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June 08, 2004



Well, now this is the first time I have seen your blog show up in the blogsnob rotation on my blog and I've had them running for months now. Quite interesting.

Another one of those . . . odd things that happen in the blogosphere.

Will be quite interesting to see ya around more. And even more interesting to have my blog pop up on your blog.

Have a good one.


"Sorry, Senator, but when I compare your record to those who have fought and died for this nation..."

Er...like George "Home Guard" Bush and Dick "Marriage Deferments" Cheney?!

How can you square their lack of service? Neither even served in Vietnam!


Hey rb! Where ya been?

The difference is that the incumbents are not using things that happened 30 years ago as a campaign platform, which John Kerry must since he has no other platform. John Kerry is making a mockery of the military with all his patting of self on the back--seriously, he was deployed what 4 months in a war that went on how many years? Gimme a break. The way he makes it sound he ended the war single-handedly by coming back and protesting. There were real men who stayed on and didn't take the first chance they got to flee. That's not the man I want running this country.

Besides GW has done one hell of a job as commander in chief taking out the Taliban and Sassam. I guess we could cosider Cheney his appointed general. Bravo service men. standing firm in the face of the enemy. Not running scared.

That recent history is far more relevant than the fact that John Kerry served before he didn't serve 30 years ago. But what is also relevant is that John Kerry is ambivalent about the military still--not quite an appropriate oulook for the commander-in-chief.

Yep. As if it was ever in question--GW still gets my vote.

What up Genia? Welcome back, hope you stay around a little longer this time.



Well where you see "brave men" I see corrupt and cowardly businessmen who are happy to see others die (on both sides - 800 soldiers, 10,000 Iraqis) for their grand schemes.


"The difference is that the incumbents are not using things that happened 30 years ago as a campaign platform"

That cuts both ways doesn't it? Aren't your favoured incumbents are using criticism of things that happened to Kerry 30 years ago as a campaign platform?

In any case, Kerry's war record reads pretty well. It certainly reads far better and GWB's and it is complete!

Also why should protest against one's country be equal to cowardice? After all, patriotism isn't just about saying "Yes sir!" to The Man, and it's certainly worth f**k all to you when you are dead!

"But what is also relevant is that John Kerry is ambivalent about the military still--not quite an appropriate oulook for the commander-in-chief."

I think that a civilian leader SHOULD be ambivalent about the military! A politician should be committed to diplomacy. The military should only come into play when talking becomes impossible. Talking WAS impossible in WW2. In Vietman and Iraq it most certainly wasn't.

It's intriguing how many Americans see military service as a prerequisite for leadership. However, be careful! A country run along military lines is more commonly known as a dictatorship....


No one's happy to see all those people die but the liberals sure do like to spin it that way. By the way, the numbers are far less than the average over the years Saddam was in power. And the Iraqis appreciate that even though you don't.

The Bush administration wouldn't be talking about what Kerry did 30 years ago if he wasn't trying to exploit it by twisting the facts, and in some cases lying about the fact, to his favor.

[I think that a civilian leader SHOULD be ambivalent about the military!]

Well, then you should move somewhere where the elected civilian leader is not also the commander-in-chief. Our President is commander-in-chief and must not be ambivalent about the military or their role in national security.

By the way, everyone already knows diplomacy failed with Saddam. But I'm sure you had a much better idea no one else thought of...


"And the Iraqis appreciate that even though you don't."

I think that's wishful thinking on your part. I wouldn't trust anyone who occupied my country (UK) and neither would you, I'm sure.

"By the way, everyone already knows diplomacy failed with Saddam."

Diplomacy didn't fail at all! Bush forced the issue by lying about a threat and then accusing Saddam of hiding this non-existant threat! At the same time, weapons inspectors were crawling all over his country!

I'm no Saddam apologist. He was a tryrant, no argument. But as I said before, he was an ally of the US for many of the years when he was at his worst. Rumsfeld himself shook his hand in '83! Reports of chemical weapons generated little more than diplomatic "censure", because Iraq policy was based less on morality and more the on the "realpolitik" of regional influence and access to energy supplies.

