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Swift Boating the Swift Boaters (updated)
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, March 04, 2007

It has become an article of truth to many on the left that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were a pack of liars. They believe that this group of Vietnam Swift Boat vets were enticed by Republican operatives to sell themselves out to sink the presidential aspirations of John Kerry. And they further believe that the only reason it worked was because Kerry was slow to respond.

I hate to buck the left's conventional wisdom, but I don't buy that at all.

A couple of points. John Kerry made both Vietnam and his service there the major backdrop of his campaign. Not the SBVT, but Kerry. And after shunning his "band of brothers" in the '70s and calling them killers, murderers, torturers and the like, Kerry suddenly rediscovered them when it was politically expedient to do so.

This, as you might guess, rankled some of his peers from that era, especially when he started making claims about his service that just didn't add up. And I spent an enormous amount of time combing through their claims, reasearching them and writing about them.

What becomes clear now, is that some on the left are busy trying to swift boat the Swift Boaters. And yes, "swift boat" is now a verb meaning to unfairly and untruthfully attack someone. The latest media effort comes from a rather strident Rosa Brooks in the LA Times. The opening paragraph is a classic:
IF YOU HATED IT the first time, you might like the sequel better.

Remember Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the right-wing goon squad whose defamatory insinuations helped sink John Kerry's presidential campaign? They're back! This afternoon, key Swift boaters George "Bud" Day, Mary Jane McManus and Carlton Sherwood are holding a little reunion, in the guise of a panel discussion at the American Conservative Union's annual Conservative Political Action Conference. The panel topic? "The Left's Repeated Campaign Against the American Soldier."
The George "Bud" Day she refers too as a member of this "defamatory" "right-wing goon squad" is a Medal of Honor recipient. To call Bud Day any type of a "goon" is simply disgraceful. But Ms. Brooks, displaying complete acceptance of the left's conventional wisdom, attempts to broad brush anyone even remotely associated with the SBVT as a part of the "lunatic right" (headline), even those awarded the Medal of Honor.

Still don't believe me? Feast your eyes at this selective description of the group:
What's depressing about the reemergence of the Swifties, though, is that it's symbolic of the increasing takeover of the "conservative" movement by unprincipled, right-wing extremists.

The Swifties began as a fringe group. Their anti-Kerry attack ads were effective in 2004 (thanks in part to Kerry's slowness in responding), but they were condemned universally as a new low in the history of bottom-feeding smear campaigns. John McCain criticized them as "dishonest and dishonorable," and the Bush campaign sought to distance itself from the group's tactics. Association with the Swifties forced the resignations of two Bush campaign aides, including Ben Ginsburg, the campaign's top election law expert.
In reality, the "depressing" aspect of the "reemergence" of the "Swiftees" is they were previously quite effective and the left fears them. While Brooks is obviously of the opinion that they were a goon-squad, it appears that much of the American public, at least those who took the time to read what they said, were inclined to believe them over Kerry. I happen to be one of those (and, full disclosure, I wanted nothing to do with Kerry, but that didn't stop me from examining, in detail, their charges and, in a few cases, discounting them).

For the most part, I found the SBVT accounts both reasonable and credible, far more reasonable and credible than Kerry's.

For instance. I found out that Kerry's account of what happened when he dumped the SF officer in the water and then went back and "rescued" him differed markedly from that of the other Swift Boat commanders and the official record. I examined that in detail to reach the conclusion that Kerry's account was almost entirely a fabrication. A single mine went off, there was no fire from the banks, and the boats stayed on station for 90 minutes rescuing the crew of the 3 boat and getting that boat in tow. 90 minutes on station, no bullet wounds, no bullet holes. Tell me again how they were under "hostile fire"?

I found out that it seems probable that two of Kerry's Purple Hearts were from self-inflicted wounds, neither wound inflicted during hostile action (and the requirement for a PH is very specific about such wounds and their circumstances).

I found no evidence of Kerry's supposed trip to Cambodia. None. In fact, it became pretty clear it never happened when you read not only the statements of crew members, but Kerry's own journal entries themselves. And any military man would point out that a) you'd never choose the most junior Swift Boat skipper when more senior and experienced skippers were available, and b) you'd most likely not want a loud and noisy Swift Boat anyway when you had assault boat teams available through SEAL units stationed in the area whose job it was to make clandestine insertions by water.

I actually supported his claim of the Silver Star as I understood it was given to the person heading an operation as an impact award. I also pointed out that while I could support that award, his tactics were abominable and he could just as easily have gotten his whole crew killed with them.

I also closely examined his fitness reports, or at least the ones he released. I've written hundreds of them over my career (we call them efficiency reports) and served on promotion boards which review them for promotion. I found Kerry's claims that they put him among the best of officers to be wildly exaggerated. He was at best a mediocre officer.

I, among others, also discovered that when Mr. Kerry applied for Swift Boats in Vietnam, he applied knowing they were running coastal patrols. Coastal patrols were about as dangerous as driving to work on the freeway each morning, or perhaps less.

When he arrived the mission had been changed to riverine patrols, something he was not at all enamored with and worked diligently to get out of. And, of course, you know that story.

So I disagree with Ms. Brooks characterization of the SBVT and what they put out there. If anyone is being disingenuous here, it is Ms Brooks.

I'd also venture to say that this concerted attempt by the left to brand the SBVT as deceitful, a "hit squad" and smear merchants, is an obvious attempt to compromise a group that was very effective. It won't work. Oh, it'll be accepted by those already inclined to believe they were lying about Kerry. But anyone who took the time to check their claims by independent research came away feeling much more inclined to accept their version of the truth than the Kerry version.

The desperation of the left to compromise the SBVT, however, is sickeningly evident when you see columnists like Brooks stoop to calling Medal of Honor recipients "goons" because they disagree politically.

She should be ashamed.

UPDATE: This apparently passes for a credible critique among those who buy into the Brooks message:
Q and O accuses Brooks of Swift Boating the Swift Boaters. Besides the more serious problem that they repeat false claims against Kerry which have been debunked so many times and are no longer taken seriously by anyone with any degree of objectivity, I find the title rather ironic. Swift Boating refers to spreading politcally motivated lies. If, for the sake of discussion you ignore reality and you accept Q and O’s position that the Swifties were not lying you would not accept this definition of Swift Boating. In that case to accuse Brooks of Swift Boating, which is obviously done in a derogatory manner in their blog post, makes no sense. The only way it make sense is in the mind set of the lunatic right where, by definition, what they say is true and what liberals say is false, regardless of how much the evidence contradicts them. That, of course, gets back to the heart of the Swift Boat issue.
Heh ... uh, yeah, the title is ironic. That's it's purpose. There is tremendous irony found in Brooks' position on the SBVT.

Just as interesting and obvious is the person writing the critique didn't bother follow the links in the article. Had they done so, they'd have had some difficulty making the claim that the SBVT positions had been "debunked" with a straight face. But on the bright side, it did give them an opportunity to use "lunatic right" in a sentence.

UPDATE II: It would have been nice if the LA Times had offered a little disclosure about Ms. Brooks:

From Virgina Law School faculty briefs:
...and served as coordinator of the Kerry- Edwards campaign’s Human Rights, Democracy & Development policy team.
This from Georgetown Law-Faculty.
Rosa Brooks is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times and a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. (She is currently on leave from Georgetown to serve as Special Counsel at the Open Society Institute in New York).
and Open Society Institute.
George Soros is founder and chairman of the Open Society Institute and the Soros foundations network.
Well. What a surprise. Just MoveOn.

Heh ... can you say "lunatic left?"

(HT: Tom Scott)

UPDATE III: Another critique which offers absolutely nothing of substance and instead attempts, albeit poorly, to validate the conventional wisdom that the SBVT were liars by simple declaration. Amazing.
 
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Comments
And they further believe that the only reason it worked was because Kerry was slow to respond.
Ironically, this "excuse" strikes very close to the reason that the SBVT damaged Kerry so much in my eyes. It’s not so much that he was slow, it’s that he seemed so damned shocked that there were any Vietnam Vets that didn’t like him.

I knew 10 Vietnam Vets well enough to really have had a decent conversation with them about the 2000 campaign prior to the SBVT coming out (My Dad, 4 Uncles, and an assortment of family friends, cops, & MPs for the rest). What I found so significant was, out of this group of 10 politically-mixed individuals, all 10 not only knew who the junior Senator from Massachusetts was, but they all despised him for exactly the same reason.

Yet, there he was, saluting, reporting for duty, and finding a reason to bring Vietnam up every three breaths, seemingly totally oblivious to the fact that to a significant number of Vietnam Vets to who each mention of the war by him felt like he was grinding salt in a dry tooth socket.

After that, I didn’t even need the research (although I did enjoy your posts very much and thought you did an excellent and even-handed job). I simply wasn’t going to vote for a candidate that divorced from reality about what seemed to be the central idea of his campaign.
 
Written By: Terry
URL: http://
Well it’s all about the new or not so new lexiconography of the Left....
If I disagree with you or do not "accept" you I am a HATER or (insert victim group here)phobic.
In turn, telling the truth about someone is now "Swift-Boating" or "Smearing"....

You see "BusHitler" or "Selected, not Elected" or "Thief-in-Chief" or "Deserter/AWOL" are merely SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER.

Or you say "Tom-may-toe" I say "Degenerate, Christo-fascist AWOL Mass-murderer."
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
From Virgina Law School faculty briefs:
...and served as coordinator of the Kerry- Edwards campaign’s Human Rights, Democracy & Development policy team.
This from Georgetown Law-Faculty.
Rosa Brooks is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times and a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. (She is currently on leave from Georgetown to serve as Special Counsel at the Open Society Institute in New York).
and Open Society Institute.
George Soros is founder and chairman of the Open Society Institute and the Soros foundations network.
Soros, who has financed efforts to promote open societies in more than 50 countries around the world, is bringing the fight home, he said. On Monday, he and a partner committed up to $5 million to MoveOn.org, a liberal activist group, bringing to $15.5 million the total of his personal contributions to oust Bush.A little honesty and disclosure on the part of the LA Times would have been nice.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
A little honesty and disclosure on the part of the LA Times would have been nice.
Speaking of disclosure, Kerry never did release his military records, even after he said he would......
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
"...they were condemned universally..."
Attention liberals reading this. Surely, you can identify that statement, in its context, as a lie. That many of you cannot compute that, or choose to ignore it and the obvious effect on the credibility of the person issuing it, simply amazes me. Of course, younger liberals, who were not following the story during the campaign (or those who followed it in the MSM only) who are not personally aware that the condemnation was far from universal, are too damned lazy to check out the statement and simply accept it in their drone-like allegiance to the LN.
"...as a new low in the history of bottom-feeding smear campaigns. ..."dishonest and dishonorable..."
Lazy liberals lap this up unquestioningly, since it appears in the MSM. Idiots.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
The part about the entire Swift Boat episode that amazed me was not the Vietnam experiences, but what they publicized about Kerry’s post-war activities.

In particular, Unfit for Command detailed Kerry’s trip to Paris during the peace negotiations and mentioned that he met with both enemy parties (the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese government). This is well documented, and has not been denied by Kerry.

(There is a leftist "debunking" that claims Kerry met with "both sides", implying he talked to the US delegation too. That is false. The "both sides", taken from a Kerry comment, means both enemy parties.)

So we have a man who wanted to be president that apparently advised our enemies on how to get the best terms out of the US during the negotiations, and at the very least professed solidarity with them. He could have been the bravest sailor in Vietnam, and this single fact would still have made him utterly unfit to hold the office in my opinion.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
I think the Left thinks they can ignore history, hide history, and even alter history etc., with the help of the MSM. I sure hope the blogosphere can keep up.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
A few comments regarding the Silver Star, if I may.

You said "his tactics were abominable and he could just as easily have gotten his whole crew killed with them".

The three Swift Boat commanders on that mission, after discussion with the Navy, went the day before to the village of the local Vietnamese forces who were to accompany them. The tactic of beaching, should any VC be encountered, was discussed. Although the mission February 28 was meant to be a sort of shakedown cruise for the Vietnamese, so that they could get the feel for what it would be like to work with the Swifts, the possibility of something happening existed.

