Thursday, January 04, 2007

About Senator Kerry's First Purple Heart

In the 2004 election, Senator John Kerry did not pay much or enough attention to the Swift Boat Veterans who were a front for the Republican Party attack machine.

As has been reported:
"A group funded by the biggest Republican campaign donor in Texas began running an attack ad Aug. 5 in which former Swift Boat veterans claim Kerry lied to get one of his two decorations for bravery and two of his three purple hearts.
But the veterans who accuse Kerry are contradicted by Kerry's former crewmen, and by Navy records.

One of the accusers says he was on another boat "a few yards" away during the incident which won Kerry the Bronze Star, but the former Army lieutenant whom Kerry plucked from the water that day backs Kerry's account. In an Aug. 10 opinion piece in the conservative Wall Street Journal , Rassmann (a Republican himself) wrote that the ad was "launched by people without decency" who are "lying" and "should hang their heads in shame."

And on Aug. 19, Navy records came to light also contradicting the accusers. One of the veterans who says Kerry wasn't under fire was himself awarded a Bronze Star for aiding others "in the face of enemy fire" during the same incident."
This report continues:
"Two who appear in the ad say Kerry didn't deserve his first purple heart. Louis Letson, a medical officer and Lieutenant Commander, says in the ad that he knows Kerry is lying about his first purple heart because “I treated him for that.” However, medical records provided by the Kerry campaign to FactCheck.org do not list Letson as the “person administering treatment” for Kerry’s injury on December 3, 1968 . The person who signed this sick call report is J.C. Carreon, who is listed as treating Kerry for shrapnel to the left arm.

In his affidavit, Letson says Kerry's wound was self-inflicted and does not merit a purple heart. But that's based on hearsay, and disputed hearsay at that. Letson says “the crewman with Kerry told me there was no hostile fire, and that Kerry had inadvertently wounded himself with an M-79 grenade.” But the Kerry campaign says the two crewmen with Kerry that day deny ever talking to Letson.

On Aug. 17 the Los Angeles Times quoted Letson as giving a slightly different account than the one in his affidavit. The Times quotes him as saying he heard only third-hand that there had been no enemy fire. According to the Times, Letson said that what he heard about Kerry's wounding came not from other crewmen directly, but through some of his own subordinates. Letson was quoted as saying the information came from crewmen who were "just talking to my guys … There was not a firefight -- that's what the guys related. They didn't remember any firing from shore."

Letson also insisted to the Times that he was the one who treated Kerry, removing a tiny shard of shrapnel from Kerry's arm using a pair of tweezers. Letson said Carreon, whose signature appears on Kerry's medical record, was an enlisted man who routinely made record entries on his behalf. Carreon signed as "HM1," indicating he held the enlisted rank of Hospital Corpsman First Class.

Also appearing in the ad is Grant Hibbard, Kerry’s commanding officer at the time. Hibbard’s affidavit says that he “turned down the Purple Heart request,” and recalled Kerry's injury as a "tiny scratch less than from a rose thorn."

That doesn't quite square with Letson's affidavit, which describes shrapnel "lodged in Kerry's arm" (though "barely.")

Hibbard also told the Boston Globe in an interview in April 2004 that he eventually acquiesced about granting Kerry the purple heart.

Hibbard: I do remember some questions on it. . .I finally said, OK if that's what happened. . . do whatever you want

Kerry got the first purple heart after Hibbard left to return to the US."
Salon.com gives a more complete explanation of Senator Kerry's first Purple Heart:
"Kerry and crewmates blew up the smugglers' beached sampans and then headed back to Cam Ranh Bay. "I never saw where the piece of shrapnel had come from, and the vision of the men running like gazelles haunted me," Kerry continued. "It seemed stupid. My gunner didn't know where the people were when he first started firing. The M-16 bullets had kicked up the sand way to the right of them as he sprayed the beach, slowly walking the line of fire over to where the men had been leaping for cover. I had been shouting directions and trying to un-jam my gun. The third crewman was locked in a personal struggle with the engine, trying to start it. I just shook my head and said, 'Jesus Christ.' It made me wonder if a year of training was worth anything." Kerry, never trying to inflate the incident, called it a "half-ass action." Nevertheless, the escapade introduced Kerry to the V.C. and earned him his first Purple Heart.

