February 24, 2004

THIS CAN’T BE GOOD FOR KERRY: Sydney Schanberg is in the Village Voice accusing Kerry of a P.O.W. / M.I.A. coverup:

The Massachusetts senator, now seeking the presidency, carried out this subterfuge a little over a decade ago— shredding documents, suppressing testimony, and sanitizing the committee’s final report—when he was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on P.O.W./ M.I.A. Affairs. . . .

The Kerry committee’s final report, issued in January 1993, delivered the ultimate insult to history. The 1,223-page document said there was “no compelling evidence that proves” there is anyone still in captivity. As for the primary investigative question —what happened to the men left behind in 1973—the report conceded only that there is “evidence . . . that indicates the possibility of survival, at least for a small number” of prisoners 31 years ago, after Hanoi released the 591 P.O.W.’s it had admitted to.

I have no idea if this is true, of course, and I’ve generally been skeptical of such coverup claims in general. But the Village Voice can hardly be dismissed as a Karl Rove outlet (nor can Schanberg be called a Bush booster), and this certainly puts a different cast on the whole “I served in Vietnam” business. Kerry may be wishing he hadn’t made quite such a big deal of that now.

UPDATE: Weirdly, Tom Maguire emails that Schanberg wrote a similar story about McCain in 2000. Does that make this more, or less, credible?