John Kerry: Not The Swiftest Boat At The Dock

Well, John Kerry has decided to pretend he’s the martyred victim again and bring back to mind his sparring with the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth.

For some of you who missed it the first time around, here are a few of the salient facts about the dust-up between John Kerry and a lot of the men who served in the same Swift Boat squadron with him in Viet Nam:

1) John Kerry chose to make his Viet Nam experience one of the key points of his 2004 campaign, and not his accomplishments in the US Senate — most likely because he doesn’t really have any accomplishments in his decades in the US Senate to brag about.

2) John Kerry had a rather significant history of “fudging” the details of his personal history. My personal favorite example is his grandstanding at a protest when a bunch of veterans threw their medals over the fence of the White House. Years later, Kerry proudly displayed his medals in his Senate office. When asked how he still had them after he’d been photographed throwing medals over the wall, he explained that the medals he’d tossed belonged to another (unnamed) veteran who couldn’t make it to the protest.

3) Many of the Swift Boat Veterans claimed that their recollection of events over 30 years ago contrasted starkly with the accounts John Kerry was putting forth, and sunk their time, money, and energy into publicly stating those disagreements.

4) John Kerry had to publicly retract at least one significant aspect of his accounts — the “Christmas In Cambodia” story. Kerry said that he had spent Christmas of 1968 delivering a CIA agent into Cambodia while listening to President Nixon deny that there were any Americans in Cambodia. Lyndon Johnson was president during Christmas in 1968; Nixon would not take office for almost a month.

5) John Kerry repeatedly denied the allegations of the Swift Boat Veterans, but never offered conclusive evidence — namely, his full service record — to back up his claims.

6) John Kerry repeatedly promised he would sign the necessary paperwork to make his records public (including to Tim Russert on Meet The Press), he only released the full records to Kerry’s biographer and his favorite reporters from the Associated Press, the Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times. (The Globe reporter was also the author of a very fawning book on Kerry.)

7) Kerry has repeatedly accused the Swift Boats of slandering him, but never took any legal action against them. In fact, some of his critics publicly counted down the days until the statute of limitations expired, and even offered to waive the limit, in order to have the matter adjudicated in a court, but Kerry never availed himself of the chance to redeem his honor.

8) John Kerry’s official discharge papers are dated 1978 — six years after his formal obligation to the Navy ended. There is no evidence that in 1972, then-Reservist John Kerry renewed his commitment to the Navy.

9) Also, in 1970, then-Reservist John Kerry met with North Vietnamese government officials in Paris for unofficial, unsanctioned “peace talks.” That was a gross violation of military law.

One theory that ties it all together nicely is that Kerry was given an less than honorable discharge by 1972, and was stripped of all benefits and honors. Then, in 1978, his discharge was quietly upgraded and his awards restored. That would also explain why his medals were “re-issued” and not “replaced” — lost, stolen, or damaged medals are customarily replaced, as I understand it, but only “re-issued” if they had been revoked. Kerry’s full, unadulterated record would clear this up quite nicely — was Kerry’s less-than-honorable discharge upgraded as a result of Jimmy Carter’s blanket amnesty for Vietnam-era draft dodgers, deserters, and others who had left the military on less-than-favorable terms? — but Kerry won’t release the records.

But John Kerry would rather keep up his farce of proclaiming that the Swift Boat Veterans spread horrid lies about him, that he was too principled to stoop to their level to reply, and that their allegations have all been proven false.

One would think that someone would remind John Kerry that his election was over just over seven three years ago, and he lost. But that would go against his greatest strength: to re-write his past so it best serves his future ambitions.

It’s just too bad he can’t actually make his fantasized memories into reality.

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One persistent troll keeps bringing up an old posting of mine, where I explained why I could not vote for John Kerry. He quotes a single line, and contrasts it with my support for Mitt Romney. Here’s the full paragraph from that article I wrote over three years ago:

1) John Kerry lacks consistency. I just can’t tell where he stands on major issues. If the war in Iraq was “the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time,” then how the hell would have have “done it smarter” and “gotten other nations to help?” Is he pro-choice when it comes to abortion, or does he believe that life begins at conception? Is Israel’s security fence (which has proven to be a serious barrier to suicide bombings) “necessary to the security of Israel” or “a barrier to peace?” (I want to get snarky here and say perhaps Kerry believes in killing babies and that the existence of Israel is a danger to world peace, but I’m trying to be serious here.) He voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, which blocked gay marriage, and even signed a letter supporting the rights of gays to wed one another, but denounced the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court when they struck down barriers to gay marriage. I find myself agreeing with him about half the time, but I can’t trust him to stay with any position.

The major difference between Kerry and Romney is that Romney acknowledges that his positions have changed. Romney doesn’t deny his prior positions, doesn’t attempt to rationalize or reconcile them, doesn’t spout all sorts of bullshit to show that he is not being inconsistent. He doesn’t accuse others of misunderstanding his words or misconstruing his intent or taking his words out of context when they point out their inconsistencies. In brief, Romney states clearly that his positions and stances have changed and developed and evolved over time; Kerry refuses to admit that he might ever have been mistaken in the past, and deeply resents it when someone has the gall to challenge his positions.

Another major difference, unrelated to the troll’s persistent nagging, is that Romney has actually achieved things in life. John Kerry has been in the Senate for over two decades, and I can recall exactly two things of real substance he has achieved in those years — both of which happened in the 80’s and early 90’s.

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