And, as it turned out, they did run into some VC, as you know.

And, as was stated in the after-action report, there were only small arms fire from the VC. And, with the overwhelming firepower from the Swifts, Kerry beaching his boat and going after that VC wasn’t a foolhardy thing to do, as so many anti-Kerry folks like to claim.

It is possible that if Kerry had not gone after that guy, he could have fired the B-40 back at the Swift Boat. Of course we’ll never know if that was his intention (he was looking back in that direction when Kerry shot him), but it was a distinct possibility.

By the way, a few days later the Swifts were right back up that canal, again beaching their boats, and again engaging the VC. Kerry was on the ground again, but this time he was joined by another Swift Boat officer.

Strangely enough, this incident wasn’t mentioned in Unfit for Command. Perhaps it had something to do with the other officer who was alongside Kerry — Larry Thurlow.
 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://
As a student of military history the Kerry account does not conform to my understanding of VC tactics in the Delta. Either the Swift boats were ambushed by at least a company of VC, (Kerry reported heavy fire for four kilometers) or Kerry, who wrote the after action report was lying. Since none of the boats received any damage, the VC were abysmal shots or the incident did not happen as Kerry reported.

As far as the Silver Star, it is my understanding that if an enlisted man received one, he really did something extraordinary. Officers passed them out to each other like candy.

Kerry in his own writings admitted he volunteered for the Swift Boats in an effort of emulate John F. Kennedy’s adventure with PT-109. At the time Kerry volunteered Swift Boats were only patrolling the coast of Vietnam. By the time he finished training the boats had been transferred to the delta, a much more dangerous mission.

Kerry’s meeting with representatives of North Vietnam in Paris, while the was still going on, is nothing less than Treason. He should have been prosecuted for it.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
Strangely enough, this incident wasn’t mentioned in Unfit for Command. Perhaps it had something to do with the other officer who was alongside Kerry — Larry Thurlow.
I don’t recall the Swift Boat vets making that a particular issue.

I certainly made it an issue.

When you have three tactical advantages - speed, firepower and maneuverability - and you beach your boat by choice and render all three ineffective, you’re a moron.

You’ve just rendered your command combat ineffective by choice and put them at risk of being destroyed to go play infantryman. You’ve traded twin .50s and an M-60 (plus other stuff) for an M-16? Seem smart to you?

In fact what I wrote about the particular incident was this:
If I had been pinning Kerry’s Silver Star on that day, I’d have congratulated him on his courage and success and told him if he ever repeated the incident I’d have him court-martialed for disregarding Standard Operating Procedure, endangering his command, and leaving his command while under fire (all which come close to dereliction of duty). But success ameliorated the stupidity of the actions Kerry took that day. Funny how that works.
I mean it’s just that simple whether it be John Kerry or Larry Thurlow.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Officers passed them out to each other like candy.
That wasn’t my experience. The officers I saw awarded them earned them.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
That wasn’t my experience. The officers I saw awarded them earned them.
I would say it depends on the division commander...according to Hackworth in some dvisions every 6 months you might get a Silver Star, in the field. In other units it was different. But Vietnam saw a great deal of decoration inflation, and from everything I’ve read and heard, from my friends who serve(d), yes McQ officers stand a much better shot at decorations. They tend to ahve the diction and ability to use the system to get medals, more so than line troops.

As to Kerry, if he hadn’t been such a schmuck and tried to portray himself as a "war hero" he’d have been a lot better off...he served, did his duty, no more or LESS than many others. If he’d ahve stayed with that he’d never have been attacked so viciously.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I served 18 months in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division and the 1st Logistical Command.

After returning the U.S., I remember seeing John Kerry on TV with long hair making wild claims about war crimes. His slanderous remarks irritated me then and now. The videos by the Swift Boat Veterans that showed Kerry making those statements were highly damaging.

I paid no attention to the other allegations about his medals in Vietnam.

I do resent Kerry making false statements about Vietnam veterans and the noble nature of the U.S mission in Vietnam, which was to assist that small nation in defending itself against Communist aggression.
 
Written By: Art Kelly
URL: http://
But Vietnam saw a great deal of decoration inflation, and from everything I’ve read ...
And I’ll say it again ... That wasn’t my experience. The officers I saw awarded them earned them.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
prevailing wisdom > direct experience
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Besides the more serious problem that they repeat false claims against Kerry which have been debunked so many times and are no longer taken seriously by anyone with any degree of objectivity...
The Big Lie from Ron Chusid, asserted without a shred of support. Not even a single link or reference, no facts, just the bald assertion that apparently everyone knows the claims were debunked.

I saw that as the standard line starting in late 2004, and the echo chamber has amplified it to become conventional wisdom to those who cannot or will not look at the facts on the ground.

Sorry, Kerry supporters. Kerry’s vague denunciations of the Swift Boaters do not constitute a debunking. Neither to various media organs referring to each other, but none actually getting around to the hard work of finding what’s wrong with what the Swift Boat guys actually said.

I, for one, believe that some of the claims of the Swift Boaters were mere opinion and some were over the top. But many of the claims were substantive, backed up by hard evidence, and made Kerry look very, very bad. Cherry-picking one or two over the top opinions also doesn’t constitute a debunking. But for those for whom Kerry can do no wrong, they are simply not interested in hearing it.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Well, folks, more or less accidentally (rare in politics) you are seeing here a direct confrontation between the Liberal Narrative and the truth. Now wait a minute. I am not just picking a side. For the same reason that we have always put our trust in juries, just read the allegations on both sides, apply your judgement and experience and come to a conclusion.
Despite the allegations of the left, QandO is definitely NOT the Right. All of the allegations of rightwingnoisemachineBushHitlerHalliburton etc. can be ignored. Right?
We don’t have a case of: "Well, the defense attorney HAS to defend his client; she is paid to do that" (translation for liberals: QandO has no dog in this fight). (Translation for really stupid liberals: QandsO does not represent the Republican party). QandO has no reason to take a position one way or the other. The hot air in the LN exhales when you move to neutral territory.
So what does your common sense make of all this?
Does the LAT column make a case?
Does it withstand your critical scrutiny?
If not, what excuse justifies your further consideration of the proponents of the theory expounded? Have they had no time to investigate? Have they had a shortage of information? Have they had not time for perspective? Just how do you justify going along with them in this effort?

 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
Cue ideologues like Professor Erb. They care not about truth or facts. They are committed to the LN and will defend it to their last political breath. So, what say you, Professor Erb?
I have the same feeling and attitude I have when I see a praying mantis striking a prey in a jar. Just how far is someone willing to go to desecrate the truth in their quest to impose their agenda on America?
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
Debunking = one SBVT gave $20 to a Republican and another tipped his hat to Bush instead of giving him the finger
 
Written By: sweetie
URL: http://
You guys need to get over it. Get medication or something. We lost a war and your vanity is so involved that thirty five years later you can’t produce any thoughts about politics that aren’t distorted by your need to be spiteful. It’s really sad. Are you still going to be perseverating on this in your eighties? Bunch of grumpy old guys muttering "We coulda won, we coulda won..."

The really sickening part is the complete lack of morality in your thinking. No intellectual honesty about the purpose of the war. No intellectual honesty about the way it was fought. No intellectual honesty about the probable consequences if we had stayed on for more years. Nothing about the million civilians we defended to death or the dictatorship we were supporting. Just vanity.

Why don’t you obsess about football instead? Then the egocentric need to feel like a winnner is OK independent of any moral sense.
 
Written By: laura
URL: http://
Hey, laura, why don’t you try the following:

1. Read the original post carefully
2. Understand its central theme
3. Offer a criticism or comment that is relevant to the central theme.

Here’s a clue for you, just cuz I’m in a good mood: the central theme was not about how we could have won the Vietnam War. In fact, the central theme really wasn’t about the Vietnam war as a whole.

If you can’t do those three things, don’t expect anyone here to take you seriously. Oh, and here’s another clue: the fact that no one here takes you seriously has nothing to do with you being a woman. Just in case you wanted to try the "grumpy old misogynists" line.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
The really sickening part is the complete lack of morality in your thinking.
No, the really sickening part is the complete lack of morality on the part of those anti-war folks who feel nothing, absolutely nothing, about the fact that millions died in Southeast Asia after we pulled out of Vietnam. They don’t even want to acknowledge that it happened. Nope, just can’t stand to think about it.

And they don’t want to think about what would happen if we pulled out of Iraq, either. Probably hundreds of thousands more would die, maybe millions, but you really don’t care about that, do you laura?

I mean, really, it’s just so much easier to feel better when you wail at the other side rather than taking notice of the effects of one’s own side, isn’t it?
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
"The desperation of the left to compromise the SBVT, however, is sickeningly evident when you see columnists like Brooks stoop to calling Medal of Honor winners "goons" because they disagree politically. "

This is perhaps the most ridiculous of all the ridiculouslness of this post.

Because a man wins the MoH, it is a sickening stoop to characterize him as a goon.

Yet despite a man winning a silver star and 3 PHs, it is perfectly appropriate to mount a case that every event was either staged or fabricated or, at best, a stupid move that actually endangered his men.

No sane or rational person who wasnt committed to trashing John Kerry could believe any of that crap. It truly was one of the most disgusting examples of gutter politics, and will so be rememberd for a long time.
 
Written By: Abe
URL: http://
I would add, that the claim by Kerry and others that no one in SBVT was actually "on" Kerry’s boat as part of his crew turns out not to be accurate as well. David Gardner was "on" Kerry’s boat, part of his crew, and was his gunner during the "Sampan incident". That’s not to mention that being on the same river in a boat next to Kerry’s boat would also be a valid first hand acccount of the events that happened on that river in most people’s book.

The problem for Kerry wasn’t just the kind of allegations being made, it was that so many were making them and they seemed to fit him to a tee. Further, when pushed hard on some things, Kerry had to change his story on a couple of things he said, and claims made in his book. That didn’t help him any in disputing the charges. As far as I could see, the more Kerry tried to directly respond to such charges, the more questions he raised about himself as well as the incident in question. Beyond that, his eventual response of being angry and indignant, wasn’t a direct response to any of the questions raised by the SBVT either.

I don’t even know many democrats (even very liberal ones) who thought Kerry was a good candidate. It was more a "run what you brung" year for the DNC. They’d have voted for Gumby if that was who was running against Bush. It was ABB (anybody but Bush).
 
Written By: DC
URL: http://
What was mind-boggling to me in 2004 was that the SBVT ever needed to utter so much as a word of challenge to Kerry’s self-serving version of his service record. How on earth did his disgraceful Winter Soldier antics not do him in and make him untouchable as a major party presidential candidate? (How Massachusetts came to put him in a Senatorial seat is hardly the biggest mystery about Massachusetts politics, of course, so I never wondered about that.) How he could muster the gall to play up his military service after that, and how liberals could swoon over his military "heroism" beats the heck out of me. Him making the race as close as he did gives me the heebie-jeebies to this day.

Thank God for the willingness of the Swift Boat Vets to take the heat for setting the record straight, which everything I read about their claims clearly indicated they did. And if swift boat, as a verb, is now used by some people to mean lie for political reasons, it is heard by many others to mean destroy lies with the truth.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
I would add it would be entirely inaccurate to believe that these issues are simply something that cropped up for the ’04 election. John Oneill has been after Kerry since the early ’70s! Kerry also tried to run one of his first/early campaigns to get into senate as a war hero using the same tactic (his old crew campaigning with him), after being a war protestor, and was sunk (no pun intended). It’s hard for some people..to see Kerry the medal tosser as Kerry the medal wearer. I mean...it would be different if Kerry, a war hero, came home dissilusioned, against the war, etc..to then run as an "anti-war" candidate. It’s another thing for him to show up with his old boat crew "reporting for duty" after having tossed his medals over the fence and decrying American military policy as murder.

