T Nation

Bob Dole's Comments

Former Senator, war hero and Presidential candidate Bob Dole had this to say about the latest John Kerry Viet Nam issue:

“He never even bled that I know of.” Dole told CNN’s Late Edition. “As far as I know he never spent one day in a hospital. He doesn’t have any disability. And he’s boasting about three purple hearts. Sad, when you think of some of the people who really got shot up in Viet Nam.”

“Dole, who nearly died as a member of the 10th mountain division from wonds he sustained during the 1944 invasion of Italy, is the foremost champion of veterans causes.”

Dole went on to state that John Kerry should apologize for calling his fellow Viet Nam soilders war criminals during his 1971 Senate testimony.

As a side note being a real war hero did not help Bob Dole defeat Bill Clinton in 1996!

Interesting perspective.

http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36%7E150%7E2346038,00.html

Military service? So what
By Ed Quillen

How important is a candidate’s military service record? That question keeps popping up, most recently with allegations from an outfit called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which claims that Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry really wasn’t under enemy fire when he won a Bronze Star on March 13, 1969.

One leader of those veterans, Larry Thurlow, commanded a Swift Boat that day in the same area, and he has said that “I never heard a shot.” However, Thurlow’s own Bronze Star citation says that he came to the assistance of other boats “despite enemy bullets flying about him.”

There are people, like Arizona Sen. John McCain, a Republican and former prisoner of war, who have called on President George W. Bush to denounce the Swift Boat Veteran attack ads.

“I deplore this kind of politics,” McCain said a couple of weeks ago. “I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable. … I think John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam. I think George Bush served honorably in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.”

The Bush White House, of course, has not denounced the Swift Boat ad, which was produced and financed by Bush supporters like Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, who donated $100,000.

The Bushites managed to get the nomination away from McCain in 2000 by questioning his patriotism with rumors in South Carolina, and in 2002 managed to defeat Democratic Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia, who lost two legs and most of an arm in Vietnam, by questioning his patriotism because he, like George W. Bush at first, opposed creating a Department of Homeland Security.

But the issue here is not consistency - it is whether military experience matters, either as a campaign issue or as a guarantee of competence in office.

If we judged only by a politician’s military experience, then the Confederacy should have won the Civil War easily. Abraham Lincoln served for a few weeks as captain of a volunteer company in the Black Hawk War, and was court-martialed because his men stole the regiment’s whiskey and got drunk. Jefferson Davis was a West Point graduate and an honored commander of the First Mississippi Rifles during the Mexican War, wherein he was wounded. He was also an able and innovative secretary of war during Franklin Pierce’s administration.

Certainly Ulysses S. Grant had ample military experience - service in the Mexican War and commanding general of the victorious Union Army - when he entered the White House in 1869. But no one claims he was a great president.

There was a time, perhaps, when military service helped at the polls, as some victorious generals went on to win the White House, from George Washington and Zachary Taylor to Dwight D. Eisenhower.

But it hasn’t mattered in more recent elections. Richard Nixon was a supply officer who never saw enemy fire during World War II; George McGovern was a decorated bomber pilot who dodged flak almost every day over the Third Reich. Guess who won in 1972.

Ronald Reagan spent World War II making training and propaganda films in Hollywood; Jimmy Carter was an Annapolis graduate with seven years of active naval service. Guess who won in 1980. George Bush the Elder was a decorated torpedo bomber pilot in World War II; Bob Dole was gravely wounded with the 10th Mountain Division in World War II. Both lost to Bill Clinton, who was a draft-dodger during Vietnam.

In short, there’s no real evidence that a military record makes much difference to voters, and perhaps rightly so, since it doesn’t seem to make much difference in the White House. But when the Bushites refuse to distance themselves from “dishonest and dishonorable” people like the Swift Boat Veterans - that might tell us something worth knowing.

Congress is considering a new military medal to recognize John Kerry’s war wounds.

The new medal will be called the “Purple Owie”. It will be authorized for wear directly over the wound, and after use, will be rolled up and thrown over the nearest fence…

“Who looks like a sissy over 3 little scratches?”

Hint: He had 3 purple hearts in 4 months, but never spent a day in the hospital.

tme,

A bit disingenuious of you to claim that Bush needs to distance himself from the swift boat group. How many 527’s has Kerry distanced himself from? Name them!

jackzepplin,

Hilarious!

