August 13, 2004
KERRY'S CAMBODIA STORY IS CHANGING AGAIN: Here's the old story:
I remember spending Christmas Day of 1968 five miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our South Vietnamese Allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas. 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.
Or, if you prefer, there's this version:
But now that witnesses have come forth saying that these are false, here's the new one:
"On Christmas Eve he was near Cambodia; he was around 50 miles from the Cambodian border. There's no indictment of Kerry to be made, but he was mistaken about Christmas in Cambodia," said Douglas Brinkley, who has unique access to the candidate's wartime journals. . . .
He said: "Kerry went into Cambodian waters three or four times in January and February 1969 on clandestine missions. He had a run dropping off US Navy Seals, Green Berets and CIA guys." The missions were not armed attacks on Cambodia, said Mr Brinkley, who did not include the clandestine missions in his wartime biography of Mr Kerry, Tour of Duty.
(Emphasis added.) Hmm. 50 miles isn't that "near" -- it's about halfway to the coast. That also seems to conflict with this 1992 Kerry statement:
Kerry, who served in Vietnam on a gunboat in the Mekong Delta from 1968 to 1969, said he was involved in a "black mission" near Cambodia. "On Christmas Eve of 1968, I was on a gunboat in a firefight that wasn't supposed to be taking place," Kerry recalled. "I thought, if I'm killed here, what will my family be told?"
It's certainly a convenient change for Kerry, as Ed Morrissey notes, since it's after witness Stephen Gardner, who says Kerry was never in Cambodia, left the boat.
He's said it happened at Christmas for 25 years. I guess it wasn't so "seared" into his memory as he's been claiming . . . .
And what's even more amazing -- and considerably more appalling -- is that I just checked the New York Times and Washington Post sites and there's still absolutely nothing on this story there. A Kerry claim proven false, a retraction, and a retrenchment -- and absolutely no coverage at all. If we were seeing the same sort of questions raised about George W. Bush I think we'd be getting wall-to-wall coverage. It's as is they're letting their coverage be shaped by the fact that they want Kerry to win or something. Kind of makes you wonder what else they're leaving out.
MORE: Jim Geraghty: "50 miles away counts as 'near' Cambodia? Give me a @#$%^& break."