The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth felt it necessary to question every single aspect of John Kerry's service in Viet Nam, most especially every medal he received. Maybe they should have stuck to the areas where the evidence was less ambiguous.
What Happened in Kerry's Vietnam Battles? NIGHTLINE Speaks to Witnesses of Disputed Firefights
Despite the implication of the titles, the article speaks only to the day Kerry won a Silver Star. As near as I could tell from a quick search, the SBVT site leaves this incident alone, but John O'Neill beat solidly on it in his book, claiming that Kerry's Silver Star was for shooting a lone, fleeing teenager in the back and that the Swifties didn't land under fire.
But according to the villagers involved, who claim to remember the incident clearly, there were as many as twenty VC soldiers in the village that day. The man who fired the B-40 rocket at PC-94, they say, was named Ba Thanh.
The soldiers fired on the Swift Boat, which returned fire. The soldiers retreated when the boats turned into shore and beached. Ba Thanh ran but was shot and fell down dead. The villagers don't know who shot him, if he was pursued and shot, etc.
But according to the villagers there was more than just a lone VC with a rocket launcher who was run down and killed. There were about 20 VC, who fled as the boats beached. And the boats beached and attacked because they were under fire, contradicting O'Neill's claim.
The villager's accounts don't confirm the entire story. (No one knew if Ba Thranh died from Kerry's gun, or from the boat .50, or what. But die he did.) The villagers sure as hell contradict O'Neill's version. And unlike O'Neill, the villagers were there that day.
I couldn't ask for clearer proof that the tendency to think the absolute worst of your opposition, to demonize them beyond sense and evidence, is not a bright way to
play. (Michael Moore, take note.)