General Question

desberg's avatar

Did Sen John Kerry receive an Honorable Discharge from the Navy?

Asked by desberg (169points) September 1st, 2007
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19 Answers

GD_Kimble's avatar

yes, Kerry was discharged in March 1970, so he could run for congress.

hossman's avatar

I’m sorry, GD Kimble, but your answer is only partially correct. Kerry received some sort of discharge in 1970. What type of discharge, Mr. Kerry refuses to say. Mr. Kerry refuses to permit the Navy to release his records, unlike Mr. Bush, who has permitted full disclosure. What does Mr. Kerry wish to hide? Although Mr. Kerry received some sort of discharge in 1970, he did not receive an HONORABLE discharge until February 16, 1978, 8 years later, after a review of his file by a Navy officer review board. What no one, including Mr. Kerry, will discuss, is why it was necessary to review his file 8 years later, why it was necessary to issue an honorable discharge 8 years later, and what was the nature of the discharge when he left active service. It is thought by many experts familiar with the process that the Honorable Discharge in 1978 was part of a general amnesty granted by President Carter to draft dodgers, or soldiers with Dishonorable Discharges due to bad conduct, etc. The Navy admits they are withholding 100 pages of Kerry’s file because he refuses to consent to their release. What ever happened to the public’s right to know. While Kerry is withholding real documents, the news media knowingly broadcasted forged documents about Bush’s military service. But of course, we all know, the media wants Bush to be the liar, not Kerry.

bob's avatar


Kerry released his files in 2005. He signed the SF 180. He only released them to news organizations, not the public, but there apparently wasn’t much new information there. The Navy confirms that his entire record has been released.

Kerry did receive an honorable discharge, in 1978. I would not have been surprised to learn that he received a dishonorable discharge in 1972, since he had been protesting against the war during his service. But apparently this is not the case.

Why didn’t Kerry release his records during the 2004 campaign? Because he is an incompetent buffoon.

@Hossman: As I recall, Dan Rather, one member of the media, went ahead and broadcast documents about President Bush’s military service. Those documents turned out to have been forged, and even though Dan Rather didn’t know about the forgery beforehand, he lost his job. The news media are not a cabal.

hossman's avatar

Whoa yourself, Bob. Your comments make glaring misstatements of fact, which suggest to me you either didn’t read the whole article to which you link, or are deliberately spinning the content of that article. Most of the quotes included here come directly from the article you linked or from your own post.

“Mr. Kerry promised to release his full military file during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in April 2004. In fact, the senator insisted that the files were available to anyone who came to his office in Washington, D.C. The following day, a reporter was turned away by Mr. Kerry’s staff. Eventually, hundreds of pages were released to the public and posted on Mr. Kerry’s campaign Web site.”

You claim Kerry, after promising to release his “full military file” DURING the campaign, but not even making partial disclosure until AFTER the campaign, was because he was a buffoon? Come on, do you really believe that? What was the clearly obvious reason for him to not live up to his promise for a year? To deny the information to the American public so they could not use it as the basis for their voting decision. If Bush had done the same with his military records, the media would have been screaming for his head. Further, Kerry promised you could get the whole thing from his office, but immediately reneged on that promise. This isn’t buffoonery, it is DECEIT. LYING. Don’t try to sugarcoat the obvious. Perhaps I should underline it for any hypocritical or obtuse Kerry fan. JOHN KERRY LIED TO YOU. He’s not incompetent. He knew exactly what he was doing and what he continues to do.

“In January 2005, after the senator’s defeat at the polls, he promised to sign a privacy waiver that would allow the Navy to release his full file. He also disclosed that some additional records received from the Navy before the election were not released. “At the last moment, they sent some more stuff, which had some things that weren’t even relevant to the record,” Mr. Kerry said, again on “Meet the Press.” “I’m going to sit down with them and make sure that they are clear and I am clear as to what is in the record and what isn’t in the record and we’ll put it out. I have no problem with that.””
Oh, thank you, Mr. Kerry, wait to make ANY disclosure until AFTER you lose the election. Mr. Kerry STILL hasn’t released the whole record. Why should he “sit down with them” to determine what should and shouldn’t be “put out?” Why not disclose everything, like Bush did? What is Mr. Kerry hiding?

And bob, please don’t try to tell us he released his full files. Did you read the title of the article? “Kerry Hangs Back From Disclosure to All?” Does this sound like the New York Sun reporter believes Kerry made full disclosure?

“A Navy spokesman, Lieutenant Commander Daniel Hernandez, said the waiver applied only to the Boston Globe and did not authorize release of Mr. Kerry’s records to the public.

“Kerry controls the release of his records,” Commander Hernandez said yesterday. “You have to talk to his office.”

