Swift Boat Liars: Condensed Debunkage
by Maryscott OConnor, Fri Aug 20, 2004 at 02:28:53 PM EDT
1. A group of Vietnam veterans who did not actually serve with John Kerry have joined forces (covertly) with the Bush Administration to attempt to smear John Kerry and his record of service in Vietnam.
-- It is no coincidence that these same men attacked John McCain in his primary bid against Bush in 2000, nor that they also attacked Max Cleland in his Senate race in 2002. If anyone believes this to be a coincidence, an MRI is in order -- or, at the very least, an IQ test.
2. It is not necessary for any of these smears to be truthful in order for their desired effect to be achieved. The mere fact of their having been uttered is enough.
Therefore, the onus is, shamefully, on John Kerry and his supporters to discredit these baldfaced lies and the liars who are perpetrating this slanderous malfeasance.
Mr. Kerry has provided plentiful evidence to back his claims, while the liars have provided merely hearsay, innuendo and malicious mendacity. The media, while doing its usual yoga positions to appear neutral, fair and "balanced," have only served to lend legitimacy to the liars by repeatedly offering them a platform.
It appears, in this season of malice, that the only conceivable way to win against liars is to shout the truth more loudly than they shout their lies -- and more frequently.
In the spirit of that unfortunate necessity, I have reproduced John Kerry's own compendium of evidence.
From the Kerry/Edwards website, a comprehensive debunking of the false claims made by the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth."
"John Kerry has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam." -- George Elliott
George Elliott was NOT a crewmate of John Kerry's
Was Elliott Honest in 1996 When He Said This of Kerry?
"The fact that he chased an armed enemy down is not something not to be looked down upon but it was an act of courage. And the whole outfit served with honor..."[T]here was no question that it was above and beyond anything that we had seen down there in that case at that time frame...It just so happened that this one was so outstanding that the Silver Star was eventually awarded."[Kerry Press Conference, 10/27/96]
In 1969, Elliott Wrote This to Describe John Kerry's Fitness as a SWIFT Boat Commander:
"In a combat environment often requiring independent, decisive action, LTJG Kerry was unsurpassed. He constantly reviewed tactics and lessons learned in river operations and applied his experience at every opportunity. On one occasion, while in tactical command of a three boat operation his units were taken under fire from ambush. LTJG Kerry rapidly assessed the situation and ordered his units to turn directly into the ambush. This decision resulted in routing the attackers with several KIA. LTJG Kerry emerges as the acknowledged leader in his peer group. His bearing and appearance are above reproach. He has of his own volition learned the Vietnamese language and is instrumental in the successful Vietnamese training program. During the period of this report LTJG Kerry has been awarded the Silver Star medal, the Bronze Star medal, the Purple Heart medal (2nd and 3rd awards)."[U.S. Navy, Officer Fitness Report signed by George Elliott; 18, Dec 1969]
Elliott on Presenting Kerry the Silver Star: He Went "Above & Beyond the Call of Duty."
"The [Silver Star] ceremony [for John Kerry] was meant to be a morale booster,' Commander George Elliot recalled. 'We were trying to pay tribute to Kerry and the others for going above and beyond the call of duty. The Silver Star is always a big deal."[Tour of Duty, 2004, Brinkley; p. 294]
"He is lying about his record." -- Al French
Al French was NOT a crewmate of John Kerry's
Kerry's Not Lying And Neither Are the People Who Back Up Kerry's Military Actions:
* The U.S. Navy
* Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Commander U.S. Naval Forces in Vietnam
* Admiral John Hyland Commander in Chief U.S. Pacific Fleet
* Presidential Historian Douglas Brinkley
* The Boston Globe
* James Rassmann and the Crewmates of PCF-44 & PCF 94.
"I know John Kerry is lying about his first purple heart, because I treated him for that injury." -- Louis Letson
Louis Letson, Now Part of the Republican Veterans Efforts to Smear Kerry, WAS NOT the Doctor That Signed Kerry's Sick Call Sheet and Was NOT a Kerry Crewmate
Letson Offers NO PROOF He Treated Kerry.
