Thursday, September 02, 2004

Swift Boat endgame?

If this is right, a lot of their supposed membership is made up of people who never wanted to be members. Yikes.


pinklogican said...

And if this is right, it's time for me to put on my tinfoil hat.Yikes.

Neil Sinhababu said...

I am happy that the bopcollective will not play a major role in this presidential election. I am dismayed that SBVT might.

pinklogican said...

It seems that you missed my joke.

Anyway, it seems that the effect of SBVT on the election should only be a problem if their charges are untrue. Your post, while suggestive, is merely a conditional, not an argument. You need to show: 1) the antecedent is true, and 2) the consequent affects the truth of the swifties claims about John Kerry's actions both during and after the war.

Neil Sinhababu said...

Could you explain the joke, then? I mean, I suppose those bop people are amusingly bizarre, but was there more to the joke than that? (I take it that the 'this' in your initial comment refers to the bop page.)

I've done this SBVT-disproving thing with a few people, and I'd like to suggest a format for it. You cite a SBVT charge, and I'll refute it. The one thing I am prepared to concede, in advance, is that Kerry was in Cambodia during Tet rather than Christmas.

Neil Sinhababu said...

Could you explain the joke to me? If it presupposes that the Billings Gazette is as unreliable a source as the bopcollective, that would explain why I didn't get it.

For a nicely footnoted rundown of the SBVT claims and the evidence, go here.

To summarize:

-Schachte claims to have been the 4th man on the skimmer when Kerry got his Bronze Star, and says Kerry hurt himself with a grenade. Runyon and Zaladonis, the two other men on the skimmer (besides Kerry) deny that Schachte was there and say Kerry never used a grenade. (This story, by the way, was the one that Michelle Malkin tried to spread on Hardball.)

-Thurlow claims that Kerry wasn't under fire when he pulled Rassmann out of the water. He is contradicted by everyone on Kerry's boat, a guy on his own boat, well-corroborated military records, and intelligence reports that show 1 VC killed and 5 wounded in the battle.

-Elliott now claims that Kerry merely shot down a fleeing defenseless wounded enemy and doesn't deserve a Silver Star for that. This fits ill with Elliott's intense praise for Kerry during the war, and is contradicted by Kerry's crewmates and William Rood, who say the enemy had a rocket launcher and could have blown up Kerry's boat.

-The one thing I will concede is that Kerry wasn't in Cambodia during Christmas. He was there later though, and I think the experiences that he described as 'seared into' his memory (a winter holiday, allies celebrating and firing weapons, Nixon being president) are from Tet rather than Christmas.

Neil Sinhababu said...

(Crap! Post #4 didn't become visible until just now, and I thought it wouldn't ever come up, so I decided to go a different way and write #5. Liz, feel free to respond however you like.)

pinklogican said...

Jokes aren't generally very funny in explanation, but I'll do my best. I guess what I thought was amusing is the way you phrased your post...I can make an equally true (and perhaps more alarming) conditional using your antecedent and appending a link to any crazy crap I want.

(I didn't mean to imply anything negative about the paper reporting the story or the possible truth of the story itself...just about the suggestive, but non-commital phrasing of your post.)

As far as SBVT, I am (like Max) ambivalent about the medals charges. I don't know who to believe and am more or less ignoring that part of it.

However, I am inclined to believe vets who say that Kerry's behavior after he left Vietnam had a direct negative impact on them. I'm particularly bothered by the testimony of Paul Galanti, who heard the audio while still a POW) and by the testimony itself (which can be read here...of particular interest is the part that's getting media coverage and the portion toward the end on drug use in Vietnam). This does seem like a direct set-up for the Vietnam-vets-are-all-crazy-unstable-psychos attitude that was common in my childhood.