Navy commander, journalist, backs Kerry on Vietnam





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Discus: College Confidential Café: 2004 Archive: Navy commander, journalist, backs Kerry on Vietnam
By Simba (Simba) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 02:30 pm: Edit

PITTSBURGH - An American journalist who commanded a boat alongside John Kerry in Vietnam broke a 35-year silence Saturday and defended the Democratic presidential candidate against Republican critics of his military service.

Weighing in on what has become the most bitterly divisive issue of the 2004 campaign for the White House, William Rood of the Chicago Tribune said the tales told by Kerry's detractors are untrue.

"There were three swift boats on the river that day in Vietnam more than 35 years ago -- three officers and 15 crew members. Only two of those officers remain to talk about what happened on February 28, 1969," he wrote in a story that appeared on the newspaper's Web site Saturday.

"One is John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate who won a Silver Star for what happened on that date. I am the other."

Before now, wanting to put memories of war and killing behind him, Rood had refused all requests for interviews on the subject, including from his own newspaper. "But Kerry's critics, armed with stories I know to be untrue, have charged that the accounts of what happened were overblown." he wrote.

more at

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5771731/

By Socaldad (Socaldad) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 08:18 pm: Edit

The commander of a Navy swift boat who served alongside Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry during the Vietnam War stepped forward Saturday to dispute attacks challenging Kerry's integrity and war record.

William Rood, an editor on the Chicago Tribune's metropolitan desk, said he broke 35 years of silence about the Feb. 28, 1969, mission that resulted in Kerry's receiving a Silver Star because recent portrayals of Kerry's actions published in the best-selling book "Unfit for Command" are wrong and smear the reputations of veterans who served with Kerry.

Rood, who commanded one of three swift boats during that 1969 mission, said Kerry came under rocket and automatic weapons fire from Viet Cong forces and that Kerry devised an aggressive attack strategy that was praised by their superiors. He called allegations that Kerry's accomplishments were "overblown" untrue.

"The critics have taken pains to say they're not trying to cast doubts on the merit of what others did, but their version of events has splashed doubt on all of us. It's gotten harder and harder for those of us who were there to listen to accounts we know to be untrue, especially when they come from people who were not there," Rood said in a 1,700-word first-person account published in Sunday's Tribune.

Rood's recollection of what happened on that day at the southern tip of South Vietnam was backed by key military documents, including his citation for a Bronze Star he earned in the battle and a glowing after-action report written by the Navy captain who commanded his and Kerry's task force, who is now a critic of the Democratic candidate.

From Rood:

"There were three swift boats on the river that day in Vietnam more than 35 years ago—three officers and 15 crew members. Only two of those officers remain to talk about what happened on February 28, 1969.

One is John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate who won a Silver Star for what happened on that date. I am the other.

For years, no one asked about those events. But now they are the focus of skirmishing in a presidential election with a group of swift boat veterans and others contending that Kerry didn't deserve the Silver Star for what he did on that day, or the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts he was awarded for other actions.

Many of us wanted to put it all behind us—the rivers, the ambushes, the killing. Ever since that time, I have refused all requests for interviews about Kerry's service—even those from reporters at the Chicago Tribune, where I work.

But Kerry's critics, armed with stories I know to be untrue, have charged that the accounts of what happened were overblown. The critics have taken pains to say they're not trying to cast doubts on the merit of what others did, but their version of events has splashed doubt on all of us. It's gotten harder and harder for those of us who were there to listen to accounts we know to be untrue, especially when they come from people who were not there.

Even though Kerry's own crew members have backed him, the attacks have continued, and in recent days Kerry has called me and others who were with him in those days, asking that we go public with our accounts.

I can't pretend those calls had no effect on me, but that is not why I am writing this. What matters most to me is that this is hurting crewmen who are not public figures and who deserved to be honored for what they did. My intent is to tell the story here and to never again talk publicly about it.
...

John O'Neill, author of a highly critical account of Kerry's Vietnam service, describes the man Kerry chased as a "teenager" in a "loincloth." I have no idea how old the gunner Kerry chased that day was, but both Leeds and I recall that he was a grown man, dressed in the kind of garb the VC usually wore.

The man Kerry chased was not the "lone" attacker at that site, as O'Neill suggests. There were others who fled. There was also firing from the tree line well behind the spider holes and at one point, from the opposite riverbank as well. It was not the work of just one attacker."

Shame on the media for giving these people a platform. Shame on the media for allowing dishonest men to dishonor honest men who served honorably. Shame on you for pretending this was a "he said/he said" situation, ignoring official Navy records and the testimony of everyone who was actually in a position to know.

By Thinkingoutloud (Thinkingoutloud) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 08:41 pm: Edit

William Rood is either untruthful or lacks an accurate memory. Did the Kerry machine get to him?

