Monday, August 30, 2004

Th-Th-Th-Th-That's All, Folks!

It's been fun. But I've said my piece.

George Bush, Dick Cheney, Denny Hastert, Bill Frist and Tom DeLay are dangerous and dishonest men that would ruin our country. I am optimistic that they will be repudiated on November 2nd. I truly fear for our country if they are not.

I will make one last appeal to republicans of conscience. I understand that you are in a difficult position, and that the stakes are high. Please do not let history record that the deceptions of Bush and Cheney went unchallenged in their own party. Please do not let history record that not a single republican of national stature abjured the slanders and calumnies indulged in by small men like Bill Frist, Denny Hastert and Tom DeLay. At some level a national political party must police itself. Admittedly, the democrats largely failed to do this during the latter Clinton years. But we're not talking about a stained blue dress this time; we're talking about war and peace, about the good name of America in the world community, about the trust of allies who've stood by us as we've stood by them, and the soul of a nation that hasn't yet come to grips with the fact that we thuggishly stomped a small, backwards, desperately poor and defenseless country that posed no threat to us.

History is watching.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Stuck In The Mud

The White House just can't seem to disassociate itself from the Swift Boat Slime.

From the Dallas Morning News:
Houston home builder Bob Perry, a key bankroller for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, is listed as the co-host of a New York City fund-raiser next week for the Harris County GOP, whose guest list includes President Bush's top political adviser...

...Invitations to the Harris County reception and fund-raiser Sept. 1 at Tavern on the Green name Mr. Perry as an event sponsor, and those on the invitation list include former President George Bush, presidential adviser Karl Rove and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
Meanwhile, from NPR's John McChesney:
"And over the weekend, another swift boat Veteran, William Rood, also broke 35 years of silence to support Kerry's version of how he won a silver star. Rood is now an editor with the Chicago Tribune. The Bush campaign denounced Rood's article in the Tribune as politically motivated."
The Swift Boat Slander has become too much for some people to bear, like the editors at the Los Angeles Times:
The technique President Bush is using against John F. Kerry was perfected by his father against Michael Dukakis in 1988, though its roots go back at least to Sen. Joseph McCarthy. It is: Bring a charge, however bogus. Make the charge simple: Dukakis "vetoed the Pledge of Allegiance"; Bill Clinton "raised taxes 128 times"; "there are [pick a number] Communists in the State Department." But make sure the supporting details are complicated and blurry enough to prevent easy refutation.

Then sit back and let the media do your work for you. Journalists have to report the charges, usually feel obliged to report the rebuttal, and often even attempt an analysis or assessment. But the canons of the profession prevent most journalists from saying outright: These charges are false. As a result, the voters are left with a general sense that there is some controversy over Dukakis' patriotism or Kerry's service in Vietnam. And they have been distracted from thinking about real issues (like the war going on now) by these laboratory concoctions...

...No informed person can seriously believe that Kerry fabricated evidence to win his military medals in Vietnam. His main accuser has been exposed as having said the opposite at the time, 35 years ago. Kerry is backed by almost all those who witnessed the events in question, as well as by documentation. His accusers have no evidence except their own dubious word.

Not limited by the conventions of our colleagues in the newsroom, we can say it outright: These charges against John Kerry are false. Or at least, there is no good evidence that they are true. George Bush, if he were a man of principle, would say the same thing.

Dorothy? Any Reaction to the Schlesinger Report?

Dorothy Rabinowitz, August 17, 2004:
It still remains to be seen whether those bent on portraying Pfc. England and her colleagues as victims, misled by superiors, will accord them the respect of judging them for what they were -- individuals who had at a certain time and place, obeyed the dictates of cruelty and sadism, imperatives that did not come to them from above -- rather than excusing them as creatures too lowly to know right from wrong.
Los Angeles Times, August 19, 2004:
A long-awaited report on the Abu Ghraib prison scandal will implicate about two dozen military intelligence soldiers and civilian contractors in the intimidation and sexual humiliation of Iraq war prisoners, but will not suggest wrongdoing by military brass outside the prison, senior Defense officials said Wednesday.

The report will recommend disciplinary action against two senior prison officers: the colonel in charge of the military intelligence brigade that oversaw interrogations at the compound near Baghdad and a general in charge of a reserve military police brigade in charge of the prison.

It also will recommend that the intelligence soldiers face criminal abuse charges similar to those lodged earlier against seven reserve military police soldiers, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Dorothy Rabinowitz is a disgrace, even by the lowly standards of the Wall Street Journal's neocon-infested editorial page.

What Is Happening At The Washington Post?

The Washington Post, in "related content" that accompanied Michael Dobbs' August 21 article (which was revised on Sunday, August 22 and is attached here), falsely stated that self-inflicted wounds are not eligible for the purple heart. I e-mailed the Post on Saturday informing them that self-inflicted wounds are, in fact, eligible for the purple heart if incurred during the heat of battle and are not the product of gross negligence. This is plainly stated in military regulations. The Post had not corrected this misstatement by midday yesterday, so I submitted a message to Michael Dobbs during his online chat yesterday pointing out the error.

The Post has not corrected the error. It continues to incorrectly state that self-inflicted wounds are not eligible for the purple heart. It mistakenly gives the impression that there may be merit to the Swift Boat Liars' charge that John Kerry didn't deserve one of his purple hearts, when the truth is that Kerry deserved his purple heart even if the Swift Boat Liars' account of his wound is true.

It is just very sad to witness the degradation of a national institution like the Washington Post.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

More Blowback

From today's editorial pages around the nation.

Hartford Courant: Mr. Kerry volunteered to serve with the U.S. Navy and was in Vietnam for several months in 1968 and 1969. He was awarded five medals - a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts - for wounds suffered and actions taken as a commander of a small Swift boat on river patrol. Navy records and first-person accounts of men who served on the boat with him back him up and validate claims of heroism. He carries shrapnel in his body to this day.

But that hasn't stopped a political group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth from running television ads and publishing a book claiming that Mr. Kerry lied about the actions that won him the medals. The group, which has ties to the family and political associates of President Bush, asserts that the Democrat is unfit to lead the nation.

Their claims are animated mostly by anger over Mr. Kerry's anti-war statements made when he returned, disillusioned, from Vietnam. One ad shows Mr. Kerry testifying in 1971 about alleged brutality by Americans in Vietnam. However, the group's claims about Mr. Kerry's wartime actions are filled with holes. They are contradicted not only by Navy records and the accounts of crew members who served next to Mr. Kerry, but also by their own comments.

Boston Globe: Although his tour in Vietnam was short, on at least two occasions he acted decisively and with great daring in combat, saving at least one man's life and earning both a Silver Star and a Bronze Star. That's not our account or Kerry's; it is drawn from eyewitnesses and the military citations themselves.

Yet a group of Vietnam veterans is questioning Kerry's record, operating cynically and ignoring the evidence. Many in this group felt betrayed by Kerry's opposition to the Vietnam War after he returned home. A renewed debate on that war might be useful, though we believe most Americans now agree with Kerry's famous statement to Congress at the time that it was a mistake.

Rather than seeking debate, however, this group, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, is attempting political assassination, claiming in ads and a best-selling book that Kerry is "Unfit for Command." In many cases the charges conflict with statements the same men made in the past. Sometimes the allegations contradict documentary evidence. Last week a former swift boat commander, Larry Thurlow, said Kerry didn't deserve his Bronze Star because there was no enemy fire at the time, but this is contradicted by five separate accounts -- including the Bronze Star citation Thurlow himself was awarded in the same incident, as reported by The Washington Post.

While a few details and dates of Kerry's Vietnam record are open to question, most of the accusations are laughable. Kerry's record of service in Vietnam is clear and, one would think, unassailable. Given the contrast in their Vietnam-era records -- Bush even let his pilot's license lapse while still in the Guard -- Bush might be expected to change the subject.

