Storming Fort Brag 

Military fakes and the people who bust them

Thursday, Oct 28 2004

Page 5 of 5

What has been even more startling than the anti-Kerry veterans’ charges is the ferocious anger with which they burst onto the election campaign scene. Retired U.S. Army Colonel and author David Hackworth, in his online Soldiers for the Truth column, pleaded for both sides in the Kerry-Bush service disputes to halt their attacks, yet singled out the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as “a chorus of haters” who were harming the cause of all veterans. “A judge,” Hackworth wrote, “would call these men liars and disallow their biased statements.”


Regardless of whether John Kerry becomes president, the credibility of military fakebusters will be questioned by at least some Americans who wonder why a decorated combat veteran is being hounded by people who don’t bat an eyelash over George W. Bush’s phantom National Guard service. Justifiably or not, when they see B.G. Burkett on FOX News dusting off McCarthyite guilt-by-association tactics, in trying to link Kerry with Jane Fonda, they’ll begin to wonder how fair and balanced is his own fakebusting research. (“He absolutely caused more deaths in Vietnam,” Burkett told Hannity and Colmes. “He extended the war. That’s why he’s mentioned favorably in virtually every north Communist [sic] book, biography . . . His picture hangs in honor.”)

Related Stories

  • Nick Ut: The Shot of a Lifetime 2

    It was a lucky shot, some say of Nick Ut's famous Vietnam War photo The Terror of War, or Napalm Girl, as it is more commonly known. Less lucky, of course, was the little girl in the photo, Kim Phuc. She was running down the street, naked, after a napalm...
  • Dueling Sterlings and Vietnam Conflicts: Readers React

    Our Man in Los Angeles Readers loved Gendy Alimurung's profile of Nick Ut, who as a young man shot the definitive photo of the Vietnam War — and who continues to work for the Associated Press as a photojournalist in L.A. today ("The Shot of a Lifetime," July 18). Writes...
  • Proposition 41 Housing for Poor Veterans Wins Big 3

    Looks like California voters like the idea of helping out troubled vets with special new housing, as early returns show a strong 65.8 percent in favor of the Veterans Housing & Homeless Bond Act of 2014, with 34.2 percent of voters opposed. The proposition is being closely watched by angry...
  • Where to Eat Indonesian Food Like a Dutch Colonist in L.A.

    If you want it, there are plenty of options to get Indonesian or Malaysian food in L.A. these days. Indo Café, which was widely regarded as the best place to get Indonesian on the Westside, closed a couple of years ago, but there’s still Simpang Asia across the street, which...
  • A Vietnamese Cookbook

    An emphasis on freshness isn't the sole domain of Vietnamese cuisine, but you could be persuaded that it's made quite the art of market-to-table cooking as you thumb through Luke Nguyen's The Food of Vietnam (Hardie Grant Books). It's a compendium of regional recipes across the Southeast Asian country in...

The deeper lessons of the Kerry donnybrook may lie in a realization of how nearly impossible it is to define the past. Both sides in this campaign issue have assembled experts and even eyewitnesses who still swear by diametrically opposite truths.

Since John F. Kennedy’s assassination, historic events have been captured in increasingly detailed relief by ever more sophisticated recording technologies, yet remain Rashomon-like mysteries open to interpretation. Forget about solving Kennedy’s murder — how would his PT-109 legend fare under the gaze of today’s history police? In the 21st century military fakes have unprecedentedly sophisticated tools at their disposal via the Internet. Their implacable hunters also use cyber research to expose them, yet new fakes begin operating every day. As Steven Waterman says, “We bust them but keep finding more under the rocks.”

Perhaps distortion has become second nature to Americans. “I certainly would condemn these people,” professor Jellison says of military fakes, “but let’s not treat them as though they are completely different from us. There’s an element of impression management that we all engage in. It can be something as simple as inflating your résumé, using cosmetics or having plastic surgery. It is important to recognize that we all have that trait.”

Reach the writer at smikulan@laweekly.com

Related Content

Now Trending

  • Foster the People's Downtown L.A. Mural Is Coming Down

    The controversial Foster the People mural downtown is coming down, the office of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today. Despite claims by the pop band that it had necessary permits and that the artwork was legitimately produced, the mayor's office states what we reported previously: The piece is on a...
  • Sexual Predator Is Targeting Females in Eastside Park

    A sexual predator is on the loose in an Eastside park, police warned today. Cops say the creep has targeted "lone females" walking in Ernest E. Debs Regional Park three times between January and July. He has groped, exposed himself and even attacked with a knife, the Los Angeles Police...
  • U.S. Reps Call For Federal Intervention in Dodger TV Blackout

    A group of local U.S. representatives wants the Federal Communications Commission to help end Time Warner Cable's blackout of Dodger games for competing cable and satellite providers. Negotiations to bring the team's games to AT&T U-verse, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, DirecTV, Dish Network, Mediacom, Suddenlink Communications and Verizon FIOS have gotten...
Los Angeles Concert Tickets


  • Street League Skateboarding Super Crown World Championship
    On Sunday, Street League Skateboarding touched down in the Galen Center at USC as part of a four-stop tour for SLS's Super Crown World Championship. The L.A. stop determined the roster for Super Crown, airing August 24th on FOX Sports 1. The final eight are Nyjah Huston, Luan Oliveira, Torey Pudwill, Shane O'Neill, Paul Rodriguez, Chaz Ortiz, Matt Berger and Ishod Wair. All photos by Nanette Gonzales.
  • Comic-Con's "Celebrity" Autograph Area
    A sometimes overlooked (but still incredibly unique) aspect of San Diego Comic-Con are the celebs available to sign autographs, as well as the autograph seekers themselves. If you've ever wanted to meet the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld or the guy who played Michelangelo in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, chances are, as you wander the Autograph Area, you'll be able to connect with someone you didn't even realize you were waiting your whole life to meet! All photos by Rob Inderrieden.
  • Real Madrid Soccer Practice at UCLA
    Fans came out to greet world champion soccer team Real Madrid as they practice at UCLA. This is the first time that soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has practiced with the team this year. All photos by Jeff Cowan.