Skip to comments.John Kerry and Vietnam. 30 questions and 30 answers
Posted on 09/11/2004 2:24:14 PM PDT by dennisw
Special to The Augusta Free Press
I am partisan, opposed to John Kerry in 1971 and 2004.
Below, I will also try my hardest to be fair. Judge for yourself.
1. Did Kerry want to go to Vietnam?
He first sought deferment from military service. (to study in France, he enlisted after being denied)
2. Did Kerry exaggerate his service on the USS Gridley, offshore Vietnam, for Douglas Brinkley's book Tour Of Duty?
His two-levels up commander and a shipmate say he did.
3. Did Kerry want to be in combat?
The Swift Boats were an offshore patrol unit at the time Kerry volunteered for it. (were a safe assignment)
4. Was Kerrys first Purple Heart merited?
The senior officer there on the boat at the incident says there was no hostile fire, and Kerry would not have been out on his own at that point in his early tour.
A sailor says the officer, (now Admiral) Schachte (a senior JAG officer), was not there. The wound was probably self-inflicted from an American M-79 grenade.
Nine days later, Kerry wrote, "We hadn't been shot at yet ..."
The wound was a paper matchstick piece of likely M-79 grenade treated with a band-aid.
It may not rise to the qualifications for a Purple Heart, and Kerry's request for it was denied by his superior.
Mysteriously, three months later, after those who knew the facts were gone from Vietnam, the Purple Heart was issued from Saigon.
No documents have been released as to who was on the boat.
5. What is the significance of this first Purple Heart incident?
It, along with two others, permitted Kerry to leave Vietnam eight months early. Without it, Kerry left Vietnam before he should have.
6. Was there political influence or other explanation for the issuance of the first Purple Heart?
Kerry refuses to release his full military records or his journal. No witnesses have emerged as to how the first Purple Heart came to be issued.
7. Has the merit of Kerrys second Purple Heart been challenged?
No. It has not been seriously challenged.
8. Did Kerrys account of his second Purple Heart vary from facts?
Yes. The Kerry campaign Web site's display of partial documents contained that Kerry was the commander of the boat that day. When the actual skipper challenged that, the Kerry campaign removed a 20-page batch of documents from its Web site.
9. Did Kerry merit the Silver Star?
A Kerry supporter who commanded another boat involved in the incident writes that it was the members of other boats that first and primarily mopped up from the encounter with Viet Cong. Kerry went ashore and killed a fleeing, wounded, armed VC. Kerry's actions do not rise to the standards of the Silver Star. The other sailors and officers on the three boats involved did not receive the Silver Star.
10. Did Kerry merit the Bronze Star?
Difficult to say. The standards of the Bronze Star are lower than for the Silver. The timeline of differing witnesses of whether there was enemy fire, and most particularly whether Kerry was under fire when he picked up Rassmann, have not been clearly delineated. Similarly, the facts of how Kerry came to go a half-mile to a mile downriver from the mine explosion under another boat, later returning to the other boats that did not leave the scene, are unclear.
11. Did Kerry merit the third Purple Heart for the Bronze Star incident?
It is proven that "shrapnel" to Kerry's buttocks came from his earlier being hit when blowing up some VC rice. The "contusion" to Kerry's arm during the Bronze Star episode may not rise to Purple Heart standards. There is confusion as to whether and when in the timeline Kerry fell and hit his arm against his own boat. The Purple Heart standard says, "A wound is defined as an injury to any part of the body from an outside force or agent ..."
12. Did Kerry display physical courage in Vietnam?
Indisputably. In all cases, maybe.
13. Does the Kerry Website displayed documents show a "V" on the Silver Star, which is not practice?
14. Do the three citations for the Silver Star contain varying accounts of its merits?
15. Why do the three Silver Star citations contain differing accounts?
Not answered yet. The Secretary of the Navy, John Lehman, says he did not do the third citation - the signature may be an autopen - nor does he know why it was issued in the '80s.
16. Was Kerry in Cambodia on Christmas 1968?
All evidence is to the contrary to Kerry's up to 50 times repeating this story.
17. Was Kerry in Cambodia at another time?
All evidence is to the contrary. No evidence has been presented to say that he was. Brinkley now says Kerry's statement about being in Cambodia at Christmas "is obviously wrong."
18. Did Kerry write up some of the reports at dispute in the medals?
Unclear without further documents being released. At his April 22, 1971, testimony to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry did say: "... I can recall often sending in the spot reports which we made after each mission ..." Not conclusive. Others recall Kerry often sending in reports, including when they did not. The "Market Time Spot Report 13/1/TE 22.214.171.124/1" that was the primary document relied upon for the Bronze Star/third Purple Heart was from Kerry's designator.
19. Did Kerry accuse the U.S. and Vietnam veterans of committing pervasive, sanctioned atrocities?
Yes. Read the words and accounts of the time in 1971.
20. Did Kerry attend a meeting of Vietnam Veterans Against the War in November 1971 at which it was proposed to assassinate several pro-Vietnam war U.S. senators?
21. Did Kerry deny he was there?
Yes. Until a New York Sun reporter showed that FBI records proved otherwise.
22. Did Kerry report the danger to any authorities?
23. Did Kerry break the Logan Act by going to the Paris Peace Talks to talk with the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong delegations, or other laws related to his deserve obligations in his protest activities?
That's for judicial decision. Others have not been convicted for similar deeds.
24. Did Kerry mislead that he tossed his medals during a protest demonstration?
Yes. Confronted, Kerry now says they were ribbons.
25. Were Kerry's words used against POWs in North Vietnam?
Words like his were. Also, at least four of the POWs say publicly that John Kerry's words were used to try to break them down, so probably more were so subjected.
26. Did Kerry push normalization of U.S. relations with Vietnam, and for a relative's profit?
Kerry and others pushed for normalization. His cousin soon after obtained a large contract with Vietnam, but no direct link has yet been proven.
27. Has Kerry ever apologized or recanted for any of his above actions and words?
28. Has John Kerry released his full military records and journals?
He refuses. Kerry has claimed he can't release his journals due to contractual obligations to Douglas Brinkley, author of Tour Of Duty. Brinkley says, however, according to The Washington Post: "... the papers are the property of the senator and in his full control." Brinkley says, "I don't mind if John Kerry shows anybody anything."
29. Has the mainstream press requested the release of Kerry's full military records?
Only one says so, the Washington Post, which only received about six of 100 pages of records.
30. Has there been more smoke than wood in much of this public debate?
Yes, in my opinion. That is why I wrote the above.
Bruce N. Kesler resides in Encitas, Calif.
The views expressed by op-ed writers do not necessarily reflect those of management of The Augusta Free Press.
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Bronze Star - "Was Kerry or any of the other 4 boats under any enemy fire? (other than the mine(s))" There were zero bullet holes in the boats.
Plus, if you were a sniper, on shore, and had a choice between targets on the boats, and bobbin-Rassmann (mostly underwater), which would you spend ammo on? Not the bobbin-Rassmann, that's for sure.
What's Kerry situation?
He met and was befriended by Ted Kennedy?