Despite Letson's claims to have treated Kerry, he is not listed on any document as having treated Kerry after the 12/2/68 firefight. Offering only an account of dates and places-which is readily available in Kerry's biography and media accounts-Letson has produced nothing to verify his treatment of Kerry.
Another Doctor Signed Kerry's Sick Call Sheet:
Regarding Dr. Letson's recollection of Mr. Kerry's wound, Michael Meehan, a campaign spokesman, noted that a different person, J. C. Carreon, had signed the "sick call sheet" summarizing treatment of the injury, and asked, "Who is this guy? How do we know that he was the doctor who treated him?" The aides produced several veterans to attest to Mr. Kerry's bona fides. [New York Times, 5/4/04]
Letson Didn't Record His Memories of Vietnam Until Kerry's Emergence in 2003.
"Letson says that last year, as the Democratic campaign began to heat up, he told friends that he remembered treating one of the candidates many years ago. In response to their questions, Letson says, he wrote down his recollections of the time."[National Review Online, 5/4/04]
"John Kerry lied to get his Bronze Star. I know. I was there. I saw what happened." -- Van O'Dell
Van O'Dell was NOT a crewmate of John Kerry's
The Simple Truth:
John Kerry was nominated for the Bronze Star by James Rassmann and eyewitness accounts, official naval documents and independent analyses all state that Kerry and his crew were under fire on the day in question.
Official Naval documents available to the public at the Naval Historical Center in Washington, DC and available at www.JohnKerry.com include the after action reports, also known as "spot reports." These reports contain the details of the four boats involved in these actions on March, 13. 1969-including Kerry's boat PCF-94. These reports contain specific details of time, personnel, combat action and even maps. These report specifically detail the boats involved receiving, "HEAVY A/W (automatic weapons) AND S/A (small arms) FROM BOTH BANKS. FIRECONTINUED FOZNABOUT 5000 METERS."
Kerry's injury report for this action, also available at the Naval Historical Center in Washington DC, reads:
KERRY, JOHN F., XXXXXX, USN WOUNDED IN ACTION -
13 March 1969 vicinity of Song Bay Hap, South
Vietnam. Received shrapnel wounds in the left
buttocks and contusions on the right forearm
when a mine detonated close to PCF-94 while
engaged in operations on river. CONDITIONS AND
PROGNOSIS EXCELLENT. RESULT OF HOSTILE ACTION
The Boston Globe, which has repeatedly criticized John Kerry for any exaggeration or misstatement for the past 30 years, did their own investigation into Kerry's military career. The Globe wrote in their book, "John F. Kerry; A Complete Biography by the Boston Globe Reporters Who Know Him Best", that a mine blast threw James Rassmann into the water and made him "a bobbing target as he dodged the bullets whizzing around him."[p.106]
Eyewitness account from James Rassmann also detail the fact that PCF-94 and other boats were under fire. In March of 2004, Rassmann, a registered Republican who had not seen Kerry in more than 30 years before their reunion in Iowa this year, recalled the following: "Viet Cong snipers fired at him, and Rassmann submerged over and over to avoid being hit. The bullets came from both banks, and Rassmann had nowhere to go. He began thinking his time had come, but the fifth time he came up, he saw the convoy had turned around. Kerry had ordered the boats back to pick up the man overboard. Kerry's boat, under heavy fire, sidled up to the struggling soldier. Rassmann tried to scramble up a cargo net at the bow but was too exhausted to make it all the way. He clung to the net as bullets whizzed past."[Los Angeles Times, 3/13/04]
Kerry's Bronze Star citation recounts the events of that day and include this sentence, "In addition, all units began receiving small arms fire and automatic weapons fire from both banks." Versions of this citation were signed by the Secretary of the Navy and the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Vietnam. This citation is available for the public to read at www.JohnKerry.com.
"His account of what happened and what actually happened are the difference between night and day." -- Jack Chenowith
Jack Chenowith was NOT a crewmate of John Kerry's
Mysterious Vet Named Chenoweth Appears Out of Nowhere to Accuse U.S. Navy & Fellow Vietnam Vets of Lying:
It's Not Kerry's Account on the Bronze Star Citation-It's the Account of the U.S. Navy, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt Commander U.S. Naval Forces in Vietnam and backed up by Presidential Historian Douglas Brinkley, the Boston Globe, James Rassmann and the Crewmate of PCF-44 & PCF 94.