I don’t know what it is about Kerry, but you’ll find everywhere he’s ever been, there are people in his wake who have questions and things to say about him in the same way. There are some common themes ..self absorbed, opportunist would be a couple.
 
Written By: DC
URL: http://
How on earth did his disgraceful Winter Soldier antics not do him in and make him untouchable as a major party presidential candidate?
Your question may be more profound than you realize. The simple answer is that Kerry reasoned, probably correctly, that an exploration of his post-war activity would probably elicit more calls for jail time than votes. "I’m John Kerry and I’m reporting for sedition" wouldn’t play well in Peoria.

 
Written By: Whateez
URL: http://
"When you have three tactical advantages - speed, firepower and maneuverability - and you beach your boat by choice and render all three ineffective, you’re a moron.

You’ve just rendered your command combat ineffective by choice and put them at risk of being destroyed to go play infantryman. You’ve traded twin .50s and an M-60 (plus other stuff) for an M-16? Seem smart to you?"


Yes, it does.

Furthermore, would you have Kerry and the other Swifts take off and leave the people they just dropped off?

And, if the Swifts just kept going, they would sooner or later have had to turn around and come out the way they went in, as there was no other way out.

And what makes you think the twin-50 was useless? Useless for shooting that VC because he was right up against the boat? Yes, but for anyone else in the vicinity, it was quite effective.

When Kerry got off there was another guy with him — he had an M-60, by the way.

Did it ever strike you as odd that none of the 24 guys present (in addition to Kerry) have had a problem with what he did that day? And that includes the only member for the Swift Boat Veterans for "truth", Larry Lee — he supports Kerry being awarded the Silver Star.

Oh well, I guess you had to be there to understand the tactics used & reasons for them.
 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://
Yes, it does.
No it doesn’t. McQ’s an infantryman and I’m a former tanker. Speed, firepower and maneuverability are combat multipliers and you shouldn’t toss them away like Kerry did. Sometimes you get away with it and sometimes you don’t.
he supports Kerry being awarded the Silver Star
Being brave is not the same as being smart.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Perhaps you didn’t read what I posted earlier on this topic, Mark. The possibility of the boats beaching was already discussed with the Navy, and then with the local Vietnamese forces. It wasn’t done on the spur of the moment.

Those forces, along with their Army advisors (I was one of them), had already been dropped off at the initial ambush site, and were just 100-200 yards away from where Kerry beached. Not only did Kerry have the firepower of his own guns, he had those of Bill Rood’s boat, which was nearby.

On top of that, we weren’t talking about NVA regulars with AK-47’s, but local VC — somewhere around 20+ of them — with small arms. . . . and about 1/3 of them were killed almost immediately.

Until that day, the VC in that area knew that they could fire at the Swifts as they passed by with impunity (of course the Swifts would return fire, but they never, ever, stopped), making the Swifts sitting ducks so to speak.
 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://
Did it ever strike you as odd that none of the 24 guys present (in addition to Kerry) have had a problem with what he did that day? And that includes the only member for the Swift Boat Veterans for "truth", Larry Lee — he supports Kerry being awarded the Silver Star.
Here’s Mr. Lee’s position according to the Louiville Courier-Journal...
Some Kerry opponents have claimed that he didn’t deserve the Silver Star, and even Lee said that a lesser Bronze Star might have been more appropriate.

Louisville Courier-Journal, August 26, 2004

That’s some "support"...

...and isn’t it curious how remarks by those "eyewitnesses" deemed to be supportive of Kerry appear to be exempt from the "but he wasn’t on Kerry’s boat" standard of credibility?

 
Written By: Whateez
URL: http://
There are two paramont moral issues involved in war: why you are fighting and how. If there is no reason for fighting, then the moral thing to do is to stop. If the mannner of fighting is worse than, or contradicts, the purpose, then the moral thinng to do is to stop.

Two year olds lack moral judgement. They see the world entirely in terms of their immediate emotional needs: they want their toy now, and they will yell and sob annd kick their heels to get it. That’s an exact parallel for the "We coulda won" mentality.

We went into VietNam over an honest mistake: a misapplications of the lessons of the tail end of WWII. After twenty years of fighting it became clear to those who had sufficient moral development to think beyond the emotional need to feel like a winner that our purpose for being there was faulty. So were our tactics which had caused half a million or more civilians to die by the late sixties. The nmoral thing to do was to leave.

The argument that we had an obligation to stay isn’t valid because by staying we were the force causing a bloodbath. Yes a pullout resulted in a bloody revenge campaign, but our continued fighting also involved a bloody campaign. Viet Nammese civilians werre going to die eit her way. If the Republican ambassador had been responisble or competent, fewer VietNamese would hhave suffered. He could have ordered files to be shredded, for example. He could have arrranged the early departure of Viet Namese who were closely identified with us. He did none of that.
It is so strange tha tthe people who perseverate on forever about Viet Nam don’t perseverate about Korea.
Now we’re friends with the VietNamese: they are still Communists, they didnn’t take over the world or even SouthEAst Asia, and now we’re friends.
The suggestionn thhat we should have stayed, killing more and more people some of them American draftees, isn’t morally justifiable. It is an argument based solely on the egotism.

Kerry’s big offense is that he dared to say that some soldiers had done bad things. Soldiers are people, not extentions of your ego. Some of them do bad things, particularly in the kind of war Viet Nam was. It is only those who are at a two year old’s level of moral development who can’t accept that. Stop thinking that it is all about you and you will see what I mean.

We have another war that we shouldn’t be fighting, one that by all of the stated goals we have all ready lost. And we have the same chorus of two year olds sobbing because their toy-the ego satisfaction of victory-is being taken away from them by the meanies who point that out. The people who insist that they, and they alone, are more-supportive-of-soldiers-than-thou, are the same ones that also insist that it is fine for the same soldiers to be cycled over and over in and out and back, who refuse to believe it when military people say our forces are overextended, who are safe at home fighting on their keyboards, and who voted for chickenhawk fakes like Allen and Bush.

Quite frequently these self-proclaimed soldier supporters are the same people who smear the records of any soldiers who don’t toe their political party line.

It isn’t all about you. Get over yourselves.

 
Written By: laura
URL: http://
It isn’t all about you. Get over yourselves.
I’d say you’d do better to give the advice to the Junior Senator from MA, Laura....

And how about you and he getting over it? He’s not running for President and you weren’t on a Swift Boat, so if it’s meaningless why do you keep wondering in here giving it meaning?
We have another war that we shouldn’t be fighting, one that by all of the stated goals we have all ready lost
Good to know we ought to have left a vicious murderer in power. But don’t you EVER wander in here and bleat Darfur, Rwanda, or Zimbabwe, then. Because if you do, you get lobbed back into your face. And by all the stated goals...you mean Saddam IS in power in Iraq? You mean there was NO vote for a government in Iraq? Wow, who knew we lost in Iraq?

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
”Two year olds lack moral judgement. “
Well, Laura, it is good to see that you have reduced the issues of the day down to a level that you can comprehend and come to a conclusion.
”The nmoral (sic) thing to do was to leave. …The argument that we had an obligation to stay isn’t valid .”
Like most stupid liberals, while spending your time wrestling with the morality of the issue, you forgot to check the facts. We didn’t stay, we left. The issue is whether or not we should have cut off the funding which allowed them to keep resisting the North Vietnamese. We had been out of the country for, oh, two years or so. But, hey, those are only dry facts in the real world, don’t let them keep you from developing your moral determinations based on your knowledge of two year olds.
”…one that by all of the stated goals we have all ready lost.”
Ugh, your being fact-challenged is showing. Say, don’t I hear one of your two year olds crying? Why don’t you see to its needs and spare us your dim-witted, poorly researched scolding?

Oh, this part:
”The people who insist that they, and they alone, are more-supportive-of-soldiers-than-thou, are the same ones that also insist that it is fine for the same soldiers to be cycled over and over in and out and back, who refuse to believe it when military people say our forces are overextended, who are safe at home fighting on their keyboards...”
was pretty good. Where did you copy it from?
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
Yes a pullout resulted in a bloody revenge campaign, but our continued fighting also involved a bloody campaign.
Well, at least you acknowledge that there are two sides to the argument. I disagree about likely outcomes in Vietnam, and I still believe that the left bears resposibility for the failure there and the resulting lives lost, but let’s put that aside for the moment.

If you are at least granting that we need to compare likely outcomes, then let’s shift to looking at Iraq. First, the death tolls there are much smaller than Vietnam, no matter how you count them. Second, the Iraqi people have been surveyed and mostly would like us to stay for some period of time, though there is a violent minority that wants us out now (mostly so they can fill the resulting power vacuum).

My next question to you, laura, is this. If we get to a point where there are any objective metrics that indicate that we can bring Iraq to a substantially better state in terms of lower levels of continuing violence and a more prosperous open society by continuing our active efforts for another few years, and then moving to a stand-by role the way we did in Korea, Japan, and Germany in the last century, would you then support that effort? Or would you continue to claim that the war is simply immoral by your standards, no matter what the outcomes are indicating?
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Ahh, cherry-picking a comment that supports your position. At least you posted the link.

I repeat what I said — Lee supports Kerry being awarded the Silver Star.

The article begins: A Kentucky Vietnam veteran who was involved in the fighting that earned Sen. John Kerry the Silver Star for gallantry says the Democratic presidential nominee deserved the award.

And then there are these two quotes from Larry Lee:

"I have no problems with him getting the Silver Star,"

"That was the first time it had been done that I know of, and I don’t think it was ever done after that," Lee said of the tactic. "I think it was great."

And while I’m at it, this "not on Kerry’s boat" bit was in fact used by some. But it wasn’t the overriding criticism of the SBV"t" by many.

One should not ignore the fact that 10 out of 11 guys who served with Kerry supported him, however.

Most of the 255 members of the SBV"t" never saw Kerry in Vietnam, much less spent time on a boat near Kerry’s during operations. And as far as the medal incidents, there were precious few who had something deregatory to say about them, in spite of there being as many as 33 guys present.

Steven (not David) Gardner, the only one who served directly with Kerry, was not present at any of the medal incidents, despite claiming early on to have been there. Anyone who examines his comments about his time with Kerry closely, is free to make up their own mind as to his credibility. Again, he is 1 out of 11.
 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://
The article begins: A Kentucky Vietnam veteran who was involved in the fighting that earned Sen. John Kerry the Silver Star for gallantry says the Democratic presidential nominee deserved the award.
Perhaps a graduate of the Reese School of Journalism? What was his grade in paraphrase 101?
I repeat what I said — Lee supports Kerry being awarded the Silver Star.
Repeat it all you want...it doesn’t improve your (or the reporter’s for that matter)misrepresentation and/or overstatement of his position.

"I have no problems with him getting the Silver Star" suggests ambivalence, not "support", and "...Lee said that a lesser Bronze Star might have been more appropriate" suggests a "qualified acquiescence", hardly "support" or an assertion that he "deserved" it.
 
Written By: Whateez
URL: http://
Mr. Reese tries to use the liberal sophistry used during the campaign to win the day. In a debate about a topic such as how much arsenic is in a water supply, if one side is found wrong on several factual matters, they obviously have not done their homework and can be considered refuted. Wartime occurrences are a whole ’nother smoke. There we must use the reasoning used by juries to determine matters of "he said/she said". Most knowledgeable reviewers of the SwiftVets controversy determine that not ALL of what EVERY SwiftVet stated was credible. Totally not the issue, although liberals like Mr. Reese would have you believe that it is. It was enough if ANY of it was credible.
These kinds of issues require that each and every claim be examined on its merits and a determination be made. Liberals would have us believe that a war hero was inappropriately slimed. Well, he was slimed, and deservedly so. That is obvious in any reasonable examination of the points involved. Add the background of his after-war activities and IMHO you have a man who should not be our President. Does finding an over-zealous veteran making something up to get back at someone for some reason refute the evident truth of other allegations?
I realize that many held their nose and voted for Kerry for general political reasons. That’s OK. We seldom get to vote for a candidate we totally support. But sliming ALL the SwiftVets? Using sophistry?
I think not.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
Perhaps you didn’t read what I posted earlier on this topic, Mark. The possibility of the boats beaching was already discussed with the Navy, and then with the local Vietnamese forces. It wasn’t done on the spur of the moment.
And that is precisely what Unfit for Command said, although Tour of Duty contended it was spontaneous.

