May 27, 2006

Geography Doesn't Lie

It seems like John Kerry is trying to keep the myth of the Magic hat alive:

John Kerry starts by showing the entry in a log he kept from 1969: "Feb 12: 0800 run to Cambodia."

He moves on to the photographs: his boat leaving the base at Ha Tien, Vietnam; the harbor; the mountains fading frame by frame as the boat heads north; the special operations team the boat was ferrying across the border; the men reading maps and setting off flares.

"They gave me a hat," Mr. Kerry says. "I have the hat to this day," he declares, rising to pull it from his briefcase. "I have the hat."

He may have the hat, but what he needed was a map.

I cannot speak with authority about the charges brought by the SBVFT, but I can say one thing with absolute certainty:

John Kerry did not take anyone into Cambodia from his swift boat based at Ha Tien. The navigable Giang Thanh River runs near the Cambodian border, but at no point does it ever cross.

Map from Ha Tien
Entrance to the Giang Thanh River
Gulf of Siam East of An Thoi

If Kerry said he took forces up the Giang Thanh and dropped Spec-Ops soldiers off so that they could walk into Cambodia, I could believe him, but geography does not lie.

John Kerry never took his swift boat from Ha Tien, Vietnam up the Giang Thanh River into Cambodia, and if he insists that he did, he is either delusional, or guilty of telling a lie.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 27, 2006 10:16 PM | TrackBack

Don't miss the point that Xmas in Cambodia was not in February of '69. This is moving the ball by 3 months which was the fallback to being caught lying about Xmas.

Posted by: RiverRat at May 27, 2006 10:23 PM

Kerry has to change the date to blame Nixon, who of course was never president in 1968; can't blame Democrat LBJ!

Posted by: Tom TB at May 28, 2006 06:31 AM

It never ceases to amaze me that there is a two-party epistomology -- liberals and conservatives see two different realities. To liberals, the reality is that the mainstream media gave fawning coverage to the Swift Boaters and displayed their anti-Kerry, pro-Bush bias in the way they covered the story and failed to report critically on a bunch of party political operatives posing as an independent group.

Of course, the Swift Boat stuff fit into the conservative hatred of veterans -- the purple band-aid stuff as well as the Bush campaign's smears of McCain in 2000 are all part and parcel of a deeply-ingrained conservative contempt for those who show physical courage. It may be related to the conservative fear and panic over terrorism: conservatives, consumed with irrational fear of a few maniacs with box-cutters, hate those who show courage (like Kerry) because it points up their own lack of courage.

Posted by: The Red State Baron at May 28, 2006 11:48 AM

TRSBaron, there is one reality; Kerry was either in Cambodia on 12/24/68, or he was not.

Posted by: Tom TB at May 28, 2006 12:13 PM

Only from the looney left.

Posted by: La Mano at May 28, 2006 12:21 PM

THIS from the looney left:

"irrational fear of a few maniacs with box-cutters, hate those who show courage (like Kerry) because it points up their own lack of courage."

Posted by: La Mano at May 28, 2006 12:22 PM

And if the Swift Boaters had focused entirely on 12/24/68, they might have had a point. However, that particular controversy wouldn't have had much traction except in the righty blogosphere. So they launched (with willing help from veteran-haters among rank-and-file Republicans) an attack on the military service of a veteran, in all its aspects, and somehow placing the burden on Kerry to prove that he earned his decorations.

It was a shameful example of the conservative/Republican hatred of veterans, combined with the "stab in the back" mythology (the never-dying idea that we lost Vietnam because Dem Dirty Libruls wouldn't let us win), and a general contempt for those who show physical or moral courage.

Posted by: The Red State Baron at May 28, 2006 12:26 PM

La Mano - How is there anything "looney left" about what I said? The characteristic of the "looney left," just like the looney right, is irrational fear: the tendency to blow up minor threats into huge conspiracies. A loony lefty fears that big corporations control every aspect of our lives; a looney righty fears that terrorism is a threat to our civilization.

A non-looney, however, understands how to view threats rationally. So by pointing out the obvious -- that terrorism is not an existential threat and that fear of terrorism should not dominate our lives -- I am the very opposite of looney.

Posted by: The Red State Baron at May 28, 2006 12:29 PM

Baron, you seem to be conveniently ignoring the fact that the Swift Boat Veterans were all, you know, veterans. What kind of mental contortions do you have to make to turn them into veteran haters? Hell, they all served in Vietnam longer than John Kerry ever did.

There's no evidence whatsoever the Kerry was ever in Cambodia and lots of evidence that he couldn't possibly have been during the constantly changing points in time he claims he was. The hat the Kerry keeps producing as evidence - as if this was proof of anything other than he has a hat - is laughable.

Posted by: RSR at May 28, 2006 12:47 PM


I'm not arguing other SBVFT allegations. I'm focusing on one very specific charge by Kerry that he took American special forces soldiers up the Giang Thanh River into Cambodia.

