Ballad of the French Berets

Ann Coulter

8/19/2004 12:00:00 AM - Ann Coulter

There ought to be a special word ? something German ? to describe the feeling of revulsion normal people experience when reading lines like these from a single article on John Kerry by Laura Blumenfeld in the Washington Post:

The problem with a suck-up press for Democrats is that with no adversary press to call them on it, Democrats develop wilder and wilder Walter Mitty fantasy lives until finally one day, when they are at the zenith of their political careers, someone notices that they're not Irish, they didn't deserve their war medals, 254 swiftboat veterans hate them, and they didn't spend Christmas Eve, 1968, in Cambodia. (Or that they are white-trash serial molesters and unrepentant rapists who somehow talked their way into an Arkansas governorship.)

The Boston Globe biography of Kerry published earlier this year compliantly repeats Kerry's yarn about how he spent Christmas 1968 in Cambodia "despite President Nixon's assurances that there was no combat action in this neutral territory."

Only recently did someone point out: (1) Kerry was 55 miles away from the Cambodian border on Christmas 1968 and (2) Nixon wasn't president in 1968. (How did "historian" Doug Brinkley miss that in his biography of Kerry?)

The media will spend weeks going through pay stubs for Bush's National Guard service in Alabama in the waning days of war, but if Kerry tells them exotic tales of covert missions into Cambodia directed by Richard Nixon, they don't even bother to fact-check who was president in December 1968.

Tom Harkin, Crazed Moron, was shouting this week that Dick Cheney is a "coward," evidently for not fighting in Vietnam like Harkin. Except Harkin didn't fight in Vietnam either! The last time Harkin was bragging about his Vietnam service was in 1984 when he told David Broder of the Washington Post: "I spent five years as a Navy pilot, starting in November of 1962. One year was in Vietnam. I was flying F-4s and F-8s on combat air patrols and photo-reconnaissance support missions."

Sen. Barry Goldwater ? not the Post ? checked with the Defense Department and soon Harkin was forced to admit he had never been in combat in Vietnam, but was based in Japan during the war, ferrying damaged planes from the Saigon airport to Japan for repairs. Oops!

Then there was Al Gore who, like Kerry, was in Vietnam just long enough to get photos for his future political campaigns. (Apparently all future Democratic politicians take cameras to war zones.)

Gore enlisted in the Army in 1970 in a calculated gambit to help his senator dad in an election year. Young Al was given a cushy job writing for the Stars and Stripes newspaper, a bodyguard, and an exit strategy when Pops lost the election. After five months of this hygienic tour of duty, Little Lord Fauntleroy asked to come home, and before long he was safe and sound and preparing to flunk out of divinity school and then drop out of law school.

But over the next 30 years, Gore provided the media with increasingly macho reminiscences of his combat experiences in Vietnam ? almost as vivid and stirring as the impassioned account he gave of being a tobacco farmer.

I think someone needs to explain to the Democrats that having your picture taken is not what most veterans mean by "being shot at."

During World War II, then-congressman Lyndon Johnson went on a single flight ? as an observer ? for which he was awarded the Silver Star by Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Only recently has it been exposed that the medal was a complete fraud, probably awarded by MacArthur to curry favor with a congressman.

At the time, no one in the press bothered to investigate why Johnson was the only member of the crew to receive any sort of decoration for the 13-minute flight that never came under enemy fire ? and on which Johnson was merely an "observer." For the rest of his life Johnson got away with wearing what historian David Halberstam called "the least deserved and most proudly displayed Silver Star in military history."

Johnson told harrowing tales of his uneventful 13-minute flight, boasting that the men had called him "Raider Johnson." One time he harangued a congressman on foreign aid, saying: "I know foreign aid is unpopular, but I didn't want to go to the Pacific in '41 after Pearl Harbor, but I did. I didn't want to let those Japs shoot at me ... but I did."

The sole surviving member of the crew, Ret. Staff Sgt. Bob Marshall, U.S. Army, a gunner on the plane, disputed Johnson's story about being attacked by Japanese Zeros: "No way. No, that story was made up ... we had never seen a Zero. It was never attacked. There was nothing."

If only talk radio and cable TV had been around in the '60s, we'd be able to hear James Carville call Bob Marshall a liar and watch the Democratic National Committee threaten to sue any TV station that aired his story.