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re: Clinton hypothetically criticizing Dole or Bush's war record...

...I'm thinking of the torch-bearing mob clip in Fahrenheit 9/11...


What Ann Coulter said about Max Cleland's injuries:

"Cleland lost three limbs in an accident during a routine noncombat mission where he was about to drink beer with friends. He saw a grenade on the ground and picked it up. He could have done that at Fort Dix. In fact, Cleland could have dropped a grenade on his foot as a National Guardsman – or what Cleland sneeringly calls 'weekend warriors.' Luckily for Cleland's political career and current pomposity about Bush, he happened to do it while in Vietnam."



What Cleland's former commander said about his injuries:

"The 2nd of the 12th Cavalry was engaged in a combat operation at the time of this incident. Max Cleland was with the Battalion Forward Command Post in heavy combat involving the attack of the 1st Cavalry Division up the valley to relieve the Marines who were besieged and surrounded at the Khe Shan Firebase. The whole surrounding area was an active combat zone (some might call the entire country of Vietnam a combat zone). (Is Iraq a combat zone?) Max, the Battalion Signal Officer, was engaged in a combat mission I personally ordered to increase the effectiveness of communications between the battalion combat forward and rear support elements: e.g. Erect a radio relay antenna on a mountain top. By the way, at one point the battalion rear elements came under enemy artillery fire so everyone was in harms way.

As they were getting off the helicopter, Max saw the grenade on the ground and he instinctively went for it. Soldiers in combat don't leave grenades lying around on the ground. Later, in the hospital, he said he thought it was his own but I doubt the concept of "ownership" went through his mind in the split seconds involved in reaching for the grenade. Nearly two decades later another soldier came forward and admitted it was actually his grenade. Does ownership of the grenade really matter? It does not.

Maury Cralle'
Battalion Executive Officer
2d/12th Cavalry Battalion
1st Air Cavalry Division
During the assault on Khe Shan"


I've heard Cleland himself say in a radio interview that all he was thinking about was grabbing the grenade and throwing it way from himself and the men he was with. I think he could have run away or ducked -- but he didn't. Coulter is spreading some serious disinformation here about a real American hero.


How Kerry got his Silver Star, as recounted by his crewmates, excerpted from an interview at

Begin Quote -->

Feb. 28, 1969, was a day that started out badly and got much worse. Kerry and his crewmates were given a mission to take their Swift boat up a canal off the Bay Hap River, surrounded by thick mangrove brush and many, many Vietcong. There were two ambushes.

"I guess we had gotten 800 yards or 1,000 yards at the most," recalled crewmate Fred Short. "And this time, another B-40 rocket hit, and maybe a couple more. But this one was close aboard. It blew the windows out of the crew cabin. I see out of a spider hole a Vietcong stand up dressed in a loin cloth, holding a B-40 rocket."

"Charlie would have lit us up like a Roman candle because we're full of fuel, we're full of ammunition," said Sandusky.

Protocol at the time would be for Kerry's Swift boat to fire to shore and then take evasive action. But Kerry ordered Sandusky, his second-in-command, to drive the boat onto the beach — directly into the ambush.

"I knew right away that, you know, uh-oh, we're in the doo-doo now," Sandusky said. "But, yeah, I knew — you know, John was intent. You know: 'We got to go and get this guy.' There was no way we were going to back down off the beach."

Alston recalled: "I know when John Kerry told Del to beach that damn boat, this was a brand-new ball game. We wasn't running. We took it to Charlie."

They saw their enemy up close, Short noted. "I would say he was so close that I could see that he had a mustache, a very weak mustache, that he was growing. I could see the mustache on his face. And things were going slow-motion now, because you feel you were, you know, this is really getting scary."

Things almost went against the sailors. "He needed like, 25, 30 yards to arm that rocket, all right," Sandusky said, "and as we beached, he could not aim it at us. So he got up out of the spider hole, started running."

Tommy Belodeau was manning the boat's M-60 machine gun, Short said. "Tommy in the pit tank winged him in the side of the legs as he was coming across," he said. "But the guy didn't miss stride. I mean, he did not break stride."

Kerry assessed their options quickly, according to Sandusky. "John sized up the situation and realized that once Tommy had started shooting at the guy and wounded him in the leg, you know, that this was the only course of action — you know, John was going to chase this guy down and kill him. 'Cause if he didn't, we were all dead."