[quote]ZEB wrote:
tme,

A bit disingenuious of you to claim that Bush needs to distance himself from the swift boat group. How many 527’s has Kerry distanced himself from? Name them![/quote]

zebbie, I posted an opinion article from the Sunday Denver Post, without comment other than that it was an interesting perspective. Fairly “disingenuious” of you to pretend otherwise. How many times did I claim otherwise? Name them!

[quote]ZEB wrote:
How many 527’s has Kerry distanced himself from? Name them![/quote]

Get a grip on yourself, ZEB.

Kerry asked MoveOn to stop running an ad that said Dubya went missing from duty when he was in the Guard.

MoveOn pulled the ad at Kerry’s request!

MoveOn was set to run ads that ripped the Swift Boat vets, and Kerry told them not to.

Check your “facts”!!!

As far as Bob Dole goes, he also won a Purple Heart for a leg scratch, when a crewmate threw a grenade that bounced off a tree. He should shut the hell up.

Any clue how this slanders the whole medal-awarding process of the entire US Military? Nobody ever GIVES THEMSELVES a medal. I have an idea, why don’t we review EVERY MEDAL ever given, and see if they were really deserved?

Also, I hear people say “we have no way to know what happened back then”.

YES WE DO. We have the official records that were written in the immediate time period.

But your shit-flinging slanders the integrity of military record-keeping.

ZEB, when you fling shit around, expect to get some on yourself.

He did??? Funny, no one else has heard about this reigning in of Moveon.org

Funny, Bob Dole’s hand that he can’t use seems to indicate something might have happened to him bigger than a scratch

The records dont support much You mean the ones that Kerry wont release, but still will try to make the focal point of his campaign. Those records?

thanks,
me

p.s.
Anyone remember that SNL skit with Bob dole in the Real World House? “Hey, hey…thats bob dole’s chair…I’m bob dole”

[quote]biltritewave wrote:
He did??? Funny, no one else has heard about this reigning in of Moveon.org
[/quote]

I can’t help it if you’re not paying attention!!!

lumpster,
Wheres the public statement? Show it to me. Wheres the public statement about Michael Moore…show it to me. And you can answer about Kerry releasing his war records too…lets hear it.

thanks,
me

Lumpy:

First of all President Bush denounced the add today! Are you paying attention, or just to busy with the poison pen?

He further stated that all 527’s should be stopped. I bet the democrats won’t agree with that one. The 527’s allow them to take the high road while others do their dirty work.

And for the final time, I don’t think Kerry’s war record (whatever the heck it might be) is as important as his 19 year liberal voting record. By the way that is next on the attack agenda. I wonder how Kerry will defend it, or will he just try to stifle their free speech with a law suit?

[quote]Lumpy wrote:
biltritewave wrote:
He did??? Funny, no one else has heard about this reigning in of Moveon.org

I can’t help it if you’re not paying attention!!!
[/quote]

I guess I should repost this on this thread as well:

Lumpy:

Perhaps the whole story should be presented on this – we need some nuance here…

Firstly, are you implying that John Kerry can and did control the ads run by MoveOn.org? That would DEFINITELY be a violation of the rules governing 527 organizations. Illegal, as they say.

Secondly, check out this ecxcerpt [see the whole post by following the link]:

http://www.celluloid-wisdom.co

Kerry: “I condemned the Moveon.org ad before I uncondemned it”

Not surprisingly, the Kerry campaign has decided to flip-flop on its ?condemnation? of the recent Moveon.org anti-Bush ad aimed (yawn) at George Bush?s Air National Guard record. From CNS:

[begin story]The Bush campaign has suggested that Sen. John Kerry join President Bush in calling off the dogs?those ?shadowy? 527 groups that run ads for and against Bush and Kerry.

The liberal group MoveOn.org and the anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are both 527s, named after a section of the tax code.

But on Friday, a spokeswoman for the Kerry campaign backed away from the suggestion. She said what MoveOn.org is doing is perfectly fine, while what the Swift Boat Veterans are doing is ?dishonest? and ?dishonorable.?

Debra Deshong of the Kerry campaign told Fox News there?s a difference between MoveOn.org and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth: ?MoveOn.org is an independent organization that existed well before the Kerry campaign,? she said, whereas Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ?is not an independent group.?

Deshong invoked Friday?s New York Times article as proof: ?And in today?s New York Times, it details exactly all the ties this group (Swift Boat Veterans for Truth) has to the Bush White House.?