The senator also agreed to allow the Los Angeles Times to see his full record, Mr. Wade said yesterday. The spokesman did not respond to a question about why Mr. Kerry did not execute a broader release to all press organizations and the public. Asked whether the senator would permit release of the records to The New York Sun, Mr. Wade said, “The issue is over.””

bob, please don’t try to tell me “He only released them to “news organizations.’” You make it sound like any reporter had access to the information. As your article states, Mr. Kerry released his records to 2, count them, just 2 newspapers, both of which are notoriously pro-Kerry and pro-Democratic. Anyone who knows anything about the Boston Globe or the LA Times knows they were cherry picked by Mr. Kerry as “friendly” outlets. Further, he refused to provide disclosure of his full file. The Boston Globe and LA Times have refused to disclose details of the documents they reviewed, but will only say they “largely duplicate” materials already released by Kerry. I’m supposed to trust the staff of only 2 pro-Democratic, pro-Kerry newspapers? Doesn’t that sound like a “cabal” to you? Certainly better evidence of a cover-up here than re 9/11. Why not let the public have access? What happened to the voter’s “right to know?”

“In a written statement, Mr. Kerry insisted that openness about his past was a hallmark of his presidential bid.” LIE, LIE, BALD-FACED LIE. “Mr. Kerry told the Globe that he delayed signing the release because he was reluctant to placate his political opponents. “I felt strongly that we shouldn’t kowtow to them and their attempts to drag their lies out,” he said.” Oh, so “openness about his past” is only a “hallmark” when it isn’t “kowtowing” to your opposition? And isn’t Mr. Kerry the one dragging it out by failing to make full disclosure?

“Mr. O’Neill, who acknowledged he has not seen any of the newly released papers, said the records still appear to be silent about what Mr. Kerry did during his period of service in the reserves. “There are not records telling us what was Kerry’s status between when he left military service with the Navy, in 1971, and 1978,” the Kerry critic said.

Mr. O’Neill also said there is no explanation for why Mr. Kerry’s decorations – a bronze star, a silver star, and three purple hearts he received during his tour as a boat captain in Vietnam – were reissued in 1985.

The latest release also appears to do nothing to resolve a dispute about whether Mr. Kerry came under enemy fire on December 2, 1968. While medical records show he was treated for a minor shrapnel wound – the basis for his first purple heart – other veterans recall that some on the mission believed the injury came from friendly fire or an accident.”
What happened during the missing years of Mr. Kerry’s service in the Reserve? Why hasn’t Mr. Kerry authorized the release of ALL of his military records? And why not to the American public, rather than through the inevitable spin and filter of the media? You can’t conclude “apparently this is not the case” when no disclosure has been made, even to the Globe and Times, of those years. In case it isn’t clear, let me put it in caps. KERRY HAS NEVER AUTHORIZED THE RELEASE OF RECORDS REGARDING HIS RESERVE SERVICE TO ANYONE.
And please don’t try to say “one member of the media” broadcast documents about Bush that experts had already concluded were forged (and why wasn’t anyone charged with the forgery?) Even Mr. Rather does not operate in a vacuum. In fact, a team of “journalists” and “editors” OK’d the “story.” Sounds like a “cabal” to me. “A cabal is a number of persons united in some close design, usually to promote their private views and interests in a church, state, or other community by intrigue.” It certainly meets the definition. And of course, once Mr. Rather and company released the story, ALL of the other media, WITHOUT VERIFYING THE STORY, reported it. Sounds like a close design promoting private views to me. You claim Rather lost his job over this? Why was he permitted to resign, AFTER an investigation into his wrongdoing was launched, rather than being fired as soon as his knowledge of the forgery was made public? And let’s not forget, Rather and his cabal tried to defend the story, even after everyone knew they OK’d the story despite knowing it was fake: “Rather apologized in September for a “mistake in judgment” in relying on apparently bogus documents for a “60 Minutes Wednesday” report charging that Bush received favorable treatment in the Texas Air National Guard three decades ago. But the apology followed 10 days in which Rather and his network doggedly defended the story despite mounting evidence, some of it assembled by Internet bloggers, that the memos in question could not have been written on an early 1970s government typewriter. CBS asked former attorney general Dick Thornburgh and former Associated Press chief Louis D. Boccardi to head an outside inquiry.” What possible reason, other than the fact they are partisan, anti-Bush, not neutral, AND TRYING TO INFLUENCE THE PUBLIC’S VOTING DECISIONS, would they have gone ahead with, much less defended that story? And where were all the apologies from the rest of the media and liberal pundits that repeated the story and called for Bush’s resignation or impeachment on the basis of forged documents? I don’t recall hearing any “I’m sorry, but I was relying on information that later turned out to be false.”

In fact, it occurs to me now, if you claim Bush “lied to us” when he predicated the Iraq war on intelligence reports re weapons of mass destruction (some of which HAVE been found in Iraq) that later were not proved to be true (not the same thing as proved to be false, there could be more WMD’s there we haven’t found, or that have been moved out), then to be logically consistent, you have to admit the media lied to you when they reported a story based on documents that at least some of them knew were forgeries.

