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Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Time to Put Up or Shut Up
by Thom the Blog Culler

Today, over at David Horowitz's site Frontpagemag.com, there are a couple of really good articles detailing the Kerry Campaign's efforts to obfuscate the truth and threaten the free speech rights of our good friends, the Swift Veterans for Truth.

You see, as Cordeiro so elloquently told us here, the Swift Vets have been buying airtime for an ad that challenges the Boston Strangler's presumed status as a war hero. Rather than refute merits of the ad with evidence, the Kerry team lawyers have used some thinly-veiled threats to discourage broadcasters from carrying the ad.

Well, our good friends, Henry Mark Holzer and Erika Holzer have done a bang up job shredding the Stranlger's attempt at legal terrorism argument by argument, which is a service to the public indeed. Professor Holzer teaches at Brooklyn Law School and specializes in federal appeals, while Erika is a lawyer and novelist, so even non-lawyers can easily follow their elegant refutation. But more importantly, the article indicates that the Swift Vets themselves had the insight to skillfully pre-empt the Strangler's shenanigans:

John O’Neill, partner in a Houston law firm and a founding member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, anticipating the controversy the TV spot would generate and the need for documentation, sent a letter to station managers on August 2 (three days before the team of Elias and Sandler shifted into gear). The letter itself, eight pages long, is buttressed with 27 exhibits—roughly 100 pages of what O’Neill correctly labeled “factual support for the advertisement.” What O’Neill explains about how the Swift boats actually operated should put to rest, for all but those who have a political ax to grind, any doubt about eyewitness reliability being tainted by non-crewmates.

So the Swift Vets appear to have factual support for their claims. What does Team Strangler offer? Only threats and spin. Presumably they cannot muster factual support for their claims that Kerry really is a war hero.

I also recommend Robert Novak's defense of the Swift Vet's new best-selling book, Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry. Despite the liberal spin machine's assertions that the book is nothing but a work of fiction, Novak says:

I have read the book and found it is neither the political propaganda nor the urban legend that its detractors claim. It is a passionate but meticulously researched account of how Kerry went to war, what he did in the war and how he conducted himself after the war. The very serious charges by former comrades deserve answers but so far have produced only ad hominem counterattacks.
To Team Strangler's charge that the Swift Vets are nothing more that the puppets of the Vast Right-Wing Consiracy, Novak further indicates:

John E. O'Neill, co-author of Unfit for Command, replaced Kerry as commander of Swift Boat PCF 94 in 1969 and has been confronting him since 1971. O'Neill told me he is no George W. Bush partisan and probably would have supported John Edwards had he been nominated for president, but is committed to keeping Kerry out of the Oval Office. Thus, reversing the usual formulation, the assault on Kerry is personal but not political.
So, the book painstakingly makes the case that Lieutenant John-John's real Vietnam record is one of lies and shameful self-promotion. It seems he has kept that approach to leadership for all these years. Again I ask, what can Team Strangler offer to bolster their claim that Kerry's war-fighting experience qualifies him to lead our country in the war on terror? Precious little besides more lies and self-promoting spin. In summary, Novak says:
Unfit for Command sends a devastating message, unless effectively refuted. Perhaps most disturbing are allegations that Kerry's combat decorations are unjustified. His first Purple Heart, the book alleges, was accidentally self-inflicted. His commander, Grant Hibbard, is quoted as saying: "I didn't recommend him for a Purple Heart. Kerry probably wrote up the paperwork and recommended himself." Full release of documents demanded by his critics could settle this claim quickly if it is unwarranted.
All of this reminds me of the fact that, amid controversy in the press, George W. Bush released ALL his military service records from his time with the Texas National Guard. The Strangler on the other hand continues to stonewall releasing his complete service records. He has released some heavily scrubbed and edited records, but not his complete file.

And while I'm on the subject of Kerry stonewalling, where are Mother Teresa's tax returns? We've seen Bush's returns. We've seen Cheney's. We even saw Geraldine Ferraro's husband's returns. When do we get to see Teresa's? Probably right after the Strangler admits he uses Botox.

I think it is high time that Kerry put up or shut up.

What can I say more?

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