Jewish World Review August 17, 2004 / 30 Menachem-Av, 5764

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly
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Come clean, Kerry | In an interview with ABC's Nightline on June 22nd, and later in his speech at the Democratic National Convention, Rev. David Alston hailed John Kerry's courage on Feb. 28th, 1969, in the action for which Kerry was awarded the silver star.

"I know when John Kerry told Del (Sandusky) to beach that damn boat, this was a brand new ball game," Alston told ABC's Jake Tapper. "We wasn't running. We took it to Charlie."

Two years before, at a Democratic dinner in Alston's home state of South Carolina, Kerry paid tribute to Alston's courage in a fire fight that took place on Jan. 29, 1969:

"This gunman kept firing even though he was wounded — one bullet going through his helmet, grazing his head, and another hitting him in the arm," said Kerry. "I had no idea there was a holy man on those guns."

The difficulty is that Alston wasn't on hand to witness what Kerry did on Feb. 28th, and Kerry wasn't on hand to witness what Alston did on Jan 29th. Alston did indeed fight bravely on Jan. 29th, but was evacuated that day to a hospital for treatment of his wounds, as was Lt(jg) Tedd Peck, who commanded PCF-94 during the engagement. Kerry did not replace Peck as officer in charge of that swift boat until the next day, Jan. 30.

Alston was replaced as gunner on PCF-94 by Fred Short, who joined the crew on 13 Feb., and remained until March 4.

Alston and Kerry did serve together, for perhaps two weeks, including the action on March 13th for which Kerry received his bronze star and his third purple heart, which was his ticket home.

Kerry certainly could have heard about Alston's courage on Jan 29th from the other crew members, and Alston could have learned of Kerry's deeds on Feb. 28th from the same source. So each claiming to be an eyewitness to the heroism of the other on those dates could charitably be described as an embellishment, rather than an outright lie.

Kerry's staff would like us to believe that the claim Kerry made several dozen times to having spent Christmas in 1968 in Cambodia is an embellishment, rather than a lie.

In a speech on the senate floor on March. 27, 1986, Kerry said: "I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and have the president of the United States telling the American people that I was not there; that the troops weren't in Cambodia. I have that memory which is seared, seared in me."

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In an article Kerry wrote for the Boston Herald in 1979, he said: "I remember spending Christmas eve 1968 five miles across the Cambodia border being shot at by our South Vietnamese allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas. The absurdity of almost being killed by our own allies in a country in which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops was very real."

It says something about the competence, the bias, or both of the journalists who printed this account that it occurred to none of them that it was Lyndon Johnson, not Richard Nixon, who was president in 1968.

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have provided evidence that shows Kerry spent Christmas, 1968, in Sa Dec, which is 55 miles from the Cambodian border. In a left-handed acknowledgement that what the Swifties say is true, the Kerry campaign now says Kerry spent Christmas "near" Cambodia.

To try to make it appear that Kerry was nearer to Cambodia than in fact he was, Kerry's staff made the hilarious claim that the Mekong delta is between Cambodia and Vietnam. This is as geographically absurd as claiming the Mississippi delta separates Arkansas from Louisiana.

After the controversy over "Christmas and Cambodia" broke on the internet (most of the "mainstream" media have not yet seen fit to mention it) Kerry's biographer, Douglas Brinkley, told the London newspaper the Telegraph that Kerry had conducted secret missions in Cambodia "three or four times" in January and February, 1969.

Brinkley provided no evidence to support his assertions. In view of the cavalier manner Kerry has dealt with the truth on at least some aspects of his Vietnam experiences, he should be required to.

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

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