Man Without Qualities

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Pathetic ... And Bound To Lose XXXI: Maybe He Tossed His Medals Down The Memory Hole?

I haven't seen the tape, yet, but ABC News is reporting:

Contradicting his statements as a candidate for president, Sen. John Kerry claimed in a 1971 television interview that he threw away as many as nine of his combat medals to protest the war in Vietnam.

[Link via DRUDGE]

The ABC News story also states:

Throughout his presidential campaign, Kerry has denied that he threw away any of his 11 medals during an anti-war protest in April, 1971. His campaign Web site calls it a "right wing fiction" and a smear.* And in an interview with ABCNEWS' Peter Jennings last December, he said it was a "myth."

The Kerry campaign website also includes a "debunking" of what it terms another RIGHTWING FICTION: John Kerry wasn't seriously wounded in Vietnam and didn't deserve his medals. Oddly, the "debunking" does not claim that Senator Kerry was seriously wounded in Vietnam. Senator Kerry certainly seems to have deserved his medals. But the criteria set out in the "debunking" for award of the Purple Heart does not on their face require a "serious" wound. I've never even understood Senator Kerry to maintain that he was "seriously" wounded. Is he now claiming that he was? Isn't it enough that he was wounded under fire in circumstances of extreme danger while displaying bravery and leadership?

[Correction: * An earlier version of this post stated that the Kerry campaign website had removed the "smear" post. I couldn't find it last night, but it's there now - or at least something is, with a note that it was "updated" today. Perhaps last night the Kerry campaign post was down for "updating."]

Los Angeles Times:

Kerry says he never claimed to have thrown the medals as his own. But as his reputation grew as a shrewd political operator after his 1984 senate election, Kerry was dogged by a troubling political myth.

He was accused of discarding his ribbons and the medals of others in 1971 to appear as an antiwar hero, while keeping his own medals for use as political props years later — a charge echoing this election year.

"It's so damn hypocritical to get these awards, throw them in the dirt and then suddenly value them again," said B.G. Burkett, a Vietnam veteran and author who critiques Kerry's antiwar stance.

"I never ever implied that I did it," Kerry says wearily, adding: "You know what? Medals and ribbons, there's almost no difference in distinction, fundamentally. They're symbols of the same thing. They are what they are."


By the way, the Kerry campaign "D-Bunker" page has separate categories for his "Military Service" and his subsequent "Vietman War Protests." Hasn't Senator Kerry waxed poetic that one can't separate these two? For example, the Senator has made abundantly clear that anyone who criticizes his Vietnam War Protest record (even his Senate voting record) is really and automatically criticizing his Military Record and questioning his patriotism. Yet, here in the campaign websit he maintains two quite separate categories. The rightwing fiction John Kerry wasn't seriously wounded in Vietnam and didn't deserve his medals. is tidily filed under "Military Service," where the rightwing fiction John Kerry lied about throwing his medals during a Vietnam War protest is tucked away under "Vietnam War Protests."

But then, as the Maguire points out (don't miss the comments), even such things as the dates of the Senator's military service seem to defy categories.

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