Deshong condemned Bush for not telling Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to stop running their ad. (Swift Boats say it wouldn?t matter what Bush said?see related story)

?Again, we (the Kerry campaign) have nothing to do with these independent ads, like MoveOn.org. That is an independent organization that existed well before the Kerry campaign. They have every right to be running what they are under the campaign finance laws.? According to Deshong, ?This is about the Swift Boat Vets that are running dishonorable ads that Bush refuses to condemn? (my emphasis)[End story]

Again, for those of you keeping score at home: John Kerry initially condemned the Moveon.org ad that maliciously floats disproven charges concerning George Bush?s Air National Guard service?only to have his campaign set up a press conference hours later so that Wes Clark and others could essentially repeat and reinforce the very claims Kerry was supposedly condemning. But now Kerry is taking his nuanced condemnation one step further: he?s no longer condemning the ad at all.

[quote]Lumpy wrote:

Also, I hear people say “we have no way to know what happened back then”.

YES WE DO. We have the official records that were written in the immediate time period.

But your shit-flinging slanders the integrity of military record-keeping.
[/quote]

Really, Lumpy? So official military records are proof positive, and we need not look further?

Here’s an excerpt for you:

http://qando.net/archives/003874.htm

“Since the Kerry camp wishes to argue that official Navy records are conclusive proof that Kerry served honorably and with distinction, I suggest that those of us opposed to Kerry offer to accept that argument, as long as the Kerry people accept the logical corollary: the official Air Force records indicating George W. Bush was honorably discharged from his service is conclusive proof that he properly met his obligations as well.”

[quote]Lumpy wrote:

Also, I hear people say “we have no way to know what happened back then”.

YES WE DO. We have the official records that were written in the immediate time period.

But your shit-flinging slanders the integrity of military record-keeping.

ZEB, when you fling shit around, expect to get some on yourself.[/quote]

How very apt Lumpy.

“The issue here, as I have heard it raised, is was he present and active on duty in Alabama at the times he was supposed to be. … Just because you get an honorable discharge does not in fact answer that question.”

–John Kerry, questioning President Bush’s military-service record, February 8, 2004.

http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0408/22/le.00.html

[excerpt – scroll down about 3/4 to the bottom if you follow the link]

BLITZER: Welcome back to “LATE EDITION.”

In just a moment I’ll speak with the former Republican presidential nominee and Senator Bob Dole. First, though, let’s go to CNN headquarters in Atlanta for a quick check of what’s in the news right now.

(NEWSBREAK)

BLITZER: In just 11 days, President Bush will lay out his case for four more years in office when he formally accepts his party’s nomination at the Republican National Convention in New York.

Joining us now with his special insight into this presidential race, the former Republican presidential nominee, Bob Dole.

Thanks very much for joining us.

BOB DOLE, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Wolf, thank you.

BLITZER: Let’s talk a little bit about this whole Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad campaign, what’s going on. It’s a sensitive subject. I’m interested in your thoughts.

First of all, let’s have a little excerpt from this latest ad they’ve put out going after John Kerry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads…

JOE PONDER, SWIFT BOAT VETERANS FOR TRUTH: The accusations that John Kerry made against the veterans who served in Vietnam was just devastating.

KERRY: … randomly shot at civilians…

PONDER: And it hurt me more than any physical wounds I had.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: First of all, Senator, what’s your bottom line on this whole ad campaign?

DOLE: I think this can hurt Kerry more than all the medal controversy. I mean, one day he’s saying that we were shooting civilians, cutting off their ears, cutting off their heads, throwing away his medals or his ribbons. The next day he’s standing there, “I want to be president because I’m a Vietnam veteran.”

And I think he’s – I said months ago, “John, don’t go too far.” And I think he’s got himself into this wicket now where he can’t extricate himself because not every one of these people can be Republican liars. There’s got to be some truth to the charges.

But this is on tape. This is on television. This is before the Senate committee.

BLITZER: Just to remind our viewers, this is when he came back from Vietnam. He testified in 1971…

DOLE: Ran for Congress. BLITZER: Right. And he was quoting a whole bunch of other Vietnam veterans who opposed the war and making these allegations of atrocities, if you will, war crimes committed by U.S. troops.

And a lot of people have always suggested that what’s really angered these Vietnam veterans, the other side, is, not so much what he did or didn’t do when he served in Vietnam, but what he did when he came back.