NOTHING has changed since, despite Bush's claims about "freedom" and "democracy".


An extra thought. I'm Britain I would be termed a "centrist". I sympathise with many of the right's fears about terrorism, but I feel that Bush et al have used this threat to manipulate America into supporting their own selfish aims and to mask a need to secure access to oil as it becomes increasingly hard to find.

At the same time they have made the terrorist threat worse by killing innocent muslims whose country had no links with 9/11 that hold water.

It's the utter hypocrisy that I can't stand!

John Machado

The first and most glaring point of contention is that this "soldier's letter" only makes conjecture about John Kerry's military combat record, but does not mention George Bush's questionable time in the National Guard, his suspension from flying, and complete lack of combat experience. Bush also has yet to account for his whereabouts during a period in 1972-73 when he was suppose to be serving Guard duty in Alabama. Mr. Conelly should obviously be proud of his family and if they were running for President their military records might be relevant. But, they are not. I do not see how Bush's actions can be viewed as a sign of honor, dignity and commitment to the armed forces while Kerry's duty and commitment is questioned.

Let's first look at Kerry's history of service to the armed forces and then we can discuss Mr. Conelly's interpretation of it. John Kerry volunteered for service in the Navy during the Vietnam War, where he served as skipper of a swift boat that patrolled the Mekong Delta. Lt. Kerry was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star with V, three awards of the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal. He is a cofounder of the Vietnam Veterans of America and a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Kerry is also a member of the NamVets Association, the SWIFT Boat Sailors Association, and is the honorary co-chair of the United States Navy Memorial Foundation, a Corporate Council Member of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and sits on the Advisory Council for the Library of Congress’s Veterans History Project. In the United States Senate, he has led the fight to investigate the fate of POW/MIAs in Vietnam, treat and compensate victims of Agent Orange and study the cause of war-related illnesses in Gulf War veterans. These are just a few of the facts that the Bush campaign will not want to make a comparison with.

Let's now work through the accusations made by Mr. Conelly in this letter.

Conelly: "You earned a Silver Star in Vietnam for chasing down and finishing off a wounded and retreating enemy soldier."

Now let's read the actual documented government citations for John Kerry's Silver Star and Bronze Star.

Kerry's Silver Star Citation, February 28, 1969:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Coastal Division ELEVEN engaged in armed conflict with Viet Cong insurgents in An Xuyen Provence, Republic of Vietnam on 28 February, 1969. Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY was serving as Officer in Charge of Patrol Craft Fast 94 and Officer in Tactical Command of a three boat mission. As the force approached the target area on the narrow Dong Chung River, all units came under intense automatic weapons and small arms fire from an entrenched enemy force less that fifty-feet away. Unhesitatingly Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY ordered his boat to attack as all units opened fire and beached directly in front of the enemy ambushers this daring and courageous tactic surprised the enemy and succeeded in routing a score of enemy soldiers. The PCF gunners captured many enemy weapons in the battle that followed. On a request from U.S. Army advisors ashore, Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY ordered PCF's 94 and 23 further up river to suppress enemy sniper fire. After proceeding approximately eight hundred yards, the boats were again taken under fire from a heavily foliated area and B-40 rocket exploded close aboard PCF 94: with utter disregard for his own safety and the enemy rockets, he again ordered a charge on the enemy, beached his boat only ten feet from the VC rocket position, and personally led a landing party ashore in pursuit of the enemy. Upon sweeping the area an immediate search uncovered an enemy rest and supply area which was destroyed. The extra ordinary daring and personal courage of Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY in attacking a numerically superior force in the face of intense fire were responsible for the highly successful mission. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. Several days after the February 28, 1969 action, Kerry was flown to An Thoi, South Vietnam, where Vice Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., pinned the Silver Star on Kerry's chest.

