Thomas Lipscomb responds to the puff piece with common sense and actual facts.
Here are some highlights:
Kate Zernike's story on the front page of the Memorial Day Sunday New York Times, "Kerry Pressing Swift Boat Case Long After Loss," is an unfortunate reminder of the Times's embarrassingly poor coverage of Kerry in the face of the Swift Boat Veterans' for Truth charges in the 2004 election. Now as then, the Times acts as if the issues involved were between Kerry's latest representations of his record and the "unsubstantiated" charges of the Swift Boat group. The Times used the term "unsubstantiated" more than twenty times during its election coverage and continues to make no discernable effort to examine any of the charges in detail.
But there was plenty of evidence in the work of other news organizations that some of the charges, and the Kerry military records themselves, were worth examining seriously. I found numerous problems with Kerry's records on his website in my own reporting for the Chicago Sun-Times: a Silver Star with a V for valor listed that the Navy stated it had never awarded in the history of the US Navy, three separate medal citations with some heavy revisions in Kerry's favor signed by former Navy Secretary John Lehman who denied ever signing them, to name two.
But the facts on this are already on the record and no matter what Kerry "researchers" may come up with they should be addressed by any reporter attempting a review of the dispute. Admiral Roy Hoffman may have been head of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, but he was also in command of all the Swift Boat operations in Vietnam, directly under the commander of all sea operations in Vietnam, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt.
Any tasking for insertions of special operations troops across borders by sea, whether Seals, CIA, Army Special Forces or Vietnamese troops like CIDG had to come through his command. Hoffman stated he was never asked to handle missions for the CIA. "They had their own teams for that. And none of my Coastal Commands ever inserted any troops of this kind into Cambodia. We had some operations we ran north that I am not at liberty to discuss."
Tedd Peck, accompanied Kerry's PCF 44 on his PCF 57 from Cam Ranh down to their new assignment at An Thoi where they arrived on December 8, 1968. Peck served there with Kerry until he was wounded and med-evaced out on January 29, 1969. Douglas Brinkley states that "Kerry liked Peck." So what does Peck have to say about secret missions out of An Thoi to Cambodia? "There never was one. And I never saw a Navy Seal at An Thoi the whole time I served there with Kerry"
What does it take to wake up a good reporter that there are some issues here besides one junior lieutenant's latest assertions on the basis, once again, of totally undisclosed records? It isn't simply a matter of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth "lies." The facts recited by Kerry make no military sense, fly in direct opposition to authoritative testimony, and are yet to be backed by any records anyone has seen. And Kerry keeps changing his story.
Zernike makes much of the support of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth "backed by Republican donors and consultants," which indeed it was. But she shows no interest in who is backing "the Patriot Project" challenging the Swift Vets claims "formed by Kerry supporters" since February 2005 that is the occasion for her story.
In any case, it is time for some tough reporting to evaluate the Kerry's claims as listed in Zernike's article. I will be following up with several other key incidents which appear to be widely at variance with these claims. These will include what appears to be the current state of the evidence about the "skimmer" operation Kerry has decided to put in play again and the greatest newspaper coverup in modern history.