Michael Barone takes note of John Hinderaker’s post “Ineffective, even for a liberal” responding to Eric Boehlert. In his response John recaps the contribution of the Swift Boat Vets to the 2004 campaign. Barone comments:
John Hinderaker at Powerline skewers the claim, often made in mainstream media and the left blogosphere, that the charges made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth against John Kerry have been “discredited.” To the contrary. There can be disagreement about their characterization of Kerry’s service, and some factual dispute about the way in which he earned at least one of his decorations, but nothing has been proved false. On the contrary, it was Kerry who had to abandon the claim, “seared, seared in my memory” as he said on the Senate floor, that he was in Cambodia at Christmastime 1968.
Barone is the peerless commentator on the American political scene. It doesn’t get much better than that.
The indefatigable leader of the Swift Boat Vets was John O’Neill. In February 2004, O’Neill was lying in a hospital bed after contributing a kidney for transplantion to his wife. He answered the call of his former commanding officer Roy Hoffman to serve our country one more time by leading the veterans’ effort opposing John Kerry. It was the most dramatic story of the 2004 election campaign, now smothered in a welter of lies foisted on the public by the likes of Eric Boehlert. Bruce Kesler is a Vietnam vet who himself commented on John’s post at Democracy Project. John O’Neill wrote Bruce “RE: Your blog and the Powerline blog’s summary: Thanks–always be grateful for both of you.”
Paul Galanti is the highly decorated naval aviator who served in Vietnam and was captured by the North Vietnamese in 1967. He was held and tortured for six years until his release was secured by President Nixon in 1973. In the most powerful of the Swift Boat Vet ads, Galanti testified to having had John Kerry’s standard charges of American war crimes played to him by his Communist captors. In the ad “Sellout,” Galanti commented: “John Kerry gave the enemy for free what I and my comrades in the prison camps in North Vietnam took torture to avoid saying.” Galanti also discussed his POW experience on Hannity and Colmes in August 2004. Bruce Kesler forwarded Galanti’s message about Kesler’s post on the Swift Boat Vets:
Bruce: Your article about Kerry and the Swiftees was outstanding. Your blog, amplifying comments and whoever compiled all those SwiftVet ads concisely nailed the reason Kerry lost the 2004 election. All of us involved felt immensely satisfied that his phony bravado and traitorous acts were exposed despite the “below the fold” treatment they were accorded in most media quarters.
Of at least equal importance, though, was John O’Neill’s Unfit for Command and the internet blogsters – YOU – who spread the word far and wide. So thanks for the reminder and thanks for helping spread the word – big time – during the 2004 campaign.
Paul E. Galanti
Commander, USN (Ret)
Val McMurdie also served in Vietnam and wrote to comment:
I’ve read your blog post and realize your arguments are cogent for the general public to read. I was the Operations Officer and Division Operations Officer for Operation Market Time and directed Swift Boat operations, intercepts, etc. in South Vietnam beginning in November 1969.
For those veterans who served in South Vietnam, numbering approximately 1.5 million, and for at least the nine million veterans who are eligible to vote, Kerry had two instantaneous problems after the Swift Boat Veterans ad came out: 1) all of us knew it is virtually impossible to be awarded three Purple Hearts without ever spending a day in the hospital; 2) his accusations that war crimes were commonly committed by service men, or sailors, which none of us had ever heard of, let alone seen. The phony Purple Hearts killed Kerry as an honest or honorable man to probably 90 percent of veterans. Phony Purple Hearts put him among the most unethical people in the county.
As an officer, and medical officer for the North coast, since the Swift Boats had no MD, I can tell you that it would have been easy for me to ask the “Doc” corpsman to write me up for a Purple Heart for every scratch I received on any one of dozens of operations. I could have had five Purple Hearts had I wished to dishonor myself and wounded and dead sailors. I have none. I rate John Kerry among criminals, and despicable, on this point alone.
It is difficult for civilians to understand the responsibility and authority of junior naval officers serving in Operation Market Time. Any junior officer, Ensign or jg could have obtained several Purple Hearts had he wished to by simply asking the corpsman to write up any scratch in his medical record. It would have been that easy.
Without having been there, you may not realize these real world realities.
Thanks to all for their comments.