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August 12, 2004

NOTHING ON THE KERRY/CAMBODIA STORY in either the New York Times or the Washington Post this morning -- I just searched both sites. Even though the Kerry Campaign has now admitted that Kerry's oft-repeated stories about being in Cambodia on Christmas Day, 1968 aren't true. The Post did find the time to condemn the Swift Boat vets, though, without admitting that one of their charges has already been borne out.

They're spending another chunk of their diminishing credibility to help this guy. Hope they still think it was worth it in a few years.

UPDATE: Well here's a report:

For the first time, Sen John Kerry, the Democratic presidential challenger, has been left floundering by allegations that he invented a key episode of his decorated wartime service in Vietnam - a central plank of his election platform. . . . the Kerry campaign was left in verbal knots after a new book accused the senator of inventing stories about being sent, illegally, over the border into neutral Cambodia. . . .

In newspaper articles, interviews and at least one Senate speech, Mr Kerry has claimed that he spent Christmas 1968 inside Cambodia, at a time when even the US president was publicly denying that American forces were inside that country.

He has cited the missions as a psychological turning point, when he realised that American leaders were not telling the truth to the world about the war in south-east Asia.

The Kerry campaign responded, initially, that Mr Kerry had always said he was "near" Cambodia. Then a campaign aide said Mr Kerry had been in the Mekong Delta "between" Vietnam and next-door Cambodia - a geographical zone not found on maps, which show the Mekong river running from Cambodia to Vietnam.

Michael Meehan, a Kerry campaign adviser, told ABC Television: "The Mekong Delta consists of the border between Cambodia and Vietnam, so on Christmas Eve in 1968, he was in fact on patrol . . . in the Mekong Delta between Cambodia and Vietnam. He was ambushed, they fired back, he was fired upon from both sides, from the Cambodian side of the border and the Vietnam side during that day in 1968."

The map accompanying the story makes short work of that geographical absurdity. I hope that if Kerry's elected, he'll find some advisors who can read a map -- and who understand the difference between "parallel" and "perpendicular." (You can see a bigger, and clearer, map here, if you're interested.)

UPDATE: Harold Eddy emails:

The new "spin" seems to be that the Mekong Delta runs into Cambodia and, as a result, Kerry could have been near Cambodia or accidentially gone over the border. However, that "explanation" is non-responsive to the fundamental basis for the criticism of Kerry. He alleged, again and again, that the US knowingly, intentionally, secretly and duplicitously sent him into Cambodia as part of US policy, while denying the same publicly to the world. . . .

If, now, he is forced to admit that his recollection is untrue, it makes a mockery of over 30 years of his use of his war record. What does this say about his ability to lead? Moreover, how can he criticize George Bush for relying on faulty war intelligence when he has been willing to base policy on his own faulty recollection?

And Craig Henry observes:

Did Kerry vote against key weapon programs? How dare you question the patriotism of a man with three Purple Hearts. Is he too willing to defer to France and the United Nations? How dare you doubt the loyalty of a man with a Silver Star. Faced with this, does the press write about the voting record or about the "hard ball tactics" of the GOP?

Kerry didn't just use his Vietnam experience to enhance his stature as a man or leader. His campaign used it to shut down debate on his Senate record. They made the biography the issue.

Yes, they did.

More here: "And the Post manages to write an entire editorial about the veracity of the Swiftvets without even noting that their first charge scored a direct hit this week."

And Will Collier has a survey of the Big Media outlets that are ignoring this story:

Looks like that American Spectator blurb from a couple of days ago was accurate: beyond Fox News, the press is in full cover-up mode for Kerry on this one.

Yo, Media: Your candidate has apparently lied, repeatedly, over the last 30 years. He did so to embellish his credentials, and in the pursuit of various political ends. His campaign is putting out false spin that doesn't pass the laugh test. Does this say anything at all about his fitness for higher office?

Not to some people, I guess.