Re: David Holman's Kerry Yellow:
Mr. Holman — Thank you for your accurate and comprehensive article in The American Spectator. I am the writer/producer of Stolen Honor, the documentary you cited in your recent column. I have also been the primary defendant, along with several POWs and one of their wives, in the Kerry-inspired lawsuits for nearly two years.
As you might guess, I was gratified to see someone is actually following our situation. I was even more impressed to see you have written about the Winter Soldier film and the “actors” in that. As it turns out, they are key in our legal defense which, essentially, has come down to disproving virtually every atrocity claim made by these men and, in the process, thoroughly discrediting Kerry and his 1971 testimony.
It's been hard and expense work to track down documents, witnesses and military records but we are coming very close to achieving our goal.
— Carlton Sherwood
David Holman's TAS article, “Kerry Yellow” discusses the continuing obsession of the would-be JFK with the truth-telling vets who denied him his rightful place on the world stage. But, did they alone cost him the presidency, as Kerry fantasizes?
While the Swifties rightly called Kerry's credentials as a self-proclaimed war hero into serious question, other forces were also at work during the election which converged to render Kerry unelectable and unelected.
More than a few Americans, when reminded of the Winter Soldier testimony and its attendant fraud and outright lies about our military, probably remembered John Kerry's hard-to-forget face and reacted negatively to a naval officer who would turn on his comrades and falsely accuse them of daily savagery in front of Congress.
Even assuming that Kerry had performed honorably in Vietnam, Americans are all too smart to fall for the premise that serving as a junior grade military officer on a glorified bass boat qualifies one to be Commander in Chief. By that logic, an assistant night produce manager at any Wal-Mart might also claim to be qualified to be CEO of the retail monolith. Americans didn't buy it. Eisenhower and Grant's modest presidencies notwithstanding, a Viet Nam swift boat is not Normandy or Gettysburg.
In sum, Kerry can go around making hollow noises about the role of the Swift Boat Veterans in his (and other's) demise, but American voters might well have spotted this phony on their own. Kerry has to find somebody to blame other than himself, which, of course, is where the blame belongs.
— Deane Fish
Altamont, New York
I'm not much on Bible quotations but it seems there's one that fits John Kerry and his crowd perfectly. “Know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” Kerry and his band of merry misfits are afraid of it; the truth. It's what this group fears most, the truth! One more note; will the NY Times ask for Alan Hevesi's resignation over his intemperate remark?
— Bob Montrose
Fort Lee, New Jersey
I find Senator Kerry's actions against the Swift Boat veterans to be highly curious, considering most of the actual records concerning his service are still “because I said so, so trust me.”
I served 21 and a half years on active duty as an NCO and then Chief Warrant Officer in the Army, and over the years processed a number of discharges for personnel. Most of them were honorable and automatic, but there were a few that were not or were required by law.
The Army lumps its discharges together under AR 635-200 for enlisted men, and there are a number of them for special cases. Chapter 5 is hardship due to family situation (normally Honorable); Chapters 9 and 10 deal with drug and alcohol abuse, and vary according to abuse and reason for discharge. Chapter 13 is for unsuitable for military service under honorable conditions — some people just cannot adapt to military life. Chapter 14 covers being unsuitable for military service due to criminal activity — this varies but usually comes with a civil felony conviction.
Chapter 10 is the most interesting one. If you commit a crime or break the bonds of good discipline, you may be considered for a General Court Martial. But, if no one is injured and you basically plead nolo contender, you may be offered a chapter 10. This discharge usually comes with a Bad Conduct Discharge but you do not stand trial and do not get placed in confinement. While in Berlin, we had a soldier do this — he basically ruined the engine in his first sergeant's van and stripped the paint from his commander's brand new car. He took the chapter ten and thought he beat the system — until he got back to the states and found he no longer had GI Bill privileges. One of the dirty little secrets with a BCD is you lose nearly all veterans' benefits and also all awards and decorations.
Looking over Senator Kerry's records, there are large holes in them between 1970 and 1978 — the points where Mr. Kerry was released from active duty into the reserve and when he was awarded an Honorable Discharge from the USNR.
In a 2004 article in the New York Sun (“Mystery Surrounds Kerry's Navy Discharge,” Thomas Lipscomb, Special to the Sun, October 13, 2004) the author notes the very curious use of Title 10, US Code, Sections 1162 and 1163 to cover a discharge awarded by board of officers. This is more than a bit odd, as normally discharges are automatic and covered by various military regulations. Mr. Kerry SHOULD have been discharged on February 17, 1972, pursuant to a normal six year period of service. He was also supposed to be providing training to other Naval Reserve personnel between 1970 and 1972. But as is well known, Mr. Kerry was cavorting around Washington with Jane Fonda and hobnobbing with North Vietnamese dignitaries at the time, wearing non-regulation length hair (even for the Zumwalt Navy) and a SP5's jacket.
