Friday, August 20, 2004

Friendly Fire

For you, ALa71 (Tom will probably conclude this supports Swiftvets - take your meds Tom):

August 20, 2004 - the New York Times:

Friendly Fire: The Birth of an Anti-Kerry Ad
By KATE ZERNIKE and JIM RUTENBERG

After weeks of taking fire over veterans' accusations that he had lied about his Vietnam service record to win medals and build a political career, Senator John Kerry shot back yesterday, calling those statements categorically false and branding the people behind them tools of the Bush campaign.

His decision to take on the group directly was a measure of how the group that calls itself Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has catapulted itself to the forefront of the presidential campaign. It has advanced its cause in a book, in a television advertisement and on cable news and talk radio shows, all in an attempt to discredit Mr. Kerry's war record, a pillar of his campaign.

How the group came into existence is a story of how veterans with longstanding anger about Mr. Kerry's antiwar statements in the early 1970's allied themselves with Texas Republicans.
Mr. Kerry called them "a front for the Bush campaign" - a charge the campaign denied.

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 - one a longtime political associate of Mr. Rove's, the other a trustee of the foundation for Mr. Bush's father's presidential library. A Texas publicist who once helped prepare Mr. Bush's father for his debate when he was running for vice president provided them with strategic advice. And the group's television commercial was produced by the same team that made the devastating ad mocking Michael S. Dukakis in an oversized tank helmet when he and Mr. Bush's father faced off in the 1988 presidential election.

The strategy the veterans devised would ultimately paint John Kerry the war hero as John Kerry the "baby killer" and the fabricator of the events that resulted in his war medals. But on close examination, the accounts of Swift 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.

Several of those now declaring Mr. Kerry "unfit" had lavished praise on him, some as recently as last year.

In an unpublished interview in March 2003 with Mr. Kerry's authorized biographer, Douglas Brinkley, provided by Mr. Brinkley to The New York Times, Roy F. Hoffmann, a retired rear admiral and a leader of the group, allowed that he had disagreed with Mr. Kerry's antiwar positions but said, "I am not going to say anything negative about him." He added, "He's a good man."

In a profile of the candidate that ran in The Boston Globe in June 2003, Mr. Hoffmann approvingly recalled the actions that led to Mr. Kerry's Silver Star: "It took guts, and I admire that."

George Elliott, one of the Vietnam veterans in the group, flew from his home in Delaware to Boston in 1996 to stand up for Mr. Kerry during a tough re-election fight, declaring at a news conference that the action that won Mr. Kerry a Silver Star was "an act of courage." At that same event, Adrian L. Lonsdale, another Vietnam veteran now speaking out against Mr. Kerry, supported him with a statement about the "bravado and courage of the young officers that ran the Swift boats."

"Senator Kerry was no exception," Mr. Lonsdale told the reporters and cameras assembled at the Charlestown Navy Yard. "He was among the finest of those Swift boat drivers."

Those comments echoed the official record. In an evaluation of Mr. Kerry in 1969, Mr. Elliott, who was one of his commanders, ranked him as "not exceeded" in 11 categories, including moral courage, judgment and decisiveness, and "one of the top few" - the second-highest distinction - in the remaining five. In written comments, he called Mr. Kerry "unsurpassed," "beyond reproach" and "the acknowledged leader in his peer group."

The Admiral Calls

It all began last winter, as Mr. Kerry was wrapping up the Democratic nomination. Mr. Lonsdale received a call at his Massachusetts home from his old commander in Vietnam, Mr. Hoffmann, asking if he had seen the new biography of the man who would be president.

Mr. Hoffmann had commanded the Swift boats during the war from a base in Cam Ranh Bay and advocated a search-and-destroy campaign against the Vietcong - the kind of tactic Mr. Kerry criticized when he was a spokesman for Vietnam Veterans Against the War in 1971. Shortly after leaving the Navy in 1978, he was issued a letter of censure for exercising undue influence on cases in the military justice system.

Both Mr. Hoffmann and Mr. Lonsdale had publicly lauded Mr. Kerry in the past. But the book, Mr. Brinkley's "Tour of Duty," while it burnished Mr. Kerry's reputation, portrayed the two men as reckless leaders whose military approach had led to the deaths of countless sailors and innocent civilians. Several Swift boat veterans compared Mr. Hoffmann to the bloodthirsty colonel in the film "Apocalypse Now" - the one who loves the smell of Napalm in the morning.
The two men were determined to set the record, as they saw it, straight.