Sorry about the long post, but I can’t let a complete mischaracterization of the facts, and the article to which you linked, stand as supposedly “correct” information. KERRY LIED AND IS STILL LYING. Or else he could just release all the documents. I do not find it credible the Navy does not have a file regarding his Reserve service. When the Navy says “all of the records” were disclosed, they are referring to “all of the records” contained in the authorization of Mr. Kerry, not “all of the records” they have.

Mr. Kerry may not be running for President now, but he is still a Senator, and we are entitled to full disclosure. Mr. Kerry needs to stop authorizing piecemeal disclosure, and complete an authorization permitting the Navy to release to the public ALL documents in their possession regarding ALL of his service. Anything less is still holding back.

bob's avatar

Hossman, I enjoy your passion and thoroughness.

As the headline implies, Kerry has disclosed his complete service file to two news organizations. He has not disclosed that file “to all”, i.e. to everyone in the world, but he has disclosed all. From page 3: “The Navy spokesman, Commander Hernandez, said the latest release does include the papers from St. Louis. “It’s the whole record,” he said.”

You are certainly correct that Kerry hasn’t released that service file to the public at large. But I don’t think that necessarily means that he’s lying, or that he has something to hide. I haven’t seen any evidence to that effect—only speculation. (I’m not saying that you’re the one doing the speculating—I’m saying that claims about the nature of Kerry’s original service discharge are entirely speculation.)

I don’t see anything in my original response that was a misstatement of fact, glaring or otherwise. You are correct to claim that Kerry lied when he said that the files were available from his office in April of 2004. I never denied that, and I stand by my assertion that Senator Kerry is a buffoon.

Dan Rather was and is a legend in the news business, and he was given more leeway and dignity in his resignation than other reporters would have received. Good for him.

Hossman, nothing I said was a lie. And seriously, the media have their biases, but they’re really not a cabal.

hossman's avatar

I didn’t say all of the media was a cabal, but I think the LA Times and Boston Globe, or Rather’s news team, would qualify as cabals. But you are still incorrect about Kerry’s disclosure. That story is being spun by not reporting the QUESTION that Navy spokesman Cmdr. Hernandez was answering. In response to being asked if Kerry had authorized disclosure of his entire record, Hernandez did indeed say, “It’s the whole record,” presumably referring to Kerry’s whole ACTIVE SERVICE record. When a follow-up question sought to clarify that response by asking if that included full disclosure of the record of the 7 years of Kerry’s RESERVE SERVICE, Cmdr. Hernandez responded (I believe somewhat evasively) that the scope of disclosure of Mr. Kerry’s record was up to Mr. Kerry. Cmdr. Hernandez never spoke to the release of Kerry’s reserve service record. Let’s face it, the Navy is going to be very careful about not pissing off a Senator who may one day be President. Again, KERRY HAS NEVER AUTHORIZED RELEASE OF HIS RESERVE SERVICE RECORD. My speculation is that his active anti-war involvement may include some sort of activity, resulting in a less than honorable discharge (not necessarily dishonorable) that would be viewed as not just anti-war but also anti-American by voters, thus Kerry continues to conceal it. Possibilities: now that KGB files are being declassified, we are discovering active Soviet intelligence involvement in various anti-war organizations (interesting aside, these records appear to confirm that Harry Hopkins, FDR’s closest advisor, who recommended our inept policy permitting the Soviet Union to dominate Eastern Europe, leading to the Cold War, was an actual KGB agent); Mr. Kerry was a member of one anti-war group that advocated and planned assassination of government officials (Kerry’s campaign claims Kerry left the group when he discovered this, but interestingly Kerry didn’t find it his duty to report assassination planning to any law enforcement agency); some former members of these groups claim Kerry wrote false accounts of war atrocities for them to use as testimony before Congress; and questions regarding the report of some soldiers who served with Kerry that the wounds for which Kerry earned Purple Hearts were self-inflicted. Interestingly, most of the soldiers who served with Kerry that contradict these accounts were given jobs in Kerry’s campaign. I do find it curious why Mr. Kerry brought an 8mm camera to Viet Nam with him, and used it to produce footage of himself, suggesting at a minimum a strong streak of narcissism and at a maximum his military service was intended to bolster a later political career.

bob, I don’t think you are consciously lying, I think you have been misled by the Kerry campaign’s spin and the pro-Kerry spin being applied by the New York Sun and the Navy. Language is being used to prevent you and others from “reading between the lines,” to give the appearance of full disclosure when it has not been made. Kerry, his campaign, Rather and his team all lied. The Navy is carefully avoiding the issue. Of course, applying the logic being applied to the WMD intelligence re Iraq, you would be lying.

