Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Plan is in the Mail

Thoughts on the debate:

Hot News Flash: George Bush is not Ronald Reagan. He will never be known as the "Great Communicator."

On the other hand, he what he is. If you like what he is, then that's enough. He does talk like real people talk and not like the smartest guy in the class. Of course, the smartest guy in my class was smart enough to talk like a regular guy...

Kerry was more on the attack, but that's not too surprising since an incumbent president will have a record to attack. Mr. Bush wisely avoided any attacks on Mr. Kerry's governmental service, except for one brief comment made in face of a "loaded" question about his opponent's character flaws.

Kerry is hard to debate because he spews out a lot of words (my wife says he provided four answers for every question) and is not, apparently, under any constraints of logic, consistency or common sense. His need to put himself on the scene of major events is really strange. Who cares if he was in the KGB file room unless he was pulling his own file.

He straddles (supporting two forms of negotiating with North Korea).

He attacks what he alleges has happened regardless of what really happened (as in the alleged failure to use US troops in Tora Bora which was disputed by Gen. Franks and by the SpecOp people who assert that that's the way we were supposed to be doing it).

He avoids setting him self up (he continuosly says he has a plan and rather than bore us with any details, suggests you visit his website - I guess the President should have brought his laptop so he could debate Kerry's plans. Might be fun to have the President whip out his laptop on the campaign trail and debate it. How long can Kerry get away with the "plan is in the mail" routine?

Since Kerry seems to believe every thing he says as he says it (so that it becomes his own "ground truth") , it's hard to use the positions he has taken in the past against him because he will simply claim that he has not ever shifted his position because, in his mind he hasn't.

The President looked tired and burdened. That's the way he should look. He was out doing the country's business during the day. Like rust, the demands on the president never sleep.His vacations just take him away from the throngs in Washington (how did Lincoln put up with people wandering into the White Hose?). He's carrying a huge load on his shoulders and he was aware that as president he cannot take the pot shots at the French, Germans and the UN the way that a challenger can take on our allies. It shows a degree of maturity misunderstood by the Kerry support group.

Kerry continues his need to get approval..."global test" ---looking for a summit-- perhaps "the summit of pointlessness?" Seems like some sort of junior high peer group thing "Please like me" thing.

Bush's approach reminds me of the old Rick Nelson song "Garden Party" in which experience with peer rejection teaches some widom:

"But it's all right now. I learned my lesson well.
You see, you can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself."

Update: Just watched the Democrats' tape on facial expressions. If that's the best they've got, then they ain't got much.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Cheap Debate Advice: Flying Dog and the Orange Man

Dear President Bush,

I know that you are getting a lot of advice on how to debate Senator Kerry. More than likely this advice is pretty good and well thought out. I thought I'd offer a little of the other kind.

First, try to ignore the orange hue of your opponent. It is probably a political trick designed by the Democrats to make you lose your train of thought during the debates. Trying to smother your laughter will only give rise to additional allegations of "smirking" and contentions of you "not being a serious candidate." No Halloween quips, either. I know that your practice sessions did not include debating against anyone who has managed to turn himself orange, but that is simply because even Karl Rove couldn't anticipate this sly political maneuver (unless he was behind it, in which case, never mind).

Second, keep your answers short and to the point. If Mr. Kerry seems to need additional time to make one of his points, generously give him some of your time. Allow him to weave all the nuances he can manage in answering a question. By the time he gets done, no one will remember what the question was, why the debate is beng held or even what planet they are on. In fact, given his speaking style and his Great Pumpkin skin tone, most people watching the debate will believe they've tuned into some horrible old science fiction movie like the ones they used to show on Saturday nights at midnight. Try to remain awake yourself. You might want to borrow an IPOD from one of your daughters so you will have something to listen to while he drones on. Try not to dance, though.

