April 25, 2004


1971 Tape Adds to Debate Over Kerry's Medal Protest (JIM RUTENBERG and JAMES DAO, April 26, 2004, NY Times)

Throughout much of his political career, Senator John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, has faced questions about a singular event that took place 33 years ago last week: he and fellow veterans discarded medals in Washington to protest the war in Vietnam.

The Kerry campaign Web site says it is "right-wing fiction" that he "threw away his medals during a Vietnam War protest."

Rather, the Web site says, "John Kerry threw away his ribbons and the medals of two veterans who could not attend the event."

But the issue is not so cut and dried. A television interview Mr. Kerry gave in November 1971 shows that Mr. Kerry himself fed the confusion from early on. The New York Times obtained a videotape of the interview late last week.

The interview was shown on the Washington television station WRC, archived by President Richard M. Nixon's communications office and held by the National Archives.

On the program, an interviewer asked Mr. Kerry to explain what was happening in a photograph of a man hurling a medal, apparently during a protest. Mr. Kerry responded that the veterans had decided that the best way to "wake the country up" about the war was to "renounce the symbols which this country gives, which supposedly reinforces all the things that they have done, and that was the medals themselves."

"And so they decided to give them back to their country," he added.

Mr. Kerry said they had decided to do so as "a last resort."

When the interviewer asked, "How many did you give back, John?" he answered, "I gave back, I can't remember, six, seven, eight, nine."

When the interviewer pointed out that Mr. Kerry had won the Bronze and Silver Stars and three Purple Hearts, Mr. Kerry added, "Well, and above that, I gave back my others."

Strange that they think there's a way to spin this that doesn't make him unfit to lead our nation.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 25, 2004 11:45 PM

Best regards from Portugal:-)

Posted by: comgelo at April 26, 2004 5:28 AM

This story of contradiction has actually been floating around for some time; I seem to recall reading somewhere else several months ago that Kerry didn't even throw away the ribbons permanently, he has them displayed on the wall of his Senate office.

Posted by: Joe at April 26, 2004 5:38 AM

"I framed and mounted them before I threw them away".

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 26, 2004 6:34 AM

Fitting that Nixon should be his antagonist, all these decades later.

Posted by: Chris at April 26, 2004 7:10 AM

It all depends on what the meaning of "others" is.

Posted by: John at April 26, 2004 9:34 AM

Quantum Mechanics! Its all Quantum Mechanics! The medals are both thrown away and not thrown away depending on the observer. If he spins this fast enough he will exceed the speed of light, go back in time and catch the medals in mid-flight.


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