The Troof

So this is the troof as Matthew Yglesias understands the Holiday In Cambodia deal:

1. John Kerry was in Vietnam serving in the vicinity of the Cambodian border

2. John Kerry has said repeatedly that he crossed into Cambodia

3. Some U.S. forces were crossing into Cambodia during the period in question

4. During the period in question it was being officially denied that U.S. forces crossed into Cambodia

5. The disjoint between (3) and (4) was the point of the story John Kerry was telling

6. Official records seem to deny that Kerry crossed into Cambodia.

Let’s tackles these.

1: Him and about 500,000 other American troops. For 99.9% of them (including Kerry) “the vicinity” is as close as it got.

2: John Kerry is probably a liar on this point, as he was when he accused the American troops in Viet Nam of en masse war crimes. He lied because it was politically expedient on the latter, and he probably lied on the former for the same reason.

3: Agreed. Some, as in a small group selected from within the small group of Special Forces operating in Viet Nam.

4: False. Nixon announced that we would be invading Cambodia along with South Vietnamese troops in April 1970. That is a looooooong time before Kerry told his Cambodia stories in the mid-1980s.

5: If I were to say, “Many Americans died on Sept 11, 2001” that would be true. If I said, “I watched from a ferry in New York city as thousands of my fellow Americans died, and that image is seared, seared in my mind” that would be a filthy despicable lie.

6: This is the part that I really take issue with. The military does not falsify records as a matter of policy. Sear that into your mind. The military doesn’t need to falsify documents. In fact, we know that #3 is correct because the military doesn’t falsify records.

The falsified records game is the modus operandi of the Viet Nam war liar. (Again, Stolen Valor comes up.) The military does not falsify records. They don’t need to. They can simply classify the records as secret. Or Top Secret. Or Top Secret with a codeword. In fact, it is a crime for someone in the military to knowingly falsify records — but it is just fine for someone to simply classify an inconvenient record as secret and bury it away.

In a couple of cases, I’ve dealt with military records. Special Forces records. Nothing escapes the reports. It goes in the report, and if they don’t want you to see it, they just classify it. If Kerry was in Cambodia and they didn’t want you to know, they would just hand you his records with giant black marks all over it. When there aren’t black marks all over it, then you can rest assured that what is on that record is what the military thought, and if something got falsified, it was because of an individual, not a matter of policy. For example, when John Kerry decided to submit his own medal recommendations, if there is false information on there, it was Kerry that falsified it, not a policy issue.

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