Sen. John Kerry was in Lansdowne stumping for Barack Obama the other night.
According to our Amy Brisson's excellent report...
"Kerry spent much of the event responding generally to the audience’s questions on Obama’s electability, how to defend him from the kind of “Swift Boat” attacks that damaged Kerry’s 2004 campaign... "
The assumption here seems to be that the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, the group that criticized Kerry for attempting to use his Vietnam-era military service to get elected president, unfairly misrepresented his service.
The problem with such an assertion is that the none of the accusations against Kerry by his fellow servicemen were ever proven to be false.
As they pointed out at the time:
"John Kerry's service in Vietnam lasted 4 months and 12 days, beginning in November 1968 when he reported to Cam Ranh Bay for a month of training. His abbreviated combat tour ended shortly after he requested a transfer out of Vietnam on March 17, 1969, citing Navy instruction 1300.39 permitting personnel with three Purple Hearts to request reassignment. So far as we are able to determine, Kerry was the only Swift sailor ever to leave Vietnam without completing the standard one-year tour of duty, other than those who were seriously wounded or killed.
"It is clear that at least one of Kerry's Purple Heart awards was the result of his own negligence, not enemy fire, and that Kerry went to unusual lengths to obtain the award after being turned down by his own commanding officer.
"John Kerry has long insisted that using the three-injury loophole to leave combat early was his own idea, but Kerry's fellow Swift officer Thomas Wright, who served on occasion as the OIC (Officer in Charge) of Kerry's boat group, contradicts that claim. Wright reports that he "had a lot of trouble getting Kerry to follow orders," and that those who worked with Kerry found him "oriented towards his personal, rather than unit goals and objectives." He therefore requested that Kerry be removed from his boat group. After John Kerry qualified for his third Purple Heart, Thomas Wright and two fellow officers informed him of the obscure regulation, and told him to go home. Wright concluded, "We knew how the system worked and we didn’t want him in Coastal Division 11."
"Constructing a complete picture of Kerry's service is difficult due to gaps in the Naval records provided by the Kerry campaign. These gaps include missing and incomplete fitness reports, missing medical records and missing records related to his medal awards.
"For this reason we call upon Senator Kerry to authorize complete access to all his military records by filing a standard Form 180, a simple two-page release form.
He never did.
Only 3 of the 19 men he served with supported his candidacy. A dozen said he was "unfit to be commander-in-chief."
And only 3 of 23 of his fellow Swift Boat commanders supported his bid for the presidency.
If the people who worked with Obama when he was a young man had similar problems with his candidacy, it would be good to know why.
The lesson of the Kerry campaign is don't run as something you're not. And don't have the arrogance to think you can get away with it.
UPDATE: I don't think anyone has written about Kerry and the Swift Vets better than Mac Owens. Here's one of his old pieces.
that sums things up pretty well.