From the moment that the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth (now the Swift Boat Veterans and POWs For Truth) surfaced in the 2004 election, drawing attention to Sen. John Kerry's questionable war record, members of that organization have been subjected to personal attacks.
It was obvious from the outset that these attacks were diversions, intended to draw attention away from Kerry, and were essentially the same tactics that Kerry accused the Swifties of using against him.
The Swift Boat veterans demanded in response that Kerry find one single thing they were saying that was untrue. I saw their spokesman, John O'Neill, on television numerous times during the summer of 2004 stating that if Kerry's supporters could find anything wrong in UNFIT FOR COMMAND, the book he co-authored on Kerry's service, he would retract and correct it.
It wasn't necessary. In the years since, there has been little coverage by the mainstream media of the continuing hostilities, such as when Kerry surrogates filed unsuccessful defamation lawsuits against individual members of the Swift Boat veterans.
Many of Kerry's activities, however, were highlighted, including his claim that he would prove the Swifties accusations were lies.
Last year, Texan T. Boone Pickens offered to pay $1-million to the charity of Kerry's choosing, if Kerry could back up his claim that the Swifties lied. Kerry blustered, loudly proclaiming he would be claiming the million dollars posthaste, and the press dutifully rallied around his bombast.
But the deadline has long since passed, and once again, Kerry has produced nothing. But the smears continue, and they have made their way into the current Democratic race for the presidential nomination.
In response, investigative reporter Thomas H. Lipscomb who has covered Kerry's activities for years has sent the following letter to the editors of news outlets around the country:
TO THE EDITOR:
While outlining what he believed was "Hillary's Smear Campaign" of his candidate for President, Barack Obama, former independent prosecutor Michael Zeldin engaged in a little smear campaign of his own.
"No one forgets and no one forgives in Washington. (Ask John Kerry if he has gotten over the Swift boat smear campaign)" states Zeldin in conclusion.
Leaving aside the established fact that John Kerry forgets a lot of things, even things "seared, seared" into his memory like his fairytale about "Christmas in Cambodia" one might ask Mr. Zeldin what "Swift boat smear campaign" he is talking about?
In an article ironically printed on the front page on Memorial Day 2006, Senator Kerry announced to a star-struck New York Times reporter, Kate Zernik, that he was going to go right out there and tell the truth about all these Swiftie allegations. He even announced he had a committee formed to support his investigation called the "Patriot Project."
According to the New York Times, The Patriot Project "are compiling a dossier that they say will expose every one of the Swift boat group's charges as a lie and put to rest any question about Mr. Kerry's valor in combat." The result? A year and a half later not a single Swift Boat Veterans for Truth "lie" has been refuted and no one has heard of the Patriot Project since.
A few months ago, billionaire Boone Pickens bet billionaire by marriage Kerry a million dollars if Kerry could disprove just one of the dastardly Swiftie allegations. Kerry eagerly rose to the challenge. The result? Nothing happened again.
Assuming Mr. Zeldin has some passing acquaintance with the rules of evidence, it would be nice if in the next op-ed he writes defending a political ally of his against a smear, he manages not to indulge in a gratuitous smear without taking the trouble to make the slightest investigation of his own.
The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have stood behind the allegations they made and have shown themselves prepared to defend them on numerous occasions under a barrage of emotional bathos and scant analysis for more than three years.
Isn't the light beginning to dawn?
As Vanity Fair's acerbic columnist Michael Wolff said in the 3-minute 2-second trailer to a Kerry-sponsored (and Kerry-censored) documentary campaign film by respected producer Steve Rosenbaum, Inside the Bubble, the real problem with the Swift Boat claims was --- they were "largely true."
Thomas Lipscomb, currently Senior Fellow at the Heartland Institute, is an investigative reporter who covered the questions regarding Kerry's military record for the Chicago Sun-Times and the New York Sun during the 2004 election.
Friday, February 01, 2008