Third, I know that you aren't supposed to talk directly to Mr. Kerry, but if the chance arises, you might ask Mr. Kerry about his famous flying dog. You know, the one he described in his response to this question posed by the Humane Society :

Q. "Do you have any pets that have made an impact on you personally?"

Mr. Kerry's Answer (and I am not making this up):

"I have always had pets in my life and there are a few that I remember very fondly.
When I was serving on a swiftboat in Vietnam, my crewmates and I had a dog we called
VC. We all took care of him, and he stayed with us and loved riding on the swiftboat
deck. I think he provided all of us with a link to home and a few moments of peace and tranquility during a dangerous time. One day as our swiftboat was heading up a river, a mine exploded hard under our boat. After picking ourselves up, we discovered VC was MIA. Several minutes of frantic search followed after which we thought we'd lost him. We were relieved when another boat called asking if we were missing a dog. It turns out VC was catapulted from the deck of our boat and landed confused, but unhurt, on the deck of another boat in our patrol."

While there is some risk in raising the issue of Mr. Kerry's Vietnam service, the odds are that if the debate has lasted more than thirty seconds that subject will have all ready been raised, if you know what I mean. Anyway, as a former fighter pilot (you might mention that, the polls seem to show that the image of you in uniform as a younger man and in a flight suit plays well to a certain segment of the voting public and we need all the votes of women we can get), you might tell him that while you understand enough physics to deal with getting a high powered jet aircraft into the air, you really would like to know more about this incident. Ask him to draw pictures of where the boats where and how high the dog flew and to opine on how large an explosion it would take to launch a dog through space and yet apparently do no damage to his boat or crew. You might ask if the boat that received the dog saw the mine explode and yet only called him about the dog and not to see if he needed any assistance in recovering from the blast. I mean, if it were me on the boat that received the dog and I hadn't seen or heard the explosion and a dog suddenly appeared on the deck of my boat, I would have been thinking "miracle" and not quizzing my fellow boat skippers about whether they were missing a dog.

If he asks what possible relevance the flying dog has to the campaign, turn the question on him by saying something like, "I'm not sure, but aren't you the guy who wrote the response to the Humane Society question to presidential candidates? Why did you think it was relevant?" If he tries to claim it was just a little "shaggy dog" story, ask him what other things he has said fall into the same category.

Relax. Have fun. Let him debate himself.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Gauntlet is Thrown

Beldar has issued a challenge to those who allege that the SwiftVet claims have been "debunked" or are "unsubstantiated"--
prove it!

Click on the title to go to Beldar's site.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Draft? We don't need no stinking draft!

From USA Today:
Edwards: No military draft if Democrats win
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — Vice presidential candidate John Edwards promised a West Virginia mother on Wednesday that if the Democratic ticket is elected in November the military draft would not be revived.

During a question-and-answer session, the mother of a 23-year-old who recently graduated from West Virginia University asked Edwards whether the draft would be reinstated.

"There will be no draft when John Kerry is president," Edwards said, a statement that drew a standing ovation."

Big deal. There won't be a draft if John Kerry isn't elected, either. Edwards may as well have announced that the sun will continue shine if Kerry is elected.

Look, the draft makes sense only if the country is engaged in total war on a global basis and our society's future is in serious question. Otherwise, we don't need it. Unlike the US military of the 1930's (pre-WWII draft), today's military is a very capable force, well-equipped (although my son does fly a 35+ year old helicopter -but then again, so does the President) and well-trained. It has more tooth to tail than it used to because transferring support jobs to the civilian world or to the reserves allowed the active forces to focus more on warfighters and less on cooks and barbers. Today there is far less time spent finding "make work" projects to keep the excess troops busy (e.g. painting rock along the road white) and much more time spent in trainers, in training and in "head work." The modern active force, regardless of rate or rank, is composed of real professionals - yes, professionals -just like doctors and lawyers and accountants. Our best soldiers, marines and sailors have to continually prove themselves in exceptionally difficult training. If a lawyer like Senator Edwards has a bad day in court, he might lose a case and some money. Let's just say that in combat, the stakes are a little higher. The point is that modern warfare, as practiced by our high-speed low drag forces, is not a place for rookies or amateurs and we can't afford the babysitters that draftees would need.

