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Kerry Refuting Swift Boat Lies, Again

by RonChusid

If John Kerry is going to have a chance to win in 2008 it will be necessary for him eliminate the controversy created by the Swift Boat Liars. Even though the facts were clear that O’Neil and other were both lying and working with GOP operatives, the media concentrated on the horse race aspect with questions as to how the charges affected the campaign, and gave far too little attention to the overwhelming amount of evidence supporting Kerry.

Kerry released his Naval records proving his case, and others pointed out the many contradictions between attacks on Kerry made during the campaign and statements on Kerry made previously by the Swift Boat Liars. This was a difficult issue to handle during a campaign, but now Kerry has the time to resolve this issue prior to deciding on a 2008 run. The New York Times reports on Kerry Pressing Swiftboat Case, Long After Loss:

John Kerry starts by showing the entry in a log he kept from 1969: “Feb 12: 0800 run to Cambodia.”

He moves on to the photographs: his boat leaving the base at Ha Tien, Vietnam; the harbor; the mountains fading frame by frame as the boat heads north; the special operations team the boat was ferrying across the border; the men reading maps and setting off flares.

“They gave me a hat,” Mr. Kerry says. “I have the hat to this day,” he declares, rising to pull it from his briefcase. “I have the hat.”

Three decades after the Vietnam War and nearly two years after Mr. Kerry’s failed presidential bid, most Americans have probably forgotten why it ever mattered whether he went to Cambodia or that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth accused him of making it all up, saying he was dishonest and lacked patriotism.

But among those who were on the frontlines of the 2004 campaign, the battle over Mr. Kerry’s wartime service continues, out of the limelight but in some ways more heatedly — because unlike then, Mr. Kerry has fully engaged in the fight. Only those on Mr. Kerry’s side, however, have gathered new evidence to prove their case…

“They lied and lied and lied about everything,” Mr. Kerry says in an interview in his Senate office. “How many lies do you get to tell before someone calls you a liar? How many times can you be exposed in America today?”

His supporters are compiling a dossier that they say will expose every one of the Swift boat group’s charges as a lie and put to rest any question about Mr. Kerry’s valor in combat. While it would be easy to see this as part of Mr. Kerry’s exploration of another presidential run, his friends say the Swift boat charges struck at an experience so central to his identity that he would want to correct the record even if he were retiring from public life. . .

The veterans group, led by Mr. O’Neill, a former Swift boat commander who was recruited by the Nixon administration to debate Mr. Kerry on “The Dick Cavett Show” in 1971, began its campaign in early 2004 by criticizing Mr. Kerry’s protests against the Vietnam War. But backed by Republican donors and consultants, they soon shifted to attack his greatest strength — his record as a military hero in a campaign against a president who never went to war.

Naval records and accounts from other sailors contradicted almost every claim they made, and some members of the group who had earlier praised Mr. Kerry’s heroism contradicted themselves.

Still, the charges stuck. At a triumphant gathering of veterans in Fort Worth after the election, Mr. O’Neill was introduced as the man who “torpedoed” Mr. Kerry’s campaign; the Swift boat group spent more than $130,000 for a “Mission Accomplished” celebration at Disney World. The president’s brother, Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, sent a letter thanking the “Swifties” for “their willingness to stand up to John Kerry.” Even people within the Kerry campaign believed that the attacks had cost their candidate the presidency.

Some of Mr. Kerry’s friends and former Swift boat crewmembers made advertisements during the race to try to shoot down the group’s charges. But the campaign declined to air them widely because some strategists said that directly challenging the charges would legitimize them.

They approached Mr. Kerry after the election with the idea of setting the record straight.

So they have returned, for instance, to the question of Cambodia and whether Mr. Kerry was ever ordered to transport Navy Seals across the border, an experience that he said made him view government officials, who had declared that the country was not part of the war, as deceptive.

The Swift boat group insisted that no boats had gone to Cambodia. But Mr. Kerry’s researcher, using Vietnam-era military maps and spot reports from the naval archives showing coordinates for his boat, traced his path from Ha Tien toward Cambodia on a mission that records say was to insert Navy Seals.

Mr. Kerry’s supporters have also frozen frames from his amateur films of his time in Vietnam and have retrieved letters and military citations for other sailors to support his version of how he won the Silver Star — rebutting the Swift boat group’s most explosive charge, that he shot an unarmed teenager who was fleeing his fire.

Another photograph provides evidence for Mr. Kerry’s version of how he won the Bronze Star. And original reports pulled from the naval archives contradict the charge that he drafted his own accounts of various incidents — which left room, the Swift boat group had argued, to embellish them.

Mr. Kerry’s defenders have received help from unlikely sources, including some who were originally aligned with the Swift boat group but later objected to its accusations against Mr. Kerry. One of them, Steve Hayes, was an early member of the group. A former sailor, he was a longtime friend and employee of William Franke, one of the group’s founders, and he supported the push to have Mr. Kerry release his military files. But Mr. Hayes came to believe that the group was twisting Mr. Kerry’s record.

“The mantra was just ‘We want to set the record straight,’ ” Mr. Hayes said this month. “It became clear to me that it was morphing from an organization to set the record straight into a highly political vendetta. They knew it was not the truth.”

Mr. Hayes broke with the group, ending a 35-year friendship with Mr. Franke, and voted for Mr. Kerry. He has provided a long interview to Mr. Kerry’s supporters, backing their version of the incident for which Mr. Kerry received the Bronze Star.

Of course, plenty of disappointed and angry Democrats would like to know why Mr. Kerry did not defend himself so strenuously before the election. He had posted some military documents on his campaign’s Web site and had allowed reporters to view his medical records but resisted open access to them as unnecessarily intrusive.

Mr. Kerry and his defenders say that they did not have the extensive archival material, and that it was too complicated to gather in the rapid pace of a campaign. He was caught off guard, he says; he had been prepared to defend his antiwar activism, but he did not believe that anyone would challenge the facts behind his military awards. “We should have put more money behind it,” Mr. Kerry says now. “I take responsibility for it; it was my mistake. They spent something like $30 million, and we didn’t. That’s just a terrible imbalance when somebody’s lying about you.”

107 Responses to “Kerry Refuting Swift Boat Lies, Again”

  1. Good to see Kerry do that.

    This article, however, is sickening. The fact that they spend so much time wondering why Kerry does that and that they dont do one minute of self-criticism on how the media reported on that in 2004 is sickening.

    The media continues to be a real problem and this article is a good illustration of that.

  2. I’ll second that, Mass. When this corrupt regime comes tumbling down, the complicit media is sure to follow. The people should hold them accountable for their blindness, apathy, or downright cooperation with the rethugs.

  3. I agree with you all. This is the part that really gets to me. The articles and television shows during 2004 tended to always send mixed messages when covering Kerry. As if they wanted the viewer to not be sure of Kerry or even promote some acceptance of doubt about him. This was so beneficial to Bush and made it difficult for people to really get to know Kerry as the preferred choice. In other words, it was like a hidden agenda that all worked together. Keep the audience mixed on Kerry through vague coverage, while the conservatives repeat “flip flop” and then end it all with the Swifties. The media outlets knew he had qualities that far surpassed Bush. I kept wondering…why won’t they cover this American leader appropriately? And don’t even mention the debates…Kerry left him dazed and confused and people actually spent time analyzing this as if Bush actually debated!

    Before I go, I must also mention my utter frustration with so many on the left who seem to think his loss is HIS fault. As if other factors did not play a part. When is our party ever going to truly come together when it matters most. I have been down this road so many times and am so tired of travelling it. We act as if our leaders have to be perfect and if they lose, some act as if all the candidate’s hard work and dedication is worthless. I hear trivial criticisms when our eye should be on the larger issues. Kerry is at the forefront of our party and stands firmly on the core Democratic party principles we strive to keep. Maybe if we hold up our leaders when they need us most, we can truly acheive. Kerry needed us then and I do feel another factor was some on the left not truly having his back…

  4. DAS, Thanks so much for your eloquent statement. YES to all of it.

  5. Excellent post as always DAS! :)

  6. How could Kate Zernike write an article on John Kerry’s “Christmas in Cambodia” claim and never mention Christmas?

    Or has Christmas moved to Feb. 12?

  7. He should have sued them.
    If Hastart can threaten to sue ABC, Kerry should sue.

    WHat this atmosphere of hate and innuendo and downright lies need is a good lawsuit.
    I don’t usually say that, but I think one is due.
    People should be responsible for what they say and write. If they lie, especially deliberatly, they should pay.

  8. In the 2004 Presidential Election the Democratic Party
    was presented with a clear challenge. The American people in vast
    numbers cried out ” Anybody but Bush “.
    The Democratic Party had several fine candidates that could have won that election.
    Lieberman ( Strength ), Edwards (Hope), and Dean ( New Direction ), in that order
    would have been my preferences.
    Win or lose the attempt to elect these men would have been good for the American
    people and the Democratic Party.
    Then along came John Kerry. ( __________ )
    I could not vote for John Kerry because I could not find one outstanding quality
    that I could focus on to support him.
    The Democratic Party chose to fill in that “quality” blank with ( war hero ).
    The ( war hero ) then began to lead us into the direction of surrender, defeat and betrayal,
    as he did many years ago in his Vietnam War.
    I do not need a Swift Boat Veteran to make me realize that it would be a grave mistake
    to spend another $ 30,000,000 of my Democratic political contributions to defend the
    questionable war record of John Kerry.
    Todays battles of “Strength”, “Hope”, and “Forward Direction” will be won by those who truly
    believe in these Democratic Virtues.
    I look forward to supporting and honoring these war heroes.
    Democrats Move On !

  9. diane,

    “I don’t usually say that, but I think one is due.”

    Agreed, although I wonder if it would help or hurt if he runs and wins in ’08. In this case, we should look closely at the possibility that it would help wake up the media to do their job. Kerry will withstand scrutiny – no problem.

    What is so disgusting is that we have a truly exceptional individual when it comes to a long public record of character and integrity, and all they do is throw doubt into the reports. Dukakis was the same. The man was so down to earth and principled, they didn’t seem to believe it was real. If we want the kind of candidates who are not on ego trips, we need to stop buying into the false facades of those that are and ignoring those that aren’t.

    Frank , I haven’t checked on this again, but as I recall JK originally remembered the incident as taking place on the Christmas eve before that Feb. I don’t know if the records were able to support that. At the time it was questioned because Kerry had commented that the experience had been “seared into my memory”.

    My personal take then was that the memory of the mission can be seared. The date – given his combat situation and the way human memory goes awry- may have gotten confused. It came down to, if there was one fact off, it doesn’t refute the essence of the incident as being true. It was the same extrapolation as: If Clinton would lie about an extra-marital affair, he would lie about more important things. :roll: Kerry is human and does not have a perfect memory – even if he is right on the date in this situation. It goes to intent to mislead versus mistake.

    The completed dossier will need a lot of grassroots dissemination since the MSM is not likely to expose their complicity. A DVD version would be really good.

  10. Robert Greer

    I’m sorry to say if you would have chosen Leiberman over Kerry for “strength” I’m stumped. Kerry has a strong record of leadership — not to mention working for hope for lesser fortunate amongst us and has always been a progressive, with his record on the environment, healthcare and so many more issues.

  11. Ginny in CO Says:
    May 27th, 2006 at 3:21 pm

    Agreed, although I wonder if it would help or hurt if he runs and wins in ‘08. In this case, we should look closely at the possibility that it would help wake up the media to do their job. Kerry will withstand scrutiny – no problem.

    Ginny, I am wondering the same thing. There are so many that say we need a CLEAN, smear-free candidate for 08.

    I think he should sue them once and for all. It’s unfortnate cause the lies have been debunked but the media keeps pushing these evil men like they are credible.

