August 15, 2004


Via Scott Canon of the Kansas City Star, John Kerry’s Cambodian concoction is reaching a wider mainstream audience:

John Kerry's "reporting for duty" salute at the Democratic National Convention last month emphasized the key biographical boast of his campaign — decorated combat service in Vietnam.

Now his repeated claim that he also weathered combat upriver in Cambodia has drawn harsh skepticism — driven by anti-Kerry veterans who star in a political commercial and book financed by Texas Republicans.

Armed with his magic CIA hat, Kerry will surely see off this latest threat. Who knows what other powerful devices he conceals within that mysterious, ever-present briefcase of his ... brie taster? Rich widow radar? Senate-attendance avoider?

Posted by Tim Blair at August 15, 2004 10:29 PM

Tim, you should know this, it's his secret plans to get the US out of Iraq, win the WOT and make the rest of the world stop being recalcitrant.

And maybe a proton energy pill or two.

Posted by: taspundit at August 15, 2004 at 11:14 PM

Oh, and maybe the ALP's policies as well.

Posted by: taspundit at August 15, 2004 at 11:16 PM

"...driven by anti-Kerry veterans who star in a political commercial and book financed by Texas Republicans."

Those rascally Texas Republicans. Pretty evil.

I'm glad George Soros, Michael Moore, the Hollywood Left, the major American Media Networks, Labor Unions,, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, etc. don't stoop to such levels.

By the way. Are the charges true or not? Answer please Monsieur Kerry.

Posted by: bc at August 16, 2004 at 12:13 AM

What is just as interesting is the Star's Ombudsman's explanation about WHY they waited so long to run a story:

Posted on Sun, Aug. 15, 2004

On Kerry, news services play catch-up


Some of you think the paper isn't doing its job of covering Sen. John Kerry and the controversy surrounding his military record.

Last week, readers called and wrote in, saying The Star hasn't covered critics' assertions that:

1) Kerry's claim of being in Cambodia on Christmas of 1968 was a lie; and that

2) One of the swift boat veterans says he was misquoted by the Boston Globe, and is still fully behind the anti-Kerry movement.

True, The Star hadn't published either of these news items as of Friday. By Friday afternoon however, the paper corrected itself and assigned a reporter to write the story. It ran Saturday.

Why the delay? The answer has to do with credibility. The Star had been waiting for credible sources to move stories over the news wire, which is how most of the news about national politics gets in the paper. When these sources were slow to act, editors felt they had to.

Star editors point out that last week they asked national news wires to provide stories about statements from Kerry and the swift boat veterans. “We are sensitive to the need to address this,” said Darryl Levings, national editor at The Star.

The only criticism here might be that editors waited too long to act. How long is too long? It's a difficult question to answer, and the fact that editors recognized the need for the story and assigned the task is laudable. Readers should also be praised for voicing concerns about the lack of a story.

The Star subscribes to several news wire services — the aforementioned credible sources — including Knight Ridder (The Star's parent company), The Associated Press, and the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Washington Post wire services.

On Friday, a Google News search turned up dozens of references to the Kerry stories. Many of them were on fringe news and personal Internet pages, sites that The Star and other mainstream media don't recognize as credible by themselves. Such news must be verified, preferably with two independent sources. That doesn't always happen on Internet sites, talk radio and cable TV news shows — even though such electronic media often are far ahead of other traditional news media in reporting controversy.

Sometimes the early reports do get it right. When that happens, traditional news media look like slowpokes. As with other celebrity and political news stories, electronic media frequently move faster than print news does. That's because they don't always have the system of checks and balances newspapers require.

The readers' representative can be reached at (816) 234-4487 from 8:30 a.m. to noon weekdays, or at


© 2004 Kansas City Star and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.


Posted by: carl in atlanta at August 16, 2004 at 12:28 AM

Who knows what other powerful devices he conceals within that mysterious, ever-present briefcase of his ...

His lucky hamsterfoot.

Posted by: Donnah at August 16, 2004 at 12:35 AM

It may take the Star, and other MSM, some time to verify all this but Captain Ed at has pretty well nailed the timeline on all of this. The Swift Boat vets are correct and truthful. If Kerry and Alston do not immediately release all records at this point there is only one conclusion to be drawn. John Kerry is a liar, a fraud, and a charlatin. End of story.

Posted by: Mike Donley at August 16, 2004 at 01:36 AM

The Kerry people can modify the date he supposedly was in Cambodia all they want, but the senator's "I-shipped-a-CIA-agent into Cambodia" story to the Washington Post last year, combined with his anti-war actions following his return from Vietnam, blow any claims of truthfulness out of the water.

Nixon announced at the end of April 1970 that the U.S. had begun bombing areas along the Cambodian border, but it didn't come out until 1973 that the bombings actually had begun a year earlier. And Nixon said in 1970 the U.S. had no ground forces operating inside Cambodia. So here comes John F. Kerry to Capitol Hill to testify before the Senate in April of 1971 and if you believe his story he knows -- KNOWS! -- that the U.S. is sending CIA agents into the country.

