Thursday, August 12, 2004


They shoot and mislead, yet again.

But as Chris Suellentrop pointed out on, Kerry volunteered for swift boat duty before it became so dangerous. In a multipart series on Kerry's life, the Boston Globe recounted that the swift boats "were still considered relatively safe" when Kerry made his decision. It then quotes Kerry saying in 1986: "When I signed up for the swift boats, they had very little to do with the war. They were engaged in coastal patrolling, and that's what I thought I was going to be doing." However, the boats' mission changed after Kerry made his decision, and they were tasked with more dangerous river patrols.

Democrats are glossing over this important distinction, implying Kerry volunteered knowing that the mission was extremely risky. Kerry's biography on his campaign Web site states: "In 1968, John Kerry began his second tour of duty, and volunteered to serve on a swift boat, one of the most dangerous assignments of the war." And in his convention speech, former President Bill Clinton stated: "When they sent those swift boats up the river in Vietnam and they told them their job was to draw hostile fire, to wave the American flag, and bait the enemy to come out and fight, John Kerry said: 'Send me.' "

Some journalists have also gotten the facts wrong. For instance, Bennett Roth of the Houston Chronicle wrote that Kerry "requested to command a swift boat, one of the more dangerous assignments during the war."

It's fair to say that they've overemphasized this a bit, but the Spinsanity guys have taken an additional leap themselves. How has Roth "gotten the facts wrong?" The fact is, for someone in the Navy, the Swift Boats were still "one of the more dangerous assignments during the war," even before they started doing aggressive river patrolling, as far as I can tell.