TOM MAGUIRE has already posted John Kerry's speech claiming to have been in Cambodia on Christmas day, 1968. But because this is a question of importance, and because some people might doubt the veracity of quotations pasted in from NEXIS, I thought I'd go to the law library and check it myself in hardcopy. (The law library was closed and the copiers were off, but I have a key, and -- let this be another lesson to bloggers everywhere -- a digital camera).
Here's a link to a larger version showing the exact page citation and context.
The evidence that Kerry wasn't in Cambodia seems pretty strong (see Tom Maguire's post, along with this letter) which makes Kerry's claim all the more difficult to understand.
It's possible, of course, that there's an innocent explanation for this, even if I can't quite think of one. Maybe Kerry was on a double-secret mission to Cambodia, such that everyone involved continues to deny it today. Except, inexplicably, for Kerry. . . . Or maybe his memory failed him -- though there's that "seared--seared--in" language to contend with when considering that hypothesis. Or he could just have been bragging. Your call. Personally, I remain more interested in what Kerry would do regarding the current war, but since he invites us to judge him on his Vietnam record, evidence that he might not be telling the truth about that record is obviously relevant.
At any rate, posting this should remove any doubt about what Kerry said, if not about what he did.
UPDATE: More here, including another Kerry quote on the same subject.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Wayne Seibert emails: "You forgot about Kerry's mission to kill Col. Kurtz."
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Several readers wonder why, if Kerry is really lying about having been in Cambodia on Christmas Day, 1968, somebody hasn't made something of it before? Beats me.
On the other hand, if it were false, you'd expect somebody from the Democratic spin machine to be coming forth with evidence that Kerry was in Cambodia then. But what did I get in the daily "Media Matters" email? A complaint that Bill O'Reilly compared Media Matters to the Klan.
MORE: Brian Rogge emails: "A blogger with a key and a digital camera? There's a novel there somewhere. Someone tell Roger Simon!"
Yes, as I photographed the pages with my little camera in the darkened library, it did make me think of old spy thrillers. Though only a particularly masochistic spy would copy the Congressional Record.