Who To Believe?
After watching Kerry's convention speech last night, TyroWife remarked that the next 3 months are going to get ugly.
This morning, Jim Spencer has his usual, blatantly-liberal drivel spattered across the DP. His column is about Kerry's Vietnam service (can't Spencer write about something more current than questions about military service) and the fact that veterans who served with Kerry are accusing him of faking injuries for his 1st and 3rd Purple Hearts:
The charges fly over conservative talk radio and right-wing spam on the Internet:
John Kerry didn't earn his medals.
The worst of the lies insists that Kerry self-inflicted minor wounds that earned him three Purple Hearts so he could get out of the Vietnam War. The people pushing this story also claim Kerry didn't deserve his Silver Star or the Bronze Star.
Here's what I love about the blogosphere and all the information available: You don't have to accept what columnists say as truth because you can easily un-distort their half-truths and misrepresentations. A reader with the paper copy of the DP may think, "Wow, these veterans are taking cheap shots at Kerry."
Of course, Spencer gives you all the facts, right?:
"I was there when Sen. Kerry got his second Purple Heart," said Short, a 56-year-old systems analyst from North Little Rock, Ark. "I've seen Sen. Kerry's blood on the deck of a Swift boat. ...
"I watched (Kerry) run under my gunfire with a landing party to chase a fleeing Vietnamese who had a loaded rocket-propelled grenade. If he let it go and hit the boat, you and I would not be having this conversation."
Note the key words: "second Purple Heart."
The people who are questioning Kerry's service are disputing his 1st and 3rd Purple Hearts. A little slight of pen from Spencer who fails to mention this in the column.
These aren't just random statements from disgruntled veterans against Kerry. They have published a book:
The book, "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry," from Regnery Publishing, is written by John E. O'Neill. Mr. O'Neill served in Vietnam at the same time as Mr. Kerry and followed him as commander on the swift boat.
...The book quotes Mr. Kerry's fellow combatants as saying two of his Purple Hearts came from friendly fire, not the enemy. The veterans also will dispute other stories Mr. Kerry has told.
Before you think that this is just some election year stunt orchestrated by Republicans:
Mr. O'Neill, riled by what he considered Mr. Kerry's false charge in 1971 of widespread war crimes committed by U.S. troops, has waged a public debate with the politician dating back to the "Dick Cavett Show" that year.
Since 1971, this guy has been railing against Kerry! I expect that he is satisfied with the coverage the story is now getting (the book is up to #2 at Amazon).
In reality, neither party, Spencer or the Swift Boat Veterans, is saying anything that is inaccurate. Spencer is simply not telling the whole story to make it seem like those dirty Republicans are smearing an honest guy.
The Swift Boat veterans may or may not talk about the 2nd Purple Heart in the new book, and since I haven't read it, I can't really pass judgment there.
Back to my point about the blogosphere: Spencer gets to make statements based on information of his choosing. The reader doesn't get to explore and investigate the sources behind the information. However, when I put my opinion down in my blog, I need links to other stories and information that my readers can follow and determine whether I am telling the whole story or not, and since they are already online, they can use a simple Google search to reinforce or refute my argument.
Of course, I don't need to put in the links, but then my argument would be just as weak as Spencer's.