Thursday, August 19, 2004


Neil Boortz makes some interesting observations about the ad trundled out this week to try and divert attention from John Kerry’s Swiftboat Vet travails:

The Kerry crowd is running an ad that says that George Bush used his father to get into the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam war. Just so you know, there is no record anywhere of any interference by or influence brought to bear by Bush the Elder in Bush the Younger's acceptance into the guard.

Not that you leftists care.

Point two. That ad from, an anti-Bush group financed by a mysterious Hungarian-born international financier, also features an image of someone stamping George Bush's National Guard records with ‘failure to appear.’ There is no such stamp, and there has never been any charge by the National Guard George Bush failed to appear, or, as the ad says, ‘went missing.’ The ad also says that George Bush was grounded. That, too, is a lie. George Bush made the decision on his own to relinquish his flying status in the National Guard.

It's interesting that the Democrats need to create lies and falsehoods to campaign against George Bush.

What it is is a rather stark indication of how big a problem they think this Swiftboat Vet stuff really is and is going to be as the campaign enters a new phase with Bush and the Republicans getting their convention turn followed closely by the 9/11 commemoration. At least that’s the impression I get with Senator Kerry himself coming out and echoing the same lame, base paranoid conspiracism that his surrogates have been spewing for the past ten days.

In remarks to firefighters this morning, Lurch said, "More than 30 years ago I learned an important lesson. When you're under attack the best thing to do is turn your boat into the attack. That's what I intend to do today."

But that isn’t what he did. “Turning his boat into the attack” would have been to announce that he was releasing all his military records to actually, once and for all, refute the charges of the Swifties. Instead, he engaged in more fudging, “wild-eyed” obfuscation, repeating the talking points about Swiftboat Vets being “funded by Republicans” and serving as a “front group for George Bush to “do his dirty work for him,” and demanding that Bush “condemn” them for their “lies about his record.”

Wah, wah, wah. One would think that a decorated combat veteran would be made of sterner stuff than to whine about having to take a small portion of the sort of rough & tumble that Democrats have turned national politics into. I mean, hello, what about George Soros, Bob Woodward, Richard Clarke, Joe Wilson, Paul O’Neill, the public star-chamber that was the 9/11 commission hearings, Michael Moore? What about the unremitting personal assaults on Bush’s character, intelligence, integrity, humanity? What about comparing the President unfavorably to Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Adolph Hitler, and Josef Stalin? What about calling him a “war criminal,” accusing him of attempted genocide? Yet Bush has never once publicly complained about any of it.

Maybe he should have, seeing as how John Kerry has benefited handsomely, never lifted a finger or uttered a peep of disavowal, and has even incorporated some of it into his own rhetoric, as with the cheap shot about Dubya waiting seven minutes before leaving that Florida classroom on 9/11, which was lifted almost verbatim from Fahrenheit 9/11. And now a single anti-Kerry 527 pops up, takes issue with the Vietnam war record Kerry himself made the foundation of his candidacy, blows it apart with maybe one or two percent the financial resources that the left’s 527s have brought to bear on the President, and overnight it’s a sinister Bush plot that he’d better disavow, or else.

Well, codswallop. It’s not Bush’s job to defend his vicious, bloodthirsty challenger. And hell, for that matter, how did the President not do precisely that when he said the following on Larry King Live last Friday:

“[Kerry] views [his four months and eleven days in Vietnam] as honorable service, and so do I.”

Good Lord, if I’m advising Kerry I get hold of that very footage, make an ad of it, and get it on the airwaves as fast as I can. The copy almost writes itself: “President Bush respects John Kerry’s service to his country in time of war; all Americans should follow his example.”

But no. That’s just not good enough because Kerry can never be satisfied on anything where his fragile self-esteem is at stake. Bush must actively carry Kerry’s damage control water for him, despite the fact that for him to do so would be illegal under McCain-Feingold. Absent that, Mr. Apocalypse Now trundles out the same floundering, flailing old tactics – loading the stage with his handful of sycophant vet supporters, re-hashing Jim Rassman’s hero worship for TV ad consumption, smearing the Swifties, raving stentorianly about GOP conspiracies, even bringing back his nasal fog-horning “Bring it on!” – that have already failed, only at a higher volume.

It seems never to occur to Kerry or “senior Democrats” that what his campaign needs above all else is to make this controversy go away. And whining louder and finger-pointing and pouting quite obviously have not gotten, are not getting, and will not get the job done.