So that’s one for the Swiftees.

Moving on ... the fact that it may have been "talked about" and it wasn’t "spur of the moment" doesn’t make less ’dumb’. In fact, as a planned event it is even more stupid than a spur of the moment occurrence.

The one thing not needed at that particular time was another "infantryman" (and an untrained one at that) and especially when that infantryman was the commander of the vessel in question. Any guess as to where he’d have been much more effective?

There was a Mike Strike Force and Ruff Puffs on the ground as I recall, correct? What in the h*ll is a solo untrained Navy LT wandering through the area going to add to such an effort? Especially when the beaching of his boat made the boat a stationary target unable to defend itself because the angle of the beaching was such that the crew couldn’t effectively bring the on board weaponry to bear.
If you read what one of Kerry’s crew members manning the .50s on the boat says you can understand why. Because of the beaching, he couldn’t depress his weapons enough to bring them to bear. He was out of the fight. That’s dangerous to the safety of the boat and the crew.
Now you can continue this absurd defense until your fingers turn blue but it won’t change the fact that tactically it was a stupid move.

As I said in a previous article, courage and stupidity aren’t mutually exclusive and in this case they luckily won out. But that doesn’t mean they always will and it certainly doesn’t mean you should make a habit of it. And most importantly, it doesn’t become a good tactic just because you "talked about it" or got lucky once.
Not only did Kerry have the firepower of his own guns, he had those of Bill Rood’s boat, which was nearby.
As pointed out he didn’t have the fire power of his own boat available because the guns could not be brought to bear.

And he didn’t have Rood’s boat either as Rood had done the same thing as Kerry and Droz wasn’t on site yet:
It happened again, another ambush. And again, Kerry ordered the turn maneuver, and again it worked. As we headed for the riverbank, I remember seeing a loaded B-40 launcher pointed at the boats. It wasn’t fired as two men jumped up from their spider holes.

We called Droz’s boat up to assist us, and Kerry, followed by one member of his crew, jumped ashore and chased a VC behind a hooch —- a thatched hut —- maybe 15 yards inland from the ambush site. Some who were there that day recall the man being wounded as he ran. Neither I nor Jerry Leeds, our boat’s leading petty officer with whom I’ve checked my recollection of all these events, recalls that, which is no surprise. Recollections of those who go through experiences like that frequently differ.

With our troops involved in the sweep of the first ambush site, Richard Lamberson, a member of my crew, and I also went ashore to search the area. I was checking out the inside of the hooch when I heard gunfire nearby.
So in sum, we have a stupid maneuver which happened to work because, for the most part the enemy was disorganized and had been somewhat decimated.

Against an organized enemy who hadn’t been pretty much flushed and routed at that point, it most likely would have ended up with a couple of Swift Boats burning on the beach. To pretend that tactics which completely nullify a unit’s ability to bring fire to bear, makes them a static target and places the crew at a distinct tactical disadvantage and in dire personal danger are smart or good is simply absurd reasoning on its face.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Let’s try to be nice and even-handed to John Kerry.
1) He (JFK) decided he needed military service to buttress his politcal career, OK Lyndon Johnson and Joe McCarthy felt the same way, too.
2) Kerry chose the Navy and volunteered for the Swift Boats...at the time he volunteered Swift Boats were in an OFFSHORE PATROL ROLE, that posed little risk to the crew and officers. Again, that’s OK... he could have been washed overboard, drowned, there could have been a fire on-board, there might even have been some enemy contact. No big deal...Swift Boats, even offshore are OK.
3) When he deployed the boats had moved into a much more dangerous role. And Kerry gamed a very gameable situation...again OK, three wounds or two and you’re out...OK, again JFK was a guy looking to get some "street cred" for National Service, not get dead. Who has a kick with that? Plus he did serve in the Swift Boats, he didn’t try to get out of it and now his unit was in the thick of it....
4) My problem and I think other folks problems come from his actions AFTERWARD, not his intentions or his actions DURING....
5) Kerry:
a) Conferred with the enemy in Paris
b) Particiapted in the Propagand Charade that was the "Winter Soldier" Hearings
c) Repeated his slanders to Congress; and
d) Wrote the "New Soldier".
Had Kerry come home, said, "I’ve seen war. This war is unjust and we are losing." Hey no problem, he would not have been the first or last to say it. He and Jim Webb might have even achieved a degree of agreement on the issue of Vietnam.

But he DIDN’T DO THESE THINGS. And now he and his supporters don’t like the focus on what Kerry did...too bad. John Kerry did more than AlGore, did more than Bush, Less than Jim Webb, and less than McCain. He’s the only one complaining about his treatment. He needs to grow up. He had an OK, short Naval career, if he had left it at that he’d be OK. He couldn’t leave it at that, he had to be Tom Hayden in the 1970’s and then he wants to be Audie Murphy in 2004...you can’t have it both ways.

Finally, McQ and others really ought to stop using the term "self-inflicted" wounds in reference to Kerry’s Purple Hearts. This isn’t attack on McQ, but simply Self-Inflicted has come to mean, "DELIBERATELY inflicted" and it’s just fairer to say, ACCIDENTALLY-inflicted. Militaries are full of volatile materials and dangerous equipment, handled by men short on sleep, tired and long on fear...it’s an accident-inducing environment. As my friend said of his tank once, "Tanks are killing machines and they don’t care if they kill their crews or the enemy." Kerry may have, indeed, accidently, wounded himself, but he didn’t do it deliberately, he just made a mistake...kind of like beaching the boat and running after a guy on foot...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"Those forces, along with their Army advisors (I was one of them), had already been dropped off "

Just curious, but if you were the advisor to the ground forces, why weren’t you advising them instead of on the boat?

"With our troops involved in the sweep of the first ambush site,"

So your forces were already divided, both parts were engaged with an unknown number of enemy forces in different locations(Lee says 1000 yards in the link) and thus unable to support each other, and the commanding officer decides to further degrade his combat effectiveness by beaching his boats, at the same time disrupting the command and control of his own forces, totally committing all his forces piecemeal, in the face of at least two senemy units, with no reserves. This was, you say, a sound, intelligent operation. And yet this brilliant tactic was not repeated. How odd.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Feh. More chickenhawk accusations from Laura. What a surprise. Calling Laura a one-trick pony would be an insult to all true one-trick ponies out there, as it would imply that Laura had a trick or talent to begin with.

For the love of God/Gaia, please tell me she’s not teaching history.
 
Written By: cjd
URL: http://
Allow me to address a few things said by several here. McQ first . . . .

I don’t doubt Tour of Duty said the tactic was spontaneous, but then that book had a few things wrong, and left out a lot.

I’d like to comment on Unfit for Command about this, but don’t have my copy handy. However, I don’t believe it went as far as to say it was discussed in the manner I stated, but talked about how crewmembers discussed what medals they would received if such an event occured.

There were no Mike Force, just the RP/PF guys from our village. There’s differing opinions as to how many, but it was substantial — perhaps 60-70.

Being beached didn’t mean the weapons couldn’t be used, just that (in the case of the twin-50) they couldn’t be used to fire at someone right up against the boat.

As for the distance between the initial ambush (where we got off), and the one where Kerry got off, it was about 150 yeards, plus or minus. It was in some paperwork (I forget which) that it was 800 yards, but that just isn’t so.

Not only did I take a short walk over to where Kerry was after things died down a bit (and it was a very short walk), but I’ve been back there. I’ve spoken to some of the surviving VC, and the distance is as I said.

Rood and his guy got off well after Kerry shot that VC. It was absolutely not at the same time. I agree that one could get that impression that it was about the same time, but it wasn’t.

When I walked over there — maybe 15 minutes after this happened, initially — I was told that the VC had been wounded in the leg by Kerry’s M-60 guy, Tommy Belodeau. It’s mentioned in the after-action report, also.

We stayed there quite a while afterwards — as long as 45 minutes. That’s when much of the searching was done, and additional firing was heard.

Kerry’s boat was beached, and his weapons were working and useful. Fred Short was on top of the pilot house, firing away with his twin-50 off to the left (we were off to the right). The forward M-60 jammed after a firing a few rounds (otherwise we wouldn’t be having this discussion), and Rood and then Droz were just a few yards away, in the canal, covering Kerry as he got off his boat and went after that VC.

Kerry getting off and shooting him would only have taken, ohh, less than 30 seconds.

To say that what Kerry did by getting off, etc, would "completely nullify a unit’s ability to bring fire to bear" is just not correct. I don’t know of anyone there who would agree with that statement, taking into account the situation..

And Tim . . . . as I stated, we weren’t 1,000 yards away, but perhaps 150.

We were on the boats, which were in the process of transporting us to a place where we were to wait as a blocking force for other Vietnamese forces from our village. They would have been sweeping from the east, to our location. However, before we arrived at that location, we ran into these VC along the canal. And at that point, we were off the boat.

Actually, this tactic was repeated, up the same canal, on March 13. In that case, it was Kerry, Thurlow and Rassmann off the boats, and inland, engaging the VC.

We (advisors) lived in that immediate area. We knew, fairly well, who we were dealing with. NVA never set foot in the province. What I will call "main force" VC were hardly ever around. At best, we had the local VC (that’s who was there when we first got off that day) and VC from provincial units, which is who the guy Kerry killed was with.

In either case, they were armed with Chicoms, and in the case of the provincial unit, a B-40.
 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://
their toy-the ego satisfaction of victory
There were times that I thought I had more in common with my enemy across the Czech border than with some of my fellow citizens.

When I read stuff like this, the feeling comes back.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
And then there are these two quotes from Larry Lee:

"I have no problems with him getting the Silver Star,"

"That was the first time it had been done that I know of, and I don’t think it was ever done after that," Lee said of the tactic. "I think it was great."
No one else did it ’cause it was stupid.

With Kerry gone, the Swift boat was minus the driver (or a gunner, if he was replaced), and if he didn’t come back to the boat good Americans would die trying to recover him.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Thank you for your insightfull comment. Not only do all the guys who were there disagree with you, Admiral Zumwalt and the other commanders do also.
 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://
We went into VietNam over an honest mistake: a misapplications of the lessons of the tail end of WWII. After twenty years of fighting it became clear to those who had sufficient moral development to think beyond the emotional need to feel like a winner that our purpose for being there was faulty. So were our tactics which had caused half a million or more civilians to die by the late sixties. The nmoral thing to do was to leave.
My, Laura is quite the thinker.

Laura, Vietnam was one battle in the Cold War; a war we fought against true evil, and a war we won. Perhaps Vietnam was a battle we should have avoided, or perhaps it was one we should have fought and won (we almost won; in ’72 the Easter Offensive failed due to ARVN ground forces supported by US air assets and logistics—Gen. Giap was canned—and we could have repeated that victory in ’75 if not for the immoral Watergate Congress cutting funding), but I’ll leave that debate for another day.

The topic here is Kerry and the Swiftees. I realize you probably can’t debate the specifics of that topic, but your off topic posts simply underscore ignorance, they do not impress anyone here.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Thank you for your insightfull comment. Not only do all the guys who were there disagree with you, Admiral Zumwalt and the other commanders do also.
When did they do that? I’m sure some of them thought Kerry’s actions were stupid; but they are not going to say that in public.

Leaving the boat by yourself to hunt down a kid is simply a stupid thing to do. It doesn’t just put you at risk, but your boat, and anyone who comes to rescue your sorry ass. How long do the guys on the boat wait for Lt Kerry to return?

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
UPDATE III: Another critique which offers absolutely nothing of substance and instead attempts, albeit poorly, to validate the conventional wisdom that the SBVT were liars by simple declaration. Amazing.
McQ...subjecting me to the likes of the following is blogospheric malpractice...
"It is because they were "quite effective", as the reason to believe what they propagated."
Good Lord...