Yet the Kerry opponents, working with funders and political operatives closely linked to Bush personally, are attempting what is known in politics as the big lie -- an effort simply to contradict the truth repeatedly.

Both parties do it, but Republicans are developing a shocking expertise. The smearing of John McCain in South Carolina in 2000, the reprehensible attack to oust Senator Max Cleland of Georgia in 2002, and this utterly cynical campaign against Kerry by Bush's False Squad deserve only condemnation.

Kerry has faulted a few of his own supporters who lampooned Bush's National Guard record. Now Bush should call off his dogs.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: It should not be necessary to plow through all this minute detail about something that happened 35 years ago, wondering whether Kerry remembers it all with precise accuracy. But we must, because the Republican smear machine insists we do. Along with former and current Republican elected officials, Hinderaker and Johnson are serving as part of the effort to smear John Kerry, just as Republicans smeared Sen. John McCain in 2000, then-Sen. Max Cleland in 2002, and critics Richard Clarke and Joe Wilson in 2004. This serves two purposes: to sow doubts in voters' minds about Kerry and to divert attention from the serious issues that really should concern voters: health care costs, the anemic state of the American economy, the mess that is Iraq and the continuing, relentless Republican effort to shift the burden of paying for the federal government from America's wealthy to its middle class.

As the old saying goes, "Politics ain't beanbag," but this Republican crew, including Hinderaker and Johnson, take the art of slime-throwing to levels of immorality seldom seen. Voters need to awaken to this tactic, and realize how much contempt it shows for the workings of democracy and for the intelligence they bring to the task of choosing this nation's leaders.

Kansas City Star: One Republican group, calling itself “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” has mounted a particularly odious attack on Sen. John Kerry's military record.

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group of Vietnam veterans largely sponsored, counseled and coached by individuals with long ties to President George W. Bush, his family and his Texas political base, has set out to destroy Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's record of decorated service in that war. And the president, to his discredit, appears perfectly content to let it do so.

Portland Oregonian: A s the appalling argument over Sen. John Kerry's war record rages on, it's worth mentioning that quite a bit more is at stake here than the outcome of the presidential election.

A group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth began attacking Kerry about a month ago. They said, among other things, that Kerry did not deserve the Bronze Star he received in Vietnam for rescuing Green Beret Jim Rassmann after an explosion blew him off Kerry's patrol boat.

We've already mentioned in this space that we agree with Sen. John McCain, who backs President Bush, that these attacks on Kerry are scurrilous. We might add that the record suggests the attackers' memories aren't too good, either.

Kerry shouldn't be above criticism, though, even from this group. His post-Vietnam antiwar activism ought to be fair game for those who, like French, believe he betrayed the trust of his fellow veterans. Kerry's views as head of Vietnam Veterans Against the War were widely known and influential back then, and it's fair to use them against him now.

And we're not arguing that no one should be able to challenge the official record. But the burden of proof in such cases belongs with those challenging the established accounts, not with those who witnessed them and provided contemporaneous testimony.

The Swift Boat veterans attacking Kerry fall well below that threshold and, we suspect, their tactics ultimately will do more to harm their own cause than help it.

Philadelphia Inquirer: The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth may sincerely believe the insulting, incendiary things they say. But their belief in what they're saying does not make it true. Again, the research shows little correlation between an eyewitness' confidence and the accuracy of his memory.

No matter what they say they "know," the only truth these Swift boat veterans are qualified to express is how long they have resented Kerry's antiwar stance, how hurt they felt to be shunned after they returned from an unpopular war.

The other truth this group puts on display is how worried Bush supporters must be.

Kerry's Vietnam service by itself hardly qualifies him for the White House (forget the over-the-top "band of brothers" riffs in Boston). But it should have at least inoculated him against the GOP right's habitual stereotype of Democrats as cowardly dupes of the enemy. Instead, a heavyweight GOP donor from Houston funded the Swift Boat Veterans to the tune of $200,000, seeking a way to revive that discredited line of attack. The group is technically distinct from the Bush campaign, but it is as much a partisan piece of the reelection effort as is to the Democratic effort.

To put this sideshow to rest, four numbers are all you need to know: Five. Zero. Three. 2004.

Five is how many medals John Kerry earned, in the judgment of his commanding officers, during his volunteer service in Vietnam.

Zero is how long George W. Bush served in Vietnam and how many medals he earned there.

Three is how many prominent Vietnam veterans have now had their service, patriotism and suffering denigrated by Bush surrogates in recent elections. The sliming of Sen. John McCain, a former POW, and former Sen. Max Cleland, who lost three limbs in Vietnam, was even more despicable.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: TWO WEEKS AGO, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called upon President George W. Bush to denounce the scurrilous attack ads of a group that goes by the misnamed Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Mr. Bush refused. The White House says it does not question the military service of Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., and had nothing to do with the ads. But that response won't wash. The smear campaign was funded and orchestrated by a coterie of Texans with strong ties to the Bush family and the president's political director, Karl Rove. The president should disown the ads and tell his friends that he wants them to stop.

Louisville Courier-Journal: The controversial television ad and book that accuse Sen. John Kerry of lying about his military service in Vietnam is as described by Sen. John McCain: "dishonest and dishonorable."

It is the inevitable result of the politics of character assassination: a campaign apparently motivated by pure malice and consisting of fabrications. The problem is not the subject matter. Sen. Kerry has emphasized his service in Vietnam and his decorations for courage and injuries under enemy fire, and he has used his military record to make the case that he is qualified to be commander in chief during dangerous times.

It is fair game for those opposed to his candidacy to raise information about Sen. Kerry's time in Vietnam, to pose questions, to criticize his antiwar activities after he returned from Southeast Asia or even to argue that he dwells too much on a war that ended 30 years ago.

Nor is it necessary to argue that Sen. Kerry is uniquely subjected to misleading advertisements. He isn't. Many ads about President Bush — both those officially paid for by the Democratic campaign and those produced privately — contain distortions or are hateful in tone.

But the Vietnam ad, the work of a group calling itself Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, shreds even the appallingly low standards of modern campaign discourse, as recent investigative reporting makes clear. Several of the resulting stories appear in the Forum and front sections of today's newspaper.

The anti-Kerry group received financing, advice and production expertise from individuals with close ties to the President and his family.

More important, their claims are devastatingly undercut by military files, assertions by Sen. Kerry's commanders and previous statements by several of the group's own members in praise of Sen. Kerry's Vietnam actions. Still, the swift boat veterans' charges have been circulated widely. They are repeated without challenge on right-wing talk shows. Conservative commentators treat them as a legitimate, alternative viewpoint.

The person who can bring this destructive ugliness to a halt is the President himself. Sen. McCain, R-Ariz., has called on him to renounce the ads.

Mr. Bush has not done so, however. Instead, his campaign has argued simply that it had no hand in the ads. That's unlikely, but in any case it's not the point. No president should allow the military service of an American veteran to be impugned recklessly and malevolently.

Yet, that is precisely what Mr. Bush has done.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: At the moment, Kerry is smarting most from the surrogate campaigning; in reality, his surrogates are a much bigger problem. He's smarting because campaigning as surrogate for Bush is the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which aired an ad in Wisconsin and elsewhere attacking Kerry's version of his Vietnam service. A more despicable and misleading ad is hard to find unless it's the one by another group - targeting African-American voters - that labels Kerry as "rich, white and wishy-washy."

Las Vegas Sun: We have written before that President Bush should have immediately denounced "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," the group that is using bogus charges to question John Kerry's war record in Vietnam. Perhaps then the group's objective, sinking Kerry's presidential bid by way of dirty politics, could have been blunted. Now, however, the group has achieved some small gains. Donations are coming in to finance more ads and public appearances by its members, and Kerry's poll numbers among veterans groups are slipping.

Fortunately there are new reports, published independently of the Kerry campaign, that we hope will restore the faith of veterans and others who may have been misled by the Swift Boat group. Last week both the Washington Post and The New York Times published lengthy investigative reports documenting that the group's attacks on Kerry -- who earned a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts while commanding a Swift boat -- have no credibility.