Also, there is the matter of the certificates for his awards, all dated 1978 as well.
What I would like to see is the following:
1) Can Mr. Kerry produce the records that prove he was serving as a training officer to the USNR in Massachusetts between 1970-1972? He was quick to note that Mr. Bush's records were incomplete.
2) Can Mr. Kerry release his FULL records and ORIGINAL DD214 which should have been dated 17 February 1972 and prove his copies were lost?
3) The Navy has very similar BUPERS regulations to the US Army covering involuntary release of officers and enlisted men for malfeasance with a BCD. Can he prove he never got one of these? (The circumstantial evidence shows that he did, which is why he needed to get both a new Honorable Discharge and re-awarding of his medals which had been revoked under the terms of such a discharge.)
4) There was a lot of largesse under President Carter to provide amnesty and to correct less than honorable discharges of service personnel whose malfeasance took place during the Vietnam War and who otherwise did not have any criminal actions in their background. Did Mr. Kerry benefit from such largesse, which would have come from a board of officers convened under Title 10, USC, Section 1162 and 1163, to cover just such an incident? (It would seem that his apparent AWOL from the USNR duty in Massachusetts, combined with his service in Vietnam prior to his antiwar antics later on, would have been the leverage to swing such a decision by a board directed to find for most personnel who did get less than honorable discharges.)
The Navy is extremely closemouthed about “dirty laundry” and perhaps this is the reason that none of the officers from that board seem to have come forward. But I wish he would open the “closed” permanent file for scrutiny and not the highly massaged and edited records available on the Internet.
— Cookie Sewell
CW2, US Army (Ret) (1968-1990)
(And I have seven DD214s, all of which list either Honorable Discharges, eligibility for retirement, immediate reenlistment, or discharge pending immediate appointment as a warrant officer.)
The entire issue over Vietnam has yet to be fully explained to the unwashed/ under educated masses by the MSM. If I recall, President Kennedy sent the first troops in Vietnam, after being advised by the outgoing IKE not to get evolved in an ASIAN War.
Both houses of the government were and had been controlled the left for years, President Johnson, took a hand in running the war from D.C. with his selection of military civilian leadership and proved the concept of how to lose a war in 10 easy steps. Somehow the whole idea of Vietnam and all of its ills is a conservative on going problem. Which drives me back to Kerry, just how in the world can anyone believe this sorry excuse of an elected official and military officer is quite beyond me. I can only conclude that some how Kerry manage not to have come across a Master Chief Petty Officer in his tour duty, that would have the following results, a sore kicked butt, appreciation of what Honor, Duty, Loyalty, truly mean.
— Older War Horse, AF CMSgt, ret.
Vietnam, Class of '68
Kerry's Navy records are now public. You can actually see how many days he actually spent on the river. Is our world so changed that we can make this man a hero for driving a boat for 90 days? Come on. Guys with three and four PHs stuck around for their full tours on the river. They were brothers, a team. They did not acquire metals in order to leave. And they were not going to let this fellow play like he was a leader when he was not. A hero? There was never any thought that he was a hero. Forming the anti-John group was the easiest thing that ever happened in their Navy experience.
The late Tom Spencer (1943-2005) was known as “The Manhattan Gentleman”. (In the Swift Boats he also had the nickname of SG for “Straight Guy.”)
In the basement bar at the Union Club on the Upper East Side he would ask his Navy friends what they knew about JFK's arrival and departure dates on the river. They would play a game by trying to “get John Kerry's numbers up,” meaning increasing the number of days John actually was in the Swift Boats, and how many days he was actually “on river.” If you increased John's numbers a day by adding some variable, you had to buy the next round of Sam Adams, so I don't recall John's on-site visit reaching 95 days, certainly not 100. That would have been a reach.
People loved Tom for what he was. He tried to get out of receiving his Purple Heart. (He probably received two.) He had given up his safer bottom bunk to a visiting senior officer, and when the blood was dripping onto the visitor Tom actually told the visitor to get on the floor while he struggled to get out of his bunk. He knew to treat the wound as an amusement to keep others from being frightened, swearing that his camp-wide infamous ex-girlfriend Gertrude had finally gotten her revenge. He was embarrassed that you would get a PH for trying to sleep, but the senior officer would have none of it.
I witnessed his efforts on 9/11. People knew immediately that he was a leader who starred death down.
But the point is this, whether Kerry spent 65 or 90 days in the Swift Boat Unit, it is still an awfully short time to become a hero for doing so little. And does a real hero take a hike from his team just because he was awarded three medals?
JFK's Navy records are now public. You can see how many days he actually spent on the river. Tom's game is at an end.
Keep my name out of it. I can't say I ever saw combat.