Either focus on that specific topic, or go elsewhere.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at May 28, 2006 12:48 PM

Every time this general issue is resurrected by "reporting for doody" kerry, I laugh so hard I accidentally shoot myself in the ass on the richochet. You wouldn't believe my Purple Heart collection. (I've got to believe kerry is running interference for a real candidate.)

And RSB, are you in some kind of democrat underground training program? Your rhetoric is, to put it kindly, uninformative and uninspiring.

Posted by: martin at May 28, 2006 03:52 PM

and somehow placing the burden on Kerry to prove that he earned his decorations.

If you're looking to live at 1600, the fishbowl and explaining yourself in detail is part of the game. Them that aren't up to the heat shouldn't play the game.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at May 28, 2006 04:15 PM


254 vets came out and supported the SBV allegations. When they held their first press conference, no one from the media even showed up.

The media continued to ignore them, because that was the initial DNC/MSM strategy for the SVB. Then the book became a bestseller, because FNC and talk radio were talking about the SBV. After that, the DNC/MSM had to respond, so they started covering it, nearly always managing to slight them; every article seemed to be "Questions Raised About Swift Vets."

And now the left complains the media didn't work hard enough for Kerry? Good Lord.

And then the media published crudely forged 1972 memos about Bush's Guard service.

The problem was always John Kerry's opportunism and prevarication.

Posted by: TallDave at May 28, 2006 04:19 PM

a looney righty fears that terrorism is a threat to our civilization.

Heh. I'm guessing you didn't work in the World Trade Center or the Pentagon 5 years ago.

But what the hell, civilization can survive a $1 trillion, 3000-death hit now and then. Why worry?

Posted by: TallDave at May 28, 2006 04:23 PM

You have to trust that the reporter on the story correctly reported what Kerry said ("the boat was ferrying across the border"). Did you ask permission from PCF when you reprinted the graphic? Where did they get that map from, Google Earth circa 2006? Yeah, you're argument is so ironclad.

And of course, John O'Neill told Nixon he was in Cambodia before he later said he wasn't in Cambodia. Just f***ing ignore what he said.

Posted by: Lee at May 28, 2006 04:25 PM

Lee, you will note that I did link to the source of that graphic as is standard practice, and the graphic's creator, RB Shirley is aware that did so. He even mentioned it today.

As for what anyone else said, I don't care.

The Giang Thanh does not flow through Cambodia, and therefore, John Kerry is not telling the truth. I'm sorry if that direct fact is just too much for you to bear.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at May 28, 2006 04:58 PM

The navigable part of the Giang Thanh doen't flow through Cambodia today.

That was also the case since at least 1958, when I was there.

Posted by: Richard R at May 28, 2006 05:10 PM

The article never says he stayed on that particular river - and further up north there do seem to be streams where a Swift Boat could veer westward. Yes, you don't know anything.

Posted by: pgl at May 28, 2006 05:22 PM

Actually pgl, you are 1/2 right: there are other waterways. From the source cited in the main article:

Eventually, patrols were augmented throughout the length of the Giang Thanh River and extended from its northeastern head along the Vinh Te Canal to the east all the way to the western bank of the Bassac river. Interdiction operations included not only Swift Boats, but also PBRs (Patrol Boat River) and units of the Navy's Mobile Riverine Force.

So there were other waterways, but there are still two problems with your weak attempt to save Kerry. The first is that at no point does Kerry ever mention entering another body of water. The second is that the waterways connected to the Giang Thanh come in from the east, not the west.

Folks, you really should quit. This grasping at straws is starting to get very, very sad.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at May 28, 2006 05:53 PM

CY, my apologies in advance for departing from your posted topic, but I cannot let this RSB drivel go without my responding. You post is in essence inarguable. The facts speak for themselves; however, your commentary makes the blatantly obvious become even more obvious. I find it curious that everyone conveniently ignored Richard R’s comments, “The navigable part of the Giang Thanh doesn't flow through Cambodia today. That was also the case since at least 1958, when I was there.”
Now for this disrespectful commenter, RSB: You repeatedly blathered, ”…the conservative hatred of veterans…” You offer no explanation, nor support for this accusation other than the SBVFT enlightening the public regarding the truth about John Kerry’s record versus his claims. John Kerry’s post Vietnam record includes the Winter Soldiers debacle, meeting with Viet Cong and North Vietnamese representatives in Paris WHILE HE WAS STILL IN THE NAVY as well as anti-war activism while he was still in the Navy Reserves. John Kerry disgraced himself without the help of the SBVFT. They just could not stomach his perpetuating lies about himself glorifying himself with fictitious accounts of bravery and action.
I am a veteran of 31 years of active service in the U.S. Army; service that includes Vietnam, Central America and Desert Shield/Desert Storm (the first Gulf War). As a veteran I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is not the liberals who support my brother and sister veterans, it is the conservative population. You are making unfounded accusations that I find very offensive. Unfortunately, it is completely in line with your political ideology; you claim to support the troops and veterans until, that is, it comes time to put your money where your mouth is.