  12. Robert Greer Says:
    May 27th, 2006 at 3:13 pm

    Have you ever served? Or are you from the Swiftboat LIAR group?

    Your drippings on this site show me how not in touch with reality you are.

    Take your money (roflmao, like I believe you gave even a penny)and if you are not one of those slimey corrupt lying swifties, get over your primary loss of your candidate, your rhetoric is boring and so Rovish.

    Grow up!!!!!!!!

  13. Robert Greer,

    You are, of course, free to post here. Just realize that the bulk of regulars on this blog are HUGE Kerry supporters because:

    We know JKs record well – it speaks to just about every outstanding quality you could think of. If you really open your mind to think.

    We are well read and aware of the multitude of facts on the ’04 race.

    Your comments clearly indicate that you have not questioned many assumptions and therefore have not learned what the records clearly support. In short, you have bought the MSM and too many misguided Dems memes about ’04.

    If you are genuinely interested in getting the candidate most qualified TO DO THE JOB elected in ’08, I challenge you to go through our archives in the Kerry and Polls categories to replace your paper thin knowledge base with one that has truth, breadth and depth.

    Your comment “to defend the questionable war record of John Kerry.” is a definitive example that you didn’t even read the original post, so I am putting this reply in for others who read this blog.

  14. Indie,

    “There are so many that say we need a CLEAN, smear-free candidate for 08.”

    Exactly. It is another misconception expecting someone to pop out of ?? and be immune to the incredible smear tactics of the GOP aided by the MSM. Not to mention taking on a national campaign for the FIRST time and not making ANY mistakes.

    The complicity of the media is, in my mind, on the same scale as the voting process and machine fraud. The combination of these and the GOP no principles campaigns, are getting us deeper and deeper into a hole we will have to work 1000 times harder to get out of.

    JK’s credibility will be very important in winning ’08 and being able to lead us out of this.

    No, he hasn’t said he’s running. I’m operating on my hopeful assumption 😉

  15. Robert Greer,


    That was easy.

  16. Robert Greer,

    There is nothing questionable about Kerry’s record as a war hero. A group of people put up to lie by GOP operatives does not raise any legitimate questions.

    Kerry’s record as a war hero however is not the reason why I would support him in 2008. We have a lot of serious pro lems, both internationally and domestically, and there are few people with the knowledge and experience to address these problems..

    None of the candidates you mentioned were likely to have done any where near as well as Kerry did in 2004. Beating an incum ent President is difficult, especially in time of war. A lesser candidate could have resulted in a repeat of Nixon vs. McGovern.

  17. Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Kerry sign the 810

  18. David,

    He aready did sign the 810–and the records verified what he said. The records were also just as released during the fall of 2004.

    Now, when will Bush sign his 810 considering that almost two years of his National Guard service are unaccounted for.

    There’s also a couple Swift Boat Liars with some questions in their records who refused to sign.

  19. Thanks
    I was going to post that if you didn’t have it but of course you do. I noticed, Ron, that you referred to JK’s post on here over on Democracy Cell Project. Thanks, as that prompted me to come back over here & read some interesting comments!
    Keep up the good Kerry Coverage!

  20. I’ve got a simple question for you folks that are so sure of Kerry’s integrity, and the subject of that question is a matter of geography.

    How could John Kerry have ferried Special Operations soldiers from Ha Tien up the Giang Thanh River into Cambodia, when the Giang Thanh River doesn’t go there?

    The Giang Thanh River is surrounded on both sides by Vietnam, though Cambodia is in walking distance to the north.

    At the very best, Kerry embellished his story. At worst… well, geography doesn’t lie, but people do.

  21. Confederate Yankee

    Duh? Did you not answer your own question?

    You said: “The Giang Thanh River is surrounded on both sides by Vietnam, though Cambodia is in walking distance to the north.”

    Answer is they went up the river as far as they could go and walked the rest of the way. Part of the point of the swiftboats was that they could also manuever through smaller streams and rivers that connected to the larger rivers.

    At best, you’ve got nothing.

  22. There have been reviews of the Cam bodia story for quite a while which lend credence to Kerry’s account. For example:


    Holiday in Cambodia
    The “Christmas Eve” attack on Kerry is cheap and almost certainly wrong.
    By Fred Kaplan
    Posted Monday, Aug. 23, 2004, at 4:04 PM PT

    Kerry’s Christmas story rings true
    It is a twisted state of affairs that George W. Bush’s most avid surrogates are trying to make this election turn on the question of whether Lt. John Kerry was or was not in Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1968.

    Having pretty much failed at their efforts to disprove the official U.S. Navy account of Kerry’s valor in battle as skipper of a “Swift boat” patrolling the Mekong Delta, the veterans against Kerry have moved to discredit his more obscure claim—made a few times over the years, in interviews and Senate floor speeches—that, on Dec. 24, he took CIA or special ops forces across the border into Cambodia, even while Washington claimed no American troops were there.

    Kerry first told this story publicly in an article published in the Boston Herald on Oct. 14, 1979, before he was a senator:

    I remember Christmas Eve of 1968, five miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our South Vietnamese allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas.

    He elaborated the tale on March 27, 1986, during a Senate debate over whether to aid the Nicaraguan contras:

    I remember Christmas of 1968, sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge and Cambodians and have the President of the United States telling the American people that I was not there, the troops were not in Cambodia. I have that memory which is seared—seared—in me.

    A more intriguing reference—now known as “the famous good-luck-hat story”—was made in a Washington Post profile, by Laura Blumenfeld, published on June 1, 2003:

    There’s a secret compartment in Kerry’s briefcase. He carries the black attache everywhere. Asked about it on several occasions, Kerry brushed it aside. Finally, trapped in an interview, he exhaled and clicked open his case.

    “Who told you?” he demanded as he reached inside. “My friends don’t know about this.”

    The hat was a little mildewy. The green camouflage was fading, the seams fraying.

    “My good luck hat,” Kerry said, happy to see it. “Given to me by a CIA guy as we went in for a special mission in Cambodia.”

    But now some anti-Kerry veterans are saying he was never in Cambodia. John O’Neill, who has been dogging Kerry more than 30 years, told Matt Drudge that the senator’s Christmas-in-Cambodia stories “are complete lies.” As evidence, he cites Kerry’s own wartime diary, as quoted in Douglas Brinkley’s Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War. That book—according to Drudge’s account of it—places Kerry in Sa Dec, 50 miles away from Cambodia, on Christmas Eve, and seemingly at peace. “Visions of sugarplums really do dance through your head,” Kerry wrote in his diary that night, “and you think of stockings and snow and roast chestnuts and fires with birch logs and all that is good and warm and real.”

    That passage is on Page 219 of Brinkley’s book. But O’Neill, Drudge, and the other sneerers choose to ignore the 10 preceding pages—the opening pages of a chapter called “Death in the Delta.” On Christmas Eve 1968, Brinkley writes, Kerry and his crew:

    headed their Swift north by the Cho Chien River to its junction with the My Tho only miles from the Cambodian border. … Kerry began reading up on Cambodia’s history in a book he had borrowed from the floating barracks in An Thoi. … He even read about a 1959 Pentagon study titled “Psychological Observations: Cambodia,” which … state[d] that Cambodians “cannot be counted on to act in any positive way for the benefit of U.S. aims and policies.” [Italics added.]

    Brinkley also quotes from Kerry’s diary: “It was early morning, not yet light. Ours was the only movement on the river, patrolling near the Cambodian line.” [Italics added.] Brinkley continues: “At a bend just as they were approaching the Cambodian border, two [U.S. river-patrol boats] met the Swift.” Then, again from Kerry’s diary: “Suddenly, there is an explosion and a mortar lands on the bank near all three boats.” The next few pages detail a ferocious firefight, one part of which involved (as his diary noted) “the ridiculous waste of being shot at by your own allies.”

    Only a few hours later, in the evening, did Kerry’s boat reach the stationing area of Sa Dec. “The night for once is comforting,” Kerry wrote in his diary, “and you take a Coke and some peanut butter and jelly and go up on the roof of the cabin with your tape recorder and sit for a while, quietly watching flares float silently through the sky and flashes announce disquieting intent somewhere in the distance.” It is in this context that Kerry then wrote, in a letter to home, about “visions of sugarplums” and thinking of “snow and roast chestnuts.”

    So let’s review the situation. On Christmas Eve 1968, Kerry’s Swift boat and at least two river-patrol boats were doing something unusual (Kerry wrote that he’d never been so far in-country) at least in the vicinity of the border—”near the Cambodian line,” as he put it in his diary. And Kerry had with him a book that described a Pentagon study on psychological operations against Cambodia.

    It is certain that by this time, the United States had long been making secret incursions across the border. This is from Page 24 of William Shawcross’ 1979 book, Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon, and the Destruction of Cambodia:

    Since May 1967, when the U.S. Military Command in Saigon became concerned at the way the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong were evading American “search and destroy” and air attacks in Vietnam by making more use of bases in Laos and Cambodia, the U.S. Special Forces had been running special, highly classified missions into the two countries. Their code name was Daniel Boone.

    The Daniel Boone teams entered Cambodia all along its 500-mile frontier with South Vietnam from the lonely, craggy, impenetrable mountain forests in the north, down to the well-populated and thickly reeded waterways along the Mekong River. [Italics added.]

    We know that Kerry’s boat and two others were in those reeds on Christmas Eve ’68.

    The Cambodian special forces’ incursions—which were conducted without the knowledge, much less approval, of Congress—were escalating around that time. Just over a month later, on Feb. 9, 1969, Gen. Creighton Abrams, commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, requested a B-52 bombing attack on a Communist camp inside Cambodia. (Richard Nixon, the new president, approved the plan on March 17; the first strikes of Operation Breakfast—the secret bombing of Cambodia—started the next day.) Shawcross writes that special forces were always sent across the border to survey the area for targets just before an air operation.

    Did Kerry cross the border or just go up to it? We may never know for sure. Not much paperwork exists for covert operations (officially, U.S. forces weren’t in Cambodia). Nor is it likely that a canny Swift-boat skipper (and Kerry was nothing if not canny) would jot down thoughts about such covert operations in a diary on a boat that might be captured by the enemy.

    The circumstances at least suggest that Kerry was indeed involved in a “black” mission, even if he had never explicitly made that claim. And why would he make such claims if he hadn’t been? It was neither a glamorous nor a particularly admirable mission—certainly nothing to boast of.

    But one thing is for sure: Lt. Kerry did not spend that Christmas Eve just lying around, dreaming of sugarplums and roasted chestnuts. He had plenty of time to cover the 40 miles from the Cambodian border to the safety of Sa Dec (he did command a swift boat, after all). More to the point, the evidence indicates he did cover those 40 miles: He was near (or in?) Cambodia in the morning, in Sa Dec that night.

    Fred Kaplan writes the “War Stories” column for Slate.
    Photograph of John Kerry on the Slate home page by Getty Images/Agence France Presse.

  23. AP noted contradictions in O’Neil’s comments on Cambodia:

    Swift Boat Writer Lied on Cambodia Claim

    Wed Aug 25, 7:17 PM ET

    By ELIZABETH WOLFE, Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON – The chief critic of John Kerry (news – web sites)’s military record told President Nixon in 1971 that he had been in Cambodia in a swift boat during the Vietnam War — a claim at odds with his recent statements that he was not.
    “I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border,” said John E. O’Neill in a conversation that was taped by the former president’s secret recording system. The tape is stored at the National Archives in College Park, Md.

    In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, O’Neill did not dispute what he said to Nixon, but insisted he was never actually in Cambodia.

    “I think I made it very clear that I was on the border, which is exactly where I was for three months. I was about 100 yards from Cambodia,” O’Neill said in clarifying the June 16, 1971, conversation with Nixon.

