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Thread: Rudy G blasted by NYFD

  1. #1
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    Rudy G blasted by FDNY

    [quote]
    Firefighters slam Giuliani in campaign ad
    Story Highlights
    Firefighters blame Giuliani for lack of radio gear that may have saved 9/11 lives

    Giuliani's campaign accuses union of being partisan group

    Giuliani "not a leader," says firefighter whose son was slain

    Former firefighter calls Giuliani attackers "out of step with their membership"
    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The country's largest U.S. firefighters union Wednesday blasted former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's performance in the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, aiming a blow at the cornerstone of Giuliani's presidential campaign.

    "Mayor Giuliani twisted the heroism of my brother to suit his own mistakes of that day," Rosaleen Tallon, whose brother Sean was killed in the attack, said in a video the International Association of Fire Fighters released on its Web site.

    Survivors of the attack and relatives of some of those who died in the twin towers blamed Giuliani for a lack of radio gear they said could have saved the lives of more than 100 firefighters who had been ordered to evacuate the north tower before it collapsed.
    [B]
    And they criticized Giuliani for placing his emergency command center in the World Trade Center complex before the attacks, after the towers had been the target of a previous bombing in 1993.

    "He's not a leader," said retired Deputy Chief Jim Riches, whose son was killed in the 2001 attack. "He's running on 9/11, and it's all a fallacy."[/B]

    Giuliani's campaign responded by accusing the union of being a partisan group, with a history of supporting Democrats. The campaign released a statement from a retired firefighter, Lee Ielpi, who accused IAFF leaders of being "clearly out of step with their membership."

    "In 2008, I expect these same union bosses to endorse Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or John Edwards, so today's comments are just a first step in that process," Ielpi said. "Fortunately, rank-and-file firefighters know the difference between politics and leadership."

    The 13-minute video is reminiscent of the television ads run by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a Republican-backed group that accused Sen. John Kerry of lying to obtain combat decorations in Vietnam during Kerry's 2004 Democratic presidential campaign. Though contradicted by Navy records and Kerry's former crewmates, the group's allegations damaged a pillar of the Massachusetts senator's presidential bid -- his background as a decorated Navy officer.

    The al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington left nearly 3,000 dead. Most of that toll came from the destruction of the World Trade Center, where 2,750 people -- including 343 firefighters -- were killed.

    At the time, Giuliani was nearing the end of his second term as mayor, could not run again and had given up a planned Senate campaign amid a battle with prostate cancer and a messy divorce. His efforts to rally New Yorkers in the aftermath of that bloody day revived his public stature and led admirers to dub him "America's mayor."

    The IAFF was already critical of Giuliani's decision to remove firefighters and other rescue workers from the task of recovering remains from the wreckage of the trade center. In the new video, the union argues that 121 firefighters in the north tower could have survived if they had been able to receive orders to evacuate after the south tower fell.

    Firefighters reported problems with their radio gear after the 1993 bombing. Union leaders argue in the new video that Giuliani, who took office later that year, failed to solve those problems in the eight years between attacks.

    "He gave us nothing when we needed a life-saving radio," says Peter Gorman, a former local president.

    Giuliani told the independent commission that investigated the attacks that police and fire departments should have radio systems that allow them to communicate on the same channel, but that the systems are designed to operate differently "90 percent of the time."

    He said new radios introduced in early 2001 were withdrawn because they were "too complicated to use" -- but union officials say they were introduced without proper testing and firefighters were unable to communicate with them.

    During the same testimony, he defended his decision to build the city's emergency operations center in the 7 World Trade Center building, which collapsed on September 11. Local offices of the CIA, the Secret Service and other law-enforcement agencies were located in the same building.

    But he told commissioners, "In retrospect, obviously, you wouldn't want to put it there if you had known what was going to happen."

    Some of those in the video accused Giuliani of blaming the victims by telling the 9/11 commission that many firefighters decided to "stand their ground" when ordered to evacuate. The commission's staff reports partially support his testimony, concluding that some firefighters put off evacuating to help injured or handicapped civilians.