DOLE: I think that’s true. And I think this ad’s going to take – it’s going to be tough on Kerry because – and he says, “Well, this is all hearsay,” what he picked up from other veterans. But he said it. He said it before a Senate committee. It had worldwide attention.

BLITZER: The fact that he said on Tim Russert’s “Meet the Press” a few months ago he probably went too far. He was a young man just back from Vietnam, and he probably shouldn’t have said some of those things during those statements when he came home from Vietnam. Does that ease the responsibility that he has?

DOLE: Maybe he should apologize to all the other 2.5 million veterans who served. He wasn’t the only one in Vietnam.

And here’s, you know, a good guy, good friend. I respect his record. But three Purple Hearts and never bled that I know of. I mean, they’re all superficial wounds. Three Purple Hearts and you’re out.

I think Senator Kerry needs to talk about his Senate record, which is pretty thin. That’s probably why he’s talking about his war record, which is pretty confused.

BLITZER: You know, the American public seems to be paying attention to these Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads. There’s a CBS poll that came out. I think this is the right poll. Here it is. Presidential choice among veterans, 37 percent support Kerry-Edwards, 55 percent Bush-Cheney. But after the convention it was at 46 percent.

He seems to be losing support among veterans, which is an influential bloc of voters out there.

DOLE: You know, I think it’s too early to tell what – nobody maybe in six – how many days left? Not many. There are eight weeks. Maybe this will be forgotten. Maybe there will be something else. But I think this has certainly damaged Senator Kerry.

And I think it’s partly his own doing. He can’t lay out – I remember in '96, I was the veteran in the race. Bill Clinton avoided the draft. And we didn’t have all this trouble over my service versus his non-service. There wasn’t much written about it. People accepted the fact that I had a record.

Now there’s all the talk about Bush’s National Guard service. Has he told the truth? Has he released the records? And one way, I think, for John Kerry, who I consider to be a friend, is to maybe apologize to all these people for something he may have said at a very early age, and let us have those records he’s given to the author…

BLITZER: Douglas Brinkley.

DOLE: Douglas Brinkley, the records and the journals…

BLITZER: Who wrote a book about his experience.

DOLE: Yes. But somebody ought to find out the facts. I think this is going to be – could be the sleeper issue.

BLITZER: Based on what I’m hearing you say, you tend to suggest that these Swift Boat Veterans have a point when they go out and make the statements they’re making. If so, you would seem to disagree with John McCain, who’s also a friend of yours…

DOLE: Yes, but, John wasn’t there. He was up in the air. He wasn’t any…

BLITZER: He was a POW.

DOLE: Well, yes. But he wasn’t – he was in Vietnam, but he wasn’t on the swift boat.

BLITZER: But listen to what he said only this past week. I want you to listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA: I believe that President Bush served honorably in the National Guard, and I believe that service in the National Guard is honorable. And I believe that John Kerry served honorably.

And there are more compelling issues. Today, probably, an American will die in Iraq, a young American. We should be focusing our attention on winning that war, not trying to refight one that’s been over for 30 years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOLE: And John McCain is absolutely correct. But as I recall, it was Terry McAuliffe who made reference to President Bush as being AWOL. They dragged up all the stuff. I think there were 80 stories in the media about the National Guard. There’s only been about eight or 10 on the so-called Kerry flap.

So it seems to me they’ve initiated it, and now they’ve got into some rather murky area. But I don’t – I wish they’d forget it. It’s not about whether or not you’re…

BLITZER: There’s a lot more important issues in this campaign that should be focused on. But McCain earlier said that these attack ads against John Kerry, who he says is a friend of his, are dishonest, dishonorable, and he would like the president specifically to disassociate himself from these ads.

DOLE: Well, then he is cooperating with the committee. Then he is coordinating. I listened to John O’Neill the other night, who is one of the sponsors of these ads, saying in no way…

BLITZER: He’s the author of this new book.

DOLE: Yes, he’s the author of the book, “Unfit for Command,” saying we’re not going to listen to the president. There isn’t any coordination. That would be coordination.

President Bush has disavowed the ads. What else can he do?

BLITZER: He’s disavowed all these 527 ads, these so-called organizations, these independent organizations.

DOLE: Moveon.org, which is funding all these vicious attacks against President Bush.

You know, I would like to talk about – you know, I think they ought to talk about the record. But Senator Kerry’s record in the Senate, I served with him for 14 years, I can’t remember a single piece of legislation that bore his name. And maybe he did a lot of good work, but it wasn’t very obvious.

