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August 31, 2004

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Apocalypse Now starring von as Willard: Watch as von is forced to report on the horror the horror he sees as he travels into the Heart of Darkness.

"Everyone gets everything he wants. I wanted a mission and for my sins they gave me one."


(I hate these little semicolon/colon doohickeys but :-) or is it ;) I'm just havin' fun)

Not sure I'm following exaclty, von, do you think folks will take shots at the President's courage?

If so, is that wise? He is one of the few people in world who can convincingly answer the question: "You and what army?"

(forget where I heard that line...loved it though)

Not sure I'm following exaclty, von, do you think folks will take shots at the President's courage?

I don't think folks will take a shot at the President's courage per se. (Saleten did, but I figure it's an outlier.) But, if your opponent's courage is questioned, your courage is put on the line as well -- even if you're not the one doing the questioning, but merely benefiting from it.

I'll update the post to clarify.

the swift boat attack has done its damage and bush got his 5 points. it would be politically wise for bush to significantly distance himself from their campaign. 527's in support of kerry have yet to counter attack bush on his service record. The more distance bush bush can put between himself and the angry swift boat vets the worse it would look for kerry if his supporters bring up something along the same lines.

The title of this post should be changed to “More Advice To Bush From A Guy Who Already Said He Wasn’t Voting For Him Anyway.”

Oh please, Bush doesn’t need to do a thing about the Swift Vets but to (a) state (truthfully) that he has always honored John Kerry’s service in Vietnam and (b) (wrongly*) go after all the 527’s negative attack ads which have overwhelmingly been anti-Bush/pro-Kerry.

As far as Von’s contrived concern over the effects of “spitting” on someone’s “military service,” I’m sorry but I missed the post where Von condemned Kerry’s false accusations of his fellow Veterans of coming war crimes on a daily basis. This really isn’t about Bush so much as it is a lot of pissed off veterans paying back Kerry for what they see as his besmirching their service and a lot of people realize that which is why it hasn’t and probably won't hurt Bush no matter who funds the ads.

* I didn’t agree with Mc-Cain Feingold and I support the right of private individuals to spend as much of their own money on political speech as they wish. However, politically it’s an astute move and reframes the issue to Bush’s advantage by reinforcing the image of Kerry as being duplicitous and thin-skinned.

As far as Von’s contrived concern over the effects of “spitting” on someone’s “military service,”

Unless you can back up the "contrived" bit, Thorley, you need to retract that.

Thorley: If you can tell me where Kerry said that everyone who served in Vietnam committed atrocities, I'd be grateful. Alternately, if you'd care to argue that no atrocities were committed there, OK. But if you're objecting to Kerry saying that atrocities were committed there even though he was telling the truth, please explain why exactly you think this is objectionable.

Also, if memory serves, the objection to the SwiftVets wasn't that they criticized Kerry, but that they said things about him that were flatly false. Unless you can show some evidence of ads about Bush that contained false statements about matters of fact, and were not specifically disavowed by Kerry, there's no double standard.

Thorley:

Oh please, Bush doesn’t need to do a thing about the Swift Vets but to (a) state (truthfully) that he has always honored John Kerry’s service in Vietnam and (b) (wrongly*) go after all the 527’s negative attack ads which have overwhelmingly been anti-Bush/pro-Kerry.

No. (a) Bush has always (and repeatedly) stated that Kerry's service in Vietnam is honorable. There's no need for him to recite that liturgy again; what's needed is a direct answer to thsi specific issue. (b) On the 527 law: Bush needs to disown it, 'cause it's crap (Mitch McConnel was right) -- oh, wait, Bush was the guy who signed it into law! Silly me for forgetting. (c) He needs to quit the lawyerly locutions about condemning all 527s -- the time for him to do something about 527s was prior to his decision to spin crap into law. He needs make the Swifties go away.

Suggestion regarding your proposed title change is noted; however, given my Hamlet-like wailing on the issue, I think most readers know my biases. Perhaps too well: If I can put myself in the exalted company of Sully and Drezner: We're talking the Axis of Whine, baby. Whine, whine, whine, whine, whine.

