelations I cannot see how any but the most willfully blind can believe that John Kerry is a fit candidate for President.

Several blogs are central to following this issue. I mentioned them a few posts down, so I'll just link in the most recent posts of substance (follow the links in these for more):

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth site (the forum has lots of information and discussion)

Monday, August 16, 2004: The Alston Variations
Sunday, August 15, 2004: The Dam Breaks
Sunday, August 15, 2004: Kerry's Story Continues to Unravel
Sunday, August 15, 2004: Cracks in the Dam?

Captain's Quarters:
Monday, August 16, 2004: NRO Picks Up The Alston Story, Clarifies Time Line
Monday, August 16, 2004: Novak Questions Kerry Credibility On War Record
Monday, August 16, 2004: The Alston Story Goes Back Farther Than First Thought
Sunday, August 15, 2004: Media Blackout On Cambodian Christmas Begins To Lift
Sunday, August 15, 2004: The Alston Timeline
Saturday, August 14, 2004: Alston Inconsistency On Record For Silver Star Action
Saturday, August 14, 2004: Rocky Mountain News: Media Bias In Cambodia Collapse

Monday, August 16, 2004: The frying pan begins to sizzle, and Sen. Kerry's getting seared, seared
Friday, August 13, 2004: WaPo has the scent, but can't or won't find the meat yet in the SwiftVets vs. Kerry controversy


The Kerry Spot (National Review Online): (no direct links, scroll down)
Monday, August 16, 2004: NEWS ROUNDUP
Sunday, August 15, 2004: ¾ THROUGH 'UNFIT FOR COMMAND'

National Review Online: Kerry’s Brief Brotherhood
Monday, August 16, 2004:

Posted by dan at August 16, 2004 10:25 AM | TrackBack