By Thedad (Thedad) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 08:49 pm: Edit

The whole Swift Boat ad campaign should be exposed to the light of day. I've been either out of town or extremely busy but it just stinks. Some of the salient points are finally hitting the mainstream press and I just hope not too much damage has been done, though I see where Kerry's standing with veterans has gone from 47-47 right after the convention to 38-55 now.

John O'Neill has been the designated hatchetman against Kerry for more than 30 years. He was hired by Chuck Colson, he of the Nixon administration and Watergate fame, to debate/attack Kerry on a talk show in 1971...he got his clock cleaned by Kerry.

O'Neill claims to be non-partisan but has voted in every GOP primary since 1972 and his given $14,650 to GOP candidates in recent years.

The money behind the Swift Boat campaigns come from the #1 and #7 GOP donors in Texas, both of whom, as you might well imagine, have long and extensive connections with the Bush campaign and one of whom, Harlan Crow, is a trustee of the George H.W. Bush library.

Roy Hoffman, in a 2003 article in the Boston Globe, said of Kerry's actions with respect to the Silver Star, "It took guts and I respect that."

Adrian Londsdale in 1996 said, "Senator Kerry...was the among the finest of those Swift boat drivers."

George Elliott--the flip-flopper on the affidavit who has now gone to ground--in 1996 praised Kerry with words that included "...it was an act of courage. And the whole outfit served with honor." In 1969 Elliott had written, "...Kerry was unsurpassed."

In short, this is more of the same contemptible bullsh!t that Bush's people threw against McCain in the lead-up to the 2000 South Carolina primary and that the GOP threw against Max Cleland in the 2002 Georgia Senate campaign.

Kerry's service is far better documented than that of Dick Cheney, who "had other priorities" and of George W. Bush, who can't find anyone who remembers serving with him, one way or the other, while he was bravely flying reconnaissance missions over San Antonio after getting into a Air National Guard unit due to political influence.

Tommy Franks, current CENTCOM commander, has dismissed the attacks against Kerry as being "political hyperbole" and says that while he's "leaning towards Bush," that Kerry is absolutely qualifed to serve as commander in chief.

You know, I've always been one of those who has been able to work across the aisle, particularly on military and foreign policy issues against the looney wing of the Democratic party. I can find good things to say about Bush Sr., who I would have voted for "President for Foreign Policy" if such office existed. Hell, I can even say a few good things about Nixon, more than opening the door to China, including on a number of economic and civil rights issues.

But my contempt for the current Bush has reached total proportions. I think he's unfit from a policy perspective and I think he's unfit a person.

By Lizschup (Lizschup) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 09:19 pm: Edit

THANK YOU Socaldad and The Dad for your posts.

By Thinkingoutloud (Thinkingoutloud) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 10:13 pm: Edit

TheDad, you are relying on the fallacy of association and none of your comments refute the allegations of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. O'Neill clobbered Sen. Kerry in that debate and you can read the transcript at www.wintersoldier.com. In 1970s O'Neill and his famiily were democrats. O'Neill voted for Hubert Humphrey instead of Nixon. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have already exposed one lie of Sen. Kerry. Sen. Kerry said it was seared in his memory that he was illegally in Cambodia in Christmas December 1968 when President Nixon was telling the country American soldiers were not there. The problem is that Sen. Kerry was not in Cambodia in December 1968 and Pres. Nixon was not yet in office. The bottom line is that Sen. Kerry either lied to a Senate committe when he said he committed war crimes or he actually committed war crimes. If either if true, how can one say he has the character to be President.

By Socaldad (Socaldad) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 10:18 pm: Edit

There they go again.

McCain on Bush and the way he was slimed by the Texas smear machine, the same people funding and pimping the smear boat veterans.

http://www.johnkerry.com/video/player.php?video=082104_old_tricks

So now we're on to Cambodia. Once one set of charges is proved to be complete lies, they move on to the next set of slanders.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 10:22 pm: Edit

When did Nixon assert that there were no American soldiers in Cambodia ? We now know that there were secret bombings of Cambodia in 1969 that were reported in the press as the results of erroneous map reading. In fact, these were deliberate attempts to destroy North Vietnamese sanctuaries well before the invasion of May 1970. I would not be surprised if there were secret sorties into Cambodia earlier.

By Socaldad (Socaldad) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 10:23 pm: Edit

John Kerry, April 1971

Thank you very much, Senator Fulbright, Senator Javits, Senator Symington and Senator Pell.

I would like to say for the record, and also for the men sitting behind me who are also wearing the uniforms and their medals, that my sitting here is really symbolic. I am not here as John Kerry. I am here as one member of a group of 1,000, which is a small representation of a very much larger group of veterans in this country, and were it possible for all of them to sit at this table, they would be here and have the same kind of testimony. I would simply like to speak in general terms. I apologize if my statement is general because I received notification [only] yesterday that you would hear me, and, I am afraid, because of the injunction I was up most of the night and haven't had a great deal of chance to prepare.