"It was the admiral who started it and got the rest of us into it," Mr. Lonsdale said.

Mr. Hoffmann's phone calls led them to Texas and to John E. O'Neill, who at one point commanded the same Swift boat in Vietnam, and whose mission against him dated to 1971, when he had been recruited by the Nixon administration to debate Mr. Kerry on "The Dick Cavett Show."

Mr. O'Neill, who pressed his charges against Mr. Kerry in numerous television appearances Thursday, had spent the 33 years since he debated Mr. Kerry building a successful law practice in Houston, intermingling with some of the state's most powerful Republicans and building an impressive client list. Among the companies he represented was Falcon Seaboard, the energy firm founded by the current lieutenant governor of Texas, David Dewhurst, a central player in the Texas redistricting plan that has positioned state Republicans to win more Congressional seats this fall.

Mr. O'Neill said during one of several interviews that he had come to know two of his biggest donors, Harlan Crow and Bob J. Perry, through longtime social and business contacts.
Mr. Perry, who has given $200,000 to the group, is the top donor to Republicans in the state, according to Texans for Public Justice, a nonpartisan group that tracks political donations. He donated $46,000 to President Bush's campaigns for governor in 1994 and 1998. In the 2002 election, the group said, he donated nearly $4 million to Texas candidates and political committees.

Mr. Rove, Mr. Bush's top political aide, recently said through a spokeswoman that he and Mr. Perry were longtime friends, though he said they had not spoken for at least a year. Mr. Rove and Mr. Perry have been associates since at least 1986, when they both worked on the gubernatorial campaign of Bill Clements.

Mr. O'Neill said he had known Mr. Perry for 30 years. "I've represented many of his friends,'' Mr. O'Neill said. Mr. Perry did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr. O'Neill said he had also known Mr. Crow for 30 years, through mutual friends. Mr. Crow, the seventh-largest donor to Republicans in the state according to the Texans for Public Justice, has donated nowhere near as much money as Mr. Perry to the Swift boat group. His family owns one of the largest diversified commercial real estate companies in the nation, the Trammell Crow Company, and has given money to Mr. Bush and his father throughout their careers. He is listed as a trustee of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation.

One of his law partners, Margaret Wilson, became Mr. Bush's general counsel when he was governor of Texas and followed him to the White House as deputy counsel for the Department of Commerce, according to her biography on the law firm's Web site.

Another partner, Tex Lezar, ran on the Republican ticket with Mr. Bush in 1994, as lieutenant governor. They were two years apart at Yale, and Mr. Lezar worked for the attorney general's office in the Reagan administration. Mr. Lezar, who died last year, was married to Merrie Spaeth, a powerful public relations executive who has helped coordinate the efforts of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

In 2000, Ms. Spaeth was spokeswoman for a group that ran $2 million worth of ads attacking Senator John McCain's environmental record and lauding Mr. Bush's in crucial states during their fierce primary battle. The group, calling itself Republicans for Clean Air, was founded by a prominent Texas supporter of Mr. Bush, Sam Wyly.

Ms. Spaeth had been a communications official in the Reagan White House, where the president's aides had enough confidence in her to invite her to help prepare George Bush for his vice-presidential debate in 1984. She says she is also a close friend of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, a client of Mr. Rove's. Ms. Spaeth said in an interview that the one time she had ever spoken to Mr. Rove was when Ms. Hutchison was running for the Texas treasurer's office in 1990.

When asked if she had ever visited the White House during Mr. Bush's tenure, Ms. Spaeth initially said that she had been there only once, in 2002, when Kenneth Starr gave her a personal tour. But this week Ms. Spaeth acknowledged that she had spent an hour in the Old Executive Office Building, part of the White House complex, in the spring of 2003, giving Mr. Bush's chief economic adviser, Stephen Friedman, public speaking advice. Asked if it was possible that she had worked with other administration officials, Ms. Spaeth said, "The answer is 'no,' unless you refresh my memory.''

"Is the White House directing this?" Ms. Spaeth said of the organization. "Absolutely not.''

Another participant is the political advertising agency that made the group's television commercial: Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm, based in Alexandria, Va. The agency worked for Senator McCain in 2000 and for Mr. Bush's father in 1988, when it created the "tank" advertisement mocking Mr. Dukakis. A spokesman for the Swift boat veterans said the organization decided to hire the agency after a member saw one of its partners speaking on television.

