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The imploding John Kerry

By Carol Devine-Molin
web posted August 23, 2004

John KerryAmericans should be truly appalled by presidential candidate John Kerry and his outrageous machinations during this campaign season. It's clear that he has the temperament and proclivities of a little dictator.

Kerry's campaign tactics are more than heavy-handed; they're downright un-American. He wants those very effective Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads pulled from the airwaves forthwith. He's got a complaint lodged with the FEC requesting just that. Moreover, Kerry wants the Swiftees' book, Unfit for Command, banned from store bookshelves. This begs the question: To what lengths is Kerry willing to go to eviscerate and stifle the protected speech of the Swiftees? Americans are clearly paying attention to the situation, given that more than half of all Americans have seen or are aware of the Swift Boat ads. Americans should be the final arbiters of the words of the Swiftees. They don't need John Kerry to run interference for them.

Sorry, Mr. Kerry, we do not live in a despotic regime, but a free and open society that will not be bullied by the likes of you. In the parlance popularized by your wife, you can just "shove it."

John Kerry is more than a terribly arrogant and churlish individual; he's a dangerous man who is attempting to suppress the First Amendment free speech rights of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Why is John Kerry now apoplectic? The message of the Swiftees is not to his liking and deleteriously impacting his presidential bid. In short, the words of the Swift Boat Veterans are resonating among fellow veterans who are rejecting Kerry's candidacy. Kerry's game plan is quickly falling apart. In this era of the war on terror, Kerry had counted on veterans groups as key supporters that would help him ride a wave to victory. Instead, as illustrated in the latest Rasmussen Poll, President Bush is leading Senator Kerry, 58 percent to 35 percent among veterans.

To say that Kerry is not taking this well is an understatement. In the throes of a major conniption, the Democratic presidential candidate is: a) demanding that President Bush "stand up and stop" the Swift Boat personal attacks upon him, and, b) claiming that the Bush camp is coordinating with the Swift Boat 527 group. It's vital to closely pay attention to the allegations of Liberals --They have the habit of accusing others of precisely what they themselves are guilty of, but are attempting to sweep under the rug with alacrity.

The response from the Bush campaign, issued by Spokesman Steve Schmidt, was marvelous, and hit all the right notes: "This is a frivolous complaint that even John Kerry's chief strategist has said they have no evidence to support. Real coordination is what John Kerry's campaign has been engaged in with the Media Fund, America Coming Together, and MoveOn.org. The revolving door of personnel, coordinated strategies and overlapping fundraising between the Democrat 527s and the Kerry campaign is a flagrant disregard of the spirit and letter of the campaign finance reform law." Because the Bush camp wishes to avoid even a hint of coordination with the Swift Boat veterans, it recently canned a volunteer who had ties to the Swiftees. At any rate, the Federal Election Commission will have the opportunity to investigate Kerry's allegations and issue an outcome. Americans should also understand that the Democrats have funneled considerably more money into 527 groups than the Republicans, with the three 527s cited by Steve Schmidt garnering about sixty-five million in funding, to date.

Regarding this current imbroglio, the pertinent points are as follows: First, the Swiftees are a 527 political committee, and candidates can't exert influence on them, even if they wanted to. Second, in general terms, Bush has criticized all 527 political committees irrespective of their political leanings, and he wants to get rid of all 527 ads. Unfortunately, these 527s are precisely what the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill has wrought. Thank you John McCain. Third, many Americans are experiencing "Vietnam fatigue," and want more focus on Kerry's Senate record. However, Kerry is clearly attempting to distract from his anti-intelligence, anti-defense voting record that represents a major albatross for him in this wartime milieu. Fourth, hypocrisy, thy name is John Kerry. Did Kerry condemn Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 film that was rife with inaccuracies and distortions, or the various Leftist groups that have impugned President Bush in the worst possible ways, some even calling him Hitler? No, of course not. Kerry et al. are unmitigated phonies, claiming that they're running a "positive" campaign, when, in fact, they're having their Bush-bashing surrogates trash President Bush at every turn. Kerry even has the elite media spinning on his behalf, denigrating President Bush and all that dare to challenge him. Fifth, Kerry needs to help clarify his disputed war record by releasing his full military and medical records (and just on principle, his dental records) for the sake of transparency and a show of willingness to answer reasonable questions. To date, Kerry has primarily responded to opponents with counterattacks, which really fail to qualify as effective rebuttal. Sure, we're hearing various versions of war stories from Kerry-minions, but these only manage to further muddy-up the waters. It seems that Kerry's Cambodian escapade – his big adventure -- is now a work-in-progress that continues to morph.