I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago, in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged, and many very highly decorated, veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia. These were not isolated incidents, but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis, with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit--the emotions in the room, and the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.

They told stories that, at times, they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped 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 Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside 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.

We call this investigation the Winter Soldier Investigation. The term "winter soldier" is a play on words of Thomas Paine's in 1776, when he spoke of the "sunshine patriots," and "summertime soldiers" who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough.

We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country, we could be quiet, we could hold our silence, we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel, because of what threatens this country, not the reds, but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out.

I would like to talk to you a little bit about what the result is of the feelings these men carry with them after coming back from Vietnam. The country doesn't know it yet, but it has created a monster, a monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence, and who are given the chance to die for the biggest nothing in history; men who have returned with a sense of anger and a sense of betrayal which no one has yet grasped.

As a veteran and one who felt this anger, I would like to talk about it. We are angry because we feel we have been used it the worst fashion by the administration of this country.

In 1970, at West Point, Vice President Agnew said, "some glamorize the criminal misfits of society while our best men die in Asian rice paddies to preserve the freedom which most of those misfits abuse," and this was used as a rallying point for our effort in Vietnam.

But for us, as boys in Asia whom the country was supposed to support, his statement is a terrible distortion from which we can only draw a very deep sense of revulsion. Hence the anger of some of the men who are here in Washington today. It is a distortion because we in no way consider ourselves the best men of this country, because those he calls misfits were standing up for us in a way that nobody else in this country dared to, because so many who have died would have returned to this country to join the misfits in their efforts to ask for an immediate withdrawal from South Vietnam, because so many of those best men have returned as quadriplegics and amputees, and they lie forgotten in Veterans' Administration hospitals in this country which fly the flag which so many have chosen as their own personal symbol. And we cannot consider ourselves America's best men when we are ashamed of and hated what we were called on to do in Southeast Asia.

In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart.

We found that not only was it a civil war, an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever, but, also, we found that the Vietnamese, whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image, were hard-put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from.

We found most people didn't even know the difference between communism and democracy. They only wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart. They wanted everything to do with the war, particularly with this foreign presence of the United States of America, to leave them alone in peace, and they practiced the art of survival by siding with whichever military force was present at a particular time, be it Viet Cong, North Vietnamese or American.

We found also that, all too often, American men were dying in those rice paddies for want of support from their allies. We saw first hand how monies from American taxes were used for a corrupt dictatorial regime. We saw that many people in this country had a one-sided idea of who was kept free by the flag, and blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties. We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs and search-and-destroy missions as well as by Viet Cong terrorism, - and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on the Viet Cong.

We rationalized destroying villages in order to save them. We saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted very coolly a My Lai, and refused to give up the image of American soldiers who hand out chocolate bars and chewing gum.

We learned the meaning of free-fire zones--shooting anything that moves--and we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of orientals.

We watched the United States falsification of body counts, in fact the glorification of body counts. We listened while, month after month, we were told the back of the enemy was about to break. We fought using weapons against "oriental human beings" with quotation marks around that. We fought using weapons against those people which I do not believe this country would dream of using, were we fighting in the European theater. We watched while men charged up hills because a general said that hill has to be taken, and, after losing one platoon, or two platoons, they marched away to leave the hill for reoccupation by the North Vietnamese. We watched pride allow the most unimportant battles to be blown into extravaganzas, because we couldn't lose, and we couldn't retreat, and because it didn't matter how many American bodies were lost to prove that point, and so there were Hamburger Hills and Khe Sanhs and Hill 81s and Fire Base 6s, and so many others.

Now we are told that the men who fought there must watch quietly while American lives are lost so that we can exercise the incredible arrogance of "Vietnamizing" the Vietnamese.

Each day, to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Vietnam, someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn't have to admit something that the entire world already knows, so that we can't say that we have made a mistake. Someone has to die so that President Nixon won't be, and these are his words, "the first President to lose a war."

We are asking Americans to think about that, because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? We are here in Washington to say that the problem of this war is not just a question of war and diplomacy. It is part and parcel of everything that we are trying, as human beings, to communicate to people in this country--the question of racism, which is rampant in the military, and so many other questions, such as the use of weapons: the hypocrisy in our taking umbrage at the Geneva Conventions and using that as justification for a continuation of this war, when we are more guilty than any other body of violations of those Geneva Conventions; in the use of free-fire zones; harassment-interdiction fire, search-and-destroy missions; the bombings; the torture of prisoners; all accepted policy by many units in South Vietnam. That is what we are trying to say. It is part and parcel of everything.