About 10 veterans met in Ms. Spaeth's office in Dallas in April to share outrage and plot their campaign against Mr. Kerry, she and others said. Mr. Lonsdale, who did not attend, said the meeting had been planned as "an indoctrination session."

What might have been loose impressions about Mr. Kerry began to harden.

"That was an awakening experience," Ms. Spaeth said. "Not just for me, but for many of them who had not heard each other's stories."

The group decided to hire a private investigator to investigate Mr. Brinkley's account of the war - to find "some neutral way of actually questioning people involved in these incidents,'' Mr. O'Neill said.

But the investigator's questions did not seem neutral to some.

Patrick Runyon, who served on a mission with Mr. Kerry, said he initially thought the caller was from a pro-Kerry group, and happily gave a statement about the night Mr. Kerry won his first Purple Heart. The investigator said he would send it to him by e-mail for his signature. Mr. Runyon said the edited version was stripped of all references to enemy combat, making it look like just another night in the Mekong Delta.

"It made it sound like I didn't believe we got any returned fire," he said. "He made it sound like it was a normal operation. It was the scariest night of my life."

By May, the group had the money that Mr. O'Neill had collected as well as additional veterans rallied by Mr. O'Neill, Mr. Hoffmann and others. The expanded group gathered in Washington to record the veterans' stories for a television commercial.

Each veteran's statement was written down as an affidavit and sent to him to sign and have notarized. But the validity of those affidavits soon came into question.

Mr. Elliott, who recommended Mr. Kerry for the Silver Star, had signed one affidavit saying Mr. Kerry "was not forthright" in the statements that had led to the award. Two weeks ago, The Boston Globe quoted him as saying that he felt he should not have signed the affidavit. He then signed a second affidavit that reaffirmed his first, which the Swift Boat Veterans gave to reporters. Mr. Elliott has refused to speak publicly since then.

The Questions

The book outlining the veterans' charges, "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against Kerry," has also come under fire. It is published by Regnery, a conservative company that has published numerous books critical of Democrats, and written by Mr. O'Neill and Jerome R. Corsi, who was identified on the book jacket as a Harvard Ph.D. and the author of many books and articles. But Mr. Corsi also acknowledged that he has been a contributor of anti-Catholic, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic comments to a right-wing Web site. He said he regretted those comments.

The group's arguments have foundered on other contradictions. In the television commercial, Dr. Louis Letson looks into the camera and declares, "I know John Kerry is lying about his first Purple Heart because I treated him for that injury." Dr. Letson does not dispute the wound - a piece of shrapnel above Mr. Kerry's left elbow - but he and others in the group argue that it was minor and self-inflicted.

Yet Dr. Letson's name does not appear on any of the medical records for Mr. Kerry. Under "person administering treatment" for the injury, the form is signed by a medic, J. C. Carreon, who died several years ago. Dr. Letson said it was common for medics to treat sailors with the kind of injury that Mr. Kerry had and to fill out paperwork when doctors did the treatment.
Asked in an interview if there was any way to confirm he had treated Mr. Kerry, Dr. Letson said, "I guess you'll have to take my word for it."

The group also offers the account of William L. Schachte Jr., a retired rear admiral who says in the book that he had been on the small skimmer on which Mr. Kerry was injured that night in December 1968. He contends that Mr. Kerry wounded himself while firing a grenade.
But the two other men who acknowledged that they had been with Mr. Kerry, Bill Zaladonis and Mr. Runyon, say they cannot recall a third crew member. "Me and Bill aren't the smartest, but we can count to three," Mr. Runyon said in an interview. And even Dr. Letson said he had not recalled Mr. Schachte until he had a conversation with another veteran earlier this year and received a subsequent phone call from Mr. Schachte himself.

Mr. Schachte did not return a telephone call, and a spokesman for the group said he would not comment.

The Silver Star was awarded after Mr. Kerry's boat came under heavy fire from shore during a mission in February 1969. According to Navy records, he turned the boat to charge the Vietcong position. An enemy solider sprang from the shore about 10 feet in front of the boat. Mr. Kerry leaped onto the shore, chased the soldier behind a small hut and killed him, seizing a B-40 rocket launcher with a round in the chamber.

