Friday, August 20, 2004

Media Attempts To Rescue Kerry

The press is attempting to come to the aide of John Kerry by helping push the lie that the Swift Boat Veterans for truth are some how tied to the Bush Campaign. Examples here and here and from Mickey Kaus (via Hugh Hewitt) who says a big bailout article is on its way for the Sunday papers.

A Time For Choosing and other blogs like Powerline and Instapundit have been discussing the Swift Boat Veterans and John Kerry's ridiculous and now retracted claim that he spent Christmas Eve of 1968 in Cambodia for almost three weeks. The first post referencing the Swift Boat Vets and their book and television ad appeared on this site on August 4th. Since then, John Kerry has been forced to retract a story that he told many, many times in the press - that he spent "Christmas in Cambodia". (Some of the many posts can be read here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.) During this entire period, the broadcast media outlets never found the time to cover the fact that John Kerry had been caught in a lie about a memory that he stated on the floor of the Senate was "seared in him". There were no articles in the New York Times or Washington Post or Los Angeles Times. Chris Matthews did not invite John Kerry on his show to talk about why he had fabricated an event that he said had been the turning point in his life, and that he had used to further his political career. They had no interest despite the fact that the story had appeared on Fox News and the Kerry Campaign had fallen all over itself trying to explain Kerry's obvious fabrication of the Christmas in Cambodia story. They had no interest because they believed that if they ignored the trouble their candidate was in, it would eventually go away.

Then the Kerry Campaign realized that despite the fact that their allies in the media had completely hidden and buried the story, people were watching the television ad and reading about Kerry's fabrication on the internet and it was taking a toll on Kerry's poll numbers. Kerry realized that he had to do something, so he attacked the Swift Boat Vets in a speech to a fire fighters union. He also attacked the president by stating that the Swift Boat veterans are a front group for the Bush Campaign, paid to do the presidents "dirty work". Then, like magic, the big newspapers and broadcast media joined the fray, repeating the talking points Kerry had outlined in his speech.

Today they have begun to repeat the Kerry line that Swift Boat Veterans For Truth is a front for the Bush campaign. They have tried to explain how the fact that a Republican in Texas, who supports Bush for president, donating to the group proves the Swift Vets are a front group hired to run a "smear campaign". If that qualifies as proof then this blog is a front for the Bush Campaign. Wait... Carl Rove's fax with today's talking points is coming through...okay, got it. The notion is ridiculous, but it points to yet another Kerry contradiction. Kerry has tried to portray himself as the tough guy that will lead the country through the war on terror (despite his pacifist voting record from the past 25 years). He speaks of his own bravery and heroics in the Vietnam War at every stump speech. In the few words about the Swift Boat Veterans that he has spoken he has invoked Vietnam era analogies of turning his ship into the fire to take the enemy on head to head. That is what Kerry says. But what Kerry does is completely different. So far Kerry has sent other Democrats out to call all 254 Swift Vets liars. He has "hidden behind the skirt of the old gray lady", (to quote the guys at Powerline) allowing the press to shield him from criticism. He sent his spokeswoman, Stephanie Cutter out to tell the world he is a tough guy that won't tolerate lies (other than his own apparently). Yesterday his campaign to try to get the Swift Vets Book removed from book stores and he has now filed a complaint with the FEC alleging that the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth are a "front for the Bush Campaign". In other words he is trying to suppress their speech. The only thing John Kerry hasn't done is actually face or answer the charges made by the Swift vets. Yes, the New York Times found one piece of paper that at first glance seemed to contradict one Vets story, but it does nothing to answer the questions that the Swift Vets have raised. Undoubtedly the New York Times and the alphabet networks are working overtime to try to find some bit of information to discredit the Swiftees, searching through divorce records, statements from 30 years ago, criminal histories - and they may find something - but none of that answers the core of the questions about Kerry. Senator Kerry if you are the man you claim to be why don't you sit down with John O'Neill and his fellow veterans on national TV and answer their charges about your false Christmas in Cambodia story and about the slanderous lies you told before the Senate in your sworn testimony in 1971. Go on national television with the POW's that were being tortured in prison camps while their torturers read your testimony to them and explain why you said what you said. Or are they liars too? Are the men who endured torture because they would not admit to the false charges of war crimes that you laid at their feet in that testimony liars? If they are tell them on national television - the world wants to know.

In a 1971 appearance on Meet the Press, John Kerry stated that he had committed war crimes:

MR. CROSBY NOYES (Washington Evening Star): Mr. Kerry, you said at one time or another that you think our policies in Vietnam are tantamount to genocide and that the responsibility lies at all chains of command over there. Do you consider that you personally as a Naval officer committed atrocities in Vietnam or crimes punishable by law in this country?

SEN. KERRY: There are all kinds of atrocities, and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used 50 calibre machine guns, which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search and destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare, all of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this is ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down. And I believe that the men who designed these, the men who designed the free fire zone, the men who ordered us, the men who signed off the air raid strike areas, I think these men, by the letter of the law, the same letter of the law that tried Lieutenant Calley, are war criminals.

So John Kerry is either a war criminal or he his a liar, take your pick. That seems harsh, but there is no way around it. John Kerry said it, it is either true or not. In his 1971 testimony to the Senate he called all veterans and soldiers still on the field "monsters" and said that they had:

personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, tape wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

Kerry stated that these acts were, "not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command". So either the soldiers and the entire chain of command are war criminals or John Kerry is a liar. Again it may seem harsh, but John Kerry said those words, the veterans deny it, and they both can't be true.

The media can only hide and protect Kerry for so long. His surrogates in the Democratic Party can only speak for him for so long. Eventually Senator Kerry will have to come out from behind the "skirt of the old gray lady" and face the men he slandered. Until he does he will continue to bleed in the polls, and for good reason. Americans will not turn over the power of the country to a man that made his career off the backs of those veterans he slandered, only later to claim to be a war hero from the same war.

Whether or not Mr. Kerry actually earned his medals is not the issue. No one has the right to argue that except for the men who were there. They are doing that now, and the issue will never be resolved. The issue raised by the Swift Boat Veterans is whether or not John Kerry has the character to lead the country. His testimony to the Senate, his appearance and statements on Meet the Press, his 25 year pacifist voting record, his inability to hold a position on any issue dealing with National Security and his reliance on his four months in a war that he called a "mistake" point to a man without a core. That is the issue that Kerry must face, and his surrogates in the press cannot hide him from it no matter how hard they try.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.