Now Kerry goes in front of a Senate committee, and with the national press and TV networks in attendance, testifies about alleged attrocities he had both seen and participated in while in Vietnam. Pretty strong stuff, but given a perfect opportunity to blow the lid off the United States' covert ground efforts inside Cambodia, a revelation that could be tied directly to U.S. military and politial leaders and one that would no doubt put a major crimp in the 1972 re-election plans of the hated Richard Nixon, the future senator from Massachusetts ... says ... nothing.

If his story about the CIA agent is true, then the only explanation for this oversight is John F. Kerry was covering up for the Central Intellegence Agency. Considering that in 1971 the CIA was thought of by the anti-war left the way Halliburton is today -- the root of all the U.S. evil in the world -- its bizarre that Kerry would remain silent about their illegal actions if he himself had first hand knowledge of their violation of Cambodian soil (unless we're really dealing with covert CIA agent and international man of mystery John F. Kerry here).

On the other hand, if he's lying about the tale and he actually bought the CIA guy's hat at a K-Mart somewhere south of Boston 20 years ago, then the inconsistancy makes perfect sense.

Posted by: John at August 16, 2004 at 01:57 AM

Good point, John. Kerry had a perfect opportunity in 1971 to slam the CIA and shaft Nixon. That would have made him a martyr in the eyes of the left, instead of a "war hero".

Yet he was silent. Either he covered for the CIA in 1971, or he lied about the mission.

Now, I am going to offer one possible explanation for this, but more along the lines of debunking it.

If the "I took a CIA agent into Cambodia"
story is true, it likely would have been a classified mission at the time. Even after his discharge, Kerry would have been bound by law not to discuss any classified matters. This is true of all discharged personnel. That's Federal law, not military regulations. In 1971, Kerry would have bound by law not to discuss the CIA agent insertion, even in front of the Senate hearing. He could have seriously compromised field agents.

But there's a problem with the current situation. For Kerry to legally discuss this matter, he would need that specific mission declassified. It's possible that this happened, if he pulled the right strings in 1986, since by then the mission might have been safely declassified.

And the lack of prosecution for exposing classified material is not proof of declassification. I can think of several reasons why the CIA would pass on pushing the issue. Not least would be that Senator Kerry in 1986 was opposing President Regans's Central American policies -- it would have been seen as persecution for what was probably outdated classified data. No gain for the pain.

Maybe Kerry couldn't discuss a classified mission in 1971 and could in 1986. That's possible. But where's the proof of that declassified mission now? It would back up Kerry's hat story. Instead, we get a "wink and nudge" news story.

And Kerry supporters, please -- maybe the Kerry campaign has requested the CIA to declassify and release the mission files, and maybe not. If so, it's a day late and dollar short to do so. If not, the question is nullified. The burden of proof is on the Kerry campaign.

This is not a "gotcha!" point. All I can really say is that the support for the hat story (and hence Kerry's credibility) is sinking rapidly, sort of like the Titanic. Or a rock.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at August 16, 2004 at 03:35 AM

VERY good point, John.

Posted by: Reid at August 16, 2004 at 04:05 AM

well of course he's covering for the CIA. They gave him the magic hat.

"He smiled and aimed his finger: "Pow.""

Posted by: Dash at August 16, 2004 at 04:24 AM

I might add that Kerry had a second chance in 1971 to reveal his knowledge about illegal CIA activity in Cambodia, following the publication of the Pentagon Pagers in the New York Times in mid-June of that year.

The Nixon Administration fought the release of the papers, and later went after anaylist Daniel Elisberg for giving copies of the documents to the Times, but the Nixon people also pointed out -- correctly -- that the Papers themselves dealt with actions taken by the Pentagon and the White House during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. As of the summer of '71 they could claim that an violations contained in those documents did not pertain to the current administration.

If the reports last week are correct, that Kerry is now claiming (through Douglas Brinkley's article in the New Yorker) that his Cambodian trips occurred after Nixon's inaguration on Jan. 20, 1969, then Kerry could have come forward and said that new violations involving the CIA had occurred under Nixon's watch. Given Kerry's April testimoney before the Senate and the media feeding frenzy over the Pentagon Papers battle in the Supreme Court and the press' loathing of Nixon, confirmation of something that big would have been a huge story in the summer of 1971. And while (as The Reall JeffS notes) Kerry could have been following the law on classified information regarding the CIA, Elsberg violated his requirements in relation to classified material when he gave the Papers over to the Times and was then lionzed by the media as a coureagous whistleblower in articles and broadcast segments over and over during the next several years.