"John Kerry has not been honest." -- Roy Hoffman
Roy Hoffmann was NOT a crewmate of John Kerry's
"Hoffman acknowledged he had no first-hand knowledge to discredit Kerry's claims to valor and said that although Kerry was under his command, he really didn't know Kerry much personally."[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/7/04]
Hoffman's Boss Awarded Kerry Silver Star & Bronze Star: "Captain Roy Hoffman" was Admiral Zumwalt's "trusty aide."
This is What Zumwalt Said About Kerry:
"KERRY's calmness, professionalism and great personal courage under fire were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."[Kerry Bronze Star Citation; www.JohnKerry.com]
Former Senator Bob Kerrey Described Roy Hoffman as "The Classic Body Count Guy"
"Hoffmann was a cigar-chomping officer who brandished an M-16 assault rifle and wore a revolver when he visited troops in the field. "He was the classic body-count guy," Kerrey says. "Bunkers destroyed, hooches destroyed, sort of scorekeeper."[New York Times Magazine, 4/29/01]
Hoffman Thought His Rules of Engagement in Vietnam Were "Too Restrictive"
In the summer of 1968, Hoffmann complained to his superiors in Pearl Harbor that the prevailing rules of engagement were too constrictive. "This was war," Hoffmann said in an interview last month. "This wasn't Sunday school." He made what he said was a pro forma request for looser rules, which was granted. Previously, Hoffmann said, military personnel had not been permitted to fire unless they were fired upon. Under the new rules, he said, they could attack if they felt threatened. "I told them you not only have authority, I damned well expect action," Hoffmann recalled. "If there were men there and they didn't kill them or capture them, you'd hear from me."[New York Times Magazine, 4/29/01]
Hoffman Described by Fellow Vets as "Hotheaded", "Bloodthirsty" and "Egomaniacal"
"Interviews with various Swift boat veterans turned up descriptions of Hoffman as 'hotheaded,' 'bloodthirsty,' and 'egomaniacal'."[Tour of Duty, Brinkley, 2004, p. 105]
"He lacks the capacity to lead" -- Adrian Lonsdale
Adrian Lonsdale was NOT a crewmate of John Kerry's
Adrian Lonsdale in 1996:
"As far as I was concerned, the war was won over there in that part for that period. And it was mainly won because of the bravado and the courage of the young officers that ran the boats, the SWIFT boats and the Coast Guard cutters and Senator Kerry was no exception."[Kerry for Senate Press Conference, 10/27/96]
"When the chips were down, you could not count on John Kerry." -- Larry Thurlow
Larry Thurlow was NOT a crewmate of John Kerry's
Thurlow's Statements Do Not Fit With History - Says Navy is Lying?
On the day Kerry pulled Rassmann from the water, "Larry Thurlow had maneuvered his PCF-51 over by this time and he hopped aboard PCF-3 to offer assistance. The boat was in shambles but they were still shooting too hard to assess any damage""BOATS RECEIVED HEAVY A/W [automatic weapons] & S/A [small arms] FROM BOTH BANKS...ALL BOATS AND MSF RETURNED FIRE...PCF-94 [Kerry's boat] PICKED UP MSF ADVISOR WHO WENT OVERBOARD...PCF-94 TOWED PCF-3." [Tour of Duty, Brinkley, 2004, p. 314; U.S. Navy After Action Report: www.johnkerry.com/pdf/jkmilservice/SpotReports_March1969.pdf]
Larry Thurlow Even Praised Kerry Despite Coming From Different Backgrounds:
"John was sharp as a tack... But he came from a background most of us couldn't understand."[Tour of Duty, Brinkley, 2004 p. 300]
From the New York Times:
A damage report to Mr. Thurlow's boat shows that it received three bullet holes, suggesting enemy fire, and later intelligence reports indicate that one Vietcong was killed in action and five others wounded, reaffirming the presence of an enemy. Mr. Thurlow said the boat was hit the day before. He also received a Bronze Star for the day, a fact left out of "Unfit for Command."