An American Indian friend of mine who lives in the Indian Nation of Alcatraz put it to me very succinctly: He told me how, as a boy on an Indian reservation, he had watched television, and he used to cheer the cowboys when they came in and shot the Indians, and then suddenly one day he stopped in Vietnam and he said, "my God, I am doing to these people the very same thing that was done to my people," and he stopped. And that is what we are trying to say, that we think this thing has to end.

We are here to ask, and we are here to ask vehemently, where are the leaders of our country? Where is the leadership? We're here to ask where are McNamara, Rostow, Bundy, Gilpatrick, and so many others? Where are they now that we, the men they sent off to war, have returned? These are the commanders who have deserted their troops. And there is no more serious crime in the laws of war. The Army says they never leave their wounded. The Marines say they never even leave their dead. These men have left all the casualties and retreated behind a pious shield of public rectitude. They've left the real stuff of their reputations bleaching behind them in the sun in this country....

We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service as easily as this administration has wiped away their memories of us. But all that they have done, and all that they can do by this denial, is to make more clear than ever our own determination to undertake one last mission: To search out and destroy the last vestige of this barbaric war; to pacify our own hearts; to conquer the hate and fear that have driven this country these last ten years and more. And more. And so, when, thirty years from now, our brothers go down the street without a leg, without an arm, or a face, and small boys ask why, we will be able to say "Vietnam" and not mean a desert, not a filthy obscene memory, but mean instead where America finally turned, and where soldiers like us helped it in the turning.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 10:39 pm: Edit

From:

By Sea, Air and Land: An Illustrated History of the US Navy and the War in Southeast Asia

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Chapter 4: Winding Down the War, 1968 - 1973


>>In the first phase of the SEALORDS campaign allied forces established patrol "barriers," often using electronic sensor devices, along the waterways paralleling the Cambodian border. In early November 1968, PBRs and riverine assault craft opened two canals between the Gulf of Siam at Rach Gia and the Bassac River at Long Xuyen. South Vietnamese paramilitary ground troops helped naval patrol units secure the transportation routes in this operational area, soon named Search Turn. Later in the month, Swift boats, PBRs, riverine assault craft, and Vietnamese naval vessels penetrated the Giang Thanh-Vinh Te canal system and established patrols along the waterway from Ha Tien on the gulf to Chau Doc on the upper Bassac. As a symbol of the Vietnamese contribution to the combined effort, the allied command changed the name of this operation from Foul Deck to Tran Hung Dao I. Then in December U.S. naval forces pushed up the Vam Co Dong and Vam Co Tay Rivers west of Saigon, against heavy enemy opposition, to cut infiltration routes from the "Parrot's Beak" area of Cambodia. The Giant Slingshot operation, so named for the configuration of the two rivers, severely hampered Communist resupply in the region near the capital and in the Plain of Reeds. Completing the first phase of the SEALORDS program, in January 1969 PBRs, assault support patrol boats (ASPB), and other river craft established patrol sectors along canals westward from the Vam Co Tay to the Mekong River in Operation Barrier Reef. Thus, by early 1969 a patrolled waterway interdiction barrier extended almost uninterrupted from Tay Ninh northwest of Saigon to the Gulf of Siam.>>

http://www.history.navy.mil/seairland/chap4.htm

By Thinkingoutloud (Thinkingoutloud) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 11:02 pm: Edit

In 1986 from the floor of the United States Senate, John Kerry stated he spend Christmas 1968 in Cambodia. According to the Congressional Record, Kerry stated: "I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and have the President of the United States telling the American people that I was not there; the troops were not in Cambodia. I have that memory which is seared — seared — in me."

Earlier, in October 1979, writing to the Boston Herald Kerry stated: " "I remember spending Christmas Eve of 1968 five miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our South Vietnamese allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas. The absurdity of almost being killed by our own allies in a country in which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops was very real."

There are two problems with these statement. First, Kerry states in the book "Tour of Duty" that he spent Christmas 1968 some 50 miles away writing home to his family.

Second, Pres. Nixon did not take office until January 20th 1969.

So much for having something seared in one's memory. You don't need the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to show that Sen. Kerry is untruthful -- he does it all by himself.

Would you care to admit that Sen. Kerry was untruthful or can you offer some explanation?

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 11:18 pm: Edit

I have not read Tour of Duty. Where does Kerry claim he was on Christmas 1968 in that book?
Phnom Penh to Saigon, btw, is 250km. The Parrot's Beak is much closer, and, as its name implies, juts into South Vietnamese territory. It would be helpful to have exact quots from Kerry's book.

As for the statement about Nixon, of course Nixon did not take office until Jan. 20, 1969. Whatever happened before that was on Johnson's watch. Nonetheless, it is possible that Kerry reacted to specific claims by Nixon, since, when Kerry came out against the war, Nixon was President. It makes sense that he would be reacting to statements made by the sitting president. Again, I'd appreciate more context. Thanks.