 
Written By: Whateez
URL: http://
Being beached didn’t mean the weapons couldn’t be used, just that (in the case of the twin-50) they couldn’t be used to fire at someone right up against the boat.
A) As noted, that’s not what one of his crewman said.

B) If the boat had been on the river instead of on the beach, then the "someone" wouldn’t have been "right up against the boat", which demonstrates, in spades, the stupidity of the tactic.
To say that what Kerry did by getting off, etc, would "completely nullify a unit’s ability to bring fire to bear" is just not correct. I don’t know of anyone there who would agree with that statement, taking into account the situation..
Well we have a basic contradiction here. A) you have a crewman who has publicly stated he couldn’t bring his weapon to bear, B) then there’s you saying the twin .50 couldn’t be used on someone right up against the boat, yet C) you say they were blazing away with it on the beach.

At what?

According to Kerry there was one VC with a B-40 headed the other way. The VC was apparently wounded by the M-60. How was he allowed to get away if that M-60 had him targeted?

One obvious way is to beach the boat and make the M-60 unable to bear on the target again.

Additionally it was obviously secure enough he could leave his command and go running after the VC. If, as you state, the weapons could be brought to bear, his pursuit masked any possibility of firing them at the fleeing VC even if they could have been brought to bear.

So I have to ask, if they were firing, what in blazes were they firing at?

Secondly, since when does a commander leave his command when they’re engaged in a fight? Do you suppose an infantry platoon leader would wander off to do someone else’s job during a firefight or would he stick with his command and maneuver and fight it? Tell me, did you feel any compunction to become a Swift Boat skipper while your Ruff/Puffs were engaged in a fight?

Lastly, its one thing to turn your boats into an ambush. Any infantryman worth his salt knows that turning into an ambush is the quickest way to defeat it. What you don’t do, however, is render your weapons ineffective by beaching your boat.

Swift boats have a keel. Here’s a link to a pic. Explain to me how a beached PCF wouldn’t heel over enough on a beach to make the weapons ineffective.
Not only did I take a short walk over to where Kerry was after things died down a bit (and it was a very short walk), but I’ve been back there. I’ve spoken to some of the surviving VC, and the distance is as I said.

Rood and his guy got off well after Kerry shot that VC. It was absolutely not at the same time. I agree that one could get that impression that it was about the same time, but it wasn’t.
So why, given the supposed availability of effective automatic weapons support from another swift boat (Rood) and the short distance you claim was involved (obviously within the effective range of the boat’s weapons), was it necessary for Kerry to have gotten off at all? What, the boats couldn’t have suppressed this position long enough for you to get your guys up there to take this wounded VC out?

It simply makes no tactical sense ... none. Not his job (his job is with his boat and crew) and not his specialty.

Obviously if Rood’s boat was in the position to deliver accurate aimed automatic fire, so was Kerry’s. Why, if everything you state is accurate, did Rood choose to do that and Kerry decide to desert his command and go play infantryman?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Why, if everything you state is accurate, did Rood choose to do that and Kerry decide to desert his command and go play infantryman?

Because for all his faults John Kerry was a very angry, adrenalized YOUNG MAN, that day, McQ..."and that Son-of-a-B*tch had just lobbed a F*c(ing B-40 at me! And By-F*c(ing God, I was gonna KILLL"EM." I believe at the end of the day, that John Kerry might use that phrase or words similar to it...I mean this as no attack on you, McQ. He was like Audie Murphy, he was angry and he did something outrageous, and like Murphie it worked...that day.

Again, let’s be honest...getting off the boat, BY YOURSELF, is not a smart move in enemy territory...I’m sure he did it for the reasons young men do stupid things like that in combat...his adrenal glands were thinking for him.

Defenders of Kerry it’s no great harm to admit that your guy did a dumb thing, that worked... Remember the motto, "There are Old Warriors, there are Bold Warriors, BUT there are No Old, Bold Warriors." McQ is right, after receiving the Silver Star his commanders would have been wise to pull him aside and counsel him on his tactical mistake.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Thanks for the concise writeup of the facts of the SBVT. While I suspected Kerry was a fraud, these guys validated it beyond a reasonable doubt, along with Kerry’s refusal to release his records.

And hey, did you happen to write up one of my mediocre Officer Effectiveness Reports a few decades back?
 
Written By: sammy small
URL: http://
"It was in some paperwork (I forget which) that it was 800 yards, but that just isn’t so."

But surely the official record is the governing authority. Are you actually questioning the veracity and accuracy of an official document?

"The forward M-60 jammed after a firing a few rounds (otherwise we wouldn’t be having this discussion)"

Why is that?

"Furthermore, would you have Kerry and the other Swifts take off and leave the people they just dropped off?"

That is exactly what he did.

"When Kerry got off there was another guy with him — he had an M-60, by the way."

Who was that other guy?

"Actually, this tactic was repeated, up the same canal, on March 13. In that case, it was Kerry, Thurlow and Rassmann off the boats, and inland, engaging the VC."

You sure about that date?

I am still curious as to why an advisor would not be advising his advisees when they were in the circumstances the advisors were there to advise upon.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I am still curious as to why an advisor would not be advising his advisees when they were in the circumstances the advisors were there to advise upon.
Well maybe he did want to be a swift boat skipper and he and Kerry were in the process of swapping jobs.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ to be a Swift Boat commander you have to have a "Lucky Hat", did Kerry give up his Lucky Hat, to the adviser?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I posted a reply a few minutes ago, but it didn’t show up. The others posted immediately. Is there a problem?
 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://
I posted a reply a few minutes ago, but it didn’t show up. The others posted immediately. Is there a problem?
Not that I know of ... no one moderates here or approves messages. But you do need to read the "Notice" above the commment box and ensure you’re in compliance or it won’t publish your comment.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
After I thought about it for a minute, I realized the problem was with the poster (umm, ahh, me), not the system.
 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://
When he arrived the mission had been changed to riverine patrols, something he was not at all enamored with and worked diligently to get out of.
I thought he was on coastal patrol in the Swift boats for awhile before they started the riverine patrols.

It is interesting that Kerry’s own log undercuts his first Purple Heart. This is one of the more significant problems with his Vietnam service. And of course, the "Xmas in Cambodia" lie he has repeated as a political tool . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
They were already doing inland waterways when Kerry arrived. He didn’t start doing that himself for a while, though.

I believe he requested to be assigned to An Thoi (the base he was at the longest), but I’m not sure of that.

Anyway, his log doesn’t undercut as you think. The people he was with for PH #1 were not his Swift Boat crew, but two guys an a small skimmer. So, when he said in his log "we" he was referring to himself and his Swift Boat crew.
 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://
"Well maybe he did want to be a swift boat skipper and he and Kerry were in the process of swapping jobs."

One of those "jointness" postings, no doubt.

********************************

." He was like Audie Murphy, he was angry and he did something outrageous, and like Murphie it worked...that day."

Hate to disagree with you, old boy, but I do think it is a bit much to compare Kerry to Audie Murphy. Some might find it offensive. Although you may be correct about the motive for Kerry’s action(singular), it defies belief that all Audie Murphy’s actions(plural) were motivated by anger. His field commission was certainly not given for "meritorious anger in action". Although they both received three purple hearts, I would disagree that there is any grounds whatever for comparison.


http://www.usarak.army.mil/Audie_Murphy/audie.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audie_Murphy

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"I am still curious as to why an advisor would not be advising his advisees when they were in the circumstances the advisors were there to advise upon."
Where did you get that we were doing otherwise?
 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://
Where did you get that we were doing otherwise?
The fact that you seem to have a second by second knowledge of what Kerry and his boat crew were doing (and could bring under fire, etc) while admittedly being at a distance working with your Ruff Puffs.

Got to tell you when I was so engaged I had little knowledge of what was going on in the next unit or any other unit to that degree of detail.

Just sayin’...
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
OK — got it.

Besides walking over to Kerry and being told what happened moments afterwards, I have spoken to just about all concerned since then, including some of the VC.

In addition, I know the area, having been there — what it looks like, where the VC (with the B-40) was in relation to Kerry’s boat, where Kerry got off and the path he ran down, etc.
 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://
Ok ... so essentially what you’re doing is relating what you were told happened, correct? Or said another way, you didn’t personally witness any of it actually happening.

So, if true, I would surmise then, since, as you point out, you went over there afterward, you can’t actually attest to whether the guns on Kerry’s boat could be brought to bear or not.

Fair assumption? Or am I missing something?

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
You can seeby the number ofpost JK brings we vets along with others out to speak. I hope Ilive long enough to finally hear that
JK was in fact given a bad conduct dischare for meeting with the enemy while still a commissioned ooffice in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
I am as as I know the sun rises in the east that Jimmy Carter forced that fix for Kerry within the first week ofhis administration under the guise of general amnesty. JK has never and will never release the remainderofthose records because they will show exactly what he di and when he did it. I’ll be back supporting the SBVT in 2007.
 
Written By: redball6@cox.net
URL: http://
Besides walking over to Kerry and being told what happened moments afterwards, I have spoken to just about all concerned since then, including some of the VC.
Who?
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Doug: Steven (not David) Gardner, the only one who served directly with Kerry, was not present at any of the medal incidents, despite claiming early on to have been there. Anyone who examines his comments about his time with Kerry closely, is free to make up their own mind as to his credibility. Again, he is 1 out of 11.


Yes, Steve ...(not David). Thanks for the correction. I wasn’t actually referring to the medal incidents in that regard..as you well know..the Sampan incident was not one of them. Nor as far as I know...has Steve ever direcly claimed he was witness to events that led to any of Kerry’s medals. That would be some mediaorg blog who claimed he said that..by pulling some of his quotes out of context. Not the same thing.

I do believe Gardner. I believe he was on KErrys boat when a sampan came along side them with no warning. I believe Gardner when he choked up and got emotional as he recounted discovering who was on that Sampan after he had opened up on it. And I saw the reports of that incident (I assume that included info provided by Kerry) that suggested that VC were killed and or captured ...for which Kerry (although not given a medal for it) was congratualted on a job well done. J Kerry’s entire life is fllled with such events...in and out of the military. Whether you are talking about people who knew him in school..or who worked with him..etc. You’ll find someone, in every one of those places. I just think, there is simply no man..who has that many coincidences. That’s just my own personal, mildly observant opinion.

In fairness..I will say this....as somone who spent the day trying to escape an ambush that killed over 2500 (9/11), I can most certainly appreciate the fact that everyone who was part of that event, who witnessed it..in some way..had their own experience. And when you are in such a situation...and things are moving fast...it’s often hard to even remember how you ended up with somebodies guts in your hair when you got home. Sometimes..that’s part of the struggle too...remembering. I’m not discounting that. But, if you took all those stories and different experiences and lined them up..they’d make some kind of sense. They’d reflect the same events (although maybe expeirenced or thought of differnetly depending on proximity and perspective..etc). I’ve been through a few of those roundtables. I know what it’s like. I would just say....there’s plenty about this dispute between these men that doesn’t make any sense. It can’t be reconcilled. And, at least in my book...if it were to be reconcilled..it would have to take into account "everybody" who was there when the event happened....not just KErry and his crew.

 
Written By: DC
URL: http://
So, if true, I would surmise then, since, as you point out, you went over there afterward, you can’t actually attest to whether the guns on Kerry’s boat could be brought to bear or not.

Fair assumption? Or am I missing something?
Well, yes, I’d say you were.

I certainly didn’t have to be standing there at the very moment that boat went up against the shore to understand what happened in regards to those guns.

Kerry’s twin-50 was unable to fire at the VC who was about 10-15 ft away from Kerry’s boat, due to a safety bar that surrounded the gun tub.

Kerry mentioned that at the time. Fred Short, the gunner, said it recently.

However, Fred was able to fire off to the left, and he did.

The M-60 gunner (Tommy B) at the very front of the boat fired at him, and hit him in the leg. And then his M-60 jammed. The VC then got up and ran away, down a path . . . . . .