As far as Von’s contrived concern over the effects of “spitting” on someone’s “military service,” I’m sorry but I missed the post where Von condemned Kerry’s false accusations of his fellow Veterans of coming war crimes on a daily basis.

You must have posted before the update, where I specifically noted that I agreed with Pejman that the '71 testimony is far more damning; rightfully so.

Edward wrote:

Unless you can back up the "contrived" bit, Thorley, you need to retract that.

If you can show me the post that Von devoted to condemned Kerry’s smearing of American servicemen (which has been in the blogosphere for months) with accusations that they were committing atrocities on a daily basis I will. Until then, it stands.

Hilary Bok wrote:

Thorley: If you can tell me where Kerry said that everyone who served in Vietnam committed atrocities, I'd be grateful. Alternately, if you'd care to argue that no atrocities were committed there, OK.

Burn strawman, burn.
Also, if memory serves, the objection to the SwiftVets wasn't that they criticized Kerry, but that they said things about him that were flatly false.

Right which is why John Kerry is still telling people he spent Christmas in Cambodia and why so many of his fellow Swifties and his former CO's are backing up his story, oh wait a minute, that’s right they’re not.

"Hilary Bok wrote:"

Thorley, you're an ass.
Since the posting rules seem to be disengaged for a thread, I'll be happy to participate. On the other hand, if they're going to be enforced, I won't be sad to see this one go.

Hilzoy:
If you can tell me where Kerry said that everyone who served in Vietnam committed atrocities, I'd be grateful. Alternately, if you'd care to argue that no atrocities were committed there, OK.

Thorley:
Burn strawman, burn.

How the heck is that a strawman? Isn't that distinction precisely the point under dispute? Kerry's attackers are saying that he smeared Vietnam vets as a group as atrocity-committing war criminals, while Kerry's defenders are saying that he was only pointing out that many war crimes were committed (based on testimony made directly to him), without saying that the average soldier was a war criminal. There's one hell of a difference between the two, no?

As for the Swiftvets as a whole, why has _all_ of the documentary evidence so far (with the admitted exception of Christmas in Cambodia, versus of course February in Cambodia) backed up Kerry if he's a liar?

Wow, so now something isn't sincere unless it's blogged? That's one tough effin' standard. I'm going to have to blog my whole life in real time lest someone think everything is contrived.

Ed & Hilzoy -- I appreciate the solid backup, but, so as not to inadvertently shout down Thorley, let's keep it one-on-one.

As far as Von’s contrived concern over the effects of “spitting” on someone’s “military service,” I’m sorry but I missed the post where Von condemned Kerry’s false accusations of his fellow Veterans of coming war crimes on a daily basis.

As I understand your beef, Thorley, you think my respect for the military service of others is "contrived" -- i.e., dishonest. Your supposed evidence is that I did not specifically condemn Kerry's remarks in 1971, and, because I did not specifically condemn Kerry's '71 remarks, my beef with the SwiftVets is political rather than honorable.

There are two significant problems with your argument:

(1) I have condemned Kerry's '71 remarks. See, for example, this very post (the update in particular).

(2) You seem to believe that one has to specifically post on everything that is evil in the world in order to condemn anything that is evil in the world. I suggest, as a matter of logic and practicality, you rethink that belief.

As an aside, Kerry's comments -- wrongheaded and improper as they were -- were not exactly as you represent. Here is the relevant text:

I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.

It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit, the emotions in the room, the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam, but they did. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.

They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, tape wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

We call this investigation the "Winter Soldier Investigation." The term "Winter Soldier" is a play on words of Thomas Paine in 1776 when he spoke of the Sunshine Patriot and summertime soldiers who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough.

We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country; we could be quiet; we could hold our silence; we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country, the fact that the crimes threaten it, no reds, and not redcoats but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out.

The rest of Kerry's senate testimony may be found at NRO Online: http://www.nationalreview.com/document/kerry200404231047.asp.

All: Please avoid ad hominem remarks regarding other posters.

Sidereal wrote:

Thorley, you're an ass.

Back at you.

Since the posting rules seem to be disengaged for a thread, I'll be happy to participate. On the other hand, if they're going to be enforced, I won't be sad to see this one go.

