Unsubstantiated? It was Kerry ? not the Swift Boat Veterans ? who told The Washington Post: "I wish they had a delete button on LexisNexis." The Swift Boat Veterans haven't been forced to retract any of their story. Meanwhile, John Kerry has been issuing about a retraction a day since the Swift Boat Veterans started talking.
Most recently, Kerry has had to backpedal on the circumstances surrounding his first Purple Heart. Kerry has described the action on Dec. 2, 1968, for which he received a Purple Heart as his "first intense combat." The Swift Boat veterans say Kerry came under no enemy fire that day and that his injury, such as it was, resulted from the ricochet of a grenade fired by Kerry himself. (This rules out the Purple Heart but does qualify him for another "Boy, is my face red" citation, with clusters.)
Among the eyewitnesses who say Kerry came under no enemy fire on Dec. 2, 1968, is John Kerry himself. According to Douglas Brinkley's book, "Tour of Duty," Kerry wrote in his diary nine days later, on Dec. 11, 1968: "We hadn't been shot at yet." His campaign is still trying to figure out how to claim that Kerry couldn't have known this because he wasn't even on his own swiftboat at the time.
A Kerry campaign official first explained the discrepancy by essentially explaining that it depends on what the meaning of "we" is. Kerry, the official said, apparently had a nontraditional understanding of the word "we" to mean: "others not including me." "We": another two-letter word successfully parsed by a Democrat!
Another Kerry campaign official, John Hurley, has since admitted that it is "possible" that Kerry's first Purple Heart came from a self-inflicted wound.
The Kerry campaign has refused to release Kerry's personal Vietnam archive, including his journals and letters, saying that the senator was contractually bound to grant Kerry hagiographer Doug Brinkley exclusive access to the material. But then Brinkley said the papers are the property of the senator and in his full control. Still, no records.
On the bright side, the Kerry campaign is considering releasing the director's cut of Kerry's own filmed re-enactments of his war "heroics" ? which, by the way, makes Kerry the first person ever to form a war re-enactment club during the actual war.