For example, former Swift boat commander Larry Thurlow is alleging that Kerry was not under fire when he earned his Bronze Star for rescuing a soldier blown from another boat after a mine detonated. The newspapers reported that Thurlow, too, received a Bronze Star for his part in the rescue, with his award praising him for assisting "despite enemy bullets flying about him." Obviously, if Thurlow was under fire at the same time as Kerry was, then Thurlow isn't telling the truth as he seeks to denigrate Kerry's heroism.

The articles point out numerous such inconsistencies, as well as the strong ties that backers of the group have to President Bush and his inner circle. It's not too late for Bush to take the ethical high road and denounce the allegations of the Swift Boat group.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Blowback In Progress

To the right are the results of MSNBC's Question of the Day. I started tracking it earlier this morning, at which point approximately 10,000 responses had been received. I was startled to see that the Swift Boat Liars were believed by 51% of respondents, Kerry by 49%. Things have swung decisively towards Kerry in the last few hours. Now, with more than 70,000 responses, the tally seems to have stabilized at Kerry 61%, Vets 39%.


Michelle Malkin, from her own website, on last night's "Hardball" appearance:
Matthews frantically stuffed words down my mouth when I raised these allegations made in Unfit for Command that Kerry's wounds might have been self-inflicted. In his ill-informed and ideologically warped mind, this transmogrified into me accusing Kerry of "shooting himself on purpose" to get an award.

I repeated that the allegations involved whether the injuries were "self inflicted wounds." I DID NOT SAY HE SHOT HIMSELF ON PURPOSE and Chris Matthews knows it.
But character assassins never "say", do they? They insinuate, they suggest, they traffic in rumors and innuendo. And the transcript of last night's "Hardball" show is evidence that Malkin did, in fact, insinuate that Lt. John Kerry intentionally wounded himself.
MATTHEWS: I want a statement from you on this program, say to me right, that you believe he shot himself to get credit for a purpose of heart.

MALKIN: I‘m not sure. I‘m saying...

MATTHEWS: Why did you say?

MALKIN: I‘m talking about what‘s in the book.

MATTHEWS: What is in the book. Is there—is there a direct accusation in any book you‘ve ever read in your life that says John Kerry ever shot himself on purpose to get credit for a purple heart? On purpose?


MATTHEWS: On purpose? Yes or no, Michelle.

MALKIN: In the February 1969 -- in the February 1969 event.

MATTHEWS: Did he say on it purpose.

MALKIN: There are doubts about whether or not it was intense rifle fire or not. And I wish you would ask these questions of John Kerry instead of me.

MATTHEWS: I have never heard anyone say he shot himself on purpose.

I haven‘t heard you say it.

MALKIN: Have you tried to ask—have you tried ask John Kerry these questions?

MATTHEWS: If he shot himself on purpose. No. I have not asked him that.

MALKIN: Don‘t you wonder?

MATTHEWS: No, I don‘t. It‘s never occurred to me.
Malkin may very well be correct that Matthews goaded her, but if he did then she graciously accomodated his goading by unmistakably insinuating that John Kerry committed a wretched and detestable act.

Michelle perhaps can take comfort that by having disgraced herself she may have provided the impetus for the rejection by the American people of Malkinism and a return to decency.

The Welch Moment

June 9, 1954. The Army-McCarthy congressional hearings.

MR. WELCH - Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyer's Guild.
SENATOR MCCARTHY - Let me finish this.
MR. WELCH - And Mr. Cohn nods his head at me. I did you, I think, no personal injury, Mr. Cohn.
MR. COHN - No, sir.
MR. WELCH - I meant to do you no personal injury and if I did, I beg your pardon. Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
SENATOR MCCARTHY - I know this hurts you, Mr. Welch.
MR. WELCH - I'll say it hurts.
SENATOR MCCARTHY - May I say, Mr. Chairman, as a point of personal privilege, that I'd like to finish this.
MR. WELCH - Senator, I think it hurts you too, sir.
We are approaching a "Joseph Welch" moment in America, the moment when the American people, almost as one, suddenly recognize the utter recklessness of a right-wing campaign to slander and destroy good men and women for no other purpose than to gain fleeting political advantage, the moment when the American people recoil in revulsion at the realization that certain of its political leaders would change the Land Of The Free into "the land of slander and scare...the land of smash and grab and anything to win."

Fifty years after Joseph Welch spoke for all Americans of good will and gave voice to the essential decency and sense of fair play of the American people, who will say to the Malkins and the O'Neills and the Roves and, yes, the President, "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

This Is Bushland, Not America

"Our nation stands at a fork in the political road. In one direction lies a land of slander and scare; the land of sly innuendo, the poison pen, the anonymous phone call and hustling, pushing, shoving; the land of smash and grab and anything to win. This is Nixonland. But I say to you that it is not America." Adlai Stevenson, 1956
The names of the men pictured above, left to right, are George Elliott, Roy Hoffman, Louis Letson, Adrian Lonsdale and Van O'Dell. They, along with former Nixon plumber John O'Neill, Larry Thurlow and others, have chosen to give voice to their grievances with John Kerry's antiwar activities in the early '70's by slandering his service in Vietnam. The claims they have made (and broadcast in an anti-Kerry television commercial) are in each instance contradicted by the recollections of John Kerry's boatmates, by official Navy records and by their own prior statements. Elliott, Hoffman and Lonsdale were lauding Kerry's service more than 25 years after serving with him. Hoffman said just last year, referring to Kerry's actions that earned the Silver Star, "It took guts, and I admire that." Today Roy Hoffman tells us that John Kerry didn't deserve that Silver Star.

These men served honorably in Vietnam, but they have dishonored themselves. I am absolutely certain that the American people will recognize their discredited allegations as a gutter-dwelling smear campaign and, if the Deserter has not repudiated them in advance of the wave of public revulsion, will hold the Deserter accountable on November 2nd.

The Blowback Begins

From Friday morning's New York Times, page one:
The strategy the veterans devised would ultimately paint John Kerry the war hero as John Kerry the "baby killer" and the fabricator of the events that resulted in his war medals. But on close examination, the accounts of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth' prove to be riddled with inconsistencies. In many cases, material offered as proof by these veterans is undercut by official Navy records and the men's own statements.

Several of those now declaring Mr. Kerry "unfit" had lavished praise on him, some as recently as last year.

In an unpublished interview in March 2003 with Mr. Kerry's authorized biographer, Douglas Brinkley, provided by Mr. Brinkley to The New York Times, Roy F. Hoffmann, a retired rear admiral and a leader of the group, allowed that he had disagreed with Mr. Kerry's antiwar positions but said, "I am not going to say anything negative about him." He added, "He's a good man."

In a profile of the candidate that ran in The Boston Globe in June 2003, Mr. Hoffmann approvingly recalled the actions that led to Mr. Kerry's Silver Star: "It took guts, and I admire that."

George Elliott, one of the Vietnam veterans in the group, flew from his home in Delaware to Boston in 1996 to stand up for Mr. Kerry during a tough re-election fight, declaring at a news conference that the action that won Mr. Kerry a Silver Star was "an act of courage." At that same event, Adrian L. Lonsdale, another Vietnam veteran now speaking out against Mr. Kerry, supported him with a statement about the "bravado and courage of the young officers that ran the Swift boats."

"Senator Kerry was no exception," Mr. Lonsdale told the reporters and cameras assembled at the Charlestown Navy Yard. "He was among the finest of those Swift boat drivers."

Those comments echoed the official record. In an evaluation of Mr. Kerry in 1969, Mr. Elliott, who was one of his commanders, ranked him as "not exceeded" in 11 categories, including moral courage, judgment and decisiveness, and "one of the top few" - the second-highest distinction - in the remaining five. In written comments, he called Mr. Kerry "unsurpassed," "beyond reproach" and "the acknowledged leader in his peer group."
The New York Times also has a neat graphical depiction of deceit that refutes virtually every verifiable claim made by the Swift Boat Liars.

