Sunday, December 31, 2006

Swift Boat Lies about Kerry!

Do we need to fight the Swift Boat Lies anymore?

Apparently there are those who wish to smear, lie, spread misinformation, and otherwise defame the Senator. They do not like his opinion about Vietnam, preferring to live in the fantasy that never was. Senator John Kerry showed courage and leadership bringing the injustices of that Southeast Asia morass to the attention of Congress and pointing out the problems of such a war. His actions with Vietnam Veterans against the War has continued to produce a reaction that has followed him since.

For those interested, here is an excerpt from Factcheck.org on the 2004 election question:
"A group funded by the biggest Republican campaign donor in Texas began running an attack ad Aug. 5 in which former Swift Boat veterans claim Kerry lied to get one of his two decorations for bravery and two of his three purple hearts.
But the veterans who accuse Kerry are contradicted by Kerry's former crewmen, and by Navy records.

One of the accusers says he was on another boat "a few yards" away during the incident which won Kerry the Bronze Star, but the former Army lieutenant whom Kerry plucked from the water that day backs Kerry's account. In an Aug. 10 opinion piece in the conservative Wall Street Journal , Rassmann (a Republican himself) wrote that the ad was "launched by people without decency" who are "lying" and "should hang their heads in shame."

And on Aug. 19, Navy records came to light also contradicting the accusers. One of the veterans who says Kerry wasn't under fire was himself awarded a Bronze Star for aiding others "in the face of enemy fire" during the same incident."

Another report from the Boston Globe relates the retraction of a Swift Boater who realized that what was being done was entirely political, that those who sought to attack Senator Kerry besmirched the reputation of every American veteran.

As noted:

"Veteran retracts criticism of Kerry

By Michael Kranish, Globe Staff | August 6, 2004

WASHINGTON -- A week after Senator John F. Kerry heralded his wartime experience by surrounding himself at the Democratic convention with his Vietnam ''Band of Brothers," a separate group of veterans has launched a television ad campaign and a book that questions the basis for some of Kerry's combat medals.

But yesterday, a key figure in the anti-Kerry campaign, Kerry's former commanding officer, backed off one of the key contentions. Lieutenant Commander George Elliott said in an interview that he had made a ''terrible mistake" in signing an affidavit that suggests Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star -- one of the main allegations in the book. The affidavit was given to The Boston Globe by the anti-Kerry group to justify assertions in their ad and book.

Elliott is quoted as saying that Kerry ''lied about what occurred in Vietnam . . . for example, in connection with his Silver Star, I was never informed that he had simply shot a wounded, fleeing Viet Cong in the back."

The statement refers to an episode in which Kerry killed a Viet Cong soldier who had been carrying a rocket launcher, part of a chain of events that formed the basis of his Silver Star. Over time, some Kerry critics have questioned whether the soldier posed a danger to Kerry's crew. Crew members have said Kerry's actions saved their lives.

Yesterday, reached at his home, Elliott said he regretted signing the affidavit and said he still thinks Kerry deserved the Silver Star.

''I still don't think he shot the guy in the back," Elliott said. ''It was a terrible mistake probably for me to sign the affidavit with those words. I'm the one in trouble here."

Elliott said he was no under personal or political pressure to sign the statement, but he did feel ''time pressure" from those involved in the book. ''That's no excuse," Elliott said. ''I knew it was wrong . . . In a hurry I signed it and faxed it back. That was a mistake."

The affidavit also contradicted earlier statements by Elliott, who came to Boston during Kerry's 1996 Senate campaign to defend Kerry on similar charges, saying that Kerry acted properly and deserved the Silver Star.

The book, ''Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry," is to be published next week. Yesterday it reached number one on the bestseller list on Amazon.com, based on advance orders, in part because of publicity about it on the Drudge Report.

The book seeks to undermine one of the central claims of Kerry's campaign -- that his Vietnam War heroism would make him a good commander in chief.

While the Regnery Publishing yesterday declined to release an advance copy of the book, Drudge's website quotes it as saying, ''Elliott indicates that a Silver Star recommendation would not have been made by him had he been aware of the actual facts."

Meanwhile, a television advertising campaign began yesterday featuring many of the anti-Kerry veterans who are quoted in the book, including Elliott. In the ad, Elliott says, ''John Kerry has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam."

Asked to supply evidence to support that statement, the anti-Kerry group provided a copy of Elliott's affidavit. Elliott said the same affidavit had been used in the production of the book.

It is unclear whether the work contains further justification for the assertion, beyond Elliott's statement.