Kerry's Bronze Star Citation, March 13, 1969, was recommended by the Commander of Coastal Division ELEVEN, Charles F. Horne and signed by Admiral Zumwalt. It reads:
For heroic achievement while serving with Coastal Division ELEVEN engage in armed conflict with Viet Cong communist aggressors in An Xuwan Provence, Republic of Vietnam on 13 March, 1969. Lietenant (junior grade) KERRY while serving as an Officer-in-Charge of Inshore Patrol Craft 94, one of five boats conducting a SEA LORDS operation in the Bay Hap River. While exiting the river, a mine detonated under another Inshore Patrol Craft and almost simultaniously, another mine detonated wounding Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY in the right arm. In addition all units began receiving small arms and automatic weapons fire from the riverbanks. When Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY discovered he had a man overboard, he returned upriver to assist. The man in the water was receiving sniper fire from both banks. Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY directed his gunners to provide suppressing fire, while from an exposed position on the bow his arm bleeding and in pain and with disregard for his personal safety he pulled the man aboard. Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY ordered his boat to return and assist the other damaged boat to safety Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY's calmness professionalism and great personal courage under fire were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY is authorized to wear the Combat V.

Conelly: "You received three purple hearts for what appears to be three minor scratches. In fact, you only missed a combined total of two days of duty for these wounds."

The wounds were as follows:

(1) December 2, 1968 "slightly wounded" on his arm
(2) February 20, 1969 "shrapnel wound in his left thigh"
(3) March 13, 1969 "A mine detonated near Kerry's boat, wounding Kerry in the right arm...his arm bleeding and in pain, "

Kerry has not overstated the extent of his wounds. Asked about the severity of the wounds, Kerry said that one of them cost him about two days of service, and that the other two did not interrupt his duty. "Walking wounded," as Kerry put it. A shrapnel wound in his left arm did give Kerry pain for years.

Conelly: "You, however, used your three purple hearts to leave Vietnam early."

The policy of Coastal Squadron One, the swift boat command, was to send home any individual who is wounded three times in action. After sustaining his third wound from enemy action in Vietnam, Kerry was granted relief under this policy on March 17, 1969.

We should also ask why would Kerry have been looking for an early way out of the military service he volunteered for? Kerry enlisted in the Navy in February of 1966, months before he graduated from Yale. Kerry requested duty in Vietnam. He listed his first preference for a position as an officer in charge of a Swift Boat (designated PCF for Patrol Craft Fast), his second as an officer in a patrol boat (designated PBR, for Patrol Boat River) squadron.

Conelly: "you came home to publicly charge your fellow fighting men with being war criminals and to urge their defeat by the enemy. You even wrote a book that had a cover which mocked the heroism of the U.S. Marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima.

Yes, Kerry protested the leadership of the American government for its role in the Vietnam war. Kerry did not blame the soldiers for the questionable nature of the war. They, as he had, were doing their duty. He, as many of us now with Iraq, can support our brave troops and pray that no harm will come to them, while at the same time show our dissent towards an administration that would send our troops into harms way without just cause.

The claims that he ever wished harm to come to any fellow soldiers are unfounded. He was protesting in an attempt to save the lives of his friends, not to dishonor them or hope for their deaths. He was a young man who had seen a lot in Vietnam and wanted the US to end that war. He then worked very hard to bring that war to an end.

In an April 2004 interview, Kerry said that his use of the word "atrocity" in a 1971 interview was "inappropriate," and he added that he never intended to cast a negative light on the sailors with whom he served. Speaking on NBC's "Meet The Press," Kerry said, "The words were honest, but, on the other hand, they were a little bit over the top."

Likewise, the cover of the book should be seen in the historical context of the time. His 1971 book The New Soldier was a collection of his and other anti-war Vietnam veterans writings and pictures. The book became best known, however, because of its cover. It pictured an anti-Vietnam war protest with an American flag flying upside down. Some felt it was mocking the famous picture of the raising of the flag my Marines at Iwo Jima during World War II.