By Socaldad (Socaldad) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 12:04 am: Edit

The GOP has offered a preview of the main plank of the platform they will unveil at the upcoming Republican National Convention: John Kerry wasn't killed in Vietnam, so he is unfit to be Commander-in-Chief.

"Sure he earned a Purple Heart with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, signifying that he was wounded three times in Vietnam, while our candidate was boozing and whoring in, uh...whereever the he** he was...Alabama, was it?" said RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie today. "But really, if John Kerry were a real war hero," he continued, "he'd have gotten himself killed like Captain Humbert 'Rocky' Versace. Now that's a guy who could be President. Kerry? Just has some shrapnel still stuck in his thigh to this day. Oh, boohoohoo, my leg hurts! How un-Presidential is that?"

Some have said that Republicans are trying to change the subject from Bush's own lackluster Vietnam-era service, let alone the dismal economy, disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a record that shows little accomplishment beyond tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of the population. But senior administration officials have said, on the condition of anonymity, that the real issue is that John Kerry is a comsymp traitor who betrayed his fellow vets by coming back to America alive and trying to end the war in Vietnam.

"We all were really hurt by what Kerry said in '71," said one of the unnamed officials, who formerly worked in the Nixon White House. "Here we are, trying to run an already unpopular war, and Kerry comes back from Vietnam with all his medals and stuff saying he thinks the war is wrong and he wants his brothers to come home and be proud of their service to their country. Our only choice was to destroy him, but it didn't work because Kerry kicked O'Neill's ass on Cavett. We're not going to fail this time."

According to political strategists in both parties, the only fear Bush/Cheney campaign manager Ken Mehlman has at this point is that Kerry might actually up and die during the campaign, thus proving to be a better candidate than George Bush. "Our internal polling shows that many people would vote for a dead cat, or a dead person, rather than have Bush serve a second term," said Bush political advisor Karl Rove. "Heck, our Attorney General lost an election to a corpse, so imagine what could happen if Kerry were to end up dead. It would ruin our whole case."

Despite their concerns for Kerry's health, the Bush/Cheney campaign is going ahead and focusing on Kerry's greatest weakness: he was a military leader whose commanders describe as "top notch", "intelligent," "polished," "brilliant," and "decisive," but who nonetheless only incurred three minor injuries in combat, earned a Bronze and Silver Star, and unfortunately came back from Vietnam alive. One slogan they plan to put on bumper stickers soon includes "Bush/Cheney 2004: Kerry Might Have Volunteered For Nam And Been Wounded 3 Times, But He's Still A F*$%ing Pussy".

When asked about how the campaign could overcome the stagnant American economy and the loss of more jobs since Herbert Hoover, Mehlman observed that Kerry probably never went too far into Cambodia, and look over there, it's the Kobe Bryant trial!

By Thinkingoutloud (Thinkingoutloud) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 12:22 am: Edit

Still waiting for an answer, Socaldad. I guess you don't have any explanation as to Kerry's searing memory.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 12:27 am: Edit

Thinkingoutloud,

At least Kerry has a military record, one where we actually know he served.

What about GWB? Kerry and his supporters lie, even though the official military records support him, and GWB told the truth, even though official military records do not support him? I see...

To be honest, its people that say things like " William Rood is either untruthful or lacks an accurate memory. Did the Kerry machine get to him?" that scare me. But then again, some people believe Iraq was about terrorism. Of course, it is, now.

By Thinkingoutloud (Thinkingoutloud) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 12:35 am: Edit

Massdad,

So you scare easily. How about when Iran announces that it has developed several nuclear weapons and that it has numerous citizens willing to engage in suicide missions in order to get into heaven. How about those long-range missiles Iran already has? If Sen. Kerry were President, what would he do? That is what scares me and what I fear is far more serious than your fear of someone else's words.

BTW, it's Kerry vs. Kerry. Pres. Bush has no part in this debate over Christmas in Cambodia.

By Socaldad (Socaldad) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 12:38 am: Edit

Good to see you got today's message from the Smear machine. The Smear boat vets for Bush deal is completely falling apart under the weight of overwhelming evidence. Quick, move on to the next talking point. All together now.

I'm still waiting for Bush to apologize to McCain and to roundly condemn the liars who his buddies are funding, just like they funded the smear attacks on McCain.

By Simba (Simba) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 12:39 am: Edit

Socaldad: Don't argue with Thinkingoutloud. Currently his reasoning process is on extended vacation. He fantasizes details of people who were not there as truths and believes that Rood (who is the only other Swift boat commander alive) is a liar. Thinkingoutloud answer the following questions - only yes/no: (Think quietly - not very loud)

(1) WMDs were found in IRAQ
(2) Iraq had nuclear grade material
(3) The coalition forces consist personnel from majority of the world.
(4) The US reputation in the world is as good or better than ever.

