Alexander's Column

Kerry's Dishonorable Discharge

By Mark Alexander · Oct. 22, 2004

“Never suppose that in any possible situation, or under any circumstances, it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing…” –Thomas Jefferson

“Reporting for duty”? For a guy who's hitched his entire presidential campaign to his military service record, John Kerry sure is parsimonious when it comes to releasing that record. As noted in this column on more than one occasion, Kerry has consistently refused to sign a Standard Form 180 authorizing the Department of Defense to release all of his records.

George W. Bush's military records were so spotless that Dan Rather gleefully trotted out some fabricated documents in order to kick up a little dust. Of course, if Rather were a real journalist rather than just a TV talking head, he might actually develop a source who could find out what the remaining (approximately 100) pages in Kerry's DoD service jacket reveal.

What, exactly, is Kerry hiding? It is already common knowledge that most of his celebrated heroics were spurious, and that most of his medals were without merit (see “Kerry's Quagmire” at http://patriotpost.us/alexander/2004/08/27/kerrys-quagmire/). But given that the cat's already out of the bag, why not just sign the Standard Form 180?

For his part, Kerry claims he received an “Honorable Discharge” and that all his records have been released and are posted on his website, Kerry-04.com – uh, make that JohnKerry.com. But Kerry has refused to say when he received an Honorable Discharge. Indeed, some of his military records are posted on his site – but not all of them. Here, an experienced eye can read enough into what has been released by Kerry to develop a good profile of what hasn't been released.

It is our considered opinion, therefore, that John Kerry was separated from the military under a less than honorable discharge.

Among Kerry's released records is a 1977 cover letter from Jimmy Carter's Navy Secretary, W. Graham Claytor. What is revealing about this document is that it notes Kerry's original discharge was subject to review by a “board of officers” – yet no such review should be necessary for an Honorable Discharge.

The review was conducted in accordance with “Title 10, U.S. Code Section 1162 and 1163,” which pertains to grounds for involuntary separation from military service.

As many Vietnam veterans who served their nation with dignity and honor will recall, Jimmy Carter's first official act as president was the signing of Executive Order 4483 –less than an hour after his inauguration on 21 January 1977. EO 4483 provided general amnesty for draft evaders, war protesters and other offenders of that era. Its corresponding, and equally dubious, DoD directive took effect in March of 1977, expanding that amnesty to include separation from military service by other than honorable discharges. The DoD specified an appeal procedure whereby discharges could be reviewed on an individual basis to determine whether the status of a particular discharge could be revised.

Having lost his first bid for Congress, Kerry no doubt decided that his political future would be brighter as a war hero rather than a war protestor. While there are several categories of discharges beneath honorable, including general, medical, bad conduct and other than honorable, it is very likely that Kerry's discharge was dishonorable.

Supporting this assertion is the fact that Kerry had all his medals mysteriously reinstated in 1985. He claims that he lost his medal certificates (perhaps these are what he famously threw over that Capitol fence in protest), but when a military officer is subject to a Dishonorable Discharge, in addition to the loss of pay benefits and allowances, all medals and honors are revoked. In any case, it would be a cinch for John Kerry to refute our claim by simply signing that Standard Form 180. But he won't. Nor will hard-hitting journalists like Katie Couric and Dr. Phil press him on this issue.

Thus, while Kerry can correctly say – thanks to Jimmy Carter – that he received an Honorable Discharge, he could also say with equal precision that he received “other than honorable discharge.” His activities as a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War were, indeed, forgiven by Carter's EO 4483 and the subsequent DoD directive.

However, according to legal scholars, John Kerry's meetings with enemy agents from Communist North Vietnam on multiple occasions between 1970 and 1972 are not covered under EO 4483. For that reason, we delivered to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft on Monday of this week a “Petition for Investigation and Indictment,” calling on the Department of Justice to determine conclusively whether Kerry's actions, in direct violation of UCMJ (Article 104 part 904), U.S. Code (18 USC Sec. 2381 and 18 USC Sec. 953) and other applicable laws and acts of Congress, constitute treason. (To read the text of the petitioners' request, link to – http://patriotpost.us/petition/kerry/)

Why prosecute Kerry now?

In October, 2003, Mr. Kerry chose to make his disputed Vietnam War record the centerpiece of his campaign for the presidency. In response, the more than 180,000 signatories of the above-referenced petition chose to make Mr. Kerry's war record the centerpiece of their campaign to determine whether his actions are subject to the Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment, Section 3.

The pertinent language states: “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President … having previously taken an oath … to support the Constitution of the United States, [who has] engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

While it is clear that no action will be taken on the petitioners' request prior to 2 November, we remain committed to holding Senator Kerry accountable for his actions regardless of the outcome of his presidential bid. Indeed, we are all committed to serving Kerry with an irrevocable dishonorable discharge from public office.

Quote of the week…

“They're the men who served with John Kerry in Vietnam. They're his entire chain of command, most of the officers in Kerry's unit. … And they're the men who spent years in North Vietnamese prison camps. Tortured for refusing to confess to what John Kerry accused them of being – war criminals. … Why is this relevant? Because character and honesty matter. Especially in a time of war.” –Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and POWs for Truth in their most recent ad on Kerry's war record and character.

On cross-examination…

“On more than one occasion, Senator Kerry has referred to the fight at Tora Bora in Afghanistan during late 2001 as a missed opportunity for America. He claims that our forces had Osama bin Laden cornered and allowed him to escape. … As commander of the allied forces in the Middle East, I was responsible for the operation at Tora Bora, and I can tell you that the senator's understanding of events doesn't square with reality. … Contrary to Senator Kerry, President Bush never 'took his eye off the ball' when it came to Osama bin Laden. The war on terrorism has a global focus. It cannot be divided into separate and unrelated wars, one in Afghanistan and another in Iraq. Both are part of the same effort to capture and kill terrorists before they are able to strike America again, potentially with weapons of mass destruction. Terrorist cells are operating in some 60 countries, and the United States, in coordination with dozens of allies, is waging this war on many fronts.” –General Tommy Franks

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