As generally understood, the Purple Heart is given to any U.S. citizen wounded in wartime service to the nation. Giving out Purple Hearts increased in 1968 as the United States Navy started sending swift boats up rivers in the Mekong Delta. Sailors -- no longer safe on aircraft carriers or battleships in the Gulf of Tonkin -- were starting to bleed, a lot. Vice Adm. Elmo Zumwalt himself would pin the medal on John Kerry at An Thoi about six weeks after the doctor at the Cam Ranh base took the shrapnel out of the young officer's right arm. "He called me in New York to tell me he had been wounded," his then girlfriend and later wife, Julia Thorne, remembered. "I was worried sick, scared to death that John or one of my brothers was going to die. He reassured me that he was OK."
As Salon explains, the 2004 election was about trying to destroy Senator Kerry, a true American Vietnam hero who was running against a draft-dodging pair of politicians. They continue:
"The name of the game is to find a conservative ex-Vietnam hand to say something negative about Kerry. It's an automatic newsmaker, guaranteed to get picked up by Newsmax.com, the Weekly Standard, Rush Limbaugh, the New York Post and other conservative outlets. At issue is an attempt to downgrade Kerry's Vietnam War heroism. The major anti-Kerry Vietnam War Internet complaint, it seems, echoes Hibbard: that his minor wounds weren't big enough to warrant Purple Hearts. Unfortunately neither the Boston Globe nor New York Post takes the time to explain to readers that Purple Hearts are not given out to soldiers/sailors for the size of the wound. Only by the grace of God did the hot shrapnel that pierced Kerry's arm not enter his heart or brain or eye.

For the record, Purple Hearts are given for the following enemy-related injuries:

a) Injury caused by enemy bullet, shrapnel or other projectile created by enemy action.

b) Injury caused by enemy-placed mine or trap.

c) Injury caused by enemy-released chemical, biological or nuclear agent.

d) Injury caused by vehicle or aircraft accident resulting from enemy fire.

e) Concussion injuries caused as a result of enemy-generated explosions.

Examples of injuries or wounds which clearly do not qualify for award of the Purple Heart are as follows:

a) Frostbite or trench foot injuries.

b) Heat stroke.

c) Food poisoning not caused by enemy agents.

d) Chemical, biological, or nuclear agents not released by the enemy.

e) Battle fatigue.

f) Disease not directly caused by enemy agents.

g) Accidents, to include explosive, aircraft, vehicular and other accidental wounding not related to or caused by enemy action.

Given the hurly-burly circumstance of Dec. 2, 1968, Kerry -- and the other men on the mission -- are not sure whether they were hit by enemy fire or if shrapnel from one of the other men on the Boston Whaler injured Kerry. It could have even been Kerry's own M-16 backfiring that caused the shrapnel wound. It doesn't really matter. The requirement makes it clear that you are awarded a Purple Heart for "Injury caused by enemy bullet, shrapnel or other projectile created by enemy action." Does anybody dispute that Kerry's wound was created by enemy action? As the stipulation also makes clear, Kerry would have been awarded a Purple Heart even if he never bled, if, for example, he had suffered a concussion from a grenade. So to set the record straight: Kerry deserved his first Purple Heart -- period. To say otherwise is to distort the reality of the medal.

Unfortunately, the Boston Globe and New York Post stories omit fully reporting the bylaws. They present Hibbard at face value, downplaying the fact that he is a Republican criticizing a fellow veteran hoping to cause him public embarrassment. According to the Globe, Hibbard -- in classic blowhard fashion -- said Kerry "had a little scratch on his forearm, and he was holding a piece of shrapnel." Adding further verbal insult, Hibbard apparently claimed: "I've had thorns from a rose that were worse." The straight-faced Globe reporter, in fact, claims that Hibbard told him that Kerry's wound resembled a "scrape from a fingernail." Not included in either newspaper account, however, is Kerry's medical report from the incident. He shared it with me last year when I was writing "Tour of Duty." It reads: "3 DEC 1968 U.S. NAVAL SUPPORT FACILITY CAM RANH BAY RVN FPO Shrapnel in left arm above elbow. Shrapnel removed and appl. Bacitracin. Ret. to duty." Is shrapnel removed from an arm really like a "scrape from a fingernail"? Or a thorn prick? The answer, of course, as any sensible person can surmise, is no."
The Salon article concludes:
"According to Kerry, who should know, the doctor wrapped a clean white bandage around his arm. After the procedure he rightfully put in for a Purple Heart. Kerry clearly met the requirements -- as listed above -- for deserving one. From the hospital room Kerry returned to duty. That's apparently when he held the shrapnel out in his palm for Hibbard to see.