The lesson of Vietnam is that draftees fought well, but had a higher death rate than professionals. I base this on statistics from an article titled "Fact vs. fiction": By B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley (found on the Vietnam Veterans of Florida website). Of the total number of military draftees from 1965-1973 (1,728,344), 38% actually served in Vietnam and accounted for 30.4% of combat death (17,725). However, on average, only 50% (somewhere between 40-60%) of the 38% of draftees served either in combat or in close support. That means that roughly 19% of the combat forces accounted for 30% of the deaths.

Why? Because of inexperience. Old soldiers are older soldiers because they understand combat better than rookies. That's why "new guys" were not always immediately accepted into line units in WWII- their prospective lifespan was too short to want to get too close to them (and in WWI, too, and in any army - read All Quiet on the Western Front and you'll get the idea). Experience (and more training) saves lives.

So, assume you had a draft and that a draftee spent 9 weeks getting through bootcamp. If the draftee has but two years to serve, his time is now down to 22 months. In 2 years he earns 60 days of leave. His useful service time (UST) is down to 20 months. However, bootcamp does not teach him the soldier skills he needs, advanced training is required. Job training for an M-1 Abrams Tank Systems Maintainer consists of the nine weeks of Basic Training and 16 weeks of Advanced Individual Training. Part of this time is spent in the classroom and part in the field. A draftee places in such a position would then have a UST of 16 months and he would still have to spend time (probably 6 months) actually working with real equipment before he could be considered marginally qualified to go into the field. UST is now 10 months. He could make part of a deployment and then would leave the service. All along the way he will require supervision from personnel who would serve better in other roles. This is an enormously expensive way to build troop levels.

Far better to spend the money on a soldier who wants to be there and who will serve a longer period of time.

Reservists offer further proof of my point. Combat arms reservists, many of whom have experience in Desert Strorm, still require a lot of training to get back in the combat groove. In fact, one of the complaints of the active forces in Desert Storm was how long it took certain units to get up to speed. Some skills you cannot maintain on a training cycle of one weekend a month and two weeks a year. Some you can come close on, like lawyers and certain staff functions. It would be a rare reservist who was ready to step right into command of a combat brigade or of an aircraft carrier battle group...

So, stop Congressman's Charlie Rangel's draft. http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/01/07/rangel.draft/

Oh, yes, one other point. Why wasn't the mother of the WVU grad asking Senator Edwards how her son could join the fight against global terrorism or how he could serve the nation that provides his freedom and protected his life for 23 years? And why didn't the Senator make that point?

No "Duty- Honor- Country" there- just "what's in it for me" and hope someone else picks up the slack.

Well, mother of a WVU grad. Sleep well - some other mother's son or daughter has the watch tonight. And God bless them for it!

Update: Here's another site with info on draftee deaths in Vietnam: http://www.vetshome.com/vietnam.htm

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Terry McAwful and Grifters

Terry McAuliffe, the nominal head of the DNC, is well aware that the forged document TANG memos are going to come home to roost with the DNC and/or the Kerry campaign. He undoubtedly is engaging in a little tactical misdirection by making the claim that the evil Republicans are behind the forgeries in hopes of confusing the gullible and the easily diverted. In effect: "No fair!" he whines, "They knew we were so anxious to find some dirt on Bush that we'd even fall for these obvious frauds. No fair!"

If he is right, which I very much doubt, he reminds me of the people who get scammed by those crooks who take advantage of the "victims" own greed. You know, the scam where the greedy victim is told that the grifter has found a wallet full of money and will split it with the greedy guy if the greedy guy puts up some money to show his good faith? "You can't cheat an honest man" the saying goes...

Interesting how the DNC is so quick to assert its own victimhood...

I wonder if Mr. McAuliffe is used to having sand kicked in his face?

To Know Him is to Dislike Him

Lots of speculation on the reason Mr. Kerry slides in the polls.

My personal view is that the more you see of him, the more irritating he becomes. It occurs to me this is the reason why his numbers rise when he is on one of his vacations.

Monday, September 20, 2004

New Message to CBS

After reading the CBS non-resposnses on today's Drudge, I sent off the following:

Dear CBS News:

Your comments regarding the forged Texas Air National Guard documents do not go nearly far enough in dealing with the fraud developed through your broadcast.