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth describes the man Mr. Kerry killed as a solitary wounded teenager "in a loincloth," who may or may not have been armed. They say the charge to the beach was planned the night before and, citing a report from one crew member on a different boat, maintain that the sailors even schemed about who would win which medals.

The group says Mr. Kerry himself wrote the reports that led to the medal. But Mr. Elliott and Mr. Lonsdale, who handled reports going up the line for recognition, have previously said that a medal would be awarded only if there was corroboration from others and that they had thoroughly corroborated the accounts.

"Witness reports were reviewed; battle reports were reviewed," Mr. Lonsdale said at the 1996 news conference, adding, "It was a very complete and carefully orchestrated procedure." In his statements Mr. Elliott described the action that day as "intense" and "unusual."

According to a citation for Mr. Kerry's Bronze Star, a group of Swift boats was leaving the Bay Hap river when several mines detonated, disabling one boat and knocking a soldier named Jim Rassmann overboard. In a hail of enemy fire, Mr. Kerry turned the boat around to pull Mr. Rassmann from the water.

Mr. Rassmann, who says he is a Republican, reappeared during the Iowa caucuses this year to tell his story and support Mr. Kerry, and is widely credited with helping to revive Mr. Kerry's campaign.

But the group says that there was no enemy fire, and that while Mr. Kerry did rescue Mr. Rassmann, the action was what anyone would have expected of a sailor, and hardly heroic. Asked why Mr. Rassmann recalled that he was dodging enemy bullets, a member of the group, Jack Chenoweth, said, "He's lying."

"If that's what we have to say," Mr. Chenoweth added, "that's how it was."

Several veterans insist that Mr. Kerry wrote his own reports, pointing to the initials K. J. W. on one of the reports and saying they are Mr. Kerry's. "What's the W for, I cannot answer," said Larry Thurlow, who said his boat was 50 to 60 yards from Mr. Kerry's. Mr. Kerry's middle initial is F, and a Navy official said the initials refer to the person who had received the report at headquarters, not the author.

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.

Standing Their Ground

As serious questions about its claims have arisen, the group has remained steadfast and adaptable.

This week, as its leaders spoke with reporters, they have focused primarily on the one allegation in the book that Mr. Kerry's campaign has not been able to put to rest: that he was not in Cambodia at Christmas in 1968, as he declared in a statement to the Senate in 1986. Even Mr. Brinkley, who has emerged as a defender of Mr. Kerry, said in an interview that it was unlikely that Mr. Kerry's Swift boat ventured into Cambodia at Christmas, though he said he believed that Mr. Kerry was probably there shortly afterward.

The group said it would introduce a new advertisement against Mr. Kerry on Friday. What drives the veterans, they acknowledge, is less what Mr. Kerry did during his time in Vietnam than what he said after. Their affidavits and their television commercial focus mostly on those antiwar statements. Most members of the group object to his using the word "atrocities" to describe what happened in Vietnam when he returned and became an antiwar activist. And they are offended, they say, by the gall of his running for president as a hero of that war.

"I went to university and was called a baby killer and a murderer because of guys like Kerry and what he was saying," said Van Odell, who appears in the first advertisement, accusing Mr. Kerry of lying to get his Bronze Star. "Not once did I participate in the atrocities he said were happening."

As Mr. Lonsdale explained it: "We won the battle. Kerry went home and lost the war for us.
"He called us rapers and killers and that's not true," he continued. "If he expects our loyalty, we should expect loyalty from him."

14 comments:

vrangel said...

You might add to it that Kerry supporters basically accused Bush of poisoning pregnant women.

As for this article it's been demolished already elsewhere on blogosphere. Check instapundit, scroll down for more.

Quotes:

"Kerry built himself up over the years into a brave captain traveling deep into Cambodian waters to run guns, drop off SEALs and CIA men (hatless) etc. He did so after condemning a generation of soldiers and Marines as war criminals."

"These veterans are furious with Kerry for implying, essentially, that they were all William Calleys. . ."

Quote about NYT editorial:

"I do know that if freedom of speech means anything it means that a group of citizens can get together to bring up this sort of charge against a presidential candidate, subject to the laws of libel. But read this New York Times editorial. . . . The Times thinks the ad should be stopped because you just shouldn't be able to make such "outlandish" independent charges in a campaign. They're against the speech, not the financing. Like Kerry, they're trying to come up with a "process" reason that avoids the inconveniently messy issue of truth. But their process reason--an attack on "independent" criticism per se--seems particularly dangerous."

