Sunday, August 22, 2004

What Kerry Needs To Do To Successfully Destroy SwiftVets

Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John KerryThis is the most cogent analysis I've yet seen as to how Kerry can address the Swift Vet charges... once and for all (author: "manofaiki"). Emphasis mine.

What the Kerry camp needs to do to effectively counter the Swift Vet charges:

1. Sign form 180 and release all of John Kerry's military records.

2. Provide damage report and wound reports from the No Man Left Behind incident that provides details about just how many bullet holes were shot into the 5 boats involved, and how many of the over 20 men involved suffered a gunshot wounds during this intense firefight. By effectively demonstrating that there was enemy fire during this incident, and that some of the sailors did indeed suffer gunshot wounds, Kerry's campaign can counter the claim there was no enemy fire.

3. Have statements from the other crewmembers of Kerry's boat to the effect that Steve Gardner is lying about the 'Sampan Incident' where he claims he shot a father and a little boy to death, and in which they took a mother and infant girl aboard. Have Kerry's other crewmembers state that the after-action report Gardner called attention to is completely accurate: 4 VC were killed and two VC were Captured in Action.

4. Provide statements from other crewmembers of Kerry's boat to the effect that they do remember being in Cambodia with John Kerry, either on Christmas Day or later on while dropping off Special Forces operatives.

5. Have other crewmembers of Kerry's boat sent out to appear in interviews to counter Gardner and other Swift Vets instead of professional political hacks. Gardner was there, he was an eyewitness and so are many of the Swift Vets to the events they are making claims about. Lanny Davis, James Carville, and John Hurley were not there. Neither was Tad Devine. You can only effectively counter eyewitnesses with other eyewitnesses.

6. Have Kerry address the specific charges being leveled about his medals. If the SwiftVets are claiming the first Purple Heart wound was a 'scratch' not worthy of the medal, have Kerry come out and talk about how bad the wound was, where it was located on his arm and show any scar that still remains. Let him show the scars on his leg where the shrapnel supposedly still resides.

It must be noted that thus far, even though the Swift Vet story is building steam every day, John Kerry and his campaign managers have refused to do any of the six things listed above.

1. Kerry adamantly REFUSES to sign Form 180. Whenever he or his spokespersons are asked they insist they have released ALL records, but they clearly have not. Paperwork for Kerry's first Purple Heart has manifestly NOT been released, among several other documents. If Kerry has in fact released all of his available military records, as he claims, then there is no reason NOT to sign a Form 180.

2. Kerry's camp keeps referring to the medal citations that he and Larry Thurlow received for the No Man Left Behind event, and the after action report which Kerry wrote, which describes enemy fire coming from the banks during this action. The medal citations are based on the after action report, and since no other officer involved in this event has ever said there was enemy fire, Kerry must have written it. The most effective way to counter the over 12 eyewitness accounts that claim there was no enemy fire would be to produce the damage reports to the 5 boats involved in this incident from gunfire. It would be to produce medical reports about gunshot wounds treated due to the alleged enemy fire. Kerry's camp has NOT produced any such documentation. The Swift Vet eyewitnesses claim the 4 other boats were stationary around PCF 3 for more than an hour doing repair and recovery operations, as well as treating the crewmen of that boat that were injured when the mine went off. That was plenty of time for these sailors and their boats to be hit by enemy small arms fire if indeed there were any. Instead, Kerry's campaign keeps insisting that since the medal citations and the after-action report written by Kerry mentions enemy fire, the matter is closed and no damage or medical reports need to be produced.

3. None of Kerry's other crewmembers have shown up on any of the networks as a counterpart to a Swift Vet for Truth spokesman during a debate. All the spokespeople for Kerry's camp have been professional poltical people, not Vietnam eyewitnesses to the specific events being discussed. Another Kerry boatcrew member would be the most effective challenger to Steve Gardner's account of the 'Sampan Incident'. Such a person could say "Steve, I was there, we did kill four VC and capture two just like the report says." Instead we get John Hurley sputtering that Gardner is making it all up. Kerry's camp has had two weeks to get their eyewitness out there, including Kerry himself. They have not done so.

4. Kerry has pretty much given up on the Christmas in Cambodia, but has also 'floated' the idea that he was there later on dropping off Special Forces. All Kerry has to do is produce crewmembers of his own boat who can look into a camera and say "I was in Cambodia with John Kerry". They have NOT done so.

