How media is trying to smear swiftboat veterans

By Les Kinsolving

Just as they once did so much to undercut our American armed forces in war against North Vietnam’s still communist – and still lethally brutal – dictatorship, the New York Times and the Washington Post this weekend reinforced their reputation as bulletin boards for the Democratic National Committee, by desperately trying to smear 254 Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

The Post has been publishing obviously desperate page-one attempts to undercut and defame these veterans, who have just produced another one-minute – and devastating – TV spot. This second spot features former U.S. prisoners of the North Vietnamese – who, right after actual footage of Kerry’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – which they heard loudspeakered to them by their Vietnamese torturers in the Hanoi Hilton – say exactly what they think of nominee Kerry as unfit for command.

Page-one of Sunday’s Times featured the pro-Kerry statement of one fellow swiftboat captain named William B. Rood, now an editor of the Chicago Tribune.

The Times’ story reported that Rood “broke a 35-year silence this weekend to support Mr. Kerry’s version of events from one of their operations together” after “Mr. Kerry’s phone call to address the group’s claims, which surfaced weeks ago.”

Weeks ago? The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth held their initial news conference in May. How about “months ago”?

Surely the Chicago Tribune knew about this news conference. So why was editor Rood silent for months, until telephoned by Kerry, who is obviously and seriously shaken by the affidavits and other statements of so many of his fellow veterans?

A Times editorial this past week illustrated how the Kerry campaign will try to smear the swiftboat veterans:

… flackery devoted to discrediting the respectable Vietnam War record of Sen. John Kerry, who has five combat medals. But that is exactly what a Republican-financed group of partisans is doing.

Are all of these Swift Boat Veterans Republicans? Have all the contributions for their ads been Republican? No word on that from the Times.

The Times also published their hatchet-girl Maureen Dowd’s extremist polemics, including the following description of these 254 veterans:

“The stomach-turning Swift boat attackers are sliming a war hero as a war criminal.

“They started their vengeful and brazen campaign in May, after plotting since winter. But John Kerry is only now forcefully responding – though he should have had a response ready, since the Nixon tool John O’Neill has dogged him since ’71.”

COMMENT: Anyone who worked for the U.S. government during the two terms of President Nixon is a “Nixon tool.” Look out Henry Kissinger and Gerald Ford!

DOWD: “Charging on Thursday that Mr. Bush wants the Swift boat sleazoids ‘to do his dirty work,’ Mr. Kerry reached for yet another Vietnam reference and water metaphor: ‘When you’re under attack, the best thing to do is turn your boat into the attack.’ The Skipper would do well to get a swifter boat. How pathetic is it that he’s playing defense on Vietnam when W. didn’t even serve?”

COMMENT: Does the rest of the New York Times believe that all those in the armed forces during the Vietnamese War, who did not go overseas “didn’t even serve”? That is a great many more veterans smeared by Ms. Dowd than the alleged smear by 254 swiftboaters.

DOWD: “Reports in the New York Times and the Washington Post last week made it clear that the vile Swift boaters have told wildly varying accounts, sometimes supportive of Mr. Kerry.”

Not often in U.S. journalistic history has any newspaper described so many officers and crew of so many of our Navy’s ships as “vile.” But perhaps Ms. Dowd was influenced by Mr. Kerry’s unforgettable defamation of so many hundreds of thousands of his former U.S. comrades in Vietnam, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

And is she so convinced that the next president of the United States should be John Kerry – whose discarding of U.S. medals and ribbons across a fence – that there would be no problem in a Kerry presidential awarding of military decorations?