The Globe, however, let Hibbard off the hook, no serious questions asked. On the one hand he claimed Kerry was holding his shrapnel and then he also claims it was a scratch. Are we to believe that following his surgical procedure Kerry went to Hibbard and ripped off his battle dressing to show him the wound that looked like a "scrape from a fingernail"? Or is Hibbard simply surmising it was a thorn prick? Worse still, Hibbard now claims that he was opposed to Kerry being awarded the Purple Heart. Really? Then why didn't he fight against it harder? His superficial answer can be found in the Globe: "I do remember some questions, some correspondence about it. I finally said, 'Ok, if that's what happened ... do whatever you want.' After that I don't know what happened. Obviously, he got it. I don't know how." Does this sound like a reliable source? Is that fuzzy-mindedness worth reporting as serious news? Why wasn't Hibbard asked why he stayed quiet for 35 years?

Let me offer Hibbard an answer to his question. The U.S. Navy chose to award Kerry a Purple Heart because he qualified for it. Only a fool -- or an exceedingly modest man -- wouldn't apply for a Purple Heart that was due him. Kerry was neither. But Kerry did not receive it because, as the Post claims, he had "strong ties to the Kennedy machine in Massachusetts (Bobby Kennedy speechwriter Adam Walinsky wrote Kerry's famous 1971 antiwar Washington speech)." Kerry's only tie to the "Kennedy machine" was that as a college student he slapped a "Ted Kennedy for U.S. Senate" bumper sticker on his VW and campaigned for a summer around Cape Cod. As for Walinsky writing Kerry's famous April 22, 1971, speech/testimony -- it's utter nonsense. Walinsky has consistently denied the rumor. At his Boston home Kerry has a file brimming with his various drafts of the speech/testimony. He, in fact, had delivered parts of the speech months beforehand. Why is it so hard to accept the fact that Kerry -- like thousands of other Vietnam Vets -- was awarded a Purple Heart as a small token of appreciation for risking his life for his country?

Back in 1964 Bob Dylan wrote a lyric for the song "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)." At one point in it he asks whether nothing in American life is "really sacred." When retired U.S. naval officers, 35 years after the fact, start whining to the press that a war wound wasn't big enough to warrant a Purple Heart -- and the Boston Globe goes along for the ride -- you realize Dylan's prophecy. Today the tabloids truly are king. Call me naive, or too pro-veteran, but it seems to me we should be thanking every Purple Heart recipient for their duty to country, not demanding of them explanations for why their wounds weren't bigger or fatal. Ridicule Kerry on his liberal Senate record, or so-called aloofism, or even his outspoken Vietnam Veterans Against the War protests, but leave his old battle scars alone."
Enough said.

Senator Kerry fought hard for America in Vietnam. I am proud of him.

He recognized injustice in Vietnam and fought against a misguided foreign policy that cost Americans 10's of thousands of American lives. I am proud of him for that too.

He backed the President early on in Iraq along with almost every Senator. He has admitted his mistake and wants America to set a timetable for withdrawal of our soldiers. I am proud of him for this as well.

He flubbed a line that was totally distorted by the right-wing, and when requested to drop out of sight by the Democratic leadership, he got out of the way. He was a good soldier in 2006, and against his own desire to confront the Swift Boaters, he got out of the public view. I don't agree with him doing this. But I am proud of his humility in seeking to act in the way that would forward the Democratic Party. I am proud of him for that as well.

But I am not proud of Americans who seek to denigrate his military record while overlooking the military record of their Republicans. No veteran should smear another veteran like the Swift Boaters are continuing to do.

When Senator Kerry spoke at the Winter Soldier testimony, he spoke about American Foreign Policy that had led to atrocities like My Lai.