I’ll get into this later (details as to who was where, etc), but for now, I have to get ready for a trip to the airport.

 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://
Linda — There were three surviving VC from the place where we initially got off the boats that day. One died years later. I have spoken to the other two — in 2004 and 2005.

And, probably, later this month.
 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://
Kerry’s twin-50 was unable to fire at the VC who was about 10-15 ft away from Kerry’s boat, due to a safety bar that surrounded the gun tub.

Kerry mentioned that at the time. Fred Short, the gunner, said it recently.
So in essence Kerry maneuvered his boat to a point that his main weaponry was unable to bear on his main threat. And you somehow think that was a good tactic.
However, Fred was able to fire off to the left, and he did.
And I’ll ask again ... at what?

The only apparent threat in the area was the VC who ran away. What was he shooting at that threatened his boat? Obviously if he couldn’t depress enough to fire at a real threat he could still fire the weapon. But at what? Was he punching holes in the clouds, taking out tree tops or what? The fact that he could fire doesn’t mean he was able to deliver effective fire. Again, as a result of Kerry’s tactic.
The M-60 gunner (Tommy B) at the very front of the boat fired at him, and hit him in the leg. And then his M-60 jammed. The VC then got up and ran away, down a path . . . . . .
And the guy ran away. Where were you with your guys and why was it necessary for Kerry to abandon his command in a very vulnerable position instead of letting you take this guy out?

Any competent gunner can clear a jammed M60 in seconds. Why wasn’t he then laying on suppressive fire until you could get there? I mean if he was able to bring the weapon to bear?

We know one reason ... Kerry masked the use of the weapon.
Well, yes, I’d say you were.
Well I look forward to a lot better description that this to convince me of that because ...
I certainly didn’t have to be standing there at the very moment that boat went up against the shore to understand what happened in regards to those guns.
... neither do I.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"Where did you get that we were doing otherwise?"

Ouch! You got me there. Evidently I was not reading closely enough.

"Oh well, I guess you had to be there to understand the tactics used & reasons for them."

So what makes your version of events more accurate or correct than any other?

"When I walked over there — maybe 15 minutes after this happened, initially"

Why should we use your guess as to the distance in preference to Lee or
"some paperwork(I forget which)" which says 800-1000 yards?

"Kerry’s boat was beached, and his weapons were working and useful. Fred Short was on top of the pilot house, firing away with his twin-50 off to the left (we were off to the right). The forward M-60 jammed after a firing a few rounds (otherwise we wouldn’t be having this discussion), and Rood and then Droz were just a few yards away, in the canal, covering Kerry as he got off his boat and went after that VC."

Perhaps it was passages like this, which certainly gave me the impression, obviously erroneously, that this was eyewitness testimony rather than hearsay, particularly the phrase "otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation".

"Besides walking over to Kerry and being told what happened moments afterwards,"

Once again, fast walking, which I misinterpreted as meaning you were on the scene.

Since you were not there, why are you any more reliable than the Swift Boat folks? What gives you any more expertise than them to comment on events where you were not present, particularly since they are more familiar with the people, tactics, operational procedures, etc. of Swift boat units? Do I take your word, or the word of 200+ actual Swift boat veterans?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Just to be helpful, some of the paperwork (which Reese forgot) stating that the distance was 800 yards or so is Kerry’s Silver Star citation. Since this is, after all, an official document, I would think that Reese would admit his error.

http://homepage.mac.com/chinesemac/kerry_medals/PDFs/Silver_Star_later_citations.pdf
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
We need a new cliche. The broken irony meter has been done to death. Nevertheless, the irony in the liberal post in Update III is overwhelming. Sometimes I am good at getting liberal reframing of issues and sometimes not so good. If I get this one, the liberal is saying that the right believed and backed the SwiftVets because they were against Kerry, not because of the essential veracity of their claims. So we should write off the whole thing as a partisan smear.
All this while the left refused to investigate the charges and, to this day, most have not investigated them, because they did not want to believe them.
It was much easier to jump on the "unsubstantiated" bandwagon with the MSM. That preserved one’s faith in the nominating process that resulted in Senator Kerry being the candidate. I mean, let’s face it, how could such a parvenu be selected if the SwiftVet charges were even partly true? And, don’t even mention Kerry meeting with the enemy, etc. Best (...wait for it...) for partisan reasons, to ignore the whole thing, put one’s fingers in one’s ears and shout loudly that the SwiftVets are partisan liars and anyone who believes even one bit of their charges is simply a partisan twit!
Any doubt in your mind what a detailed questioning of the poster of the comment about the charges would show? How much investigating did he do then? Since?
Exactly.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
One more note: it just KILLS lefties that QandO cannot be pilloried as a rightwingnoisemachine blog. Just KILLS them.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
"And, don’t even mention Kerry meeting with the enemy, etc."

Another partisan smear! I have it on good authority that the enemy is us, so the accusation makes no sense.

http://www.igopogo.com/we_have_met.htm
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
MCQ said:

Perhaps you didn’t read what I posted earlier on this topic, Mark. The possibility of the boats beaching was already discussed with the Navy, and then with the local Vietnamese forces. It wasn’t done on the spur of the moment.

And that is precisely what Unfit for Command said, although Tour of Duty contended it was spontaneous.

So that’s one for the Swiftees.
No, that’s one for Michael Kranish. He wrote that in the Boston Globe biography of Kerry. John O’Neill liked to brag that UFC was, uh, just like the Kranish version.

Moving on ... the fact that it may have been "talked about" and it wasn’t "spur of the moment" doesn’t make less ’dumb’. In fact, as a planned event it is even more stupid than a spur of the moment occurrence.
The only thing that was "talked about" the night before was turning their boats into the ambush, and if that was so dumb I guess Roy Hoffmann was especially stupid for praising it in writing as "a shining example of completely overwhelming the enemy" that "may be the most efficacious method of dealing with small numbers of ambushers."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Kerry_military_service_controversy

The one thing not needed at that particular time was another "infantryman" (and an untrained one at that) and especially when that infantryman was the commander of the vessel in question. Any guess as to where he’d have been much more effective?
I’d guess that his men thought he was most effective killing the guy with the loaded rocket launcher, but hey, that’s just me.

There was of course another individual on board who was capable of commanding the boat - Lt.JG Charles Gibson, who was finishing up his orientation before taking command of his own Swift Boat three days later.

http://homepage.mac.com/chinesemac/kerry_medals/PDFs/Gibson.pdf
There was a Mike Strike Force and Ruff Puffs on the ground as I recall, correct? What in the h*ll is a solo untrained Navy LT wandering through the area going to add to such an effort?
Those ground troops were a couple of hundred yards away, hardly close enough to chase down a VC running with a rocket launcher, wouldn’t you say?

As a matter of fact, Kerry was not going "solo," but as you point out, was part of a patrol. And that patrol was soon joined by the patrol led by William Rood, who also grounded and jumped off of his boat, and won a Bronze Star. Yeah, Hoffmann was big on rewarding stupidity.

Reading some of the after action reports, I get the impression that ground patrols weren’t all that uncommon. For instance, at least two PCF crews spent a couple of hours onshore in the middle of a firefight the morning of March 13, 1969. One was headed by Kerry and the other was headed by Larry Thurlow. Man, a lot of ’em were stupid !








 
Written By: ZuZu
URL: http://
DougReese wrote:

Actually, this tactic was repeated, up the same canal, on March 13. In that case, it was Kerry, Thurlow and Rassmann off the boats, and inland, engaging the VC.
Ah, if I’d read a little further, I would have seen that you wrote that. I saw it in Brinkley’s book - glad to see you confirm it.

 
Written By: ZuZu
URL: http://
Correction, Gibson took command of his own Swift Boat two days after the Silver Star incident, not three: March 2, 1969.
 
Written By: ZuZu
URL: http://
"that "may be the most efficacious method of dealing with small numbers of ambushers."

The problem is that you do not know how many ambushers you face until it is over. Anyone who totally commits their forces on the assumption that there are only a small number of enemy opposing them is indeed a fool, and usually a dead fool.

"I’d guess that his men thought he was most effective killing the guy with the loaded rocket launcher,"

And how do you know it was loaded? Your citation citation differs from the citation citation I cite;
http://homepage.mac.com/chinesemac/kerry_medals/PDFs/Silver_Star_later_citations.pdf
Given the circumstances, it is probable that he didn’t have time to reload. You may also notice that this guy is not even mentioned in these other citations. I doubt that even the newest, lowest ranking sailor there thought that one man with a rifle is as effective as several machine guns.

"There was of course another individual on board who was capable of commanding the boat - Lt.JG Charles Gibson, who was finishing up his orientation before taking command of his own Swift Boat three days later."

Even assuming that he was qualified to command a Swift boat, he was certainly NOT qualified to assume command of three of them.

" As a matter of fact, Kerry was not going "solo," but as you point out, was part of a patrol."

Who were these mystery men who were part of Kerry’s "patrol"? Why were they not decorated also?

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I’m still on the move — which is to say I haven’t forgotten you, McQ. That reply will take a while.

Tim — Yes, there was some paperwrk that states it was 800 yards. It’s wrong, as is the case sometime. Bill Rood’s citation had him on the wrong river.

In a reply I inadvertantly deleted, I mentioned that while I have never plotted the coordinates in the after-action report, my guess is that is where the error in distance lies. Remember, we didn’t have a GPS back then!

I am 100% certain it was about 150 yards. And yes, that means the paperwork is wrong.

It is also wrong when it says that one of us (Army advisors) told the Swifts to go up the canal to where we heard some shots being fired. If a person understood where we were, and what we were doing, that is physically impossible. We know now that it was Bill Rood, but how they had it as being one of us is a mystery to me.

Back to the 800 yards . . . . When I wanted to leave where I was (the initial ambush), I looked up the canal and saw a Swift Boat a short distance away. I walked over to it. While I was wrong all these years as to what that distance was (80-100 yards), it absolutely wasn’t half a mile. Anyway, it would be physically impossible for it to be 800 yards, as I would not have been able to see Kerry’s boat if he was that far away, as the canal took a left turn just beyond where he stopped.

On top of that, as I mentioned earlier, some of those VC lived right there, and still do. They drew a diagram as to who was where that day. Their distance from where we got off (the initial ambush) to where Kerry’s boat beached was 150 meters. We also went to the site.

And when I said "othwerwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation", I meant, in my own cryptic way, that if Tommy’s M-60 had not jammed, he would have killed that VC, without question.

Why should you take my word on any of this? Well, that’s up to you. As for me not being there, well, I guess that depends on the meaning of "there".

I was at the site of this incident. No, I wasn’t standing next to Kerry, but I was closer than all 255 members of the Swift Boat Veterans for "truth", for what that’s worth.

By the way, as I have said so many times, most of those 255 never laid eyes on Kerry. Most of them never worked that area in Vietnam at that time. I mention this because it was unique in many ways in the period Kerry was there.

I will get further into that when I reply to McQ. But for now, another plane . . . . .
 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://
Who were these mystery men who were part of Kerry’s "patrol"? Why were they not decorated also?
They were, Tim, they were.
 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://
"Yes, there was some paperwrk that states it was 800 yards"

LOL.
I love that, "some paperwork". The official after action report, for example, authored by ??

"while I have never plotted the coordinates"

After all the arguments over the years? A bit of an oversight, I would say.


"It is also wrong when it says that one of us (Army advisors) told the Swifts to go up the canal to where we heard some shots being fired."

Once again you state that the official after action report and the Silver Star citation(s) are wrong. Hmmmm. Any other errors in "some paperwork"?

"If a person understood where we were, and what we were doing, that is physically impossible."

What? No radios? No communication between the ground force and their supporting boats? So Kerry took it upon himself to place himself and another boat completely out of communication with the troops he was to support, while they were in contact with the enemy? More excellent tactics.

" I meant, in my own cryptic way, that if Tommy’s M-60 had not jammed, he would have killed that VC"

So then there was no real need for Kerry to chase him down, other than glory seeking.