BLITZER: What a lot of Democrats are saying, they’re suggesting there’s a pattern here in going after John Kerry’s Vietnam war record, similar to what Republicans did to John McCain in the South Carolina primary in 2000.

At that time, John McCain was in a neck-and-neck battle with the president for the Republican presidential nomination. I want you to listen to what he said to the president in that debate on February 15, 2000.

DOLE: I saw it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: But let me tell you what really went over the line. Governor Bush had an event, and he paid for it, and stood next to a spokesman for a fringe veterans group. That fringe veteran said that John McCain had abandoned the veterans.

Now, I don’t know how if you can understand this, George, but that really hurts.

BUSH: Yes.

MCCAIN: That really hurts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOLE: Yes, that does hurt. I mean, I’m a veteran. And these same people now are going after Bush. I didn’t see them going after Clinton in '96 because he didn’t serve at all. They were going after me on my record.

That’s why I say we ought to get back to the issues. Let’s talk about the issues. Let’s talk about taxes, the environment, jobs. John Kerry – very articulate. You know, he’s not a…

BLITZER: Well, because one of the things you’re suggesting – and I want to make sure our viewers are not left with the wrong impression, Senator, is that you seem to think there is some doubt whether John Kerry deserved those ribbons and medals that he got, serving in Vietnam.

I want you to listen to what Senator John Warner, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, a friend of yours, he was on this program sitting in that seat only one week ago. He was secretary of the Navy when John Kerry got that Silver Cross. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN WARNER ®, VIRGINIA: We did extraordinary, careful checking on that type of medal, a very high one, when it goes through the Secretariat. So I’d stand by the process that awarded him that medal, and I think we best acknowledge that his heroism did gain that recognition.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: The Silver Star he was talking about. You obviously believe Senator Warner.

DOLE: Yes, but I don’t think Senator Warner drafted the citation or even, you know, they’d gone so far as to say Kerry wrote up his own record.

BLITZER: But what Senator Warner said is there was a process that, when it got to him, the secretary of the Navy, he had total confidence that it was justified. And that if he got the Silver Star, John Kerry, he believes it was justified.

DOLE: I don’t quarrel with that. I said John Kerry’s a hero. But what I will always quarrel about are the Purple Hearts. I mean, the first one, whether he ought to have a Purple Heart – he got two in one day, I think. And he was out of there in less than four months, because three Purple Hearts and you’re out.

And as far as I know, he’s never spent one day in the hospital. I don’t think he draws any disability pay. He doesn’t have any disability. And boasting about three Purple Hearts when you think of some of the people who really got shot up in Vietnam…

BLITZER: And speaking about people getting shot up in Vietnam, the Democrats, at least some Democrats, are now going after the president and the vice president for avoiding service in Vietnam. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, Democrat…

DOLE: He’s not a very good one to complain because he was hiding out in Japan, claiming he was a Vietnam veteran.

BLITZER: Well, that’s another matter.

DOLE: Yes, I know it is.

BLITZER: Let’s talk about what he said. He said this. He said, “Those of us who served and those of us who went in the military don’t like it when someone like a Dick Cheney comes out and he wants to be tough. Yes, he’ll be tough. He’ll be tough with somebody else’s blood, somebody else’s kids, but not when it was his turn to go.”

So there’s two sides to this type of debate.

DOLE: Oh, no doubt about it. You know, this is a very sensitive – a lot of mothers and a lot of fathers and a lot of wives who have lost their husbands and a lot of mothers who have lost their sons – this is a very, very sensitive area. And it ought to be treated that way.

Somebody ought to be, somebody like Wolf Blitzer, ought to take a week off and go out and give us the facts because people, the American people, will believe you.

Right now, there’s probably a certain amount of truth here and a certain amount of truth there. But we don’t know what the real truth is.

BLITZER: I’m not so sure the American would believe me if I…

DOLE: Well, I would.

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: Maybe you would.

Let’s talk about the convention a little bit. How is this race shaping up right now?

DOLE: Very tight. Very close.

BLITZER: How tight?

DOLE: Well, you know I’m one of these junkies, so I watch all the polls. I watch the battleground states. I see two points, one point – nobody really knows at this time.

But I’d say right now Kerry has the edge.