But you do continue with misstatements of fact, the largest being that Kerry has disclosed all of his military record to anyone, even just the 2 newspapers. And if there’s nothing embarassing there (that the newspapers aren’t telling us about), then why not release the records to the Chicago Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, the Economist, or any other less pro-Kerry outlet (Frankly, nobody at the Boston Globe would ever publish anything critical of Kennedy or Kerry unless it was already covered by the rest of the media). Again, THERE ARE SEVEN MISSING YEARS OF RECORDS HE REFUSES TO DISCLOSE TO ANYONE. Second, you imply the disclosed records confirm he did not receive a dishonorable discharge. To be clear, there are several “less than honorable” discharges that are not a “dishonorable discharge.” Since the disclosed records don’t address his reserve service at all, they do not confirm anything. Since Kerry’s discharge was “reissued” by a review panel that specifically was reviewing “less than honorable” discharges pursuant to President Carter’s blanket pardon of “less than honorable” discharges predicated upon anti-war activity, I think it is not speculation, but rather a logical deduction that Mr. Kerry’s discharge was in that same category as every other discharge they were reviewing. When Kerry’s campaign is specifically asked that question, for disclosure of his reserve service records, they say, as in your article, that “the issue is over” and the half-truth that “he has disclosed his record.” BOTH LIES.

bob's avatar

I will say it again, and again I insist that I am not lying or misleading you: John Kerry released his entire service record to the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times. Here’s another story, from the Globe, confirming.

You may speculate that there are some other records. I don’t know whether Kerry served in the reserves or not. But a full disclosure has been made. You can say that the Boston Globe and other media outlets are outright lying. But the Globe was among the first organizations to request Kerry’s complete service record, back in 2003. I think it’s a stretch to claim that they’re lying now.

hossman's avatar

Bob, I’m not saying you are trying to do anything, what I’m saying is you are making the error the Kerry people want you to make. Your second article does NOT confirm his RESERVE service record, consisting of his record from his ACTIVE service discharge in 1970 to his final RESERVE discharge in 1978, was ever released. YOU ARE MAKING THE ERROR THEY INTEND FOR YOU TO MAKE. When they talk about receiving his “full record” they deliberately are not specifying what years they have reviewed. They say “full record” instead of “full ACTIVE record” so you won’t realize they haven’t received the RESERVE record, where evidently whatever he is trying to hide is located. Nowhere will you find anyone saying they have reviewed his 1970–1978 records. In fact, your first article pointed out:

“Mr. O%u2019Neill, who acknowledged he has not seen any of the newly released papers, said the records still appear to be silent about what Mr. Kerry did during his period of service in the reserves. %u201CThere are not records telling us what was Kerry%u2019s status between when he left military service with the Navy, in 1971, and 1978,%u201D the Kerry critic said.

Mr. O%u2019Neill also said there is no explanation for why Mr. Kerry%u2019s decorations %u2013 a bronze star, a silver star, and three purple hearts he received during his tour as a boat captain in Vietnam %u2013 were reissued in 1985.

The latest release also appears to do nothing to resolve a dispute about whether Mr. Kerry came under enemy fire on December 2, 1968. While medical records show he was treated for a minor shrapnel wound %u2013 the basis for his first purple heart %u2013 other veterans recall that some on the mission believed the injury came from friendly fire or an accident.%u201D

I’m not speculating about anything. The military lives on paperwork. There is no way there are no records of 8 years of his RESERVE service. These records exist. Full disclosure has NOT been made, NO disclosure has been made of those years. If anyone enquires about those years, they divert attention by talking about the prior years they did disclose. How is it you have read both of these articles but can’t get this? It is no stretch at all, they are lying, I just can’t believe you’re falling for it. Find me an article that shows Kerry disclosed any records to anyone about his service from 1970–1978. The Globe article says nothing about those years. How can you not see how they’re scamming you?

bob's avatar

There’s no evidence that they are scamming me. That’s why I don’t see it. I thought your argument was that Kerry was less than honorably discharged in 1972, and that his honorable discharge came from the Carter administration as part of some political maneuver. Does that mean that Kerry was in the reserves from 1972 to 1978? I don’t know. I don’t have see any evidence to that effect. Maybe he was. Show me evidence.

