Diana West

Here's an un-Conventional line of thought: I've sometimes wondered, idly, how it could be that John Kerry had so many pictures of himself from his Navy days in Vietnam. Just four months "in country," as Vietnam vets say, during which time he earned three Purple Hearts, one Silver Star and one Bronze Star, and he comes home with what are reportedly hours -- hours! -- of 8 millimeter film. Some snips appear in Kerry campaign ads; more show up in the Great Kerry Convention Biopic produced by Spielberg protege James Moll. How did Kerry do it?

Now we know. That is, according to the Drudge Report, an upcoming Regnery book, John O'Neill's "Unfit for Command" will explain all. "Kerry would revisit ambush locations for reenacting combat scenes where he would portray the hero, catching it all on film," writes O'Neill, whose still unpublished book rocketed to No. 2 on Amazon's sales list after the Drudge story appeared. "Kerry would take movies of himself walking around in combat gear, sometimes dressed as an infantryman walking resolutely through the terrain. He even filmed mock interviews of himself narrating his exploits." Sounds as if after the heat of battle cooled, Kerry and crew would motor out on location to shoot -- with film, this time -- a retake of the latest patrol, starring himself. You can almost hear the post-battle cry across the delta now: "Action!"

Not so, says the Kerry campaign. Or, rather, not exactly so. Fox News Channel reported the "Kerry campaign acknowledged that after a number of skirmishes and battles, Kerry and his unit did return to the various locations to film one another," but officials "adamantly denied" they returned to "reenact" any incidents. Still, "reenact" is the word the Boston Globe used to describe the Kerry home war movies back in 1996, and the same verb crops up again in another new Regnery book, Lt. Col. Robert "Buzz" Patterson's "Reckless Disregard." "On February 28, 1969," the author writes, "Kerry came under fire from an enemy location on the shore. The crew's gunner returned fire, hitting and wounding the lone gunman. Kerry directed the boat to charge the enemy position. Beaching his boat, Kerry jumped off, chased the wounded insurgent behind a thatched hutch, and killed him."


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).