Kerry won the Silver Star for his action on Feb. 28, 1969, in which he shot a Viet Cong soldier who had been carrying a rocket launcher and running toward a hut. All of Kerry's crewmates who participated and are still living said in interviews last year that the action was necessary and appropriate, and it was Elliott who recommended Kerry for the Silver Star.

In an interview for a seven-part biographical series that appeared in the Globe last year, Kerry said: ''I don't have a second's question" about killing the Viet Cong. ''He was running away with a live B-40, and, I thought, poised to turn around and fire it."

Asked whether that meant that he had shot the guerrilla in the back, Kerry said, ''No, absolutely not," adding that the enemy had been running to a hut for cover, where he could have destroyed Kerry's boat and killed the crew.

The forthcoming book is coauthored by Jerome R. Corsi and John O'Neill, a former Vietnam naval officer who in 1971 debated Kerry on the Dick Cavett show, challenging Kerry's assertion that US atrocities had been widespread in Vietnam. O'Neill met with then-President Richard M. Nixon for an hour before debating Kerry, and his efforts were encouraged by Nixon's aides.

O'Neill could not be reached for comment yesterday. President Bush's campaign denied working with O'Neill on the book or with the producers of the television advertisement.

Meanwhile, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, urged Bush yesterday to disassociate himself from what he called a ''dishonest and dishonorable" attack. In response, the White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, said, ''We have not and we will not question Senator Kerry's service in Vietnam."

The Associated Press reported yesterday that Houston home-builder Bob J. Perry, a major Republican donor, gave at least $100,000 to the organization sponsoring the ad, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

The Kerry campaign spokesman, Michael Meehan, said none of those in the ad had served on a boat with Kerry. ''Some of these men defended John Kerry's honor on his military record in 1996 and so they were either lying then or lying now," Meehan said. ''Either way, it is gutter politics."

The book also raises questions about the action of March 13, 1969, for which Kerry was awarded a Bronze Star and his third Purple Heart, according to an advance chapter of the book.

The anti-Kerry group provided three affidavits from veterans on nearby boats questioning aspects of the award.

On that day, Kerry rescued James Rassmann, who went overboard as a result of an explosion. Rassmann appeared by Kerry's side during the Iowa caucus campaign and at last week's Democratic National Convention, telling the story of how Kerry pulled him out of the water while his boat was under fire.

As in the case of the Silver Star, it was Elliott who recommended Kerry for the Bronze Star. According to the recommendation signed by Elliott, a mine exploded under a boat accompanying Kerry's craft.

''Almost simultaneously, another mine detonated close aboard [Kerry's] PCF-94, knocking First Lieutenant Rassman [sic] into the water and wounding Lt. JG Kerry in the right arm."

Elliott then described how Kerry ''managed to pull Lt. Rassman aboard despite the painful wound in his right arm." Elliott concluded that Kerry had been ''calm, professional, and highly courageous in the face of enemy fire."

Elliott, in the interview yesterday, said that based on the affidavits of the veterans on other boats, he now thinks his assessment about the Bronze Star and third Purple Heart may have been based on poor information.

In one affidavit, for example, Van O'Dell, who said he had been in a boat near Kerry on that day, declared that Kerry had ''lied" about what happened on that day and said that Rassmann was not under enemy fire when Kerry pulled him aboard.

Elliott, asked about the contradiction between his recommendation and his new questioning of Kerry's third Purple Heart, responded, ''It makes me look kind of silly, to be perfectly honest."

But he said: ''I simply have no reason for these guys to be lying, and if they are lying in concert, it is one hell of a conspiracy. So, on the basis of all of the information that has come out, I have chosen to believe the other men. I absolutely do not know first hand."

Naval documents said that Kerry ''received shrapnel wounds in left buttocks and contusions on right forearm when a mine detonated close to PCF 94 while engaged in operations on river. Condition and prognosis excellent. Result of hostile action."

Rassmann, reached by telephone yesterday, said he has never had any question that Kerry deserved the Purple Heart. He said there were two separate events: One was earlier in the day, when he and Kerry blew up a rice cache, and the explosion caused some of the rice to hit Kerry, and perhaps some weapon fragments as well. The second involved a mine explosion as Kerry and Rassmann were on patrol. The explosion, Rassmann said, knocked him overboard and threw Kerry against the pilot house, injuring his arm.

Rassmann said that he has always believed that Kerry got the third Purple Heart solely for the injury to his arm as a result of the explosion in the water.

''If he got fragments in the buttocks due to the mine, that is new information to me," Rassmann said.

''I would say there is confusion. Maybe they did lump it together. It was my understanding he got it for the wound being thrown across the pilot house."