By Thinkingoutloud (Thinkingoutloud) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 12:46 am: Edit

Socaldad,
I am still waiting for the evidence about misstatements supposedly made by over 60 veterans from a varity of political persuasions. The fact that you say the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are falling apart does not make it true. In fact, the way the Kerry Machine is going after them shows they are telling the truth. Sending lawyers to threaten television stations against running ads, does not seem to suggest a preference for free speech. Filing frivilous complaints with the Federal Election Committee, reflects despiration. The bottom line is that, yes, Kerry is a war hero; but he has embellished his war record and dishonored his country when he returned from Vietnam. Now that is being exposed.

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 12:54 am: Edit

This is not related to the main topic, but I just wanted to say that the Bush administration has not done that much to defend this country against the nuclear threat especially on the domestic level. Nicholas Kristof did a series of articles on this that were extremely frightening the past week. That Iran rant made me think of it.

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 01:17 am: Edit

Simba: nice to see your passion. I'm still looking for an answer on your charter school position. What's your agenda? O.K. Everyone here is very excited about the "Unfit for Command" issue. Simple question for all of you who are so passionate about the dastardlyness of those questioning JFK. How did your skin get so thin? I can't go into a bookstore without seeing book after book that questions our President about something? You folks are soft. Toughen up a little bit. We've been through Fahrenheit 911 and survived. You can too. Relax. Grow up.

By Thinkingoutloud (Thinkingoutloud) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 01:21 am: Edit

You got me Simba. I am still in vacation land and cannot answer your first question so I had to rely on an expert:

TEXT FROM THE SPEECH JOHN KERRY MADE ON THE SENATE FLOOR October 9, 2002

"With respect to Saddam Hussein and the threat he presents, we must ask ourselves a simple question: Why? Why is Saddam Hussein pursuing weapons that most nations have agreed to limit or give up? Why is Saddam Hussein guilty of breaking his own cease-fire agreement with the international community? Why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons when most nations don't even try, and responsible nations that have them attempt to limit their potential for disaster? Why did Saddam Hussein threaten and provoke? Why does he develop missiles that exceed allowable limits? Why did Saddam Hussein lie and deceive the inspection teams previously? Why did Saddam Hussein not account for all of the weapons of mass destruction which UNSCOM identified? Why is he seeking to develop unmanned airborne vehicles for delivery of biological agents?
***
I believe the record of Saddam Hussein's ruthless, reckless breach of international values and standards of behavior which is at the core of the cease-fire agreement, with no reach, no stretch, is cause enough for the world community to hold him accountable by use of force, if necessary. The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new. It has been with us since the end of that war, and particularly in the last 4 years we know after Operation Desert Fox failed to force him to reaccept them, that he has continued to build those weapons."

As to your second question: "Iraq had nuclear grade material". Since there is no such thing as nuclear grade material, no country has it. Possibly we should ask Joseph Wilson who told us his wife had nothing to do with him going to Niger but the 9/11 commission seemed to think his wife strongly recommended him for the job.

As to your third question: "The coalition forces consist personnel from majority of the world." Since the world has several billion people, I guess the answer is that the coalition is not a majority of the world.

As to your fourth question: "The US reputation in the world is as good or better than ever." It depends on what reputation you are talking about. If it is a reputation for pursuing freedom for people throughout the world, then our reputation is better than ever. If it is a reputation for stopping the U.N. oil for food scandal, then our reputation is worse than ever with the French.

And, Simba, where was John Kerry on Christmas 1968?

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 01:24 am: Edit

He was in Cambodia with Marlon Brando.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 10:37 am: Edit

"I can't go into a bookstore without seeing book after book that questions our President about something?"

The difference between the Bush books and the Kerry "book" is that the former are amply supported by the record and by the observations of PEOPLE ACTUALLY PRESENT. Can't say that about the Kerry book, as we now see.

I wonder if Thinkingoutloud ever even served in the military? If (s)he had, they'd understand the ludicrous nature of the Kerry discussion - like even finding the Cambodian border back then.

Anyway, it's quite amazing how someone could segue from a discussion of Viet Nam many years ago to a discussion of nuclear weapons in Iran. Common sens would then tell such a person that, at best, we invaded the wrong country - missed the target by a few hundred miles, so to speak. Not to mention Korea, Pakistan etc. Maybe Thinking owns Disney stock, and likes Fantasyland? Believes in a parallel universe, where an Oracle (GWB) always speaks the truth...

By Simba (Simba) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 11:55 am: Edit

Thnikingoutloud: Let me try one more time. This time anwser only in Yes or No

Was Iraq connected to 9/11?

By Takiusproteus (Takiusproteus) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 12:08 pm: Edit

"As to your third question: "The coalition forces consist personnel from majority of the world." Since the world has several billion people, I guess the answer is that the coalition is not a majority of the world. "

You are deliberately misreading the question.