From this morning's Washington Post:
In its current TV ad, a Swift boat veteran says, "John Kerry lied to get his Bronze Star. . . . I know, I was there, I saw what happened" -- a reference to the mission on March 13, 1969, when Kerry pulled Lt. Jim Rassmann from a river after an explosion knocked Rassmann off Kerry's boat. The ad says Kerry was not under fire. That episode is also a focus of O'Neill's book.

But The Post reported Thursday that military records of Larry Thurlow, one of Kerry's accusers, show that Kerry's boat faced fire when he pulled Rassmann from the water.

The new 30-second Kerry ad says the Navy documented Kerry's "heroism and awarded him the Bronze Star." In the ad, Rassmann says: "All these Viet Cong were shooting at me. I expected I'd be shot. When he pulled me out of the river, he risked his life to save mine."
Here's Chris Matthews interviewing Michael Dobbs of the Washington Post on "Hardball":
MATTHEWS: Michael Dobbs is the “Washington Post” reporter who broke the story today about Larry Thurlow‘s Bronze Star citation. Let‘s talk about that citation. You report on a front page story in “The Washington Post” today, Michael, that the citation for Larry Thurlow, the gentleman we just talked to, his award was—his Bronze Star was earned because of—he was—as well as other things, he was under enemy fire at the time. He denies that again today on the show, and he says not only did he not go under enemy fire when he took the action he did, the brave action he took to save those crewmen on the other swift boat, but that that language in the citation came from John Kerry. Any evidence of that?

MICHAEL DOBBS, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: There‘s no proof of that at all. It‘s based on his claim and the claim of some other swift boat veterans that it was John Kerry that wrote the after-action report. In fact, Mr. Thurlow was the senior officer in that particular engagement, so it‘s just as possible to suppose that he wrote the action—after-action report as Mr. Kerry. There‘s no evidence from the document itself as to who wrote the report. Also...

MATTHEWS: Is it a fair assumption on the part of Mr. Thurlow that it was John Kerry‘s words because he was the only one that issued a report, or submitted one, that they would have had to get that information about being under constant enemy fire, automatic weapons fire, et cetera, from the person who filed a report, if no one else did?

DOBBS: I think probably the after-action report could have been the work of several different people, each reporting on what their own boat did. I don‘t think that all the language in Mr. Thurlow‘s citation could have come from that after-action report, either. And there were many things that Mr. Thurlow was doing that are mentioned in his citation that John Kerry was not in a position to observe.
Meanwhile, Michelle Malkin's outrageous "Hardball" appearance provided grist for both Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann:
MALKIN: Why don‘t people ask him more specific questions about the shrapnel in his leg. They are legitimate questions about whether or not it was a self-inflicted wound.


MATTHEWS: What do you mean by self-inflicted? Are you saying he shot himself on purpose? Is that what you‘re saying?

MALKIN: Did you read the book...

MATTHEWS: I‘m asking a simple question. Are you saying that he shot himself on purpose.

MALKIN: I‘m saying some of these soldiers...

MATTHEWS: And I‘m asking question.

MALKIN: And I‘m answering it.

MATTHEWS: Did he shoot himself on purpose.

MALKIN: Some of the soldiers have made allegations that these were self-inflicted wounds.

MATTHEWS: No one has ever accused him of shooting himself on purpose.

MALKIN: That these were self-inflicted wounds.

MATTHEWS: Your saying there are—he shot himself on purpose, that‘s a criminal act?

MALKIN: I‘m saying that I‘ve read the book and some of the...


MATTHEWS: I want an answer yes or no, Michelle.

MALKIN: Some of the veterans say...

MATTHEWS: No. No one has every accused him of shooting himself on purpose.

MALKIN: Yes. Some of them say that.

MATTHEWS: Tell me where that...

MALKIN: Self-inflicted wounds—in February, 1969.

MATTHEWS: This is not a show for this kind of talk. Are you accusing him of shooting himself on purpose to avoid combat or to get credit?

MALKIN: I‘m saying that‘s what some of these...

MATTHEWS: Give me a name.

MALKIN: Patrick Runyan (ph) and William Zeldonaz (ph).

MATTHEWS: They said—Patrick Runyan...

MALKIN: These people have...

MATTHEWS: And they said he shot himself on purpose to avoid combat or take credit for a wound?

MALKIN: These people have cast a lot of doubt on whether or not...

MATTHEWS: That‘s cast a lot of doubt. That‘s complete nonsense.

MALKIN: Did you read the section in the book...

MATTHEWS: I want a statement from you on this program, say to me right, that you believe he shot himself to get credit for a purpose of heart.

MALKIN: I‘m not sure. I‘m saying...

MATTHEWS: Why did you say?

MALKIN: I‘m talking about what‘s in the book.

MATTHEWS: What is in the book. Is there—is there a direct accusation in any book you‘ve ever read in your life that says John Kerry ever shot himself on purpose to get credit for a purple heart? On purpose?


MATTHEWS: On purpose? Yes or no, Michelle.

MALKIN: In the February 1969 -- in the February 1969 event.

MATTHEWS: Did he say on it purpose.

MALKIN: There are doubts about whether or not it was intense rifle fire or not. And I wish you would ask these questions of John Kerry instead of me.

MATTHEWS: I have never heard anyone say he shot himself on purpose.

I haven‘t heard you say it.

MALKIN: Have you tried to ask—have you tried ask John Kerry these questions?

MATTHEWS: If he shot himself on purpose. No. I have not asked him that.

MALKIN: Don‘t you wonder?

MATTHEWS: No, I don‘t. It‘s never occurred to me.

Look, thank you Mayor Brown. We‘ll stay with Michelle Malkin.

Still ahead, David Gergen and Dana Milbank on the battle for the White House. We are going to keep things clean on this show. No irresponsible comments are going to be made on the show.
Later in "Hardball" David Gergen bemoaned Bush's habit of slandering the patriotism of his political opponents.

Finally, on "Countdown", Keith Olbermann stated that Malkin "had made a fool of herself" on Matthews' show.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


Neocon lunatic Michelle Malkin was just on Hardball with Chris Matthews. I was on a business call and didn't hear it directly, but I have it on good faith from Mrs. Goldstein that Malkin suggested that Kerry intentionally wounded himself. Matthews apparently was aghast, and repeatedly challenged her to state unequivocally whether she was saying that Kerry intentionally wounded himself. Later in the show David Gergen expressed his dismay at Malkin's claim and seemed to predict an imminent backlash in response to the tactics of the Swift Boat Liars and their fellow travellers. According to Mrs. Goldstein, Keith Olbermann started his "Countdown" show by commenting on Malkin's outrageous claims and professing to be outraged.

Swift boat liar Larry Thurlow was also on "Hardball" at the same time as Malkin. Thurlow and other SBL's have claimed that one of Kerry's injuries was incurred when he fired a mortar into some rocks on the river's edge and was hit by rebounding shrapnel. It is possible that Malkin recklessly misconstrued Thurlow's claims or carelessly misspoke, but it really hardly matters. The net effect was that both Matthews and Olbermann reacted with indignation, thereby plainly indicating to the viewing audience that Malkin's assertions (and, unless the viewer were exceptionally discerning, Thurlow's assertions by association) were beyond the pale.

Malkin's indiscretion, coming as it does on the same day that Kerry launched a muscular counterattack on the SBL's and the Deserter, suddenly thrusts the Deserter and his minions on the defensive on an issue where they have been squarely on the offensive.

Things now get very dicey for the Deserter. He can cut his losses on this issue by immediately repudiating the SBL's, Malkin and the other rightwing haters, or he can wait for the blowback. If he waits for the blowback, it's already too late and he'll suffer the consequences. My prediction? I just can't see the Deserter repudiating his attack dogs. He won't repudiate, or he'll wait too long, and he'll get slammed by the full force of the blowback.

