It’s “he said”, “she said” with the Swift Boat folks; it depends on who you believe. But this is not the case with another anti-Kerry war record smear. Here is one that’s an outright lie and you can verify it for your self from the comfort of your browser.
First the smear, published in the New York Sun newspaper
[Kerry’s discharge] is a form cover letter in the name of the Carter administration’s secretary of the Navy, W. Graham Claytor. It describes Mr. Kerry’s discharge as being subsequent to the review of “a board of officers.” This in it self is unusual. There is nothing about an ordinary honorable discharge action in the Navy that requires a review by a board of officers.
According to the secretary of the Navy’s document, the “authority of reference” this board was using in considering Mr. Kerry’s record was “Title 10, U.S. Code Section 1162 and 1163. “This section refers to the grounds for involuntary separation from the service. What was being reviewed, then, was Mr. Kerry’s involuntary separation from the service. And it couldn’t have been an honorable discharge, or there would have been no point in any review at all. The review was likely held to improve Mr. Kerry’s status of discharge from a less than honorable discharge to an honorable discharge.
And the Claytor document indicates proceedings to reverse a less than honorable discharge that took place sometime prior to February 1978.
The “board of officers” review reported in the Claytor document is even more extraordinary because it came about “by direction of the President.” No normal honorable discharge requires the direction of the president. The president at that time was James Carter. This adds another twist to the story of Mr. Kerry’s hidden military records.
I highlighted the lies. How do I know they are lies? I know this from one little phrase at the beginning of the article: “The document is a form cover letter.”
Go look at the document image in question for yourself:
It’s not an individual letter to John Kerry signed by a lackey of Jimmy Carter; it’s not signed at all. It is a continuous feed stock NAVPERS 1926/2 Rev 3-77 form letter with Kerry’s name typed into it by a computer printer. And by definition, all form letters are alike.
You can look at the Navy’s web site on the use of the NAVPERS 1926/2 Rev 3-77 form and see quickly that there are two ways for an inactive Naval officer to get out of the Naval Reserve: To resign or be discharged. If you resign, you get form NAVPERS 1926/1 and if you are discharged you get NAVPERS 1926/2.
That is, everything in boldface in the New York Sun article suggesting something suspicious about Kerry applies equally to every naval officer discharged for the past 30 years. They all had a committee of officers and all were directed by the President because it’s a pre-printed continuous feed form letter.
Now you know. A newspaper (in this case the New York Sun) would print a bald-faced lie smearing John Kerry’s service in Vietnam. Did they sound convincing? Yes. They sounded very convincing! But it was all a tissue of lies and it took me only 30 minutes on Google, a little common sense and the desire for an objective result to tear the thing to shreds.
Now if you believe the Swift Boat Veterans, just take a minute to soak in the fact that some people are telling lies about Kerry’s war record, and making it sound convincing. You’ve just seen it. Now apply same common sense, research and some critical thinking to other claims you’ve seen and maybe you won’t be so easily fooled in the future.
While the following two web sites are of course partisan pro-kerry web sites, they should give you a source of things you can check out yourself.
“Republican Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, called an ad criticizing John Kerry’s military service “dishonest and dishonorable” and urged the White House on Thursday to condemn it as well. ‘It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me,’ McCain said in an interview with The Associated Press, referring to his bitter Republican primary fight with President Bush’.” [AP, 8/5/04]