Loyal RWDB that he is, Professor Bunyip gleefully reproduces the American blogospherical right’s latest attempt to smear Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry over his Vietnam war service, while simultaneously putting an ingeniously innocuous spin on the fact that President Bush adroitly managed to avoid having any Vietnam service at all.
The latest anti-Kerry gambit by the Right is to claim that he may have been dishonourably discharged from the US Navy, and later had it converted to honourable status following the intervention of President Jimmy Carter.
I can only assume that Bunyip and his RWDB mates are relying on the probability that most of their readers will be too lazy or illiterate to read beyond the first few lines or follow the hyperlinks provided, and will simply register the unflattering information that Kerry had been dishonourably discharged and then covered it up. Because readers who actually bothered to read the full story would find that the claim is based on facts that cast events in an entirely different light:
NBC’s release this March of some of the Nixon White House tapes about Mr. Kerry show a great deal of interest in Mr. Kerry by Nixon and his executive staff, including, perhaps most importantly, Nixon’s special counsel, Charles Colson. In a meeting the day after Mr. Kerry’s Senate testimony, April 23, 1971, Mr. Colson attacks Mr. Kerry as a “complete opportunist…We’ll keep hitting him, Mr. President.”
Mr. Colson was still on the case two months later, according to a memo he wrote on June 15,1971, that was brought to the surface by the Houston Chronicle. “Let’s destroy this young demagogue before he becomes another Ralph Nader.” Nixon had been a naval officer in World War II. Mr. Colson was a former Marine captain. Mr. Colson had been prodded to find “dirt” on Mr. Kerry, but reported that he couldn’t find any.
The Nixon administration ran FBI surveillance on Mr. Kerry from September 1970 until August 1972. Finding grounds for an other than honorable discharge, however, for a leader of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, given his numerous activities while still a reserve officer of the Navy, was easier than finding “dirt.”
So, even if Kerry really was initially dishonourably discharged (which the article doesn’t establish anyway), it was because he was set up for a retributive payback by America’s most corrupt President and one of his senior aides who served time in prison over the Watergate break-in. It may indeed be a devastating indictment if true, but not of John Kerry.
Of course, what the Republican spin doctors are no doubt trying to achieve by leaking this stuff is to create enough interest in the story via non-mainstream media (blogs and dodgy right wing newspapers like the New York Sun) so that the mainstream media will feel compelled to pick it up. Despite the fact that the story itself doesn’t reflect adversely on Kerry even if true, the mere fact of its wide discussion would serve to highlight Kerry’s anti-Vietnam activism following his return from active (and courageous) war service. Kerry doesn’t hide his peace activist record, but he doesn’t feature it either, and the Republicans would like nothing better than to get traction for a story they could use in the last fortnight of the campaign to paint him as a traitorous, anti-American peacenick on Vietnam.
Tim : Like, obviously, America wants Poland to become
Russia’s Vietnam, right, to distract attention
from El Salvador, which is America’s Northern
Ireland, bearing in mind that Northern Ireland
is Britain’s Vietnam.
Debbie : Right, um, but, er wrong, Tim.
Tim : Right, right, that’s what I was going to say.
Debbie : Because, like, I think it’s fairly well given,
Tim : Right, given.
Debbie : … that, um, Afghanistan is Russia’s Vietnam,
Tim : Right.
Debbie : …and realizing that Vietnam’s Vietnam is
Kampuchea, I think that we should really say that
Poland is Russia’s Kampuchea.
Tim : Or Indonesia’s Timor.
Debbie : Which we won’t talk about…