5. Once again, the best counter to an eyewitness is another eyewitness. Kerry claims to have up to 13 eyewitnesses on his side versus over 60 for the Swift Vet's For Truth. The Swift Vet's eyewitnesses can be seen on TV and heard on the radio almost every day for the past two weeks. They have been on Hardball with Christ Matthews, Hannity and Colmes, The No Spin Zone, Rush Limbaugh, and more. Kerry's eyewitnesses have been............................nowhere. Unseen and unheard. Whenever John O'Neil, Larry Thurlow, Steve Gardner or another Swift Vet is going to appear, the Kerry Campaign has had opportunity after opportunity to put one of Kerry's boat crewmembers on the show as well. They have NOT done so. As a matter of fact, the one statement I can find where one of Kerry's Swift Vet backers discusses the Christmas in Cambodia controversy, Meideros says he doesn't remember ever being in Cambodia with John Kerry.

6. Kerry has refused to address the specific charges regarding the wounds that resulted in his first and third Purple Hearts. Not once has he said that the wound to his arm that resulted in his first Purple Heart was a 'substantial' or 'serious' wound. He has not stated how many stitches were required to close it or how much blood he lost due to it. Numerous eyewitnesses, including his commanding officer, state the wound was a mere scratch. He has not produced a SINGLE MEDICAL RECORD that discusses the nature of the wounds for which he got his first and his third Purple Heart, and I am not sure about the second one, I will have to check. All the eyewitnesses besides himself state these first and third Purple Heart wounds were so slight they had nothing but contempt for Kerry as they watched him try to wrangle medals out of them. After Kerry's attempt to get his first Purple Heart for the slight scratch on his arm, the one where his C.O. Grant Hibbard threw him out of his office, Kerry was assigned to take his boat to An Thoi with another swift boat commanded by Lieutenant Tedd Peck, who told him "Kerry, follow me no closer than a thousand yards. If you get any closer, I'll teach you what a real Purple Heart is."

Instead of doing these six things that would effectively counter the Swift Vet's For Truth ads and book, Kerry has:

1. Filed a complait with the FEC claiming that Swiftboat Vets for Truth is funded and coordinated as a part of the Bush-Cheney campaign and not a real 527 organization.
2. Claimed all the Swift Vets For Truth, over 200 of them, are all Republicans who are lying.
3. Put pressure on TV stations and bookstores not to air the ads and to not display the book.
4. Asked Regenry, publishers of Unfit For Command, to cease publishing the book.
5. Claimed that President Bush is using the Swiftboat Vets For Truth to attack his war record and challenged the President to 'Bring it on!'.

Every step that Kerry has made on this issue has been a mis-step. He has changed his story, not provided any eyewitness to counter the specific Swift Vet charges, and has instead attempted to censor the charges by having the ads and the book pulled instead of answering the charges. He then makes every effort to tie the Swift Vets to the Bush campaign, the strategy being if he can prove Bush is funding and directing SBVFT the organization is instantly and automatically discredited and no one need look seriously at the charges that are being leveled against him.

Thus far, Kerry's defense has been misdirection and avoidance and attempts at censorship.

Can he really keep this up for the next two and a half months?

What Kerry Needs To Do To Successfully Destroy SwiftVets

Speakers at Republican National Convention

Here's the speaking lineup for the GOP convention. The spectrum of opinion on social issues represented by this group is significantly wider and more moderate than the analagous Dem Convention. The Dem leadership has seemingly been hijacked by the Kerry, Dean, Kennedy, Pelosi, crew of the far, far, far Left.

Full disclosure: I, for one, consider myself a "Bill Weld" Republican... a moderate on most social issues, but fiscally conservative and completely aware that our highest priority, without question, is the war on terror.

Apparently, the Democratic leadership hasn't quite comprehended the gravity of the war on terror. Why do I say that? How about a gaggle of Democratic Senators and Congressmen meeting with Islamic groups associated with terrorists and providing Al Jazeera with an official broadcast area at the Democratic convention. That doesn't smell right. In fact, it smells downright nasty.

Speakers at GOP Convention

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 62 - The mayor of New York is a self-made billionaire...
Rudolph Giuliani, 60 - The former New York mayor was praised for his leadership after the Sept. 11 attacks...
Sen. John McCain, 67 - The outspoken senator from Arizona... has campaigned heavily for Bush's re-election.
Laura Bush, 57 - The first lady is a former schoolteacher who met George W. Bush at a Texas barbecue...
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, 57 - The action-movie star turned politician took office last year as governor of California...
Sen. Zell Miller, 72 - The retiring Democratic senator from Georgia has endorsed Bush's re-election bid...
Gov. George Pataki, 59 - ...governor of New York, Pataki built a reputation as a moderate...

FACTBOX-Speakers at Republican National Convention

IT Myth 4: CIOs and CTOs have a greater need for business savvy than tech expertise

..."“Those CEOs and CIOs who are joined at the hip and who want only short-term ROI are myopic about where IT should be going technologically. An organization that really understands IT technologies and what to do to turn [those technologies] into genuine competitive advantage can be in a great position right now,” Zachmann contends...