When Senator Kerry protests the American policies in Iraq, when he asks for this nation to bring the soldiers home, he is not failing to support our troops. It is folly to believe that we must continue to support sending soldiers to die for a mistake...that we can express our greatest support for our fighting forces by sending them out on the streets of Baghdad to police a civil war between Muslim sects.

Senator Kerry brings first-hand experience as a Vietnam War Veteran to this discussion. But he has not been blinded by his service. He is not blinded by nationalism that knows no criticism of our own failures. He is wiser than that.

And for all of these things, I shall not be quiet when Swift Boaters are afoot once again, spreading their hate, spreading their lies, and spreading distortions of truth about a great American veteran who confronted an enemy abroad and who now has to be attacked by fellow Americans.

Keep on Coming John! We have got your back!

Bob

15 Comments:

Blogger Michael said...

Hey Bob, you listed all the circumstances for which a Purple Heart is not awarded. How come you CONVENIENTLY left off "H"? Huh Bob? I am your worse nightmare!

11:09 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Bob, you're going to be sorry you started this!

"Hibbard also told the Boston Globe in an interview in April 2004 that he eventually acquiesced about granting Kerry the purple heart.

"Hibbard: I do remember some questions on it. . .I finally said, OK if that's what happened. . . do whatever you want

Kerry got the first purple heart after Hibbard left to return to the US."

Yes he did, but Hibbard did NOT recommend Kerry. Who did? I've asked you this before but you haven't answered me. Waiting?

11:17 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Here you go Bob. You left the same letter "H" that Brinkley left off but patriots like myself are here to correct the record!

Examples of injuries or wounds which clearly do not qualify for award of the Purple Heart are as follows:

(a) Frostbite or trench foot injuries.

(b) Heat stroke.

(c) Food poisoning not caused by enemy agents.

(d) Chemical, biological, or nuclear agents not released by the enemy.

(e) Battle fatigue.

(f) Disease not directly caused by enemy agents.

(g) Accidents, to include explosive, aircraft, vehicular, and other accidental wounding not related to or caused by enemy action.

(h) Self-inflicted wounds, except when in the heat of battle, and not involving gross negligence.

(i) Post traumatic stressdisorders.

(j) Jump injuries not caused by enemy action.

12:27 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

"We have got your back!"

What the heck does that mean?

12:36 AM  
Blogger Hillary For President said...

Bob,

It will be hillary clinton and not john kerry for president in 2008. I just thought you should know.

Regard,

Hillary for President

7:40 AM  
Blogger BobsAdvice said...

Dear Hillary for President,

Thanks for the 'heads-up'. I have noticed that Hillary is indeed leading in the polls. If she becomes the nominee, I shall be working hard to make sure she is successful. I respect Senator Clinton and wish you well.

Meanwhile, Kerry on!

Bob

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael, you conveniently forgot to mention that portion of subdivision (h) that permits the award of a PH for a self-inflicted wound received "in the heat of battle."

You also forgot to mention that those same rules allow the award of a PH for wounds received from "friendly fire" when the intent is to inflict damage on the enemy or the enemy's equipment.

In addition, Grant Hibbard admitted in "Unfit for Command" that he knew Kerry had fired on the enemy, when he said he'd been told Kerry's unit "had fired on some VC running on the beach."

So Hibbard knew perfectly well Kerry qualified for a PH, unless of course Hibbard was incompetent.

And BTW, you don't know if Hibbard actually approved the PH, you just know he doesn't remember approving it. You also don't know that Cmdr Streuhli didn't approve it either, as he has refused to take part in the Swift Boat Liars' smear job.

We do know that the Navy inspector general determined in 2004 that all Kerry's awards, including his first PH, were awarded according to proper procedures by those with proper authority to do so.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Statement of RADM William L. Schachte, Jr. USN (Ret.)
August 27, 2004

As was true of all "Swiftees," I volunteered to serve in Vietnam and was assigned to Coastal Division 14 for a normal tour of duty.

I was a Lieutenant serving as Operations Officer and second in command at Coastal Division 14 when Lieutenant (junior grade) John Kerry reported to us in mid-November, 1968. Lt. (jg) Kerry was an Officer-in-Charge (O-in-C) under training in preparing to be assigned as one of our Swift Boat O-in-C's.

