Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 17, 2004
POLITICS: Swift Dodge?
Has the Navy determined that John Kerry was entitled to his medals? An AP report seems at first glance to say so:
Vice Adm. R.A. Route, the Navy inspector general, conducted the review of Kerry's Vietnam-ear [sic] military service awards at the request of Judicial Watch, a public interest group.
Hmm, "procedures followed properly"?
"Our examination found that existing documentation regarding the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals indicates the awards approval process was properly followed," Route wrote in the memo sent Friday to Navy Secretary Gordon England.
"In particular, the senior officers who awarded the medals were properly delegated authority to do so. In addition, we found that they correctly followed the procedures in place at the time for approving these awards."
This is almost certainly the right decision as far as the Navy is concerned, but it does nothing to resolve the public question, which is dumped back on the voters to decide whether the facts matter and, if so, what they are. Not the reference, however, to "existing documentation" - I'm sure Judicial Watch will be hot to pursue whether everything available to Route has been made public.
UPDATE: Tom Maguire thinks this proves that the Navy has documents we don't, since there isn't sufficient public information to conclude that the proper procedures were followed with regard to Kerry's first Purple Heart.