I’m a flipper. When I watch the news in the evening, I flip back and forth between half a dozen stations so I can see what folks are talking about, who they are talking to, and generally how different stories are being played.
For the past several nights, during coverage of the CBS memo story, I’ve heard liberal pundits basically saying: the memo story is “just like” the Swift Vet story in that “unsubstantiated charges” were brought forth only to be “totally discredited” once the media caught up with the story. This statement is invariably met by silence from the conservative pundit, and I’m totally lost as to why.
Now I’ve followed these stories pretty closely, and the equating of the two strikes me as completely dishonest and irresponsible. On the one hand, we have some memos. Experts of every type have examined every aspect of these documents and concluded that they are most certainly forgeries, for any number of reasons sufficient unto themselves. Though CBS continues to stand by the story, even their “experts” have abandoned them. We have no idea who wrote these memos or when they were written. They are supported by absolutely nothing beyond Dan Rather’s ego.
On the other hand, we have the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group of 245 decorated Vietnam veterans who have openly come forward to tell their story. Their book, "Unfit for Command," is richly sourced and footnoted. We know who these men are. They don’t hide behind unnamed sources. They have given sworn affidavits and made themselves readily available for interviews and public scrutiny.
Tell me how these two affairs are remotely the same. While you’re at it, tell me exactly which of the Swifties' claims have been disproved. To my knowledge there are none. Meanwhile, we can list a number of their claims which have borne fruit—bright red, juicy ripe, dripping down your chin fruit. For example, among other things, we know that:
- John Kerry lied about being in Cambodia on Christmas Eve, 1968. We know this not only because his war diary says so, but because the Kerry Campaign now admits it. This is important because Kerry has told this story countless times over the past three decades. He said the story was “seared” into his memory. He told the story on the floor of the Senate in an attempt to impugn the motives of two U.S. presidents and to influence national policy.
- John Kerry lied to get his first Purple Heart when he claimed that he was injured by “intense enemy fire.” We know this because he wrote in his war diary a week later that he "hadn't been shot at yet" and because even the Kerry Campaign now acknowledges that his wound was probably accidentally self-inflicted.
- John Kerry lied about his “no man left behind” story, where he claimed that he alone stayed behind to rescue a crewmate while all other swift boats fled. We know this because the Kerry Campaign now admits the opposite—that Kerry fled while all other swift boats remained behind.
- John Kerry tried to take credit for commanding several combat missions that took place before he had even “reported for duty.” We know this because Lt. Tedd Peck, the actual commander came forward upon hearing the fabrications to set the record straight. The Kerry Campaign has since admitted the error and removed from Kerry's official web site the 20 pages describing the missions.
So, far from being “discredited,” the Swifties’ claims have actually been supported, by Kerry’s own words and admissions, and any attempt to cast these matters in the same light as the CBS memo scandal is contemptible