Posted by: Old Soldier at May 28, 2006 06:28 PM

Kerry never ceases to amaze me... he can't even get his lies straight after, what, two years? Actually maybe 30 years. One would think that with enough money and time one could put together a story that isn't so easily dismantled.

BTW: I recall that O'Neill reasonably explained his foray's into Cambodia describing a river system that skirted the border and is identifiable on a map. It happens.

Been there done that. I myself, around Christmas '68 in fact, was in Cambodia flying a "snoopy" mission on the deck. We took heavy fire and when we came back to direct air cover discovered we had crossed the line and could not respond. Our rules of engagement at that point in time did not allow us to do that. Don't know about classified "black ops", etc., and I suspect there were some. But us normal guys couldn't fire even if fired upon from across the line. Very frustrating, especially when you are talking about incoming 12.55mm.

Jack Inman
Airborne Personnel Detector
4th Inf Div, Pleiku RVN Jul '68-Jul 69

Posted by: Jax at May 28, 2006 06:47 PM

But none of the Kerry Supporters can explain the reference to Nixon being president in 1968.

Posted by: Specter at May 28, 2006 07:14 PM

pgl - you seem to know what you think you are talking about. How deep were all those other tributaries? Answer that first - the we can talk about the draw of a swift boat and the room needed to turn one around. You might want to research that before you come back though.

Posted by: Specter at May 28, 2006 07:19 PM

But, but, but...teh hat. He has teh hat!

Posted by: RSR at May 28, 2006 08:40 PM

Kerry is a waffler, but he's also a decorated veteran, an accomplished prosecutor, and accomplished senator, he's urbane and sophisticated, etc.

Your man was a drunk until 45, and had no accomplishments of note after that until elected to office. He's the antithesis of what is best in Republicansim: individual responsibility. He talks about faith but doesn't go to church. The buck never stops with him, he blames an underling.

So I'm okay with you guys knocking Kerry, because I know it comes from a desperation to believe you did not screw up as badly as you fear you did.

By way of demonstration, English contains the "sore loser", but what to call you guys?


Posted by: Sam Spade at May 28, 2006 09:00 PM

Kerry is a waffler, but he's also a decorated veteran, an accomplished prosecutor, and accomplished senator, he's urbane and sophisticated, etc. Your man was a drunk...

Our man was President of the United States.

When you say Kerry was "accomplished", what do you mean? He has no significant legislation to his name. I think this was all sorted out and discussed thoroughly back when he ran for president and was beaten fairly thoroughly by a man who was "a drunk until he was 45".

I hate to break it to you, but Kerry isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. You guys will be better off when you quit holding morons up as examples of "urban sophisticates" to be emulated and elected to lead us. Kerry has no leadership qualities whatsoever, and he is not at all sophisticated. He is as predictable and dull as every other faux-intellectual who tries to bamboozle the self-proclaimed "liberals" among us into voting for them. There is no evidence that he is remotely intelligent.

Posted by: Dave S at May 28, 2006 09:21 PM

"the conservative hatred of veterans" ???

Hey RSB, what planet are you living on?

Conservatives respect and appreciate the service veterans have rendered to this country. That is, unless they LIE about it, and SLANDER their fellow vets, as Kerry has done.

Posted by: infidel4life at May 28, 2006 09:50 PM

Lee made excuses:
You have to trust that the reporter on the story
correctly reported what Kerry said ("the boat
was ferrying across the border"). Did you ask
permission from PCF when you reprinted the
graphic? Where did they get that map from?


Readily available on the web during the election,
even on the Kerry web site, were a collection of
spot report messages sent in by Kerry and Swifty
Mike Bernique concerning a patrol the two sailors
made on the Giang Thanh river on February 12-14
in 1969 and referenced by Kerry in the NYT article.

Kerry does indeed indicate that he dropped off
some special forces troops near the town of Giang
Thanh at the headway between the Giang Thanh River
and the Vinh Te Canal ... ON THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE
This was NOT an unusual occurance,
and therefore not worthy of much notice.

And as Confederate Yankee so aptly points out, you
cannot get to Cambodia by Swift Boat via the Giang
Thanh River OR the Vinh Te Canal.

Coordinates for the places where the patrol visited
are given in the messages. Plotting them on a map
of the time is shown at: http;//
The position shown in red is the 8AM position Kerry
stated he dropped off his riders and now claims is
proof of his being inside Cambodia on that date. And
where he picked up his magic hat and delivered arms
to the Khmer Rouge (the Cambodian Communists?)

Clearly this is NOT THE CASE from information provided
by him to his superiors at the time. He remained in South
Vietnam during the entire period of this reported patrol.