In any case, John Kerry has released his active service record, which is the service record that the Swift Boat people were going on about. There’s nothing there. It’s hard to imagine that there’s anything particularly damning about Kerry’s reserve service record, even if he did serve in the active Reserves.

hossman's avatar

OK, if its evidence you want, this is what Kerry HAS disclosed about his RESERVE service. He was honorably discharged from active duty on January 2, 1970, see:

Note that Paragraph 6 provides that this discharge automatically results in service in the Reserve, as is customary. Kerry then served in the Navy Reserve. His “final” discharge on January 2, 1970 is reflected in this document:

Note Paragraphs 1 and 2 of that document. This “final” discharge is not the usual discharge, but rather an “amended” discharge following a review ordered by President Carter’s (“direction of the President”) general amnesty for soldiers who had previously received “less than honorable” discharges for anti-war activity. That was the purpose of the review board described in Paragraph 2. Kerry would not have had his discharge reviewed by this board unless he had received a prior “less than honorable” discharge. That prior discharge ended his RESERVE service, the February 1978 discharge replaced the prior discharge. The February 1978 Honorable Discharge is indeed part of a “political maneuver” which benefitted Kerry as well as other soldiers who engaged in anti-war activity. There is no question Kerry must have received a “less than honorable” discharge sometime between 1970 and 1978 or his discharge would not have been reviewed by this special review board (they don’t ordinarily review prior discharges).

So where are all the documents between the two I have provided? THAT IS THE QUESTION. THOSE ARE THE DOCUMENTS KERRY REFUSES TO HAVE DISCLOSED. Those are the documents that even the Boston Globe and LA Times have not seen. You are again incorrect about the records requested by the Swift Boat people. This is another misstatement of fact by you. Their Freedom of Information Act request specifically requested all documents re Kerry’s active AND reserve service. The Navy responded they were prohibited by law (which is true) from providing any documents not approved for disclosure by the service member, Kerry. Kerry refused to permit disclosure of the documents regarding his RESERVE service, which includes the “less than honorable” discharge issued sometime between the two documents above.

That’s why I can’t provide you with concrete evidence, Kerry refuses to disclose that evidence. However, it is a logical conclusion Kerry’s reserve discharge would not have been reviewed in 1978 by a board that only reviewed “less than honorable” discharges (why would you review an Honorable Discharge, to make it More Honorable?) if it had not been issued previously as a “less than honorable” discharge.

So I can’t tell you exactly when he received that “middle” discharge, or what the grounds or nature of that discharge was (despite my having done very thorough research) because only the Navy and Kerry know, and they aren’t talking to anyone. I’m not blaming the Navy, they are following the law to the letter. It’s Kerry that is hiding something, and when they make it sound like they’ve disclosed everything, they are LYING. Something happened between the two documents I have provided above, and Kerry won’t let you know what it was. If you want more evidence than the obvious and logical conclusion I and many others have made, that there are undisclosed documents, then you’d have to ask Mr. Kerry. He is the only one that can answer these questions, and he ain’t talking. Which in my book makes him unfit to be Senator, much less President. I don’t think his decision to not disclose makes him impeachable, but he shouldn’t be reelected, and he shouldn’t get away with spinning his partial disclosure into full disclosure. Clearly it has been successful, as shown by your posts.

bob's avatar

The Navy and the Boston Globe have said, above, that Senator Kerry has disclosed his full service record. Here’s the lede of the Boston Globe story: “Senator John F. Kerry, ending at least two years of refusal, has waived privacy restrictions and authorized the release of his full military and medical records.”

You have not shown me any evidence to the contrary. Seriously, all of Kerry’s records have been released. You can assume that the Navy is only referring to a portion of the record, but that is just speculation. You can assume that the Boston Globe is directly lying, but again, that’s just speculation, nothing more.

If there is a reserve service record which has been unreleased, I cannot imagine that it has any significance at all. The claims made by the Swift Boat veterans regarded Kerry’s active service, not his reserve service.

hossman's avatar

Nope. You are the one speculating. You are the one “imagining it has no significance at all.” The Swift Boat veterans requested ALL the records, not just the active records, and a number of their claims are regarding the propriety of the revision of his reserve discharge. The Republican Party also requested the RESERVE service record, as quoted in the Chicago Tribune: “If he did not intend to release all his officer evaluations, records of attendance including reserve duty attendance, medical records and all other military records held by him or the government, he should not have pledged to do so,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie. “He and his campaign should stop the word games and keep the pledge he made on national television.”

An 8 year gap in anyone’s military records is a serious gap. I find it odd you won’t even follow the text of the very articles you link to, but evidently you intend to reach the conclusion you WISH TO BELIEVE. Actually, why don’t you try doing your own research, rather than me doing it for you. It was YOUR NY Sun article, not mine, that asserted he did not release the RESERVE records to the Globe and Times, YOU provided that information, I didn’t make it up.