All quotes via instapundit, much more there.

vrangel said...

One more:

"How does the New York Times characterize the "Christmas in Cambodia" story? Take a deep breath. It says that the story is "the one allegation in the book that Mr. Kerry's campaign has not been able to put to rest."

Not "the allegation that has forced Mr. Kerry's campaign to explain that Mr. Kerry has not been telling the truth." Just the one allegation that they haven't yet "put to rest." . . . If you think that the New York Times would downplay a clear story of Bush unmistakably lying about an event he claimed was a turning point in his life, raise your hand."

ALa said...

Notice the Kerry campaign filed suit and fed this story to the NYT (that had been ingoring it until now --like this isn't MAJOR news)on a friday (a politi-trick from Clinton's days)...nothing in the article is proved or backed up --and never you fear -already written -this is the topic of this evening's post...

vrangel said...

Just watched on TV Kerry's campaign advisor calling them "so called veterans" (nevermind that they were POWs ). He also accuses Bush of all kind of things. That was on FOX.

Next I watch CNN and it runs the same appearance of this guy. Accusations against Bush are there, but "so called veterans" segment cut out.

Deemed not helpful for Kerry I guess. Very nice.

vrangel said...

WTF, is this for real ?

http://www.caglecartoons.com/previewColumn.asp?columnID={164AD899-E91F-4E98-8A80-9B3D20F97D38}

via windsofchange.net

this we'll defend said...

Seems real to me. It also makes sense.

So what is the problem?

Is it that when you disagree with somebody on something you must assume they are wrong about everything, or that they can't come to different conclusions than you expected them to?

In the practice of law there is the "law" and there are facts. The entire practice of law is about understanding how the facts impact which law to apply, and how to apply it. That doesn't mean the law has changed. It hasn't. What has changed is the facts - they vary from case to case, and thus the different cases have different outcomes depending on the facts.

And likewise it doesn't mean Howard Dean is being one bit inconsistent here either.

Finally - "we're going to South Carolina blah blah blah YEEARRRGGGHHHH!" Couldn't resist. That will hang on him forever.

vrangel said...

More dissecting by chrenkoff.blogspot.com

"Maybe the Vets should have instead made a documentary that alleges, say, that John Kerry had been in cahoots with the Vietnamese Communist Party. Maybe there would be international awards and millions at the box-office instead of a Federal Election Commission investigation anda shrill overreaction from the Democrat candidate.

Michael Moore says that George Bush, in league with the Saudi Royal family, perverted the war on terror and send his country into a senseless war to benefit his corporate buddies. The Swift Boat Vets say that John Kerry lied about his personal military record in Vietnam.

Compare the gravity of accusations. Compare the official reaction of the accused. Then ask yourself, which one of them has better judgment and integrity to qualify them for the top office."

vrangel said...

I was wondering if Cagle Cartoons! site where Dean comment was found is an offshoot of The Onion.

Is it all the coverage it's going to get ? I think so.

redleg said...

TWD

And moveon.org isn't a democratic shell? 527's have spent 87% of their money attacking Bush. McCain-Feingold left that loophole in place. SWVT ads have actually been effective and that is why the left and Kerry is mad. You can't now ask that the ads be pulled. Now that a 527 has gone against the DNC and Kerry line, the liberals are enraged. You can draw the exact same set of correlations between the DNC and Kerry supporters and moveon... The NYT has lost it's objectiveness long ago and should no longer be considered an unbiased news source. More like Pravda for the DNC.

Veterans and Americans are making their mind up about Kerry over character issues like this. This is why Kerry shouldn't get elected. Not because of his Vietnam record, but his overall character as a politician and a man. You might also want to read what MG Brady (MOH in Vietnam) said about Kerry. I posted that on my blog. My father in law was an AWC classmate of his.

I do hope the dems and attack liberals will not call the former POWs and soldiers like MG Brady "so called" veterans. I know you won't TWD, but it surprises me you placing this NYT article up without putting it in context.

91ghost said...

I'm still predicting that you will be running for office one day...politics is calling you. As a former drill sergeant turned attorney, you could be a good sell for the democrats.

redleg said...

Gots to be a lawyer to be a politician these days....

At least we could count on open and honest debate

this we'll defend said...

