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BBC and Kerry

I have mentioned before the BBC not mentioning the "Swift Boat Vet " allegations, including the "Christmas in Cambodia" story. Because John Kerry brought them up in a speech they do provide a little coverage:
BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Vietnam dominates Bush-Kerry fray

US presidential contender John Kerry has accused rival George W Bush of using a front group to launch underhand attacks on his Vietnam war record. ...TV ads - paid for by a Republican supporter in Texas - of Vietnam veterans accusing Mr Kerry of lying and exaggerating about the actions for which he was awarded his medals.

So they don't mention any specifics or provide any links - the only "related links" are to:
Senator John Kerry
Kerry presidential campaign
Lee Roystone website

While the stories are interesting the reason this whole saga is fascinating from a blogger point of view is summed up by Dean's World "The big story is, the universe recently changed when no one was looking. .. Everybody who watches politics is talking about a story the mainstream press is choosing to either completely ignore, or to dismissively sniff at."

As Frederick Turner says at TCS

The "mainstream press" may be in the process of squandering a precious resource that its leaders no longer have the institutional memory to recognize as the source of its legitimacy and its living. In the last few years -- essentially since 9/11 plunged us into a new world, a new agenda, that the press did not understand -- the major organs of civilized journalism, once trusted by the billion most effective people on the planet, have given away their credibility upon a trifle.

Everybody now recognizes that such voices as CNN, the New York Times, the BBC, the Washington Post, the major TV networks, the New Yorker, the Guardian, etcetera, are now the express and all-but-explicit advocates of a very special point of view, one with specific political goals. Those goals are certainly different from those of al-Jazeera or the socialist press, but they are in their own way as coherent, exclusive, and unquestioned.

This collective view emerged as a rather well-intentioned product of an age of wild hope, ill-informed academic speculation, and youthful optimism about the world. Nurtured in the great European and American universities, it was statist, existentialist, anti-religious, suspicious of any science that did not support its views, snobbish, pacifist, anti-technological, hedonistic in practice, puritan in theory, postmodernist in its tastes, committed to a social rather than an individual morality, hostile to the virtue tradition, sentimentally Romanticist in its attitude to Nature (which, in an unconsciously Creationist turn, did not include human beings), relativist about cultural differences, legalistic, optimistic about human nature, and deeply hostile to the marketplace. In one sense it was a nostalgia for the aristocratic European world of our collective rose-tinted memory, when the virtues of artists and intellectuals and university-educated people were recognized automatically, and merchants and financiers were "rightly" despised. In another sense it was a yearning for the dear lost days of revolutionary fervor, moral certainty, "free" sex and callow cynicism about tradition and respectability. It was escapist in its worship of Otherness -- cultural, social, political, economic, ideological, sexual, biological -- and conformist in its anxious attention to the next move of its "coolest" current leadership.


I get quite a bit of my election news from NRA News.com A completly different picture.

Whatever way you look it, US Navy records show Larry Thurlow (whose vendetta this is) to be a liar. His own medal recommendation says all of his actions ‘took place under constant enemy small arms fire’. Now Thurlow says this isn’t true and so should return his Bronze Star.

The BBC (which covers the election for non-voting Brits and whose coverage of this is similar in level and tone to Daily Telegraph’s) should not be in the business of hyping up such cranks.

It’s sad for Bush that Thurlow represented his only chance of looking good against Kerry in the hero stakes. But then I’ve always thought his openness on the alcohol problem he battled at that time has reflected well on him. I’m sure overcoming that makes him a hero in many eyes.

"The BBC (which covers the election for non-voting Brits and whose coverage of this is similar in level and tone to Daily Telegraph’s)..."

Shome mishtake, shurely?

Frederick Turner's summation of what went into creating the current media mess is pretty accurate, but he left out what was at the very bottom of it all--good old libido dominandi.

Steven Newton's above slam at Larry Thurlow is reckless and unjustified. Thurlow is now willing to return his bronze star. He points out that he didn't even actually receive it until well after he had left the Navy. At that point it was pretty easy to glide over what he says is an inaccurate account of how he got it. What was a civilian starting a new life supposed to do? Contact the Navy and say this never happened? He believed he had acted bravely and merited recognition by staying to protect and help the dead-in-the-water Swift Boat--despite not being under fire.

