Slow Boat Veterans for Lies

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Now it is out: "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" is just a political dirty trick operation financed by multimillionaire supporters of President George W. Bush. According to the August 20 New York Times, "a series of interviews and a review of documents show a web of connections to the Bush family, high-profile Texas political figures and President Bush’s chief political aide, Karl Rove. Records show that the group received the bulk of its initial financing from two men with ties to the president and his family."

The last thing dirty tricksters are interested in is truth.

This group of frauds claims that Kerry’s heroics were nothing but a PR operation and his wounds exaggerated or self-inflicted.

Think about that for a moment. The scurrilous attack on Kerry is an attack on all decorated veterans. If the US Navy handed out fraudulent Silver and Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts to Kerry, how do we know if anyone’s medals are good?

And how exactly does a person go about self-inflicting shrapnel wounds?

The way I figure it, the Republican dirty trick meisters believe if President Bush can lie about war, they can lie about Kerry.

Just where do the Republicans think they are taking us? If they succeed in destroying the concept of truth and the shame of being a liar, how will our society differ from the great tyrannies of the 20th century?

Former Swift Boat commander Larry Thurlow claims that no boat was under fire when Kerry turned back to rescue Green Beret Jim Rassmann, who was blown into the water. Yet, the Washington Post reports that Thurlow’s own Bronze Star citation says that all five boats were under "enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire." Jim Rassmann backs Kerry’s account and says he expected to be killed by Viet Cong fire.

When confronted with the words on his own citation, Thurlow claims never to have read his citation and that it is wrong. Does anyone really believe that a person awarded a Bronze Star wouldn’t read the citation accompanying the medal?

Did you know that Kerry’s critics were not even present at the action for which Kerry was awarded the Silver Star? Writing in the Chicago Tribune on August 21, 2004, William B. Rood excoriates Kerry’s critics for "stories I know to be untrue."

Listen to Rood:

"On Feb. 28, 1969, I was officer in charge of PCF-23, one of three swift boats–including Kerry’s PCF-94 and Lt. j.g. Donald Droz’s PCF-43–that carried Vietnamese regional and Popular Force troops and a Navy demolition team up the Dong Cung, a narrow tributary of the Bay Hap River, to conduct a sweep in the area.

"The approach of the noisy 50-foot aluminum boats, each driven by two huge 12-cylinder diesels and loaded down with six crew members, troops and gear, was no secret.

"Ambushes were a virtual certainty, and that day was no exception.

"The difference was that Kerry, who had tactical command of that particular operation, had talked to Droz and me beforehand about not responding the way the boats usually did to an ambush.

"We agreed that if we were not crippled by the initial volley and had a clear fix on the location of the ambush, we would turn directly into it, focusing the boats’ twin .50-caliber machine guns on the attackers and beaching the boats."

Kerry’s innovative tactic was used twice that day with such success that it got the attention of Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, who, Rood reports, "flew down to our base at An Thoi off the southern tip of Vietnam to pin the Silver Star on Kerry and assorted Bronze Stars and commendation medals on the rest of us."

SBVT operative John E. O’Neill wasn’t on the scene, but that didn’t stop him from coauthoring a diatribe against Kerry titled "Unfit for Command," a collection of lies on which the TV political ad is based.

Here’s what the Green Beret who Kerry pulled out of the river has to say about SBVT: "This smear campaign has been launched by people without decency. Their charges are false; their stories are fabricated, made up by people who did not serve with Kerry in Vietnam."

The New York Times’ conclusion: "on close examination, the accounts of u2018Swift Boat Veterans for Truth’ prove to be riddled with inconsistencies. In many cases, material offered as proof by these veterans is undercut by official Navy records and the men’s own statements."

One thing is certain: Kerry was there on that boat in Viet Nam. Where was George W. Bush?

Dr. Roberts [send him mail] is John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

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