Notice that nothing you have cited, absolutely nowhere, includes in its description of the “full disclosure,” any reference to RESERVE records. Since that is the current controversy, why wouldn’t they do that? Why wouldn’t the Globe or the Times, or Kerry’s office, or Kerry himself, ever EVER say, “That’s all the records for active and reserve service?” BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE A LIE. Instead, they say “full record” when they really mean “full ACTIVE record.” That way the gullible are convinced there has been complete disclosure, and if later the information does surface, they can claim YOU misunderstood them, and they never meant the active AND the reserve record. I have read EVERY SINGLE Globe and Times article available on Lexis/Nexis re the 2005 SF180 disclosure, and there is NOT ONE MENTION of any records or events during Kerry’s RESERVE service. A glaring omission, don’t you think? Nothing about 8 of 12 years? If they did receive those documents, wouldn’t they at least mention it to put the controversy to rest? Further, if all of these documents were pursuant to the SF180, why won’t the Globe, Times, Navy or Kerry release the SF180 completed by Kerry itself? The SF180 has an optional clause that permits the service member to exclude certain years or certain documents from the disclosure. Why won’t they let us see whether Kerry asked for anything to be omitted? Doesn’t the word COVERUP mean anything to you? Nixon wouldn’t have gotten away with this.

Your repeated statement the Swift Boat Veterans were not concerned about his Reserve service is simply not true, and I hope you are not aware of that, but I also hope you become aware of it. For your information, here is a quote from SBVT’s John O’Neill regarding the documents they have requested that were not disclosed to the Globe and Times: “We called for Kerry to execute a form which would permit anyone to examine his full and unexpulgated [sic] military records at the Navy Department and the National Personnel Records Center. Instead he executed a form permitting his hometown paper to obtain the records currently at the Navy Department. The Navy Department previously indicated its records did not include various materials. This is hardly what we called for. If he did execute a complete release of all records we could then answer questions such as (1)Did he ever receive orders to Cambodia or file any report of such a mission (whether at Christmas or otherwise); (2) What was his discharge status between 1970 and 1978 (when he received a discharge) and was it affected by his meetings in 1970 and 1971 with the North Vietnamese? (3)why did he receive much later citations for medals purportedly signed by Secretary Lehman who said he did not know of them; (4) Are there Hostile Fire and Personnel Injured by Hostile Fire Reports for Kerry’s Dec. 1968 Purple Heart (when the officer in charge of the boat Admiral Schacte, the treating Surgeon Louis Letson, and Kerry’s Division Commander deny there was hostile fire causing a scratch) awarded three months later under unknown circumstances.”

That couldn’t possible be more clear, so could you stop saying the Swift Boat Veterans’ claims were not regarding his Reserve service? That simply isn’t true, and is proved untrue by Paragraph 2 in the quote above, which addresses Kerry’s RESERVE records between 1970 and 1978.

I refer you to: for an excellent analysis of the logical conclusion I have drawn (as well as more experienced and expert minds than mine) that Kerry’s “amended” discharge conceals a prior “less than honorable” and INVOLUNTARY “FOR CAUSE” DISCHARGE of Kerry from the Reserve, probably around 1972.

But hey, don’t take my word for it. You linked to the NY Sun, try this even more clear NY Sun story: In fact, don’t reply to me until you have read that entire article. If you STILL don’t believe Kerry is holding out, then your belief is religious, and there is no evidence that can dissuade you. Some important points from that article:

“A former officer in the Navy’s Judge Advocate General Corps Reserve has built a case that Senator Kerry was other than honorably discharged from the Navy by 1975, The New York Sun has learned.

The “honorable discharge” on the Kerry Web site appears to be a Carter administration substitute for an original action expunged from Mr. Kerry’s record, according to Mark Sullivan, who retired as a captain in the Navy’s Judge Advocate General Corps Reserve in 2003 after 33 years of service as a judge advocate. Mr. Sullivan served in the office of the Secretary of the Navy between 1975 and 1977.

On behalf of the Kerry campaign, Michael Meehan and others have repeatedly insisted that all of Mr. Kerry’s military records are on his Web site, except for his medical records.

“If that is the case,” Mr. Sullivan said, “the true story isn’t what was on the Web site. It’s what’s missing. There should have been an honorable discharge certificate issued to Kerry in 1975,if not earlier, three years after his transfer to the Standby Reserve-Inactive.”

Another retired Navy Reserve officer, who served three tours in the Navy’s Bureau of Personnel, points out that there should also have been a certified letter giving Mr. Kerry a choice of a reserve reaffiliation or separation and discharge. If Mr. Meehan is correct and all the documents are indeed on the Web site, the absence of any documents from 1972 to 1978 in the posted Kerry files is a glaring hole in the record.”

“With the only discharge document cited by Mr. Kerry issued in 1978, three years after the last date it should have been issued, the absence of a certificate from 1975 leaves only two possibilities. Either Mr. Kerry received an “other than honorable” certificate that has been removed in a review purging it from his records, or even worse, he received no certificate at all. In both cases there would have been a loss of all of Mr. Kerry’s medals and the suspension of all benefits of service.

Certainly something was wrong as early as 1973 when Mr. Kerry was applying to law school.

A member of the Harvard Law School admissions committee recalled that the real reason Mr. Kerry was not admitted was because the committee was concerned that because Mr. Kerry had received a less than honorable discharge they were not sure he could be admitted to any state bar.”

