Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Was Kerry dishonorably discharged?

The story floating around the blogosphere today is about the possibility that John Kerry was actually dishonorably discharged (or less than honorably discharged) from the Navy, way back when. Today, the New York Sun has an article that is fanning the flames. Read it here.

According to the Sun:

An official Navy document on Senator Kerry's campaign Web site listed as Mr. Kerry's "Honorable Discharge from the Reserves" opens a door on a well kept secret about his military service.

The document is a form cover letter in the name of the Carter administration's secretary of the Navy, W. Graham Claytor. It describes Mr. Kerry's discharge as being subsequent to the review of "a board of officers." This in it self is unusual. There is nothing about an ordinary honorable discharge action in the Navy that requires a review by a board of officers.
According to the secretary of the Navy's document, the "authority of reference" this board was using in considering Mr. Kerry's record was "Title 10, U.S. Code Section 1162 and 1163. "This section refers to the grounds for involuntary separation from the service. What was being reviewed, then, was Mr. Kerry's involuntary separation from the service. And it couldn't have been an honorable discharge, or there would have been no point in any review at all. The review was likely held to improve Mr. Kerry's status of discharge from a less than honorable discharge to an honorable discharge.
A Kerry campaign spokesman, David Wade, was asked whether Mr. Kerry had ever been a victim of an attempt to deny him an honorable discharge. There has been no response to that inquiry.
Of course, Kerry has repeatedly refused to sign Form 180, which would allow the release of all of his military records. If he was honorably discharged, those records would clear everything up and we can move on to whatever allegations are going to come out about Bush now. There are about 100 pages of files that remain unreleased, and I'm not the only one eager to know what is in those records.
Erick at Political Junkie has his thoughts. Polipundit is more skeptical, but asks the question that I want answered:

But then why won’t Kerry sign form 180 and release all his military records? His refusal to do so is only going to fan these flames.

UPDATE: Powerline has much more, including the possibility that what Kerry actually received was a "general discharge."

UPDATE 2: BeldarBlog has the definitive post on this budding controversy. Go there now.

UPDATE 3: NE Republican has more thoughts.

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