Swift Boat Vets Tied To Bush Campaign

Or, at least, they were, until he resigned from the campaign after the "conflict of interest" was noted. Former Air Force Col. Ken Cordier was a volunteer who worked on the Bush-Cheney Veterans' steering committee. Cordier took a part in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's latest ad, "Sellout". The ad, comprised of Kerry's spoken words interspersed with the vets' quotes about how they were "hurt" by such talk and paints Kerry in an anti-war picture. Mind you, all the quotes of Kerry are taken entirely out of context and basically have to stand on their own as incomplete sentences. The longest quote, "They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads," is followed by the damning "randomly shot at civilians," "cut of limbs, blown up bodies," "razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Kahn," "crimes committed on a day to day basis," and "ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam". The Vets, for their part, point out that John Kerry has "betrayed us in the past. How could we be loyal to him now?" View the entire ad at The Swift Boat Vets' Site if you are in a gleeful mood, as it's surely to make you want to kill yourself if you're already depressed.

Indeed, these might be important words from the vets, if Kerry's words weren't taken so horribly out of context. Props to CNN for this story which clears things up:

The ad does not include Kerry's preface, in which he said he is reporting what others said at a Vietnam veterans conference. Instead, a swift boat group member refers to the statements as "accusations" Kerry made against Vietnam veterans.

An official transcript shows Kerry was referring to a meeting in Detroit, Michigan, that was part of what was called the Winter Soldier investigation. Kerry has said he regrets some of the comments but stands by his protests.

Furthermore, Kerry's crewmates who aren't part of his travelling posse are beginning to speak up as well.

William Rood, an editor at the Chicago Tribune, writes in Sunday's editions: "Kerry's critics, armed with stories I know to be untrue, have charged that the accounts of what happened [in 1969] were overblown. The critics have taken pains to say they're not trying to cast doubts on the merit of what others did, but their version of events has splashed doubt on all of us."

Wayne Langhofer, who now works at a gunpowder plant in Kansas, said he also was present for the battle.

"I was with Kerry when he won his Silver Star, and as far as I'm concerned, he did right," he told CNN on Saturday.

John O'Neill, who wrote a book challenging Kerry's accounts of his service, said Saturday that SBVT was not challenging Rood's commendation. But in a statement issued the same day, he called Rood's account "an obvious political move" and said the group's accusations against Kerry were drawn from two previous books about the Massachusetts senator.

"Anyone who compares the three books on the Silver Star incident will see that they are substantially identical in the facts," he said.

OF COURSE! If it's in two books, written by men who didn't necessarily serve with John Kerry, it must be true!

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