    But while some firefighters, including at least two battalion chiefs, received the evacuation order, "other firefighters did not receive the transmissions." The system was overwhelmed by radio traffic, and some of the firefighters had rushed to the scene while off-duty without their radios, the report states.
    [/quote]

    so if the FF don't think he was a hero on 9/11 what exactly does Rudy bring to the table?

    besides dressing up in drag, having coke dealing campaign managers and kid toucher priest friends of course. ;)
    Last edited by bitonti; 07-12-2007 at 11:30 AM.

  2. #2
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    I haven't seen this ad, is it along the same vein as the Swift Boat Veterans thing?

    Rudy doesn't have much a shot to begin with IMO, this will only dig a deeper hole for him.

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    [QUOTE=pauliec]I haven't seen this ad, is it along the same vein as the Swift Boat Veterans thing?

    Rudy doesn't have much a shot to begin with IMO, this will only dig a deeper hole for him.[/QUOTE]

    does it matter??? a horses ass could be hillary, who will be the rats nominee...

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    [QUOTE=Come Back to NY]does it matter??? a horses ass could be hillary, who will be the rats nominee...[/QUOTE]


    I'd like to believe that, I really would. But when she was elected in the State of NY I was absolutely befuddled, and I wonder if that kind of irrational stupidity could infect the entire country.

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    [QUOTE=pauliec]I'd like to believe that, I really would. But when she was elected in the State of NY I was absolutely befuddled, and I wonder if that kind of irrational stupidity could infect the entire country.[/QUOTE]


    NY is as backwards ass liberal as you get in the nation....factor in no one knew, nor cared, who Lazio was....

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    [QUOTE=pauliec]I haven't seen this ad, is it along the same vein as the Swift Boat Veterans thing?

    Rudy doesn't have much a shot to begin with IMO, this will only dig a deeper hole for him.[/QUOTE]

    The ad has the same look and feel as the Swift Boats ads did, and it will be potentially subject to the same criticisms because the firefighters union (which made it) has tended to endorse Democrats in the past.

    That said, most of the charges it airs --that Rudy dropped the ball on getting firefighters good radios, that he put the disaster response center in the one place they knew the terrorists had already tried to destroy-- aren't new/out of nowhere like the swift boat stuff was, and do have at least some truth to them, whereas at least one of the Swift Boat guys had testified under oath that the opposite of what was in their ads was true.

    In any event, just as Kerry hyped his Vietnam service all the time, Rudy talks about 9/11 --and invokes his performance on that day-- so frequently that it was inevitable somebody would subject that performance to greater scrutiny.

    My own take is that he deserves credit for being a commanding, reassuring presence on television, which helped soothe the city, but that there were huge operational problems as well. Obviously a difficult situation and no one could have been expected to handle it flawlessly, but mistakes were made leading up to that day that made things worse, and if Rudy wants the credit for the good he did, he should be prepared to accept blame for what he screwed up, too.

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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola]The ad has the same look and feel as the Swift Boats ads did, and it will be potentially subject to the same criticisms because the firefighters union (which made it) has tended to endorse Democrats in the past.

    That said, most of the charges it airs --that Rudy dropped the ball on getting firefighters good radios, that he put the disaster response center in the one place they knew the terrorists had already tried to destroy-- aren't new/out of nowhere like the swift boat stuff was, and do have at least some truth to them, whereas at least one of the Swift Boat guys had testified under oath that the opposite of what was in their ads was true.

    In any event, just as Kerry hyped his Vietnam service all the time, Rudy talks about 9/11 --and invokes his performance on that day-- so frequently that it was inevitable somebody would subject that performance to greater scrutiny.

    My own take is that he deserves credit for being a commanding, reassuring presence on television, which helped soothe the city, but that there were huge operational problems as well. Obviously a difficult situation and no one could have been expected to handle it flawlessly,[B] but mistakes were made [/B] leading up to that day that made things worse, and if Rudy wants the credit for the good he did, he should be prepared to accept blame for what he screwed up, too.[/QUOTE]

    Sounds like Bush

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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola]The ad has the same look and feel as the Swift Boats ads did, and it will be potentially subject to the same criticisms because the firefighters union (which made it) has tended to endorse Democrats in the past.

    That said, most of the charges it airs --that Rudy dropped the ball on getting firefighters good radios, that he put the disaster response center in the one place they knew the terrorists had already tried to destroy-- aren't new/out of nowhere like the swift boat stuff was, and do have at least some truth to them, whereas at least one of the Swift Boat guys had testified under oath that the opposite of what was in their ads was true.