Also keep in mind that the smear boat guys were not actually in a position to know firsthand what Kerry did to earn his medals - the ads attempt to ignore that fact and exaggerate their qualifications.

By Thinkingoutloud (Thinkingoutloud) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 12:30 pm: Edit

Simba says:
"Thnikingoutloud: Let me try one more time. This time anwser only in Yes or No

Was Iraq connected to 9/11?"

Iraq was not involved in planning or implementing the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. No one every said they were. The US invaded Iraq for numerous reasons which I would be happy to address, if you would like, but it would seem your candidate, Sen. Kerry, has already pretty well stated the reasons.

Now, Simba. Let me try again. Did Sen. Kerry vote in favor of the war against Iraq? This time the answer is only yes or no.

Massdad says:
"it's quite amazing how someone could segue from a discussion of Viet Nam many years ago to a discussion of nuclear weapons in Iran. Common sens would then tell such a person that, at best, we invaded the wrong country - missed the target by a few hundred miles, so to speak."

The ultimate issue is whether Sen. Kerry is fit to be President. I agree that Sen. Kerry's military service has zero bearing on whether he should be President. Unfortunately, Sen. Kerry has made his military service the cornerstone of his campaign. (If military service were the only consideration, Bob Dole would have beaten Pres. Clinton. Democrats did not seem to care about military service back then.) There are serious national security issues facing our nation. Iran is a terrorist regime dedicated to obtaining nuclear weapons. The problem with Sen. Kerry is that how he stands on issues cannot be predicted. He voted for the war against Iraq but now says he is sort of against it. Playing defense in the war on terror is a losing game, just as it was in Vietnam. That is at lease one lesson we should learn from Vietnam.

By Fundingfather (Fundingfather) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 01:06 pm: Edit

Thinkingoutloud,

I think you are being a bit charitable when you conclude that Iraq definitely was not involved with 9/11. Based on the available evidence, the best answer to this is that there is a fair amount of evidence to say that they might have been involved and there is some contradictory evidence to say that they were not. While the contradictory evidence can itself be explained away, there is no need to rely on Iraq's involvement in 9/11 as a requirement to rationalize the war.

Those who keep bringing up the lack of an irrefutable smoking gun relationship between 9/11 and Iraq clearly have not looked at the complete rationale for the Iraq war. The bottom line is that the Iraq war was not a punitive war (with respect to 9/11) but rather a preventative war for future 9/11s. Those who disagree with this view (and you are free to do so) and want to vote accordingly had better vote for Nader.

By Simba (Simba) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 01:11 pm: Edit

Yup and a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush anyway - what a clever way to disguise the real motive.

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 01:15 pm: Edit

Stop saying that Simba.

By Thinkingoutloud (Thinkingoutloud) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 02:05 pm: Edit

I think I may have just realized that Craigk10 is a Nader supporter. (I guess I am the last to realize this.) This would explain why I have more difficulty refuting the arguments of Craigk10 than the others on this board. I don't agree with Craigk10 on much, but he is a most worthy opponent (since I sometimes actually learn something from his posts).

By Fundingfather (Fundingfather) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 02:33 pm: Edit

"what a clever way to disguise the real motive"

No, it's not disguising a motive, it is exposing disingenuous views. People who attack Bush for having certain views but then endorse Kerry even though he has identical views are not being honest with themselves. It's OK to be for Kerry, but please pick out areas that they are different to justify your views. Putting it in a different context, it would be like being against Bush because of his views on abortion but to be for McCain.

By Simba (Simba) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 04:55 pm: Edit

OK fellow republicans (including fundingfather and browninfall), answer following two questions and let us see what you really really think from your heart.

(1) Do you approve of the smear tactics of these swift boat people?

(2) Do you think Bush should have courage to stand up and ask them to withdraw these smear attack?

By Thedad (Thedad) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 05:20 pm: Edit

Anyone who persists in claiming SH's involvement with 9/11 is clinging to wish-fulfillment and delusion in a desperate attempt to avoid what Kafka called "nothingness." Or was that Sartre?
But I understand...because the war on terrorism is the only issue that's keeping Bush from being completely blown out and support for the war in Iraq is now a minority position and the GOP is going to strive mightily to keep the two connected. I also understand that Bush running on his record on every other issue is a losing proposition with the electorate as a whole and that with Bush's re-elect number hovering in the 43-45 percent range he has no choice but to furiously attack Kerry not on the issues but in terms of personal qualities in a desperate attempt to make Kerry an unacceptable alternative to voters who don't otherwise like Bush.

I understand that current CENTCOM Tommy Franks has said that the attacks on John Kerry are "political hyperbole" and that while he's "leaning[!] towards Bush" that John Kerry is perfectly acceptable as commander in chief.