The man was still running down a path when they got to the bank. Kerry, Belodeau and Michael McDarris, in hot pursuit, saw the Vietcong soldier. Short recalled: "The guy was getting ready to stand up with a rocket on his shoulder, coming up. And Mr. Kerry took him out … he would have been about a 30-yard shot. Which, we were dead in the water up on the bank, point blank. If he missed us, he would have to, you know — there's no way he could miss us. He could've thrown a rock and taken me out."

The others agreed that it was a close call. "If this guy would have got up, and he had a clear shot at us, we would have been history," Thorson said. "Wouldn't have been no doubt about it."

<-- End Quote


Kingdaddy - First, Happy Birthday!
Now: you say "you break at your peril the implicit truce among people with strongly conflicting opinions over the Vietnam War. And if you break the truce for base partisan reasons, you reap the whirlwind." Well, since Kerry seems to think that his service in Viet Nam is his main qualification for the Presidency, I think he is the one who broke the truce, and I hope the SOB gets crucified.

On your specific comments: "none of the Swift Boat Veterans had actually served with Kerry on the boat." They never claimed they did. They said they served with him, and Swift boats, unlike battleships, are not lone commands. They served on Swift boats which sometimes went on the missions together (think of tank commanders).
Elliot has claimed that his "retraction" was a fraud, and the the BoPo writer who did the piece is a shill for Kerry. So the jury is still out on this one.

The biggest complaint that I and other Viet Nam era vets have is what he did in the reserve. It is looking like a large amount of his Congressional testimony was a lie. (Look at what is coming out about his Cambodia story.)

I am beginning to think that this whole thing is the endgame in a VRWC(TM) ploy (note: sarcasm warning)

Kerry, being a from Teddy's home state, and already know for anti-war sympathies, was obviously spirited away to a CIA base in Laos where he was chemically brainwashed. Then this "Manchurian Candidate" was returned to the US. Although knowing about his lies to Congress, the VRWC kept quiet about it, and hoped he would become part of the Dems inner circle. Now, with the external communists destroyed, and seeing a perfect opportunity to destory the remaining Fifth Column within the Dem Party, the VRWC maneuvered to get Kerry nominated. Now all the dirty laundry is going to come out, Dems are going to end up getting killed at the polls, and the internationalist cabal will be destroyed.
What do you think??


Making your military service part of your political resume does invite scrutiny. It doesn't invite ridiculous, misleading, or patently dishonest attacks. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, George Bush Sr. invited the same attacks, perhaps, about his WWII record, but his opponent in 1992 was decent and smart enough not to distort or even challenge his service record. And that's discussing "the Good War," not something as controversial and painful as Vietnam.

Is there dirty laundry? Kerry himself already aired a lot of it, almost immediately after he mustered out. Saying that, by creating free fire zones, American soldiers, himself included, were guilty of war crimes was no small feat of political courage or honesty. Now, we're picking apart questions of whether his unit crossed the border into Cambodia, but are there really open doubts about whether SEAL teams did violate Cambodian neutrality? (The North Vietnamese already had by orders of magnitude more, so there's some justification for the secret cross-border operations.) And is it worth attacking the veterans who were ordered to cross the border, even if they had doubts at the time themselves about the operation?

I don't think so. To honor everyone who honorably served, or honorably protested, we need to have a better discussion of the Vietnam War than this one.


One of my family has just been invalided out of Iraq and the RMC. The boy put himself in harms way, got hurt. He comes home, thankfully, in one piece. In my culture his dangerous time in the Services merits quiet respect.

It says a lot about the debased nature of political debate in the US that a man like Cleland who lost limbs in the service of his country should face ungenerous carping from supposedly patriotic civilians.


Kingdaddy - When will you people give it a rest on Cleland?? The Reps were after him for his POLITICS not his patriotism. I don't even care HOW Cleland got hurt: even if it was a dumb accident (as I have seen stated - I don't buy it) he is still served and more power too him. But there are a lot of ex GI's whose politics I abhore, and I don't see why my attacking them for that is attacking their patriotic service. Consider:
Benedict Arnold was a revolutionary hero before he was a revolutionary traitor. The one does NOT earn a pass on the other. (Note to the historically minded - B.A. was a loyalist traitor BEFORE he became a loyalist hero.)


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