I’ll give the Washington Post credit – they at least tried to discredit one of the Swifties on the substance of their charges. Newly obtained records of Larry Thurlow, another Swiftboat skipper, show that he won a Bronze Star in the same engagement that Kerry won his, and that Thurlow's own medal citation said he was under attack, despite his swearing in an affidavit that he was not.

There’s only one problem: the after-action report on which Thurlow’s decoration was based wasn’t filed by him; it was filed by Kerry.

Here is the text of Mr. Thurlow’s statement today:

I am convinced that the language used in my citation for a Bronze Star was language taken directly from John Kerry’s report which falsely described the action on the Bay Hap River as action that saw small arms fire and automatic weapons fire from both banks of the river.

To this day, I can say without a doubt in my mind, along with other accounts from my shipmates—there was no hostile enemy fire directed at my boat or at any of the five boats operating on the river that day.

I submitted no paperwork for a medal nor did I file an after action report describing the incident. To my knowledge, John Kerry was the only officer who filed a report describing his version of the incidents that occurred on the river that day.

It was not until I had left the Navy—approximately three months after I left the service—that I was notified that I was to receive a citation for my actions on that day.

I believed then as I believe now that I received my Bronze Star for my efforts to rescue the injured crewmen from swift boat number three and to conduct damage control to prevent that boat from sinking.

My boat and several other swift boats went to the aid of our fellow swift boat sailors whose craft was adrift and taking on water. We provided immediate rescue and damage control to prevent boat three from sinking and to offer immediate protection and comfort to the injured crew.

After the mine exploded, leaving swift boat three dead in the water, John Kerry’s boat, which was on the opposite side of the river, fled the scene. US Army Special Forces officer Jim Rassmann, who was on Kerry’s boat at the time, fell off the boat and into the water. Kerry’s boat returned several minutes later—under no hail of enemy gunfire—to retrieve Rassmann from the river only seconds before another boat was going to pick him up.

Kerry campaign spokespersons have conflicting accounts of this incident—the latest one being that Kerry’s boat did leave but only briefly and returned under withering enemy fire to rescue Mr. Rassmann. However, none of the other boats on the river that day reported enemy fire nor was anyone wounded by small arms action. The only damage on that day was done to boat three—a result of the underwater mine. None of the other swift boats received damage from enemy gunfire.

And in a new development, Kerry campaign officials are now finally acknowledging that while Kerry’s boat left the scene, none of the other boats on the river ever left the damaged swift boat. This is a direct contradiction to previous accounts made by Jim Rassmann in the Oregonian newspaper and a direct contradiction to the “No Man Left Behind” theme during the Democratic National Convention.

These ever changing accounts of the Bay Hap River incident by Kerry campaign officials leave me asking one question…if no one ever left the scene of the Bay Hap River incident, how could anyone be left behind?

This thing has gone from a minor nuisance to a moderate annoyance to a major disaster, and nobody in that campaign seems to know what to do about it. They can’t intimidate the Swifties, they can’t squash them without undermining Kerry’s own “respect the troops/band of brothers” schtick, and they can’t bulldoze the White House into doing it for them. With the Swifties’ ad, and Dem attacks triggering a backlash of support for them, generating hundreds of thousands in additional contributions to their 527, and with Unfit for Command reaching #3 on the New York Times best-seller list next week, this brouhaha can only get worse before it can ever get better.

Assuming it can get better. The fact that Kerry still won’t release his military records, even selectively, suggests strongly that they’re of no help to his cause. And if that’s the case, then he really does have nowhere to go. He’s been caught in a tissue of lies that fundamentally kills his proffered reason for seeking the presidency dead as a smelt. And looming are the twin harbingers of doom, a GOP convention that will be overrun with real veterans and real “war heroes” and main-evented by a, well, real president, and a commemoration of the one thing Dems know their power ambitions cannot survive, the remembrance of the 9/11 attacks. If a picture is worth a thousand words, that imagery will make John Kerry’s swiftboat exploits look like the “three hour trip” of the SS Minnow. And if these events generate the kind of bump for Dubya that Mr. French didn’t get from the Boston Bacchanalia, the latter will be both significantly behind and, well, “dead in the water,” with no means of closing the gap short of calamitous events completely out of his control.

It’s no wonder that Democrats are starting to panic; they’re seeing their fevered wet dreams of sending their devil back to Crawford, Texas disintegrating into a nightmare of “four more years, four more years.”

Makes you wonder whether they’ll begin banging the impeachment drums even before November 2nd.