I understand that Gen. McPeak, Air Force chief of staff during the first Gulf War and a ranking member of "Veterans for Bush" in 2000 is supporting Kerry and saying that Bush has been a disaster.

I understand that former CENTCOM Gen. Anthony Zinni's devastating critique of Bush's failure in Iraq aligns very much with John Kerry (though Zinni has not endorsed anyone).

I understand that GHW Bush put together a coalition against Saddam Hussein that included numerous Islamic nations, the support of the UN, and the overwhelming support of world opinion,
not to mention that more than 90 percent of the cost was underwritten by other nations...in contrast to GW Bush on all four counts.

I understand that GW Bush's understanding of Iraq was so lacking that he pranced across the deck of an aircraft carrier with the banner "Mission Accomplished" fluttering in the background.

I understand that GW Bush's administration was so wedded to its preconceptions that it totally ignored any input to the contrary, such as from the State Department's "Futures of Iraq" project, and relied exclusively on sources that told them what they wanted to hear, like Ahmed Chalabi, who promised that American would be greeted as liberators. (Don't you get it? Even the Iraqis who are glad to see Saddam gone thoroughly detest us and want us gone too.)

I understand that the future of Iraq is two out of three from stable, democratic, and pro-American and that no one in the administration whose opinion counted for anything understood the plate tectonics of Sunni, Shia, and Kurd and have the foggiest idea how to make the ensuing system work.

I understand that the government of Afghanistan, the "other" success, is wobbling as the Americans there have also won the military victory only to not understand the Rubik's Cube of ethnicity, religion, and economics such that the Taliban is growing in popularity again, opium production is up, and the power of the warlords is unchecked by the central government.

I understand that by GW Bush's rhetoric about crusades and evildoers he has cast the conflict not as one of civilization against terror but of the West vs. Islam, playing into the hands of Osama bin Laden--who Bush conveniently never mentions these days--and thus is helping to create legions of new terrorists in the madrassas and villages of the Islamic world, making the US a target for decades to come, not safer.

I understand that Bush's doctrine of unilateral preemption gives other countries, e.g. Iran, the excuse to exercise the same doctrine.

I understand that Bush's approach to allies is to ignore them when it suits him and impose demands when it suits him. (Cf., Soviet vassal states.)

I understand that Bush's class warfare via tax policy is simultaneously running up a huge deficit and shifting the burden of its eventual payment from the wealthiest 1 percent to the broad middle class.

I undersand that John Kerry would have committed none of these stupidities that Bush has, a list abbreviated only due to time constraints and the fact that I have business to attend to.

I also understand that given Bush's poll numbers on the issues that he has no choice but to smear Kerry and that the remaining 72 days of this campaign are going to be increasingly ugly.

I understand that Bush's smear campaign makes this a war to the knife and that this time we're hitting back.

Now here's something for you to understand:

We're coming. (Or in Bush's blustering testosterone-laden language, we're bringing it on.)

Look for me.

Look for me in every volunteer who is driving across state lines to register voters in swing states.

Look for me in the handwriting of every letter written to undecided voters in swing states.
Look for me for every volunteer who is NOW signing up to watch polls to make sure that minority voters, in particular, aren't discouraged from participating due to spurious notices saying they must bring a utility bill or that all warrants must be paid or where GOP-hired security personnel intimidate immigrant-citizens.

Look for me in the list of donors, every parent who has to pay college tuition but is squeezing out $100, $500, $1,000, $2,000 they don't have because they don't dare contemplate the consequences of a second Bush term.

Look for me among the volunteers in every state
that will be driving the aged and infirm to the polls on election day.

And God willing on November 2, look for me in the long line of voters lining the way from Washington D.C. to Crawford, Texas, kicking George Bush's sorry ass back to his ranch.

By Astroscholar88 (Astroscholar88) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 05:25 pm: Edit

Well said!

By Fundingfather (Fundingfather) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 06:23 pm: Edit

Simba,

Here's some questions for you:

1)Do you approve of the smear tactics funded by $60 Million (100 to 1) against Bush?

2) Do you think Kerry should have the courage to ask that these ads be withdrawn?

3) Do you think that Kerry should have the courage to tell Michael Moore and Terry McAuliffe that George Bush was not a deserter or AWOL? Do you think that Kerry should have the courage to tell Al Gore that Bush did not betray his country? Do you think that Kerry should have the courage to tell his wife to stop impugning the patriotism of Bush and Cheney? Do you think that Kerry should have the courage to tell Whoopie and others that out of respect for the office of the President that they should not lower themselves to such gutter talk?

By Craigk10 (Craigk10) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 06:31 pm: Edit

This is what makes politics such a waste. Instead of discussing real issues both sides have reverted to nonsense.

By Simba (Simba) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 06:35 pm: Edit

Findingfather I asked you first


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