— name withheld
Mr. Tyrrell calls for a seasoned psychiatrist to diagnose John Kerry as a nut. I'm a psychiatrist with close to forty years of experience, and I must say that Mr. Tyrrell's diagnosis is unproven. He characterizes the Senator as being “obsessed” by the Swifties. Now, had there been no attack on him by these people, then his preoccupation with them would have to be called paranoid. But, no one contests that they did indeed try to discredit him and to torpedo his campaign. Of course, if their charges are true, then he's either a liar or deluded about himself, and his revisiting the issue again and again would indeed suggest serious pathology. But, Mr. Tyrrell has not offered convincing evidence that the charges are true. To say that the Swifties are unanimous in their accusations doesn't mean anything. Not everyone who served with Kerry on Swift Boats has accused him. Some have and others have not. So, naturally all those who accuse him are unanimous in their accusations. What else would they be? The point is that not all those who served with him are unanimous in accusing him, but that is what Mr. Tyrrell is implying. To say that his having brought a movie camera to Vietnam makes him “a self-aggrandizing, self-indulgent showoff” makes no sense. Mr. Tyrrell surely isn't implying that every soldier who brought a movie camera with him should be so characterized.
On the other hand, if some or all of the accusations are false, then it could not be said that Mr. Kerry was pathological in trying to clear his name. One might wonder why he hadn't been more active in doing so earlier. But, to say that an innocent man who's defending himself is “obsessed,” would mean that all defendants were, by definition, pathological. As an example of Kerry's obsession, Mr. Tyrrell cites his searching for proof that he was in Cambodia for a short period of time. But, didn't the Swifties accuse Kerry of having lied about having been in Cambodia one Christmas eve? Well, if he had been in Cambodia, wouldn't he want to demonstrate that fact in order to prove that he hadn't lied? How would that make him a nut? To cite the Nixon administration as having said that he wasn't supposed to be there could mean that he is lying, but I believe that Kerry is claiming that the mission was clandestine. So, what does an official denial prove? Also, didn't the Nixon administration enlist Mr. O'Neill to attack Mr. Kerry? One can't exactly think of that administration as dispassionate in regard to Mr. Kerry.
What it comes down to is this: If the Swifties are right, then Mr. Kerry is a nut. If they're not, then the case hasn't been proven, and Mr. Tyrrell hasn't demonstrated that they are right. So on the basis of the evidence he's presented, the diagnosis of Mr. Kerry being a nut cannot be made.
Diplomate American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
A devastating riposte to liberals trying to use “swiftboating” against conservatives is: “Another Kerry-ism.”
— Douglas Herz
I read your column concerning John Kerry's Vietnam service. I also note that you were in your early twenties when Vietnam broke out. Considering your criticism of Kerry, I can only assume you must have had a sterling military record with several tours in Vietnam. Please cast off your reluctance to play the hero and tell me: what is your military record?
— Dennis Hatler
Perhaps a psychologist could explain why you desire to debase your opinions with cheap shots like referring to Kerry as “Sen. Jean-Francois Kerry.”
— David Greene
I concur with Emmett Tyrrell that it is indeed weird for John Kerry to continually invoke the Swift Boat Veterans. Kerry likes to market himself as the guy who dares “speak truth to power,” when in fact that is what the Swifties did. A bunch of vets of all political stripes stepped forward to confront a powerful Senator with the truth, and to warn voters that Kerry the man — regardless of his politics — was unfit for command.
Where the self-decorated Vietnam vet shot himself in the foot (an apt analogy, I think) was in publishing his biography (Tour of Duty, Douglas Brinkley, 2004). This self-inflicted wound had a very different outcome than intended. Rather than another medal or the dutiful honor he expected, the biography provided a narrative of events in which dozens of eye-witnesses participated. They tracked each other down to compare their memories with those seared — seared — in Kerry's mind, or at least that part of it that was not over-cooked from being in Cambodia, Christmas 1968. To their everlasting credit, the Swifties reported for duty yet again.
To “Swiftboat” someone, far from being the pejorative Kerry would wish, is “having the courage to speak truth to power.”
Tyrrell… What is wrong with American politics today is that someone who is multilingual and fought for their country (read John Kerry) can be put down as a nut, just because he wants to play the issue not the man. Right-wing politics is all about discrediting opponents and fear-mongering. Whether hindsight proves that justified, mainstream America is yearning for real issues to be solvedâ€¦immigration, War on Iraq, budget deficit. When you whine and bleat about “liberals” and “Frenchman” you forget that real people need real solutions, and not just some rhetoric and lip service. As much as I enjoy a good bollocking, I'd rather see some solutions to problems!
