Hugh Hewitt has an interview with a boatmate of Kerry's who categorically denies Kerry's claim to have been in Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1968. The swift boat vet also puts the kibosh on Kerry's claim to have transported CIA agents into Cambodia. Here's an excerpt from the interview:
HH: Now, Steve Gardner, John Kerry has also been discovered to have been telling a story that he took a CIA man at least one CIA man into Cambodia and that he kept his hat. When you were on the boat with John Kerry, for your two months and two weeks of the tour that he served, did you ever have a CIA man on board?
SG: Number one, no.
HH: Did you ever take anyone to Cambodia and drop them off?
SG: Categorically no.
HH: Did you get near Cambodia and drop anybody off?
SG: The closest we can get to Cambodia, and that's a long swim, is 50 miles.
HH: Alright. Let me ask you about other people on the boat. Could John Kerry have just misunderstood someone on the boat was CIA when it wasn't CIA? Did you ever have any strangers on the boat?
SG: Nope. We always would have an interpreter, or something like that with us, or we would take others and take them in to areas in the Mekong Delta where they would be doing surveillance, but never did we have anybody that we would take close or could take close to Cambodia.
What does it matter, some are asking. These were events that took place thirty five years ago. If he lied about them back then, who cares? Many of the people who are going to be voting in November weren't even born in 1968.
It's of course true that the events occured a long time ago, but Senator Kerry has advanced them as his chief qualification for serving as president. He and his party have made them relevant to this campaign because evidently he feels that what he did back then far outshines anything he has done since. He wants us to believe that it is those deeds which define him as a man and as a leader.
It behooves us then to examine those events. When we do we find that either they didn't happen the way he says they did or didn't happen at all. We are thus left with the conclusion that his VietNam service is a net negative, a serious negative since he himself places such importance on it, and that our consideration of his qualifications should move past VietNam to his record in the Senate. We can't, however, because he keeps bringing us back to VietNam, reminding us often that he fought to defend this country as a young man, etc.
This last refrain is particularly disingenuous, by the way, since one of the anti-war shibboleths from the 1970s was that no American interests were at stake in VietNam and that therefore we had no business being there. This was Kerry's position as a leader of the VietNam Veterans Against the War. Perhaps some journalist might ask him if, by insisting that he was defending this country when he served, he is now of the belief that the VietNam war was indeed a war fought in defense of the United States. If so, when did he change his mind? If not, why does he keep saying that it was?