    Chad Clanton, a spokesman for the Democratic presidential candidate, said the tape “is just the latest in a long line of lies and false statements from a group trying to smear John Kerry’s military service. Again, they’re being proven liars with their own words. It’s time for President Bush (news – web sites) to stand up and specifically condemn this smear.”


  24. This post truly does not understand the Republican mineset: “Ginny, I am wondering the same thing. There are so many that say we need a CLEAN, smear-free candidate for 08.” Aint going to happen.
    There is and never will be a clean Republican Presidential campaign. I have not seen one since maybe Gerald Ford and don’t ever expect to see one in my lifetime, its just not the way Republican campaign managers are built. I truly feel that they believe that if they campaign strictly on ideas rather than emotions they will lose, so they turn it into a street fight hoping voters overlook their candidate’s shortcomings. Sorry but if any Democratic operative expects to run a campaign strictly on ideas and issues they will lose every time. If there is nothing truly significant to attack our Democratic nominee about they just make things up and start pounding and attacking. Take for instance the flip flop routine. I recall a similar strategy and negative ad used against Carter,( with a wether vane and a spinning head tv ad), Dukakais and Kerry. Scaring voters and saying Democrats will raise your taxes, we have seen that dog and pony show so many times it is both predictable and almost humerous. Do we forget Bush just making up Arkansas tax increases that never happened and advertised them as factual and based upon such and such report, usually a Republican think tank. Whoever we nominate and I truly hope it is JK will be hit by Republican smears, Edwards for being a trial lawyer, Warner for having the guts to raise and lower Va taxes, Richardson for being in charge of Los Alamos, Hillary for just being Hillary and in charge of healthcare Reform, etc, etc, will have nasty negative commercials run against them, no matter who our nominee or what the truth is. Until we as a party are ready for a street fight in a Presidential election we will not win. Voters claim they want issue campaigns, but in reality they are looking for the next American idol for President, with ambiguous concepts of charisma, personality, and strength measured by how tough and sometimes ugly they are in a campaign rather than who has the more thoughtful and intelligent ideas for dealing with something as important as healthcare. That is why Bush went up in the polls when he whispered major League about Clymer with the New York Times rather than dropping as expected and JK’s creative ideas of real healthcare reform was virtually ignored by the media. Maybe after 8 years of having our empty American idol in the Whitehouse we will be ready for a truly intelligent leader like JK. I am just not convinced that voters truly understand the importance of having an intelligent leader in the Whitehouse. Call me a cynic.

  25. I don’t know Pamela.

    Trying to reason with Deaniacs can be pretty tough. Kos is riddled with them. They’re like termites, as soon as you think you’re done with them – they come back for more!

    And as far as Robert Greer goes: when I went to my Democratic Caucus Meeting 2 years ago, I supported JK because he represented COMPITENCE.

    Don’t come here and give me this crap about how you couldn’t come up with an adjective to discribe Kerry’s character. Are you that simple minded?

  26. I am very glad to see that this Swift Boat issue is still in the news because I think it is important to (1) louldly set the record straight that John Kerry was a war hero (2) make smearers know they will have to pay a price even if the day of reckoning may come after the damage has been done, and (3) further expose and illustrate the complete lack of ethics and decency in the leadership ranks of the Republican Party. On a deeper level, I think it is important for Americans to take a deep breath, confront the Vietnam War with all its implications, examine those scars and then put it behind us. Getting to the essense of these SBVT lies and the real or imagined slights that engendered them will be good for all of us.

    Chuck in Houston

  27. Ira,

    I hear hear what you’re saying and I agree with you. I said this in another posting – ideas are great, but character (emotions) – that’s where te money is at. It’s a sad truth.

  28. Ira,

    It was me that made the comment about the left and Democrats hoping to nominate a CLEAN, perfect, baggage/smear-free candidate. The names I have been hearing are Gore, Clark, Feingold, Edwards or red state governor.

    You nail it all the way. I have been saying the same thing. It doesn’t matter who the candidate is or where they are from, the RNC and Doughboy will smear anyone. That’s the bottom line.

    BTW: Welcome. :)

  29. Chuck Says: May 27th, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    What you said Chuck in Houston! All that!
    And because it was so well put, let’s repeat it:

    1) louldly set the record straight that John Kerry was a war hero

    2) make smearers know they will have to pay a price even if the day of reckoning may come after the damage has been done, and

    (3) further expose and illustrate the complete lack of ethics and decency in the leadership ranks of the Republican Party.

    And finally…

    “On a deeper level, I think it is important for Americans to take a deep breath, confront the Vietnam War with all its implications, examine those scars and then put it behind us. Getting to the essense of these SBVT lies and the real or imagined slights that engendered them will be good for all of us.”

  30. Indie Liberal Says: May 27th, 2006 at 11:18 pm


    It may be the bottom line that they will smear, but their power base has been weakened.

    There is no perfect smear free candidate. JK is taking the swift liars head on, and make no mistake, this time it will be over.

  31. Ira,

    I think that exchange was misunderstood. Indie’s (#11)comment was an observation:

    “There are so many that say we [Dems] need a CLEAN, smear-free candidate for 08.”

    My response (#14) was to agree that the misconception is blind to the GOP/MSM filthy tactics that, as you note, have been going on for decades.

    Exactly. It is another misconception expecting someone to pop out of ?? and be immune to the incredible smear tactics of the GOP aided by the MSM.

    My # 9 comment was in response to Diane’s #7, which brought up the idea that a lawsuit might be the thing to smack the media into real journalism instead of dollar chasing.

    If Hastart can threaten to sue ABC, Kerry should sue.
    What this atmosphere of hate and innuendo and downright lies needs is a good lawsuit.
    I don’t usually say that, but I think one is due.
    People should be responsible for what they say and write. If they lie, especially deliberatly, they should pay.

    You can’t be any more cynical than I am about the media. It started in 1958, when I was 6. Every time I have been at an event that was subsequently in the news, the distortion, omissions and prevarication are nauseating. The news worthy items that never make it are even worse.

    I recently got into an interesting email exchange with someone who had left a great link on one of the posts.

    “I’m an old CBS ABC Mutual Radio and
    PBS guy…who quit “traditional” media because I got sick to my stomach with news “shows” that are just that: SHOWS, not programs. There’s a difference. The “news” – ain’t – except, of course, here and there on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, and a tweak or two on PBS.

    As for the “lies” – they are not HALF as important as what is LEFT OUT.

    The REAL news is what is never mentioned at all:
    the underlying tentacles of international connections and power interests.

    There is a wonderful scene in a gruesome movie called Brave Heart, in which the protagonist, while leaving the field of battle, realizes he has been betrayed by what he thought was his strongest ally. If you can get by the
    gore…ALL of what is going on now is nicely diagrammed in that movie.

    [The reason Mel Gibson made the movie? – I need to watch it again]

    Going back to Randolph Hearst promoting the Mexican war to increase newspaper sales and before, the media has a mixed history of good journalism and muck raking pulp fiction. Now America has been betrayed into a nightmare reality by the ally the Founding fathers established and Jefferson defended.

    The Internet has a potential that astronomically trumps the printing press. It can provide both the news the MSM leaves out and the lies and whole truth in the current news frenzies.

    We are still begging our elected officials and party leaders to DEVELOP this Gold, Diamond, platinum & titanium mine. It will create more progress and prosperity than all the other concepts and inventions combined. As long as Congress doesn’t turn it over to the Corporations that have built their wealth and our economy on war.

    Is modern America ever going to realize the presidential election is not for the Prom King and GROW UP? I have to believe it is possible – to some extent. The current situation is creating a ‘teachable momment’. Americans are facing a reality check that is knocking a lot of them to their butts. If we get control of Congress and start the investigations, fasten your seat belt and put on a helmet.

    We know how the GOP has been fighting elections. What we have to be careful of in this situation, is how we deal with a pendulum that has started coming back at us at an increasing rate of speed. We need to slow it down and figure out how many degrees we can change it’s course.

    Campaigning has to change, a LOT.
    The GOP is not likely to run a smear free campaign in the forseeable future. The Dems need to learn how to run campaigns that, in addition to issues and ideas :
    A) Actually reach the voters
    B) Are better presented to resonate with the voters concerns. Once you have their emotional/intuitive attention, they will be able to pay more attention to the substantive discussion – which needs to be streamlined.

    You work campaigns. Why don’t we develop job descriptions for elected positions? Bill Clinton said campaigning is one long job interview with American voters. Why not actually come up with some realistic detail of what the person needs to be able to do? In looking at nursing jobs, a couple of sentences can tell me if I have the knowledge base and experience to even apply. Voting someone that needs a LOT of OJT into a tax paid job is a waste of your own tax money.

    Every so often, I own up to having TWO degrees in BS.

    I’m done, you can wake up now 😉

  32. So great to see so many familiar names! :-)

    The case has been made, over and over again, but I’ll toss my .2c into the mix anyway.

    Going along with Blue Washington’s idea, re: emotion moving the voters… and all this nonsense about thinking some sort of teflon candidate exists (read Ira above for what will happen to whoever runs)…

    John Kerry covers both those bases, in my simple-minded thinking. I mean, here he is, still standing, still fighting, and still calling a lie a lie. The right wing smear machine didn’t knock him down or knock him into some think tank somewhere, he’s still right out front, scars healed, loaded for bear.

    (nod to Lou whereever she is:)
    John Kerry, THE REAL DEAL.

  33. chuck do you really think Americans want or wanted to relive a horrible war that ended 30 years ago? I think most Americans now look at Vietnam as part of our history and millions of Americans were not even alive in the 1960s and 1970s and know little about it. The Swift Boaters’ strategy was hatched at the Republican Convention and Zell Miller’s red meat speech portraying our man as weak on defense and a coward. We all wish that Bob Schrum would have let JK be JK and immediately look in the camera and simply say I served in Vietnam my opponent avoided service and I am proud of that service. My opponent wants to live in the past and talk about a war he acknowledged that he avoided, I want to talk about your future. I will pledge tonight to no longer talk about his draft avoidance if he will put an end to his smear campaign and attack dogs and tell them that as President of the US he will not tolerate it and wants it stopped immediately. Maybe I am wrong Chuck I just don’t think voters are as obsessed with Vietnam and want it replayed every night on their tvs,except for some aging veterans, interested in reliving the Vietnam war, as perceived. It was skillfully used by the RNC as a symbol of Democratic military weakness which was far from the truth. I certainly hope that if McCain is their nominee that we remind voters that McCain had the opportunity to stop the Swift Boaters from smearing his friend JK and he chose to stand on the sideline with his bud Bush and listen to the lies and distortions. I see that as a test of McCain’s character which he failed miserably. Again progressives must learn to be street fighters in campaigns and stop worrying about playing nice. In a way being aggressive and sometimes mean in their campaigns would have the added benefit of looking tough and strong, note my example earlier of mumbling major league about a New York Times reporter. At least chuck that is what I took out of the ’04 election as our mistakes. Its not the way I would suggest conducting a campaign but it appears to be a succesful formula. Recall Richard Nixon’s confronting Vietnam protestors as long haired hippies? Miller, Swift Boaters, Agnew’s attacks, Atwater’s commercials; do you see the pattern, do you see which campaigns succeeded?

  34. Ira, I’ve followed your comments and thoughts for quite awhile now and usually find myself nodding in agreement.

    Where we disagree in your post above, is the idea that Vietnam is of interest only to aging veterans. (Hey, re: aging, my hair is silver, not gray! LOL and besides, I’m not a veteran, but I digress.) 😉

    Vietnam was THE background for an entire generation of Americans. Yes, we are aging, and yes, millions of Americans alive today think of that era as history. What might be lost on some of those younger millions is the ingrained, and I mean ingrained, call to service that we hear from JFK and saw in people like MLK and RFK and millions of others. That call to service, that “torch,” has burned for many of us for the whole of our lives. And while Vietnam is history to millions, that time, and that old “culture war,” is still alive today for boomers. We’re still wearing jeans, we’re still involved in politics, and we still argue about that damned war.