Except of course no one on this thread has actually violated any of the posting rules except for Sidereal.

Oh, I'd rather you just delete it. I see my point wasn't made.

Von wrote:

No. (a) Bush has always (and repeatedly) stated that Kerry's service in Vietnam is honorable. There's no need for him to recite that liturgy again; what's needed is a direct answer to thsi specific issue.

No there isn’t. The ads are and will continue to be seen as part of a grudge match by former servicemen against a man that they rightfully see as having tarnished their own service by making broad and unsubstantiated accusations that they were committing atrocities on a daily basis.

(b) On the 527 law: Bush needs to disown it, 'cause it's crap (Mitch McConnel was right) -- oh, wait, Bush was the guy who signed it into law! Silly me for forgetting. (c) He needs to quit the lawyerly locutions about condemning all 527s -- the time for him to do something about 527s was prior to his decision to spin crap into law. He needs make the Swifties go away.

Newsflash for you, the Swifties aren’t going to go away regardless of what Bush does or does not do because they’re gunning for Kerry. It isn’t political for them, it’s personal. Nor for that matter does Bush “need” to do anything about them specifically and while I don’t agree with him on the 527’s rules it works to Bush’s advantage because (a) it pretty much neutralizes McCain, (b) keeps Bush on the high road, and (c) continues to show Kerry as being petulant and thin-skinned. The only person who needs to worry is John Kerry since every day that these ads are out there and being talked about he continues to lose support amongst veterans and swing voters. It was he* and not Bush who decided to drag our country through the Vietnam War (again) and people are starting to ask questions that Kerry either can’t or won’t answer.

Suggestion regarding your proposed title change is noted; however, given my Hamlet-like wailing on the issue, I think most readers know my biases.

More like Queen Gertrude actually.

Perhaps too well: If I can put myself in the exalted company of Sully and Drezner: We're talking the Axis of Whine, baby. Whine, whine, whine, whine, whine.

I wasn’t aware that you were planning renaming the blog. Good for you but it really wouldn’t be fair to Moe or Sebastian. ;)

You must have posted before the update, where I specifically noted that I agreed with Pejman that the '71 testimony is far more damning; rightfully so.

Yes in the context of making Kerry look bad which of course was not what I said.

* Actually that’s John “don’t question my patriotism by talking about my Senate record” Kerry, Terry “AWOL” McCaulife and Max “betrayed” Cleland to be accurate who have decided to drag us through the Vietnam War (again).

By the way, Thorley: Even if my dislike of the SwiftVets' attacks was purely political, and even if, for purely political reasons, I also did not condemn Kerry's '71 remarks (as I in fact have), it still would not follow that my "concern over the effects of 'spitting on someone’s 'military service'" was or is "contrived." But I'll let you puzzle out that particular logic puzzle yourself.

I don't delete posts, and I tend to use a light hand with the posting rules. I'm also late for a planned dinner, so my response to Thorley will have to wait. I gotta get home. My apologies. (I shouldn't have discouraged Ed and Hilzoy from rescuing me!)

Mark wrote:

How the heck is that a strawman? Isn't that distinction precisely the point under dispute?

No it isn’t since no one has accused Kerry of having said that “everyone who served in Vietnam committed atrocities.” Hilary Bok was hoping to make that this issue and I wasn’t biting.

As for the Swiftvets as a whole, why has _all_ of the documentary evidence so far (with the admitted exception of Christmas in Cambodia, versus of course February in Cambodia) backed up Kerry if he's a liar?

Really now, please provide the “documentary evidence” that John Kerry went to Cambodia in February instead of December or January as the first few versions of his story alleged.

Then it'll stand as the lone unfiltered edifice of my opinion.

Thorley, is this an accurate summary of your stance?
1) The SBVT are not liars, because one of their accusations may or may not be a lie, despite their many other statements which overwhelming evidence shows are lies.

2) Kerry was a liar in '71 because he reported that people said things that it seems they did, in fact, say.

Is there some reason to refer to hilzoy by her full name, even though her use of a handle indicates she doesn't want to be referred to that way, but not to refer to von by his? Isn't that kind of disrespectful?