BLITZER: Because of the battleground states? So you’re looking at the Electoral College…

DOLE: I’m looking at the Electoral College in the battleground states. And even though they didn’t get a bounce in the convention, you know, people got to know John Kerry. I think most people liked what they saw. There’s a little backlash now because of all the Vietnam thing. But he’s probably ahead. So Bush has got his work cut out for him.

BLITZER: What does he need to do at the convention, the president, in order to get a bounce out of his own convention?

DOLE: What he needs to do is what I was never very good at, and that’s sticking to your message and talking about leadership and talking about global terror and talking about taxes and talking about values and talking about what he’s done for Medicare, the Medicare drug benefit.

BLITZER: What’s more important, reaching out to those undecided, moderate – the moderate middle, the swing voters, or making sure you have your real conservative base in front of you so that they can go out and get out the vote and get their friends to vote?

Because these are two different audiences and you have two different appeals going to the conservative wing of the Republican Party as opposed to the more moderate wing.

DOLE: Well, I’m planning on a very – you know, I tried to reach out to the moderate base. And some of the real conservatives, the ones that are way out there, never really trusted Bob Dole.

I wasn’t one of them. I wasn’t tough enough, da, da, da. You know, my voting record was OK, but – but when you reach out and try to expand the base, which I think you should do whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, and that’s what I think George Bush should do.

He ought to reach out – most people are in the middle in this country. They’re not on the far right or the far left. They’re out there in the middle where Eisenhower was and where Harry Truman was, where most of these great leaders were.

BLITZER: Speaking of the far-right wing of the Republican Party, Pat Buchanan has a new book that’s coming out. The New York Times reported on it today: “Where the Right went Wrong.”

And he goes after the president, this President Bush, just as he went after his father in '92. “The Iraq invasion is the greatest strategic blunder in 40 years. If prudence is the mark of a conservative, Mr. Bush has ceased to be a conservative.”

Pat Buchanan I assume still has some following out there among some conservatives.

DOLE: Some. You know, Pat’s a great writer. But he’s always been sort of an isolationist. So it doesn’t surprise me. But you know, he’s one of those.

Is he going to vote for John Kerry? I don’t think so. I think he’ll support Bush. He’s disappointed in Bush when he measures him by his standards. But Buchanan didn’t get a nomination, as I know of, as I recall.

But anyway, that’s his right, it’s his view. It’s a free country. It’s the same with the people on the swift boats, on both sides. It’s a free country. All these people might be telling it how – truthfully as they see it some 30 years later.

BLITZER: But you’re still a political news junkie, huh?

DOLE: Oh, yes. I don’t give up.

BLITZER: You still watch all this stuff.

Thanks very much, Senator, for joining us.

DOLE: Thank you. Thank you.

Purple Hearts: Three and Out
Posted April 12, 2004
By Stephen Crump

Democratic presidential nominee in waiting Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) frequently speaks of courage, brotherhood and responsibility when he mentions his brief service in Vietnam. He took Super-8 home movies there in which he staged heroics in full-battle dress, so that later he might use them for campaign ads. Kerry has made so much of his Vietnam medals which he once pretended to throw away that critics have begun to wonder why he has been so cagey about the dubious circumstances surrounding the Purple Hearts that got him out of Vietnam after only four months of combat service. Under the rules, a serviceman had to be awarded three Purple Hearts to apply to go home. Not one or two, but three. And, say critics, there’s the rub.

Kerry, who piloted Patrol Crafts Fast (PCFs) as a young Lt.(jg) in the Vietnam War, has always made much of those Purple Hearts. An award often pinned on the pillow of a combat warrior so badly wounded that he cannot sit up to receive it, the Purple Heart recognizes the sacrifices of combat when a soldier or officer has sustained a wound “from an outside force or agent” and received treatment from a medical officer. The records for such treatment “must have been made a matter of official record,” according to the military definition of the award.

According to Kerry’s own description in Douglas Brinkley’s Tour of Duty, the Dec. 2, 1968, mission behind what he has claimed to be his first Purple Heart was “a half-assed action that hardly qualified as combat.” Indeed. Kerry was stationed with Coastal Division 14 at Cam Ranh Bay. At that time he piloted a small foam-filled boat, known as a Boston Whaler, with two enlisted men in the darkness of early morning. The intent, apparently, was to patrol an area that was known for contraband trafficking, but it was an undocumented mission. Upon approaching the objective point, the crew noticed a sampan crossing the river. As it pulled to shore, Kerry and his little team opened fire, destroying the boat and whatever its cargo might have been.