    So yeah, while I agree with the rest of your post above, I hope you understand that there is a buried thread that ties that time with today… and for many, that thread is still a bonafide third rail.

    Kerry has more integrity on this issue than anyone alive today, sans Max Cleland, in my thinking.

  35. Ira,

    Not only does KJ make the important point about millions of us Boomers having major associations with that war,
    I have a lot of contacts with vets – some who served in both VN and Afghanistan or Iraq. They hurt, big time. If you get a chance to see the documentary “Sir, No Sir”, it may help you understand the extent, numbers and differences of the vets conflicts.

    What Chuck is suggesting is not ” replayed every night on their tvs”. I think it is more about replacing the collective misunderstandings with the facts and realizing that we need to keep the lesson and lose the destructive emotions.

    Your understanding of political campaigns is 20/15 hindsight. Therein lies the problem. As I pointed out above, running campaigns using strategies that worked in another time with a very different voter mindset could lose the potential of what we have.

    The criticisms of too much control of Gore and Kerry are well established and reinforced by their current reemergence as their strong selves – unfettered by the Schrum, et al. After Al’s SNL stint and Kerry’s commencement address at Emerson, it became obvious that smart people with moderate speaking skills are easier to teach better skills than to give a good looking & talking person 20 or 30 years of competent governing experience.

    I think the biggest missing piece here is one we debated earlier in several columns on the ‘Starbucks Republicans’.



    What we have to master is what is BEHIND the success of the GOP ugly tactics. It isn’t the ugliness or attack dogs that generate votes. Copying that only turns off a lot of people who won’t even register.

    The GOP is run like a business. Their data banks on voter psychographics is enormous, and allows them to subliminally link to the emotional/intuitive drives in specific groups. Once you connect to that feel good spot, you can, as the joke goes, sell a deep freezer to an eskimo who lives on perma frost. (Except now, with the perma frost melting, they may have reason to buy them)

    Soros recently funded an independent political person with ties to Hil to do this for the Dems. We have a lot of catching up to the GOP. But what can make our messages better is that they can start with appealing to hope and courage, not fear and despair.

    I strongly disagree with the idea that we have to use what I think you mean by ‘street fighting’ tactics. Campaign tactics have to be viewed like marketing strategy. For a period of time “Where’s the beef?” is very successful. Then somebody comes up with a new approach that appeals to both the buyers’ psychographic profile plus it is new and different as well. Right now, I think a little levity could help every campaign.

  36. Kj stated: And while Vietnam is history to millions, that time, and that old “culture war,” is still alive today for boomers. We’re still wearing jeans, we’re still involved in politics, and we still argue about that damned war.

    I truly wish that I was seeing that same idealism and political energy from our generation from the 70s such as you. From what I see the culture war you speak about has now been replaced with concerns about 401k and BMWs rather than planning marhes in the streets to stop an unjust war. The difference KJ is that we saw our friends drafted out of college and shipped off to VN; this generation have the poor swept up in Walmart Parking lots looking for work and recruited when their folks are out of town and then shipped to Iraq. I don’t want to live in the past and we have probably beaten the why did JK lose issue to death. Ginny is right about rehasing ’04 and trying to use 20/15 hinesight something I am sure JK would not want us to be doing. As JK said lets keep our eyes on Nov ’06 not Nov ’06 or even ’08. This time we truly have much to lose. With expectations of our victory this Nov, anything viewed as a loss THIS NOV. could also be devistating to our candidate’s chances in ’08.
    Maybe I have been around too many campaigns and heard that same refrain that we shouldn’t play on their levels or what I call being good street fighters. Maybe I don’t trust voters any longer who tell focus groups that they reject negative politics and want positive campaigns. But we have been there, and done that at the ’04 Convention and it simply didn’t work.

    Here in Texas I have seen the state Democratic candidates lose elections the last minute to dirty tricks(John Sharp’s loss to Rick Perry as Lt Governor), nasty campaign tactics, and dirty money from Bob Perry and friends and I am more than tired of seeing them take that strategy national and watch us play nice worrying that we will offend the moderate voters who were telling Peter Hart on Nov 1, 2004 that they were still undecided and hadn’t heard enough from the candidates yet. Its playing politics on the margins. I just have not seen enough examples of that strategy ever working, but remmeber I am jaded by Texas politics and come from a different perspective.

  37. Ira,

    I certainly don’t want to live in the past nor have I had the luxury to do so. The point I think we disagreed on was a simple one; for many of us, the lines break down now (re: the Iraq War and pro-Bush) pretty much where they broke down during the Vietnam era, with some exceptions (my siblings, for example, and that very much might have to do with 401Ks and beemers, sad to say).

    I don’t see Vietnam as history, I see it alive and well and resonating with many many many of us almost (due to whose in power today) as much as it did then. Almost. I mean, the parallels between this misAdministration and Nixon’s are astounding.

    And, I have no problem delivering a punch straight to the nose to those I disagree with, none whatsoever, although I use facts and simple language to deliver the “pow.” Humor too, when possible. I can street fight with the best of them and spent years on-line doing just that with neocons. But I have standards I won’t stoop to, plain and simple. Nothing Atwater promoted is anything I’d advocate. As I used to say on the Kerry blog, if I wanted to fight like Rove, I’d join his team.

    Of course I want to see blunt facts spoken, cleanly, plainly and damn the consequences. And that can be done with style and grace. @;-) So, I’m with you; no playing politics on the margins.

    The Way of the Spiritual Warrior:
    Show Up
    Pay Attention
    Tell the Truth
    Let Go of the Results

  38. typo above, sheesh. “whose = who’s”
    Time for supper. 😉

  39. Just taking a peek in from doing work and you all have some really interesting discussions going on. Ginny in CO & others have some great ideas on strategies to “market” our cause/candidates. I also found the statements listed below as common themes that hopefully some Democratic communication staff (I’m praying for this)…will think on and get US BACK IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT…WHERE WE BELONG!

    According to Ginny in CO:
    “But what can make our messages better is that they can start with appealing to hope and courage, not fear and despair.”


    According to KJ:
    “But I have standards I won’t stoop to, plain and simple. Nothing Atwater promoted is anything I’d advocate. As I used to say on the Kerry blog, if I wanted to fight like Rove, I’d join his team.”


    According to Ira:
    “…I am more than tired of seeing them [the oppositon with slimy campaigns] take that strategy national and watch us play nice worrying that we will offend the moderate voters..”


    According to IndieLiberal:
    “Kerry will withstand scrutiny – no problem.”

    AND YES!!!

    WE CAN REALLY GRAB ATTENTION IF WE FOCUS ON OUR COMMUNICATIONS AS A PARTY…IN TODAY’S WORLD, COMMUNICATION & PERCEPTION GOES ALONG WAY. It’s not about being fake, or being a bully or thinking the lies will end (because we know they won’t)…it’s about having the Real Deal and being agenda setters. And we know our cause is what America needs today & tomorrow. We can no longer allow them to control the agenda.

  40. During the Vietnam war 3,100,000 served Southeast Asia, more than 58,410 died and 153,000 plus were wounded. Currently more than 8 million Vietnam era veterans are still living. That translates to a lot of people connected to a lot of other people.

    Vietnam vets can be as young as their early 50s. They are parents and grandparents, friends and spouses. On the families’ side, there are many who losts parents, spouses and loved ones in Vietnam. I guess the assumption is that every Vietnam vet is in full health, with full benefits and families and veterans aren’t having to cope (still) with the aftermath of Vietnam.

    Beyond the age of veterans, the longest war in U.S. history is pretty relevant for a host of other reasons only 32 years after it ended. Or is it the only war (tragic as they all are) that deserves the distinction of being irrelevant?

    We’re 61 years removed from World War II and George Bush draws parallels to that war and Iraq every opportunity he gets. Strange how he skips over the obvious parallels between Iraq and Vietnam (lies).

  41. Ira,

    I think you and KJ are both right about this generation. Some of us are still talking about the war and not at peace with the whole mess. The ones you and I hear talking about their cars, 401s and golf scores seem to have forgotten and put it behind them.

    The human brain is capable of storing many things, in compressed files if you will, that can be dug up by the right trigger. The issue is, how do you find the trigger and use it positively instead of negatively? (I have a 12 tape seminar on this I still haven’t listened to 😕 )

    The thing is, some of your strategies would probably have worked had they been used in those campaigns. Especially anything geared to fighting the fear messages. All hatred is essentially derived from fear.

    The fact that your perspective is so different is important- because you live in a different reality. ‘Texas is a State of Mind’ is more than a joke. This is why the psychographics are so important. Texas is not Ohio. Washington is not Alabama.

    One of the isssues I have had with national campaigns is the tendency to do a one-size-fits-all message. Malarkey,
    as one coworker describes hospital gowns: One size fits none.

    Another is any kind magic bullet approach. Lakoff’s framing concept was helpful, it was not enough. All strategies must be used with individual assessments of whether they will work in the target area. As much as I have pushed psychographics, it is simply because it’s one important wheel on this vehicle that hasn’t had a tire.
    You want traction, acceleration, performance? Make sure you have a fully equipped vehicle.

    Then you have to change the exterior to sell the working parts: figure out how many exterior shapes and colors you need to make. Once you satisfy that need, the buyers will be thrilled to find out the safety features, fuel efficiency and superior driving performance. Or, they will just buy it.

    The ones who always came looking for performance over appearance will not be thrown off by this approach. They will be that much happier if the exterior is polished and not boxy looking.

    One more huge factor we haven’t touched on. 9/11 was a major national psychic disturbance that BushCo used advanced psy-ops to manipulate. The fear factor has been given lip service, but it was not your basic fear reaction.

    The period of disorientation that followed the attack was effectively controlled by W and cronies to establish themselves as the all knowing, all powerfull, all trustworthy leaders of the country. Once this got implanted in enough minds, it took another major national psychic disturbance to dislodge that conviction.

    Katrina was the epitome of disaster and salvation rolled into one epic tragedy. The blinders came off, the naked emperor revealed. He has yet to find anything but some tattered underwear. 😳

    This campaign season is going to be moment to moment in assessing, planning, implementing and doing it again and again. Constantly tacking with the winds, the current, the waves, the precipitation and the light.

    Seriously, Ira, what do you think of the job description idea? It is only one strategy. My experience in teaching patients and motivating them to learn, is that there are some universals and some specifics.

    What else have you seen that seemed to work? Even if the candidate didn’t win, did they pull a Paul Hacket closer-than-the-GOPs-worst-nightmare count?

    You’ve seen the smear stuff over and over. They will do it again. Do you have ideas of what will be tried, how best to pre-empt if at all possible?

    “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” Plato

  42. ProSense,

    Thank you !! I have been wanting to look up those stats for I don’t know how long. The other one I am hoping is still tracked is how many suicides. A long time ago, it had surpassed the number actually killed in action.

    If you have a source, I might actually get to looking it up.

    To connect these numbers and an earlier point. Of the ~ 5 million Vietnam era Vets who did not serve there, the war was a bigger impact on them than we remember.

    The documentary “Sir, No Sir” is an in depth look at the anti war movement within the ranks. It was deep, worldwide, and deadly serious – the ground war was stopped because the troops refused to fight and were wounding or killing their field officers.

    Although there are fools who want to forget Vietnam, I don’t believe those of us who lived through it can. I was also very pleased with what my children were taught in high school history. Granted they had a pure gem of a history teacher and, coming from a family with a millitary history, they paid close attention.