Considering Kerry's lust for publicity (I mean, if Gary Trudeau notices it, it's gotta be pretty bad) and his plans to start a political career -- he already had staged an abortive run for Congress a year prior to his Senate testimony -- it's hard to believe he could have passed up a chance to reveal at least part of his CIA information here and then have all of the major media holding him up to the American public as a shining beacon of truth in a time of darkness and lies. He could have even cited Ellberg's own willingness to violate the rules of classified information as his own reason for doing so at this time, as opposed to when he testified before the Senate committee earlier in the year.

Posted by: John at August 16, 2004 at 05:05 AM

Good catch on the Elisburg angle, John. I'd forgotten about him. Yup, another nail in this story.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at August 16, 2004 at 05:57 AM

John Kerry's movie review

John Kerry's "Apocalypse Now" fantasy in Cambodia. Great scan of 1979 newpaper article.

"On more than one occasion, I like Martin Sheen in "Apocalypse Now," took my patrol boat into Cambodia. In fact I remember spending Christmas Eve of 1968 five miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our South Vietnamese allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas. The absurdity of almost being killed by our own allies in a country in which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops was very real."

Posted by: zefal at August 16, 2004 at 07:35 AM

I left a stupid and pointless comment here! But thankfully, The Management has removed it! Thank you, Management! I want to bear your children!

[Comment altered by -- who else? -- the Management.]

Posted by: Steve at August 16, 2004 at 07:50 AM

Hey, hey, nice misdirection there Steve. But unlike Kerry, Bush didn't appear before Congress and claim he was doing something he wasn't.

Suck it up, bitch.

Posted by: Quentin George at August 16, 2004 at 08:09 AM


Thank you sir, may I have another!

[This comment has been translated to reveal its true meaning by The Management.]

Posted by: Steve at August 16, 2004 at 08:31 AM

Steve, I wondered when a Kerry supporter would drop a line to try some misdirection. No surprise on the subjecy -- you tried the Air National Guard approach. Been there, done that, bubba.

Kerry says he went into Cambodia, has a "lucky CIA hat", and hunts deer by crawling on his belly. It's in print. He said it. Learn to love it.

Nice response, Quentin!

Posted by: The Real JeffS at August 16, 2004 at 08:39 AM

PS to Steve:

Check the 9/11 commission report. There were ties to Iraq, just no formal agreements. You don't need to be in bed to cooperate, especially with a common enemy (i.e., AQ and Saddam versus Iraq).

And by the way -- this thread is about Kerry lying. You know -- Cambodia? On the Senate Floor? In print? And so on. If you want to hold Bush to non-existant lies, spin, or misconception, others can certainly hold Kerry to open lies.


Posted by: The Real JeffS at August 16, 2004 at 08:45 AM

Correction on:

(i.e., AQ and Saddam versus Iraq)

That should be

(i.e., AQ and Saddam versus USA and allies)

My bad -- preview is my friend...

Posted by: The Real JeffS at August 16, 2004 at 08:46 AM

Steve, if you ever want to grow up to be a member of the Oxford Debating Society (Wow, Oxford! Bill Clinton went there!) you are just going to have to to a better job rebutting the point in question.

Give it another try and see what you can come up with, OK?

Posted by: John at August 16, 2004 at 09:36 AM

Somebody should ask Tim (I'm too lazy to e-mail him right now) to check for magic hat sightings amongst the magical plastic turkey crowd. Surely those so attuned to the revelatory aspects of mystical artifacts must have something to say about that doubtless threadbare garment.

Posted by: Brian Jones at August 16, 2004 at 09:37 AM

What? Steve's back? Did he figure out how his pants work finally or clean the spittle out of his keyboard or something?

I thought we were rid of the drooling idiot trogdolyte.

I mean, Steve, seriously: You're dumb as paint. Your friends probably hang around you so they can look a little better in comparison. *hands Steve a snot rag so he doesn't mess himself too badly when he goes into his next BushNotInVietnam drivel fest*

Posted by: Sortelli at August 16, 2004 at 09:45 AM

Guys, if Steve appears here again (I've banned his IP) please don't respond to him. I plan to alter or delete his comments, depending upon my mood. Which is not very good now.

Oh and Carl in Atlanta: please don't reprint entire copyrighted articles here.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at August 16, 2004 at 10:03 AM

Andrea, I worship you! I wish you would run a forum for me. If I knew what that was.

[This comment has been translated by The Management to reveal its true meaning.]

Posted by: Steve at August 16, 2004 at 01:45 PM

I had a forum once. It was a den of spam and pain.

Posted by: Sortelli at August 16, 2004 at 03:04 PM

The Wall street Journal has just wadded into the Christmas in Cambodia thing.I would like to know if the three year old boy stuff,the one Kerry left out of his report is true.It is not there!

Posted by: Larado at August 16, 2004 at 06:37 PM

"A Den of Spam and Pain" would make a great blog name.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at August 17, 2004 at 01:50 PM

I claim it! Copyright 2004, me!

Posted by: Sortelli at August 17, 2004 at 02:17 PM