Steyn on Kerry

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Pabst, Feb 15, 2004.

  1. Pabst


    Kerry should be wary of dredging up past

    February 15, 2004


    If you own a computer or listen to talk radio or read the British or Australian papers, you'll know that John Kerry is currently beset by rumors of interns. By the time you read this, it may be that America's genteel broadsheets and network news shows will have overcome their squeamishness and tiptoed gingerly down the path blazed by Drudge and Fleet Street, or it may be that they decide to investigate it a bit longer, just to get chapter and verse nailed down, which means you may not get to read about it till, oh, midway through President Kerry's second term.

    Now let me say that I've no idea whether there's anything to the alleged intern business but . . . what's the word Howard Dean uses when he's on NPR and he wants to air some conspiracy theory about whether Bush was tipped off in advance about 9/11? Ah, yes, ''interesting.'' It's an ''interesting'' story. And, if you think we should have concrete proof before we bring it up, then I take the line Wes Clark does when he's asked to substantiate the wild claim made at a Clark event about whether Bush is a ''deserter'' and Clark replies he has no proof Bush isn't a deserter. I've no proof Kerry isn't an adulterer.

    Nonetheless, while I enjoy ''the politics of personal destruction'' as much as the next chap, I've no desire to fight the 2004 election on anything as quaintly anachronistic as an intern scandal. That's so last millennium. On the other hand, so is Kerry droning on about Vietnam at every campaign stop and traveling the country with his own personal VFW detail. This year more than ever, the hack politician's laziest platitude is true: ''This election is about the future.''

    Unfortunately, most politicians who say ''this election is about the future'' haven't given it a moment's thought. Say what you like about us right-wing war mongers, but after Sept. 11 we abandoned our long-cherished theories of realpolitik -- find your local strongman and shovel millions of dollars at him -- as inadequate, and indeed part of the problem. Sentimental liberal internationalism -- everything has to be done through the U.N., no matter how stinkingly corrupt and ineffectual it is -- is just as inadequate to the challenges of the age. Yet Kerry, John Edwards, Howard Dean and the rest of the left cling to it like a security blanket. Ask them anything about foreign policy, and they sing like the Von Trapp children, ''We need to get the U.N. in there.'' As Sam Goldwyn said, ''I'm sick of the old cliches. Bring me some new cliches.''

    And few people are so in need of some new cliches as the Democratic Party. That's why they've wound up running on the twin planks of where Kerry was in the late '60s and where George W. Bush wasn't in the early '70s. You could hardly ask for a neater precis of the atrophied boomer heart of the Dems than their decision to fight the 2004 election on the oldies station slogan of ''Where were you in '72?''

    In 2002, the Dems had no ideas and they ran on biography: In Missouri, Jean Carnahan was the brave widow of the late governor; in Georgia, Max Cleland was a Vietnam veteran and triple amputee; in Minnesota, Walter Mondale was the lion of the '84 campaign and a friend of Paul Wellstone. In all three cases the public shrugged and voted Republican. These are serious times and they demand politicians rise to them.

    Yet here we are two years later, and they're running on biography all over again. But this time their chosen biography is Vietnam, and for many Americans, and especially boomer Democrats, that's far more psychologically complicated. Look at Kerry's stump speech: ''We band of brothers,'' he says, indicating his fellow veterans. ''We're a little older, we're a little grayer, but we still know how to fight for this country.'' Thirty years ago, he came back from Vietnam and denounced his ''band of brothers'' as a gang of drug-fueled torturers, rapists and murderers.

    These versions are not reconcilable. When he was palling around with Jane Fonda in the '70s, he hated the military. It wasn't just that he opposed the war but that he accused his ''band of brothers'' of a level of participation in war crimes and civilian atrocities unmatched by the Japanese, the Nazis and the Soviets. If he'd said, ''We band of brothers . . . We're a little older, we're a little grayer, but we still know how to get high, murder the gooks and rape their womenfolk,'' it would at least have been consistent with his congressional testimony.