"They were, Tim, they were."

Who? Strange that supporting evidence like that has never, to my knowledge anyway, been produced. Where were these "brothers in arms" and their supporting testimony during all the controversy?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The only thing that was "talked about" the night before was turning their boats into the ambush, and if that was so dumb I guess Roy Hoffmann was especially stupid for praising it in writing as "a shining example of completely overwhelming the enemy" that "may be the most efficacious method of dealing with small numbers of ambushers."
Obviously you haven’t read my comments very closely:
Lastly, its one thing to turn your boats into an ambush. Any infantryman worth his salt knows that turning into an ambush is the quickest way to defeat it. What you don’t do, however, is render your weapons ineffective by beaching your boat.
My objection, obviously, isn’t with turning into an ambush.
I’d guess that his men thought he was most effective killing the guy with the loaded rocket launcher, but hey, that’s just me.
You’re right, it’s you. What’s most likely the most effective way to deal with someone like "the guy"? Putting your boat in a position that the twin 50s (and an M60) can take him apart from a safe distance or beaching your boat, taking them and their weapons out of the action and, without coordinating with friendly units, chasing him with an M16?
There was of course another individual on board who was capable of commanding the boat - Lt.JG Charles Gibson, who was finishing up his orientation before taking command of his own Swift Boat three days later.
Oh, well that makes all the difference in the world, doesn’t it? Beached boat, unable to bring weapons to bear, stationary target with the commanding officer off playing infantryman and a skipper in training somehow makes up for all of that.

Sheesh.
Those ground troops were a couple of hundred yards away, hardly close enough to chase down a VC running with a rocket launcher, wouldn’t you say?
Do you know what suppressive fire is? Any idea how that works? Know what the max effective range of a .50 cal machine gun is? M60? Ever heard of fire and manuver?

Figure a guy who’s already wounded and running for his life is going to stand up and try to face down automatic twin .50 and 7.62 fire? Or even move?

Of course not.

But hey, take all that out of action, mask your automatic weapons, and run into a situation that the ground unit has no idea is happening (and is a classic example of how friendly fire incidents happen) and get lucky.

That’s just flat out tactical stupidity.

Despite that, Kerry got lucky ... very lucky. So did is crew.
As a matter of fact, Kerry was not going "solo," but as you point out, was part of a patrol. And that patrol was soon joined by the patrol led by William Rood, who also grounded and jumped off of his boat, and won a Bronze Star. Yeah, Hoffmann was big on rewarding stupidity.
Patrol? Oh please. Do you know what a patrol is? Its not an ad hoc or spontaneously formed group of goofs who decide to chase someone.

And as I said, courage and stupidity are not mutually exclusive. They were very lucky they didn’t get killed by the Ruff Puffs.
Reading some of the after action reports, I get the impression that ground patrols weren’t all that uncommon. For instance, at least two PCF crews spent a couple of hours onshore in the middle of a firefight the morning of March 13, 1969. One was headed by Kerry and the other was headed by Larry Thurlow. Man, a lot of ’em were stupid !
You’ve got that right.

A) they were lucky.

B) they were stupid.

Since when is the mission of PCFs to engage in "ground firefights?"
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Tim said:
Who were these mystery men who were part of Kerry’s "patrol"? Why were they not decorated also?
Doug said:
They were, Tim, they were.
The person who got off right behind Kerry was Mike Mederios, with an M-60.

He was also decorated.
 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://
DougReese said:

Tim — Yes, there was some paperwrk that states it was 800 yards. It’s wrong, as is the case sometime. Bill Rood’s citation had him on the wrong river.
That actually shows up on the edited citation written at headquarters and signed by (PacFleet Cmdr) Hyland, not the original citation written by Elliott and signed by Zumwalt, nor in the after action report. I wonder if they were simply working off the coordinates given for the VC camp/village or even a map. I don’t think it actually gave coordinates for the second ambush vis a vis the first ambush, but could be wrong.
It is also wrong when it says that one of us (Army advisors) told the Swifts to go up the canal to where we heard some shots being fired. If a person understood where we were, and what we were doing, that is physically impossible. We know now that it was Bill Rood, but how they had it as being one of us is a mystery to me.
As the OICs were only really in touch with one another by radio, maybe that’s the way it was conveyed - second or third hand. Just a guess.





 
Written By: ZuZu
URL: http://
timactual said:


"I’d guess that his men thought he was most effective killing the guy with the loaded rocket launcher,"

And how do you know it was loaded? Your citation citation differs from the citation citation I cite;
http://homepage.mac.com/chinesemac/kerry_medals/PDFs/Silver_Star_later_citations.pdf
Given the circumstances, it is probable that he didn’t have time to reload. You may also notice that this guy is not even mentioned in these other citations. I doubt that even the newest, lowest ranking sailor there thought that one man with a rifle is as effective as several machine guns.

Well for one thing, the eyewitnesses to the event or who saw the rocket launcher that Kerry captured said it was loaded.

The guy is "mentioned" in the after action report and the press release for the incident written by Bill Rood, and the VC KIA and capture of the rocket launcher was included in Hoffmann’s congratulatory message. The VC and the loaded rocket launcher is of course mentioned in the original citation written by Elliott and signed by Zumwalt, but not in the later version signed by Hyland which was edited down to one page per Navy regulations.

 
Written By: ZuZu
URL: http://
McQ said:

I’d guess that his men thought he was most effective killing the guy with the loaded rocket launcher, but hey, that’s just me.
You’re right, it’s you. What’s most likely the most effective way to deal with someone like "the guy"? Putting your boat in a position that the twin 50s (and an M60) can take him apart from a safe distance or beaching your boat, taking them and their weapons out of the action and, without coordinating with friendly units, chasing him with an M16?
That may be true if you are aiming at a guy waving to you from the beach. Not so true if the guy is invisible, hiding in a spider hole, and jumps up after you have beached the boat.

And as Doug Reese has pointed out and as the eyewitness accounts and after action report affirm, with the exception of the turret gun that couldn’t shoot at a particular angle, the weapons were not "out of the action."

Those ground troops were a couple of hundred yards away, hardly close enough to chase down a VC running with a rocket launcher, wouldn’t you say?
Do you know what suppressive fire is? Any idea how that works? Know what the max effective range of a .50 cal machine gun is? M60? Ever heard of fire and manuver?
Yes, I have a pretty good idea what suppressive fire is. However, you had said, "There was a Mike Strike Force and Ruff Puffs on the ground as I recall, correct? What in the h*ll is a solo untrained Navy LT wandering through the area going to add to such an effort?"

Hence the point about the troops on the ground being a LITTLE too far away to add much to the "effort" of running after a guy with a rocket launcher.


Figure a guy who’s already wounded and running for his life is going to stand up and try to face down automatic twin .50 and 7.62 fire? Or even move?
Sure, if he could get far enough away with enough cover - he did hang onto that weapon after all. But I wouldn’t want to have to wait to find out myself.



Despite that, Kerry got lucky ... very lucky. So did is crew.
He has said so himself.

As a matter of fact, Kerry was not going "solo," but as you point out, was part of a patrol. And that patrol was soon joined by the patrol led by William Rood, who also grounded and jumped off of his boat, and won a Bronze Star. Yeah, Hoffmann was big on rewarding stupidity.

Patrol? Oh please. Do you know what a patrol is? Its not an ad hoc or spontaneously formed group of goofs who decide to chase someone.
I see that they are referred to as assault parties and landing parties in the after action report, citations, and press release. My mistake.



Since when is the mission of PCFs to engage in "ground firefights?"
Doug Reese would probably know the answer to that one, but I’d guess it’s whenever they were on the ground getting shot at.




 
Written By: ZuZu
URL: http://
That may be true if you are aiming at a guy waving to you from the beach. Not so true if the guy is invisible, hiding in a spider hole, and jumps up after you have beached the boat.
Good grief ... that’s kind of the point about not beaching the boat.

Have you figured that out yet?
And as Doug Reese has pointed out and as the eyewitness accounts and after action report affirm, with the exception of the turret gun that couldn’t shoot at a particular angle, the weapons were not "out of the action."
The turret gun is the most potent weapon on the boat and it was out of action. And you had a jammed M60.

So you tell me what was left "in action" ok?
Yes, I have a pretty good idea what suppressive fire is. However, you had said, "There was a Mike Strike Force and Ruff Puffs on the ground as I recall, correct? What in the h*ll is a solo untrained Navy LT wandering through the area going to add to such an effort?"

Hence the point about the troops on the ground being a LITTLE too far away to add much to the "effort" of running after a guy with a rocket launcher.
Which has zip to do with suppressive fire. The suppressive fire would have come from the PCF if he hadn’t beached the d*mn thing and taken the one weapon which could deliver it effectively out of action.

And had he gotten the M60 unjammed, it too could have done so. But he decided to hop off the boat and mask that gun’s fire thus rendering it useless in suppressive fire role.

The point, btw, is to suppress the VC until the Ruff Puffs could move to a point where suppressive fire could be lifted and the RF/PF take him out.
Sure, if he could get far enough away with enough cover - he did hang onto that weapon after all. But I wouldn’t want to have to wait to find out myself.
Well that answers my question about whether you know the max effective range of a 50 cal or an M60.

Oh, and here’s a clue. If he gets out of the range of the 50 cal, he’s also out of the effective range of the B-40.
He has said so himself.
Oh. Well how sweet. That doesn’t make what he did any less stupid though.
I see that they are referred to as assault parties and landing parties in the after action report, citations, and press release. My mistake.
You call them whatever you want. They’re an ad hoc group of amateurs playing soldier and taking the chance of getting themselves and others they command killed.
Doug Reese would probably know the answer to that one, but I’d guess it’s whenever they were on the ground getting shot at.
Why would Doug Reese know. Was he a part of the PCF unit?

As I recall their SOP prohibited that.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Well McQ, the first comment to which I was responding had to do with "taking the guy apart from a safe distance" which of course presupposes that you even see the guy in the first place.


As to this comment: "The suppressive fire would have come from the PCF if he hadn’t beached the d*mn thing ..." The suppressive fire did come from the PCF. And from the Rood’s boat almost immediately after. And as Doug has pointed out more than once and as Fred Short has explained, the turret gun was very much in action.

And as to the VC, there was suppressive fire and yet he was still running with a loaded rocket launcher. Do you suggest they should have just let him keep running until the RFs could get there? I’m sure the guys are all interested in what a bunch of keyboard commandos have to say about it mearly 40 years later, but there wasn’t a one of ’em that didn’t think Kerry did the right thing.

I said Doug Reese would probably know why PCFs launched assault parties or landing parties on different occasions because unlike you or me, he actually worked with them.

To beach or not to beach, to chase or not to chase...easy to chew over from here. I get the feeling that’s one of the reasons Bill Rood wrote that he was sick of hearing people who hadn’t been there try to second guess the actions of those who were and in the process smear all of them.

You take care now.





 
Written By: ZuZu
URL: http://
Well McQ, the first comment to which I was responding had to do with "taking the guy apart from a safe distance" which of course presupposes that you even see the guy in the first place.
The hooch he ran behind was supposedly no more than 15 yards from where he was spotted and he was spotted in a spider hole near the river bank. He stood up and they saw him. He’d have had to stand up to launch regardless. Had they been in the river and not beached on the bank, the twin 50s could have been brought to bear on a target probably no more than 50 yards away.
As to this comment: "The suppressive fire would have come from the PCF if he hadn’t beached the d*mn thing ..." The suppressive fire did come from the PCF. And from the Rood’s boat almost immediately after. And as Doug has pointed out more than once and as Fred Short has explained, the turret gun was very much in action.
Very much in action at what? Clouds? Tree tops? "Action" does not necessarily mean effectiveness.

