Kerry Releases Military Records
by Chris Bowers, Tue Jun 07, 2005 at 08:41:40 AM EDT
The lack of any substantive new material about Kerry's military career in the documents raises the question of why Kerry refused for so long to waive privacy restrictions. An earlier release of the full record might have helped his campaign because it contains a number of reports lauding his service. Indeed, one of the first actions of the group that came to be known as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was to call on Kerry to sign a privacy waiver and release all of his military and medical records.
But Kerry refused, even though it turned out that the records included commendations from some of the same veterans who were criticizing him.
On May 20, Kerry signed a document called Standard Form 180, authorizing the Navy to send an ''undeleted" copy of his ''complete military service record and medical record" to the Globe. Asked why he delayed signing the form for so long, Kerry said in a written response: ''The call for me to sign a 180 form came from the same partisan operatives who were lying about my record on a daily basis on the Web and in the right-wing media. Even though the media was discrediting them, they continued to lie. I felt strongly that we shouldn't kowtow to them and their attempts to drag their lies out."I can understand Kerry's desire to not let lying, Nixon lackeys like O'Neill drive the debate, especially in an era when a full-fledged Republican Noise Machine is able to offer such thugs a national microphone. I can also understand his personal desire to privacy and his sense of duty to other military veterans who might seek public office. Had Kerry released his records under pressure, he would have sent a precedent that in future elections would have been unbreakable. However, I also wonder if releasing these records earlier, long before August, might have stopped the Swift Boat Liars before they began. Having following the polls every day during the campaign, I am pretty darn certain that without the Swift Boat controversy, Kerry would have emerged victorious in November.
Then again, considering the death grip the Republican Noise Machine has over the media, I am not certain if releasing these records would have made any difference whatsoever in the Republican effort to slander a great American. I also wonder what Kerry's decision to release his records has to do with his plans for 2008. I have added a poll on the subject to the main page.