In a July 21, 2004 interview with CBS News Anchor Dan Rather, John Kerry reflected on his service in the Vietnam War and his subsequent role as a leader of the antiwar movement.
RATHER: What's the biggest mistake you've made in the campaign so far?
KERRY: I regret some of early things I did in politics which weren't very smart. I've learned from them.
RATHER: The antiwar movement leadership?
KERRY: No, not in the least. Very proud of it
RATHER: You hear people say, "Look John Kerry's a war hero" – and the record shows that you are. But can you be a war hero and be a leader of an antiwar movement?
KERRY: I was.
RATHER: And you're proud of that?
KERRY: You bet I am.
RATHER: Make any mistakes in that regard?
KERRY: Yes, some language that I used, I've said before, I think was a little reflective of a young man who was angry, a young man who felt disappointed in our government leaders who had lied to us. I regret that I wasn't perhaps more tuned into how something I said might affect somebody. But you learn. That's the beauty of life.
RATHER: Speaking of anger, have you ever had any anger at President Bush, who spent his time during the Vietnam War in the National Guard, running an effective campaign that does its best to diminish your service in Vietnam? You have to be at least irritated by that, or have you been?
KERRY: Yup, I have been. That's an honest answer. Those of us who served care enormously about the people we served with and the fact of our having put our lives on the line. And I think when others challenge that, it would be inhuman if it didn't grate a little bit.

Conelly: "You even went so far as to refer to the families of the POWs and MIAs as Professional malcontents, conspiracy mongers, con artists, and dime-store Rambos."

This one will be brief. In the United States Senate, Kerry has led the fight to investigate the fate of POW/MIAs in Vietnam, treat and compensate victims of Agent Orange and study the cause of war-related illnesses in Gulf War veterans. Kerry and John McCain served together on a special committee on POW/MIA affairs. They made eight trips back to Vietnam during this time. You might remember that Bush used the same smear campaign against John McCain's war record during the 2000 primaries.

I have found these statement attributed by Mr. Conelly to Senator Kerry on dozens of websites. All of them cite these statements from Mr. Conelly's letter. None of the sources that I viewed cite any other context for these statements. If you know of the context of when and where Senator Kerry made these alleged statements about the families of POWs/MIAs, please forward it to me. At this point I will have to allow the possibility that they are fabricated.

Conelly: "As a Senator you voted against the 1991 Gulf War, and have repeatedly voted against funds to supply our troops with the best equipment, and against money to improve our intelligence capability."

Here are some examples of Kerry's Senate record on Foreign Policy.

Kerry joined other Senate Democrats in the Reagan era in opposing the president’s efforts to send aid to the anti-communist contras who were trying to overthrow the government of Marxist Daniel Ortega.
In 1986, for instance, he voted against a measure to provide $100 million in aid to the contras.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kerry, like many other Democrats, voted against adding weapons systems to the arsenal.

He joined most Senate Democrats in voting against use of U.S. military forces in 1991 after Saddam Hussein’s army invaded Kuwait. Opposition preferred relying on an economic embargo against Iraq to put pressure on Saddam to pull his troops out of Kuwait. “We think we can get it over with an acceptable level of casualties,” Kerry said during the 1991 Senate debate. “We seem willing to act ... with more bravado than patience.” Kerry called it a “war for pride, not for vital interests” and said that “our impatience with (economic) sanctions and diplomacy does not yet warrant that horror." He also stated that "there is a rush to war here."

In 2002, with Iraq again the issue and Bush’s son in the White House, Kerry voted for the resolution authorizing use of military force in Iraq. He had misgivings about it, as he made manifest in statements before and after the vote.

In a July 31, 2002, hearing of the Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry said, “We lived with Russia for almost 50 years with the capacity to destroy us many times over, and a policy of containment worked there. Why could not a policy of containment also work here at least while you build up to that point of legitimacy?”

After casting his “yes” vote on Oct. 11, 2002, Kerry stated two months later that again it appeared we were in a “rush to war.”
He, as well as many others in Congress, has raised the point that the vote authorized in the case that all other avenues had failed. He had stated that Bush had still not earned "the legitimacy and consent of the American people."

The recent 9/11 Commission report has now confirmed that America was not in a position of imminent threat from Iraq. There was no valid proof that Iraq still possessed the WMDs it had received from the USA under the Reagan/Bush administration or that they were capable of producing nuclear weapons. There was also no connection between Iraq and the attacks on 9/11/2001.

Opposing Iraq funding

Then in 2003 he voted against the $87 billion Bush requested for continued funding of the Iraq operation, one of only 12 senators to vote “no.”