In the confusion, Kerry claims to have received a “stinging piece of heat” in the arm, the result of a tiny piece of shrapnel. He was not incapacitated and continued with regular swiftboat-patrol duty. William Shachte, who oversaw this ad hoc mission, was quoted by the Boston Globe as saying Kerry’s injury, from whatever source, “was not a serious wound at all.”

But Kerry met with his immediate superior officer, Lt.Cmdr. Grant Hibbard, the next morning and requested a Purple Heart for his wound. Hibbard recalls that Kerry had a “minor scratch” on his arm and was holding in his hand what appeared to be a fragment of a U.S. M-79 grenade, the shrapnel that had caused the wound. “They didn’t receive enemy fire,” Hibbard tells Insight. Since this was an essential requirement for the award, the commander rejected Kerry’s request. Hibbard does not remember that Kerry received medical attention of any kind and confirms that no one else on the mission suffered any injuries.

Shortly thereafter, Kerry was transferred to Coastal Division 11 at An Thoi. Apparently, Kerry petitioned to have his Purple Heart request reconsidered. Hibbard remembers getting correspondence from Kerry’s new division, asking for his approval. In the hurried process of moving to a new command himself, Hibbard thinks he might have signed off on the award. If so, “it was to my chagrin,” Hibbard remembers. Kerry’s second commander, Lt.Cmdr. G.M. Elliott, says he has no recollection of such an event ever occurring.

There are no written records of Kerry’s magical first Purple Heart on file at the Naval Historical Center in Washington, the nation’s primary repository for such documentation. A Purple Heart normally is not requested but is awarded de facto for a wound inflicted by the enemy - a wound serious enough to require medical attention. The Naval Historical Center keeps all documents connected to such awards to U.S. Navy and Marine personnel. These typewritten “casualty cards” list the date, location and prognosis of the wound for which the Purple Heart is given, and they are produced by the medical facility that provides treatment for the combat wound at the hands of the enemy. There are two such cards for Kerry - for his slight wounds on Feb. 20 and March 13, 1969, but none for his December 1968 claim.

After receiving a Purple Heart for the March 13 scratch and bruise, Kerry sought an early pass out of combat duty, invoking the informal Navy “instruction” known as 1300.39. According to the Boston Globe, 1300.39 meant an officer could request a reassignment from his superior officer after receiving three Purple Hearts. The instruction states that, rather than being automatic, the reassignment would “be determined after consideration of his physical classification for duty and on an individual basis.” Of the 138 servicemen and officers in Kerry’s unit who received Purple Hearts during the time he was there, records indicate only two received more than two. These were Lt.(jg) Jim Galvin and a boatswain’s mate named Stevens. When Insight reached Galvin he said all three of his Purple Hearts were the result of shrapnel or glass shards. Such minor injuries were common on PCF boats with their glass windows and thin metal hulls, and, like Kerry’s, Galvin’s injuries were not serious enough to take him out of combat for more than a few days.

Unlike Kerry, Galvin elected to stay with his men. Indeed, though a professional Navy officer, he never had heard of instruction 1300.39. It was not until early April of 1969, when Galvin noticed that Kerry was preparing to leave the officers’ barracks at An Thoi that he learned about “three Purple Hearts and you’re out.” According to Galvin, it was Kerry who told him, “There’s a rule that gets you out of here and I’m getting out. You ought to do the same.” Galvin remembers, “He seemed to take care of everything pretty quickly,” because that was the last time Galvin saw Kerry in Vietnam.

The three-times wounded Galvin stayed with his men, transferred to Cam Ranh Bay to get them a respite from the dicey Mekong Delta, and eventually left the swiftboats for destroyer school.

Insight: contacted many men who served in Coastal Division at the same time Kerry did to ask if any of them had heard of anyone leaving the combat zone by invoking three minor wounds. Of the 12 who replied, none had heard of anyone doing so but John Kerry."

Less than a month after having claimed three wounds for which he lost no more than a total of two days of duty, Kerry reported as an aide to a navy yard admiral in Brooklyn, New York, leaving his crew in Vietnam. Two years later, preparing for a congressional race in a left-wing Massachusetts district - where the seat eventually was won by the even more radical Rev. Robert Drinan - Kerry was working with Maoists and other radicals in Vietnam Veterans Against the War, saying of those he left behind who were being killed and wounded for real that they were committing crimes “on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels.”