The Ballad Of The Chickenhawk

Click on the Chickenhawk-in-Chief for a larger image and sing it to the tune of "The Beverly Hillbillies"!

How Thurlow Will They Go?

Larry Thurlow, one of John O'Neill's swift boat hitmen, is not a particularly credible fellow, is he?

I will make one more appeal to all republicans for fairness. I have gone to the swift boat vets' website, expecting to find documentation of their claims regarding Kerry's service. Instead, I found that the site focused almost exclusively on Kerry's antiwar activities in the States. I respect the swift boat vets' service in Vietnam, and I can understand how bitter these men must feel if they believe John Kerry's antiwar stance in any way denigrated their service in Vietnam, but it is plain that they are untruthfully attacking John Kerry's service because they cannot harm him politically by criticizing his opposition to the Vietnam war.

These swift boat vets are unfortunately the same kind of people as those who are threatening Joseph Darby, the Abu Ghraib whistleblower. Their attitude is that we, the public, have no right to know what is happening in a war fought by our country if it may reflect poorly on any of the troops. This, of course, is an untenable position.

I would ask my 'pub friends to drop this issue so that any further discussion of this campaign can focus on the issues that matter: the war in Iraq, economic and fiscal policy, and the incumbent's desertion from the Texas Air National Guard.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

"Let Me Be Clear"

John Kerry, October 9, 2002
"Let me be clear, the vote I will give to the President is for one reason and one reason only: To disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, if we cannot accomplish that objective through new, tough weapons inspections in joint concert with our allies.

"In giving the President this authority, I expect him to fulfill the commitments he has made to the American people in recent days- -to work with the United Nations Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough and immediate inspection requirements, and to act with our allies at our side if we have to disarm Saddam Hussein by force. If he fails to do so, I will be among the first to speak out.

If we do wind up going to war with Iraq, it is imperative that we do so with others in the international community, unless there is a showing of a grave, imminent--and I emphasize "imminent"--threat to this country which requires the President to respond in a way that protects our immediate national security needs."
Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq, adopted October 11, 2002:
"In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon there after as may be feasible, but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that (1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq..."
Hans Blix, March 7, 2003, from his address to the United Nations:

"Inspections in Iraq resumed on 27 November 2002. In matters relating to process, notably prompt access to sites, we have faced relatively few difficulties...Initial difficulties raised by the Iraqi side about helicopters and aerial surveillance planes operating in the no-fly zones were overcome. This is not to say that the operation of inspections is free from frictions, but at this juncture we are able to perform professional no-notice inspections all over Iraq and to increase aerial surveillance.

"As I noted on 14 February, intelligence authorities have claimed that weapons of mass destruction are moved around Iraq by trucks and, in particular, that there are mobile production units for biological weapons...Several inspections have taken place at declared and undeclared sites in relation to mobile production facilities...No evidence of proscribed activities has so far been found.

"There have been reports, denied from the Iraqi side, that proscribed activities are conducted underground...During inspections of declared or undeclared facilities, inspection teams have examined building structures for any possible underground facilities. In addition, ground penetrating radar equipment was used in several specific locations. No underground facilities for chemical or biological production or storage were found so far.

"While during our meetings in Baghdad, the Iraqi side tried to persuade us that the Al Samoud 2 missiles they have declared fall within the permissible range set by the Security Council...Iraq has since accepted that these missiles and associated items be destroyed and has started the process of destruction under our supervision. The destruction undertaken constitutes a substantial measure of disarmament - indeed, the first since the middle of the 1990s. We are not watching the breaking of toothpicks. Lethal weapons are being destroyed.

"The Iraqi side has tried on occasion to attach conditions, as it did regarding helicopters and U-2 planes. It has not, however, so far persisted in these or other conditions for the exercise of any of our inspection rights. If it did, we would report it."
The Deserter, March 19, 2003:
"The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder."
But there were no "weapons of mass murder." Hans Blix told the Deserter and the world only twelve days prior that no weapons of mass destruction or proscribed activities had been found in Iraq even though U.N. inspectors had conducted "professional, no-notice inspections all over Iraq."

John Kerry stated unequivocally that he supported war against Iraq only "if we cannot accomplish that objective through new, tough weapons inspections in joint concert with our allies." Similarly, the resolution adopted by Congress conditioned authorization of military force upon a finding by the president that "diplomatic or other peaceful means" to "adequately protect the national security of the United States" or enforce the U.N. resolutions had failed.

The inspections were ongoing when the Deserter went to war. They were being conducted without interference from Iraq. They were effective. They were disarming Iraq. How could the Deserter have certified to Congress that diplomatic and peaceful means of disarming Iraq had failed only twelve days after Blix's report that inspections were working and Iraq was disarming?

UPDATE: The Associated Press reported at 1:18 PM that "Kerry, as a U.S. senator, voted for the war." Just incredible. The Associated Press apparently finds it immaterial that the authorization Kerry voted for was conditioned upon the existence of an Iraqi threat and a failure of "diplomatic or other peaceful means" to "adequately protect the national security of the United States" or enforce the U.N. resolutions. The Associated Press apparently believes that as of March 19, 2003 the Iraqi threat existed and diplomacy had failed, notwithstanding Blix's report to the U.N. on March 7, 2003. Would it really be so difficult for the A.P. to say that Kerry had voted to "authorize the use of force if diplomatic efforts to disarm Iraq had failed"?

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Why Would Dorothy Rabinowitz Lie?

We have today the clearest indication yet that the neocon criminals in the Defense Department have much to fear from the investigations into detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib. The evidence can be found on the editorial page of today's Wall Street Journal, otherwise known as "Bartley's Wasteland."

Dorothy Rabinowitz, a dutiful neocon hag, devotes nearly 1400 words today to scapegoating the seven poor bastards who were merely following orders, concluding her screed with the following sentence:
It still remains to be seen whether those bent on portraying Pfc. England and her colleagues as victims, misled by superiors, will accord them the respect of judging them for what they were -- individuals who had at a certain time and place, obeyed the dictates of cruelty and sadism, imperatives that did not come to them from above -- rather than excusing them as creatures too lowly to know right from wrong.
Dorothy states unequivocally her belief that the orders to abuse the detainees "did not come to them from above", and yet the only evidence she cites in support of her contention is Pfc. Lynndie England's alleged omission to assert the "following orders" defense in her initial interview with military investigators. Dorothy must be held accountable, however, for her very selective evidentiary standards.

Why does Dorothy ignore the report prepared by General Taguba, in which he states the following:
I find that there is sufficient credible information to warrant an Inquiry UP Procedure 15, AR 381-10, US Army Intelligence Activities, be conducted to determine the extent of culpability of MI personnel, assigned to the 205th MI Brigade and the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center (JIDC) at Abu Ghraib (BCCF). Specifically, I suspect that COL Thomas M. Pappas, LTC Steve L. Jordan, Mr. Steven Stephanowicz, and Mr. John Israel were either directly or indirectly responsible for the abuses at Abu Ghraib (BCCF) and strongly recommend immediate disciplinary action as described in the preceding paragraphs as well as the initiation of a Procedure 15 Inquiry to determine the full extent of their culpability. Gen. Taguba, ARTICLE 15-6 INVESTIGATION OF THE 800th MILITARY POLICE BRIGADE.
Why does Dorothy ignore Gen. Taguba's opening statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee, in which he stated:
"During the course of my team's investigation, we gathered evidence pertaining to the involvement of several military intelligence personnel or contractors assigned to the 205th M.I. Brigade and the alleged detainee abuses at Abu Ghraib."
Why does she ignore the following testimony of Gen. Taguba before the Senate Armed Services Committee, during which Gen. Taguba responded thusly to a question posed by Sen. Clinton:
SEN. CLINTON: Now, if the problems were severe and located principally in this one unit, then I think it is appropriate to follow the chain-of-command up to the decision to send General Miller to that prison, whereas I understand the testimony thus far, he set up a specific joint interrogation unit. He did, however one wants to describe, either coordinate or direct the MPs' involvement in the conditioning of the detainees. Is that a correct statement, General?