Flip flopping: Sa Dec? No Cambodia. Christmas? No February
CIA operators? No SEALS. Ha Tien and the Giang Thanh River
inside South Vietnam?


As has been the case time after time in this controversy,
John Kerry is his own worst enemy when it comes to
providing proof of his exaggerations and outright lies.

Rather than try to defend his delusions, his supporters
should ignore this most recent lame attempt to justify his
falsehoods over the past forty years and hope that he
seeks professional psychiatric assistance.

RBShirley ....


Posted by: R B Shirley at May 28, 2006 10:54 PM

Another point, if memory serves, is that the River up there was not in Kerry's unit's normal AO, but was patrolled by PBR's better suited to the shallow-draft streams... one of whose duties was to prevent border crossings. And for that matter, PBR's were far better for a stealthy insertion of SEALs and CIA types than a fifty-foot long diesel powered high-cabin boat designed for coastal bluewater work.

Posted by: richard mcenroe at May 28, 2006 11:58 PM

NortonPete makes a good point: The fantasy life of liars often imitates art. The Massachusetts Walter Mitty sees the movie and quickly imagines himself in the hero's role, a young Martin Sheen going up the scary river to confront the horrors of war. Why, I can see it all now, starring Brad Pitt as Johnny Flipflopper.

Decorated hero turns war protester, makes big splash on TV, denounces war, throws decorations away, smears fellow vets, marries rich girl, gets elected, marries more rich girls, times change, decorations revived, war stories embellished, hero recalled to serve country again, wins presidency, submits to UN agenda, wins Nobel, marries more rich girls, undergoes apotheosis, meets Davy Jones, feeds fishes. Fade to dark.

Posted by: Black Jack at May 29, 2006 08:28 AM

Kerry was such an accomplished senator he chose not to mention it during his entire campaign. ::grin:: Instead of running on 20 years of service in the senate, he ran on 4 months in the Delta.

I would imagine Kerry had told these stories so much he himself came to believe them. I've known people like that before. Told the same lie so often they really, really believed it.

Posted by: Sue at May 29, 2006 09:13 AM

Can anyone find a mention by Kerry of the boat trip to Cambodia ( not a diary entry which might be from anytime ) before 1979?

I'm curious when his first verbal mention of the Cambodian trip occurred.

1979 was the release date of "Apocalypse Now" which is about a trip into Cambodia.

Posted by: NortonPete at May 29, 2006 09:43 AM

Memory can play tricks but this continued delusion by Mr. Kerry is clinical stuff. BTW, take away the money provided by his succesion of rich wives and this guy would be a greeter at Wal-Mart

Posted by: barton Hosney at May 29, 2006 10:00 AM

Has Kerry ever find any of his "band of brothers" who could corroborate his claim of a trip into Cambodia? Seems pretty simple to me. Or did Kerry drive that swift boat into Cambodia single handedly?

Posted by: George at May 29, 2006 10:17 AM

Would somebody please explain this weird obsession with something that happened so long ago while we have a President that through his complete incompetence is losing a war, doing more harm to the US army then any American since Robert E, Lee and has publically acknowledge that he was completely wrong about every excuse he used to start the war.

Maybe if you spent one tenth of the energy and intelligence on why is Ben Laden still free to
mock the US, rather then on this irrelevent garbage you might force this fool we have as a president to try and win the War on Terror.

Posted by: spencer at May 29, 2006 11:06 AM

It is a wierd obsession we talk about. Kerry's bizarre obsession.
This discussion is not about Bin Laden.

Its about Kerry's delusional behavior.

Posted by: NortonPete at May 29, 2006 11:12 AM

Just updated my Angrybear post. CY: John O'Neill claimed he took that same boat into Cambodia. Wow - I guess O'Neill is one helluva sailor! LOL!

Posted by: pgl at May 29, 2006 01:13 PM

Amazing how simple yet so difficult to understand. Kerry is a phony, always was, always will be.

He lied about his three month vacation and his self-promotion.
He lied about other Vietnam vets.

He's toast. And no amount of retooling will get moneybags Kerry back together again.

It only gets worse with each examination; with or without the 1080 he has signed how many times now?

Okay, let's get back to retelling how Iraq is being lost. Keep repeating it and just like Kerry, you can rewrite history.

Posted by: RW at May 29, 2006 01:20 PM

pgl is just too... well, words fail me.

Perhaps he should have noted that when John O'Neill spoke of going up to Cambodia,that he never stated his route. As Ha Tien is on the coast, O'Neill could have very easily gone into Cambodia by heading west into the Gulf of Siam and turning north around peninsula. Kerry, however, claimed to have done the impossible, taking the Giang Thanh River into a country where it does not flow.

He continues to argue on his site that because the map cited in this post shows evidence of water, that there must be a river into Cambodia from the Giang Thanh.

I've challenged him on his site to name that river, the one that other Vietnam Veterans never saw.