Thorley, you were the one who said that Kerry was guilty of smearing "his fellow veterans" and "American servicemen," without narrowing or qualifying those terms. How is it then unreasonable for hilzoy (and on that subject, I entirely agree with Phil) to take you as asserting that Kerry was smearing everybody who served in Vietnam? You certainly haven't tried to narrow down your attacks on Kerry's '71 testimony yourself.

As for Cambodia, I'm going to assume that you don't consider Douglas Brinkley to be adequate documentary evidence. At any rate, Brinkley aside, this is the one instance in the whole mess where there is no real documentary evidence on _either_ side (which given that these missions, if they occurred, were supposed to be secret missions anyway, kind of makes sense), so believe whom you want to believe.

Of course, getting into an argument about Cambodia nicely diverts attention from what I was _actually_ asking (note that I specifically _excluded_ Cambodia from my question): what do you make of the fact that _all_ of the documentary evidence that existed or has been uncovered supports Kerry's account of events, rather than that of the Swiftvets?

Thorley
Good luck. I'm counting what? 6,7 or 8 people who have disagreed with you on this and none who have agreed. At best Bush has lost extraordinarily this issue by this anecdotal evidence.

von writes:

whether it's Vietnam-era war protestors or Swifties, I don't like to see folks spit on another's military service -- literally or figuratively. It's bad for the Republic.

I agree, but as I noted in an earlier thread, the "protesters spit on returning Vietnam vets" story is apparently an urban legend. Maybe metaphorically true, but not literally.

I like the idea of establishing a generalized standard of truthfulness. Here is the Republican standard of Truth:

A story is "true" if: there is no documentary evidence to back it up, there is no physical evidence to back it up, and the people who tell the story are contradicted by contemporaneous accounts and also by their own original testimony.

A quote is "true" if: it has been judiciously edited,truncated, and taken out of context.

Since a "lie" is the opposite of "truth," it follows that a "lie" is: anything supported by physical and/or documentary evidence, by quotes taken in full and without editing, and by circumstantial confirmatory evidence from similar events in similar situations.

How's that?


Rilkefan, I don't know how things were as a whole, but I (or rather my father) know personally of at least a couple of vets who that happened to.

Mark, sorry to hear that. For the record, here's the cite again - it says that " there is no real evidence for the alleged spitting incidents ever having occurred." It's before my time, and I'm not a historian, and maybe this reference is just false, but I rather hope it's not.

Quoth Thorley:

"Newsflash for you, the Swifties aren’t going to go away regardless of what Bush does or does not do because they’re gunning for Kerry."

You and the Bush League better hope that's not true: Swifties out of control might say or do something really stupid that will reflect even more poorly on their chosen candidtate.

A self-inflicted wound, one might say...

CaseyL,

Although this isn't exactly the model thread for following the posting guidelines, you'd do well to refrain from slurring all Republicans like that. People around here get pretty tetchy about that broad-brush stuff.

Simon says: kill the italics!

Well.

And here I was trying to be diplomatic, by not naming any particular names.

OK, so *not* "all Republicans" have gone the way of George Orwell and Leni Riefenstahl.

Just the 89% of them who say they're voting for Bush.

Thorley Winston: I am as confused as Phil about why you persist in referring to me, but no one else who uses a handle, by my full name. If I had wanted to post under my full name, I would have done so. I didn't. I didn't make a big deal out of it last time, but that was because I thought it was an innocent screwup, and because the pattern was less obvious. Now I am asking you to stop.

I don't think I owe you or anyone an explanation of why I identify myself as I do, but for the record: at first, of course, I just signed with the first name that came to mind that was unlikely to be used by anyone else. When Moe asked me to join the blog, I considered identifying myself by my actual name, but didn't. Partly this was because I was already hilzoy here (and elsewhere), but I also had one other minor thought. I am, as you may know, a college professor. I try hard to keep politics out of my classes, since I think that my political views have no place there. Since the advent of the web, I have become aware that some of my students google me. Why, I don't know -- I don't strike myself as particularly interesting, and if anyone had suggested to me, when I was an undergraduate, that I should spend one extra second thinking about my professors, I would have thought they were nuts. Still, for reasons best known to themselves, some of them do. And I would really be much happier if a google search did not reveal my political views. Thanks to you, though, it will.