Either way, Rassmann said, Kerry deserved the third Purple Heart because such awards are given for injuries incurred in combat, and Kerry's arm injury qualified. He also stood by his recollection that he was under fire when rescued by Kerry.

Those questioning Kerry's medals, Rassmann said, are ''angry about John speaking out against the [Vietnam] war."
Those that attempt to discredit Senator Kerry are acting in a shameful and unAmerican fashion.

They do not like what Senator Kerry had to say about Vietnam.

They do not like what Senator Kerry has to say today about Iraq.

But America needs his courage, his leadership, and his ability to turn his boat into the face of hostile fire. America does not need another 'swell guy' who would be great to have a beer with. America needs Senator Kerry and this blogger pledges to stand with him.

Bob

11 Comments:

Blogger Michael said...

From a John Edwards ad. Are ALL these men liars?


Swift Boat Veterans For Truth: Any Questions

TRANSCRIPT:

JOHN EDWARDS [from speech used in Kerry's "Three Minutes" ad]: If you have any question about what John Kerry's made of, just spend three minutes with the men who served with him thirty years ago...

(On screen: Here's what those men think about John Kerry.)

AL FRENCH: I served with John Kerry.

BOB ELDER: I served with John Kerry.

(On screen: www.swiftvets.com)

GEORGE ELLIOT: John Kerry has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam.

(On screen: George Elliot; Lieutenant Commander; 2 Bronze Stars)

AL FRENCH: He is lying about his record.

(On screen: Al French; Ensign; 2 Bronze Stars)

LEWIS LETSON: I know John Kerry is lying about his first Purple Heart, because I treated him for that injury.

(On screen: Lewis Letson; Medical Officer; Lieutenant Commander)

VAN ODELL: John Kerry lied to get his Bronze Star. I know, I was there -- I saw what happened.

(On screen: Van Odell; Gunners Mate 2nd Class)

JACK CHENOWETH: His account of what happened and what actually happened are the difference between night and day.

(On screen: Jack Chenoweth; Lieutenant J.G.; Navy Commendation Medal)

ROY HOFFMAN: John Kerry has not been honest.

(On screen: Roy Hoffman; Rear Admiral; Distinguished Service Medal; Silver Star)

ADRIAN LONSDALE: And he lacks the capacity to lead.

(On screen: Adrian Lonsdale; Commander; Legion of Ment; Bronze Star)

LARRY THURLOW: When the chips were down, you could not count on John Kerry.

(On screen: Larry Thurlow; Lieutenant J.G.; Bronze Star)

BOB ELDER: John Kerry is no war hero.

(On screen: Bob Elder; Lieutenant; Bronze Star)

GRANT HIBBARD: He betrayed all his shipmates. He lied before the Senate.

(On screen: Grant Hibbard; Lieutenant Commander; 2 Bronze Stars)

SHELTON WHITE: John Kerry betrayed the men and women he served with in Vietnam.

(On screen: Sheldon White; Lieutenant; 2 Bronze Stars)

JOE PONDER: He dishonored his country. He most certainly did.

(On screen: Joe Ponder; Gunners Mate 3rd Class; Purple Heart)

BOB HILDRETH: I served with John Kerry. John Kerry cannot be trusted.

(On screen: Bob Hildreth; Lieutenant; Bronze Star, Purple Heart)

7:10 PM  
Blogger DynamicDems said...

I too stand with Senator Kerry.

It amazes me that men who have worn the uniform of the United States of America would lie for political reasons. There are men claiming that they "served with John Kerry" who claim this only because they were in the service at the same time and place.

Interesting how many of these men are conservative Republicans. It is also interesting that the men who actually served on Kerry's boat WITH him are his strongest advocates. It might be because (according to Kerry's men) John Kerry saved their lives. But then the wingers will probably claim that Kerry's men are all closet liberals like former Secretary of the Navy, Senator John Warner (R-VA), who reviewed and awarded Kerry's Silver Star to Lt. Kerry.

The facts never stand in the way of swiftboating. Lies and distortion are the tools of the trade, apparently.

6:33 AM  
Blogger Marjorie G said...

When Douglas Brinkley published his book from John Kerry's journals, given carte blanche, statements were revealed uncomfortable to Roy Hoffman. Tit for tat does not excuse his lies and revisionism now.

A judgment came down some months ago to the Swift Boats against their $22 million dollar campaign of media, direct mail and hate. That probably doesn't include some personal payoff by Bob Perry and the Texas group responsible.

Lying about the service of one veteran besmirches all of them, and does those lying only dishonor.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Marjorie G said...

