Drowning in Cambodia
by Thomas Lipscomb
February 10, 2005
It has been a rough 10 days for Senator Kerry. First Democratic Party
moneybags George Soros said Mr. Kerry's name on the presidential ballot
was a dead loser. Then Teresa Heinz Kerry decided to borrow a dead winner's rather than a live loser's last name, reverting to "Teresa Heinz" for public appearances. But the worst day Mr. Kerry had was a Sunday answering Tim Russert's questions on "Meet the Press" on - what else? - Vietnam.
Asked about his Christmas Eve in Cambodia "seared, seared" in Mr. Kerry's memory, according to one of his Senate speech transcripts, Mr. Kerry tried a half-baked variation on the theme: "Was it on that night? No, it was not on that night. But we were right on the Cambodian border that night. We were ambushed there, as a matter of fact. And that is a matter of record, and we went into the rec - you know, it's part of the Navy records."
Alas, "as a matter of fact," at least according to Mr. Kerry's own
It gets worse. Under Mr. Russert's questioning, Mr. Kerry has a burst of
Unfortunately, there is no indication "it has been documented" and no one has ever reported seeing "some photographs of it." Admiral Roy Hoffman commanded all the Swift boats in Vietnam and had the responsibility for parceling the missions assigned to him to the commanders of his bases. According to Mr. Hoffman, who commanded Mr. Kerry for the four months he served in Swift boats, "In all the time I served in Vietnam, I never assigned a Swift boat mission for the CIA to a South Vietnam base like Kerry's at An Thoi. I assigned Swift boats for several missions for the CIA infiltrating North Vietnam but I believe they are still classified."
Mr. Hoffman, as chairman of the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, is certainly a Kerry antagonist. But Navy lieutenants do not simply gather their crews and climb in their Swift boats, gas up at the local Total station, buy some ammo at a sporting goods store en route, and go swanning off on "secret missions" their commanders don't know about. And not one of Mr. Kerry's faithful crew members who stood on the stage with him at the Democratic Convention and exactly none of Mr. Kerry's commanders confirmed Mr. Kerry's first story of Christmas in Cambodia and so far, none confirms the "Meet the Press" revision, and neither does Mr. Brinkley.
But even assuming there is somewhere a top-secret after-action report that backs up Mr. Kerry and those nasty Swifties are taking advantage of the fact that we can't see it because it is still classified, Mr. Kerry proudly told Mr. Russert and the world what his top-secret mission was: "We delivered weapons to the Khmer Rouge on the coastline of Cambodia. We went out of Ha Tien, which is right in Vietnam. We went north up into the border. And I have some photographs of that, and that's what we did."
If that is true, America should have shaken up the CIA 35 years earlier.
All this confusion will be cleared up now that Mr. Russert has gotten Mr. Kerry to agree to sign the Standard Form 180 that will allow the Navy to release all of Mr. Kerry's records, after a false start or two that has the ring of Kerry: "I'd be happy to put the records out. We put all the records out that I had been sent by the military. Then at the last moment, they sent some more stuff, which had some things that weren't even relevant to the record. So when we get - I'm going to sit down with them and make sure that they are clear and I am clear as to what is in the record and what isn't in the record and we'll put it out. I have no problem with that."
A week later the Boston Globe confirmed Mr. Kerry's pledge "to sign Form
Except that a day later on "The Don Imus Show" Mr. Kerry seems confused
As a born-again Christian, professing compassionate conservatism, the
Mr. Lipscomb is a senior fellow at the Annenberg Center for the Digital