GEN. TAGUBA: Yes ma'am.
Why does Dorothy ignore the evidence that the use of dogs to terrorize and attack Abu Ghraib prisoners was ordered by Col. Thomas Pappas , the head of military intelligence at Abu Ghraib, and approved by Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez? Why does she ignore Pappas' claim that the dogs were suggested by Maj. Gen. Miller D. Miller, former head of the detention center at Guantanamo in Cuba, who was dispatched to Baghdad by Undersecretary of Defense Stephen A. Cambone?

Why does Dorothy ignore this picture, which was published by her very own Wall Street Journal, depicting military intelligence personnel engaging in the same abuses Dorothy attributes solely to the scapegoats?

The Wall Street Journal printed the following caption under this photograph on May 14, 2004:
Spc. Charles Graner etched numbers into this photo in order to identify himself and others at Abu Ghraib prison. Spc. Graner is labeled No. 1 in the photo, which shows Iraqi prisoners bound together. According to Spc. Graner, No. 2 is a civilian contractor for military intelligence, Nos. 4, 5, 7 and 8 are military-intelligence soldiers, and Nos. 3 and 6 are military police. No. 9 is not identified. Lawyers are expected to use the photo in Spc. Graner's defense. Some notes by Spc. Graner have been cropped out of the photo.
Why would Dorothy lie? Why would she claim that the seven scapegoats of Abu Ghraib were acting on their own, an extraordinary assertion contradicted by overwhelming evidence that they were directed by military intelligence officials, who were themselves acting under the command of Gen. Miller, who was dispatched to Abu Ghraib by Stephen Cambone, Rummy's righthand man? Because the evidence of the abuses at Abu Ghraib leads right into the neocon's lair in the Pentagon, and because she has chosen to journalistically prostitute herself for the neocon criminals who have infected our nation's government and wield ultimate power in this country through their manipulation of an amoral and stunningly stupid president.

Monday, August 16, 2004

This Is How It Starts

FBI harrassment of anyone who dares dissent. "The message I took from it was that they were trying to intimidate us into not going to any protests and to let us know that, 'hey, we're watching you.' "

Intimidation of any group suspected of not supporting the current regime. "People who have voted by absentee ballot for years are refusing to allow campaign workers to come to their homes. And volunteers who have participated for years in assisting people, particularly the elderly or handicapped, are scared and don't want to risk a criminal investigation."

The criminalization of dissent. "Protesters often use the internet to recruit, raise funds and coordinate their activities prior to demonstrations."

Equating dissent with treason. "Your tactics only aid terrorists for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil."

The Deserter is launching a pre-emptive assault on the first amendment. It's only 45 words, but it is the bedrock upon which rests five freedoms necessary to the survival of our democracy: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances. If, as the New York Times reports this morning, the FBI is knocking on the doors of protesters, in the absence of any probable cause to suspect illegal activities, then we are all in grave danger.

Now is the time to speak out. It wasn't yet too late in 1932, but by 1933 a nation had descended into madness. The people of this country must speak with one voice on this matter, and demand that the criminals currently pulling the levers of power in our government keep their bloodstained hands off of our Constitution and its most precious amendment.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Losing Hearts And Minds

"About 10,000 demonstrators, some in buses, others on foot, arrived in Najaf on Saturday to show their solidarity with the militants and act as human shields to protect the city." MSNBC, today
Well, the Deserter is finally proving himself to be a uniter rather than a divider. He is uniting the Shiite populations of Iraq and Iran by attacking Najaf. He is uniting all Shiites in opposition to the United States. By killing native Iraqi Shiites in Najaf he is alienating the very people he professed to liberate, the very people upon whom he vaingloriously claimed to be bestowing democracy.

It is difficult to imagine a more self-defeating Iraq policy than that pursued by the Deserter and his neocon masters. It is now apparent that the U.S. presence in Iraq is the source of instability, not the safeguard against it. But it would be a mistake to attribute this foolish policy to mere ineptitude on the part of our neocon government. Rather, it is the very purpose of this policy to create chaos, for chaos in Iraq is the only remaining justification for continuing this benighted occupation.

How else to explain our wildly careening policy vis a vis Muqtada al-Sadr and Najaf? In March, in the midst of relative calm in Iraq, we ignited an uprising by al-Sadr's militia by shuttering their two-bit newspaper. Following weeks of chaos, we then basically ceded Najaf and large parts of Baghdad to al-Sadr and his followers and relative calm again descended upon those areas. Now, with little in the way of explanation for yet another sudden shift in policy, we again elect to confront al-Sadr's militia.

Why did we initially incite al-Sadr's followers? Why did we then suddenly retreat from confrontation? Why have we now suddenly and mysteriously reversed course again and precipitated a potentially cataclysmic confrontation? What kind of policy is this?

Friday, August 13, 2004

Sorties Of Shame

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Vice President. It is high time that we drop this silly pretension that we Americans have taken pains in Iraq to minimize civilian casualties and that our war in Iraq has been a uniquely humane war. The facts do not support this self-congratulatory lie.

We bombed Baghdad. We bombed non-strategic targets in Baghdad for no reason other than the "shock and awe" we hoped to engender. We bombed urban areas with population densities equivalent to those in Manhattan or northwest Washington, D.C. But we didn't want to know the truth. Just think how we comforted ourselves with the insane belief that our precision-guided bombs offered some assurance against civilian casualties. The targeting may have been precise, but the blast radius was deadly - where exactly does one drop a bomb in Manhattan or Washington, D.C. and not kill scores of innocent people?

The U.S.'s own bombing surveys and studies confirm that we fought a brutal war in Baghdad. Dick Cheney is absolutely right: you don't win wars by being sensitive. The startling thing is that so many people, and so many media outlets, believed we were being sensitive when we dropped bombs the size of economy cars on densely populated cities. These are the facts, courtesy of our own military's strategic bombing surveys:

1. Pentagon approval was required for any sortie with respect to which the military estimated a civilian death toll of 30 or more. The military submitted 50 such proposals. Each and every one was approved. Not once did the Pentagon find that the objective did not justify the extraordinary toll in innocent human life.

2. We conducted 50 Sorties of Shame - sorties directed at "high value targets" in the Hussein government, based upon intelligence received (generally be cell phone) only minutes before the sorties were launched. There was virtually no attempt to substantiate the intelligence. Not surprisingly, we were ZERO FOR FIFTY.

3. We were tracking the efficacy of the Sorties of Shame as they were conducted, and accordingly were aware early on that the intelligence upon which we based these sorties was not reliable. And yet we persisted for fifty sorties, actually stepping up the campaign as things threatened to bog down in Iraq in early April. Think of it: zero for twenty, zero for thirty, zero for forty, and still we kept bombing.

This is painful stuff, I know, but we have to face the facts. We're not talking about presidential palaces and baathist party structures. We bombed those purely for the "shock and awe." The HVTs had long cleared out of those places. The Fifty Sorties of Shame were directed primarily at areas like these, where seventeen civilians were killed:


We know for a fact that Chemical Ali was not there, and that 17 innocent people died for nothing.

We don't know how many civilians died in the bombing. We do know, however, that our military projected that at least 1500 people would die in the 50 bombing raids approved by our Pentagon. We will never know what price in innocent human life was too high a price to pay in the estimation of the Pentagon, because the Pentagon approved every such bombing raid. Would 2000 civilian casualties have been too many? Would 5000? Secretary Rumsfeld, how many civilians were you willing to kill?

Thank you, Mr. Vice President. However inadvertently, you spoke the truest words you've ever spoken. Wars aren't won with sensitivity. Let's stop pretending we've behaved with sensitivity in our war on Iraq.