    Working on Sunday? My condolences. Glad you could drop by and comment.

  43. Ginny in CO Says:
    May 28th, 2006 at 5:24 pm

    Thank you for that link Ginny. It just happens to be playing in Norfolk, Va. on Tuesday night. I am definitely going to go see it.

    I will be receiving “Winter Soldier” on the 2nd and can’t wait to watch it.

  44. Fedup,

    Cool! Just a note I put in my review last week(?). It’s only an hour and 25 minutes and should have been maybe 20 minutes longer because they panned the still pictures a tad too fast. This is especially at the first part of the movie. If you’re prepared to absorb the photo images and read the screen captions quickly, it should be better.

    I want to see “Winter Soldier” – when I can. The scenes in “Going Upriver” have never left my memory – some are in “Sir, No Sir”. Due to the personal experiences I have had with vets who have PTSD, it is really hard for me to watch.

    I can only think that being in that room, with all the psychic pain embodied in real people, must have been a heart and soul numbing experience.

  45. This is Chuck in Houston for Ginny:

    I think is was you that posted the importance of “replacing the collective misunderstandings with the facts and realizing that we need to keep the lesson and lose the destructive emotions” with respect to Vietnam. That is not what I was trying to say — and I did not mean it in the sense of good presidential politics or electoral strategy, although presidential politics could be a venue, or rather should be a venue, for dealing with it. I just think as a country we sort of decided to sweep a whole lot of that under the rug — on both sides of the issues — and it is haunting us. I could elaborate, but that would be a long story (suffice it to say that I know and respect several people that would probably come down on the “lies” side and I think that needs to be addressed).

    Also, for Ira, I did not mean that that should be a focal point of a presidential campaign. I meant in the off-season it might be a good fight to get out of the system. In fact, I did not make the comment with any reference to presidential politics. I just think it’s an argument that has to be hashed out in this country.

    Chuck in Houston

  46. Oops! I hate my keyboard:

    The first part of what I just posted was:

    I think is was you that posted the importance of “replacing the collective misunderstandings with the facts and realizing that we need to keep the lesson and lose the destructive emotions” with respect to Vietnam. That is exactly what I was trying to say — and I did not mean it in the sense of good presidential politics or electoral strategy, although presidential politics could be a venue, or rather should be a venue, for dealing with it.

    I’ve got this scroll-thing on my laptop touch-pad — it’s dangerous, man!

    Chuck in Houston

  47. So Ginny, anyway, I didn’t mean to say “not what I meant to say” but rather “excactly what I meant to say.” Honestly, this touch-pad scroll is driving me nuts…. My hand under my right thumb is always grazing it.

    Chuck in Houston

  48. I’ve said it often I wish Kerry had sued swift boat liars till hell wouldn’t have them back and I still do.

    I can’t say it may be the best strategy but it wouldn’t hurt for the simple reason that the lying media, rethugs and any dems hoping to use it against Kerry may have pause if for a brief minute.

    When someone trashes your name and that of your family and take your service to your country and turn it into a missile against you its time for a hard smackdown.

    As for lefties/Progressives I agree with the posts above that dems better become street fighters and hit hard in the gutters and in the halls of congress or they will not win in 06 or 08. The GOP will not fight like men or civilized folks including mccain and dems can’t afford it either. All this bunk about turning off the undecided voters. Bullsh!#

    Negative attacks work they always have and always will. If they didn’t then why do the reason’s a person sites for not voting for a particular candidate often goes back to something they heard from an negative attack?

    As for the media, Well I’m not going to hold my breath that they will evr get their spine or sense of decencey back.

    The media repeated these lies and kept this crap front burner. The media was a big weapon in rove’s and the swift liars arsenal and they have gotten away with it. The msm can’t afford to have Kerry as press because they know like we do payback can be a real B.

    The msm needs to pay for what they did as well.

    WE also can’t forget the backstabbing dems who went on these shows and ridiculed their candidate and his wife in print and repeated many of the gop talking points because they wanted their own shot in 08.

    my opinion on Nam is if you stepped foot in those rice patties/jungle and risked your life for your country you had a right to protest that war and no one has a right to condemn you for it.

    Like ot or not there are some misconceptions that will have to be addressed at some point. His family island in Nashua belongs to the Forbes family its not his own island as has been reported.

    I believe Kerry is the best candidate in 08 and if his not the dem nominee I won’t vote in 08 for pres. I will not pull the lever for hil no way in hell.

  49. Excellent post pen.

    One of my family members brought up Hil and her “possible run in 08.” They were saying that they thought that the RNC would dig up lots of dirt on Hil that it would be too much for a general election.

    I too think Kerry should sue, even though some think it could damage him in 08 if he decides to run. :confused:.

  50. Pen/Indie:

    My one contribution to that is don’t cut your nose to spite your face. Ira et al are right: dirt is going to fly no matter what or who. No one is so good they couldn’t drag something up — true, false, or just plausible for just long enough. And if someone was that good I’d have some serious doubts about that person as a human being. On the suing thing, well, I think it’s more important to win this battle in the court of public opinion and damn the torpedoes.

    Chuck in Houston

  51. Chuck,

    I feel for you, I thought the touch pad would be very cool and got a keyboard with one. Fortunately it is also ergonomic and full size so I don’t have trouble avoiding it.

    And I am SO glad it was “exactly” rather than “not” 😉

    There is a lot of pain about many aspects, the confusion doesn’t help. I wonder if we also have some sense of guilt or regret that goes so deep that it is hard to even think about dealing with it. I ended up facing it because of the vets I took care of. It actually made it easier in some ways.

    But I distinctly remember the day we were pulling out completely and that sense of relief that it was finally over. That the thoughts about the soldiers, the civilians and the country would be less intense and more hopeful. When I started to talk about it at dinner in the dorm, my friends might as well have kicked me in the solar plexus. Only one remembered that it was the day of withdrawal and no one seemed to think it was important.

    I’ve wondered since how many people set up a kind of wall around all those memories and never ‘looked” at them. Watching “Sir,No Sir” sure stirred up a lot of mine. And not sad or angry in retrospect because I have seen documentaries of how the country has rebuilt, of soldiers who have gone back, or children whose father died there who found the site and finally had closure.

    And like almost all of these experiences that are painful; at a later date, we usually see them with a different understanding that allows us to let go of the emotions.

    I have certainly seen the conflict in many vets and watched some process and heal, while others won’t acknowledge other experiences or perspectives and keep the emotions like an old blanket.

    Whatever venue we find to deal with it, the importance goes not only to the national conscience, much more to being able to deal with vet issues. The cuts in benefits and services are becoming a travesty. It burns me that we hear so much about supporting troops and how wonderful the military is. Until they come home and muster out. Then it’s too bad, so sad. There’s a budget deficit and a debt. We’ll give more tax breaks to the corporations so they will create more jobs. Gee, you can’t find a job? Oh, well.

    Oh, the concept of not losing the lesson comes from the Dalai Lama.

    Somehow I rarely seem to keep from elaborating…:oops:

  52. I know folks may think that suing would make it worse and I can understand that.
    But I’m not willing to trust the court of public opinion when it comes to the negative attacks on Kerry. Once bitten twice shy maybe but 60 some million couldn’t see bush for what he was the last round so I’m not giving them the benefit this round just yet.

    In any case the swift boat liars will come out and Kerry is going to have to hit them hard enough that after 30+ years John Oneill will finally stop stalking him. And court maybe the only way to do it.

  53. Chuck in Houston for Ginny:

    I’m glad you read through that! I went to such trouble to cut-and-paste and frame and then when I clicked I saw the error!

    What you just added about vets brings it full-circle: so much back then was ugly on both sides and now many of us on the side that never saw any sense to the Vietnam War have come to understand that is was us, as a whole, promoting the war, not the warriors, that carry the blame.

    A lot of vets really hate John Kerry’s guts for his Senate testimony. I guess I understand that and that is where we need to work. Mind you I do not think a word of that testimony was false. As some famous person once said, war is hell. I don’t know that from personal experience but it seems like the truth to me, which is why, to my mind, it is an option that must only be pursued as a last resort.

    God Bless and GOTV 2006!

    Chuck in Houston

  54. Pen, Indie, et al

    Remember there is a lawsuit pending. One of the SBLiars is suing JK laughably for defamation, I believe. JK will have his day in court to prove this SOB WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

    The John O’Neil’s will never go away completely, but there is reckonin gto be done and a good place to start is with disputing the law suit against him and perhaps a countersuit, but I think JK needs to weigh that carefully… Anything that detracts from his time used for higher purposes or gets in the way of an 08 run, (ie too much time in a courtroom) would not be a good thing.

  55. Chuck

    “A lot of vets really hate John Kerry’s guts for his Senate testimony. I guess I understand that and that is where we need to work.”

    Here we are in this place again, with another needless war and lives lost and atrocities happen. There is no time like the present to point out that “war is hell” and reasonable people get that JK’s testimony was something that needed to be said.

    The public opinion has sunk so low on Iraq, another reason why this all resonates so well now. It did not resonate well in ’04 because the public opinion on the war in Iraq was not low enough.

    People are tired of the fear and the lies. Another reason why the truth will now resonate. Time is timeless – Vietnam is now – Iraq is past. A Zen sort of thought to contemplate.

  56. Pamela:

    I agree with that entirely. What goes around will come around. We need to break out of this cycle of fear and violence. I may be wrong, but to my mind confronting the demons of Vietnam is not a bad place to start on that. Some of these knee-jerk anti-Kerry veterans need to get their arms around that notion. I think our job is to make that as painless and respectful as possible. I hope that did not come across as condescending. It was not meant to be condescending. On the other hand we must not back down.

    Chuck in Houston

  57. Pamela:

    Also, no matter hw just the cause, war is an atrocity. It’s an accident waiting to happen. That’s why we must never go to war unless we really have no other choice. I’m not a pacifist but I do believe that war must be the last option.

    Chuck in Houston

  58. Chuck Says: May 28th, 2006 at 11:52 pm


    And I agree with you entirely. I wrote my blog post abou The Unconscionable Truth yesterday to make that point. The truth is not alway pleasent, it doesn’t always feel good, but facing it confronts the demons and accepting it puts them to rest.

    I think the percentage of those who believe the SBL’s is not all that great. Couple with the Bush fearmongering they got some milage they might not have gotten otherwise.

    Washas got to be the last resort. We’ve come to far – mankind to keep going down this road. There is a better way.

  59. Chuck,

    One of the things that is strange about the vets who hate JK for his testimony; were they in Adak (Aleutian Island) or stoned? In the documentary Sir, No Sir, much of the within the ranks protesting was already hot and fairly widespread by ’71. Maybe they didn’t like it and tied it to the VVAW. It started within the service and spread there. The people who went to the Presidio were interviewed and their actions were based on what was going on in their assignment. They chose to stay and face the consequences rather than go AWOL.
    The other interesting piece is the epilogue. A vet who had heard the story about vets coming home, getting spat on and called baby killers felt it had some aspects that were too strange to be true. He is a professor of Psych or Sociology, I think. He went through a lot to verify anything about any of the stories and couldn’t. He also points out some of the logical inaccuracies and the improbabilities. The conclusion: the spitter was the 70’s version of the ’80’s welfare queen. An urban myth spread by Rambo and others.
    Now if this gets out, I suspect some vets will come forward to report their experiences. Then I get back to, JK never suggested condeming the warriors, and I don’t think that kind of treatment was something they would have anticipated.
    If some were spat on, his goal was to keep more from dying. If a soldier can serve in the rice paddies and protect his buddies, is abuse from stupid people something he isn’t tough enough to take in order to get them out? What would they have put up with as a prisoner of war? I am not supporting the treatment or insensitive to it’s cruelty coming from people they fought for.

