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XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX THU AUG 04, 2004 10:14:25 ET XXXXX
VETS CHARGE: KERRY KILLED FLEEING TEEN; LIED FOR MEDAL
Slaughters Animals, Burns Down Tiny Village
A veterans group seeking to deeply discredit Democrat John Kerry's military service will charge in the new bombshell book UNFIT FOR COMMAND:
"Kerry earned his Silver Star by killing a lone, fleeing, teenage Viet Cong in a loincloth."
"And if Kerry's superiors had known the truth at the time, they would never have recommended him for the medal."
The book also claims to detail how Kerry personally ordered the slaughter of small animals at a small hamlet along the Song Bo De River.
The book, set for release next week, hit #1 on the AMAZON hitparade after the DRUDGE REPORT revealed details of the book -- a book the Kerry camapign believes is the"the dirtiest of all dirty tricks ever played on a candidate for the presidency."
The Kerry campaign is planning to vigorously counter the charges and will accuse the veteran's groups of being well-financed by a top Bush donor from Texas.
The vets have launched a blistering new TV commercial questioning Kerry's honor and calling him a liar.
George Bates, an officer in Coastal Division 11, participated in numerous operations with Kerry. In UNFIT FOR COMMAND, Bates recalls a particular patrol with Kerry on the Song Bo De River. He is still "haunted" by the incident:
With Kerry in the lead, the boats approached a small hamlet with three or four grass huts. Pigs and chickens were milling around peacefully. As the boats drew closer, the villagers fled. There were no political symbols or flags in evidence in the tiny village. It was obvious to Bates that existing policies, decency, and good sense required the boats to simply move on.
Instead, Kerry beached his boat directly in the small settlement. Upon his command, the numerous small animals were slaughtered by heavy-caliber machine guns. Acting more like a pirate than a naval officer, Kerry disembarked and ran around with a Zippo lighter, burning up the entire hamlet.
Bates has never forgotten Kerry's actions.
UNFIT FOR COMMAND, DRUDGE has learned, claims Kerry "earned his Silver Star by killing a lone, fleeing, teenage Viet Cong in a loincloth."
ARE THE VETS TELLING THE TRUTH?
"They hired a goddamn private investigator to dig up trash!" charged a top Kerry adviser traveling with the senator late Tuesday. "This is pay for play... How low can they go?"
Kerry supporters are comparing the effort by the veterans to the Arkansas State troopers tell-all against Bill Clinton.
John O'Neill, co-author of UNFIT FOR COMMAND, believes that "Kerry's Star would never have been awarded had his actions been reviewed through normal channels. In his case, he was awarded the medal two days after the incident with no review. The medal was arranged to boost the morale of Coastal Division 11, but it was based on false and incomplete information provided by Kerry himself."
According to Kerry's Silver Star citation, Kerry was in command of a three-boat mission on the Dong Cung River. As the boats approached the target area, they came under intense enemy fire. Kerry ordered his boat to attack and all boats opened fire. He then beached directly in front of the enemy ambushers. In the battle that followed, the crews captured enemy weapons. His boat then moved further up the river to suppress more enemy fire. A rocket exploded near Kerry's boat, and he ordered to charge the enemy. Kerry beached his boat 10 feet from the rocket position and led a landing party ashore to pursue the enemy.
Kerry' citation reads: "The extraordinary daring and personal courage of Lt. Kerry in attacking a numerically superior force in the face of intense fire were responsible for the highly successful mission."
Here's what O'Neill and the Swiftees say: "According to Kerry's crewman Michael Madeiros, Kerry had an agreement with him to turn the boat in and onto the beach if fired upon. Each of the three boats involved in the operation was involved in the agreement." O'Neill writes that one crewman even recalls a discussion of probable medals.
Doug Reese, a pro Kerry Army veteran, recounted what happened that day to O'Neill, "Far from being alone, the boats were loaded with many soldiers commanded by Reese and two other advisors. When fired at, Reese's boat--not Kerry's--was the first to beach in the ambush zone. Then Reese and other troops and advisors (not Kerry) disembarked, killing a number of Viet Cong and capturing a number of weapons. None of the participants from Reese's boat received Silver Stars.
O'Neill continues: "Kerry's boat moved slightly downstream and was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. . . .A young Viet Cong in a loincloth popped out of a hole, clutching a grenade launcher, which may or may not have been loaded. . . Tom Belodeau, a forward gunner, shot the Viet Cong with an M-60 machine gun in the leg as he fled. . . . Kerry and Medeiros (who had many troops in their boat) took off, perhaps with others, and followed the young Viet Cong and shot him in the back, behind a lean to."
O'Neill concludes "Whether Kerry's dispatching of a fleeing, wounded, armed or unarmed teenage enemy was in accordance with the customs of war, it is very clear that many Vietnam veterans and most Swiftees do not consider this action to be the stuff of which medals of any kind are awarded; nor would it even be a good story if told in the cold details of reality. There is no indication that Kerry ever reported that the Viet Cong was wounded and fleeing when dispatched. Likewise, the citation simply ignores the presence of the soldiers and advisors who actually 'captured the enemy weapons' and routed the Viet Cong. . . . [and] that Kerry attacked a 'numerically superior force in the face of intense fire' is simply false. There was little or no fire after Kerry followed the plan. . . . The lone, wounded, fleeing young Viet Cong in a loincloth was hardly a force superior to the heavily armed Swift Boat and its crew and the soldiers carried aboard."
DRUDGE learns from UNFIT FOR COMMAND that if Kerry's superior officers knew the truth, they would never have recommended the award:
"Admiral Roy Hoffmann, who sent a Bravo Zulu (meaning "good work"), to Kerry upon learning of the incident, was very surprised to discover in 2004 what had actually occurred. Hoffmann had been told that Kerry had spontaneously beached next to the bunker and almost single-handedly routed a bunkered force in Viet Cong. He was shocked to find out that Kerry had beached his boat second in a preplanned operation, and that he had killed a single, wounded teenage foe as he fled."
"Commander Geoge Elliott, who wrote up the initial draft of Kerry's Silver Star citation, confirms that neither he, nor anyone else in the Silver Star process that he knows, realized before 1996 that Kerry was facing a single, wounded young Viet Cong fleeing in a loincloth. While Commander Elliott and many other Swiftees believe that Kerry committed no crime in killing the fleeing, wounded enemy (with a loaded or empty launcher), others feel differently. Commander Elliott indicates that a Silver Star recommendation would not have been made by him had he been aware of the actual facts."
Filed By Matt Drudge
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