Adrift In Iraq

"Meanwhile, the U.S. military—the only force in Iraq remotely capable of keeping the country from falling apart—finds itself in a maddening situation where tactical victories yield strategic setbacks. The Marines could readily defeat the insurgents in Najaf, but only at the great risk of inflaming Shiites—and sparking still larger insurgencies—elsewhere. In the Sadr City section of Baghdad, as U.S. commanders acknowledge, practically every resident is an insurgent." Fred Kaplan, from his "No Way Out" analysis posted today at
Tactical victories, strategic setbacks. Has Fred been reading this humble blog, which recently observed the same chasm between tactical and strategic outcomes in Iraq?

Kaplan begins his piece with the following note of despair: "This is a terribly grim thing to say, but there might be no solution to the problem of Iraq." He ends it with this even grimmer assessment: "The dismaying, frightening thing is how imponderably difficult it will be simply to avoid catastrophe."

It is indeed a grim prospect, but one which has been so apparent for so long that it is dismaying (to say the least) that this looming catastrophe has not moved front and center in Big Media's coverage. There is a willful and obdurate refusal of the media to acknowledge realities in Iraq. The New York Times, in a belated but unabashed acknowledgment of its delusion, only recently conceded the factual inaccuracy of its claim of a decline in U.S. casualties in Iraq following the June 29 sovereignty charade. Big Media's disgraceful abrogation of duty is the pillar upon which rests the Deserter's Big Lie - that we are fighting in Iraq to eradicate terrorism. We are fighting for one thing only: to occupy Iraq.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Midnight In Najaf

We are preparing to attack Najaf. An assault on Najaf is a strategic defeat for our country, regardless of the tactical military victory we are likely to win.

We are not fighting terrorists in Najaf. We are fighting Iraqi nationalists who oppose the U.S. occupation of Iraq. These are not people inclined to threaten or attack the U.S. These are Iraqis who do not believe that the Deserter, Cheney and Rumsfeld have good intentions in Iraq. The impending U.S. attack on Sadr's forces will create martyrs for Iraqi nationalism and turn other Iraqis against us.

Mr. President, what is this course on which you urge us to stay? What is this job we cannot leave unfinished? How are the avowed objectives of the U.S. in Iraq served by enmeshing us in a futile war against Iraqi nationalism?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

It's the Economy, Deserter

Greenspan just hiked interest rates.

Crude oil prices just hit a record high.

Productivity growth is sagging.

Economic forecasters are revising their predictions downward.

I can't wait for the new polls. I can't wait for November 2nd. I can't wait until this man who deserted during the Vietnam war and disgraced his country by launching a criminal war against Iraq is sent packing for Crawford.

G'bye, George. You won't be missed, but you won't soon be forgotten. Look at it this way, Deserter - you'll always have a place on the ash heap of history.

Veteran, Former Cop, Republican

Jim Rassman, whose life was saved by John Kerry in Vietnam, wrote an op-ed piece in today's Wall Street Journal. This is an excerpt:
Nobody asked me to join John's campaign. Why would they? I am a Republican, and for more than 30 years I have largely voted for Republicans. I volunteered for his campaign because I have seen John Kerry in the worst of conditions. I know his character. I've witnessed his bravery and leadership under fire. And I truly know he will be a great commander in chief.

Now, 35 years after the fact, some Republican-financed Swift Boat Veterans for Bush are suddenly lying about John Kerry's service in Vietnam; they are calling him a traitor because he spoke out against the Nixon administration's failed policies in Vietnam. Some of these Republican-sponsored veterans are the same ones who spoke out against John at the behest of the Nixon administration in 1971. But this time their attacks are more vicious, their lies cut deep and are directed not just at John Kerry, but at me and each of his crewmates as well. This hate-filled ad asserts that I was not under fire; it questions my words and Navy records. This smear campaign has been launched by people without decency, people who don't understand the bond of those who serve in combat.
A Vietnam vet. A former cop. A republican.

We all know why the Swift Boat Whores have chosen to disgrace themselves. Let's hope they desist before further polluting the political atmosphere with their cowardly lies.

Monday, August 09, 2004

The Dishonor Roll Of Swift Boat Whores

Here are some more men who have chosen to disgrace themselves and dishonor their admirable service to their country in Vietnam by slandering John Kerry's service record.

Grant Hibbard. Carl Cameron of Fox News reported that Naval records show that Hibbard lauded Kerry in 1968. Cameron reports that Hibbard "described Kerry in various favorable ways, as quote, 'One of the top few in his willingness to seek and accept responsibility.' "

Alan Colmes, in an interview with chief Swift Boat Whore John O'Neill, confronted O'Neill with the following: "Here is what Grant Hubbard [sic], who's now part of your group, here's what he had to say back then about John Kerry. And he signed -- let's put it up on the screen -- a report on Kerry. He said on initiative, one of the top few. Cooperation, one of the top few. Personal behavior, one of the top few."

George Elliot. Carl Cameron of Fox News reported that Elliot, who now condemns Kerry, praised Kerry in '96 for going after the enemy.

Alan Colmes, again from his interview with John O'Neill: "Let me show you the report of George Elliott, who also graded John Kerry in Vietnam. Here's what was said. Here's what he said. 'In a combat environment often requiring independent, decisive action, Lieutenant Junior Grade Kerry was unsurpassed. LTJG Kerry emerges as the acknowledged leader in his peer group. His bearing and appearance are above reproach.' That's a report of officer fitness from 1969 by George Elliott, who also graded Kerry."

Roy Hoffman. On May 28th, Alan Colmes confronted Hoffman with the following passage from Doug Brinkley's book, "Tour of Duty": "Hoffmann acknowledged that he had no firsthand knowledge to discredit Kerry's claims to valor and said that although Kerry was under his command he really didn't know Kerry much personally." In response to Colmes citation of this passage from Brinkley's book, Hoffman acknowledged that he did not know John Kerry personally. But on August 4th Hoffman stated that Kerry was the "most vain individual I've ever met - aloof and arrogant." The very next day, August 5th, Hoffman claimed to know Kerry well and to have "operated very closely with him."

Each of these men has made clear that they deeply resent John Kerry's decision to oppose the war upon his return from Vietnam. Each of these men has made clear that they were personally insulted by John Kerry's criticism of the conduct of the war in Vietnam, particularly his claims that atrocities occurred. However much I may disagree with their assessment of John Kerry's antiwar activities following his return from Vietnam, I would have to respect their right to forthrightly and honestly express their political differences with Kerry on the issue of Vietnam. However much I may admire John Kerry's willingness to oppose a war he viewed as unjust, I would have to respect the right of these men to condemn Kerry's opposition to the Vietnam war. They have chosen, however, to slander Kerry's service record and misrepresent their recollections of Kerry's Vietnam exploits rather than debate whether the Vietnam war was right or wrong, or whether Kerry's opposition to the war was principled or unprincipled, or whether Kerry truthfully testified to the events he witnessed in Vietnam. This is McCarthyism, plain and simple. This is an unamerican resort to lies and character assassination.

NOTE: For a comprehensive examination of the credibility (or lack thereof) of the Swift Boat Whores, go to

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Iraqi Arrest Warrants Issued For Neocon Stooges Ahmed and Salem Chalabi

The Associated Press is reporting the following:
Iraq has issued an arrest warrant for Ahmad Chalabi, a former governing council member, on money laundering charges and another for Salem Chalabi, the head of Iraq's special tribunal, on murder charges, Iraq's chief investigating judge said Sunday.
Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith and other neocon war criminals vouched for the integrity of the Chalabis and unabashedly supported Ahmed Chalabi's bid to become the new Iraqi potentate. How long will we permit these neocon charlatans to disgrace and humiliate the United States of America?

Outsourcing Torture

From today's Seattle Times:
The National Guardsman peering through the long-range scope of his rifle was startled by what he saw unfolding in the walled compound below.

From his post several stories above ground level, he watched as men in plainclothes beat blindfolded and bound prisoners in the enclosed grounds of the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

He immediately radioed for help. Soon after, a team of Oregon Army National Guard soldiers swept into the yard and found dozens of Iraqi detainees who said they had been beaten, starved and deprived of water for three days.

