Monday, August 16, 2004

Kerry allies tell conflicting stories on Rassman's rescue

Ever since the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT) announced that they had produced a political ad and a book disputing John Kerry's fitness for the Presidency, John Kerry's "Band of Brothers" and the SBVT have been telling conflicting stories about what happened in Vietnam.

But when it comes to the story behind John Kerry's rescue of Jim Rassman, the conflicting stories come entirely from John Kerry's allies. One version of the story is offered by Douglas Brinkley, the author of the glowing John Kerry biography titled Tour of Duty. Another version of the story is offered by Jim Rassman himself in Rassman's recent opinion column printed in the Wall Street Journal.

Here's what Douglas Brinkley writes about John Kerry's rescue of Jim Rassman in the March 2004 edition of The Atlantic:
But those are minor risks compared to saving lives. For example, when talking about the day Kerry charged up the river to save Army Lieutenant Jim Rassman who had been blown off a neighboring Swift boat by an explosion, and was taking sniper fire in the river, people say, well, he risked his life to save Rassman.
And here's what Jim Rassman wrote in his Wall Street Journal column on August 10, 2004:
While returning from a SEA LORDS operation along the Bay Hap River, a mine detonated under another swift boat. Machine-gun fire erupted from both banks of the river, and a second explosion followed moments later. The second blast blew me off John's swift boat, PCF-94, throwing me into the river. Fearing that the other boats would run me over, I swam to the bottom of the river and stayed there as long as I could hold my breath.
There seems to be confusion among Kerry's allies as to which boat Jim Rassman was on prior to the mine explosion. Perhaps this is yet another reason why John Kerry's version of events in Vietnam should not be uncritically accepted.