— Nathan Maskiell
To answer some points tossed out by the ankle-biting Aussie, Nathan Maskiell:
Only in America can two tours of duty [one of which was out on the ship — the second was abbreviated by that third Purple Heart, which Mr. Kerry had been so — desperately pursuing], three purple hearts [one of which was awarded for a self-inflicted wound — another for a barely-discernible scratch, and only after his dissenting superior was transferred out of the unit, leaving Our Hero free to re-submit the citation], two Bronze Stars and a Silver Star [the citations for which Big John wrote up himself] mean that
you are soft and an appeaser [which he most certainly is]. Only in America can a war veteran and POW be snidely put down as psychologically questionable [which Senator McCain likely is — perhaps, in part, because of certain events which took place behind the walls of the Hoa Lo Jail?]. Only in America can two draft dodgers and conscientious objectors ascend to Commander-In-Chief [Clinton wasn't a “conscientious objector” — he was a coward, seeking to “preserve (him)self from physical harm”…Mr. Bush wasn't a “conscientious objector,” either — he “dodged” the draft exactly the way that I “dodged” the draft in 1964: by joining up and volunteering for combat flight duty!]. And only in America can a dementia-ridden voodoo economist [ah — we presume to have expertise is psychiatry and economics, now, do we?] be lauded as a great Commander-In-Chief.
Ever the cheeky sot — ain'tcha now, mate? Shame on ye for belittlin' yer betters!
— David Gonzalez
It seems Mr. Maskiell has swallowed the hook. While citing Kerry's war record as the gospel he seems to have ignored the facts. The Swifties have presented a clear alternative history as to how those decorations came to pass. With a sweep of the hand Mr. Maskiell has accepted as fact Kerry's yet to be documented side of the story. Not undocumented, however, is Kerry's very anti-American behavior in the days following his release from active duty when he sided with the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, many of whose members later turned to be imposters never having served in the military.
Particularly galling is his characterization of Ronald Reagan as dementia-ridden. That's a low blow. President Reagan's Alzheimer's appeared after he left office. Mr. Maskiell says performance counts, well how about ending the cold war and breaking up the USSR? The rest of his letter is just anti-American pap, not something one would expect from such a staunch ally.
I think Mr. Maskiell clearly drinks his bath water.
— Jerry McDonald
“And only in America can a dementia-ridden voodoo economist be lauded as a great Commander-In-Chief. C'mon guys, play the ball, not the man. Results matter. Personality does not!”
I have to believe that Mr. Maskiell is referring to Slick Willy in his comment about a “dementia-ridden voodoo economist.” Only a dementia-ridden, Foster's-soaked Aussie could deny that Dubya's successes (that would be results, for those of you down under) far outweigh his failures. Either that, or Melbourne, Australia is a suburb of Paris, Moscow, or perhaps Berlin…great economies all.
I won't bore any of you sentient beings with the details of the U.S. economy, the war on terror, or other results delivered by this administration. Perfect? No. The border and the ridiculous federal spending binges are serious issues. I just wish the lefties would make up their collective minds. Is Bush a moron, or an evil wizard? For those of you with an IQ of room temperature, regurgitating Michael Moore's idiotic talking points, I suggest you move to Melbourne, Australia. At least then we won't have to worry about you voting for POTUS — that would be President of the United States for those of you in Rio Linda, or Melbourne, Australia. That would be the former prison colony somewhere near the South Pole. I imagine that the genetic “results” of Australian reproduction speak for themselves.
Actually, I rather like Australians. Poached in Court Bouillon with a
lovely Hollandaise on the side.
— D.G. Richard, Esq.
Your article, “Not Too Swift” and the reader mail it elicited the following day are of considerable interest.
Having had my request to be transferred to the retired list granted a quarter century ago, I am grateful for the time subsequently spent with family uninterrupted by any more lengthy deployments. As luck would have it I was in IV CTZ (Bassac River, Gamewarden patrol/TF116 ops) and III CTZ (Vam Co Dong river, Operation Giant Slingshot) southwest of Saigon as XO of a WWII vintage LST configured for riverine warfare support during an interval that overlapped both sides of then-Lt(jg) Kerry's brief but subsequently well advertised tour of self-promoted “heroism” on other waterways of the Mekong Delta.
The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are in my opinion twice heroic — once for their original service in harm's way and later for scuttling the campaign of a notorious liar and turncoat.
If the junior senator from the Bay State mistakenly thinks the Swift Boat Veterans are his only source of political opposition, someone ought to resurrect the famous line often delivered by the late, great Al Jolson: “BABY, YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHIN' YET!”
Were this “hero's” records to be unsealed, were he recalled to active duty to answer well founded charges of Treason for giving aid and comfort to the enemy after he returned to the safety of “the world”, and were he to be found guilty of same, I would volunteer with gusto to return to active duty for the privilege of serving as a member of the firing squad. Indeed I would relish the opportunity to administer the coup de grace. Waxing this present day Benedict Arnold — pursuant of course to the protections afforded by due process according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice — would be sweet pleasure beyond compare.
— Thomas E. Stuart, LCDR, USN, Ret.