A Vietnam veteran who appears in a television ad critical of Sen. John Kerry says a Boston Globe article asserting he retracted his criticism of the presidential candidate’s war service is “extremely inaccurate” and “highly misleading.”
In a statement, Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth says “Captain Elliott reaffirms his affidavit in support of that advertisement, and he reaffirms his request that the ad be played.”
Elliott, according to Kranish, said he had made a “terrible mistake” in signing an affidavit that suggests Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star.
But the veterans group says the article is “particularly surprising given page 102 of Mr. Kranish’s own book quoting John Kerry as acknowledging that he killed a single, wounded, fleeing Viet Cong soldier whom he was afraid would turn around.”
Kranish, who is covering the Kerry campaign, wrote the foreword to the official Kerry-Edwards campaign book and is listed as the lead author, the Drudge Report noted today.
Telephoned for comment, Kranish declined to speak on the record with WorldNetDaily but forwarded a statement from the Globe which said the paper stands by the story.
“The quotes attributed to Mr. Elliott were on the record and absolutely accurate,” said the statement by Globe Editor Martin Baron.
Baron asserted it is “completely untrue” that Kranish “was ever contracted to write for a Kerry campaign publication.”
The editor explained that “earlier this summer, Kranish worked with Public Affairs, the publisher of the Boston Globe biography of Kerry, ‘John Kerry: The Complete Biography by the Boston Globe Reporters Who Know Him Best,’ to write a short introduction to a second project: an independent, unauthorized review of publicly available documents dealing with the platform and policy statements of Kerry and Edwards. ”
Baron said that when Public Affairs “subsequently struck an agreement with the Kerry campaign to do an official campaign book, Kranish’s relationship with the project immediately ended.”
The swift-boats group says it has more than 250 members “who are revealing first hand, eyewitness accounts of numerous incidents concerning John Kerry’s military service record.”
“The organization will continue to discuss much of what John Kerry has reported as fact concerning his four-month tour of duty in Vietnam,” the statement said.
In the affadavit, given to the newspaper to back the group’s contentions, Elliott is quoted as saying that Kerry “lied about what occurred in Vietnam … for example, in connection with his Silver Star, I was never informed that he had simply shot a wounded, fleeing Viet Cong in the back.”
The statement refers to a Feb. 28, 1969, incident in which Kerry won the Silver Star after shooting a Viet Cong soldier who had been carrying a rocket launcher and running toward a hut. Kerry’s crewmates said in interviews last year they thought the action was necessary and it was Elliott who recommended Kerry for the Silver Star, the Globe reported.
But some Kerry critics have questioned whether the soldier posed a danger to the crew.
The Globe quotes Elliott as saying yesterday, “I still don’t think he shot the guy in the back. It was a terrible mistake probably for me to sign the affidavit with those words. I’m the one in trouble here.”
The book says “Elliott indicates that a Silver Star recommendation would not have been made by him had he been aware of the actual facts.”
In the television ad, Elliott says, “John Kerry has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam.”
As WorldNetDaily reported, lawyers for the Democratic National Committee and Kerry’s presidential campaign have faxed a letter to television station managers warning them not to broadcast the ad.
WTVG in Toledo, Ohio, dropped the ad today after the Kerry campaign used the Globe story to convince the station’s management the ad was false, the Drudge Report said.
The book also raises questions about the action of March 13, 1969, for which Kerry was awarded a Bronze Star and his third Purple Heart.
In the interview with the Globe, Elliott said that based on the affidavits of the veterans on other boats, he now thinks his assessment that Kerry deserved the Bronze Star and third Purple Heart may have been based on poor information.
“I simply have no reason for these guys to be lying, and if they are lying in concert, it is one hell of a conspiracy,” he told the paper. “So, on the basis of all of the information that has come out, I have chosen to believe the other men. I absolutely do not know first hand.”