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September 01, 2004

Pro-Kerry People Post Documents Contradicting Their Chief Witness, Rassmann

Human Events had a story that contained an important tidbit I haven't seen mention of yet, 3 official documents all posted by pro-Kerry people that cast more doubt on the testimony of Mr. Rassmann, the man overboard whom Kerry rescued. The tidbit is from the Kerry press release of August 19:

"The fire was strong enough to knock out Tommy Belodeauís machine gun" I was in the middle of the firefight," Rassmann has said of the false claims that there was no fire that day and that other boats rescued people from the water. "There was one person in the water that day and that was me, anyone who is telling you otherwise is giving you a lie."

The Swifvest say there were three other men overboard that day, two from the boat which was lifted bodily from the water by the mine blast, and Mr. Thurlow. I don't know about evidence for the other two, but Thurlow's wetness is supported not only by various Swiftvets, but by the Thurlow's Bronze Star military documentation. Thurlow's Bronze Star Citation says

While attending to the forward gunner, he was knocked overboard. He managed to remain afloat until pulled from the water.

Thurlow's Bronze Star Recommendation is a bit more detailed:

While administering first aid to the forward gunner, LTJG THURLOW was knocked overboard when PCF-3 ran aground out of control. Fighting a three to four knot current, LTJG THURLOW managed to stay afloat with PCF-51 rushing to his aid to pull him aboard. Once aboard, though exhausted and out of breath...

It's interesting that both of these documents were put on the web by the Washington Post in connection with a story in which they were used to attack Thurlow's credibility. Kerry and Rassmann said there was enemy gunfire; Thurlow and many others say there wasn't; Kerry's Bronze Star writeups say there was-- and Thurlow's Bronze Star writeups say there was. The Washington Post seems to think that the evidence of Thurlow's Bronze Star writeup impeaches Thurlow's credibility. Thurlow makes the obvious answer that both his and Kerry's paperwork was done by the same, wrong, person (probably Kerry), and he didn't pay much attention (Thurlow says he thought he got the Bronze Star for heroically jumping from boat to boat to rescue the mined boat, out of control because its skipper was knocked out, and help its injured crew, enough to justify the Star without any enemy fire.)

The bottom line is this: using the same official writeups which Kerry says are accurate, we find we can't trust Kerry's main witness. It isn't necessarily that Rassmann is lying-- rather, as you can tell from his tone, he rushes in to say things to help Kerry without thinking much about whether they are true. If he is the kind of person who says there was nobody else overboard-- when he himself had been scared and drenched and really couldn't be expected to know what was going on with all five boats-- then he is the kind of person who would say there was enemy fire without thinking that the enormous volume of fire he heard might just have been the five boats' machines guns and rifles or wondering why the enemy couldn't hit him (or anybody else) as he floundered helpless in the water.

Posted by erasmuse at September 1, 2004 12:11 PM

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