The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, October 15, 2004

Nightline Takes on the Swiftboaters

This is good to see. Nightline sent people to Vietnam to interview witnesses of the firefight that earned Kerry a Silver Star and has been disputed by John O'Neill (who's been at it for more than thirty years, ever since Nixon got him started). Here's an excerpt:

Was the man killed by Kerry or by fire from the Swift boat? It was the heat of battle, [eyewitness and VC soldier] Tam said, and he doesn't know exactly how the man with the rocket launcher died. But he knows the man's name — Ba Thanh. He was one of the 12 reinforcements sent to the village by provincial headquarters, and after he died, the firefight continued, according to Tam.
"When the firing started, Ba Thanh was killed," Tam said. "And I led Ba Thanh's comrades, the whole unit, to fight back. And we ran around the back and fought the Americans from behind. We worked with the city soldiers to fire on the American boats. . . None of the villagers seems to be able to say for a fact that they saw an American chase the man who fired the B-40 into the woods and shoot him. . . But they have no problem remembering Ba Thanh, the man who has been dismissed by Kerry's detractors as "a lone, wounded, fleeing, young Vietcong in a loincloth." (The description comes from "Unfit for Command," by Swift boat veteran John O'Neill.) "No, this is not correct," Nguyen Thi Tuoi, 77, told ABC News. "He wore a black pajama. He was strong. He was big and strong. He was about 26 or 27."