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Sen. John Kerry’s campaign is calling on Regnery Publishing to withdraw a best-selling book by a veterans group challenging the presidential candidate’s Vietnam war record.

A Kerry official told Salon.com “Unfit for Command,” produced by Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth, is a hoax that should be withdrawn from bookstores.

“No publisher should want to be selling books with proven falsehoods in them, especially falsehoods that are meant to smear the military service of an American veteran,” Kerry campaign spokesman Chad Clanton told the online magazine.

“If I were them, I’d be ducking under my desk wondering what to do,” he said. “This is a serious problem.”

Yesterday, employing stern tones, Kerry said the veterans group “isn’t interested in the truth and they’re not telling the truth.”

Responding to Kerry’s speech yesterday, the book’s co-author John O’Neill charged Kerry is resorting to personal attacks because “he can’t deal with the truth.”

Last week, O’Neill pointed out, Kerry was forced to revise his decades-long contention he was on a secret mission in Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1968.

Also, said O’Neill, Kerry closed the Democratic National Convention with a story in which he claimed that five swiftboats fled on March 13, 1969, after a mine explosion and only he came back to rescue Lt. James Rassman. His campaign now is admitting that he fled and the rest stayed, before he later returned for Rassman.

Yesterday, a member of O’Neill’s group responded to a Washington Post article that questioned the veteran’s veracity.

WorldNetDaily reported Tuesday a previously unnoticed passage in Kerry’s approved war biography, citing his own journals, appears to contradict the senator’s claim he won his first Purple Heart as a result of an injury sustained under enemy fire.

The Salon.com column, by Eric Boehlert, says, “Yanking the title may seem unlikely given the fact that Regnery Publishing, the conservative shop that is home to fire-breathing right-wing partisans like Ann Coulter and David Limbaugh, is behind the book.”

“Thanks to the big-spending campaign of the Republican veterans group, which is bankrolled by major Bush contributors, the book has already hit bestseller lists and is sure to turn a big profit,” Boehlert continued.

The swiftboat-vets group, however, says it’s comprised of Democratic and independent voters as well as Republicans, and O’Neill says he voted for Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore in 2000.

Arguing for pulling the book, Boehlert says “there is a long-standing tradition by reputable publishers of withdrawing titles that prove to be hoaxes or frauds. Just last month Random House’s Australian unit was forced to pull an international bestseller after it was determined to be a fabrication.”

Conservative-turned-liberal writer David Brock, president of Media Matters for America, said today he is calling on “three of the nation’s leading booksellers to, at the very least, inform customers about the book’s false allegations and lies.”

Brock, contending yesterday’s Post story proves Thurlow was lying, says he wrote a letter to Wal-Mart, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble calling on each to reassess “the responsibility of book sellers when it becomes established that prominent non-fiction books are based on false information.”

“There is something fundamentally wrong when a book that is rampant with falsehoods and misinformation is published and sold as non-fiction,” he said. “Consumers are being misled by John O’Neill, [co-author] Jerome Corsi and Regnery Publishing as they are extensions of the right-wing machine.”

Related offer:

“Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry”



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