Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Kerry's War Journal Refutes His First Purple Heart Claim

John Kerry's own war journal seems to refute the claims he has made regarding his first Purple Heart. He recieved that purple heart for a wound he recieved on December 2, 1968. But in his own war journal the entry dated December 11, 1968 states that he had recieved no enemy fire:

"A cocky feeling of invincibility accompanied us up the Long Tau shipping channel because we hadn't been shot at yet, and Americans at war who haven't been shot at are allowed to be cocky,"

This is according to the book, Tour of Duty, written by biographer Doug Brinkley.

According to military regulations, purple hearts can only be earned by recieving injuries as the result of enemy fire:

"The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces of the U.S. who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy,"
Mr. Kerry has also claimed that he faced his "first intense combat" that day, received his "first combat related injury." An unnamed campaign official gave this impossible to understand explanation of the journal entry:

A Kerry campaign official, speaking on background, told The Washington Times yesterday that the "we" in the passage from Mr. Kerry's journal refers to "the crew on Kerry's first swift boat, operating as a crew" rather than Mr. Kerry himself.
"John Kerry didn't yet have his own boat or crew on December 2," according to the aide. "Other members of the crew had been in Vietnam for some time and had been shot at and Kerry knew that at the time. However, the crew had not yet been fired on while they served together on PCF 44 under Lieutenant Kerry."

Apparently this campaign official formerly worked for the Clinton Administration because it seems that the answer depends on what the definition of the word "we" is. Later the Kerry Campaign admitted that it is possible that the first Purple Heart was from an "unintentional, self-inflicted wound" in an interview with the Fox News Channels Major Garrett:

"Is it possible that Kerry's first Purple Heart was the result of an unintentionally self-inflicted wound?" asked reporter Major Garrett.
"Anything is possible," Mr. Hurley replied.

Hurley is the Kerry Campaigns John Hurley, national leader of Veterans for Kerry.

Why does this matter, beyond the fact that John Kerry is running for President of the United states based on the fact that he served for four months in Vietnam? It matters because it is a huge boost in credability for the Swift Boat Veterans. They have now challenged John Kerry on two key issues, Christmas in Cambodia, which John Kerry had to retract after 30 years, and now the first Purple Heart, which the Kerry Campaign is now admitting may have come from an "unintentional, self-inflicted wound". Kerry is 0 for 2, the Swift Boat veterans are batting 1000, yet John Kerry is still on the campaign trail calling them liars and touting his service in Vietnam.

If the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were to end their campaign against John Kerry today, their actions would still have served a useful function. Beyond the medals and even beyond Christmas in Cambodia, they have exposed how little John Kerry has to run on beyond his four months in Vietnam. That is all he has as a biography. If he ran on his actions after the war, including his 19 years in the senate, he would have never made out of the primaries.

The Swift Boat Veterans have also managed to expose the media for what it is in a way that few other stories have been able to do. Elite journalism is made up of elitist lefties, who have been driven in the open by this story. Can Chris Matthews ever claim to be unbiased again? Does the New York Times have any credibility left after it ignored the Swift Boat Veterans and the fact that they had forced John Kerry to retract his Cambodia story until they unleashed a hit piece on them? Does the AP? Can anyone ever again deny the power of the blogosphere on driving news stories?

The Swift Boat Veterans have accomplished a lot in the past two weeks despite the media campaign against them, and despite the fact that Senator Kerry has done nothing but slander them, much like he did 35 years ago. He has yet to answer their questions. He has yet to release his military record. The Swiftees have accomplished a lot, and unfortunatley for Mr. Kerry they are not finished.