Now, this is not a hugely big deal. And, of course, there is no reason you should have known that I felt this way. However, you wouldn't have had to know anything about my views had you just respected my preferences at the outset. Please do so in future.

OK, so *not* "all Republicans" have gone the way of George Orwell and Leni Riefenstahl.

Not being a historian, but knowing a tiny bit about each, I'm wondering what you're thinking Orwell and Riefenstahl had in common.

Thorley has repeatedly been asked not to print people's real names in this forum. Make it a rule so you have some fair recourse. I know none of you like to ban people but it is afterall a debate club of sorts with rules and propriety. Can't live up? Not invited back.

Let me be explicit. There are precisely four people currently posting here who can speak on the Posting Rules: me, von, Edward and hilzoy. If anybody else wants to give input on people that he/she feels is behaving badly, feel free to use the email that's posted at top left. I've been seeing this attitude creep in elsewhere on this site (naming no names) over the past week, and I'm squashing it now; official determinations of acceptable behavior are the sole responsibility of the permanent bloggers here, and I intend to keep it that way. I also intend to keep this policy from being unofficially subverted, so a good way to get yourself on the watch for violations list is to give me an argument about this.

That being said, Thorley: Obsidian Wings recognizes both the use of handles as a legitimate form of self-expression and the long tradition in American politics of anonymous (and pseudonymous) essayists. Please respect that in the future, particularly as we have gotten to someone formally objecting.

Not being a historian, but knowing a tiny bit about each, I'm wondering what you're thinking Orwell and Riefenstahl had in common.

Presumably he meant in the manner that Orwell described and that Riefenstahl depicted (or created, or particpated in, or whatever).

[Almost no-one takes the time to reference Orwell correctly nowadays. Pity.]

Not to bemoan a point Hilzoy and Moe made more than adequately -- rather, to pass on some advice:

Opponents and clients google lawyers. That's why I continue to post under a handle, although my identity is not completely unknown -- and hardly, in any event, a state secret. As I understand that you're a law student (or lawyer?), you may wish to consider doing the same, Thorley. (Assuming that not a handle already.)

Orwell: Deliberate distortion of language so that words no longer fit the concepts they embody, with a special emphasis on words that convey profound emotion and/or invoke archetypes, to enable use of those words for their opposite meaning and thus simultaneously co-opt and undermine the profound emotional and archetypical responses.

Reifenstahl: Doing much the same thing with images.

I take it, then, CaseyL, that you were not trying to call 89% of Republicans Nazis.

Yes, actually, you will need to type that out explicitly. Before you post another word here, in fact.

Moe

1) There are precisely four people currently posting here who can speak on the Posting Rules...: I offer my apologies, and my pledge never to do it again.

2) Orwell: Deliberate distortion of language so that words no longer fit the concepts they embody, with a special emphasis on words that convey profound emotion and/or invoke archetypes, to enable use of those words for their opposite meaning and thus simultaneously co-opt and undermine the profound emotional and archetypical responses.: Orwell wrote about these things; he didn't do them. I could be wrong here, but I've noticed a lot of invocation of Orwellian storylines like they were somehow related to actual events, and this looks to me like more of the same. I'm thinking that Orwell used his powers for good, whereas Riefenstahl used hers for evil.

"1) There are precisely four people currently posting here who can speak on the Posting Rules...: I offer my apologies, and my pledge never to do it again."

Ditto. Or at least I'll try hard not to offer my opinion on that subject again in a thread.

Thank you both. The corollary is, of course, that we take feedback seriously; for that matter, I'm not the postmaster, so action on problem cases will not depend on whether or not the VRWC Deathbeast is feeling testy on any particular day. I am aware of my limitations, you see. :)

so action on problem cases will not depend on whether or not the VRWC Deathbeast is feeling testy on any particular day.

Come to think of it, I was feeling a bit testy.

Probably no loophole there, though.

There are precisely four people currently posting here who can speak on the Posting Rules...