“Given this, it is likely that a legal review took place that effectively purged Mr. Kerry’s Navy files and arranged for the three-year-late honorable discharge in 1978.There were two avenues during the 1977–1978 time period. This could have been under President Carter’s Executive Order 11967, under which thousands received pardons and upgrades for harsh discharges or other offenses under the Selective Service Act. Or it might have merged into efforts by the military to comply with the demands of the 1975 Church Committee.”

“One of Mr. Kerry’s first acts of office as he entered the Senate on January 3, 1985, was making sure what was still in the Navy files. A report was returned to Mr. Kerry by a Navy JAG on January 25, 1985, and appears on the Kerry Web site. There is an enclosure listed that may have contained a list of files, according to David Myers, the JAG who prepared it, that is not on Mr. Kerry’s Web site. It could have provided an index for all of Mr. Kerry’s Navy files.”

So, in summary, Kerry couldn’t get into law school because he had a less than honorable discharge, so he receives a “review” from the Carter administration to revise his discharge 3 years after the fact. Then, when Kerry enters the Senate, he checks the Navy files to see if there is anything incriminating still in his file. A Navy lawyer prepares a report INCLUDING AN INDEX of all of the available documents. Kerry’s campaign publishes the report BUT DELETES THE INDEX. Why? So that gullible people won’t realize that when the Globe, Times and Kerry says “full disclosure,” they are not telling the WHOLE truth, and it does not include the embarrassing “less than honorable” discharge, what the grounds for it were, the probable fact Kerry did not resign from the Navy, but was involuntarily thrown out, and why the Carter administration would review and amend his discharge.

So don’t take it from me. Take it from the New York Sun. Take it from the SBVT. Take it from former Navy lawyers. Take it from Harvard Law School. Or why don’t you ask Kerry’s people to make disclosure to, if not the public, other “neutral” media outlets like the Wall Street Journal or the Christian Science Monitor. How about a complete list of all the documents disclosed (I’m betting it won’t include any documents between 1971 and 1977). Better yet, if truth, disclosure and transparency is a “hallmark” of Kerry, as he claims, why not disclose all of it to the voting public? Why just the Globe and Times? WHY DID THEY DELETE THE INDEX OF DOCUMENTS? In fact, why can’t they just answer the question honestly? Please note from the New York Sun: “Kerry spokesman David Wade did not reply when asked if Mr. Kerry was other than honorably discharged before he was honorably discharged.” How about asking Mr. Kerry that question repeatedly until he answers: “Mr. Kerry, have you ever received a “less than honorable” discharge. Betcha he won’t answer. The only better evidence than what I have given you can only come from Mr. Kerry himself, and he is lying to you.

bob's avatar

Very weird that we’re reading the same articles and coming up with completely different conclusions.

I’ve read the articles above, and I’ve read all the articles I’ve pointed to along the way, and everything you have referenced as well.

I’d like to point out to you again that the NY Sun is not trying to do Kerry any favors. If there is ambiguity in the original article I linked to, it’s because the Sun’s slant is anti-Kerry. (In tone, but they don’t lie.)

Here’s a relevant quote from the latest article you’ve listed:

“Mr. Meehan may well be right and all Mr. Kerry’s military records are on his Web site,” Mr. Sullivan said. “Unlike en listed members, officers do not receive other than honorable, or dishonorable, certificates of discharge. To the contrary, the rule is that no certificate will be awarded to an officer separated wherever the circumstances prompting separation are not deemed consonant with traditional naval concepts of honor. The absence of an honorable discharge certificate for a separated naval officer is, therefore, a harsh and severe sanction and is, in fact, the treatment given officers who are dismissed after a general court-martial.”

It’s entirely possible—likely, I would argue—that Kerry’s entire service record does not include his first, less than honorable discharge. His entire service record may have been released already, but there may be no record of the less than honorable discharge.

That is different from saying that Kerry hasn’t released his records. That’s the simple point that I’m making: all evidence shows that Kerry has released his complete military service records.

Of course, John O’Neill makes some good points to the contrary in your quote above: “We called for Kerry to execute a form which would permit anyone to examine his full and unexpulgated [sic] military records at the Navy Department and the National Personnel Records Center. Instead he executed a form permitting his hometown paper to obtain the records currently at the Navy Department. The Navy Department previously indicated its records did not include various materials.”

I have no way to judge the accuracy of that statement, but I accept the possibility that there are more records at the National Personnel Records Center which are not at the Navy Department. I don’t know what to make of that. But John O’Neill keeps moving the goalposts for John Kerry. I don’t trust O’Neill, and I don’t think he’ll ever be satisfied. Previously, he said “If he executes Standard Form 180, he would no longer be the gatekeeper, the gatekeeper would be the U.S. military,” he told the Washington Times.