    In any event, just as Kerry hyped his Vietnam service all the time, Rudy talks about 9/11 --and invokes his performance on that day-- so frequently that it was inevitable somebody would subject that performance to greater scrutiny.

    My own take is that he deserves credit for being a commanding, reassuring presence on television, which helped soothe the city, but that there were huge operational problems as well. Obviously a difficult situation and no one could have been expected to handle it flawlessly, but mistakes were made leading up to that day that made things worse, and if Rudy wants the credit for the good he did, he should be prepared to accept blame for what he screwed up, too.[/QUOTE]

    Well said.
    Rudy certainly screwed up quite a bit on 9/11. And i wouldnt jump on him as much, if he only stopped the BS St. Rudy of 9/11 act, pretending to be some kind of authority on terrorism and being the only one who truly understands the nature of Islamic Terrorism b/c he happened to be mayor on 9/11.

    Rudy's response to this was classic. Instead of shouting "partisanship" how about addressing some of the questions raised, like why did he insist on putting the emergency command center in the WTC after the WTC had been a target of a terrorist attack . Why did he refuse to listen to his advisers who recommended putting it in Brooklyn instead??

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    [QUOTE=kennyo7]Well said.
    Rudy certainly screwed up quite a bit on 9/11. And i wouldnt jump on him as much, if he only stopped the BS St. Rudy of 9/11 act, pretending to be some kind of authority on terrorism and being the only one who truly understands the nature of Islamic Terrorism b/c he happened to be mayor on 9/11.

    Rudy's response to this was classic. Instead of shouting "partisanship" how about addressing some of the questions raised, like why did he insist on putting the emergency command center in the WTC after the WTC had been a target of a terrorist attack . [B]Why did he refuse to listen to his advisers who recommended putting it in Brooklyn instead??[/[/B]QUOTE]

    Another repubulican who does not listen to advisors. Just what the USA needs

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola]The ad has the same look and feel as the Swift Boats ads did, and it will be potentially subject to the same criticisms because the firefighters union (which made it) has tended to endorse Democrats in the past.

    That said, most of the charges it airs --that Rudy dropped the ball on getting firefighters good radios, that he put the disaster response center in the one place they knew the terrorists had already tried to destroy-- aren't new/out of nowhere like the swift boat stuff was, and do have at least some truth to them, whereas at least one of the Swift Boat guys had testified under oath that the opposite of what was in their ads was true.

    In any event, just as Kerry hyped his Vietnam service all the time, Rudy talks about 9/11 --and invokes his performance on that day-- so frequently that it was inevitable somebody would subject that performance to greater scrutiny.

    My own take is that he deserves credit for being a commanding, reassuring presence on television, which helped soothe the city, but that there were huge operational problems as well. Obviously a difficult situation and no one could have been expected to handle it flawlessly, but mistakes were made leading up to that day that made things worse, and if Rudy wants the credit for the good he did, he should be prepared to accept blame for what he screwed up, too.[/QUOTE]
    How refreshing to read a post on this board that actually makes a lot of sense.

  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola]The ad has the same look and feel as the Swift Boats ads did, and it will be potentially subject to the same criticisms because the firefighters union (which made it) has tended to endorse Democrats in the past.

    That said, most of the charges it airs --that Rudy dropped the ball on getting firefighters good radios, that he put the disaster response center in the one place they knew the terrorists had already tried to destroy-- aren't new/out of nowhere like the swift boat stuff was, and do have at least some truth to them, whereas at least one of the Swift Boat guys had testified under oath that the opposite of what was in their ads was true.

    In any event, just as Kerry hyped his Vietnam service all the time, Rudy talks about 9/11 --and invokes his performance on that day-- so frequently that it was inevitable somebody would subject that performance to greater scrutiny.

    My own take is that he deserves credit for being a commanding, reassuring presence on television, which helped soothe the city, but that there were huge operational problems as well. Obviously a difficult situation and no one could have been expected to handle it flawlessly, but mistakes were made leading up to that day that made things worse, and if Rudy wants the credit for the good he did, he should be prepared to accept blame for what he screwed up, too.[/QUOTE]

    great post...

