Dogapult!

Thanks to pressure from the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT), John Kerry has already been forced to admit that he was not illegally present in Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1968. Until now, that fictional experience had supposedly been the turning point of his entire life–“seared, seared” in his memory.

He was also forced to admit last week, through a campaign spokesman, that his first Purple Heart medal may have come from an accidental self-inflicted wound–another charge the SBVT has made all along, and which is featured in John O’Neill’s book, Unfit for Command. A new witness, now-Rear Adm. William Schachte, also came forward to substantiate the claim in interviews with Bob Novak and NBC’s Lisa Myers.

So the Swiftees are two for two so far, even if The New York Times states without evidence that their attacks are “unsubstantiated.”

Now enter VC the dog.

The Washington Times reported last week something I’d seen reference to before, the significance of which only emerges now. Kerry’s candidate questionnaire for Humane USA–an animal welfare group–included a question about pets. Typically, Kerry couldn’t find anything to say about this issue that did not involve Vietnam, so he talked about his dog, VC, that came along on his Swift Boat.

“One day as our Swift Boat was heading up a river, a mine exploded hard under our boat,” Kerry wrote. “After picking ourselves up, we discovered VC was MIA. Several minutes of frantic search followed, after which we thought we’d lost him. We were relieved when another boat called asking if we were missing a dog.”

Said Kerry: “It turns out VC was catapulted from the deck of our boat and landed, confused but unhurt, on the deck of another boat in our patrol.”

For those who have taken physics, this is hard to believe already. And for anyone familiar with Kerry’s war record, and the military documents on his website, it is even harder.

The only time Kerry is on record claiming his boat was hit by a mine was on March 13, 1969, during his last battle in Vietnam for which he received a Bronze Star and his third Purple Heart. You won’t find any other references to mines detonating among the documents he’s made available on his website, which his campaign claims is a complete record of his service.

So think about this “dogapult” story for a minute–really, try to picture it. Was Kerry’s boat damaged or sunk by this alleged mine he never reported? Was the dog knocked off along with Jim Rassmann, the Green Beret advisor who fell off PCF-94 that day? Were the crewmen frantically searching for VC in the midst of the heavy gunfire Kerry claims (and others deny) was coming from both banks of the river? Whom did they recover first, Rassmann or the dog? Were they close enough to any of the other boats for a dog to fly from one to the other?

Forget about the Swiftees for a minute. Kerry’s own records and written statements already raise enough questions all on their own. If the press were doing its job, Kerry would be forced to confront the following questions:

1) Is this dog story a lie? If not, whose boat did the dog land on? When exactly did this happen?

2) Why was your third Purple Heart awarded for a rear-end injury you didn’t receive in battle? You and Rassmann both recount, in the two sympathetic biographies Tour of Duty and John F. Kerry, that you got “a piece of small grenade in my ass” on March 13, 1969, while destroying a bin of rice with a concussion grenade–not while on the river. Later that day, there was an engagement, and your injury report says you received shrapnel in your rear end in that battle. What really happened?

3) If you went into Cambodia on another date besides Christmas–your campaign’s fallback position at this point–exactly when was it, who ordered you there, and is there anyone else who can corroborate?

4) Why won’t you release your full military records to the press without first filtering them through your campaign? It would only require your signature on one very simple form. (More importantly, why has the press let you get away with this so far?)

With few exceptions, the media have failed to do its job on this issue. The same press doggedly pursued the facts when it was alleged for the umpteenth time that President Bush was a deserter from National Guard. Such zeal for the truth is strangely lacking now.

David Freddoso, Assistant Editor for Human Events, writes for Brainwash.

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