    So one John Kerry is a fake. Which is it? The Jane Fonda in pants of the early '70s? Or the Bob Hope USO tour Kerry of today? Running on biography is lame enough. Running on fake biography is pathetic.

    Likewise, Max Cleland, the former Georgia senator turned cable show hit man for the Kerry campaign on the Bush National Guard ''scandal.'' He's untouchable because, as Terry McAuliffe likes to say, he's a ''triple amputee who left three limbs on the battlefield of Vietnam.''

    As Ann Coulter pointed out in a merciless but entirely accurate column, it wasn't on the ''battlefield.'' It wasn't in combat. He was working on a radio relay station. He saw a grenade dropped by one of his colleagues and bent down to pick it up. It's impossible for most of us to imagine what that must be like -- to be flown home, with your body shattered, not because of some firefight, but because you made a stupid mistake. Once upon a time, Cleland loathed the Silver and Bronze Stars he'd been given: He was, in his words, ''no hero'' -- which is true. He was a beneficiary of the medal inflation that tends to accompany unpopular wars. But Cleland learned to stop hating himself to the point where he's happy to be passed off as a hero wounded in battle because that makes him a more valuable mascot to the campaign. Sad.

    Next to these deceptions -- and self-deceptions -- what are Dems hoping to pin on Bush? Thanks to Kerry in his Hanoi Jane period, Vietnam was a disaster for America that gave the establishment a wholly irrational fear of almost every ramshackle Third World basket case on the planet. Look at what everyone from Arthur Schlesinger to Chris Matthews wrote about the ''unconquerable'' Afghans only two years ago. That defeatism was the Kerry legacy from the '70s: a terrified, Kerrified America. If he wants to fight Campaign 2004 on Vietnam, then, as he would say, bring it on.
  2. 1971 Photo of Kerry Doctored

    By Michael Rothfeld
    Staff Writer

    As a 20-year-old photographer documenting the country's struggle over the Vietnam War, Ken Light snapped the picture of John Kerry at a peace rally in Mineola. It captured the future senator alone at a podium, squinting into the sun.

    Light did not photograph Jane Fonda on that warm June Sunday in 1971. The actress, who is reviled by many Vietnam veterans for her vocal stance against the war, did not even attend.

    But when opponents of the Democratic presidential hopeful began e-mailing Light's picture to one another four days ago, it depicted Fonda standing by Kerry's side. The photo had been doctored.

    "I'm horrified," said Light, 52, who grew up in East Meadow and now heads the graduate photojournalism program at the University of California at Berkeley. "I think this kind of alteration is probably one of the scariest forms of trickery, particularly when it's done against a political candidate."

    Dag Vega, a spokesman for Kerry's campaign, said, "The smear tactics have started already."

    Kerry, who co-founded Vietnam Veterans Against the War, spoke at the Register for Peace Rally on June 13, 1971, when thousands gathered for "the largest anti-war demonstration ever held on Long Island," according to a story in Newsday the next day. Light recalled Long Islanders of all ages sprawled across the State Supreme Court mall in Mineola, with American flags and peace symbols. Former members of Congress who attended included Bella Abzug, Allard Lowenstein and Lester Wolff. Folk singer Peter Yarrow entertained, and the rally ended with a burst of thunder and lightning.

    Light, a student in Ohio at the time, took the picture of Kerry but never published it, and it sat in his files until two weeks ago when he shipped it to Corbis, his Seattle-based agent, which placed it in its online archives.

    That is apparently where someone found it, and attempted to capitalize on the attention garnered by an authentic photo of Kerry and Fonda at a Vietnam-era rally -- seated some distance apart -- posted early this month on a Web site called The Web site's creator, Ted Sampley, a Vietnam veteran from North Carolina, said he received the doctored photo by e-mail on Wednesday from a woman in Richmond, Va.

    "Thought you might want to include this pic on your site," said the note from Loree Siemek, with an attachment called "HanoiJohn.jpg," a takeoff on "Hanoi Jane," the derisive nickname given to Fonda by her critics during the Vietnam era. It is made to look like a newspaper clipping, headlined "Fonda Speaks to Vietnam Veterans at Anti- War Rally," with an Associated Press photo credit. Sampley said he was immediately skeptical, and e-mailed it to some friends who concluded it was faked. He did not post it.

