It's pretty sad that this should even be necessary, but eRiposte Media: Liars and Haters Inc. offers a very thorough debunking of various implausible accusations about Kerry's second tour of duty in Vietnam.
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Under “better late than never,” The Washington Post today had this story, which basically highlights one of the points made by the link in Michael’s post:
Larry Thurlow counters that he wasn’t under fire, as stated in his bronze star citation, and that he thought he won the award for rescuing the crew of a boat that had hit a mine. The problem for Thurlow et al, of course, is that testimonial evidence from self-interested parties is no evidence at all, and the extant documents so far support Kerry’s version of events. Thurlow’s only defense against his own medal citation is simply to speculate that Kerry must have manipulated the after action reports. But it just doesn’t seem plausible that the Army would have awarded a significant combat decoration based on one skipper’s report that at the same time would have been flatly contradicted by others involved in the operation, so SBV’s case gets weaker and weaker. As far as I’ve been able to determine, Thurlow did not object to the wording of his citation until the Post pointed it out to him. He certainly cannot have been ignorant of why he got the bronze star: citations for bravery would have been read aloud before the entire unit, and it is strange that his conscience did not rebel at that point for having received an award for reasons that must have struck him as wrong.
But whether Thurlow and his colleagues realize it or not, he’s doing a service to the Kerry campaign by reminding people that Kerry was in Vietnam, whether he won an award for being shot at or not, while Bush was, well, who knows…