It should be amusing to watch him try to dig himself out of his hole.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at May 29, 2006 03:44 PM

George Dubious Bush was a deserter.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is the bedrock of military law. The UCMJ is a federal law, enacted by Congress; the "Manual for Court Martial" (MCM) is the implementation mechanism. Chapter 4 of the MCM includes, and expands on the punitive articles.

The primary difference between Desertion and Absent Without Leave (AWOL) is "intent to remain away permanently." If one intends to return to "military control," one is guilty of "AWOL," under Article 86, not Desertion, under Article 85. If a member of the armed forces is absent without authority for longer than 30 days, the government (court-martial) is allowed to assume there was no intent to return.

(a) Any member of the armed forces who--
(2) quits his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service; . . . is guilty of desertion.

(2) Desertion with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service.
(a) That the accused quit his or her unit, organization, or other place of duty;
(b) That the accused did so with the intent to avoid a certain duty or shirk a certain service;
(c) That the duty to be performed was hazardous or the service important;
(d) That the accused knew that he or she would be required for such duty or service; and
(e) That the accused remained absent until the date alleged.
--- Manual for Court Martial, 2002, Chapter 4, Paragraph 9

Posted by: DOR at May 29, 2006 03:57 PM

Anyone who tries to have the last word with GWB service is really grasping at straws.
We are not discussing GWBush's service. He did not
make it a center piece of his political existence.
GWB ran on his Current political beliefs and won.
John Kerry reported for duty with a bogus hat and a tall lie about going to Cambodia 40 years prior.
And now John Kerry thinks its important to repeat this lie.
This is the gist of this thread. Not someones
foolish rantings about a ANG paperwork screwup.

Posted by: NortonPete at May 29, 2006 04:11 PM

"George Dubious Bush was a deserter?"


Gosh, the moonbats are reviving all the 2004 talking points on this thread, aren't they? What's next, are they going to try to rehabilitate the Rathergate documents?

Funny thing: The official UCMJ definition of desertion, as quoted by "DOR," doesn't include as one of the examples of such behavior "serving in the National Guard or Reserves instead of active duty" or "qualifying for early release from Guard or Reserve status due to overfulfilling one's duty requirements." (Those being the reasons given by people like "DOR" when they accuse the President of desertion during war.)

So - if "DOR" had actually read the UCMJ instead of selectively misquoting it - maybe he would have realized that his argument is just as bogus now as it was back in 2004.

While you've got the UCMJ open in front of you, "DOR," perhaps you'd be so kind as to look up the sections on "conduct unbecoming," "sedition" and "treason" for us. Surely you'll find that Kerry's behavior shortly after returning from Vietnam - slandering the war effort and his fellow veterans, and acting as a "peace negotiator" for our North Vietnamese enemies while we were still at war with them (and while he was STILL A SERVING NAVAL OFFICER!) would fall under at least one of those categories...

'Bye now. Don't let the "DOR" hit you in the ass on the way out...

Posted by: Wes S. at May 29, 2006 09:34 PM

Besides smearing the President DOR, just what proof do you folks have that Bush was a deserter when no paper, so far as I know, has been able to dig it up after 6 years of trying?

And somebody was claiming we were losing Iraq. Hmm...tell that to the people there who just keep electing new leaders and forming cabinets despite all the efforts to intimidate them. LOL

And I love it when people call O'Neill a liar for mistating that he was along the border of Cambodia. I read his Washington Post interview and he admits both he and Nixon initially got it wrong, which explains the immediate correction.

Read it yourself (if you can summon the courage):

So how is he lying when no proof seems to exists to contradict him (such as a log entry stating he was across the border)? Compare his statements to Kerry, who repeatedly made false and public claims that he spent 'Christmas in Cambodia'?

Posted by: Thatguy at May 29, 2006 09:35 PM

CY - O'Neill's statement proved Kerry's central point. When confronted with this - O'Neill said he never went into Cambodia. Without any knowledge of geography, any one with an IQ over 50 knows O'Neill lied somewhere. But whether or not on the SPECIFIC run you are babbling about Kerry was able to go into Cambodia (sorry if I don't trust your knowledge or integrity of these specific rivers), we know for a fact that Kerry made several runs. So on some of those runs he could have gone on a different route. So your focus on one specific run proves absolutely nothing. But then nothing is what your stupid post was. QED!

Posted by: pgl at May 29, 2006 10:04 PM

BTW CY - your rightwing buddies used to focus on 12/24/1968 and now you focus on 2/12/1969. I guess you were confused about two tours of duty as you seem to think Kerry went on only two missions. God - are you fellows desparate!

Posted by: pgl at May 29, 2006 10:06 PM

Didn't read the Washington Post interview I see. But what do Kerry lovers care about O'Neill's own explanation when speculation suits you fine. Typical... but how does O'Neill confirm Kerry's point? I'm confused. He says he was along the border and nothing has emerged to contradict him so how did you prove anything there? Unless you have mental powers, it's not conceivable that you know a truth that's eluded others here or elsewhere.