    "I looked at it and it didn't feel right," Sampley said in an interview. "It just looked too good."

    Siemek, 34, reached by phone, said she found the picture on a conservative Internet message board and had no idea it was phony.

    "This thing has spiraled out of control," Siemek said. "If I had any thought that photo was not real, I would never have forwarded it to the veterans' group."
  3. Pabst


    John Kerry: The Chameleon Senator
    By Ted Sampley
    U.S. Veteran Dispatch
    October-December 1996 Issue

    Despite the prayers and wishful thinking of POW/MIA families and Vietnam veteran activists, Sen. John Forbes Kerry, the "chameleon" senator from Massachusetts, was re-elected to the Senate in the 1996 election. Apparently Kerry's well publicized history as a longtime radical supporter of the Vietnamese communists and a recent flap about whether or not he is guilty of a war crime meant very little to the voters in Massachusetts.

    Sen. Kerry, the "noble statesman" and "highly decorated Vietnam vet" of today, is a far cry from Kerry, the radical, hippie-like leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) in the early 1970s. After Kerry, as a Navy Lieutenant (junior grade) commanding a Swift boat in Vietnam, was awarded the Silver Star, he used a loop hole in Navy regulations to leave Vietnam (and his crew) before completing his tour of duty.
    After returning home, Kerry quit the Navy early and changed the color of his politics to become a leader of VVAW. Kerry wasted no time organizing opposition in the United States against the efforts of his former buddies still ducking communist bullets back in Vietnam.

    Kerry gained national attention in April 1971, when he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, then chaired by Sen. J. William Fulbright (D-AR), who led opposition in the Congress against U.S. participation in the war. During the course of his testimony, Kerry stated that the United States had a definite obligation to make extensive economic reparations to the people of Vietnam.

    Kerry's testimony, it should be noted, occurred while some of his fellow Vietnam veterans were known by the world to be enduring terrible suffering as prisoners of war in North Vietnamese prisons. Kerry was a supporter of the "People's Peace Treaty," a supposed "people's" declaration to end the war, reportedly drawn up in communist East Germany. It included nine points, all of which were taken from Viet Cong peace proposals at the Paris peace talks as conditions for ending the war.

    One of the provisions stated: "The Vietnamese pledge that as soon as the U.S. government publicly sets a date for total withdrawal [from Vietnam], they will enter discussion to secure the release of all American prisoners, including pilots captured while bombing North Vietnam." In other words, Kerry and his VVAW advocated the communist line to withdraw all U.S. troops from Vietnam first and then negotiate with Hanoi over the release of prisoners. Had the nine points of the "People's Peace Treaty" favored by Kerry been accepted by American negotiators, the United States would have totally lost all leverage to get the communists to release any POWs captured during the war years.

    Kerry was fundamental in organizing antiwar activists to demonstrate in Washington, including the splattering of red paint, representing blood, on the Capitol steps. Several hundred of Kerry's VVAW demonstrators and supporters were allowed by Fulbright to jam into a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in 1972 and to chant "Right on, brother!" as Sen. George McGovern (D-SD), then the only declared Democratic presidential candidate, accused U.S. troops of committing barbarisms in Vietnam.

    Kerry became even more of a press celebrity during a highly publicized "anti-war" protest when he threw medals the press reported were his over a barricade and onto the steps of the Capitol. Kerry never mentioned that the medals he so gloriously tossed were not his own. The 1988 issue of Current Biography Yearbook explained: " . . . the ones he had discarded were not his own but had belonged to another veteran who asked him to make the gesture for him. When a 'Washington Post' reporter asked Kerry about the incident, he said: 'They're my medals. I'll do what I want with them. And there shouldn't be any expectations about them.'" Kerry's medals have reappeared, today hanging in his Senate office, now that it is "politically correct" for a U.S. Senator to be portrayed as a Vietnam War hero. Alas, so much for integrity.

