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August 11, 2004

Christmas in Cambodia: The Bleeding Edge of the Attack on Kerry's Truthfulness

The media doesn't want to cover any of the allegations against Kerry, but it seems to me that this is the most clear-cut lie. And once you start down that road, can you really stop?

The Kerry defenders keep claiming that we can't question anything having to do with Kerry's Vietnam record, because, well, he was there. This argument has the unstated assumption that he can allege anything at all about his service -- even flat-out lie about it -- and we cannot question any of these claimed facts because, once again, he was there.

Well, as James Lileks points out, Bush was in the Texas Air National Guard; presumably, if Bush claimed to have repelled a VietCong air attack, no one would claim that this lie was above examining simply because Bush was there (that is, in the TANG).

Bush was at Yale and the Harvard Business School, and yet were he to claim to be a summa cum laude scholar, I don't think the media would give his lie a pass because he was there.

Kerry deserves credit for all the things he actually did in Vietnam. He does not deserve credit for things he did not do in Vietnam, even if he claims, dishonestly, that he did. The media has a strong interest in blurring the line between these two rather clear-cut categories; at some point it will have to give up the mantra that we're supposed to believe shameless lies simply because he was there.

Kerry deserves credit for being in Nam for four months. He does not deserve credit for being in Nam longer than that-- he filed Paperwork for Papercuts in order to get out of Nam as soon as possible. (Even a bit sooner than that, it looks like.) He derves credit for serving four months; he does not deserve credit for serving a full tour, which he did not serve, the same as a man who donates $50 to a worthy cause deserves $50 worth of respect, not $5000 worth, even if he falsely claims to have donated $5000.

He was there is not a license to lie.

And, PS, media: As regards Cambodia, he wasn't there, so I don't understand how the he was there defense is even applicable.


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posted by Ace at 03:10 PM

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