The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Some Inconvenient Facts

In response to the numerous letters his previous article generated.

Patrick Hurley • October 8 2004

John Kerry’s “first tour of duty in Vietnam” was actually a year’s assignment, from June 1967 to June 1968, aboard the guided missile frigate, the USS Gridley. From June 1967 to November of that year, the Gridley operated off the California coast. In December 1967, the ship did guard duty for planes operating in the China Sea and the Gulf of Tonkin. It spent about five weeks on station, far off the coast of Vietnam. This duty involved no fighting for the simple reason that the vessel was too far from the combat zone. In January 1968, the Gridley sailed for Australia and returned to California in June. So much for Kerry’s “first tour of duty” in Vietnam.

In a self-promotional endeavor, John Kerry used on his website a photograph taken, in Vietnam, of himself, and nineteen “shills”, er, fellow naval officers. Of the nineteen, two are dead, eleven wrote to the campaign stating that they believe Kerry is unfit to be president and asking that the campaign cease using their image. Another five do not want to be involved in any way. Only one of the nineteen “shills”, er, I mean naval officers, endorses Kerry. Also, raising questions about Kerry’s perspectives are his former superior officers, doctors and other medical personnel.

Several enlisted personnel who served under Kerry - on the same Swift Boat - have expressed doubts about, and questioned his accounts of, various actions. None, of course, can recall the infamous Christmas in Cambodia. Steve Gardner - who served two years on the Swift Boats - was a young gunner who sat five feet behind Kerry throughout Kerry’s 4-month tour. He is quoted as follows: ”How can Kerry possibly be commander – in - chief when he couldn’t competently command a six- man crew? … Kerry was erratic … he hardly ever did what he was supposed to do … his command decisions put us in more peril … mostly he just ran … All Kerry wanted to do was turn and ‘get out of Dodge’ at the first sign of trouble.”

As regards those whom Kerry “quoted” in his testimony, many were subsequently unmasked as never having served, as having served but not in Vietnam, and as having served in Vietnam but not in combat and, therefore, not in a position to witness atrocities. So Kerry was either negligent as to the truth, or, intentionally lied before Congress. In fact, the only US atrocities we can positively establish are “My Lai”, which was an aberration, and, now, we also know that a jittery Kerry was responsible for shooting dead an unarmed Vietnamese boy.

Of course, Kerry could clear up all the doubts and questions about his military service. He could follow the lead of Dubya, by granting permission to the Department of Defense to release all relevant records. The Vietnam conflict is an issue in this presidential campaign because John Kerry made it an issue. In fact, it is the only issue he has. The fact that he has lied, and distorted the truth, about this one, and, only, substantial part of his life, is of great concern to the U.S. electorate. After all, people never really manage to compartmentalize their lives.

In reply to Mr. Dwyer, a few of my relations fought with the West Cork IRA Brigade and with the Dublin Brigade, during the War of Independence and subsequent Civil War. They fought for Irish self-determination, so that Ireland could take its place as a free, independent country firmly ensconced in the family of Western, democratic, Christian nations. Some had to flee to America after the fighting. They respected and pledged loyalty to the United States for the sanctuary it had given them. They certainly would have no time for any extremist, left-wing, neo communist, anti American charades that have no relevance to reality.

Mr. Dwyer dislikes the New York Post. I must concur that its coverage on Ireland leaves a lot to be desired. However, I would still accord it, the New York Sun and the Fox News Channel much more credence than the transparently biased, fabricated “news” stories of The New York Times, yet the product of unfettered “Jason Blairites”, or, the delusional fantasies of the networks a la Dan Rather and the anti American ramblings of CNN.

It is ironic how quick those who complain of censorship would rush to censor those with whom they disagree. How ridiculous, illogical and hypocritical is the statement: “I wonder how this guy was given space to write this BS in The Blanket”. Even more blatantly illogical is: “I don’t know why The Blanket, a forum for dissident thought even bothered to publish etc., etc.”

I suspect that the editorial board of The Blanket would also disagree with my opinion. Nevertheless, it chose the high road of principle in publishing it. As they say: “Our differences will never defeat us so long as we have the courage to air them.” The mainstream media and, indeed, the Irish ethnic media, in the United States and in Ireland could learn a lot from The Blanket.



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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

9 October 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Death of George Harrison
Ruairi O Bradaigh, National Irish Freedom Committee and Brian Mór

Can't Deal, Won't Deal
Anthony McIntyre

Update - Youth Suicide Prevention Project
J. Terry Ryan

Father Mc Manus on Ron Lauder, David Trimble, the Orange Order, and Catholic anti-Semitism
Father Sean Mc Manus

Say it in Breac'n English (Part Four)
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Some Inconvenient Facts
Patrick Hurley

Marx, Engels and Lenin on the Irish Question
Liam O Ruairc

The Gates of Hell
Elana Golden

After the Venezuela Referendum
Toni Solo

One for the Road
Brian Mór

5 October 2004

Marty O'Hagan Three Years On
Anthony McIntyre

Say it in Breac'n English (Part Three)
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Shankill Education
Mick Hall

Where Are We After Fours Years of Intifada?
Haithem El-Zabri

The Letters page has been updated.



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