Revealed: how 'war hero' Kerry tried to put off Vietnam military duty. Note the one-two-three punch here: First the suggestion that Kerry was just an uncessesful draft dodger; Second, the suggestion that his medals are somehow not real or significant; Third the quote from Lucianne Goldberg (yes, the one who betrayed Lewinsky), a nice way to try to tie Democrats to sleaze.
Why this item starts in a foreign paper is hard to figure…maybe because the UK's Telegraph, a very conservative paper, is most likely to report it uncritically?
Senator John Kerry … tried to defer his military service for a year, according to a newly rediscovered article in a Harvard University newspaper.
He wrote to his local recruitment board seeking permission to spend a further 12 months studying in Paris, after completing his degree course at Yale University in the mid-1960s. …
The Harvard Crimson newspaper followed a youthful Mr Kerry in Boston as he campaigned for Congress for the first time in 1970. In the course of a lengthy article, “John Kerry: A Navy Dove Runs for Congress”, published on February 18, the paper reported: “When he approached his draft board for permission to study for a year in Paris, the draft board refused and Kerry decided to enlist in the Navy.”
Samuel Goldhaber, the article's author who is now a cardiologist attached to the Harvard School of Medicine, spent 11 hours trailing Mr Kerry and still remembers that the subject of the Paris deferment came up during long conversations about Vietnam.
“I stand by my story,” he told The Telegraph. “It was a long time ago, and I was 19 at the time, so it is hard to remember every detail. But I do know this: at no point did Kerry contact either me or the Crimson to dispute anything I had written.”
Sen Kerry's campaign headquarters in Washington refused an opportunity to deny the report. Despite repeated telephone calls from The Telegraph, a spokesman refused to comment. Another Democrat official said merely: “In Vietnam, John Kerry proved his patriotism beyond question. Everyone knows that.”
A senior Republican strategist, who asked not to be named, said: “I've not heard this before. This undercuts Kerry's complaints about Bush and it continues to pose questions as to his credibility among ordinary Vietnam veterans.”
Note the mark of the true black arts professional: the word “continues”. There is nothing on which this builds, but the speaker has anonymously made a charge which can't be refuted, since it's vague, nor can it be used to question the speaker's credibility since it's provided anonymously.
He said it would fuel concerns over the way Sen Kerry made a name for himself by leading anti-war protests in Washington and Boston in the late 1960s and early 1970s after he had completed his service in the US Navy, even while his former comrades continued to fight and die.
The nerve of the man! Trying to end the war so his comrades could come home! How dare he!
A newly-published biography of Sen Kerry by Douglas Brinkley, A Tour of Duty, makes no mention of the requested deferment or planned year in Paris. At the time, it was still unclear just how long America would remain in Vietnam, and it might have seemed that a year's deferral of service could render enlistment unnecessary.
According to the Democratic Party's version of Sen Kerry's military history, he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Harvard through eagerness to do his duty, and sailed with the Navy for combat as soon as he graduated in 1966.
Sen Kerry won a gallantry medal for his service as a gunboat captain on the Mekong Delta, and was honorably discharged with three “purple heart” medals after sustaining three wounds. He has consistently presented himself as a leader who argued against the war only after fulfilling his duty in the field. Supporters argue that his war record makes him a more trustworthy leader than President Bush, who served sporadically in the National Guard at home.
A little partisan jab…
“This means that Kerry didn't jump into all that heroic service until he was pushed, and it is a very nice piece of information,” said Lucianne Goldberg, a prominent Republican campaigner.
And here's the final slur
Republican strategists for President Bush were already investigating Sen Kerry's record of three wounds sustained in Vietnam. “We find that he had only one day off sick – with three wounds? What exactly were these wounds?” she asked.