MY COMMENTS ARE IN BOLD SO YOU CAN MAKE OUT MY ANSWERS EASILY. I'M NOT SHOUTING.

And moveon.org isn't a democratic shell? 527's have spent 87% of their money attacking Bush. McCain-Feingold left that loophole in place. YES, MOVE.ORG IS BLATANTLY (AND ADMITTEDLY) PRO-KERRY. ANY GROUP THAT SPONSORS AN ANTI-BUSH "BUSH IN 30 SECONDS" CONTEST IS PRO-KERRY. SO?

SWVT ads have actually been effective and that is why the left and Kerry is mad. I DON'T CARE THAT THE KERRY CAMP IS MAD AT THEIR EFFECTIVENESS - I'M MAD! NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE EFFECTIVE BUT BECAUSE THEY ARE UNTRUE, DESPICABLE, AND TARNISH THE COMBAT RECORD OF A FELLOW VETERAN - I DIDN'T LIKE (AND SPOKE OUT) WHEN THE SAME BULLSHIT WAS DONE TO MCCAIN BY A GROUP IMPLYING HE WAS EMOTIONALLY "UNBALANCED" AS A RESULT OF HIS POW EXPERIENCE. IT SHOULDN'T MATTER IF IT IS FOR OR AGAINST YOUR CANDIDATE - THESE ADS ARE DESPICABLE. OH, BY THE WAY, NOW THE BUSH WHITE HOUSE IS SUGGESTING KERRY IS BECOMING "UNHINGED" AND "LOSING HIS COOL." IT IS THE SLIME-MACHINE TACTICS OF 2000 ALL OVER AGAIN. EVEN THE WORD "UNHINGED" WAS USED AGAINST MCCAIN.

You can't now ask that the ads be pulled. Now that a 527 has gone against the DNC and Kerry line, the liberals are enraged. WELL, NO, THAT'S NOT TRUE. MOVEON.ORG AND OTHER 527 ORGANIZATIONS AREN'T COORDINATING THEIR EFFORTS WITH THE KERRY CAMPAIGN - WHICH THE BUSH CAMP ALREADY CHARGED AND WHICH SEVERAL INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATIONS (AS WELL AS SEVERAL REPUBLICAN-LED INVESTIGATIONS) SHOWED WAS FALSE. THEY ARE INDEPENDENT. SWIFTVETS, HOWEVER, HAS WELL-DOCUMENTED TIES TO PEOPLE IN THE BUSH CAMPAIGN, AS THIS ARTICLE POINTS OUT (AND WHICH ANOTHER ARTICLE IN THE LA TIMES THIS SATURDAY FURTHERS, NAMING MORE CONNECTIONS). SO IF THERE IS A CONNECTION - AND THERE SURE APPEARS TO BE - THEN THE ADS MUST BE PULLED AND THE BUSH CAMPAIGN SANCTIONED FOR BREAKING THE LAW.

You can draw the exact same set of correlations between the DNC and Kerry supporters and moveon...
NO, YOU CAN'T. FOR INSTANCE, MOVEON.ORG USES MOSTLY SATIRE, NOT FALSE CHARGES. THEY CHARGE THAT "BUSH LIED" BUT THEY BACK UP THEIR OPINION WITH FACTS SHOWING WHY THEY FEEL THAT WAY. OTHERS VIEWING THE SAME FACTS COME TO DIFFERENT CONCLUSIONS. AND REMEMBER THE BROUHAHA OVER THE HITLER-BUSH SPOT, AN AD MOVEON.ORGE DIDN'T MAKE BUT DID DISPLAY ON THE WEB AMONG OVER 100 OTHER ADS IN MOVE0N.ORG'S WEBSITE CONTEST? THE BUSH CAMPAIGN CALLED IT DESPICABLE. SO DID THE KERRY CAMPAIGN. IMMEDIETELY. AND MOVEON.ORG PULLED IT FROM THEIR WEBSITE AND APOLOGIZED. THE BUSH CAMPAIGN LATER USED IT IN A COMMERCIAL TO SHOW HOW "UNDERHANDED" THE KERRY CAMPAIGN IS, EVEN THOUGH KERRY HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT AND CONDEMNED IT AS SOON AS THE CONTROVERSY HIT. AND NOW THE BUSH CAMPAIGN REFUSES TO CONDEMN SWIFTVETS AND THERE ARE PRETTY STRONG SIGNALS THAT SWIFTVETS IS TIED TO THE CAMPAIGN IN VIOLATION OF THE RULES.