Kerry signed the SF 180. His records are out there. He’s never going to admit he was less than honorably discharged—although I think he probably was. But he has released his records to the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times.

bob's avatar

After looking over my answer above, I don’t think it will convince you, Hossman. I don’t know how we can convince each other, which worries me. This is such a simple thing.

Feel free to rebut my last post, if you wish, but I will refrain from responding again—otherwise, we can go on like this forever.

I have enjoyed arguing with you, though.

hossman's avatar

Really, there is only one way to resolve this. Kerry would have to approve disclosure of his full active AND reserve records to the public, or at least a wide enough spectrum of the media to prevent any credible allegations of coverup. For instance, disclosure to the Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, the Economist and Newsweek would satisfy me. He would ALSO have to approve the Navy releasing the SF180 requesting those documents, so we could ensure he didn’t require the Navy to hold anything back. The Bush Administration’s Secretary of the Navy or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs are sufficiently neutral or anti-Kerry I would believe them if they said that was all of it. This all could really be simple. I believe the Navy is sufficiently neutral or anti-Kerry (I actually have a hunch there are a lot of Navy guys who would love to leak the file, but they wouldn’t dare) that they will honestly release anything he doesn’t force them to hold back by refusing to authorize disclosure. But I simply don’t believe the Globe and Times, they have a history with Kerry and Kennedy that make it obvious why Kerry chose them. It would be like me getting to choose my judge in traffic court.
Yes, Kerry signed AN SF180, but since we don’t get to see it, we have to take the word of a few highly biased people what it contained. This would be like Bush authorizing release of his records only to Ann Coulter and Fox News. Can you imagine the stink that would raise?
There must be a record of the “middle” discharge. You and the Sun article are correct that to speak precisely, Kerry would not have been issued a “less than honorable discharge,” however, if they withheld a Certificate of Honorable Discharge, there would still be an “Order of Involuntary Separation” in his record. Again, the military always has a paper trail. Especially considering Kerry was running in front of Congress claiming military atrocities, don’t you think they would have very carefully documented everything. Whatever happened to cause his separation, it must have been pretty big, because Kerry made no effort to oppose it, challenge it, nor did he claim harassment, retaliation or unfair treatment in response to his anti-war activities. Why did Kerry rush, in his first 3 weeks in the Senate, to have the Navy provide him with a copy of the full file? I doubt the Navy would destroy the documents, there is always a paper trail somewhere. Curiously, there aren’t any public records of even any “routine” documents from his reserve service, which probably actually ended in 1972, not 1978. It’s just too big a gap to believe documents were “lost” or never existed. But the logical conclusion remains that there must have been a “less than honorable” discharge somewhere in there, or there wouldn’t have been any need for a review. I also find a “bad” discharge the only probable reason somebody with Kerry’s connections, background and media attention couldn’t get into any of the 3 law schools to which he applied. I’d actually be inclined to think it might have been over something trivial if they weren’t trying so hard to keep it quiet. In fact, I would have believed his “bad” discharge might have been retaliation by the Nixon administration if it weren’t for Kerry’s efforts to keep it all quiet. I find it a lot more likely Kerry is holding something back than the Navy, as there are a lot of Navy men who would love to see Kerry on the hot seat. Further, since the Navy gave Kerry a complete report on his file, prepared by a JAG lawyer several weeks after Kerry entered the Senate, I find it hard to believe they didn’t keep a copy of that report as well as the full file, if for no other reason than to cover their own butts. ‘Cause you never know when a Senator might say something about what you did that you need to defend. I agree O’Neill is probably holding a grudge, but it seems he has some pretty good reasons for it. He’s so pissed, I really don’t trust his credibility, but when I independently apply logic to known facts, it matches up with most of O’Neill’s statements. What makes sense just makes sense.
No worries. You just choose to believe the best of Kerry. I really don’t dislike Kerry all that much, and I don’t believe he is a buffoon, but I do believe he’s told a lot of lies over the years, such as “I threw my medals away in protest” to “I only threw my RIBBONS away in protest” to “I threw away some other guy’s ribbons (which would be the lamest protest ever).” I just think it’s pretty clear they’re hiding the ball, and the voters deserve better. But hey, if his buddy Teddy got away with Chappaquiddick, I’m sure a little dishonorable discharge can be swept under the rug. Actually, the lawyer in me has to give at least grudging kudos to the creativity and clever legal maneuvering they are using.

loupus's avatar

hossman has single-handedly ruined fluther for me. Learn some brevity. Every response doesn’t have to be a Unabomber manifesto.

hossman's avatar

So stop reading when you’re done. Many people have posted to me the appreciate the thoroughness and detail. You know how to scroll down, right?

loupus's avatar

That’s it. Much better.

hossman's avatar

OK, loupus, it’s all for you and only you, babe.

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