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John Qerry's Quagmire


What started out as by the way has now become all there is.

hat's the statute of limitations on war crimes? Hanoi John confessed on NBC's Meet the Press in 1971:

I committed the same kinds of atrocities as thousands of others, in that I shot in free-fire zones, fired .50-caliber machine bullets, used harass-and-interdiction fire, joined in search-and-destroy missions and burned villages.

Add that he failed to report not only his own but those thousands of others' war crimes about which he claims at least some knowledge.

Confessed war criminal. Let's say George W. Bush had burned villages like Qerry did and publicly confessed that clear violation of the Geneva Convention, would the partisan media make an issue of these war crimes then? No, of course not. (And if you believe that, then I have this SUV I don't own but my family does which I'd like to sell you.)

His war-crime spree didn't stop there, however. He was an actual child killer. Speaking of one of his victims, Qerry said:

It is one of those terrible things, and I'll never forget, ever, the sight of that child.

Yet Qerry believed that child deserved killing:

It angered me. But, look, the Viet Cong used women and children....Who knows if [the child's mother and the rest of his family on that small boat which al-Qerry fired on] had—under the rice—a satchel [containing explosives], and if we had come along beside them they had thrown the satchel in the boat....So it was a terrible thing, but I've never thought we were somehow at fault or guilty. There wasn't anybody in that area that didn't know you don't move at night, that you don't go out in a sampan on the rivers, and there's a curfew.

An unrepentant confessed war criminal, too.

Had George W. Bush tried to offer a similar excuse for indiscriminately firing on a boatload of women and children, the partisan press would've given him the same free pass they're giving al-Qerry now, right? (Before you fall down laughing over that one, you might want to make sure there's a Secret Service agent in your way so you can blame him or her for it.)

How many swift boat sailors were wounded more than twice and excused from combat after serving just four months? Three thousand? Two hundred? Ten? The U.S. Navy knows of only one: al-Qerry.

[T]he National Archives provided the [Boston] Globe with a Navy "instruction" document that formed the basis for Kerry's [early-out] request. The instruction, titled 1300.39, says that a Naval officer who requires hospitalization on two separate occasions, or who receives three wounds "regardless of the nature of the wounds," can ask a superior officer to request a reassignment. The instruction makes clear the reassignment is not automatic. It says that the reassignment "will be determined after consideration of his physical classification for duty and on an individual basis." Because Kerry's wounds were not considered serious, his reassignment appears to have been made on an individual basis.

Moreover, the instruction makes clear that Kerry could have asked that any reassignment be waived.

The bottom line is that Kerry could have remained but he chose to seek an early transfer. He met with [coastal squadron commander Commodore Charles F.] Horne, who agreed to forward the request, which Horne said probably ensured final approval. The Navy could not say how many other officers or sailors got a similar early release from combat, but it was unusual for anyone to have three Purple Hearts.

This Boston Strangler's early-out ticket was first punched on Dec. 2, 1968, after he "encountered some Viet Cong, engaged in a firefight," got "slightly wounded on his arm," and received treatment consisting of nothing more than a single Band Aid—although his "crew members denied [at the time] that they had been under enemy fire" (that's why his medal wasn't approved until Feb. 28, 1969; i.e., after all the witnesses had been reassigned elsewhere and al-Qerry did an end run around his commanding officer's objections about his wound being unpurposefully self-inflicted). It was punched again on Feb. 20, 1969, after he "spotted three men on a riverbank who were wearing black pajamas and running and engaged them in a firefight," and got "a shrapnel wound in his left thigh," "treated on an offshore ship and returned to duty hours later" (the PJ-clad trio apparently had stashed inside their apparently Sandy Berger-sized briefs enough weapons to direct some "intense hostile A/W and rocket fire" at Qerry's two-boat patrol, which returned fire with "more than 14,000 rounds of .50-caliber ammunition" resulting in the destruction of "40 sampans, 10 hut-style hootches, three bunkers, and 5,000 pounds of rice" but absolutely "no enemy casualties"—probably because they'd bugged out right after the shooting started?). It was punched a third time on March 13, 1969, after "a mine detonated close aboard" his boat and he got "contusions on his right forearm" from being "slammed against a bulkhead" (earlier that day he tried to blow up some unguarded enemy rice with a grenade but was standing too close when it exploded, taking a shard of shrapnel and one or two grains of rice in his brains butt). That enemy mine caused his bruise. For owie #2, it's unclear from the Globe's account whether the PJ'd enemy was still around to engage in a "firefight" with anyone when al-Qerry's leg took a piece of shrapnel (Qerry says it's still in his leg after 35 years!). Insofar as firing on "movement from an unknown source" at night before getting his first owie, that at least more clearly supports a self-inflicted or friendly-fire wound scratch not deserving of a Purple Heart. Nonetheless, it would all be clearer if al-Qerry would reconsider his refusal to release all his relevant records, as his band of brothers have requested. All he has to do is simply sign a Standard Form 180 (an appropriate number for the Flipper, by the way)—the exact same form President Bush signed authorizing release of his records.

There were two other servicemen in al-Qerry's unit who got three or more purple hearts: "Lt.(jg) Jim Galvin and a boatswain's mate named Stevens." Unlike al-Qerry, both chose to stay with their brothers. Why didn't Hanoi John do the same? Despite what his commander wanted, he could've stayed "to serve his country."

At least none of Hanoi John's owies were debilitating enough to prevent him from returning days after a skirmish to film, on location with his Super 8 video camera, reenactment scenes for his autobiopic By the Way I Served in Vietnam (or as the Globe puts it, he was "so focused on his future ambitions that he would reenact the moment for film"). Had George W. Bush produced, directed, and filmed eight full hours' worth of such footage about his own military service, the partisan press would no doubt be saying "everyone did it" too (just as every political party nominates admitted war criminals for president).

Now al-Qerry wants to beach his campaign's boat and chase down and dispatch his fellow veterans who were there with him at the time—unlike Globe journalists propagandists or hand-picked biographers—and are pointing out discrepancies between HJFQ's still not adequately documented accounts and their own sworn eyewitness ones. Except this time Hanoi John is siccing his Band of Trial Lawyers on his enemies because, this time, they are not wounded and have a fully functional weapon actually loaded with the most potent of ammunition—the truth.

Four months in combat wasn't al-Qerry's intention:

Kerry initially hoped to continue his service at a relatively safe distance from most fighting, securing an assignment as "swift boat" skipper. While the 50-foot swift boats cruised the Vietnamese coast a little closer to the action than the Gridley had come, they were still considered relatively safe.

Leaving his men behind to that combat as soon as he could was.

Three purple hearts or no, the only ones on the swift boats who left the combat area were either killed or severely wounded, unable to continue fighting for their country. All except al-Qerry. He was able, but not willing. He bugged out.

Hanoi John F'in' al-Qerry wanted to make his brief months as a lieutenant junior grade commanding his Patrol Craft Fast in Viet Nam the centerpiece of his qualifications to be our Nation's wartime commander-in-chief. Since over 200 fellow citizens who served there with him in the same Coastal Squadron—including a purple-hearted vet directly under his command, as well as many on the crafts patrolling alongside his own—have decided to corroborate very serious challenges to those qualifications, his miserable failure to forthrightly respond to these band of brothers when they "bring it on" and to release all pertinent documentation relating to his claims shows he's not interested in setting the record straight at all (if he ever was). Instead he's not only turning into a Nazi-like book burner but to a partisan and sympathetic media to help him bug out from going the distance in a full-fledged fight yet again.

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