As for Kerry making several runs, I've heard that story before no one's ever offered any proof to back that up. No records and oh, yeah, Kerry won't release the relevant documents so no help there from your man. lol

Posted by: Thatguy at May 29, 2006 10:38 PM

Interesting. Suddenly, I can't post at pgl's blog. Whether this is due to technical issues, or fear, I cannot say for certain. I do know that he has posted again since I last tried, so I doubt it is technical issues. Since I can't post my response to him there, I'll simply post it here.

My "game"—proving that he is categorically incorrect, and that Kerry could not have accomplished what he said because of rock-solid geographical facts—would be nice from his perspective if it were "stupid."

But it isn't, is it?

John Kerry told an exaggeration about one mission in specific, where he got his so called "magic hat." When no one called him upon, he kept adding to it and adding to it until that kernel of truth—that he ferried Special Forces soldiers up the Giang Thanh River in Vietnam so they could go overland into Cambodia—wasn't even recognizable in the story. Suddenly, the key elements of the story Kerry tells had morphed into a lie.

The Giang Thanh River didn't radically change course into another nation during Kerry's four months of swift boat duty. But I wasn't worried about his career, I was focusing on one crucial mission, the one that Kerry brags about the most.

I proved that one specific mission was a lie.

Nor, despite what pgl says has John O'Neill ever been to Cambodia, as thatguy povided from the WaPo:

I [O'Neill] was on the Cambodian border. I was on a canal system known as Bernique's Creek located about 100 yards south of the Cambodian border from which it would have been very difficult to get into Cambodia at least from a boat.

I never went to Cambodia. Unlike the Kerry story you are defensive about I don't believe I can ever fairly be interpreted as saying anything different.

I'm also sure all the factual evidence I’ve provided proves nothing to pgl, just as he claims. He says all teh evidence provided is "stupid" and that it proves nothing.

To the contrary, it proves just how unwilling he is to face this issue objectively.

I think I've proven my case quite well... and not only about Kerry's honesty, either.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at May 29, 2006 10:55 PM

There is no evidence, save for Kerry's word alone, that he had ever been in Cambodia on PCF-44 or PCF-94.

Kerry's account, which contradicts the experience of all others who have stepped forward, has shifted in both details and in *core* scenarios. Disbelief is merited.

It is up to Kerry to prove his positive assertions. It is not up to his detractors to prove a negative.

The starting line is the series of assertions made by Kerry and which depend entirely on his own varying word. Without his assertions, there would be no discussion of his having memories of secret multiple forays deep into Cambodia. Minus solid evidence, his assertions are highly suspect, to say the least. It is correct to assume that he did not go into Cambodia, at all.

Posted by: Where's The Beef? at May 30, 2006 12:30 AM

Confederate Yankee, you can add to geography that climate does not lie. Kerry was in South Vietnam during the dry season.

Water levels dropped drastically; in the area your map shows, any small channels would have become even narrower and shallower; some became dried up mud ditches.

The enemy would use the dry season to walk across the border and into hiding places in the Mekong Delta under the cover of night -- via routes that would have been flooded and thus navigable by small vessels during the rainy season.

The Swiftboats were limited to the larger waterways during the months that Kerry served in South Vietnam. Even the smaller PBRs had trouble navigating in dry season in the canal system shown on your map. Riverine warfare was wet AND muddy.

Swiftees dropped-off and retrieved Allied units and SF personnel on the routes that ran into these areas. Swiftboats were heavily gunned and disel-loud but lighty armoured. Not designed for stealth operations. Other cool boats were heavily armoured for such missions; and could operate in shallow and narrower waterways. Kerry might have ferried such boats and crews to and fro the area adjacent to the border, but he did not take PCF-44 and/or PCF-94 across the border and miles into Cambodia.

Geography and the Dry Season must have conspired against his reconstructed recollection(s).

Posted by: Where's The Beef? at May 30, 2006 01:01 AM

I imagine John Kerry is trying to rewrite history again. I don't see why he's even bothering.

Posted by: muckdog at May 30, 2006 05:53 AM

You all need to get a life. I have never seen so much brain energy wasted on such a stupid topic as this. Kerry's story may have shifted.....that seems to be your headline....Wow. Pretty tantalizing stuff.

Posted by: Hit The Bid at May 30, 2006 10:46 AM

Actually, hitthebid, I'm using this a as "teachable moment" to try to show those of you on the left what unassailable facts look like, only to watch you guys scatter like cockroaches in the light and try to change the subject or make unsubstantiated charges.

You call this a"stupid topic", yet folks like yourself have run this thread out to more than 50 comments. Telling, isn't it?

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at May 30, 2006 10:59 AM

Good job, CY!

