Saturday, April 17, 2004

The Students4Kerry people sent this to me. Check it out.
John Kerry's first purple heart

By Douglas Brinkley

April 17, 2004 | It was December 2, 1968 and Lt. (j.g.) John Kerry was
on a special night-time covert mission in Vietnam. He had been ordered
into a Viet Cong infested peninsula north of Cam Ranh Bay to disrupt a
smuggling operation. His vessel was a Boston Whaler, a boat that could
float after taking 1,000 rounds of automatic weapons fire. Much of the
evening was spent apprehending fishermen in a curfew zone. At
approximately 2:00 a.m., however, they proceeded up an inlet with wild jungle on
both sides of the boat. As they approached a bay Kerry's whaler fired
flares into the air. To their horror, not far from them, were a startled
group of Viet Cong smugglers trafficking in contraband. "We opened
fire," Kerry told me in a January 30, 2003 interview. "The light from the
flares started to fade, the air was full of explosions. My M-16 jammed,
and as I bent down to grab another gun, a stinging piece of heat socked
into my arm and just seemed to burn like hell. By this time one of the
sailors had started the engine and we ran by the beach strafing it.
Then it was quiet."

Kerry and crewmates blew up the smugglers' beached sampans and then
headed back to Cam Ranh Bay. "I never saw where the piece of shrapnel had
come from, and the vision of the men running like gazelles haunted me,"
Kerry continued. "It seemed stupid. My gunner didn't know where the
people were when he first started firing. The M-16 bullets had kicked up
the sand way to the right of them as he sprayed the beach slowly walking
the line of fire over to where the men had been leaping for cover. I
had been shouting directions and trying to un-jam my gun. The third
crewman was locked in a personal struggle with the engine, trying to start
it. I just shook my head and said, 'Jesus Christ.' It made me wonder if
a year of training was worth anything." Kerry, never trying to inflate
the incident, called it a "half-ass action." Nevertheless, the escapade
introduced Kerry to the VC and earned him his first Purple Heart.

As generally understood, the Purple Heart is given to any U.S. citizen
wounded in wartime service to the nation. Giving out Purple Hearts
increased in 1968 as the United States Navy started sending Swift boats up
rivers in the Mekong Delta. Sailors -- no longer safe on aircraft
carriers or battleships in the Gulf of Tonkin -- were starting to bleed, a
lot. Vice Admiral Elmo Zumwalt himself would pin the medal on John Kerry
at An Thoi about six weeks after the doctor at the Cam Ranh base took
the shrapnel out of the young officer's right arm. "He called me in New
York to tell me he had been wounded," his then girlfriend and later
wife, Julia Thorne, remembered. "I was worried sick, scared to death that
John or one of my brothers was going to die. He reassured me that he
was okay."

Now it is 2004, John Kerry is the presumptive Democratic nominee for
president, and a couple of reporters are bringing into question whether
he deserved a Purple Heart for that daring action. The Boston Globe and
the New York Post have run hurtful stories quoting Kerry's commanding
officer that evening, Lt. Commander Grant Hibbard, now a retiree in Gulf
Breeze, Florida, grouching that Kerry's wound wasn't large enough.
Hibbard was not even on the Boston Whaler when the firefight erupted.
Nevertheless, the New York Post, quotes Hibbard -- a proudly registered
Republican -- as griping Kerry's injury "didn't look like much of a wound
to me."

Reporters today, anxious to break a headline, are combing through
Kerry's Vietnam past. The name of the game is to find a conservative
ex-Vietnam hand to say something negative about Kerry. It's an automatic
newsmaker, guaranteed to get picked up by, The Weekly Standard,
Rush Limbaugh, the New York Post, and other conservative outlets. At
issue is an attempt to downgrade Kerry's Vietnam War heroism. The major
anti-Kerry Vietnam War Internet complaint, it seems, echoes Hibbard:
that his minor wounds weren't big enough to warrant Purple Hearts.
Unfortunately neither the Boston Globe nor New York Post takes the time to
explain to readers that Purple Hearts are not given out to
soldiers/sailors for the size of the wound. Only by the grace of God did the hot
shrapnel which pierced Kerry's arm on December 2, 1968, not enter his heart
or brain or eye.

For the record, Purple Hearts are given for the following enemy-
related injuries:

a) Injury caused by enemy bullet, shrapnel or other projectile created
by enemy action.

b) Injury caused by enemy-placed mine or trap.

c) Injury caused by enemy-released chemical, biological or nuclear

d) Injury caused by vehicle or aircraft accident resulting from enemy

e) Concussion injuries caused as a result of enemy-generated

Examples of injuries or wounds which clearly do not qualify for award
of the Purple Heart are as follows:

a) Frostbite or trench foot injuries.

b) Heat stroke.

c) Food poisoning not caused by enemy agents.

d) Chemical, biological, or nuclear agents not released by the enemy.

e) Battle fatigue.

f) Disease not directly caused by enemy agents.

g) Accidents, to include explosive, aircraft, vehicular and other
accidental wounding not related to or caused by enemy action.