A good case in point is John Kerry's fantastic claim of having spent Christmas in Cambodia in 1968, during the Nixon administration (Hello? LBJ was still in office at the time). Of course, Kerry's story is pure gobbledygook, and even more amazingly, he repeated it on number of occasions, including the floor of the Senate! According to John O'Neill and Jerome Corsi, authors of the new book Unfit for Command, "Kerry was never ordered into Cambodia by anyone and would have been court-marshaled had he gone there. During Christmas 1968, Kerry was stationed at Coastal Division 13 in Cat Lo. Coastal Division 13's patrol areas extended to Sa Dec, about fifty-five miles from the Cambodian border." One of the crewmen, Steve Gardner, explicitly stated during a television interview last week that he was always on the boat, and it never went into Cambodia.

Understandably, Kerry's most fervent supporters are members of his current team who are accepting his word at face value. In one of his recent articles, Hal Lindsey proffers this tidbit from Michael Meehan, a senior member of Kerry's campaign: "Many times he (Kerry) was on or near the Cambodian border and on one occasion crossed into Cambodia at the request of members of a special operations group operating out of Ha Tien." However, Lindsey indicates that Rear Admiral Roy Hoffman, commander of the swift boats, disputes Kerry's claim of having gone into Cambodia to transport CIA operatives or Special Forces. Hoffman stated: "I was always properly informed. The whole time I was there, I don't recall [such a mission]." Lindsey rightly underscores that "the two accounts are irreconcilable. Only one can be true, since Kerry says he was in Cambodia, even involved in CIA special missions, and all the available evidence, including the recollections of even Kerry-friendly swift boat veterans, say he was not."

Well, what gives? Kerry's official biographer Doug Brinkley attempts to come to Kerry's rescue, telling the London's Daily Telegraph a few weeks back: "Kerry went into Cambodian waters three or four times in January and February 1969 on clandestine missions. He had a run dropping off US Navy Seals, Green Berets and CIA guys…He was a ferry master, a drop-off guy, but it was dangerous as hell. Kerry carries a hat he was given by one CIA operative." Mr.Brinkley should give it up already; he's "jumping the shark" (saying something that's outrageously unbelievable, a real crock by any standard). In the absence of evidence, it truly appears that both Meehan and Brinkley are providing John Kerry with cover on his propensity to wield tall-tales. Again, if John Kerry wants this nation to believe him – or better yet, the Independent voters that are still up for grabs -- he had better release all of his records, and even do a search of other available records that might vindicate his version of events.

Many who have served in the Armed Forces are never going to forgive John Kerry for his anti-war activities that they consider treasonous and unbefitting of any future Commander-in-Chief. Kerry better be prepared to write-off a good deal of the veterans' vote. Importantly, since Kerry was 27 years of age at the time, and had already served in the Navy, veterans are not likely to attribute his awful behaviors to poor judgment or the passion of youth. The second Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad is really resonating with veterans, tapping into those strong feelings from over thirty years ago. Veterans are reportedly sickened as they watch Kerry provide the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with slanderous testimony about our troops in Vietnam, accusing them of committing systemic war crimes (raping, randomly shooting at civilians, blowing up bodies, razing villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, cutting off heads, ears, limbs, etc.).

Lies, of course, but lies that had terrible repercussions. Veterans believe that Kerry gave aid and comfort to the enemy by acting as a propagandist on behalf of the North Vietnamese, which made things much worse for American soldiers being held as POWs. As one soldier in the ad said, "John Kerry gave the enemy for free what I, and many of my comrades in North Vietnam prison camps, took torture to avoid saying.  It demoralized us." And it's not going to sit well with the majority of veterans when it becomes widely known that John Kerry secretly met with the communist delegation at the Paris Peace Conference during the Vietnam War, which may have very well violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice and other federal statutes. One more thing: Kerry is honored in the "War Remnants Museum" in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, for his "heroic" contributions to the North Vietnamese victory," as noted in the book Unfit for Command. I have to believe that many Americans, not just veterans, are going to be swayed by these revelations.

Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.

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