It couldn’t be brought to bear on the main threat which was running away. As for suppressive fire from Rood, how then did the guy get out of his spider hole and to the hooch in question? If he was being suppressed (that includes preventing movement) then he should never have moved.
And as to the VC, there was suppressive fire and yet he was still running with a loaded rocket launcher. Do you suggest they should have just let him keep running until the RFs could get there? I’m sure the guys are all interested in what a bunch of keyboard commandos have to say about it mearly 40 years later, but there wasn’t a one of ’em that didn’t think Kerry did the right thing.
Again, you apparently don’t understand suppressive fire despite your claim. Suppressive fire won’t let you move. So obviously this guy wasn’t the subject of suppressive fire.

And I’m hardly a "keyboard commando" having spent a fun filled year in the RVN as a rifle platoon leader and a further 28 years as an infantry officer. So I think I know just a little bit about proper infantry tactics. And this nonsense was anything but good tactics.
I said Doug Reese would probably know why PCFs launched assault parties or landing parties on different occasions because unlike you or me, he actually worked with them.
Which, again, has zip to do with what their SOP allowed.
To beach or not to beach, to chase or not to chase...easy to chew over from here. I get the feeling that’s one of the reasons Bill Rood wrote that he was sick of hearing people who hadn’t been there try to second guess the actions of those who were and in the process smear all of them.
Rood can spend his life being sick to death. Stupid tactics remains stupid tactics and for anyone who has the experience to understand them they remain stupid tactics.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
CHICKENHAWKS!



Sorry, I just wanted to pre-emptively get that word out here.
 
Written By: Let’s all say it...
URL: http://
McQ — I’m working on what I hope is a fairly inclusive response on what happened that day, along with some background information on the area and the Swifts situation which I believe is relevant.

Meanwhile . . . . . where are you getting that the SOP of the Swifts did not allow them to do what they did on the day of the SS incident? (I assume you are talking about them getting off the boats)

What SOP?

Are you saying that they went against the SOP on Feb 28? If so, it’s a little strange that they were rewarded for it, don’t you think?

And, as I have pointed out, they went against that alleged SOP again, on March 13.
 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://

Some responses to McQ, pretty much in order:




I said Doug Reese would probably know why PCFs launched assault parties or landing parties on different occasions because unlike you or me, he actually worked with them.

Which, again, has zip to do with what their SOP allowed.

Probably because I was responding to your question about why Doug Reese would know, not what the "SOP allowed."

As to your other comments about the "stupid tactics," your argument is with three Swift Boat officers (including a USNA graduate) and their crews, who knew the territory and the enemy’s tactics, and who decided ahead of time turning into the fire and beaching the boats was actually a good tactic, and with every single person present at the scene, who also thought it was a good tactic, and with the commanding officers who performed the review and interviewed the witnesses, and thought it was a good enough tactic to not only congratulate them in writing but to pin medals on just about everybody involved. Elliott joked about yelling at Kerry for getting off the boat, but not for beaching the boat, and wrote him up for a "well-deserved" Silver Star anyway. I’m pretty sure they had more to go on that you or I do. And sorry, I don’t care if your last name is Patton, in my opinion second guessing all of the people who were there at the time is little more than heckling from the cheap seats.

However, I have to admit that I am a bit surprised that someone with your "expertise" would not only make some of the claims you link to in your original post, but repeat them with pride. For example:

For instance. I found out that Kerry’s account of what happened when he dumped the SF officer in the water and then went back and "rescued" him differed markedly from that of the other Swift Boat commanders and the official record. I examined that in detail to reach the conclusion that Kerry’s account was almost entirely a fabrication.

First of all, with respect to the presence of enemy fire, Kerry’s account does not differ from the official record nor from the accounts of at least 11 eyewitnesses. And if you call relying on a discredited article by the likes of Tom Lipscomb examining something in detail, I have to wonder how far you really researched – for instance, a look at the after action reports themselves would have showed you some of the inherent problems with his claims. If you want to see the results of some real research that blows the ridiculous Lipscomb/Jenkins assertions out of the water (no pun), you could take a look at the "update" portion of Eric Rasmussen’s excellent analysis of the Bronze Star incident:


http://homepage.mac.com/chinesemac/kerry_medals/part1.html#bronze


I found no evidence of Kerry’s supposed trip to Cambodia. None. In fact, it became pretty clear it never happened when you read not only the statements of crew members, but Kerry’s own journal entries themselves.

Well, with respect to his Christmas Eve trip, you certainly could have found plenty of evidence in his lengthy journal entry that he was on patrol on or near the Cambodian border – which at least two crewmembers confirm - and that he was ambushed – also supported by crewmember accounts and George Elliot’s entry in his fitness report, and that he thought he had crossed the border during the patrol or ambush. (By the way, far from being "blocked" by PBRs, he evidently was patrolling with PBRs.) And of course he has never claimed to have been sent on any sort of "secret mission" into Cambodia on Christmas Eve; maybe you can point me to the place in your posts where you acknowledge that fact as it’s quite possible I missed it.

As to your discussion of whether any later missions (PCF 94, Cos Div 11) took him into Cambodia, I don’t see any mention of the fact that spot reports show that PCF 94 did insert Navy SEALS near the border in mid-February. Of course Tedd Peck, who is referenced by way of Lipscomb (again!) would know nothing of these missions because he was back in the US at the time. I admit that I find some of the original maps and coordinates and designators a bit confusing, but I do find Eric Rassmussen’s research in that department pretty compelling. Maybe you would find it interesting too:

http://homepage.mac.com/chinesemac/kerry_medals/part1.html#christmas

I, among others, also discovered that when Mr. Kerry applied for Swift Boats in Vietnam, he applied knowing they were running coastal patrols. Coastal patrols were about as dangerous as driving to work on the freeway each morning, or perhaps less. When he arrived the mission had been changed to riverine patrols, something he was not at all enamored with and worked diligently to get out of. And, of course, you know that story.

Well of course his second choice of billet was PBRs, which always had river duty, and which were always a dangerous assignment.


http://fl1.findlaw.com/news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/jkerry/rqstswiftboat.pdf




 
Written By: ZuZu
URL: http://
Correction: I’m pretty sure they had more to go on that you or I do. Not "that you or I do."

 
Written By: ZuZu
URL: http://
Dang. "Than," not "that." Dang.


 
Written By: ZuZu
URL: http://
As to your other comments about the "stupid tactics," your argument is with three Swift Boat officers (including a USNA graduate) and their crews, who knew the territory and the enemy’s tactics, and who decided ahead of time turning into the fire and beaching the boats was actually a good tactic, and with every single person present at the scene, who also thought it was a good tactic, and with the commanding officers who performed the review and interviewed the witnesses, and thought it was a good enough tactic to not only congratulate them in writing but to pin medals on just about everybody involved.
Ah ... see, I knew you weren’t that slow. You figured it out.

Yes, anyone who thought that negating the speed, firepower and maneuverability of swift boat by beaching it and reducing it’s firepower to a single and inexperienced LT (JG) running around with an M16 was a smart move is not the sharpest tactical mind out there, regardless of what school he may have attended.

However, Kerry was given the Silver Star for being the OITC of a successful operation. It was an impact award, plain and simple. It wasn’t for his tactics, that’s for sure ... it was for the success of the op.

So all your misdirection notwithstanding, he wasn’t given the Silver Star for his dreadful tactics.
Well, with respect to his Christmas Eve trip, you certainly could have found plenty of evidence in his lengthy journal entry that he was on patrol on or near the Cambodian border...
Ah ... near eh? Heh ...
And of course he has never claimed to have been sent on any sort of "secret mission" into Cambodia on Christmas Eve; maybe you can point me to the place in your posts where you acknowledge that fact as it’s quite possible I missed it.
Huh? Nice try at reframing the point. It has nothing to do with the type of mission, he just flat wasn’t there on Christmas eve. Clear enough?
As to your discussion of whether any later missions (PCF 94, Cos Div 11) took him into Cambodia, I don’t see any mention of the fact that spot reports show that PCF 94 did insert Navy SEALS near the border in mid-February.


Maybe you’re just not familiar with the fact that when someone uses the term "near" that doesn’t mean "in"?

No?
Maybe you would find it interesting too:
Uh, no, not particularly.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Yes, repeating yourself makes you less of an after-the-fact heckler. I see now.
Well, with respect to his Christmas Eve trip, you certainly could have found plenty of evidence in his lengthy journal entry that he was on patrol on or near the Cambodian border...

Ah ... near eh? Heh ...

And of course he has never claimed to have been sent on any sort of "secret mission" into Cambodia on Christmas Eve; maybe you can point me to the place in your posts where you acknowledge that fact as it’s quite possible I missed it.

Huh? Nice try at reframing the point. It has nothing to do with the type of mission, he just flat wasn’t there on Christmas eve. Clear enough?
I’m sure it is in your mind. The fact is, Kerry never claimed to be sent on a "secret mission" into Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1968. Fact. You could even look it up.

The "type of mission" was a patrol. Fact. They patrolled at or near the border. Verified by crewmembers.

They were ambushed on the patrol. Fact. Verified by eyewitnesses and Elliott’s fitness report.

Kerry believed he had crossed the border at some point during the patrol or ambush. Supported by a contemporaneous journal entry, telegram, and later interviews. Argue all you want, but that was what he believed at the time.

Talk about reframing and misdirection. You have no idea whether he crossed the border on Christmas Eve. But you should know better than try to imply he claimed he was sent on some sort of "secret mission." That is less than honest not quite what one would expect from officer material.


>>>> As to your discussion of whether any later missions (PCF 94, Cos Div 11) took him into Cambodia, I don’t see any mention of the fact that spot reports show that PCF 94 did insert Navy SEALS near the border in mid-February.



Maybe you’re just not familiar with the fact that when someone uses the term "near" that doesn’t mean "in"?

No?<<<<

My point was that, despite your implications to the contrary, there were documented missions in the area at the time. Do you think an actual mission into Cambodia would be detailed in an after action report?



>>> Maybe you would find it interesting too:

Uh, no, not particularly. <<<

Coming from someone who gets his "research" second hand from that "Pulitzer-nominee" fraud Lipscomb, somehow that’s not surprising.

Having provided actual documentation for anyone with an interest in conducting original research, I’m content to let your posts stand as monumnets to intellectual laziness.

Good night to you sir. I said good night.



 
Written By: ZuZu
URL: http://
I’m sure it is in your mind.
Ah, I see ... so now your argument is reduced to trying to discern what may or may not be in my mind about Kerry?

Good grief.
Kerry believed he had crossed the border at some point during the patrol or ambush. Supported by a contemporaneous journal entry, telegram, and later interviews. Argue all you want, but that was what he believed at the time.
Well considering where he was at the time and what he’d have had to go past to get there (and if you don’t know what that means, you need to do a little research) it isn’t just highly unlikely, it was virtually impossible.
My point was that, despite your implications to the contrary, there were documented missions in the area at the time. Do you think an actual mission into Cambodia would be detailed in an after action report?
If another command was requesting the attachment or support of a swift boat, there would definitely be a record of the tasking. Such a record would establish at least a possibility something might have occurred since once tasked out to another command, it would be possible the eventual mission might be classified or clandestine. However, there is no record of any such a tasking for Kerry or his boat.

And there is no recollection by those in command at the time of any internal tasking or record which involved Kerry or his boat getting anywhere near Cambodia.
Coming from someone who gets his "research" second hand from that "Pulitzer-nominee" fraud Lipscomb, somehow that’s not surprising.

Having provided actual documentation for anyone with an interest in conducting original research, I’m content to let your posts stand as monumnets to intellectual laziness.
My research comes from many different sources and obviously you’ve not taken the time to acquaint yourself with that. That’s not my problem.

Anyway I guess that’s as good as any way to bail on a discussion as any. Declare your source unimpeachable and the other tainted and flounce out under full and righteous indignation.

Heh ... your tactics are as bad as Kerry’s.

I mean, you’re reduced to trying to tell me that you’re sure I must be thinking a certain way, for heaven sake.

But hey, if you’re happy with such an exit, its fine with me.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ — Regarding my question about the SOP . . . please scroll back up, if you would, and answer, if you don’t mind.
 
Written By: Doug Reese
URL: http://

 
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