About the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth
By Paul Bergstrom, Oct 26, 2004
I bought and read their book. They criticize Kerry for two things: they say he did not get his medals honestly, and they say his war protests afterwards falsely besmirched their service, causing harm to our nation but also to them personally.
Kerry's supporters have mostly focused on the part about the medals - and I am sympathetic to the viewpoint that this is not an appropriate election discussion. He fought in the war, which is always admirable in my opinion.
But the second part - and really the core of the Swift Boat Vets argument - is much more powerful and certainly a legitimate discussion. Kerry protested against the Vietnam War. This is OK with me, so long as such protests are not destructive. But Kerry crossed the line by presenting false information to congress in a way which hurt our side. He claimed that he and his fellow vets committed atrocities including rape and torture. Kerry himself now acknowledges that his testimony before congress was "exaggerated". Most, if not all of the evidence he used is now known to be fraudulent. Good men suffered in POW camps because of these claims - which Kerry now admits were "exaggerated".
Another aspect of Kerry's anti-Vietnam testimony before congress now appears to be an outright lie. One of his main points then was that he spent Christmas 1968 in Cambodia - which would have been illegal and a major embarrassment to the Nixon administration. Kerry said this "absurdity" was "seared in his memory" and he repeated the claim on several occasions. However, now this claim has been very seriously challenged, and Kerry himself has backed away from this claim.
Kerry also refuses to release all his military records (the records on his web site are incomplete) and he makes every effort to "shut up" the Swift Boat Vets rather than answer their criticisms. His lawyers threatened to sue TV stations and book stores for carrying their ads.