The NYT has lost it's objectiveness long ago and should no longer be considered an unbiased news source. More like Pravda for the DNC.
FINE. THERE ARE NUMEROUS OTHER SOURCES, INCLUDING FACTCHECK.ORG, SPINSANITY.COM, FOXNEWS, LA TIMES, ETC ETC ETC. AND HELL, EVEN A BROKEN WATCH GETS IT RIGHT TWICE A DAY. ATTACK THE NYT ALL YOU WANT, BUT TELL ME WHICH OF THEIR FACTS ARE WRONG HERE?

Veterans and Americans are making their mind up about Kerry over character issues like this. This is why Kerry shouldn't get elected. WELL, I THINK THIS SHOWS A COMPLETE LACK OF CHARACTER ON THE PART OF THE OTHER CAMPAIGN MYSELF. WHY NOT USE THE TRUTH INSTEAD OF LIES? BECAUSE APPARENTLY THE TRUTH IS NOT IN FAVOR OF THE BUSH CAMPAIGN. YOU DON'T SEE THE KERRY CAMPAIGN ENGAGING IN SUCH MUDSLINGING FILTH, BUT MOST PEOPLE WILL CONCLUDE "THEY ARE ALL DOING IT" AND BLAME BOTH PARTIES. SEE, IF KERRY MAKES A SUBSTANTIATED CHARGE AGAINST BUSH AND BUSH RESPONDS WITH A "FALSE AND BASELESS CHARGE" MOST VOTERS WILL SAY THEY CANCEL EACH OTHER OUT. BUT THEY SHOULDN'T, SHOULD THEY? NOT IF YOU CARE ABOUT THE TRUTH? DO YOU?

Not because of his Vietnam record, but his overall character as a politician and a man. IF THIS IS NOT ABOUT HIS VIETNAM RECORD, WHY SWIFTVETS FALSE AND ALREADY DISPROVEN CHARGES?

You might also want to read what MG Brady (MOH in Vietnam) said about Kerry. I posted that on my blog. My father in law was an AWC classmate of his. I WILL. I HAVEN'T YET. ONE MAN'S OPINION ABOUT ANOTHER MAN RARELY IS ENOUGH TO SWAY ME, THOUGH.

I do hope the dems and attack liberals will not call the former POWs and soldiers like MG Brady "so called" veterans. I know you won't TWD, but it surprises me you placing this NYT article up without putting it in context. "THE DEMS AND ATTACK LIBERALS?" I SUPPOSE IF ONE DOES THEN THE ENTIRE KERRY CAMPAIGN IS TARNISHED, BUT A WELL-FINANCED GROUP LED BY REPUBLICAN INSIDERS MAKING BASELESS AND DESPICABLE AND OUTRIGHT SLIMY CHARGES IS INDEPENDENT OF THE BUSH CAMPAIGN?

I THINK THIS IS NOW ABOUT HONOR - NOT KERRY'S, NOT BUSH'S. YOURS. MINE. OTHERS READING THIS. IF YOU THINK IT IS OK FOR SUCH DESPICABLE AND SLIMY TACTICS TO BE USED THEN, WELL,

YOU FIGURE IT OUT. MY ANSWER IS BUSH-LIKE IN ITS SIMPLICITY: FALSELY TARNISHING A MAN'S COMBAT RECORD IS WRONG. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO THE MAN IS OR WHY IT IS DONE. IT IS WRONG AND SHOULD BE CONDEMNED - JUST AS KERRY SPOKE OUT ABOUT THE MOVEON.ORG WEB AD THAT WAS NEVER RUN ON TELEVISION AND WHICH QUICKLY DISAPPEARED AFTER AN APOLOGY WAS ISSUED.

SO YES, THIS IS ABOUT CHARACTER, AND MY CANDIDATE IS LOOKING PRETTY GOOD COMPARED TO YOURS IN THAT DEPARTMENT. AS SHOWN IN THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY IN 2000, THOUGH, TRUE CHARACTER ISN'T AS IMPORTANT AS FAKING IT TO WIN AN ELECTION, SO OUR NATION MIGHT HAVE FOUR MORE YEARS OF BUSH AS A RESULT. THE ENDS JUSTIFIES THE MEANS IN SOME PEOPLE'S EYES - BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN THEY ARE IN THE RIGHT, MUCH LESS MORAL AND CHRISTIAN PEOPLE.

redleg said...