Mr. Rather personally vouched for the documents and asserted they came from an "unimpeachable" source. It has been of little help to date that your position has been the the documents, though fake, conveyed "factual" information. I won't belabor the insidious nature of such a claim as other people have done it far better than I could. However, I will ask the same question I asked in a previous email: How would 60 Minutes respond if it caught a businessman or government official attempting to duck such an issue in the same way you are?

You know the answer as well as I do - you would be headlining "fraud" and demanding resignations.

At the very least you now must reveal all the sources of the documents. Having an independent investigation is a fine idea. I suggest that you request that the lawyers at the Powerline blog and the lawyer identified as "Buckhead" be on the investigation team.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Building Coalitions?

In an amazing article from The Austrialian
reported at Captain's Quarters (http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/2562)
John Kerry's sister apparently has undertaken an effort to undermine our exsiting coalition by suggesting that involvement with the US in Iraq may lead to the Australians being in greater danger from terrorist attack.

If it is true that this is part of the Kerry campaign, then CQ asks the right questions:
"Does John Kerry care more about grabbing power than he does about the United States?... Who gave the order for Diana Kerry to interfere with the Australian election? Who told her to act in a manner that is calculated to undermine the American-Australian partnership on the terror war?"

and appropriate outrage:

"Frankly, not only should this disqualify him for the presidency, it should disqualify anyone involved in his campaign from ever holding public office. Those who condone this interference in a wartime alliance must be punished at the polls, and their party as a whole should be blocked from any power whatsoever until they atone for their actions."

It also causes me to wonder, if true, how Mr. Kerry plans to build the alliances he has spoken of so often...

This is ugly stuff!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Feedback to CBS News

Having just watched the CBS Evening News, I went to their website and sent the following comment:

Just watched Dan Rather on the Evening News.

I cannot believe that CBS and Mr. Rather continue to base coverage of the election, especially of the the President's appearance before the National Guard Association on documents that so many other media sources have challenged -- no, have outright asserted are crude forgeries.

I call on you to either produce the originals of the four memos for examination by impartial, outside experts or announce that the documents and the charges that you have made based on them are withdrawn.

I am well aware that if 60 Minutes were investigating any governmental agency or other business that was relying on such questionable documents it would demanding their full and complete release. I suggest you do what you would have others do.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Rather's Rules of Evidence

Okay, let's recap. CBS and the Boston Globe re-researched the records on the President's Texas Air National Guard (TANG) service and announced that they believe there are new issues based on "new" documents that have been provided to them. And CBS dragged old Ben Barnes before its mighty Eyeball to perform his Kerry donating duty to tell how he somehow helped Mr. Bush get into the TANG, which information that famed ambush journalism program then uses to argue that Mr. Bush didn't serve properly even after he got in through use of pull. Which in turn has been seized on by what seems to be every anti-Bush force in the media, whether new or old, to prove...uh...some sort of parity between the SwiftVet allegations concerning Kerry's war and post-war record and the President's service in the Guard during much of the same period. And then the Blogger brigade notices the documents used to support the CBS allegation may in fact be really "new" - freshly minted new as opposed to recently discovered.

And CBS ...stalls for time, while a whole web of technically savvy people knock down the authenticity of the papers CBS has offered for our inspection. Dan Rather then offers up one expert who says he can authenticate the signature on a copy of the original document without seeing the original (after previously writing that an expert should not make such conclusions based on copies). CBS offers up a couple of more people who suggest, it appeared to me, that because documents like these could exist, the proffered documents must be real. Neither of them testifies to any personal knowledge of the documents in question. CBS expressly states that these documents were not part of any official files, thus seeming to negate any argument that these documents fall under either the official records or business records exception to the hearsay rules. No cross-examination of the witnesses being allowed, Mr. Rather announces that he has carried his burden of proof by a preponderance of all the evidence he allowed to be heard and goes on to state that since he hasn't allowed any other evidence to heard (and did not allow the witnesses to be cross-examined) there is no other evidence... and declares victory. I missed the White Rabbit, but the Rules of Evidence seemed to be right out of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

“There's more evidence to come yet, please your Majesty,” said the White Rabbit, jumping up in a great hurry; “this paper has just been picked up.”

       “What's in it?” said the Queen.