Indeed, Kerry said, he knew men who in Vietnam “had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks and generally ravaged the countryside.” Addressing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 22, 1971, about these and other alleged war crimes, he called on the United States to pay “extensive reparations.”

Stephen Crump is an associate reporter for Insight magazine.

ANd this…

Kerry?s 3rd
Purple Heart Award

Kerry?s Navy Injury Report:

“LTJG Kerry suffered
shrapnel wounds in his left buttocks
and contusions* on his right forearm
when a mine detonated close aboard PCF-94.”

bruises (not broken, or bleeding)

Officer Larry Thurlow,
on shore with Kerry that day:

Kerry’s buttocks shrapnel wound came from a self-inflicted wound when Kerry threw a concussion grenade into a rice pile and stayed too close

John Kerry?s
own journal entry:

"I got a piece of small grenade in my ass from one of the rice bin explosions

The regulations for the Purple Heart
exclude accidental injury
and self-inflicted wounds.

Sooo…Kerry reported to the Navy that he had been wounded by shrapnel in his buttocks from an enemy mine.

In reality he negligently wounded himself and then lied about the wound in order to secure a third Purple Heart and a quick trip home ? 243 days early.

The first purple heart…

Kerry succeeded in keeping the small piece of shrapnel in his arm until the following day, when he was treated by Dr. Louis Letson, whose version of the event matches William Schachte’s account rather than Kerry’s:

http://hail.he.net/~danger/swift/staticp
ages/index.php?page=Purple1

And this has just come out:
Greg Garrison Show | Ignatz

Posted on 08/17/2004 12:11:48 PM PDT by Ignatz

Presidential hopeful John Kerry has based his campaign bid for the US Presidency on his Vietnam war-hero status and his three Purple Hearts.

On the Garrison Show (WNDE, Indianapolis) this morning, a guest announced that soon-to-be-released excerpts from a diary kept by Kerry will shed doubt on his first Purple Heart. Apparently, Kerry notes in the diary that he DID NOT come under actual enemy fire until days after being awarded the medal.

The diary was made available to a left-wing journalist named Cockburn who was apparently more angered by Kerry’s participation in various atrocities in Vietnam than by what the diary proves of Senator Kerry’s allegedly “illegal” Purple heart commendation. The information has been sent to Drudge, Fox News, and various other news organs.

Joe

Lumpy

I can’t as a rational person argue with you. You are not worth it.

Let me speak for all veterans. You are full of shit.

Bob Dole was wounded by a machine gun bullet, actually several. He lost the use of his arm and hand and spent a year in the hospital recovering. That is what a purple heart means to a lot of veterans. Hardly a leg scratch from a bounced grenade. Bye the way ever saw a grenade go off? They don’t make scratches on your leg. They blow it off.

Please walk into a VFW and make that statement. Hopefully one in NYC. I know a few in Brooklyn that you could walk into and make that statement. They’d love to have you.

[quote]hedo wrote:
Lumpy

I can’t as a rational person argue with you. You are not worth it.

Let me speak for all veterans. You are full of shit.

Bob Dole was wounded by a machine gun bullet, actually several. He lost the use of his arm and hand and spent a year in the hospital recovering. That is what a purple heart means to a lot of veterans. Hardly a leg scratch from a bounced grenade. Bye the way ever saw a grenade go off? They don’t make scratches on your leg. They blow it off.

Please walk into a VFW and make that statement. Hopefully one in NYC. I know a few in Brooklyn that you could walk into and make that statement. They’d love to have you.[/quote]

Hedo,

I’m not sure that his mommy would let him go.

~ Jack

"How very apt Lumpy.

“The issue here, as I have heard it raised, is was he present and active on duty in Alabama at the times he was supposed to be. … Just because you get an honorable discharge does not in fact answer that question.”

–John Kerry, questioning President Bush’s military-service record, February 8, 2004."

Oh, my God!!! BB, that is beautiful!!!

I have no idea how he is going to spin that statement!!!

Looking forward to the smoke and mirrors.

Lumpy, if you were worth anything you would admit you’ve been had (again).

JeffR

I don’t think anyone would have made a big deal about Kerry’s war record (whatever it might be) if he had not made it the center piece of his campaign.

A smart move on his part would be to begin talking about his 19 year voting record as a Senator…Oh wait…It was one of the most liberal in the Senate…hmm can’t talk about that. Okay, three purple hearts it is!