He points out that not a single Swift Boat had even one bullet hole in it and maintains that that is evidence that nobody was under fire, much less "intense fire from both banks of the river." Nor was anyone hit by all this intense fire at pretty short range--well within the definition of point blank.

He also claims that it was Kerry who wrote up the After Action Report that transformed no incoming fire to intense fire from both banks.

Thurlow's version has the ring of truth to me. I was a trooper with the 101st Airborne in northern I Corps, RVN--1970--1971.

Kerry's other supposed exploits don't pass the bullshit test either. He alleges a VC with an RPG was hit in the legs from twin 50 calibers on his Swift Boat, but then ran off. He chased him down on dry land and killed him before he could fire.

I don't believe that a 110 lb. guy gets hit in the legs by 50 cal. ammo and then runs off, and I also suspect that the VC was out of B-40 ammo. It sounds to me like Kerry finished off a guy who was badly wounded and unable to take offensive action. Maybe he could have crawled a bit but not far.

One of Kerry's purple hearts derived from a few grains of impacted rice that went flying when he himself blew up some bags. Another was so small that a band-aid was all the treatment needed and seems to have been caused by a tiny piece of stone that ricocheted when he himself shot into rocks.

This was a young man on the make. He knew what he needed for a political career.

No mistake on the Thurlow issue, Simon. The BBC and Telegraph have treated the story in near identical ways.

George's defence of Thurlow is spirited. The guy may be happy to return his medal now, but it’s too late.

The giveaway's where George says, 'He believed he had acted bravely and merited recognition...' But he didn't get the medal for the story he spins now. He got it for the story he signed up to then and if he's as brave as you claim, it's hard to see why he couldn't have said, 'this isn't true'. If he's telling the truth now, he lied for a medal then.

We can't be certain of what happened in Vietnam. We have Kerry's (undisputed for many years) contemporary account. But then a political opponent comes out and says he (Thurlow) lied for a medal.

That Thurlow's lied at least once is the only certainty.


The one lie we do know about is Kerry's claim that he entered Cambodia's waters on Christmas Eve, 1968. On the floor of the Senate he claimed this event was "seared" into his memory.

His campaign has now radically altered this claim. Not even the fellows on his Swift Boat confirm it. Indeed, they all deny it. These are Kerry's own witnesses, not the Swift Boat vets now challenging Kerry.

Your words on Thurlow demonstrate that you have never been in the U.S. Armed Forces. You don't seem to have a basic understanding of how things worked, either officially or unofficially.

Thurlow was unaware of the language used to describe the events that got him his bronze star until well after he got out of the service. He didn't even get the medal until then. He does not seem to have been aware that anyone had nominated him for a bronze star until he opened his mailbox as a civilian.

He did not, as you unfairly claim, "Lie for a medal then." He didn't write up the After Action Report.

Believe me, when we got out, we just wanted to put it all behind us. He did perform heroically that day but in the absence of taking fire. Fire could have begun at any time while he was a sitting duck guarding and assisting another sitting duck.

Kerry's later rescue of the Special Forces trooper may have been admirable but it did not occur while taking fire. In fact, Kerry had left the area-- while all the other boats remained in great danger-- then returned.

What is truly telling is that you don't address the specific points made by the Swift Boat vets--who were only a 10 yards or so away from Kerry's boat. That is about 10 steps.

Why no bullet holes in any of the boats? Why no Swift Boat damage reported at all, even the most minor, apart from that caused by the mine to the disabled boat? Why nobody hit from all this intense fire at very close range? Kerry's report included a reference to rocket's being fired at all the fellows in that mess on that river...

Believe me, a person knows one way or the other whether rockets are being fired at him. The Swift Boat vets challenging Kerry say they were not.

How about a thoughtful reply from you responding to these points? Make it as "spirited" as you please, but stay within Earth's atmosphere when making it. Replies from Outer Space won't be interesting.

Still waiting for multi millionaire Kerry to sue for slander/libel.....why not Johnnie? Could it be that it might just turn out to be true...? IS he saying SwiftVets are lying but the MoveOn.org ads paid for by foreign millionaire George Soros comparing Bush to Hitler are OK? Poor little boy....