       “I haven't opened it yet,” said the White Rabbit, “but it seems to be a letter, written by the prisoner to—to somebody.”

       “It must have been that,” said the King, “unless it was written to nobody, which isn't usual, you know.”

       “Who is it directed to?” said one of the jurymen.

       “It isn't directed at all,” said the White Rabbit; “in fact, there's nothing written on the outside.” He unfolded the paper as he spoke, and added “It isn't a letter, after all: it's a set of verses.”

       “Are they in the prisoner's handwriting?” asked another of they jurymen.

       “No, they're not,” said the White Rabbit, “and that's the queerest thing about it.” (The jury all looked puzzled.)

       “He must have imitated somebody else's hand,” said the King. (The jury all brightened up again.)

       “Please your Majesty,” said the Knave, “I didn't write it, and they can't prove I did: there's no name signed at the end.”

       “If you didn't sign it,” said the King, “that only makes the matter worse. You must have meant some mischief, or else you'd have signed your name like an honest man.”

       There was a general clapping of hands at this: it was the first really clever thing the King had said that day.

       “That proves his guilt,” said the Queen.

It is no wonder that some really good lawyers are leading the attack on these documents.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

The Swift Vet Case

My response to a recent Eleanor Clift "web" article

Bush’s Sleeper Cells
All it takes is a wink and a nod from the White House, and this network springs into action
By Eleanor Clift
Updated: 3:50 p.m. ET Aug. 27, 2004

…The Kerry campaign thinks it has succeeded in discrediting the scurrilous attack on Kerry’s military service, but Rove got what he wanted. Instead of talking about a failed war in Iraq and a new report that shows 1.3 million more Americans living in poverty, we’re debating what happened in the Mekong Delta in 1968. The strategy “came straight from the West Wing,” says the GOP staffer. “Nobody should be confused.” Asked to explain, this Republican says Rove is smart enough to keep technical distance. But all it takes is a well-placed wink to activate a web of Bush family hit men, confidantes and deep-pocket donors. “They know what to do—it’s like sleeper cells that get activated,” he says, likening the players to “political terrorists.”

…The charges advanced by the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth would never hold up in a court of law. These men would have us believe, contrary to Navy records and countless eye witnesses, that Kerry did not act heroically and had a grand plan to manipulate medals from the military.

…A lot of Vietnam vets will never forgive Kerry for accusing them of committing atrocities. Kerry has conceded some hyperbole in his 1971 Senate testimony, but didn’t the Toledo Blade win a Pulitzer this year for uncovering Vietnam-era atrocities? Have we forgotten about the My Lai massacre and Zippo lighters burning down hooches? Maybe a few masochists want to debate whether Vietnam was a noble cause, but 58,000 of our soldiers died. The war was a waste whether you were on the right or the left. Kerry leveled most of his criticism at political leaders who didn’t tell the truth, and who sanctioned “search and destroy” missions that invited war crimes. By the time Kerry testified in 1971, 44,000 American soldiers were already dead. The war had almost no popular support, yet another 14,000 lives would be lost.

…By assailing his heroism, the GOP may have done Kerry a favor. Maybe they’ve awakened a sleeping giant.
© 2004 Newsweek, Inc.

Ms. Clift:

I find your “Bush’s Sleeper Cells” column to be ...well, I’ll use your word… scurrilous.

You wrote: “The Kerry campaign thinks it has succeeded in discrediting the scurrilous attack on Kerry’s military service...”

However, several of these SwiftVets charges have been confirmed by Mr. Kerry through his representatives. For example, they (his reps) now say he was not in Cambodia on the date and time he said he was, although he might have been “nearby.” They now say he may have caused his first wound for which he received a Purple Heart although it may have been the result of contact with the enemy. They now admit that his was not the only boat that remained to conduct rescue operations when another boat hit a mine, he was the only one that left and then came back. Are admitted charges still “scurrilous?”

You assert: "The charges advanced by the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth would never hold up in a court of law.”

