Saturday, August 07, 2004

It can happen to anyone. . .

Very recently I have taken a stance against all these SwiftBoat Vets actions and ads against Presidential nominee John Kerry. I felt that their talking points did little in the debate for the highest office in the land, as they primarily dealt with unquantifiable perceptions of events that happened 30-odd years ago. HOW Kerry served then wasn't a winning issue for the right, nor was it a good thing for the nation as a whole.

I posted these thoughts almost as a gut reaction to the strong personal attacks from the vets of these last few days. Rarely do I write so quickly about something, and even more rarely will I write about ANYthing before a good amount of info is out there to help me disect the facts. My desire to have a good amount of info prior to posting may leave me a few steps behind the cutting edge of the blogosphere, but at least it keeps me from writing things that I later retract. . .

Which is the position I find myself in today. I am still not much of a fan of any attacks on HOW Kerry served--any information about the medals and citations that might have shed some different light on his actions in the conflict should have come to the surface at that time, not now. But the latest stuff I'm reading, mostly courtesy of Hugh Hewitt and the Kerry Spot, brings in to question two things that are of interest to me: WHERE he served (specifically, did he ever have orders to go to Cambodia); and WHAT he said about that supposed service.

Some highlights: Kerry has purported before spending Christmas eve 1968 within the international waters of Cambodia due to his "orders". An experience from that night was supposedly recounted by Sen. Kerry ON THE SENATE FLOOR back in 1986 when the senate was deliberating about the freedom-fighting Contras in Nicaragua. However, the commanders and fellow "swiftees" behind the recent attacks on Kerry say that the then-LT in the Navy should never have been that close to Cambodia--not on Christmas Eve 1968, not ever.

The details of what happened that night don't mean too much to me; what DOES hold significance, however, is whether or not Kerry was ever in Cambodian international waters. Because if he was, it appears that he shouldn't have been. . .and if he wasn't, then it appears that he "created" a story that he decided to tell on the Senate floor. (By the way, according to reports, on this particular appearance in the Senate he was relating his "service" in Cambodia as a reason why he did--and why others should--distrust the intentions of the government with regards to supporting movements that sought freedom in their countries). And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a big no-no, and goes directly to the issue of his credibility as a public servant.

SO, in summary: Someone please figure out if Sen. Kerry did in fact mention war duty in Cambodia during the Senate session of 1986. If so, then we need to figure out if he actually did see action in Cambodia during his VietNam tour. And if that is the case, we need to figure out why he was there. I will be following the reports on this story as they break--in the meantime, consider me to be "undecided" as to the worth/effectiveness of the Swift Boat Vets campaign so far.

Side note: If I can be moved from the "boo on you" to the "ehh, let's see" column on this issue, then it's an issue that the right needs to keep in the game until it is ultimately resolved.

UPDATE: consider step 1 above complete. Go here for the details. Thanks to JustOneMinute!
Step 2 might be a tricky one to navigate--but I think it will be worth it. Time to get this issue in front of the people--in a manner slightly less confrontational than the Swiftees. But get it there we must!


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