Asked about the award, Mr. Thurlow said that he did not recall what the citation said but that he believed it had commended him for saving the lives of sailors on a boat hit by a mine. If it did mention enemy fire, he said, that was based on Mr. Kerry's false reports. The actual citation, Mr. Thurlow said, was with an ex-wife with whom he no longer has contact, and he declined to authorize the Navy to release a copy. But a copy obtained by The New York Times indicates "enemy small arms,""automatic weapons fire" and "enemy bullets flying about him." The citation was first reported by The Washington Post on Thursday.
"John Kerry is no war hero." -- Bob Elder
Bob Elder was NOT a crewmate of John Kerry's
Kerry's Silver Star Citation:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Coastal Division ELEVEN engaged in armed conflict with Viet Cong insurgents in An Xuyen Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 28 February 1969."
Kerry's Bronze Star Citation:
"For heroic achievement while serving with Coastal Division ELEVEN engaged in armed conflict with Viet Cong communist aggressors in An Xuyen Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 13 March 1969."
These citations are available for the public to read at www.JohnKerry.com
"John Kerry betrayed the men and women he served with in Vietnam." -- Shelton White
Shelton White was NOT a crewmate of John Kerry's
Jim Rassmann, Says Kerry Risked His Life to Save Him:
"Rassmann was 21 at the time, a Special Forces lieutenant in charge of a company of American and Chinese fighters. On that day, they traveled on a convoy of five patrol boats led by the 25-year-old Kerry, a Navy lieutenant - and they were on the run, being chased down the Bay Hap River by enemy soldiers firing guns and rockets. The group had already lost one soldier that day. As they sped down the river, one boat was blown out of the water, and then another. An explosion wounded Kerry in the arm and threw Rassmann into the river. Rassmann dove to the bottom to avoid being run over by the other boats. When he surfaced, he saw the convoy had gone ahead. Viet Cong snipers fired at him, and Rassmann submerged over and over to avoid being hit. The bullets came from both banks, and Rassmann had nowhere to go. He began thinking his time had come, but the fifth time he came up, he saw the convoy had turned around. Kerry had ordered the boats back to pick up the man overboard. Kerry's boat, under heavy fire, sidled up to the struggling soldier. Rassmann tried to scramble up a cargo net at the bow but was too exhausted to make it all the way. He clung to the net as bullets whizzed past. 'Next thing I knew, John came out in the middle of all this,' Rassmann says. 'I couldn't believe it. He was going to get killed. He ran to the edge, reached over with his good arm [Kerry had been wounded in his right arm] and pulled me over the lip.' Rassmann later recommended Kerry for the Silver Star, and was upset when the Army instead awarded Kerry a lesser Bronze Star with a 'V' for valor."[Los Angeles Times, 3/13/04]
"He dishonored his country. He most certainly did." -- Joe Ponder
Joe Ponder was NOT a crewmate of John Kerry's
Kerry's Silver Star Citation:
"His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
Kerry's Bronze Star Citation:
"KERRY's calmness, professionalism and great personal courage under fire were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
These citations are available for the public to read at www.JohnKerry.com
"He betrayed all his shipmates. He lied before the Senate." -- Grant Hibbard
Grant Hibbard was NOT a crewmate of John Kerry's
Kerry's Crewmates Are "All Fiercely Loyal"
"Vietnam crewmates, [are] all fiercely loyal to John Kerry." [AP, 7/29/04]
General Tommy Franks Came to Kerry's Defense on Sean Hannity's Show:
When pressed by conservative talk show host Sean Hannity, retired General and Former Commander in Chief of Central Command, Tommy Franks believed Kerry's summary of what other soldiers had told him about unfortunate actions by a few U.S. soldiers in Vietnam: "I'm not sure that -- that activities like that didn't take place. In fact, quite the contrary. I'm sure that they did."[Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 8/3/04]
Pulitzer Prize Winning Series Further Backs Kerry:
In April of 2004, the Toledo Blade was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for their series detailing the atrocities committed by a few American soldiers in Vietnam. The series was based upon the Tiger Force which operated for several months in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. [www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?]