Kerry's first known instance of using his Christmas in Cambodia story was in a review (surprisingly negative) he wrote of Apocalypse Now. I believe the Swiftees discovered something like 50 instances of Kerry using the anecdote (including one on the floor of the Senate).

The February 12, 1969 date for his mission (now involving SEALs, not CIA men) is not credible. Why? Because Douglas Brinkley, Kerry's biographer, noted in Tour of Duty his debt to Kerry PCF-94 crewmember Michael Medeiros, who had a log of every mission he was involved in. Medeiros was in Kerry's crew from January 30, 1969 until Kerry left Vietnam in mid-March of that year. Medeiros was a Kerry supporter and appeared on stage with him at the DNC. And yet they didn't come forward with Medeiros' log book in 2004?

Remember, also that Kerry claimed the memory was seared--seared in him. Would he be likely to forget where he was on Christmas Eve, and confuse it with February 12?

Susan Estrich admitted that when she was to go on a TV show to debate the Swiftees allegations, she called the Kerry campaign to get some talking points and was startled to learn there were none. All the Swiftees' allegations were either proven true, or remained undetermined; there is not a single case where they were specifically debunked on an issue.

Posted by: Brainster at May 30, 2006 12:48 PM

Someone over at my blog claimed that I was scared of you posting comments there. I now see your 10:55 PM post from yesterday. No CY - we at Angrybear have never blocked comments. We have had minor technical glitches as do all blogs. For you to even suggest otherwise is ALMOST as dishonest as the rest of your 10:55 PM comment.

Re-read what I said and what the Media Matters link said. O'Neill at one point did say he had never ventured into Cambodia. And at other points - he said he had. THAT is why we know he lied at some point. Do we assume you can't read plain English or do we assume you are a lying piece of s%^&. As Brad DeLong might ask: Stupidity or Mendacity?

BTW - you are most welcome to post your choice over at our blog.

Posted by: pgl at May 30, 2006 03:36 PM


Kerry is a Lyin, Traitorus, Maggot! Now, when was He going to sign that form 180??


Posted by: Mike at May 30, 2006 04:30 PM

I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again while typing s-l-o-w-l-y so that pgl will clearly understand it.

I don't really care about any of the side arguments liberals have brought up to deflect us from the infamous mission where John Kerry claimed to have sailed from Ha Tien up river into Cambodia and in the process, picked up his so-called "magic hat."

To date, pgl and oher liberals have twisted and turned, offering up all sorts of excuses and diversions, and while those diversions are amusing, they have utterly failed to provide the one bit of evidence that matters.

They have not shown that so much as one single waterway could take a 23-ton Swiftboat from the Giang Thanh river North into Cambodia. Not. One.

I'm certain they hav tried, to be sure, but such a body of water doesn't exist, and veterans from that time tell us that it never did.

pgl has been given ample opportunity on not one, but two blogs to show that John Kerry could have sailed into Cambodia from the Giang Thanh, and he has utterly, spectacularly and dismally failed to do so.

I think we now know what we need to know about pgl and his credibility, and it explains a lot about why Kerry is his hero.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at May 30, 2006 05:52 PM

“O'Neill at one point did say he had never ventured into Cambodia. And at other points - he said he had. THAT is why we know he lied at some point.”

I assume you're basing your opinion on O'Neill's brief conversation with President Nixon. If so, than you ignored the Washington Post interview linked here earlier where the actual words spoken between himself and Nixon were shown. It’s clear from that that there’s no provable lie. O’Neill corrected himself and Nixon by stating that he was merely along the border of Cambodia. Unless you can actually offer proof he was in Cambodia, than you have nothing. For example I can say yes, I was France (Germany, Canada, whatever) then correct myself to by saying I was merely along the border without it being a lie. Unless you can show some proof that I was in the country, you have only speculation. Sorry.

“Do we assume you can't read plain English or do we assume you are a lying piece of s%^&. As Brad DeLong might ask: Stupidity or Mendacity?”

No, it seems you can’t read or are unable to understand the text of written English properly because nothing in the conversation between himself and President Nixon shown here again ( offers gospel evidence that O’Neill ever lied. Unless you have something else, you’re arguments sound flimsy.

Posted by: Thatguy at May 30, 2006 06:08 PM

By the way, when O'Neill was along the Cambodian border, he was stationed in southwest Vietnam which is much closer to the border than the area that Kerry served. Knowing that O'Neill was near the Cammbodian border in no way implies that Kerry, too, could have taken a swift boat to the border.

Posted by: George at May 30, 2006 06:33 PM

More specifically, O'Neill says he was serving at Bernique's Creek near Ha Tien when he was along the border. And even then, O'Neill says he never crossed into Cambodia.

Kerry claims to have gone 5 miles over the Cambodian border when he was serving on the Mekong River when he was in the Coastal Division. O'Neill, who commanded Kerry's boat after Kerry left, said those swift boats never got closer than 40-50 miles to the Cambodian border.

