Jewish World Review August 24, 2004 / 7 Elul, 5764
The Swifties are gettin' to Kerry
When John Kerry went postal last week, the major media's preferred strategy
for dealing with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to ignore them went
down the toilet.
Kerry melted down because the Swifties' exposure of Kerry's "Christmas in
Cambodia" fantasy has struck a nerve, and is gaining traction, despite the
major media's refusal to report on it.
Kerry has claimed on dozens of occasions most notably in a speech on the
Senate floor in 1986 to have spent Christmas eve, 1968, five miles inside
of Cambodia on a mission in violation of international law. Kerry claimed
that incident was "seared" into his memory, and was the catalyst that turned
him against the Vietnam war.
The Swifties have provided evidence that Kerry spent Christmas eve in Sa
Dec, 55 miles from Cambodia. None of the sailors who served with Kerry on
the two swift boats he commanded, PCF-44 and PCF-94, have supported his
claim, though Mike Medeiros, a crewmate on PCF-94, said they may have
strayed into Cambodian waters inadvertently.
But this was impossible, according to Doug Regelin, a swift boat commander
in 1969, but who is not a member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. PCF-94
was part of Coastal Division 11, which was stationed at An Thoi.
"There is no way to enter Cambodia from the An Thoi patrol area," Regelin
wrote in the Augusta (GA) Free Press. "That patrol area started at the
coastal fishing village of Ha Tien and ran parallel to the Cambodian border,
but there was no way into Cambodia. Any good map will show this to be
Regelin also dismissed the possibility that Kerry's boat could have wandered
into Cambodia by accident: "The claim that there were so many rivers and
canals, and that no one knew where they were, is ludicrous. We had detailed
maps and overlays that showed everything right down to movements in fishing
After Kerry blasted the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in a speech to
firefighters, and filed lawsuits to block publication of their book and
broadcast of their ads, the Swifties were impossible for the major media to
ignore. So it was time for Plan B: blow smoke.
The New York Times published its first story on the Swift Boat Veterans for
Truth Aug. 20. It was a doozy: 3,500 words beginning at the top of the front
The gist of the Times' story is that Houston lawyer John O'Neill, principal
author of the book "Unfit for Command," (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) knows Republicans who know other
Republicans who know George Bush. It's purpose is to shore up Kerry's claim
that the Swifties are a GOP front group.
It is necessary for Kerry to claim the Swifties are Republican tools,
because to discuss the real reason why they despise him for falsely
accusing them and other Viet vets of grisly war crimes would not enhance
Kerry's appeal to swing voters.
O'Neill says he's an independent who voted for Al Gore in 2000. The Times
doesn't mention this.
The Times doesn't mention Christmas in Cambodia until the fourth from the
last paragraph of the story, describing it only as "the one allegation that
Mr. Kerry's campaign has not been able to put to rest."
The challenges to Kerry's medals have been put to rest, the Times and other
major newspapers said, because "official records" chiefly Kerry's medal
citations support Kerry. The Swifties' charge that the medal citations
were based on highly imaginative reports written by Kerry himself apparently
were not investigated.
Kerry's meltdown is a triumph for the Swifties, whose meager budget
permitted them to place only a handful of ads on a few mid-market tv
stations in Ohio, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. Now lots more people have
heard of them, and will be curious about what they have to say. (The
Swifties say Internet contributions jumped the day Kerry attacked them.)
It's a triumph also for the blogosphere, which reported on a story the major
media were trying to bury. Congratulations to Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit),
Ed Morrissey (Captains Quarters), John Hindraker, and Scott Johnson (Power
Line), Hugh Hewitt and many others for doing the job "mainstream"
journalists are supposed to do, but wouldn't.
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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a
deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan
administration. Comment by clicking here.
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