Inky reader M.U. loves our coverage of John F. Kerry’s Swift Boat imbroglio. (See my Swift Boat 9/11, Part 2, Aug. 9.) However, M.U. points out, correctly, that I grossly mispelled the last name of Jim Rassman, the Swift Boat crew member whom Kerry rescued from the water after an enemy attack:
“The swift boat veteran’s name is Jim Rassmann – Scott “Rasmussen” is a pollster!”
Many thanks for the catch, M.U.
Meanwhile, Instapundit is continuing his multi-linked coverage of the brouhaha swirling around Unfit for Command, the forthcoming book by former Swift Boat commander John O’Neill, who argues that Kerry didn’t really deserve the three Purple Hearts he was awarded for his four-month tour of duty in Vietnam in 1968, and that he has exaggerated the heroism involved in his rescue of Rassman. Included are links to commentary on the Swift veterans’ appearance on ABC’s Nightline last night, a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Rassman (who remains convinced of Kerry’s heroism), and this link to No Oil for Pacifists, which provides an up-to-date assessment of Kerry’s claim (contradicted in his own diary and official biography) that he spent Christmas, 1968, on a clandestine mission to Cambodia that the U.S. government lied about.
And the irrepressible Mark Steyn has this to say in the Washington Times:
[I]nsofar as I understand the rules of Campaign 2004, every time any member of the administration says anything about the present conflict, he is accused by Democrats of shamelessly ‘politicizing’ it. Whereas every time John Kerry waxes nostalgic about those fragrant memories of the Mekong Delta, he should be allowed to take his unending stroll down memory lane unmolested. After all, as everyone from John Edwards to Max Cleland to Bill Clinton has assured us, being a Swift boat commander for four months is the indispensable qualification for being president. When Hillary runs in 2008, no doubt she’ll be leaning heavily on her four months running a Swift boat up and down the Shatt al-Arab during the Iraq war.
“But hang on, most of these fellows in the anti-Kerry ad ‘ the ones talking about how he can’t be trusted, etc ‘ are also Swift boat commanders? If being a Swiftee is the most important thing in American life, why are all these “Swift Boat Veterans For Truth” less entitled to be heard than John Kerry?
“Well, because they’re part of the ‘Republican smear machine’. Apparently, it’s the GOP’s fault that only one of the 22 surviving Swift boat officers who served with Mr. Kerry is willing to support him, and that a big bunch of the remaining Swiftees feel strongly enough about his conduct 35 years ago to appear in one of the most remarkable political ads ever seen.
“Had enough of Vietnam yet?
“Most Americans had enough of it at the time. The clever clogs at the Democratic Party should have figured that out before they decided to relaunch John Kerry and John Edwards as Bob Hope and Jill St. John on their USO tour for the presidency. They should never have signed on to this vanity candidacy, even before the multiplying barnacles began encrusting the hull of the campaign boat.”