quasi in rem

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Kerry recants his Cambodian adventure

Weel it happened. A Kerry campaign spokesman has come clean on Kerry's Cambodian adventure. If you ignore all of the text and just look at the quotes here is the story:

On the Senate floor on March 27, 1986 (Congressional Record, page S3594), Sen. Kerry said:
Mr. President, 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, that says to me, before we send another generation into harm's way we have a responsibility in the U.S. Senate to go the last step, to make the best effort possible in order to avoid that kind of conflict.

The above linked article also notes that in an October 14, 1979, letter to the Boston Herald, Sen. Kerry wrote of his vivid memories of his Christmas Eve spent in Cambodia (quoted in Unfit for Command, page 46):
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.

But now here is the real story:

JOHNSON: John Kerry has said on the record that he had a mistaken recollection earlier. He talked about a combat situation on Christmas Eve 1968 which at one point he said occurred in Cambodia. He has since corrected the recorded to say it was some place on a river near Cambodia and he is certain that at some point subsequent to that he was in Cambodia. My understanding is that he is not certain about that date.

KILMEADE: I think the term was he had a searing memory of spending Christmas - back in 1986 in the senate floor in Cambodia.

JOHNSON: I believe he has corrected the record to say it was some place near Cambodia he is not certain whether it was in Cambodia but he is certain there was some point subsequent to that that he was in Cambodia.

I am not sure which record he is talking about. I cannot find it on a lexis search in the Congressional record.

I don't know what to make of this whole episode. Does it mean that Kerry will fight a less effective war on terror? No. Does it mean his tax policies are wrong? No. Is it possible that John Kerry is willing to exagerate his military service for political gain? Yes. Guess what, its possible that our current President is in that same swift boat.

But I do think that it demonstrates that it was a mistake for John Kerry to make his Vietnam service a central plank of his entire campaign. "Reporting for duty"? Give me a break.


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