Kerry’s desperate response to Swifties

By Les Kinsolving

Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry is providing a frightening preview of what would happen to the United States if he is ever elected to its most powerful office.

Not only is his campaign trying desperately to persuade Regnery Publishers to stop publishing the Swift Boat Veteran book “Unfit for Command,” but Kerry himself tried to stop another activity of the Swift Boat Veterans: two absolutely devastating one-minute TV spots.

The New York Post reports:

“The new ad was unveiled as Kerry – clearly worried about the impact of the ads by a group known as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth – tried to knock them off the air by filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission.

“The anti-Kerry commercial starts with video of Kerry testifying to the U.S. Senate in 1971 that he knew U.S. troops who ‘personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads’ – and switches to POWs who say Kerry’s words were ‘devastating’ for them.

“‘John Kerry gave the enemy for free what I, and many of my comrades in North Vietnam, in the prison camps, took torture to avoid saying. It demoralized us,’ says former Vietnam POW Paul Galanti, a highly decorated Navy combat pilot.

“Galanti flew 97 combat missions over Vietnam before being shot down and held at the notorious Hanoi Hilton for seven years – including while Kerry testified.”

And the Post’s Washington bureau chief, Deborah Orin, added the following editorial insert: “(Pay attention Ladies and Gentlemen, the NY Times, Washington Post, and the Kerry camp are calling this man a liar and Republican stooge, or implying it, not too subtly.)”

“The second ad, ‘Sellout,’ was unveiled the day after Kerry lashed out at the swift vets’ first TV spot, which portrays the would-be commander in chief as a liar who inflated his war record.

“In a stunning development, the first swift vets ad has become a hot issue in the 2004 race even though it ran in just a few markets – 57 percent of Americans have seen or heard about it, according to a new poll yesterday.

“Kerry’s FEC complaint charges the swift vets, an officially independent ‘527’ group, illegally coordinated their ad with the Bush campaign – which both Bush and the swift vets deny.

“The 527s are barred from any contact with campaigns. Most 527s are anti-Bush and have run over $50 million in TV ads attacking Bush – nearly 100 times as much as the swift vets, who say they’ve spent just $550,000 so far.

“Bush spokesman Steve Schmidt dismissed the complaint as ‘frivolous’ and shot back that there is a ‘revolving door of personnel, coordinated strategies and overlapping fund-raising’ between groups like MoveOn and Team Kerry.”

In this new one-minute TV spot, which I have seen, Ken Cordier, a prisoner of war from December 1966 to March 1973, says, “That was part of the torture, was to sign a statement that you had committed war crimes. He betrayed us in the past, how could we be loyal to him now?”

In the concluding quote, Galanti says, “He dishonored his country and, more importantly, the people he served with. He just sold them out.”

In response to these statements by our former prisoners of war in Hanoi, nominee Kerry denounced them by saying in Boston that the swiftboat group “isn’t interested in the truth and they’re not telling the truth.”

Yet this new spot has Kerry’s own words before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971. Speaking to firefighters in Boston, he castigated President Bush, saying the president wants the group “to do his dirty work.”

Responding to Kerry’s speech, Houston attorney and former swiftboat commander John O’Neill, a spokesman for the group, charged Kerry is resorting to personal attacks because “he can’t deal with the truth.”

The group’s first TV commercial quoted Kerry’s Vietnam comrades calling him a liar, questioning his honor, accusing him of misrepresenting his actions for medals and attacking his character.

In response, lawyers for the Democratic National Committee and Kerry’s presidential campaign faxed a letter to television station managers warning them not to broadcast it.

The letter told the managers if they decided to air the ad they would be “responsible for the false and libelous charges” made by the group. But the swiftboat vets already had supplied the stations with affidavits and other supporting documents, and only one station decided not to broadcast it.