    I have similar experiences with patients I have gone out of my way to help becoming very vicious. There are a lot of people with really mixed up ideas and attitudes. The experience can be bad enough for someone who hasn’t been overseas fighting. Adding that to a burden that is already unfair is bitter. “A bitter heart devours it’s owner”

  60. Ginny in CO,

    It is Memorial Day 2006 !

    I was reading your posts on this website.

    I enjoyed your posts and it seems that you have been

    doing a lot of good work for many years.

    Some things that I read in your posts were very familiar to me.

    And I began to think that I know you.

    I went to Google and typed in Ginny Vietnam

    And this is what came up.


    As I am sure you already know,

    Vietnam Veterans reserve a special place for Ginny at the Wall,

    and Ginny’s picture travels around the country with the Moving Wall.

    Ginny in CO, on this Memorial Day, thank you for your service.

    And to all the Ginnys out there. We know you.

    We honor your service.

    Keep on fighting for what you believe in.

  61. Ginny:

    No, I have to say that for the most part, or at least for the part that gives me pause, I heard that from combat veterans. We still have some work to do, I think. We’ll get there if we stick to our guns and are respectful and thoughtful, I think. At least that is my Memorial Day prayer for my country. Got to turn in now…

    All the Best,

    Chuck in Houston

  62. Chuck

    I think we can all join in on that prayer for Memorial Day. Until next time…

  63. Robert,

    That is one BIG surprise. Of all the things I have heard and read about Vietnam, that story had never crossed my path.

    The extent of my service is simply the vets that I have cared for over 30 years in nursing. Not at the VA. It doesn’t take long to meet the ones who have PTSD and that experience took my conscious activism to speak out more.

    I’m glad you like my posts. Did you ever go to Brad DeLong’s blog during the campaign? Not So Swift Vets for Truth. It was sort of small, Brad was a former marine who had realized that a lot of vets were struggling with the pain of the memories so he started the blog to give them a place to hash things out. It was not limited to vets and how I found it is a blur, but I posted there quite a bit – as Ginny in CO (if you google that you will find links here and a few other places).

    During the campaign I worked at the county level – mostly on health care issues but also backed up vet issues. I had a chance to go to a townhall with John Edwards. Couldn’t get to the mike but I elbowed my way to the front of the rope line. When he came up and was shaking my hand I yelled out “We need more funds for PTSD research, outreach and treatment” He had cocked his head so I was speaking to his ear over the din, he turned back and looked me straight in the eye and said “We Know”.

    I’ve always thought that what I do for the vets to say thank you is giving them the best care and fighting for the benefits they earned.

    I do love this country and have deeply appreciated those who were willing to face war to defend it. Fighting for what I believe in is the only way I know to really believe in it. Love isn’t love until you give it away. A belief means nothing if it does not take the form of action.
    In Memory of those who served, and rest in peace…

  64. Yaay Ginny. You do have a great talent for dealing with the wounded.

    I’m none too happy this Memorial Day but I think some truth is in the air in a more profound than usual way. Maybe we will emerge from Iraq/Nam with a decreased desire to go back into war. How many can you lose? We were White Knights, heroic gods after WWII and so quickly we have descended to these depths. If that’s what it takes to reconsider this horrific behavior, then so be it. I really don’t see us going into combat any time soon.
    For once, we need a leader who has an inkling of knowledge on this subject.

  65. Chuck

    “A lot of vets really hate John Kerry’s guts for his Senate testimony.”

    Also keep in mind that Kerry’s testimony is frequently misquoted by the right wingers to give the false impression that he was criticizing his fellow vets of war crimes. If Kerry’s actual testimony is reviewed, it is highly critical of the political leaders who made the decsions, but also highly supportive of the soldiers who were placed in such a situation.

  66. Ron:

    I agree with that. I do know some people though that have trouble getting through that emotional reaction, and I think that is where the real challenge lies. I also think that is why, in a way, it will be good for the country to confront the issue outside the hot-house environment of a presidential campaign to try and get some healthy reconciliation going.

    Chuck in Houston

  67. My main problem with the vets who supported the smearvets is how uninformed they are.
    It is still like that. My boss is a VN vet and we had a serious discussion about JKs 1971 testimony. The smearvet scum was good at linking Kerry with Jane Fonda (Hanoi Jane). Until we googled it and read it together, he had no idea of what Kerry really said. All he ever knew was the smearvet side.. He now knows the speech shows a person trying to end and unjust war and to bring the troops home. He also agrees JK is doing the same in the Iraq war.
    I talked to a lot of vets this morning at the local American Legion Hall. A lot of these Vets think any protest about the war is wrong. They remember VN and say it demoralizes the troops. I counter with wasting their lives is demoralizing. If you really care about the troops then why aren’t you protesting the lack of equipment; or unsanitary Haliburton-supplied facilities or the cut in VA benefits or the absurd strategy that makes our troops sitting targets? Just a consant stream of whys? I never, never get any response back.
    About half think it was good strategy to fight terrorism in Iraq and not here. That Sadaam had weapons and hid them. That he was setting up al Quida training camps. My response is Sadaam and bin Laden (remember him) were enemies and there has never been a link between them proven. Besides, how can you fight terrorism and not care about the one who murdered 3,000 of us? Follow the money to Saudi Arabia.
    Kerry has a lot of work ahead of him convincing Vets that it is OK to protest the war and love the troops.
    Many are waiting for the days when the troops – and not the politicians are blamed for the war. The public will eventually blame the warriors and not those who sent them. Not in my presence.

  68. battlebob,

    I still think we learned the warrior versus COC mistake in VN.

    Funny thing from “Sir, No Sir” I had totally forgotten.
    During the huge expansion of the antiwar movement within the ranks at bases all over the world, Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland toured in an entertainment show that was the Alter-Hope. They weren’t allowed on the bases so had to find some place near that would hold all the people who came. She was interviewed for the movie and talked about her friends asking her why she kept going back to do the shows, so I think it was several years.

    On the demoralizing the vets argument. Have you ever asked if anyone there experienced this or knew someone who did? The Sir,No Sir timeline shows most of the guys had already figured out it was a mistake about the time Kerry did – 69 or so- and the anit war movement within the ranks was going strong well before he testified.

    The documentary is an hour and 25 minutes, just screening in various cities now. link at # 42

  69. Just to be clear, that first line should be

    we learned the ….mistake FROM VN.

  70. Ginny,
    I know many, Vets who were demoralized because the VN protest was often aimed at the soldiers. Many, many who served their country proudly were ridiculed when they caught their first leave after boot-camp. Then they go overseas to a hell hole and come back to more abuse. It was rampant and wrong. Many never wore their uniforms again. The local VFW halls treated VN vets horribly. They were denied membership and a chance to talk with their peers on how to deal with the flashbacks.
    My military experience was the same. Get out of boot-camp…get a leave before shipping out…everyone tells you what a dumbass you are for being in the service…call you baby killer…You don’t want to wear your uniform anymore. My service location was out of the way but I felt we were wrong for being in this mess. I coped by drinking. Others did dope or both. A lot of us recovered quickly when we left the environment. Some never did recover. They see you.
    I spent three days in Cook County jail because a wounded VN friend of mine was spat at by three low-lifes while being carried on a stretcher from an airplane to an ambulance. Both his parents were there and were very distraught. I went ballistic and made sure all three suffered some pain. My friend died of complications from his wounds 10 days later. Welcome home. His name is on the VN Memorial.
    The creeps that protest funerals of returning soldiers are sickening. These folks I would like to hurt.

  71. Ginny..
    sooo..Many vets from the VN era are worried the public will eventually turn on the new crop of Vets; like the public turned on them.
    I am really furious about the lack of anger from folks with friends and family in the service when the military cuts back family services; or sends troops into combat without support or proper equipment. (BTW.a good military-style bullet proof vest is about $1,500. We bought some for kids of co-workers.).
    The military says they join ranks and help the families of deployed troops but that is really nonsense. The families of lower ranks need food stamps to survive and live in second-hand stores. So much for supporting our troops.

    I go to VA hospitals and the public that says they love them so much ignores them. The public may not be blaming the vets but they are doing the next-worse thing by ignoring them.

  72. So it makes no difference if you were demoralized before entering the service or were demoralized while in the service. The net result is the same; one messed up soldier.
    So 30 years later…in another unjust war…in another crappy location (Why can’t we fight wars in Las Vegas or the French Riveria?)… many vets are afraid the blame the grunt mentality will take over. I say not this time mainly because of all the Guard troops deployed. I am not convinced the public feels remorse for treating the VN vets badly. Although rural areas are more heavily hit, all cities are affected. Almost everyone knows someone who has been affected by Iraq.

  73. Battlebob,

    You should see if you can contact the film producers. The way the epilogue is done, it could wipe out any other benefit the movie has. The professor who tried to check on the harassment basically could not find support for the stories and had some good comments/questions.
    Since he had been a vet himself, I figured he would have done a really good job on this. The situation you describe of your friend at the airport was, I think exactly one he addressed.

    The problems he cited were: why was the soldier being taken off a plane on a stretcher where anyone who would do that could get near him. The basic premise was this should have been happening at a military airport with the soldier going to a military hospital. Which made sense from my limited experience after I married into a military family in ’75. Obviously it happened in Chicago?, or a different Cook county?

    Yeah, I see the ones who didn’t recover more than the ones who did and are just in for the usual illnesses. One that still burns me over a decade later was addicted to heroin and had gotten so immune depressed, the injection sites had gotten infected. He actually had a support system, the couple had given him a nice room and he had free access to the house. His problem was he had chronic pain from the injuries, and no one understood pain management enough to know he really did need the drugs and the amount he needed was due to tolerance not addiction. Really nice guy. Life totally destroyed.

    The only reason I’ve never been in jail for assault is because most of the guys I’ve seen years after their injury or in home care. Did have one in the hospital about 18 months ago – whose chart I sent to peer review and the 2 docs had a bit of explaining to do. A few months later, the problem was the subject of a mandatory inservice for all docs.

    I think the way the public is turning on these vets is by not fighting for their benefits. Although the armor issue has been brought up repeatedly, it goes nowhere. I saw a report on PBS one night with an officer from the army and a former officer who worked for a company that had designed an alternative to the one the military had. The utterly stupid thing: the bottom line was they hadn’t issued them because the testing was unfinished. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were nowhere near the quality they should have been, but maybe the soldiers would have been willing to take that risk over nothing.

    In the light of Rummy admitting on 9/10/01 that the Pentagon could not account for 2.3 TRILLION dollars, and we went to war without have this equipment, it’s a good thing I know nothing about explosives.

    Personally, I had a parent who ignored me. I found it worse than being yelled at. It is one of the oldest methods of ostracizing a person to get them to leave a tribe, community or group.

    Yeah, there’s still a lot of processing to do.

  74. battlebob

    Re: Sadaam and bin Laden (remember him) were enemies and there has never been a link between them proven

    I tend to agree with you Sadaam and bin Laden were most probably enemies but it seems that many people think that there was a connection between all these groups when it came to supporting terror attacks. One court declared that this connection has been proven.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer reported:

    In 2003, the Beasley Firm obtained a $104 million verdict against Iraq, al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden,
    the Taliban and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan for their role in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in a case
    that made an argument for a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda.
    The plaintiffs were the families of two victims of the 911 terrorist attack.
    The attorneys for the plaintiffs were James Beasley Sr., James Beasley Jr., and Slade H McLaughlin.
    The Beasley Law Firm is presently putting the necessary measures in place to secure the funds from
    the 1. 8 billion dollars earmarked for rebuilding Iraq..