Posted by: George at May 30, 2006 06:53 PM

For clarification:

The Giang Thanh was nicknamed Bernique's Creek after the first Siftee who had run upriver in purusit of smugglers. His crew had fired across the border; they did not cross the border. Even returning fire was against the rules of engagement; that changed later but the prohibition on entering Cambodia remained in effect throughout Kerry's months on patrol.

O'Niell mentioned that he used that nickname, Bernique's Creek, for the river-canal system in that area.

No waterway there was deep enough nor wide enough to allow for passage of a Swiftboat across the border. Between the border and Bernique's Creek there is land. For most of the waterway there is mountainous and hilly terrain. Where there are small channels, these are very shallow and narrow and cannot accomodate a Swiftboat.

Posted by: Where's The Beef? at May 30, 2006 11:56 PM

Also, as I said upthread, the Dry Season further reduced the available waterways and channels that even smaller vessels might have used during the time that Kerry was in the vicinity of the interior end of Bernique's Creek. That river-canal system did not flow from a major water inside Cambodia; it was fed by marshy areas and a few small channels that entered from the border. Mostly it was fed by the canal system that emptied the low-lying flatlands between Giang Thanh and the Bassac -- primarily during the Rainy season.

East of Bernique's Creek, a canal system connected with the Bassac River; that river was larger and did cross the Cambodian border, however, it was heaviy patrolled -- especially on the Cambodian side -- and no stealth operations could have crossed there from South Vietnam.

Of course, the enemy used much smalls vessels, and forces on foot, to move weapons and supplies across the border in the area that Kerry, and later O'Neill, patrolled. The Swiftees were there to intercept this flow of men and goods when possible. The Rainy Season made this area more accessible to the enemy, using their methods, but even the rise in waterlevels did not enable any channel to allow passage of Swiftboats there. The smaller PBRs patrolled the canal system in the interior; even they faced a reduction in navigable waterways during the Dry Season. Kerry's Cambodia story was, and remains, within the timeframe of the Dry Season.

Posted by: Where's The Beef? at May 30, 2006 11:57 PM

At one point during the war, of course, our forces did successfully make a large scale incursion into Cambodia. Swiftboats and PBRs were used on the major waterways, such as the Bassac, but Kerry had departed from South Vietnam by that time.

When O'Neill spoke with President Nixon, he made an innocent slip of the tongue and immediately corrected himself. He made it clear that he had been on the South Vietnam side. Other Swiftees had gone across with the official incursion on the major waterways in other border areas.

In 2004, O'Neill further clarified that his crew operated on the South Vietnam side of the border and that the local waterways did not permit passage of a Swiftboat into Cambodia.

Some Kerry defenders divert attention to the official incursion into Cambodia (linking to photos of Swiftboats in Cambodia) or they cite the military operations that occured in the mountains (where no Swiftboats could reach) that utilized helicopter drops.

During the incursion, other areas along the border were penetrated by PBRs and smaller vessels utilized in riverine warfare.

These examples of crossing the border are faux debating points meant to throw-up diversions from the account of all Swiftees (up the chain of command) that during Kerry's time in South Vientam the Swiftboats did not enter Cambodia and could not have done so via the Giang Thanh and its related canal system.

Except for Kerry's word alone, there is no evidence that he had ever gone across the border let alone that he had taken a Swiftboat deep into Cambodia -- with the rest of the implausible, if not impossible, details he added to his variable story.

Maybe he would varying it, yet again, by claiming he was near the border and that he ferried others to points of possible entry.

That would pretty much gut his story of special significance.

SF drops were pretty common for Swiftees in the Mekong Delta -- *within* South Vietnam.

Apparently, however, only Kerry has recalled (or reconstructed) these supposed journies 5-miles deep inside Cambodia. Such adventures are denied by his superior officers, his fellow Swiftees, and nothing like it is supported by the available evidence.

Posted by: Where's The Beef? at May 31, 2006 12:09 AM

Didn't Kerry say he was in Cambodia for "some length of time on Christmas eve '68. Didn't he say he heard shooting and other "warfare" to the point it was SEARED into his mind. Where would this have been if he went via the place he described? This doesn't sound like dropping off special forces and leaving the area. The waterway he claims to have taken. besides the comments of others who say different boats would have been used, How wide is the area? Wouldn't the river patrol have seen him when they were looking for ANYONE attempting to cross into Cambodia? This is all absurd.

Posted by: THE DUDE at May 31, 2006 08:46 AM

I live in NJ. I started driving the other day in a NW direction. Does that mean I went to Phila. Pa. I'll have to check my notes. I could have accidently driven to Chicago if I didn't stop driving after 3 miles. I wasn't sure if I voted for a trip to Chicago or voted against it. Maybe I did both!

Posted by: THE DUDE at May 31, 2006 08:51 AM