Given the hurly-burly circumstance of December 2, 1968, Kerry -- and
the other men on the mission -- are not sure whether they were hit by
enemy fire or if shrapnel from one of the other men on the Boston Whaler
injured Kerry. It could have even been Kerry's own M-16 backfiring that
caused the shrapnel wound. It doesn't really matter. The requirement
makes it clear that you are awarded a Purple Heart for "Injury caused by
enemy bullet, shrapnel or other projectile created by enemy action."
Does anybody dispute that Kerry's wound was created by enemy action? As
the stipulation also makes clear, Kerry would have been awarded a Purple
Heart even if he never bled, if, for example, he had suffered a
concussion from a grenade. So to set the record straight: Kerry deserved his
first Purple Heart -- period. To say otherwise is to distort the reality
of the medal.

Unfortunately, the Boston Globe and New York Post stories omit fully
reporting the bylaws. They present Hibbard at face value, downplaying the
fact that he is a Republican criticizing a fellow veteran hoping to
cause him public embarrassment. According to the Globe, Hibbard -- in
classic blowhard fashion -- said Kerry "had a little scratch on his
forearm, and he was holding a piece of shrapnel." Adding further verbal
insult, Hibbard apparently claimed: "I've had thorns from a rose that were
worse." The straight-faced Globe reporter, in fact, claims that Hibbard
told him that Kerry's wound resembled a "scrape from a fingernail." Not
included in either newspaper account, however, is Kerry's medical
report from the incident. He shared it with me last year when I was writing
Tour of Duty. It reads: "3 DEC 1968 U.S. NAVAL SUPPORT FACILITY CAM
RANH BAY RVN FPO Shrapnel in left arm above elbow. Shrapnel removed and
appl. Bacitracin. Ret. to duty." Is shrapnel removed from an arm really
like a "scrape from a fingernail"? Or a thorn prick? The answer, of
course, as any sensible person can surmise, is no.

Which raises the question: Why the medical record omission? Why the
cruel attempt publicly to mock Kerry for his wound? Why the media need to
play "gotcha" with something as sensitive as a war injury? This
December 3 medical report is proof that Kerry had shrapnel taken from his arm.
According to Kerry, who should know, the doctor wrapped a clean white
bandage around his arm. After the procedure he rightfully put in for a
Purple Heart. Kerry clearly met the requirements -- as listed above --
for deserving one. From the hospital room Kerry returned to duty. That's
apparently when he held the shrapnel out in his palm for Hibbard to

The Globe, however, let Hibbard off the hook, no serious questions
asked. On the one hand he claimed Kerry was holding his shrapnel and then
he also claims it was a scratch. Are we to believe that following his
surgical procedure Kerry went to Hibbard and ripped off his battle
dressing to show him the wound that looked like a "scrape from a fingernail"?
Or is Hibbard simply surmising it was a thorn prick? Worse still,
Hibbard now claims that he was opposed to Kerry being awarded the Purple
Heart. Really? Then why didn't he fight against it harder? His superficial
answer can be found in the Globe: "I do remember some questions, some
correspondence about it. I finally said, 'Ok, if that's what happened?
do whatever you want.' After that I don't know what happened. Obviously,
he got it. I don't know how." Does this sound like a reliable source?
Is that fuzzy- mindedness worth reporting as serious news? Why wasn't
Hibbard asked why he stayed quiet for 35 years?

Let me offer Hibbard an answer to his question. The U.S. Navy chose to
award Kerry a Purple Heart because he qualified for it. Only a fool --
or an exceedingly modest man -- wouldn't apply for a Purple Heart that
was due him. Kerry was neither. But Kerry did not receive it because,
as the Post claims, he had "strong ties to the Kennedy machine in
Massachusetts (Bobby Kennedy speechwriter Adam Walinsky wrote Kerry's famous
1971 anti-war Washington speech)." Kerry's only tie to the "Kennedy
machine" was that as a college student he slapped a "Ted Kennedy for U.S.
Senate" bumper sticker on his VW and campaigned for a summer around
Cape Cod. As for Walinsky writing Kerry's famous April 22, 1971
speech/testimony -- it's utter nonsense. Walinsky has consistently denied the
rumor. At his Boston home Kerry has a file brimming with his various
drafts of the speech/testimony. He, in fact, had delivered parts of the
speech months beforehand. Why is it so hard to accept the fact that Kerry
-- like thousands of other Vietnam Vets -- was awarded a Purple Heart as
a small token of appreciation for risking his life for his country?