Forgot to mention that it was the truth about Hoffman, and his order to defoliate everything in sight. He did not have a good reputation back then. The book reminded him.

11:20 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

"It amazes me that men who have worn the uniform of the United States of America would lie for political reasons"

So, all of the men above lied? Give us just a LITTLE proof?

11:46 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Hey Bob, when are you going to explain why it took Kerry over 5 years to get an Honorable Discharge and why it didn't happen until Carter's amnesty program for deserters and those who received a less than honorable? Waiting Bob!

11:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ba-loney, Michael.

Carter'amnesty approvals are a matter of public record. Yet there is not a single mention in those records, nor in any of the extensive FBI files on Kerry, nor in any of the volumes of records and tape recordings from the Nixon administration indicating that Kerry ever - ever - received anything but an honorable discharge. Not a single record of a court-martial (required) - nothing. As a matter of fact, Nixon's hatchet man, Chuck Colson, is on record as saying they did everything they could to discredit Kerry but couldn't find a single thing against him.

Aside from the fact that an activist like Kerry would have put any attempt to give him a less than honorable discharge on the front page, there is not a single other member of VVAW - many of whom did far more than Kerry did - who received a less than honorable discharge for antiwar activities.

On the other hand, there are plenty of vets out there who have said they received the same discharge that Kerry did, on the same date, as part of an administrative reduction in forces. Don't think so? Check out Free Republic.

Oh, and you want proof that these Swift Boat Liars for Rent actually lied? Okay, check out this link:

http://homepage.mac.com/chinesemac/kerry_medals/truth.html

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Link to "Truth and Unfit for Command":

http://homepage.mac.com/chinesemac/kerry_medals/truth.html

If it still doesn't come up, just run a Google search for that title.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

"Yet there is not a single mention in those records"

What records? Kerry won't release all his military records. You still have not explained why it took Kerry over 5 years to receive an Honorable Discharge! I and my friends completed our active duty the same time Kerry did and we all received our Honorable Discharges within 1 year!

"Yet there is not a single mention in those records, nor in any of the extensive FBI files on Kerry, nor in any of the volumes of records and tape recordings from the Nixon administration indicating that Kerry ever - ever - received anything but an honorable discharge"

Would you like to provide a link to these files? Again, explain why it took Kerry 5 years to get a Honorable Discharge?

"Not a single record of a court-martial"

Not required for a LESS THAN HONORABLE DISCHARGE. While he was still an officer on inactive duty (1971) he met with the enemy in Paris. Do you think that anyone in the military in their right mind was going to issue him an Honorable Discharge? He could clear this all up by releasing ALL his military records, but he won't!

"an activist like Kerry would have put any attempt to give him a less than honorable discharge on the front page"

No he wouldn't! He knew he was running for office. Nixon just won reelection with a landslide (49 states). He would NOT want people to know that he was released from the military with a "less than honorable". Once again, he can clear this all up by releasing ALL his military records.

"On the other hand, there are plenty of vets out there who have said they received the same discharge that Kerry did, on the same date"

Nonsense! Again, me and my friends served the same time Kerry did and we received our Honorable Discharges within 1 year, unlike Kerry.

11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Mikey, much as you would like it, I'm not going to do your research for you. I told you where to find Kerry's records - for instance, try Findlaw.com - and the FBI files and other records are available through the Internet. You can contact the DOJ for information on Carter amnesty cases.

You are wrong that Kerry would not have publicized any attempt to punish him for his antiwar activities. He made every other facet of his activities public. At best, you only speculate to fit your own preconceived notions.

And once again, there were many VVAW members who did far more than Kerry ever did and none of them received a less than honorable discharge.

You seem to know very little about how reserve service works, and you quite obviously haven't looked at the discharge documents in Kerry's file - which by the way, were made public.

Kerry was discharged from active duty in 1970. His standard reserve obligation ended in 1972. In 1972 he was routinely transferred to the Standby Ready Reserve, which, unless he specified, was for an indefinite period. In 1978 he either requested discharge from the SRR, or was discharged pursuant to a reduction in forces action, which was typical during the post-Vietnam era.

And again, I suggest you try a little research before you say this never happened to anyone else.

You are able to present nothing in the way of documentation or fact. You are willing to base your argument on SBV't" talking points and your own speculation. Which of course makes you their perfect target audience.

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS, need I point out that the year Kerry ran for Congress was the year that he was transferred to the Standby Reserves. So he had no need to worry about any sort of discharge being made public during his campaign. Yeah, I probably need to as you don't seem to read closely enough to figure that out.

5:12 PM  

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