Kerry and Cambodia: the definitive word
So much has been written about this by various bloggers and even a few news outlets (outside of the big two) but I think the below article should put to rest any doubts about John Kerry’s comments about being in Cambodia Christmas Eve 1968. My comments are below this but I wanted to post the relevant parts from the Globe article first with emphasis added by me:
For years, Kerry has said he was in Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1968. He gave a detailed view of that experience in an article he wrote for the Boston Herald in 1979. “I remember spending Christmas Eve five miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our South Vietnamese allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas,” Kerry wrote. “The absurdity of almost being killed by our own allies in a country in which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops was very real.” A similar recollection by Kerry was mentioned in a Globe biography of the Massachusetts senator published earlier this year.
The anti-Kerry veterans have said Kerry’s recollection does not make sense because Nixon was not inaugurated until January 1969. But Kerry campaign spokesman Meehan said Kerry was referring to a range of time that included when Nixon was president-elect and president. During the 1968 presidential campaign, Nixon opposed a change in US policy that would allow “hot pursuit” of enemy forces into Cambodia; in March 1969 he authorized the secret bombing of Cambodia, which was followed by the 1970 invasion of Cambodia.
Kerry said in a 2003 interview that after the Christmas Eve 1968 engagement, he asked his crew to write a caustic telegram to the chief of naval forces in Vietnam, Elmo Zumwalt Jr., to wish him “Merry Christmas from the troops that weren’t in Cambodia, which was us. We were.”
Note he’s very detailed about it, mentioning Christmas 3 times. The detailed part: asking his crew to wish the naval force chief “Merry Christmas” – “being shot at by our South Vietnamese allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas.” How could the man, as has been asserted, been merely confused about the date he was there when he mentions being shot at by the South Vietnamese who were “celebrating Christmas” and asking his crew to write a Christmas greeting to the naval force chief? Add to that his campaign staff now saying he was probably there in January?? If that’s so, can someone please explain to me why the South Vietnamese were celebrating Christmas in January and why he’d ask his crew to write a Christmas greeting to the chief of naval forces in January?
No way this guy got the dates confused. The man lied about being in Cambodia Christmas Eve 1968. Why he felt the need to embellish his war record I do not know, but that’s exactly what he did and I think it’s a damn shame that the NYTimes and WashPost still have not devoted ANY time to this story. We don’t even need to wonder how they’d react if this had something to do with the President.
MORE: James Robbins from NRO adds some historical facts to the debate.