There are plenty reasons to believe otherwise. As I see it, the SwiftVets have made but one charge- that John Kerry’s history makes him unfit to be president. In support of this charge they make four major allegations:

1. That Mr. Kerry misrepresented certain aspects of his service in Vietnam and his caused harm to his fellow Swift boat veterans by placing them in a false light. As one of the Swift Vets said:
“What actually happened... was they actually looked and they saw the advertisement even that Kerry had in January and February and they thought it was some other incident. It was so completely different than what they were involved in, they thought it had to be something else. When they learned that it was related to the incident where the 3 boat was mined, they were shocked. They were just sickened, because the things were portraying them as fleeing and they were the guys that stayed. And it portrayed Kerry as the hero, when he was the guy that fled. It turned the world upside down. That‘s why they have all come forward one at a time, appeared on television and told their story. It‘s just the world turned upside down.”
2. That Mr. Kerry misrepresented certain injuries he sustained in Vietnam in order to qualify for Purple Heart medals so that he could leave Vietnam early, casting doubt on his oft asserted “hero” status,
3. That Mr. Kerry’s false statements made in his 1971 Senate testimony caused further harm to the same Swift boat veterans and to other veterans of the Vietnam war by placing them in a false light, and
4. That Mr. Kerry’s false statements made in his 1971 Senate testimony provided aid and comfort to the enemy then being fought by the American military, causing harm to forces then in the field and to prisoners of war.

They assert that the proof of these charges render Mr. Kerry unfit to be president of the United States.

Trials are decided by the weight of credible evidence. Any lawyer would love, early in a trial, to have a defendant admit that some things that he previously said were true are, after further reflection, maybe not so true. This goes right to the heart of that witness’s credibility and the jury has to question any testimony of a witness who has proved himself to be even a little careless with the facts. In addition to the Cambodia story and the other “corrections” set forth above, the SwiftVets can raise the point that Kerry has admitted exaggerating before, as you note when you wrote: “Kerry has conceded some hyperbole in his 1971 Senate testimony…”

Any SwiftVet lawyer will freely admit that Mr. Kerry did serve honorably and even heroically at times. He will also build a case that tragically, Mr. Kerry was not content to have a “good” record- he needed it to be a “great” record. In order to achieve that special status, over the years Mr. Kerry developed a pattern and practice of embellishing parts of his military service well beyond innocent “puffing.”

I assume the quality of witnesses for each side to be even (aside from Mr. Kerry). Both sides will offer up war veterans who served honorably and well and who will testify truthfully about what they saw, heard and understood. But they will not testify to the exact same things. In short, the testimony will be like most eyewitness testimony – somewhat contradictory, confusing and ultimately for the jury to assess.

At a trial the effort might be made by Kerry defenders to impeach the SwiftVets witnesses by pointing out that most served in boats “near” Mr. Kerry and not on his boat. However, even simple car wreck cases do not require every witness to have been in one the cars involved in the wreck. Witnesses observing from the sidewalk or another car are allowed to testify and the jury works its way through any inconsistencies. On that basis, I don’t believe there is a court in the country that would not allow the SwiftVets to testify. Further, I think a jury will accept their testimony as to what they saw, wherever they were located when they saw it.

One other option is to impeach the motives of the Swift Vets by asserting that they have some motive to lie. Kerry witnesses might impugn their integrity. For example, you assert in your column that the SwiftVets are some form of Bush “sleeper cells.” Do you know of someone standing by ready to attempt to impeach the SwiftVets by testifying that these highly decorated veterans have become “political terrorists?” And that their speaking out is something more then the free exercise of their First Amendment right to say what they believe to be true? Perhaps you or your brave “Republican mole” is up to the job?

Maybe their testimony can be impeached with what you describe as “Navy records and countless eye witnesses?” I’ll grant you that perhaps the “countless” part was a little hyperbole on your part – as there is actually a finite, and, therefore, countable number of men who served with Mr. Kerry in the Swift boat group in Vietnam and a large number of them signed on to be part of the “so-called” Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.” Do you know of some larger, uncountable group that’s been holding back in the wings? And what effect will it have on SwiftVet credibility if it was Mr. Kerry himself who wrote up the Navy paperwork about the events involved in this matter (as is alleged by many SwiftVets)? Do you think it will help Mr. Kerry’s case for him to testify that his record is based on, well, his record? Especially given the “hyperbole” factor?