I commanded each of these Skimmer operations up to and including the one on the night in question involving Lt. (jg) Kerry. On each of these operations, I was in the skimmer manning the M-60 machine gun. I took with me one other officer and an enlisted man to operate the outboard motor. I wanted another officer because officers, when not on patrol, were briefed daily on the latest intelligence concerning our sector of operations and were therefore more familiar with the current intelligence. Additionally, at these daily briefings, officers debriefed on their patrol areas after returning to port.

On the night of December 2-3, we conducted one of these operations, and Lt. (jg) Kerry accompanied me. Our call sign for that operation was "Batman." I have no independent recollection of the identity of the enlisted man, who was operating the outboard motor. Sometime during the early morning hours, I thought I detected some movement inland. At the time we were so close to land that we could hear water lapping on the shoreline. I fired a hand-held flare, and upon it bursting and illuminating the surrounding area, I thought I saw movement. I immediately opened fire with my M-60. It jammed after a brief burst. Lt. (jg) Kerry also opened fire with his M-16 on automatic, firing in the direction of my tracers. His weapon also jammed. As I was trying to clear my weapon, I heard the distinctive sound of the M-79 being fired and turned to see Lt. (jg) Kerry holding the M-79 from which he had just launched a round. We received no return fire of any kind nor were there any muzzle flashes from the beach. I directed the outboard motor operator to clear the area.

Upon returning to base, I informed my commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Grant Hibbard, of the events, informing him of the details of the operation and that we had received no enemy fire. I did not file an "after action" report, as one was only required when there was hostile fire. Soon thereafter, Lt. (jg) Kerry requested that he be put in for a Purple Heart as a result of a small piece of shrapnel removed from his arm that he attributed to the just-completed mission. I advised Lt. Cmdr. Hibbard that I could not support the request because there was no hostile fire. The shrapnel must have been a fragment from the M-79 that struck Lt. (jg) Kerry, because he had fired the M-79 too close to our boat. Lt. Cmdr. Hibbard denied Lt. (jg) Kerry's request. Lt. (jg) Kerry detached our division a few days later to be reassigned to another division. I departed Vietnam approximately three weeks later, and Lt. Cmdr. Hibbard followed shortly thereafter. It was not until years later that I was surprised to learn that Lt. (jg) Kerry had been awarded a Purple Heart for this night.

I did not see Lt. (jg) Kerry in person again for almost 20 years. Sometime in 1988, while I was on Capitol Hill, I ran into him in the basement of the Russell Senate Office Building. I was at that time a Rear Admiral and in uniform. He was about 20 paces away, waiting to catch the underground subway. In a fairly loud voice I called out to him, "Hey, John." He turned, looked at me, came over and said, "Batman!" We exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes, agreed to have lunch sometime in the future, and parted ways. We have not been together since that day.

In March of this year, I was contacted by one of my former swift boat colleagues concerning Douglas Brinkley¹s book about Senator Kerry, "Tour of Duty." I told him that I had not read it. He faxed me a copy of the pages relating to the action on the night of December 2-3, 1968. I was astonished by Senator Kerry¹s rendition of the facts of that night. Notably, Lt. (jg) Kerry had himself in charge of the operation, and I was not mentioned at all. He also claimed that he was wounded by hostile fire.

None of this is accurate. I know, because I was not only in the boat, but I was in command of the mission. He was never more than several feet away from me at anytime during the operation that night. It is inconceivable that any commanding officer would put an officer in training, who had been in country only a couple of weeks, in charge of such an ambush operation. Had there been enemy action that night, there would have been an after action report filed, which I would have been responsible for filing.

I have avoided talking to media about this issue for months. But, because of the recent media attention, I felt I had to step up to recount my personal experiences concerning this incident.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael -

Schachte was also interviewed by the Boston Globe in April of 2003, and though he described the incident as a "firefight" and said that Kerry "got hit," he neglected to mention the very imporant allegation that he was on the same boat with Kerry. Hmmm...

Of course the two men who were on the boat, Patrick Runyon and William Zaladonis, have said from the beginning that they were the only ones there with Kerry that night. So far it is three to one that Schachte wasn't there. Oh, and Mike Voss, the skipper of the accompanying Swift Boat, can't remember if Schachte was there or not.