So instead of making citizen's arrests, we're to call the tip line? I guess I can live with that.

Von wrote:

"But, being frequent witness to petty disputes (I'm a trial lawyer for large corporations, see), I can tell you that the human mind seems to abhor a single standard unfairly applied."

I think you're underestimating the human mind's ability to cope with cognitive dissonance, and the very strong desire to avoid regret regarding positions in the past. If hypocrisy wasn't such a persistent human sin, Dante couldn't have filled one of the pits in Hell with the leaden-robed shades of its practioners.

Mark wrote:

Thorley, you were the one who said that Kerry was guilty of smearing "his fellow veterans" and "American servicemen," without narrowing or qualifying those terms. How is it then unreasonable for hilzoy (and on that subject, I entirely agree with Phil) to take you as asserting that Kerry was smearing everybody who served in Vietnam? You certainly haven't tried to narrow down your attacks on Kerry's '71 testimony yourself.

You’re missing the distinction. Kerry did not see fit to limit his accusations to specific individuals or specific incidents and as such did have the effect of smearing "his fellow veterans" and "American servicemen" by making such a general and unqualified accusation about alleged war crimes and saying that they were “committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command” as well as referring to Vietnamese who were killed during the war as having been “murdered.”

What Hilzoy was hoping to do was to either get me to say that Kerry had said that about all veterans (which isn’t true by virtue of that fact that technically Kerry never said “all” – he merely made an unqualified generalization which is probably worse in some sense since it enables him to have pretty much the same effect of having said “all” while being able to evade responsibility for it) or to make some blanket denial that there were any atrocities committed in Vietnam. It was an obvious trap and easily avoided.

As for Cambodia, I'm going to assume that you don't consider Douglas Brinkley to be adequate documentary evidence.

No I wouldn’t since (a) if this really happened and Brinkley knew about it, it would have most likely been included in his book (unless you think that there would have been something more interesting in Kerry’s 4 months, 12 days, 35 years ago in Vietnam than stories about running CIA agents and guns into Cambodia) and (b) Brinkley’s only “source” to back up John Kerry’s claim that he was in Cambodia is actually. . . John Kerry.

At any rate, Brinkley aside, this is the one instance in the whole mess where there is no real documentary evidence on _either_ side (which given that these missions, if they occurred, were supposed to be secret missions anyway, kind of makes sense), so believe whom you want to believe.

Nice try but that is just so nonsensical on so many levels. First of all, as you well know there isn’t going to be any evidence (unless it’s fabricated) of something that never happened. Second, you’re kidding yourself if you think that there wouldn’t be a record some place of a mission being ordered even a secret one. Third, as I said before no one who served with Kerry has come forward to corroborate Kerry’s (every changing) account including his own Swift Vet supporters. Bottom line: we know that John Kerry lied about Christmas in Cambodia and until there is some corroboration (2 or 3) as there has been for other secret missions, there is no reason to believe Kerry’s latest version either.

Of course, getting into an argument about Cambodia nicely diverts attention from what I was _actually_ asking (note that I specifically _excluded_ Cambodia from my question): what do you make of the fact that _all_ of the documentary evidence that existed or has been uncovered supports Kerry's account of events, rather than that of the Swiftvets?

Except of course we know that it doesn’t since there is (a) no evidence to support Kerry’s discredited Cambodia account which makes up one of the four ads run by the SBVFT, (b) there has been no record of any after-action report or fire fight report to support Kerry’s first purple heart while his own journals contradict his claim to have been under enemy fire, and (c) we know that Kerry has refused to sign a form 180 and release all of the records.


Von wrote:

As I understand your beef, Thorley, you think my respect for the military service of others is "contrived" -- i.e., dishonest.

No actually it’s this sudden professed “respect for the military service of others” that has only now manifest itself in select situations that’s contrived.

Your supposed evidence is that I did not specifically condemn Kerry's remarks in 1971, and, because I did not specifically condemn Kerry's '71 remarks, my beef with the SwiftVets is political rather than honorable.

Partially until you decided to include some more.

(1) I have condemned Kerry's '71 remarks. See, for example, this very post (the update in particular).

