Economist, philosopher Thomas Sowell (one of my favorites) has an important column up on Townhall.com today:
"I don't know where John Kerry was on Christmas 1968. In fact, I'm not sure where I was that Christmas. Moreover, it shouldn't matter in a Presidential election in 2004.
Unfortunately, Senator Kerry himself has made it matter by incessantly parading his four months in combat long ago. There are men who served in combat for years, who have sustained devastating wounds in battle, and who have won the Congressional Medal of Honor, who don't talk about it as much as John Kerry does.
Now other decorated combat veterans who served in the same unit as Kerry have come forward to give a completely different account of the same events that Senator Kerry has described. Who are we to believe?
There are discrepancies admitted on both sides, as might be expected about events so long ago. By and large, however, the stories being told are too sharply different for mere lapses of memory to be responsible. Somebody is obviously lying.
Those of us who were not there might just let the matter rest, except for what is happening today, in the media. Instead of answering the charges themselves, those in the Kerry camp -- and this includes people in the media -- are distracting attention away from the charges with tangential attacks on the other Vietnam veterans.
Liberal columnist Albert Hunt, for example, has said that the efforts of the veterans are backed by a "fat cat" who is making their book -- "Unfit for Command" by John O'Neill -- and their television ads possible.
This charge is wholly circular. When people like billionaire George Soros back liberal causes they are never called "fat cats." So anything on the other side that requires money will be backed by "fat cats," as the liberal media will call them, even if these cats are a lot leaner than George Soros.
On "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer" columnist Tom Oliphant kept referring to the veterans' charges as a "tabloid" story that would not reach the high journalistic standards required to have it taken seriously.
Oliphant kept snidely repeating the "tabloid" line so often that eventually Jim Lehrer reminded him that the story was being covered on his program, which he obviously does not regard as tabloid. The Vietnam veterans have been on other programs that no one would call tabloid and whose journalistic standards are at least as high as Oliphant's.
These and other attempts at distracting from the Vietnam veterans' charges have to raise suspicions. Senator Kerry's demand that President Bush repudiate these charges against him ignores the fact that Bush was not there. Nor has Kerry repudiated gross insults against Bush, including those by Michael Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, and others."
Several facts need emphasis:
1. None of the statements coming from Kerry's campaign address the specific charges of the SBVT. Kerry's strategy has been simply to impugn the testimony of 250 of his fellow veterans.
2. Kerry has not released all of his Vietnam records. Estimates are that there are over 100 pages of documents that Kerry has never allowed to be released.
3. For months, Kerry-backing 527's have continuously smeared George Bush, one even comparing him to Hitler. Kerry-backing celebrities have made deceitful comments, jokes, and even documentaries attacking Bush. NOT ONCE has Kerry denounced those attacks. Instead, Democrats have gleefully supported the 527's (see this post) AND the celebrities have been honored guests at the Democratic National Convention.
4. Mr. John "Bring it on!" Kerry is now screaming, "Make it go away!", and has enlisted his army of lawyers to try to stifle the free speech of his fellow Vietnam veterans.
If you are trying to determine who is telling the truth and who is lying here, you must keep these facts in mind.