    Recently, Kerry became extremely defensive when David Warsh, an economics columnist for The Boston Globe, questioned the circumstances for which Kerry was awarded the Silver Star. Kerry, who was in a close re-election battle with Gov. William F. Weld, a Republican, quickly gathered his former crew from his Swift boat days to rebuff the "assault on his integrity."

    According to the official citation accompanying the Silver Star for Kerry's actions on the waters of the Mekong Delta on February 28, 1969: "Kerry's craft received a B-40 rocket close aboard. Once again Lieutenant (j.g.) Kerry ordered his units to charge the enemy positions. . . Patrol Craft Fast 94 then beached in the center of the enemy positions and an enemy soldier sprang up from his position not ten feet from Patrol Craft 94 and fled. Without hesitation Lieutenant (j.g.) Kerry leaped ashore, pursued the man behind a hootch and killed him, capturing a B-40 rocket launcher with a round in the chamber." In an article printed in the October 21st and 28th 1996 edition of The New Yorker, Kerry was asked about the man he had killed.

    "It was either going to be him or it was going to be us. It was that simple. I don't know why it wasn't us--I mean, to this day. He had a rocket pointed right at our boat. He stood up out of the hole, and none of us saw him until he was standing in front of us, aiming a rocket right at us, and, for whatever reason, he didn't pull the trigger--he turned and ran. He was shocked to see our boat right in front of him. If he'd pulled the trigger, we'd all be dead . . . I just won't talk about all of it. I don't and I can't. The things that probably really turn me I've never told anybody. Nobody would understand," Kerry said. In the column, Warsh quoted the Swift boat's former gunner, Tom Belodeau, as saying the Viet Cong soldier who Kerry chased "behind a hootch" and "finished off" actually had already been wounded by the gunner.
  4. Pabst


    Warsh wrote that such a "coup de grace" would have been considered a war crime. Belodeau stood beside Kerry and said he'd been misquoted. He conceded that he had fired at and wounded the Viet Cong, but denied Kerry had simply executed the wounded Viet Cong. Dan Carr, a former Marine from Massachusetts, who served 14 months as a rifleman sloshing around in the humid jungles of I Corps, South Vietnam, questioned whether or not Kerry deserved a Silver Star for chasing and killing a lone, wounded, retreating Viet Cong. "Kerry is certainly showing some sensitivity there. Most people I knew in Vietnam were just trying to pull their time there and get the hell out. There were some, though, who actually used Vietnam to get their tickets punched. You know, to build their resumes for future endeavors," Carr said.

    In 1991, the United States Senate created the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs to examine the possibility that U.S. POW/MIAs might still be held by the Vietnamese. As chairman of the Select Committee, Kerry proved himself to be a masterful chameleon portraying to the public at large what appeared to be an unbiased approach to resolving the POW/MIA issue. But, in reality, no one in the United States Senate pushed harder to bury the POW/MIA issue, the last obstacle preventing normalization of relations with Hanoi, than John Forbes Kerry. (Remember the middle name "Forbes").

    In fact, his first act as chairman was to travel to Southeast Asia, where during a stopover in Bangkok, Thailand, he lectured the U.S. Chamber of Commerce there on the importance of lifting the trade embargo and normalizing relations with Vietnam. During the entire life of the Senate Select Committee, Kerry never missed a chance to propaganderize and distort the facts in favor of Hanoi.

    Sydney H. Schanberg, associate editor and columnist for New York Newsday and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist veteran of the Indochina War whose book, The Death and Life of Dith Pran, became the subject of the Academy Award-winning film The Killing Fields, chronicled some of Kerry's more blatant pro-Hanoi biases in several of his columns.

    In a Nov. 21, 1993 column, Schanberg wrote, "Highly credible information has been surfacing in recent days which indicates that the headlines you have been reading about a 'breakthrough' in Hanoi's cooperation on the POW/MIA issue are part of a carefully scripted performance. The apparent purpose is to move toward normalization of relations with Hanoi.