  75. Robert Greer

    Could you be so kind as to provide links when you post news quotes. Honestly I’m not sure what your point is posting rightwing slant here.

  76. battlebob

    We’re not doing enough to help them. I read a piece in the LA Times ealier about a Marine who is a mess after being on the clean-up detail after Haditha.

    All I could think after reading it was my God what have we done. This is on the CIC’s head in my opinion. We’re all so tired of this madness.

  77. Robert,

    It’s a civil case. One judge and jury do not refute the evidence and opinion of scholars and intelligence agencies.

    Not to mention it makes no sense if you think about it for 2 minutes. Sadam would let Osama into his country and find himself up against a bunch of trained terrorists?

    But do give us the link.

    And stay out of the Kool Aid 8)

  78. Battlebob- I’m with you. Everyone sees the world through diffrent sets of eyes.

    These vets who attack Kerry aren’t out demanding why the troops were rumaging through trash in baghad to arm their vehicles. That’s a damn disgrace to sent the best army in the world to war and they don’t even have the armour to defend themselves. You’d expect that from a village army not of army getting billions of dollars a year.

    The so called war hawks in the GOP nobody raked rummy and bush over the coals for that.

    I still see red everytime I think about that. Now that would have to be a morale buster.

  79. Pamela

    Re: #75 here are the links you asked for in regards to Robert Greer’s comment #74 on battlebob’s remark #67 that there has never been a link “proven” between Sadaam and bin Laden:

    This case is neither right wing slanted nor left wing slanted but the case does exist.
    This case was proved and won.
    Acquire it, read it and exercise your right to free speech by commenting on it.

    Any one reading this feel free to
    call John Kerry’s office in the morning
    (202) 224-2742
    or write to him
    or email his office

    ask him for a progress report on this case


    James Beasley Jr. Home Page with video describing the case.


    Smith v. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan


    James Beasley Sr., a good man, unfortunately died recently.

    Feel free to call Jim Beasley Jr.
    at any reasonable time and ask for a status report on

    Smith v. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

    Jim Beasley’s phone number
    email him if you prefer


    Please post whatever you find on this website. Let us reasonably discuss this case and its implications as we should be able to do with any important issue that affects us all.

  80. Robert

    A link to the news article you quoted was what I was interested in – not a case history.

    I’m not sure why you think I should call John Kerry’s office and inquire about this – you have his contact info, call away.

  81. Robert,
    Thanks for the links.
    I wonder how they proved the link between Iraq and bin Laden; prior to 9/11?
    did they use the fact that we invaded Iraq because the government said WMDs and a link between the two existed?

    Logically, it makes no sense since bin Laden thought Sadaam was an infide.

    Try these links:

    however, the WeeklyStandard describes a link between the two in detail.
    The problem is: can the Weekly Standard be believed as they haveshilled for the right wing in the past…


    Here is an article that says it is impossible for the two to be allies:


    Another one about the alleged link…from the 9/11 commission.

    To be fair, read this at your peril.


    And of course..the freepers…

    There is contradictory stories out there. Consider the sources.

  82. OOPS..missed an article…
    Referance to the 9/11 report.


    The BBC discusses the link…

  83. Battlebob, I know I’m not the only one who wants to see you post a blog or two here… your insights and activities are in the multiples and the perspective you bring is full of heart and truth.

  84. Ginny,
    Back in the VN era, troops moved around via MATS: Military Air Transport Service. They connected to major airports. I entered the service via bus ride to Ft. Leavenworth and exited through O’Hare and the VA Walter Reed Hospital in Chicago.
    It was common to see wounded vets being wheeled on chairs or gurneys through airports. This way, vets didn’t have to pay for their own transportation once they returned form their overseas deployment.

    Things have been different for a lot of years (prior do W). The military gets you into the country. It is your dime to get home. It really stinks. We can ship them out; let them fight, bleed and die; But once they return it is too bad; you are on your own.

  85. pen Says:
    May 29th, 2006 at 10:12 pm

    “Battlebob- I’m with you. Everyone sees the world through diffrent sets of eyes.”

    Your right pen and battlebob, but you know some of those eyes need a good blackening sometimes 😉

    Robert Greer Says:
    May 29th, 2006 at 11:06 pm

    Dude you better stop huffing that koolaid based paint!!

    battlebob Says:
    May 29th, 2006 at 6:01 pm

    “So it makes no difference if you were demoralized before entering the service or were demoralized while in the service. The net result is the same; one messed up soldier.”

    Amen to that battlebob!! Hell they messed me up in peacetime, so imagine the possibilities they have now. I have a buddy that will only talk about Nam to me, because he saw something in me when I came back. He said I had that stare that he last saw in-country.

    I showed up at bootcamp three days after the burial of a murdered brother that was missing for 14 months. So you can imagine what fun I was. Add an injured knee and botched surgery to that, and loosing the fight to stay in the Corps—TADA!!–instant anger!!

  86. Ginny in CO

    Re: # 77 Sadam had a standing offer to the families of potential suicide bombers.
    He would pay $ 25,000 to the family of each successful suicide bomber.
    It did not matter if they were al Qaida, Hezbollah, Taliban, Hamas .
    All you had to do was have one of your children blow themselves up and you would get the money.

  87. No one here is defending Saddaam. He is scumbag and good riddance. It is not the end but the means.
    If Bush wanted to get Saddam then make a case based on his murdering his own people. That he is threat to his neighbors. That he was a destabilizing force in the region. Bush deliberately angered the UN members hoping they would not support him; and therefore Iraq could be invaded without UN oversight. I can’t find the link but Cheney himself said the public won’t support a war unless WMDs are involved.
    I am against sanctions because all they do is delay solving the problem. Butchers will feed off the people until they are all consumed. If there is a problem with people murdering others then do something about it.
    There are two dozen or so countries that feed off their own people; from China to Africa to South America to Korea. There are a lot of Saddams. If we really cared about humanity, we would do more to prevent genocide in Africa; or force China to respect human rights.

    I am kind of a process person. Do stuff correctly and the results are repeatable. Iraq is not repeatable. If Iran is invaded, the public will throw all those who went along with it in the garbage; where they belong.

    A Saddam bounty was aimed at the suicide bomb deaths in Israel. It had nothing to do with 9/11 but does add fuel to the fire that Saddam was evil. But do the job correctly.
    If Bush made his push saying Saddam was still murdering his people and was a threat to his neighbors and the UN still had their head in the sand then a stronger case for invasion could be made. I think that would pass Kerry’s global test. But the way it was done is wrong and the American people will not stand for an instant replay of the Iraq war.

  88. Robert,
    Sorry about your knee. One big thing that has changed since the VN days is the standard combat load.
    In VN, the standard combat load was 30-40 pounds. That was your ammo, weapons, grenades, first-aid kit, water, poncho, half-tent, dry clothes, maps, flashlight, food and maybe ammo for the machine gun or mortor rounds. This is what we carried in bootcamp and is what we shipped out with. Once in country, many units stripped the weight down to less then 20 pounds.

    The combat load today is over 70 pounds aqnd I know at least 10 soldiers with bad knees; the bulk are former Marines. The services are flooded with projects headed by arrogant Colniels that demand their pet project be carried into combat.
    There is a new much more effective bullet-proof vest but the Marines don’t want it because it weighs 10 pounds more then the one it replaces.

  89. battlebob Says:
    May 30th, 2006 at 9:56 am

    You beat me to it.

    Yeah, the 25K was money Saddam would pay families of Palestinian suicide bombers who’s houses were bulldozed by the Israeli government as punishment/retaliation for their act.

    That was Saddam’s method of trying to get street cred with the Arab masses. He like most of the other Middle Eastern rulers don’t really give a crap about the Palestinians but they know that is an easy way to try to deflect attention for what a horrible leader you are and how badly you treat your own people.

    Yep, I would say people here also knew Saddam was a horrible evil dirt bag back when was at war with Iran back in the 80’s and was using chemical weapons against the Iranian’s human wave attacks and later used them against some of his own people. Of course back then Ronnie and Rummy were good buds with Saddam and helping him obtain and use his WMDs, while publicly condemning their use of course. That’s when the famous picture of the grinning Rummy shaking Saddam’s hand was taken. He was sent by Ronnie as a special envoy to make sure that Saddam understood he was still our bud and that we were just condemning his use of WMD for public political PR.


    Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia all have had and continue to have much greater relations and have provided much much more financial support of various terrorist organizations than Iraq ever did.

    Saddam seemed to prefer devoting most of his time and energy in terrorizing his own people to keep them in line. Something that none of you right-wingers cared about at all until Bush’s WMD and ties to Al Qaeda excuses as reasons to attack Iraq fell apart(well fell apart in the real world, not drooler world of course). That’s when many of the right-wingers started to pretend they cared about the Iraqi people, of course in the next sentence many also still stating how all Arabs/Muslims are the enemy and should just be killed.

  90. Donnie…
    Sorry for your knee. A 70 pound combat load. That is what the troops are hefting around Iraq and Afgan now…
    A good friend of mine had his knee torn up doing a rapid repel out of a chooper. That heavy weight just keeps going.

  91. Dave from Princeton, battlebob, Ginny in CO, Donnie McDaniel

    I borrowed this from one of Ginny in Co’s posts and I would like to go on record as saying that I, Robert Greer, an apparent right wing slanting Swift Boat lieing huffer of koolaid based paint type Dude likes what is written here. Oh no ! John Kerry wrote this! What am I going to do? If I like things I usually support them. Can you help me please. Ideas for correcting these grave problems would be an excellent basis for a Presidential Platform in 2008.

    Attributed to John Kerry by Ginny in CO:

    First, the war on terror was only one fifth of the threats to our national security. Kerry had seen the big picture, and it is ugly:

    *Nuclear and conventional weapons proliferation.
    *Environmental degradation and crisis, with attendent issues of resource allocation and depletion.
    *Fundamentalism and nationalism asserting themselves through conventional conflict and terrorism.
    *The struggles of the human condition exacerbated by refugee, food, and population concerns with transboundary dislocations unprecedented in history.
    **Exploitation of all these phenomena by powerful new international criminal enterprises that threaten the stability of whole nations and challenge our standards of civilization.

    The last is the key as far as Kerry is concerned. The huge power magnet of money taken by force or threat, covertly, not earned.

  92. Robert,
    Yep..that sounds like Kerry…
    The question is:
    Is it ok to wage war against Iraq before all the diligence is done?
    Is it ok to spread at best half-truths to justify the war?
    Kerry was always for engaging the opposition in dialog. Bush freezes them out.
    I agree the sanctions were hurting the Iraq people. The no-fly zones kept Iraq pretty much insecure. There had to be a push to end the regime sometime in the future. But it had to be a serious attempt to engage the world. There was no serious attempt. Bush insulted Europe and the UN to get them to not go along with invading Iraq.

    BushCo decided early on to invade Iraq and didn’t care if the reasons were suspect.
    What was the rush?
    Sadaam can’t move weapons out.
    Sadaam has no delivery system.
    Time was on our side. Let the inspectors do their thing.

    If WMDs are the reason then prove he had them first. Colon Powell stood up in front of the entire world and showed photographs of buildings that contained WMDs.

    My issue is the lying and deceit to invade a country and get folks killed.
    We all heard about the yellow cake and the aluminum tubes that were flat lies.
    Going to war is too serious an event to treat lightly. If lies must be told to justify the war then the liars must be punished.
    I have known Bush-like creatures my entire working career. They want to do something. The evidence says no. They find some underling that agrees with them. Citing this as justification, they plow ahead. When the task falls apart, they blame the underling and claim faulty data. It happens all of the time. That is how we went to war. This is how we will go to war again.