Back in 1964 Bob Dylan wrote a lyric for the song "It's Alright Ma (I'm
Only Bleeding)." At one point in it he asks whether nothing in American
life is "really sacred." When retired U.S. Naval officers, thirty-five
years after the fact, start whining to the press that a war wound
wasn't big enough to warrant a Purple Heart -- and the Boston Globe goes
along for the ride -- you realize Dylan's prophecy. Today the tabloids
truly are king. Call me naA_ve, or too pro- veteran, but it seems to me we
should be thanking every Purple Heart recipient for their duty to
country, not demanding of them explanations for why their wounds weren't
bigger or fatal. Only somebody craven -- or with a political agenda --
could stoop so low. Ridicule Kerry on his liberal Senate record, or
so-called aloofism, or even his outspoken Vietnam Veterans Against the War
protests, but leave his old battle scars alone. - - - - - - - - - - - -
About the writer

Douglas Brinkley is Stephen E. Ambrose Professor of History and
Director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of
New Orleans. His most recent book is "Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the
Vietnam War."

-- Otis Willie
Associate Librarian
The American War Library
Here is the Democratic Party's platform back in 2000, note Bin Laden is mentioned.

Battling Terrorism. Whether terrorism is sponsored by a foreign nation or inspired by a single fanatic individual, such as Osama Bin Laden, Forward Engagement requires trying to disrupt terrorist networks, even before they are ready to attack. We must improve coordination internationally and domestically to share intelligence and develop operational plans. We must continue the comprehensive approach that has resulted in the development of a national counter-terrorism strategy involving all arms and levels of our government. We must continue to target terrorist finances, break up support cells, and disrupt training. And we must close avenues of cyber-attack by improving the security of the Internet and the computers upon which our digital economy exists.

As President, Al Gore will tolerate no attack against American interests at home or abroad: terrorists must know that if they attack America, we will never forget. We will scour the world to hunt them down and bring them to justice.

While fighting terrorism, we will protect the civil liberties of all Americans. Our justice system must guarantee fairness with procedures that protect the rights of the accused, even under the unusual circumstances of the investigation of threats to our national security. We must avoid stereotyping, for it defeats the highest purposes of our country if citizens feel automatically suspect by virtue of their ethnic origin. The purpose of terrorism is not only to intimidate, but also to divide and fracture, and we cannot permit that to happen.

The Democratic response to Bush's press conference.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Hey! I'm back up!
Not much going on here. When my blog went down right after I wrote about when I predicted OBL was going to attack Europe I was a bit worried the CIA had misinterpreted my blog as something sinister and had shut it down. Maybe someone needs to buy me a tinfoil hat.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Hmmm. My blog seems to be shut down. Maybe it is because I predicted when Osama will attack. I've actually revised my prediction. Here it is:
It seems to me Bin Laden is setting up an excuse to attack a European country in July or August. He might try and shake up Poland since Prime Minister Miller will be out of office. Or he might try to weaken Blair position by attacking somewhere in England. Another option is that Bin Laden is desperate and seriously doesn’t want the double vise of Europe and America squeezing him. Lets hope for the latter.
Well. Hopefully my blog gets working again.
CAn people access my blog? I keep getting a message that it isn't working. Maybe someone can email me if they can read this?
I know I said that was my last blog for the morning, but I got to thinking, I've been too news heavy this morning (this of course is because I gave up news/political junk for Lent). Well, I'm going to keep this blog Lutheran.
Here were the questions from D+D last night.
The Questions
1. Are Biblical translations like beer, meaning there is no best, just the one in your hand (not my statement)?
2. Is the resurrection a bodily or spiritual resurrection? Does one have to believe in the resurrection to be Christian?
3. Is there objective truth? If yes can human capture more than a glimpse of this truth? If not does God have “a truth” and would God’s truth be just as subjective as our own?
4. Is brimstone a WMD? For that matter what is up with God’s wrath? How should readers of the Bible take God’s wrath, how should they act?
5. Other than atonement for our sins what other way could one interpret Jesus’ death on the cross?
One final blog for the morning. I think this quote from Aeschylus' Oresteian Trilogy is still very fitting for the situation over in Iraq.
I was inducted into AEpi (the Jewish Fraternity) last night. I can't tell you anything more than that, very Skull and Bone's kind of secrecy.
Final bit of news OBL is blaming the UNITED NATIONS for Bush's policies.
An interesting bit of news from a fellow Lutheran Blogger. The bush Admin. is trying to get an Iran-Contra man to be ambassador to Iraq!
Judging by this 9-11 commission the FBI and CIA aren't doing so well predicting when/where terrorist attacks will happen. I’m going to try and help them out. Looking at this piece of news I’m going to say there will be a terrorist attack on a German bullet train on July 11th or on Buckingham Palace in England on July 16th.
Check out Kerry's new ad.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Hey. Look out the Borg are now just around the corner. No, actually this look like a really good new technology that will help out stroke victims!

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Monday, April 12, 2004

Man. I've been reading some of Emma Goldman's writings. I think I'm in love... well maybe not that far, but she is a very cool woman.