Ed Morrissey says that one of the vets who claims to have “served” with him, “on his boat,” didn’t:
He and Alston conspired to deceive people about Alston’s service under Kerry. That conspiracy was intended to give John Kerry cover against exactly the kind of campaign he faces from the other Swiftvets….
…This isn’t just a guy embellishing his war record — this is a deliberate and longstanding attempt to mislead and defraud people by creating his own witnesses after the fact. That he could have done such a clumsy job should disqualify him for higher office on that basis alone.
That point aside, if true, this knocks the legs out from under the dumb argument that one had to be on Kerry’s boat in order to have “served” with him. Alston would have no more (and no less) credibility than any of the other, less complimentary, Swift Boat Vets. I wonder if the Reverend Alston would sign an affidavit?
[Update at 11 AM PDT]
Kathleen Parker describes what the real issue is with this (at least for me):
Like many Americans, I’m reluctant to second-guess anyone’s wartime performance. None of us knows how we’d perform under the unique stress of battle. Whether Kerry was indecisive or heroic so long ago doesn’t much interest me. Stories get told about war; details get lost or distorted by time and memory.
There’s something near tragic about this latest political turn of events–brother warring against brother–but also revelatory on a level that even Kerry critics might not have anticipated. What is revealed isn’t so much Kerry’s lack of consistency in reporting personal history as his studious pursuit of power and an insatiable need for attention.
[Monday morning update]
Byron York says that Alston did serve under Kerry, though perhaps for as little as a week, and that many of the stories about their service together seem to be embellished or exaggerated. Ed Morrissey concedes the point. The Swift Boat Vets were right to tell people to cool it on this particular issue.