    Now take a look at Iran; a far more dangerous country as it is bigger, more populated; backs up against the ‘Stans, and is populated by people who are really tired of Bush banging on them.
    They did sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement. They did agree to correct the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] issues. They have the right to pursue nuclear activity for peaceful uses. The yields necessary for weapons grade material is about 95-98%. Iran’s is about 3.5% which is about all that is needed for power plants. Bush must start talking to Iran so the tensions can be lowered. Bush wants to keep the tensions high as it keeps his base fired up and he can play the war president.
    Iran wants to engage; Bush doesn’t. Why not?

  93. KJ Says:
    May 30th, 2006 at 6:01 am


    Anytime you are ready let me know – we could use a few Battlebob front page posts around here!

  94. Battlebob,

    Thanks for the transport info. The drafted got their travel paid and our volunteer military don’t – there’s logic in there somewhere (I think it is in ‘where can we hide the cuts so people won’t see them, since we’re missing 2.3 trillion).

    Do, please, consider some posts, you have such a wealth of knowledge and info.


    The Kool Aid references are sort of a “check to see what you don’t know you don’t know, and also check your assumptions” challenge. As I said initially, this blog has been chewing the facts for a long time so we get a little impatient when someone comes in and makes strong statements that are clearly based on incomplete or faulty information. We should probably develop some kind of generic response that isn’t so taunting and give folks the benefit of the doubt as to whether they are willing to learn.

    The $25,000 payments were known about. They went to the families of the martyrs, which certainly helped recruitment efforts. They were not to Bin Laden. The analogy would be on the order of, they used the same bank, and the bankers were enriched. They knew they were both customers. That’s the extent of the link. Sadam was not funding terrorist training or expenses. He had no involvement with any planning. For that matter, the FBI admitted that in all of Afghanistan and Iraq, absolutely nothing has turned up on the plans for 9/11.(If you want I will dig out my source, tomorrow)

    The ideas “attributed” to John Kerry here:

    http://blog.thedemocraticdaily.com/?p=3137 #5

    Are from the book I had cited The New War
    Published in ’97. They are in the opening chapter and the book deals with Kerry’s vision and ideas on how to get this under control. I have scanned it heavily but am still trying to read it fully.

    Sorry I didn’t do page numbers to make the source clearer. I am in the middle of installing some big new programs on two OSs. Unfortunately, one is Windows and compared to OSX Tiger (and every Mac OS I’ve used),
    IT S***S. Underneath the perfect L’Oreal hair color, I have more gray…. Amazingly, I still have hair.

    And. I can’t find the book to give you the page numbers.
    It will turn up. By then I will have finished the speed reading course, and learned to dictate my notes into OmniGraffle and StickyBrain, so I can use Flashback to write and rewrite brilliant essays- that could change a half dozen minds,-in less time… Did I mention my brain also needs to be scanned and defragmented? You knew that?

    Back to the ‘puter.

  95. Pamela Leavey Says:
    May 30th, 2006 at 2:18 pm

    I 3rd that request of battlebob. Well really I 4th it after counting Ginny’s…

  96. Dave from Princeton, battlebob, Ginny in CO, Donnie McDaniel, Pamela

    Maybe it would be helpful if I tell you how I came to post on this Democratic Daily Blog

    I was watching a featured story on the evening news ( I usually watch NBC )
    May 26th 6:45 PM? – based on my first post here being May 27th, 2006?.

    The story referred to the reassembly of the Kissinger documents.

    Apparently Henry Kissinger concerned with writing his memoirs removed the equivalent of a small library of documents from the historical archives of the United States government.

    I hope that the above statement alone would make you and all historical researchers feel as furious as I felt.

    After the death of Henry Kissinger some documents were found ( who knows what is still missing ? )and returned to the archives.

    The archivists while reassembling these documents found a copy of a letter from Henry Kissinger to the Chinese Communist government.

    The gist of the letter was that
    Kissinger assured the Chinese Communists that it would be acceptable to the United States for the North Vietnamese to take over South Vietnam as long as American Forces had been completely withdrawn from the south.

    This letter must have been written during negotiations for the “peace treaty”

    If this is true than no “peace treaty” was ever negotiated. We negotiated the “betrayal” of the South Vietnamese people and surrendered them up to what is known as the South East Asian Holocaust.

    I still to not have a copy of this letter that I could share with you so I can only present this to you as a main stream media news story

    In trying to locate a copy of this letter, I Googled certain words and it brought me to this site.

  97. Robert

    I read about this on DU the other day but did not have time to post about it. I’m looking for a link…

  98. Robert,

    Now I really think we have to be more careful how we respond to new posters.

    Welcome to the world of an uglier, and more truthful perspective.

    That does not at all surprise me. Or Kissinger taking the archives. Fury? Yes, in a cynical, fatigued way. There’s worse coming out of the declassified documents. If you’re going to start digging, go over to Costco and stock up on Pepto.

    Google “Operation Northwoods” and Depleted uranium.

    Another source of major perceptual disruption is Kevin Phillips’ American Dynasty Not an easy read mentally or emotionally. It gives you the perspective you need to go on.

    Check out http://www.scholarsfor9/11truth.org Start with the MIT engineer’s lecture. Then Steven Jones’, the physicist from BYU, presentation. If you have read Operation Northwoods, “Loose Change” won’t strike you as all that farfetched. http://www.9/11truth.org is another group that has been around even longer. There are some things that I suspect fall into the tin foil theories. The bottom line on all of it is: the investigations were totally incompetent and too many sources of information have been withheld.

    There are firefighters and structural engineers who need to know why those buildings collapsed. If the answer is what it looks like, it keeps us from worrying about the building codes. My personal take is it went farther than LIHOP (Let it Happen on Purpose) and not as far as MIHOP (Make it Happen on Purpose) I supect a Let it Happen With Augmentation plan. How much augmentation I wouldn’t begin to guess. The explosives are almost a foregone conclusion that just needs evidence.

    Before or after, you can read what all this pushed me to write to all the senators:


    All I can say Robert is, it’s like getting a cancer diagnosis. You suddenly know what you are up against and that you have some weapons and knowledge that make the war winnable. Oh, there’s more, but that’s enough for now.

    I also recommend developing some good stress and anger management habits. Singing, exercising, meditation. It will help you sleep.

  99. I was in the middle of posting a link to an article about the Kissinger thing and my power went out. So I’ll go dig it back up…

  100. Ginny in Co, Pamela

    Good observation in post #98.

    No sleep for us in this business.

    I believe this is where it all started for me and probably you too.

    Whose woods these are I think I know.
    His house is in the village, though;
    He will not see me stopping here
    To watch his woods fill up with snow.
    My little horse must think it’s queer
    To stop without a farmhouse near
    Between the woods and frozen lake
    The darkest evening of the year.
    He gives his harness bells a shake
    To ask if there is some mistake.
    The only other sound is the sweep
    Of easy wind and downy flake.
    The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.

    …………Robert Frost

  101. Robert

    First, let me reiterate what Ginny said, about “how we respond to new posters.” I am particularly over protective when it comes to Senator Kerry… I wrote for the Kerry blog during the campaign and still believe he’s our best hope for change.

    Second, Robert Frost, lived briefly in Amesbury, MA the town next to my hometown. There’s a few of us here who are poets at heart.

    Third, it’s maddening all of this. I never sought out to be an impassioned blogger – I’m here now and feel as though I do a service that is needed. I think we all feel that here. We’re all longtime Kerry supporters who many of us became friends via the Kerry blog during the campaign. We’re really a good group of folks with a longing for a better America and a better world.

    Off to find that link now, I had to reboot my business computers after the power outage and my laptop was acting up.

  102. Robert, et al

    Here’s a piece on the Kissinger papers from the WaPo:

    More Vietnam War Papers Released

    Kissinger Told China U.S. Could Accept Communist Takeover

    By Calvin Woodward
    Associated Press
    Saturday, May 27, 2006; Page A22

    Henry A. Kissinger quietly acknowledged to China in 1972 that Washington could accept a communist takeover of South Vietnam if that evolved after a withdrawal of U.S. troops — even as the war to drive back the communists dragged on with mounting deaths.

    President Richard M. Nixon’s envoy told Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai: “If we can live with a communist government in China, we ought to be able to accept it in Indochina.”

    Kissinger’s blunt remarks surfaced from a collection of papers released yesterday by George Washington University’s National Security Archive. The collection, from his years of diplomacy, was made up of documents available at the National Archives and obtained through the research group’s declassification requests.

    Kissinger’s comments appear to lend credence to the “decent interval” theory posed by some historians who say the United States was prepared to see communists take over Saigon as long as, to save face, that happened long enough after a U.S. troop departure.

    But Kissinger cautioned in an interview yesterday against reaching easy conclusions from his words of more than three decades ago. “One of my objectives had to be to get Chinese acquiescence in our policy,” he said.

    “We succeeded in it, and then when we had achieved our goal, our domestic situation made it impossible to sustain it,” he said, explaining that he meant Watergate and its consequences.

    The papers consist of about 2,100 memorandums of Kissinger’s secret conversations with senior officials abroad and at home from 1969 to 1977 while he served under Nixon and President Gerald R. Ford as national security adviser, secretary of state and both. The collection contains more than 28,000 pages.

    The meeting with Zhou took place in Beijing on June 22, 1972, during stepped-up U.S. bombing and the mining of harbors meant to stall a North Vietnamese offensive that began in the spring. China, North Vietnam’s ally, objected to the U.S. course but was engaged in a historic thaw of relations with Washington.

    Kissinger told Zhou that the United States respected its Hanoi enemy as a “permanent factor” and probably the “strongest entity” in the region. “And we have had no interest in destroying it or even defeating it,” he insisted.

    He complained that Hanoi, in negotiations, had made one demand that he could never accept — that the United States force out the Saigon government.

    “This isn’t because of any particular personal liking for any of the individuals concerned,” he said. “It is because a country cannot be asked to engage in major acts of betrayal as a basis of its foreign policy.”

    In January 1973, the Paris Peace Accords officially halted U.S. action, left North Vietnamese troops in the South and preserved the Saigon government until it fell in April 1975.

  103. Pamela,

    Thank you for that link # 102.
    After reading the full article I realize that the television report that made me furious did not contain the full story.
    Sorry Henry ! Rest In Peace.

  104. VN was the mother of all foul ups; maybe even more so then Iraq.
    A lot of strange things happened that dealt with the crowd that ran the VN war;

    The F105 had an internal bomb bay and could carry up to 12k of bombs; although 6k was common. The only thing The Whiz Kids counted was sorties. So instead of one plane carrying 6 bombs, 6 planes carried 1 bomb each. This increased the odds of being shot down and many planes were lost because of this practice. Thanks McNamara.

    Patrolling troops would often find AA missile batteries under construction. They could not destroy them until they were finished because of the Russian consultants on site. They were afraid of angering the Russians so the batteries went operational and killed our troops. Thanks Henry.

    We were always afraid of China coming to the aid of North VN even though China and VN are mortal enemies. During WWII, the Chinese and SE Asians often attacked each other as well as the Japanese. Often our efforts were scaled back to not anger the Chinese. Thanks Henry.

    I always wondered who was in charge of the narcotics smuggling that took place in Laos and Thailand. Was this another thanks Henry? There were hearings about this while Perot was running but nothing ever became of it.

    I’ll post more tributes to Henry and the Gang as I think of them.

  105. oops..me bad..the F105 could carry 12K of bombs using external hard points. The normal load was 6k.

  106. Robert Greer

    I believe Mr Kissinger is alive and well:

    “But Kissinger cautioned in an interview yesterday against reaching easy conclusions from his words of more than three decades ago. “One of my objectives had to be to get Chinese acquiescence in our policy,” he said.”

    I get from your response yoou think he’s off the hook?

  107. Pamela- Kissinger is a true traitor in every sense of the word.