IT Myth 4


  1. Anonymous8:20 PM

    How about this response in the papers today?

    Fellow swift-boat captain recounts events that led to Kerry’s Silver Star


    August 22, 2004

    There were three swift boats on the river that day in Vietnam more than 35 years ago - three officers and 15 crew members. Only two of those three officers remain to talk about what happened on Feb. 28, 1969.

    One is John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate who won a Silver Star for what happened on that date. I am the other.

    For years, no one asked about those events. But now they are the focus of skirmishing in a presidential election with a group of swift boat veterans and others contending that Kerry didn't deserve the Silver Star for what he did on that day, or the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts he was awarded for other actions.

    Many of us wanted to put it all behind us - the rivers, the ambushes, the killing. Ever since that time, I have refused all requests for interviews about Kerry's service - even those from reporters at the Chicago Tribune, where I work.

    But Kerry's critics, armed with stories I know to be untrue, have charged that the accounts of what happened were overblown. The critics have taken pains to say they're not trying to cast doubts on the merit of what others did, but their version of events has splashed doubt on all of us. It's gotten harder and harder for those of us who were there to listen to accounts we know to be untrue, especially when they come from people who were not there.

    Calls for backup

    Even though Kerry's own crew members have backed him, the attacks have continued, and in recent days Kerry has called me and others who were with him in those days, asking that we go public with our accounts.

    I can't pretend those calls had no effect on me, but that is not why I am writing this. What matters most to me is that this is hurting crewmen who are not public figures and who deserved to be honored for what they did. My intent is to tell the story here and to never again talk publicly about it.

    I was part of the operation that led to Kerry's Silver Star. I have no firsthand knowledge of the events that resulted in his winning the Purple Hearts or the Bronze Star.

    But on Feb. 28, 1969, I was officer in charge of PCF-23, one of three swift boats - including Kerry's PCF-94 and Lt. j.g. Donald Droz's PCF-43 - that carried Vietnamese regional and Popular Force troops and a Navy demolition team up the Dong Cung, a narrow tributary of the Bay Hap River, to conduct a sweep in the area.

    The approach of the noisy 50-foot aluminum boats, each driven by two huge 12-cylinder diesels and loaded down with six crew members, troops and gear, was no secret.

    Ambushes were a virtual certainty, and that day was no exception.

    The difference was that Kerry, who had tactical command of that particular operation, had talked to Droz and me beforehand about not responding the way the boats usually did to an ambush.

    We agreed that if we were not crippled by the initial volley and had a clear fix on the location of the ambush, we would turn directly into it, focusing the boats' twin .50-caliber machine guns on the attackers and beaching the boats.

    The Viet Cong in the area had come to expect that the heavily loaded boats would lumber on past an ambush, firing at the entrenched attackers, beaching upstream and putting troops ashore to sweep back down on the ambush site. Often, they were long gone by the time the troops got there.

    Under fire

    The first time we took fire - the usual rockets and automatic weapons - Kerry ordered a "turn 90" and the three boats roared in on the ambush. It worked. We routed the ambush, killing three of the attackers. The troops, led by an Army adviser, jumped off the boats and began a sweep, which killed another half-dozen VC, wounded or captured others and found weapons, blast masks and other supplies used to stage ambushes.

    Meanwhile, Kerry ordered our boat to head upstream with his, leaving Droz's boat at the first site.

    It happened again, another ambush. And again, Kerry ordered the turn maneuver, and again it worked. As we headed for the riverbank, I remember seeing a loaded B-40 launcher pointed at the boats. It wasn't fired as two men jumped up from their spider holes.

    We called Droz's boat up to assist us, and Kerry, followed by one member of his crew, jumped ashore and chased a VC behind a hooch - a thatched hut - maybe 15 yards inland from the ambush site. Some who were there that day recall the man being wounded as he ran. Neither I nor Jerry Leeds, our boat's leading petty officer with whom I've checked my recollection of all these events, recalls that, which is no surprise. Recollections of those who go through experiences like that frequently differ.

    With our troops involved in the sweep of the first ambush site, Richard Lamberson, a member of my crew, and I also went ashore to search the area. I was checking the inside of the hooch when I heard gunfire nearby.

    Questionable encounter

    Not long after that, Kerry returned, reporting that he had killed the man he chased behind the hooch. He also had picked up a loaded B-40 rocket launcher, which we took back to our base in An Thoi after the operation.

    John O'Neill, author of a highly critical account of Kerry's Vietnam service, describes the man Kerry chased as a "teenager" in a "loincloth." I have no idea how old the gunner Kerry chased that day was, but both Leeds and I recall that he was a grown man, dressed in the kind of garb the VC usually wore.

