OCTOBER 16, 2000
Flag flap follow up
© 2000 WorldNetDaily.com

When you do what I do, both on the radio and here on WorldNetDaily.com, you get called a lot of nasty names. It goes with the territory and frankly I no longer take it personally, despite the decidedly personal nature of many of the attacks.

Back in August, I broke a story that opened a floodgate of vitriol, vilification and claims of misplaced creative writing.

Teddy Roosevelt once observed, "It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

I wrote, "President Clinton reportedly plans to visit China and Vietnam before the end of his term, and, according to high-ranking Navy officers, the commander in chief will alter long-standing naval regulations to allow the American flag to fly below that of Vietnam when he sails into the communist nation's territorial waters on a U.S. Navy ship." it sparked considerable criticism. I even started to get almost daily notes from management "We're taking a lot of heat on this." Well, yeah; I warned them when I submitted the story we would get heat over my refusal to name my sources and the scope of effrontery to every single living and dead veteran. I still get e-mail from folks (both on and off active duty) who claim there would be significant negative consequences to appeasing Vietnams hubris.

Immediately following the initial report, the Navy's Alan Goldstein issued a denial, "A spokesman for the U.S. Navy has officially denied allegations, raised in a WorldNetDaily report, that President Clinton will alter long-standing Navy regulations to allow the U.S. flag to be flown in a subordinate position to that of communist Vietnam.

We even heard from a congressional aide guaranteeing the story was bogus. Then, three weeks later, USA Today reported the White House had acknowledged the trip to Vietnam. Sept. 15, WorldNetDaily reported, "Administration confirms Clinton Vietnam trip. WND story, widely criticized, now partly verified by White House."

OK, so reluctantly, diffidently, and (as usual) tardily, the Clinton administration has confirmed what WorldNetDaily first reported last month amid much controversy, "that the president will make a trip to Vietnam, shortly after the Nov. 7 election so as to minimize negative political fallout for Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore." Good luck. The cat is out of the bag, after having coughed up the furball of another administration lie.

Recently, I got a phone call from one of my original sources with a follow up he had received from a Navy officer in the commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet's office, or CINCPACFLT, who had first hand information to share.

"Thanks for sending those news accounts concerning Clinton's planned trip to Vietnam and the proposed change to Navy Regulations.

"You asked what the hell is going on in the Navy. In a nutshell, and unfortunately, one or more of our Navy spokesmen are not being truthful. That in itself is a sad event and serves to illustrate what has happened to the military under this administration. There was a proposal to change the regulations to accommodate a presidential trip to Vietnam and Vietnam requires that its flag fly in the superior position." Did you get that? There was a proposal to change the regulations to stroke Vietnam. "The good news is that there appears to be no support for the proposal on the staff but the bad news is there is more to this story."

I knew the plan had been discussed and that regrettably very high-ranking officers were present for the discussion -- yeah, the kind of "perfumed princes" (Dave Hackworth's phrase respectfully borrowed) that wear stars on their epaulets.

I have just learned that "The direction to submit the request apparently did not originate on the CINCPACFLT staff but was directed from above, probably up at the SECDEF (Secretary of Defense) level." That is cabinet level, folks. Anyone care to hazard a guess who gives direction to cabinet officers?

"Unfortunately, everyone serving in this administration seems to have been corrupted by it, or perhaps all of Clinton's DOD appointees were corrupt coming in the door. No one is talking about this issue on the staff anymore which strongly suggests that the news story killed the initiative. If I were a betting man, I would bet that this is a dead issue."

Hellfireanddamnation, it had better be dead, because I have heard from officers and NCOs who claim that if ordered to fly Vietnam's flag in a superior position on a Navy ship, they would consider that an "unlawful order." Now if someone wants to get creative try for a moment contemplating what a bunch of PO'd Marine officers and senior Navy NCOs just "might" do when confronted with what a consensus considers to be an "unlawful order"? And you thought living with Hillary was difficult?

"To clarify one facet of the story, I am sure that there never was any intention for Clinton to go to Vietnam on a Navy ship, although he may envision himself traveling on a Navy ship, as did Franklin D. Roosevelt. I believe that the concept was for a port visit by one of our ships concurrent with his visit." That makes sense -- in a perverted, manipulative, disingenuous kind of way.

"In any event, is it not interesting that the White House finally owned up to the visit after this news article broke? I put nothing past this guy and I hope Mr. Metcalf keeps burning him." You can count on it, sailor.

"I'd like to get word to him that his story is accurate but this administration is vindictive and I would like to leave the Navy with my rank and retirement intact. Col. David Hackworth has it right. It is time to pull the travel plug on Clinton. ..."

Sir, you have. And thank you for your understanding of duty, honor and country. I will pray for you and hope that someday in the not too distant future you have a commander in chief who deserves your dedicated service.