"I served with John Kerry. John Kerry cannot be trusted." -- Bob Hildreth
Bob Hildreth was NOT a crewmate of John Kerry's
But Jim Wasser Was:
"If John Kerry came to us and said he had one more mission and we're going to hell, he'd have a full crew" -- Jim Wasser [Dallas Morning News, 7/29/04]
While to us, the rabidly involved and informed, the above information may seem redundant and distressingly obvious, it is apparent that there are many more gullible and less informed people who have yet to be exposed to an equal amount of time given to the discrediting of the Swift Boat Liars.
I do not know if printing this will be any more effective than screaming into a tornado; I can only hope that it is comprehensive enough -- yet concise, as well -- to make it onto a few mass email lists.
And while there are many who believe John McCain has sold his soul in his support of George W. Bush -- the man behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush (and, let's be honest, that is what they are and who they represent) -- Mr. McCain has been unwavering in his defense of John Kerry and his denouncing of this cadre of cads. To wit:
McCain Says It's Dishonest & Dishonorable-Same Thing That Happened to Him in 2000.
"Republican Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, called an ad criticizing John Kerry's military service "dishonest and dishonorable" and urged the White House on Thursday to condemn it as well. 'It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me,' McCain said in an interview with The Associated Press, referring to his bitter Republican primary fight with President Bush'."[AP, 8/5/04]
McCain Says Ad Makers Don't Have Facts.
The ad, scheduled to air in a few markets in Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin, was produced by Stevens, Reed, Curcio and Potham, the same team that produced McCain's ads in 2000. "I wish they hadn't done it," McCain said of his former advisers. "I don't know if they knew all the facts."[AP, 8/5/04]
McCain Calls on Bush to Condemn It - No Comment From Bush
Asked if the White House knew about the ad or helped find financing for it, McCain said, 'I hope not, but I don't know. But I think the Bush campaign should specifically condemn the ad." Later, McCain said the Bush campaign has denied any involvement and added, 'I can't believe the president would pull such a cheap stunt'. The White House did not immediately address McCain's call that they repudiate the spot."[AP, 8/5/04]
Same Tactics Used Against McCain in 2000.
"In 2000, Bush's supporters sponsored a rumor campaign against McCain in the South Carolina primary, helping Bush win the primary and the nomination. McCain's supporters have never forgiven the Bush team. McCain said that's all in the past to him, but he's speaking out against the anti-Kerry ad because he believes it's bad for the political system. 'It reopens all the old wounds of the Vietnam War, which I spent the last 35 years trying to heal,' he said."[AP, 8/5/04]
McCain Deplores This Kind of Politics
"I deplore this kind of politics. I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable. As it is, none of these individuals served on the boat (Kerry) commanded. Many of his crew have testified to his courage under fire. I think John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam. I think George Bush served honorably in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War."[AP, 8/5/04]
This is not going to go away. These liars, for self-serving motive and certain profit (one has only to peruse the list of George W. Bush appointments in his Administration to see how he rewards his foot soldiers), will continue to use every means at their disposal to smear the Democratic candidate for the office of President of the United States of America. They have no honour, they have no shame, they have no facts; but none of this will prevent their slanderous putrescence from being spread like manure over the airwaves. While some outlets of the media may attempt to be reasonable and fair in their coverage of this outrageous behaviour, it is a virtual certainty that the mere fact of the Swift Boat Liars' lies being repeated, if only to crumble under the slightest rational scrutiny, will do damage to John Kerry.
it is incumbent upon those who know the truth to repeat it as long and loudly as the liars continue to lie; to have at our disposal the actual facts, the documentation, the proof -- this is our responsibility as citizens in the fight for the future of our country.
[editor's note, by Maryscott OConnor] There is a reason I repeatedly refer to these men as "Liars" and to their words as "slander" and "lies." It is essential to the cause of truth that "claims" whose origin and content are completely based in falsehood be called what they are: "Lies." And that those making the claims be called what they are: "Liars."
"Swift Boat Liars for Bush is what they are, and "Swift Boat Liars for Bush" is what they must be called.
As often as possible.