    "Sen. John F. Kerry, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, is one of the key figures pushing for normalization. Kerry is currently on a visit to Vietnam where he has been doing two things: (1) praising the Vietnamese effusively for granting access to their war archives and (2) telling the press that there's no believable evidence to back up the stories of live POWs still being held. "Ironically, that very kind of live-POW evidence has been brought to Kerry's own committee on a regular basis over the past year, and he has repeatedly sought to impeach its value. Moreover, Kerry and his allies on the committee - such as Sens. John McCain, Nancy Kassebaum and Tom Daschle - have worked to block much of this evidence from being made public."

    In December of 1992, not long after Kerry was quoted in the world press stating "President Bush should reward Vietnam within a month for its increased cooperation in accounting for American MIAs," Vietnam announced it had granted Colliers International, based in Boston, Massachusetts, a contract worth billions designating Colliers International as the exclusive real estate agent representing Vietnam.

    That deal alone put Colliers in a position to make tens of millions of dollars on the rush to upgrade Vietnam's ports, railroads, highways, government buildings, etc. C. Stewart Forbes, Chief Executive Officer of Colliers International, is Kerry's cousin. Kerry was portrayed in The New Yorker as a proud Vietnam veteran and "war hero" who, as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, dared to take on and defeat the "mendacious POW lobby."

    In its 1993 final report, the Select Committee determined that live U.S. prisoners of war were left behind in the hands of the Vietnamese after the end of the war. The committee also claimed it found no "compelling" evidence proving the POWs remain alive today. Kerry's committee stopped there without answering three of the most profound questions of the entire Senate POW/MIA investigation: What happened to those U.S. prisoners of war who the Select Committee said were alive and in the hands of the Vietnamese but not released at the end of the war? If they are dead, where are their remains? Who is responsible for their deaths?

    No doubt most of the Establishment press will continue to obscure from the public and themselves the raw truth about Kerry, the communist Vietnamese and the POW/MIA issue because it is politically convenient. There is also no doubt the POW/MIA families and Vietnam veteran activists know the truth and recognize Kerry for what he truly is--a traitor, hypocrite, liar and chameleon.
  5. I just love it when they begin to call Kerry a traitor.

    Such a strategy will backfire and reveal the extremism and zealousness of the far right wing.

    As much as our country is polarized, the key votes in the next election are in the center.

    Most centrists abhor extremists.

    I heard some statistics today on Meet The Press that the growth in population of women, minorities favors the Democrats. Of those who voted for Gore in 2000 the percentage of women and minority voters has grown to the point that if the 2000 election were held today by virtue of that shift in the electorate Gore would have won not only the popular vote but also the electoral vote.

    In addition, the number of Democrats who went to the voting booths was not nearly in line with registered Democrats, indicative of a much greater percentage turnout by Republicans. So the Republicans voted to near capacity, where the Democrats did not in 2000.

    All the Democrats have to do to win is to keep the Gore votes, capture the growth in minority and women's votes, and get more Democrats out to vote.

    Voter turnouts in the primaries indicate that Democrats are energized to the point of having voter turnouts at record levels in many instances.

    Karl Rove is worried.

  6. Pabst


    ART, not saying I completely agree with the slant of the article. However do notice it was written almost eight years ago. Not a newly manufactured hate piece.
  7. Old hate, new hate? What's the difference?

    Go back and read literature from the John Birch Society.

    How much has the KKK evolved in the past 50 years?

    How much has Rush's humbling experience as a drug addict changed his world view?

    It is extremist, self righteous and zealous none the less for his fall from grace.

  8. The right wing hate and mudslinging machine is serving it up on Kerry.

    The left - and I don't consider Democrats to be on the left. A real leftist is a Marxist imo, but for pop culture purposes and the readers here, I will use left to include anything from Trotskyites to plain old socialists - is guilty of the same thing. And so are the radical separatist elements. They portray Bush as a willing co-conspirator in 9/11.

    Garbage in Garbage out.
  9. He probabaly is for decriminilzation now.