Steven: To quote the BBC in defence of Kerry is to ensure that most intelligent people immediately disregard your assertation because well the Beeb are not baised at all.....heh? Look at the America page on their news website. Not a single impartial story or pro Bush story there - all Kerry kerry kerry and no story about the truth - about Kerry ADMITTING HIMSELF that he screwed up on Cambodia having lied about it for years. And the Green Beret (Rassman) who he 'rescued' under fire turns out to be a staff officer responsible for medals and awards! Well well. Go have agood look at some of the US blogs and open your eyes a bit more to BOTH sides of the story.

George is ever so selective in what he chooses to believe: relying heavily on details apparently missing from the same military records he rubbishes; just because bullet holes weren’t reported doesn’t mean they weren’t there. The report says they were under constant fire and George expects ‘even the most minor’ damage to be detailed, but no account can be comprehensive.

Of course we cannot know what really happened. We have an official contemporaneous account to which nobody has objected (and all those who received medals all knew what that account said when they got those medals). Now we have all these decades old memories.

Memory is unreliable at any time and these divide down party lines. These guys feel betrayed because Kerry went on to campaign against the war and that seemed to rubbish their efforts. That’s motive enough to remember things differently. Add to that money from a desperate Bush campaign and they can be even more selective and imaginative.

None of the details George relies upon can be trusted.

Dave T says why doesn’t Kerry sue. Well it looks like he just might (but he’d be a fool to drag this out in the months leading up to the election). And quoting the BBC in defence of Kerry? That’s a detail Dave has made up.

Maybe we cannot rely on the lack of reports of additional damage to the PCFs. But the fact that not one single person was even wounded, while stationary and taking heavy fire, does cast significant doubt of Kerries' version of events. When coupled with multiple eye witness accounts that deny any incoming fire, and the allegation that Kerry wrote the report you're quoting, I'd suggest that you rethink your opinion, Stephen.


Kerry is not going to sue even if he won the election because the latest ad for example uses HIS OWN WORDS to the Sentate and boy have you seen the additional number of former Vietnam vets now clamouring to kick his backside? He has made a BIG mistake citing his Vietnam experience instead of his 30 years in the Senate where he has missed most votes, been marked as the most liberal senator in the Senate (beating Teddy Kennedy!) and not actually DONE anything to improve the lot of the American people.

Go and LOOK at the Americas page on the Beeb 'news' wesite. Not one pro or even neutral Bush story. Impartial? Unbiased? Even when writing an article about Bush and his campaigning in the Mid West the Beeb reporter adds little digs here and there to undermine the previous sentence. I do not give a flying monkey's about Kerry/Bush because it is an American decision. (As you said) What I DO get angry about is the Beeb claiming to show BOTH sides of the argument in the election (which WILL affect the UK) and fail miserably to do so.

As I also said go and LOOK at the other side. I actually spent an hour yesterday on the dailykos and democraticunderground. It makes me realise there are some sick people out there who will not accept anything unless their hero has declared it so. Is this why many of them think Al Gore invented the Internet as he claimed.....?

Personally I think that Kerry was put up by the Democrats to lose so that Hilary Clinton can try in 2008. After all, if Kerry won do you think he would stand down for her? This buys them more time to udnermine the democratic process with their 527 groups

Read THIS from the Reverend Donald Sensing:

"John Kerry has personally accused Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth as being a front organization for the Bush campaign.
SBVT is a 527 organization, as defined by the McCain-Feingold act. That law prohibits political candidates and their campign organizations from coordinating with 527 groups. The law is new and there is no case law on what constitutes coordination. John Cole documents through open sources that of the top-10-funded 527 groups, nine are openly pro-Kerry, anti-Bush. Their funding comes to $195,186,845. SBVT's funding as of Aug. 15 was $158,750.

From this, we can learn two things:
1.) No wonder John Kerry thinks the Swift Boats for Vets are a 'Republican front.' [Almost] every other 527 is a Democratic front, so if there does exist one 527 opposing Kerry, logically it must be a Republican one.
2.) No wonder Kerry is calling only for the Swift Boat Vets to be silenced, and wants Bush to do the same. Of course the hypocrite is unwilling to condemn all of the 527's as Bush has- he stands to lose two hundred million in attack ads against Bush.

And remember, this is common knowledge in the media. Remember, it is the very same NY Times who just several weeks ago was gleefully reporting that these 527's would be actively working to fill the void for Kerry during the month of August."

To summarise: look at BOTH sides please.

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