Trust me. I am not advocating the attack tactics that are currently in use. But they are in use and both are using them. And both are legal. The democrats are using them more often and with less truth on their side. It still doesn't make it right, but Kerry inextricably linking Bush to a seperate organization that has the same connections as Michael Moore or Moveon to Kerry is wrong as well. And Kerry telling Bush to practise censorship and involvement in the organization by pulling the ads and removing a book from publication is wrong too.

Kerry is running as a war hero. He is a decorated veteran, but he brought the issue into the public forum. The organization that leveled the charges is composed of decorate veterans as well. SBVT wants to debate him on the issue and has had an effect, whatever their tactics. Don't blame the Bush Administration for that-- they have never challenged his Vietnam record directly. Kerry and his associates have leveled the AWOL charge at Bush and failed to make it stick. The issue is his credibility as a war hero when he call sveterans opened committing atrocities in Vietnam every day as a matter of policy. He made those accusations, he believes them (he did not lie) and now he must live with the fact that his fellow veterans don't believe he is fit to serve as President. The organization has not been discredited and deserves as much say as any other. You may not like it, but I don't like American Nazis or the KKK either.

254 veterans who served with or around Kerry have said their peace or are having their say. This is not illegal, but it is no more slimy than the liberal 527s actions. And at least has a little more truth to it than Fahrenheit 9/11.

Kerry brought Vietnam into this, so his whole record is in play. During and after. If he can stand the heat, he will be stronger for it. I wasn't there for his Vietnam service and I don't know what the facts really are, but I have seen his actions afterwards and he is not the fine moderate liberal he is acting like now. He renounced his fellow veterans publicly and now wishes their support. The SBVT 527 calls his record into question on this. If he can produce facts to discredit the facts they bring up, it will be Kerry who looks better. It's an attack ad, but it is having an effect because it is at least partially based in truth. Which is more than the liberal attack ads can say. Again, this doesn't make it right but I have to deal with the world as it is, and not how I wish it to be. And the 527s will be with us this election year whether we like them or not. But don't claim the NYT or the "Left" Angeles Times to support the issue when DNC connections to liberal 527s have been ignored by those same "news" organizations.

Kerry went dirty first and now got splashed by the mud. Character. Bush has the fortitude to mean what he says and tell you what he believes. Kerry has the moral courage to tell you what you wish to hear.

The American voters will decide which is better. I just hope we don't have to live with the price of the DNCs largest mistake since Vietnam.

this we'll defend said...

Moveon does not have the "same connections" to Kerry as Swiftvets does with Bush - but even if it did Moveon issued an apology for the 30-second Hitler/Bush comparison that appeared on the website only (and then among 100 other entries on a contest) and removed it. And Kerry condemned the spot.

Swiftvets engage in a coordinated and well-financed campaign of deception which the President has not condemned. To say this is acceptable because the left had a 30-second never-broadcast web-only immediately-removed and apologized-for spot that Kerry condemned is ridiculous. Imagine if the Swiftvets apologized, pulled their ads, and Bush condemned them. That would be equivalent, but I don't expect to see that from a campaign that has decided to forsake honor and integrity and will do anything to win - including lie repeatedly to the American People.

Kerry can and HAS produced facts but the charges will stick with some voters - false charges. This is a new low in campaigning and bodes ill for the future of our Republic.

I don't know what "liberal attack ads" you are referring to that are lying - other than the typical one-sided reporting that both candidates engage in and which is par for the course. The thing about Swiftvets is no, it is not partially based in truth unless that truth it is based upon is only that Kerry was in Vietnam.

As for the NYT and LA Times that you believe are part of the vast left-wing conspiracy, I gave several other citations as well, including Factcheck.org and spinsanity.com. And the totally partisan (but for Bush) Fox News and Boston Globe, who agree that Kerry is a genuine war hero (but they still don't like him).

As far as "DNC's largest mistake since Vietnam" - that is interesting. Vietnam was a bipartisan war, with both parties afraid to pull out because they would be seen as "soft on communism." But it was a Republican, Richard Nixon, that gave us a false "Peace with Honor" that led to the collapse of the South Vietnamese regime in 1975.