In a nearby building, the soldiers counted dozens more prisoners and what appeared to be torture devices: metal rods, rubber hoses, electrical wires and bottles of chemicals. Many of the Iraqis, including one identified as a 14-year-old boy, had fresh welts and bruises across their backs and legs.

The soldiers disarmed the Iraqi jailers, moved the prisoners into the shade, released their handcuffs and administered first aid. Lt. Col. Daniel Hendrickson of Albany, Ore., the highest-ranking American at the scene, radioed for instructions.

But in a move that frustrated and infuriated the guardsmen, Hendrickson's superior officers told him to return the prisoners to their abusers and immediately withdraw. It was June 29 — Iraq's first official day as a sovereign country since the U.S.-led invasion.
I simply don't know what to say. I do not understand our policy in Iraq. I cannot conceive of a justification for this abrogation of duty by our military in Iraq. The good name of this nation is being dragged through the mud by the criminal enterprise that has usurped the executive branch of our government.

Swift Boat Whores For The Deserter

Who are these "patriots"?

John O'Neill, who 33 years ago led a similarly spurious veterans group formed to slander John Kerry. Remember Chuck Colson, confessed dirty trickster for Nixon and chief of Nixon's notorious "Plumbers", who did jail time for his involvement in Watergate? Colson recalls, "We found a vet named John O'Neill and formed a group called Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace. We had O'Neill meet the President, and we did everything we could do to boost his group." So here is John O'Neill again, fronting a bogus veterans group, resuming his slander against a genuine war hero.

Larry Thurlow, who manned one of the swift boats engaged in the action that resulted in John Kerry's first purple heart, who now claims, contrary to the accounts offered by each and every man who was on John Kerry's swift boat, that no enemy fire was received on that day. Thurlow conspicuously failed to make this charge when he was awarded a Bronze Star for his participation in the very same action that he now claims didn't happen!

Louis Letson, who makes the following outrageous claim in the Swift Boat Whores' scandalous television ad: "I know John Kerry is lying about his first Purple Heart because I treated him for that injury." In fact, Letson confirms that he removed shrapnel from John Kerry's arm, but argues that Kerry did not deserve the purple heart because the injury was not a result of enemy fire. Of course, Letson was not on the river that day, and would have no direct knowledge of what occurred.

Isn't it odd that every Vietnam veteran who runs against the Deserter is slandered and accused of lying about his Vietnam service? Isn't it odd that John McCain was accused of being a traitor in Vietnam by groups opposing his challenge to the Deserter in the 2000 republican primaries?

The Swift Boat Whores are a disgrace. They have harbored a grudge against John Kerry for more than 30 years because they resent Kerry's courageous and principled participation in antiwar protests following his return from Vietnam. Rather than forthrightly proclaim their political opposition to Kerry's antiwar stance, they have elected to slander his service in defense of his country. They are cowards and liars.

The Swift Boat Whores cannot change the basic, uncontroverted facts: One candidate for president volunteered for service in Vietnam and served with valor. The other candidate for president avoided service in Vietnam, untruthfully claimed to have volunteered for service in Vietnam, and ultimately reneged on his commitment to the national guard.

Trust, Don't Verify

The United States, in a stunning shift of policy, now opposes the inspection and verification provisions of a proposed new treaty designed to restrict production of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium. This has received very little attention in the press, even as the Deserter incredibly professes to be protecting America from the threat of nuclear proliferation. Condi Rice, with an apparent lack of concern for her dwindling credibility, reiterated the Administration's commitment to nuclear non-proliferation this morning on Meet The Press, and Little Russ didn't even ask her about this outrageous and inexplicable shift in policy. Advice for Little Russ: WAKE UP!

The New York Times, in an August 6th editorial entitled "Washington's Gift to Bomb Makers", properly notes the utter lack of justification for U.S. opposition to the inspection and verification provisions:

The Bush administration argues, unpersuasively, that such inspections might interfere with making fuel for American nuclear submarines and might allow foreign inspectors to glimpse secret American nuclear technology. To the extent that these are legitimate concerns, it would be better to try to persuade other nations to grant narrowly tailored exemptions instead of eliminating inspections. Washington also claims that an enforceable treaty would generate a false sense of security and that it would be easier to get other countries to sign an unenforceable one. Those are generic arguments that can be deployed against any enforceable arms control treaty. They ignore the enormous positive trade-offs of a verifiable fissile materials treaty, like strict limits on the material available for making nuclear weapons.
We've gone from "trust, but verify", Reagan's memorable admonition, to "trust - don't bother to verify."

While Korea and Iran continue to develop their nuclear programs, the Administration is working to undermine nuclear non-proliferation efforts. While the international community continues to implore India, Pakistan and Israel to permit oversight of their nuclear weapons programs, the Administration works to effectively kill an international treaty that would have required inspections of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium production in those countries.

It is apparent that the new U.S. policy, as yet unstated by the Deserter's Administration, is to permit the unabated proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world, and to respond militarily when this foolish policy inevitably leads to a potential nuclear crisis.


Tuesday, August 03, 2004

"We Have Nothing But Fear Itself"

There was a time when our leaders sought to assure us that we had nothing to fear but fear itself. It was a message of hope, a recognition that although our problems were very real, only fear could shake the resolve of the American people to persevere.

Regrettably, there have also been times when our leaders sought to promote fear for political purposes, most notably during the Red Scare so cynically exploited by Joe McCarthy and millions of hysterical rightwingers. Like McCarthyism, its socio-political antecedent, Bushism feeds upon fear and ignorance. Like McCarthyism, it champions a distinctly unamerican hostility toward dissent under the guise of patriotism and american ideals. Like McCarthyism, it thrives because decent people driven by fear are willing to overlook transparent lies by their government as long as those lies feed the fear, because in the minds of the hysterics fear = vigilance.

When critics decried the fear-mongering of McCarthyism, his defenders could talk only of the threat of communism. When critics assailed the fundamental unfairness of McCarthyism, his defenders could talk only of the threat of communism. When critics condemned guilt by association and trial by slander, his defenders could talk only of the threat of communism. The threat justified all, but most importantly it justified for Tailgunner Joe and his followers the abnegation of reason and the fomentation of hysteria.

Reasonable questions have been raised regarding the timing of the terror alerts and the timeliness of the underlying intelligence. The Administration has offered nothing in response to explain the timing of the terror alert. It has, however, taken umbrage at the suggestion that politics may have played a part. Tom Ridge insists today that "[w]e don’t do politics in the Department of Homeland Security," even though he interjected into the threat announcement on Sunday a transparently political pitch, hailing "the President's leadership in the war on terror."

We cannot know whether Ridge's motivations are pure or not. We can infer, however, that fear of terror benefits the Administration; the polls confirm this, and the Administration itself must believe it or it would not bleat so incessantly about the terror threat. We can also infer from prior statements by Ridge and the administration that the terror alerts are more art than science, frequently based on nothing more than very general threat indications. The very subjectivity of the terror alerts assures that decisions regarding the timing of terror alerts will be driven in part (perhaps large part) by political considerations. Every call is a close call, and on the margin the considerations underlying an elevation of the threat level will inevitably be political. It is laughable for the Deserter and his henchman to suggest otherwise.

Fear is this Administration's greatest ally. The only question is whether the Administration cynically exploits fear for political purposes. I would ask everyone these questions: Did the Administration seek to exploit fear of Saddam for political purposes? Did the Administration attempt to engender fear by exaggerating the threat posed by Iraq, and hyping the WMD case? Did the Administration seek to politically leverage fear in the weeks leading up to the 2002 mid-term elections by pushing through an unconstitutional, "blank check" war resolution?

Reasonable people will wonder about the timing of the terror alerts. The Administration will piously reject any suggestion of impure motives. But let's get real here - fear and terror are this Administration's metier, and increasingly its only claim upon widespread political support. To pretend otherwise is absurd.