Washington Post joins Kerry in maligning SWIFT-boat vets

By Les Kinsolving

“WHERE HAVE ALL THE READERS GONE?” headlined the August edition of Washingtonian magazine’s Post-watch page, in reporting that the Washington Post’s average daily circulation has – in just one year – dropped 23,814 – or 64 losses per day.

“We can guess. We can speculate. We can estimate,” said Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie, who did not deny circulation was dropping. Newspaper analyst John Morton noted: “Theoretically, this is the best newspaper market in the country. It’s surprising that the Post is losing ground like this.” The Post, now down to 772,553 daily, is this nation’s fifth largest.

Washingtonian magazine notes: “The Washington area is booming with college graduates … The Post’s internal surveys say readers want more local news and more positive coverage of the news, sources say.”

Not only the Post’s editorialized reporting, but its notorious editorial page are cause for public concern and circulation loss.

On Aug. 12, a Post editorial headlined “Swift Boat Smears” attempted to defame 12 of John Kerry’s fellow SWIFT-boat veterans, who appeared in a devastating one-minute commercial produced by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

The fact that 254 of Kerry’s fellow naval officers and crewmen in SWIFT boats substantiated charges in this one-minute spot is not mentioned in the Post editorial.

Neither is the new book “Unfit for Command,” the meticulously documented outline of Kerry in SWIFT boats and how he returned home early and maligned his U.S. comrades in Vietnam before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

This is written by Naval Academy graduate John O’Neill, who took over Kerry’s SWIFT boat – and who debated Kerry just after Kerry’s malediction of his Vietnam comrades, Kerry’s tossing his medals and ribbons over the fence, and Kerry’s appearing with “Hanoi Jane” Fonda.

Why was this book, by O’Neill and Harvard Ph.D. Jerome Corsi, unmentioned in this Post editorial on alleged “smears”?

Possibly for the same reason that this one-minute TV spot (available on the Human Events website) also provoked such ferocity in a legally threatening letter to TV stations.

Lawyers for the Democratic National Committee and the Kerry-Edwards Campaign, Marc Elias and Joseph Sandler of Washington, D.C., wrote that some of the statements in this one-minute spot are “demonstrably and unequivocally false and libelous.”

This letter also charges:

One statement by a man pretending to be the doctor who treated Sen. Kerry for one of his injuries … the man pretending to be his doctor was not. The entire advertisement, therefore, is an inflammatory, outrageous lie … Further, the “doctor” who appears in the ad, Louis Letson, was not a crewmate of Sen. Kerry’s and was not the physician who actually signed Sen. Kerry’s sick call sheet. In fact, another physician actually signed Sen. Kerry’s sick call sheet.

Was it really another physician? Or was it actually signed by Hospitalman First Class J.C. Carreon – who was assigned to Dr. Letson?

Were there any SWIFT boats in the entire U.S. Navy which had any doctors as crewmates? (Did JFK have a doctor as a “crewmate” on PT109?)

Since Kerry’s wound consisted of a grenade fragment one-half of an inch long and the width of a toothpick, which was removed by Dr. Letson using tweezers and then covered by a Band-Aid – with no need for sutures – why was there anything wrong with this notably minor and instant medical treatment report to be signed by Dr. Letson’s assistant?

These two Democrat lawyers also charge in writing: “The advertisement contains statements by men who purport to have served on Kerry’s boat.” They said they served with him – which they did, in the SWIFT boat program in Vietnam.

How many of the Big Media networks, daily newspapers or newsmagazines have featured Dr. Letson, who was my WCBM Baltimore radio guest on Aug. 10?

He is retired after three decades of medical practice in Scottsboro, Ala. I was deeply impressed with the sincerity and courtesy of this man who responded, without hesitation, to my questions and those of more than a dozen callers – two of them critical in the one hour he was my guest.

Sen. John Edwards, whose statement opens the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad, said: “If you have any questions about what John Kerry’s made of, just spend three minutes with men who served with him.”

I spent 55 minutes with Kerry’s Navy doctor in Vietnam, who the Democrat lawyers have – quite desperately – tried to smear, as has the Democrat-dominated Washington Post.

In the new book “Unfit for Command,” which was commended by the Washington Post’s nationally syndicated columnist Robert Novak, the authors quote at length Dr. Louis Letson, who they report treated Kerry after the incident. “It did not require any sutures to close the wound,” Letson says. “The wound was covered with a Band-Aid. No other injuries were reported and I do not recall that there was any injury to the boat … I remember that Jess Carreon was present at the time and he, in fact, made the entry into Lt. Kerry’s medical record.”

A footnote to this quotation states: “Kerry’s campaign has tried to deny Dr. Letson’s treatment of Kerry by pointing to the different signature on Kerry’s medical report. The report was signed by the corpsman assigned to Dr. Letson, Jess Carreon, now deceased, according to U.S. Navy records.”