April 20, 2004


There are flip-flops, and there are corrections. Finally confronted with his 1971 “war criminals” quote, John Kerry does the right thing:

You know, I thought a lot, for a long time, about that period of time, the things we said, and I think the word is a bad word. I think it's an inappropriate word. I mean, if you wanted to ask me have you ever made mistakes in your life, sure. I think some of the language that I used was a language that reflected an anger. It was honest, but it was in anger, it was a little bit excessive.

Given the “bad words” I said when I was a young leftoid -- they were inappropriate, they were a little bit excessive, and they reflected complete, blinding stupidity -- I can almost relate.

Posted by Tim Blair at April 20, 2004 02:24 AM

I'm sure all the Vets that got labeled with his "little bit excessive" words in "anger" feel better now.

I mean, he said it was inappropriate, what do you want from the man... blood??! /sarcasm off

Posted by: Dash at April 20, 2004 at 02:52 AM

but were they honest, tim?

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at April 20, 2004 at 02:52 AM

It only took him 30 years to apologize for that remark. I wonder how long it'll take hinm to apologize to the family of that badly wounded soldier he murdered while abandoning his post and crew in Vietnam.

Posted by: gary at April 20, 2004 at 03:50 AM

His flip-flops and waffles make me sick!

Posted by: Asmun Key at April 20, 2004 at 03:55 AM

So, is he merely rejecting his use of the wor "criminal", or is he in fact rejecting all the charges he also made regarding rape, murder, and torture?

Sounds to me like a typical "I'm sorry I got caught" apology.

Posted by: R C Dean at April 20, 2004 at 04:01 AM

``It was honest, but it was in anger, it was a little bit excessive.''

This is called the ``cozy mood,'' in rhetoric. Its point it to produce both ``so far from being excited by this news, you can see that in maturity I keep my emotions under control,'' and ``I knew that already, but you were right to say it.''

He could not leave out ``a little bit.''

Posted by: Ron Hardin at April 20, 2004 at 04:49 AM

Nah, he's not taking back his "war crimes" allegation -- he only wishes he had phrased it better, as the transcript shows:

MR. RUSSERT: But, Senator, when you testified before the Senate, you talked about some of the hearings you had observed at the winter soldiers meeting and you said that people had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and on and on. A lot of those stories have been discredited, and in hindsight was your testimony...

SEN. KERRY: Actually, a lot of them have been documented.

MR. RUSSERT: So you stand by that?

SEN. KERRY: A lot of those stories have been documented. Have some been discredited? Sure, they have, Tim. The problem is that's not where the focus should have been. And, you know, when you're angry about something and you're young, you know, you're perfectly capable of not--I mean, if I had the kind of experience and time behind me that I have today, I'd have framed some of that differently. Needless to say, I'm proud that I stood up. I don't want anybody to think twice about it. I'm proud that I took the position that I took to oppose it. I think we saved lives, and I'm proud that I stood up at a time when it was important to stand up, but I'm not going to quibble, you know, 35 years later that I might not have phrased things more artfully at times.


A tepid apology at best, but it will give the senator and his supporters the ability to say "This is old news, we need to move on" for now. Whether or not the public wants to move on from his failure to repudiate the war crimes charges remains to be seen.

Posted by: John at April 20, 2004 at 05:47 AM

Kerry's nuance before the Senate and TV cameras in 1971 smeared the honorable service of millions of vets who did not cut and run like Kerry.

Posted by: perfectsense at April 20, 2004 at 06:04 AM

When he said a lot of the stories had been documented, I was hoping Russert would ask:
"Heads, ears, or genitals?"

Posted by: j2 at April 20, 2004 at 06:20 AM

I'm tired of Kerry being refered to as "nuanced". Taking every possible position on an issue is not nuanced, it's pathetic.

Posted by: Hiram Bingham at April 20, 2004 at 06:57 AM

Kerry's faux "personal observations" of Viet Nam atrocities were the stuff of a drama queen acted before Congress and a camera. (Much like the shrapnel scratch that qualified him for one of his Purple Hearts. And along the lines of throwing away his medals in a hissy fit at the White House... a stunt he staged so that he could keep those medals for another day and tell the American people ad nauseum how he served a few months in Nam and was so heroic)

Posted by: c at April 20, 2004 at 09:00 AM

Kerry is the best the Democrats have? Remember, he is only the presumed candidate. The Democratic convention is weeks away.

Posted by: Fred Boness at April 20, 2004 at 09:03 AM

Might go like this: A Kerry/ Hillary ticket. Bill plays nice about the timing of his book publication, so as not to step on toes if Hillary annointed, the convention happens and Boston goes into the red, but a terrorist strike throws the election to the Dem's, and then President Kerry passes away from a Botox reaction.

Could happen. You won't be stuck with Kerry then. Just worse.

Posted by: c at April 20, 2004 at 09:13 AM

He smears their names in what is one of the worst ways, possibly causing many to live their lives in self-doubt and self-recrimination (who knows how many V.vets committed suicide because of words like his) which he now admits to knowing is incorrect, yet he only finds it in his heart to let those soldiers know that he doesn't believe they were war criminals when he thinks it might help his election chances??

A question I would like answered is exactly when DID he realize that he was wrong to call them war criminals?
How long ago could these ex-soldiers have been relieved of the burden of thinking that one of their country's leaders believed them to be the scum of the earth when in fact he had supposedly changed hs mind?
Why didn't Mr Kerry have the courage and moral fortitude to admit he was wrong when it mattered to those he besmirched instead of just when it mattered to him?

The more I see of this guy the more he reminds me of Mark Latham and his 'I’ll do anything for a vote' mentality.

Posted by: Michael at April 20, 2004 at 09:57 AM

John Kerry is just being all bling-bling.

To hell with him!

Posted by: JeffS at April 20, 2004 at 10:27 AM

So is he saying the crimes he accused his "fellow" servicemen of didn't really happen, or that he no longer considers them criminal acts? And if so, which ones, the rapes but not the mutilations, the mutilations but not the murders?

Having actually read his wretched book, I'll tell you this for free: the man is a liar, a compulsive self-dramatizer, incapable of describing his involvement in an event without making himself the center of the story.

Posted by: Richard McEnroe at April 20, 2004 at 11:27 AM

Michael says it well. Instead of self-doubt, consider the 30 years of suspicions and doubt honorable veterans suffered from their friends, neighbors, employers, academics, entertainment industry and the press because Kerry so successfully marketed his Vietnam atrocity and war criminal lies.

Posted by: perfectsense at April 20, 2004 at 01:55 PM

Kerry's apologies feel like weasles running through my pants legs.

And I thought Teddy K needed a 12 step program!

Posted by: Timothy Lang at April 20, 2004 at 03:53 PM

"complete, blinding stupidity"

Why do you think you stopped being stupid?

There are lots of stupid left-wingers, and lots of stupid right-wingers. Just because some people move from one to the other doesn't make them any less stupid.

And a facility at being a smart-arse doesn't count as being smart.

Posted by: Warbo at April 20, 2004 at 10:16 PM

So, Warbo, are you a smart left-winger, a smart right-winger or just a stupid in-betweener?

Posted by: blindlee stoopid at April 21, 2004 at 05:49 AM

And a facility at being a smart-arse doesn't count as being smart.

I'm pleased to say that you prove your own point, Warbo.

Posted by: JeffS at April 21, 2004 at 04:03 PM