And every single one of them insists that Kerry didn't fire an M-79. Again, three to one.

By the way, Tedd Peck told Tom Lipscomb that Schachte was wrong, that he didn't go on every single one of those missions, because Peck himself led the last mission. Of course Peck isn't known as a beacon of truth either.

At any rate, Schachte admits that he recounted the events to Hibbard. Hibbard admits he was told (by Schachte) that Kerry's unit "fired on some VC running on the beach."

As we know, that is sufficient to qualify one for a PH, even in the absence of hostile fire and regardless of the severity of the wound. Hibbard should have known that, unless he was incompetent. As should Schachte.

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS, Kerry never claimed to have been hit by hostile fire. He always claimed that he never knew where the shrapnel came from.

Schachte is either ignorant of the facts or lying.

So Michael, any chance you're going to do some of your own research and make some original points? Or can we simply count on more wingnut cut and pastes?

5:37 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

"he neglected to mention the very imporant allegation that he was on the same boat with Kerry"

He did in his 2004 statement.

"Of course the two men who were on the boat, Patrick Runyon and William Zaladonis, have said from the beginning that they were the only ones there with Kerry that night"

Impossible! They were both enlisted men at the time and Kerry was still an officer in training and had NOT been given his own boat yet. These two either forgot or are lying because there had to be an officer, other than Kerry, aboard.

"that is sufficient to qualify one for a PH, even in the absence of hostile fire and regardless of the severity of the wound"

His commanding officer, Hibbard, refused to recommend him for the award, who did?

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Michael, Michael, Michael. You aren't really that comprehension challenged, are you?

Go back and read what I posted. Schachte was interviewed about the PH incident in 2003, and though he mentioned Kerry getting hit in a firefight, he mentioned nothing about the most important part of his supposed participation - being in the same boat. Then he claimed over a year later, after the SBV"t" guys had hit the fan that - why yes, he remembers now, he was actually on the boat.

Get it? Probably not, but I'm sure the other readers do.

You have no idea whether there had to be an officer besides Kerry on board, because you only have Schachte's word for it 35 years later. You have no idea whether Schachte simply had the trots that night. The two enlisted men spoke up independently, long before Schachte ever did.

His and Hibbard's recollections have already been proven flawed, to put it kindly.

Oh, and Kerry was given his own Swift boat - with six crewmen under him - just two days after this event. Guess he wasn't considered all that inexperienced, was he?

The fact is, you just don't know.

You also don't know that Hibbard refused to approve a PH. You only have his flawed memory 35 years later. Assuming he's not outright lying.

On the other hand, it doesn't matter, because - ONCE AGAIN - the Navy inspector general determined that all of Kerry's awards, including his first PH, were awarded according to proper procedure by those with proper authority to do so.

1:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And speaking of what matters, Mikey, you are again forgetting the most important fact.

It didn't matter who was on the boat. It didn't matter if there was return fire. It didn't matter if Kerry was wounded by shrapnel bouncing off the rocks from a weapon he fired (he always said he didn't know where it came from anyway) ....

He still qualified for the PH.

Kerry was firing at suspected VC. Schachte said so too. Hibbard even admitted that Kerry fired on "VC running on the beach."

A PH is authorized for a wound received in an action against the enemy, even if it is received from friendly fire or one's own weapon when the intent is to inflict damage on the enemy. Return fire is not a requirement. The severity of the wound is not a criterion, other than requiring treatment by a medical officer.

If Hibbard didn't think it qualified, he was incompetent.

1:17 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Oh? 35 years is an eternity when judging negative comments about Kerry's actions back in Nam but when thet favor him it's fact! It's not that easy!

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, except that the "comments that favor Kerry" are based on contemporaneous Navy records, contemporaneous journals and letters, and recollections given over a period of years by several different people independent of one anotherand which, amazingly, tell the same facts.

Not a single one of these SBV"t" guys came forward at the time, in Vietnam, or after Kerry returned from Vietnam and was very much in the public eye. Not a single one.
(Remember that O'Neill didn't even serve at the same time as Kerry.)

They all come forward 35 years after the fact with stories that contradict the contemporaneous records, that contradict each other, and in many cases contradict themselves.

12:46 PM  

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