If I were handling the SwiftVet case, I would point out Mr. Kerry’s expressed disdain for the value of official documents. Remember the assertion that Mr. Bush was “AWOL?” Mr. Kerry weighed in on the controversy, essentially asserting that an Honorable Discharge was not, in fact, proof of good service:
“The issue here is, as I have heard it raised, is was he present and active in Alabama at the time he was supposed to be," said Kerry. "I don't have the answer to that question and just because you get an honorable discharge does not in fact answer that question."

In addition to professing doubt about official records, this is a gratuitous slap in the face to every veteran who takes pride in his own honorable discharge. I would be more than happy to explore this assertion at trial.

You wrote: “A lot of Vietnam vets will never forgive Kerry for accusing them of committing atrocities.”

In this instance you are absolutely right. But what happens at a trial if such veterans testify that they will also never forgive Mr. Kerry for providing aid and comfort to the enemy while his fellow Americans were engaged in combat with that enemy?

As noted earlier, you point out that Mr. Kerry, in defense of this testimony, has admitted to a certain amount of “hyperbole” in his Senate testimony in 1971. Any decent lawyer, using a standard dictionary definition of hyperbole, will ask the jury to decide whether this Senate testimony was an “obvious and intentional exaggeration.” The video will be played for the jury. “Where,” they will be asked, “ is there any sign of hyperbole in his testimony?” They will be asked whether Mr. Kerry seriously brought serious charges or simply an “exaggeration” about which it can now be said, “just kidding.”Then the SwiftVet lawyer will ask the jury what difference it makes whether the charges contained hyperbole or not, if the effect in either case was to give aid and comfort to an enemy during time of war and to to slander an entire generation of veterans?

What if at a trial, the SwiftVets call North Vietnamese officials to testify about how Mr. Kerry’s Senate testimony helped them to press on with their fight because what they heard in his words was that, if they held on a little longer, victory was theirs? Or if they offer proof by citing numerous written records to that effect? What if they call experts to testify about how many of the 14,000 men who died after Mr. Kerry’s testimony might have lived had the Vietnamese not been given such hope and dragged the war on? What if they call former prisoners of war to testify, as they did in the second SwiftVet ad, about the effect Mr. Kerry’s “hyperbole” had on them in the Hanoi Hilton and other Vietnamese hellholes?

What if they call witnesses to testify about the official policies that forbade and condemned atrocities? What if witnesses testify that the vast majority of US troops never committed any atrocities and often intervened to prevent or stop them? Will they admit some occurred anyway? Sure, and they will then condemn them again.

What if the SwiftVets could call Hugh Thompson? You might not know his name, but he was the Army helicopter pilot who observed, from the air, something amiss at My Lai, acted to stop it and reported it up the chain of command. What if they had him tell how he landed his craft in between villagers and Lt. Calley’s soldiers and ordered his gunner to fire on any soldier who continued to pursue the villagers? And testify about how he and his gunner radioed two more helicopters to the scene and airlifted a dozen villagers to safety? What if they had him explain that he took these actions because, contrary to Mr. Kerry’s “hyperbole,” it was not the policy of the US Military to engage in or condone atrocities.

What if they then put John Kerry on the stand to repeat his statement that he was one of those who committed atrocities?

Then you will see exactly how the charges made by the SwiftVets would hold up in court.

Contrary to your view, the “sleeping giant” awakened in this matter is not Mr. Kerry but rather thousands of Vietnam veterans who have spent much of their adult lives defending their honorable service from the unfair “hyperbole” of Mr. Kerry and the too willing assumptions of its truth by people like you.

Will they attempt to justify the war? No, and nor should they. They were not the policy-makers and bear no responsibility for the strategic decisions that placed them there. Neither is the war’s justification relevant to Mr. Kerry’s behavior during or after the war. No, the trial would be about his truthfulness, his wartime and post war behavior, the effects of that behavior and what they say about Mr. Kerry’s fitness to be commander in chief.

In short, it is exactly the case that the SwiftVets are bringing to help the American voters to decide. I think it’s relevant and important and worth much more than your casual dismissal.