“I cannot vote for the president's $87 billion request because his is not the most effective way to protect American soldiers and to advance our interests,” Kerry told the Senate. “We need more countries sharing the burden and more troops on the ground providing security. We need a fairer way to pay the bill.” Kerry supported an amendment to the $87 billion request that would have rescinded some tax cuts for those making over $300,000 a year in order to help pay for Iraq operations.

As the misleading statements put forth by the Bush campaign have been reported on several times, I will give you a summary of the Annenberg Political Fact Check analysis.

On April 26 the Bush campaign released a total of 10 ads, all repeating claims that Kerry opposed a list of mainstream military hardware "vital to winning the war on terror."

The claims are misleading. The Bush campaign bases its claim mainly on Kerry's votes against overall Pentagon money bills in 1990, 1995 and 1996, but these were not votes against specific weapons. And in fact, Kerry voted for Pentagon authorization bills in 16 of the 19 years he's been in the Senate. So even by the Bush campaign's twisted logic, Kerry should -- on balance -- be called a supporter of the "vital" weapons, more so than an opponent.

The claim that Kerry voted against body armor is based similarly on Kerry's vote last year against an $87 billion emergency supplemental appropriation bill to finance military operations and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It included $300 million for the latest, ceramic-plate type of body armor for troops who had been sent to war without it. The body-armor funds amounted to about 1/3 of one percent of the total.

Missing Context

It is true that when Kerry first ran for the Senate in 1984 he did call specifically for canceling the AH-64 Apache helicopter, but once elected he opposed mainly such strategic weapons as Trident nuclear missiles and space-based anti-ballistic systems. And Richard Cheney himself, who is now Vice President but who then was Secretary of Defense, also proposed canceling the Apache helicopter program five years after Kerry did. As Cheney told the House Armed Services Committee on Aug. 13, 1989:

Cheney: The Army, as I indicated in my earlier testimony, recommended to me that we keep a robust Apache helicopter program going forward, AH-64; . . . I forced the Army to make choices. I said, "You can't have all three. We don't have the money for all three." So I recommended that we cancel the AH-64 program two years out. That would save $1.6 billion in procurement and $200 million in spares over the next five years.

Two years later Cheney's Pentagon budget also proposed elimination of further production of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle as well. It was among 81 Pentagon programs targeted for termination, including the F-14 and F-16 aircraft. "Cheney decided the military already has enough of these weapons," the Boston Globe reported at the time.

Does that make Cheney an opponent of "weapons vital to winning the war on terror?" Of course not. But by the Bush campaign's logic, Cheney himself would be vulnerable to just such a charge, and so would Bush's father, who was president at the time.

McCain Defends Kerry, Criticizes "Bitter" Rhetoric

Kerry's voting record on military spending was defended March 18 by Republican Sen. John McCain. He said on CBS's "The Early Show:"

McCain: No, I do not believe that he is, quote, weak on defense. He's responsible for his voting record, as we are all responsible for our records, and he'll have to explain it. But, no, I do not believe that he is necessarily weak on defense.

McCain also criticized "bitter and partisan" attacks by both sides, saying,  " This kind of rhetoric, I think, is not helpful in educating and helping the American people make a choice."

I know this was a lot of information, but if you want to verify the validity of a source, sometimes it takes a little bit of research. Otherwise you can end up being mislead or manipulated by someone's distorted or completely fabricated statements.

One last question. Isn't it a little disgraceful to attack the record of any war veteran in this way, regardless of their party affiliation?

-John L. Machado, Jr.

Michael Connelly

Well at least Mr. Machado doesn't claim that I don't exist and the letter is a fake which for a while was the official Kerry line. I'm the one who wrote the letter, and I stand by everything I said in it. It is interesting that most of Mr. Machado's comments about it are basically rehashing what is on Kerry's campaign website. If you want back up for the things I've said visit any of the following websites.




By the way, his comments about the Pow/MIA organization, made of mostly of families, are contained in the Congressional recod on January 26, 1994 and October 6, 1994. In January he referred to them as chalatans and exploiters. Then in October John McCain used the rambo etc. reference first which was followed about five minutes later by Kerry referring back to it and agreeing with it.

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