The controversy involving charges that Sen. Kerry misrepresented his war record continues to simmer, with the Republican-leaning Washington Times running two front page stories on the issue and John E. O'Neill, who has written a book detailing the accusations against the Democratic candidate. In one of the stories, the Times runs an excerpt from O'Neill's book "Unfit for Command," which deals with the differing accounts of Kerry's three Purple Heart decorations: "In the history of Swift Boats in Vietnam, all military personnel served a tour of duty of at least one year unless seriously wounded. Among the few exceptions was John Kerry, who requested to leave Vietnam in 1969 after four months, citing a regulation that permitted release of personnel with three Purple Hearts. Kerry, now the four-term senator from Massachusetts and the Democratic presidential nominee, is also the only known 'Swiftee' who received the Purple Heart for a self-inflicted wound. None of Kerry's three Purple Hearts was for serious injuries. They were minor scratches, resulting in no lost duty time. Each of these decorations is controversial, with considerable evidence (and in two cases, incontrovertible and conclusive evidence) that the injuries were caused by his own hand and not the result of hostile fire. Kerry's injuries are a subject of ridicule among fellow Swiftees."
On Fox News' Special Report, O'Neill was asked to give an example of Kerry misrepresenting his Vietnam record. O'Neill said, "There's the sanpan incident, outlined in Kerry's book Tour of Duty, in which it's undisputable it was a tragedy. There was a husband and a wife, and a child and a baby, on a sanpan. The husband was killed. The child was killed. We don't criticize that, although it could be criticized. But what we did is get the actual report out of the Navy Archives" dated January 20, 1969, "which he has omitted from his web site. That report, which went to Commander Elliott, shows no longer the child being killed, the child that John Kerry said in Tour of Duty, would be seared in his mind forever. All of a sudden, it shows an entire squad, five Viet Cong on the boat that were never there in the real world being killed. It shows the mother and child as Viet Cong captured in action. It went up the chain of command and John Kerry received back congratulations. Just like the ones you are reading from commanders that had no idea that he had lied to them."
The Washington Times runs a second front page story in which Kerry's campaign "said yesterday that the Democratic presidential nominee is not hiding any of his war records and has, in fact, released them all to the public." Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan said, "Senator Kerry's entire military service record is posted on JohnKerry.com. His entire record." The Times adds Meehan spoke at "a press conference called to defend Mr. Kerry against recent charges that the former Navy lieutenant didn't deserve some of his war decorations three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star."
Campaign Won't Say When Cambodia Mission Took Place; Crewmates Cast Doubt On Account.
The Boston Globe this morning reports on a statement Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan in which he says Swift Boat Veterans for Truth "is wrong" when it alleges Kerry fabricated his account of having crossed into Cambodia during Christmas 1968. Kerry, said the spokesman, "was inside Cambodia to drop off special forces on one mission and was at the border on other occasions." However, the statement "did not say when the cross-border mission took place." For years, adds the Globe, "Kerry has said he was in Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1968." James Wasser, "who accompanied Kerry on that mission aboard patrol boat No. 44 and who supports Kerry's candidacy, said that while he believes they were 'very, very close' to Cambodia, he did not think they entered Cambodia on that mission. . . . Another crewmate who said he was with Kerry on Christmas Eve, Steven Gardner who is a member of the veterans group opposing Kerry's candidacy said Kerry was 50 miles from Cambodia at the time. . . . 'Never happened,' Gardner said."
GOP Donor Gives Swift Boat Veterans For Truth Additional $100,000.
Meanwhile, says the Dallas Morning News, Bob Perry, "a major Texas donor to the Republican Party and President Bush has given another $100,000 to" Swift Veterans for Truth. Perry, a Houston homebuilder, "provided much of the early money for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which recently launched a television ad and book accusing Mr. Kerry of fabricating his war record."
Bush Aide Says Kerry Camp "Obsessed" About A War "In The Middle Of The Last Century."
Bush campaign press secretary Terry Holt said on CNN's Inside Politics that "the Kerry campaign obsesses about a war that occurred in the middle of the last century. We've never even questioned his service there. And yet he brings it up and has his Kerry surrogates, like Wes Clark today, attacking the president personally. It's out of bounds and it doesn't help us get to the next agenda, and what we're going to do in the next four years."
VFW Unhappy With Kerry's Role In Vietnam Protest Group.
As Sen. Kerry prepares to address the Veteran of Foreign Wars , the Washington Times reports this morning the group "made it clear yesterday that it is none too pleased with Sen. John Kerry's 1970s role in the defunct Vietnam Veterans Against the War, which, at the time, called the VFW 'a paramilitary, pro-war organization' out of touch with young veterans." Kerry was VVAW's "chief spokesman during the early 1970s and is slated to make a campaign pitch today in Cincinnati to the annual convention of the VFW. But in 1971, Mr. Kerry's anti-war group denounced the VFW as a war-mongering lobby responsible for getting the United States into the Vietnam War and harbored hopes of perhaps replacing the VFW as a veterans' group."