As I said before, this “update” merely said that it was “damning” in the context for how it made Kerry look. No mention was made (in the update) of his actual testimony and the image Kerry painted of the service of thousands of other veterans, some 250 of whom are now looking for payback. It should also be noted that in Von’s update he showed exactly how contrived his professed “respect for the military service of others” was with his swipe at Bush’s service in the Air Guard.

(2) You seem to believe that one has to specifically post on everything that is evil in the world in order to condemn anything that is evil in the world. I suggest, as a matter of logic and practicality, you rethink that belief.

Actually I was just using the same standard Von used when I first wrote about the Swift Boat Vets at Tacitus. You know the one in which in order to “burnish” your “credentials,” you need to do so even when its done by your side. However we don’t even need to use Von’s own standard to indict him since his own update with the obligatory swipe at Bush’s military service exposed the phoniness of his argument.

As an aside, Kerry's comments -- wrongheaded and improper as they were -- were not exactly as you represent. Here is the relevant text:

Here is what I wrote regarding Kerry’s smears from 1971:

As far as Von’s contrived concern over the effects of “spitting” on someone’s “military service,” I’m sorry but I missed the post where Von condemned Kerry’s false accusations of his fellow Veterans of coming war crimes on a daily basis. This really isn’t about Bush so much as it is a lot of pissed off veterans paying back Kerry for what they see as his besmirching their service and a lot of people realize that which is why it hasn’t and probably won't hurt Bush no matter who funds the ads.
And here is what Kerry said:
I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.

The rest of Kerry’s “testimony” does nothing to mitigate this smear and actually expounds on it with graphic descriptions of supposed war crimes that Kerry later admitted he had no direct knowledge of to referring to “200,000 [Vietnamese] a year who are murdered by the United States of America.” No matter how you might try to spin it now, Kerry’s words were a stain on the reputations of a lot of men and women who served honorably, some two hundred and fifty of whom are looking for payback.

By the way, Thorley: Even if my dislike of the SwiftVets' attacks was purely political,

Which Von has demonstrated is pretty much the case.

and even if, for purely political reasons, I also did not condemn Kerry's '71 remarks (as I in fact have),

Which Von has not in fact not except to say that they were “damning” in the context of how they made Kerry look.

it still would not follow that my "concern over the effects of 'spitting on someone’s 'military service'" was or is "contrived."

Which you’ve shown by your own words it is.

Thorley
You are hilarious but ...you know... not in a haha sort of way.

How can you prove a negative?
I have it on pretty good authority that Kerry was a well thought of soldier in his military service even if he had earned no medals. In fact it is written in the official records of the time.
I look forward to reading your thoughts on the inconsistencies in the president's service record and his superior's reviews.

Thorley,

In the Kerry statement that you quote, the bolded text is not a direct statement by him but is attributed to "over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans". I confess I don't know anything about the investigation he's referencing -- do you? Seems to me that this statement of Kerry's can be called a smear only if he was exaggerating or lying about what those 150 vets said, or if he had reason to believe that they themselves were exaggerating or lying.

Thorley:

Let me say this slowly, simply, and again: Kerry's remarks in 1971, even though they purported only to pass on the testimony of other veterans, were irresponsible and wrong.

Von’s update he showed exactly how contrived his professed “respect for the military service of others” was with his swipe at Bush’s service in the Air Guard.

What swipe? I suggested that Bush's sevice in the Air National Guard was not equivalent to Kerry's service in a combat zone -- as Bush has himself has acknowledged. Cripes, my own father sat out the Vietnam War in the National Guard, and I think his service was admirable and honorable. A war hero, however, he was not.

Actually I was just using the same standard Von used when I first wrote about the Swift Boat Vets at Tacitus.

If you read my comment on Tacitus, I suggested that a proposed SwiftVet lawsuit against Kerry -- which was going to be filed by a SwiftVet who purported to be a lawyer but, apparently, was not -- was idiotic and possibly sanctionable. You agreed (scroll down). I have no idea why you think it supports your point, or is even relevant to this debate.

