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Friday, August 20, 2004
Swiftboat Veterans For Revisionist History

So, all anyone wants to talk about on cable TV these days is this Republican fronted group of veterans who want to tell you "the truth" about the Democratic candidate. Such honor among these men, it's truly moving.

I can only assume that many of these men are truly political neophytes, or just very naive, and figured no one would bother to check on the things they have been saying about John Kerry. Well, I guess the Bush bagman who handed them their wads of non-sequential bills didn't mention the downside of this type of activity.

One of the most vocal critics, a man named Larry Thurlow, also commanded a swift boat in the same area as Kerry. He was even involved in the same action in which John Kerry won his Silver Star. This guy was there, and certainly would appear to be a credible witness whether corroborating or contradicting the events that day in Vietnam. It's all in Thurlow's military records, which have been obtained through the Freedom Of Information Act.

God damn, I love the Freedom Of Information Act...

Meanwhile, just last month, Thurlow swore in an affidavit that Kerry was "not under fire" when he fished Lt. James Rassmann out of the water. He goes on to say that Kerry's Bronze Star citation, which says that all units involved came under "small arms and automatic weapons fire," as "totally fabricated."

"I never heard a shot," Thurlow said in his affidavit.


Thurlow has a very good military record, served honorably, and even won himself a Bronze Star. Interestingly, he won it during the same engagement in which Kerry won his Silver Star. You know, the one where nothing happened and is totally fabricated? According to Thurlow's own testimony straight out of his military file, there are several references to "enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire" directed at "all units" of the five-boat flotilla. The citation praises him for providing assistance to a damaged Swift boat "despite enemy bullets flying about him."

And Thurlow is not the only person whose file and past statements contradict their recent epiphanies. Several other of these Swiftboat Veterans For Truth have, as recently as 1996, campaigned for John Kerry as he ran for re-election to the Senate. So, why are they doing this? Why now?

The President is clearly desperate. There just isn't anything very positive that he can say about his own record. The economy? Worse. Wages and benefits? Worse. Inflation? Worse. Homeland Security? Worse. Nothing is better than it was in 2000, and it's not as if America was some sort of Utopia then. I suppose if you are an upper 2% income person, maybe things are a little better. But with all of your money and free time, do you feel safer travelling to Europe for vacation? Asia? Anywhere? What will you do with your money? It sure as hell isn't revitalizing the economy. I guess you can leave it to your kids, like the Bush family has done for so long. And maybe some day, your child will grow up to be the next fundamentalist leader of whatever is left of the United States.

Some of these veterans are now backpedaling a bit, and saying that they are speaking out mainly because the feel betrayed by Kerry's anti-war activities after he left Vietnam. And you know what? They are completely entitled to feel that way. Coming back from Vietnam with the stigma attached to it could not have been easy, and Kerry wasn't helping in that regard. Of course, Kerry was hardly the first Vietnam vet to speak out against the war, nor was he the last. If these and other vets were hurt by that, no one can blame them. And if the focus of their first ad had focused on that aspect, certainly no one could fault these brave men for lashing out at Kerry.

But once again, the Karl Rove slime machine sprung into action, and goaded, or more likely paid these men to call John Kerry a liar, a coward, a fraud, etc. And to hammer the point home one more time, not one of these men served on the same boat as John Kerry. I feel bad for them, as they are caught in the middle of something much larger than they are, and the ones like Larry Thurlow who are so obviously lying deserve to have their names ruined.

There are still about 70 days left until the election, and it's clear that this campaign hasn't gotten nearly as nasty as it will eventually become. As Bush's poll numbers continue to stagnate and fall, there's little doubt that this administration will commit any act necessary to retain power. A cabal is a terrible thing to waste.

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posted at 7:21 PM

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