    The man Kerry chased was not the "lone" attacker at that site, as O'Neill suggests. There were others who fled. There was also firing from the tree line well behind the spider holes and at one point, from the opposite riverbank as well. It was not the work of just one attacker.

    Our initial reports of the day's action caused an immediate response from our task force headquarters in Cam Ranh Bay.

    Known over radio circuits by the call sign "Latch," then-Captain and now retired Rear Adm. Roy Hoffmann, the task force commander, fired off a message congratulating the three swift boats, saying at one point that charging the ambushes was a "shining example of completely overwhelming the enemy" and that it "may be the most efficacious method of dealing with small numbers of ambushers." Hoffmann has become a leading critic of Kerry's and now says that what the boats did on that day demonstrated Kerry's inclination to be impulsive to a fault.

    Our decision to use that tactic under the right circumstances was not impulsive, but was the result of discussions well beforehand and a mutual agreement of all three boat officers.

    It was also well within the aggressive tradition that was embraced by the late Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, then commander of U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam. Months before that day in February, a fellow boat officer, Michael Bernique, was summoned to Saigon to explain to top Navy commanders why he had made an unauthorized run up the Giang Thanh River, which runs along the Vietnam-Cambodia border. Bernique, who speaks French fluently, had been told by a source in Ha Tien at the mouth of the river that a VC tax collector was operating upstream.

    Ignoring the prohibition against it, Bernique and his crew went upstream and routed the VC, pursuing and killing several.

    Instead of facing disciplinary action as he had expected, Bernique was given the Silver Star, and Zumwalt ordered other swifts, which had largely patrolled coastal waters, into the rivers.

    The decision sent a clear message, underscored repeatedly by Hoffmann's congratulatory messages, that aggressive patrolling was expected and that well-timed, if unconventional, tactics like Bernique's were encouraged.

    In line with command

    What we did on Feb. 28, 1969, was well in line with the tone set by our top commanders.

    Zumwalt made that clear when he flew down to our base at An Thoi off the southern tip of Vietnam to pin the Silver Star on Kerry and assorted Bronze Stars and commendation medals on the rest of us.

    My Bronze Star citation, signed by Zumwalt, praised the charge tactic we used that day, saying the VC were "caught completely off guard." There's at least one mistake in that citation. It incorrectly identifies the river where the main action occurred, a reminder that such documents were often done in haste and sometimes written for their signers by staffers. It's a cautionary note for those trying to piece it all together. There's no final authority on something that happened so long ago - not the documents and not even the strained recollections of those of us who were there.

    But I know that what some people are saying now is wrong. While they mean to hurt Kerry, what they're saying impugns others who are not in the public eye.

    Men like Larry Lee, who was on our bow with an M-60 machine gun as we charged the riverbank, Kenneth Martin, who was in the .50-caliber gun tub atop our boat, and Benjamin Cueva, our engineman, who was at our aft gun mount suppressing the fire from the opposite bank.

    Wayne Langhoffer and the other crewmen on Droz's boat went through even worse on April 12, 1969, when they saw Droz killed in a brutal ambush that left PCF-43 an abandoned pile of wreckage on the banks of the Duong Keo River. That was just a few months after the birth of his only child, Tracy.

    The survivors of all these events are scattered across the country now.

    Jerry Leeds lives in a tiny Kansas town where he built and sold a successful printing business. He owns a beautiful home with a lawn that sweeps to the edge of a small lake, which he also owns.

    Cueva, recently retired, has raised three daughters and is beloved by his neighbors for all the years he spent keeping their cars running. Lee is a senior computer programmer in Kentucky, and Lamberson finished a second military career in the Army.

    With the debate over that long-ago day in February, they're all living that war another time.

  2. ...................................

    Rood talks about a single event that is really not in dispute, to wit:

    "...I was part of the operation that led to Kerry's Silver Star. I have no firsthand knowledge of the events that resulted in his winning the Purple Hearts or the Bronze Star..."

    The major disputes are the purple heart events, as you know. And all of these issues could be cleared up by Kerry's submission of a Form 180.

    Again: why won't Kerry release the DOD records?


  3. Anonymous9:18 PM

    Ok, I missed that part....

    I would say he probably isnt releasing the records because there is something he doesnt want exposed. Ditto for Bush's records.

    I give Kerry credit for not taking the easy way out in Vietnam when he could have easily done so - I also dont blame GWB, as I would have tried like hell to avoid going over there as well.

    I guess my problem with Kerry is that he is using the war experience as the centerpiece to his election and everything might not be as it seems....

  4. Anonymous10:16 PM

    Regarding Rood: I thought you had to be IN KERRY'S BOAT to have served with him!