Thorley, quit this. You're arguing in bad faith, misrepresenting my prior statements and arguments (either through negligence or malice), and misreading my words to such an extent that it can only be intentional. If you'd like to offer a substantive criticism, do so. If you'd like to dispute something I've actually written, I'm all ears. Otherwise, quit trolling.

Tom, your comment regarding the capacity of the human mind for cognitive dissonance is well taken.

Von wrote:

Let me say this slowly, simply, and again: Kerry's remarks in 1971, even though they purported only to pass on the testimony of other veterans, were irresponsible and wrong.

Tepid, slow in coming, and somewhat inaccurate but accepted.

What swipe? I suggested that Bush's sevice in the Air National Guard was not equivalent to Kerry's service in a combat zone -- as Bush has himself has acknowledged.

Actually no, what Von wrote was that “he [Bush] may have lied, but he didn't serve” while linking to a Salon attack piece on Bush’s guard service.

I have no idea why you think it [the Tacitus piece] supports your point, or is even relevant to this debate.

Because as I pointed out in my last response to you, you had already set the standard when you demanded that I “rebuke this attempt to clog the Courts” in order to “burnish [my] trial-attorney-hatin' credentials.” I simply demanded the same of you in insisting that that you condemn Kerry’s attacks on the service of others who served in Vietnam in order to burnish your purported concern over the “spit[ting] on another's military service.” Your response was first to admit that the testimony made Kerry look bad (while taking the aforementioned swipe at Bush’s service) and later to (finally) getting offering a tepid condemnation Kerry’s actual “testimony.”

Thorley, quit this. You're arguing in bad faith, misrepresenting my prior statements and arguments (either through negligence or malice), and misreading my words to such an extent that it can only be intentional.

I’m doing neither. You’ve decided to be evasive and duplicitous rather than play it straight and I’ve merely called you out on it.

If you'd like to offer a substantive criticism, do so. If you'd like to dispute something I've actually written, I'm all ears.

Which I’ve already done both in challenging your “analysis” and the double-standard.

Moe says: I take it, then, CaseyL, that you were not trying to call 89% of Republicans Nazis. Yes, actually, you will need to type that out explicitly. Before you post another word here, in fact.

I was not trying to call the 89% of Republicans who still intend to vote for Bush Nazis.

I did not, in fact, say they were. I said the 89% of Republicans who still intend to vote for Bush were "going the way of Orwell and Reifenstal" by allowing their cognitive abilities to be warped by Orwellian-type language and Reifenstallian-type imagery.

To wit: Persisting in the belief that Saddam Hussein was connected to the 9/11 attacks; persisting in the belief that Saddam Hussein not only still had WMD but actually used them in Gulf War II; persisting in the belief that 4 million more Americans without health insurance, an increase of 1.3 million Americans living under the poverty line and a net loss of nearly 2 million jobs equals "the best economy we've ever had"...

And, anent the current discussion: persisting in the belief that if they misquote Kerry often enough and ignore actual documents and contemporaneous testimony long enough, they can somehow erase the difference between a man who volunteered for dangerous duty in his *second* tour during the Vietnam war and a man who used family connections to jump the line for a spot in the TANG and sloughed off even that duty.

But, to reiterate: I was not trying to call the 89% of Republicans who still intend to vote for Bush Nazis.

Actually no, what Von wrote was that “he [Bush] may have lied, but he didn't serve” while linking to a Salon attack piece on Bush’s guard service.

In a combat zone, Thorley. Jiminy.

This freakin' piece was about the political effectiveness of the SwiftVet ads, and the danger that they potentially presented to Bush as a political matter.

Which I’ve already done both in challenging your “analysis” and the double-standard.

Then challenge the analysis. (You haven't done so, yet.)

The remainder of my thoughts on your last couple posts, I fear, would violate the posting rules if put into words.

On final thought, Thorley: Re-read my piece. Slowly. Over a cup of coffee (as I just did -- well, it was Diet Mountain Dew, but you get the point). You'll see that the motives and arguments you ascribe to me regarding Bush's and Kerry's service are simply not there. Indeed, I mention Bush's service only in the discussion of a possible future media "narrative," and link to the Salon piece not for it's truth but because it could indicate the direction of that narrative.

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Whatnot


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