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Saturday, September 18, 2004

The Latest Swift Boat Ad, and "V" Devices on Silver Stars 
"A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon."
--Napoleon Bonaparte


Here's the latest Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad.

My reaction: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Ok, so what Kerry is saying now is at variance with what he was saying more than 30 years ago. Join the club.

I thought the first Swift Boat vet ads were absolutely fair game. But the controversy over whether he threw the ribbons or the medals themselves over the fence is utterly trivial and useless.

You're reaching guys. Big time.

Oh, and that "V" device. A "V" device is issued for certain medals--the bronze star and the Meritorious Service Medal come to mind--to denote medals awarded for valor under fire. You can get a BSM or MSM for doing a really good job while engaged in combat operations against an armed enemy, without actually having done anythin specifically heroic. But the medals with the "V" devices have better stories behind them, so the military issues a little bronze "V" to stick in the ribbon for those guys.

It is true that Kerry's website showed a DD214 which listed a "V" device on his silver star medal.

It is also true that the military does not issue "V" devices for the silver star.

It is true that the DD 214 --the most notoriously inaccurate document in the military--was in error, and Kerry did not have the error corrected when leaving the Navy.

It is therefore true, in the most technical sense imaginable, that when Kerry posted his DD 214 on his website, he in effect was claiming a decoration--the bronze V device on a silver star--to which he was not entitled.

It's also true, however, that I really don't care.

ALL silver stars are awarded for valor.

And I could easily have made the same mistake. I did not know specifically that the "V" device was not awarded for valor. If I were writing up a silver star recommendation on someone, I probably would have checked the "V" device block on the DA form 638 without thinking.

I would not have thought to correct the mistake if it were my own DD 214, unless I knew that the medal was specifically NOT for valor. Which is not the case for any silver star. I find no reason to believe any intent to deceive whatsoever.

Both medals flaps are pathetic nonissues.

I can't help but wonder: of all the undecided voters out there, are there ANY whose votes hare hinging on whether he threw the ribbons or the medals themselves, or whether the V device was authorized on a silver star awarded for valor by definition?

Any at all?

Hellooooooooo?

Splash, out

Jason

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