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    I just heard RG give his side of the story. A couple of points:

    (1) He claims to have done more for the FDNY than any other mayor. He cites getting bunker equipment and infra red image readers among other things.

    (2) He personally attended every major fire, a practice only carried out additionally by LaGuardia.

    (3) Headed with others the creation of a $220,000,000 fund for families of 9-11 that 100% of all donations go to.

    (4) Exposed himself to alll of the risks at Ground Zero by spending about as much time there as anyone.

    (4) I know FDNY guys never liked how RG was in contract negotiations, maybe causing hard feelings.

    (5) THe guy making the accusations ius a huge Hillary supporter; in fact, there is a picture of them together in the NY Times (I believe dated April 20th.)

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    [QUOTE=JCnflies]I just heard RG give his side of the story. A couple of points:

    (1) He claims to have done more for the FDNY than any other mayor. He cites getting bunker equipment and infra red image readers among other things.

    (2) He personally attended every major fire, a practice only carried out additionally by LaGuardia.

    (3) Headed with others the creation of a $220,000,000 fund for families of 9-11 that 100% of all donations go to.

    (4) Exposed himself to alll of the risks at Ground Zero by spending about as much time there as anyone.

    (4) I know FDNY guys never liked how RG was in contract negotiations, maybe causing hard feelings.

    (5) THe guy making the accusations ius a huge Hillary supporter; in fact, there is a picture of them together in the NY Times (I believe dated April 20th.)[/QUOTE]

    There's no doubt Rudy's total record for the firefighters is better than the video makes it sound. But, at the same time, the fact that he is not disputing their core charges (about the radios and about the location of the emergency response center) speaks volumes.

    Basically, they are (unfairly) reducing his broader record to a few negative-but-true factoids.

    Clearly the idea is to diminish the 9/11 Halo he likes to brandish so often by saying, look, he wasn't the saint he pretends to be on that day.

    For most candidates, not such a big deal perhaps. But Rudy has so much riding on his 9/11 halo that this could be very damaging to him, as GOP voters already disagree with him on social issues like abortion.

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    [QUOTE=JCnflies]I just heard RG give his side of the story. A couple of points:

    (1) He claims to have done more for the FDNY than any other mayor. He cites getting bunker equipment and infra red image readers among other things.

    (2) He personally attended every major fire, a practice only carried out additionally by LaGuardia.

    (3) Headed with others the creation of a $220,000,000 fund for families of 9-11 that 100% of all donations go to.

    (4) Exposed himself to alll of the risks at Ground Zero by spending about as much time there as anyone.

    (4) I know FDNY guys never liked how RG was in contract negotiations, maybe causing hard feelings.

    (5) THe guy making the accusations ius a huge Hillary supporter; in fact, there is a picture of them together in the NY Times (I believe dated April 20th.)[/QUOTE]

    people want to compare this to the Swift Boat Vets ala kerri on '04....fair enough....

    let's see the number of FF who speak out on behalf of Guiliani versus the number who speak out against him compared to the number of Viet Vets who did the same in '04 for/against kerri....

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    [QUOTE=Come Back to NY]people want to compare this to the Swift Boat Vets ala kerri on '04....fair enough....

    let's see the number of FF who speak out on behalf of Guiliani versus the number who speak out against him compared to the number of Viet Vets who did the same in '04 for/against kerri....[/QUOTE]

    Aside from the political strategy and visual similarity of the two ads --which is uncanny-- this is very different from the swift boat stuff for a key reason: The charges (however unfairly presented) are not only true, but they are not even being disputed by Rudy.

    The Swift Boat stuff was totally debunked very quickly, and at least one of the swifties had actually testified to congress that Kerry's medals were deserved.

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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola]Aside from the political strategy and visual similarity of the two ads --which is uncanny-- this is very different from the swift boat stuff for a key reason: The charges (however unfairly presented) are not only true, but they are not even being disputed by Rudy.

    The Swift Boat stuff was totally debunked very quickly, and at least one of the swifties had actually testified to congress that Kerry's medals were deserved.[/QUOTE]

    nothing the SBV claimed was debunked quickly...it could've been had kerri released his records via the SF180, but he never did...

    as far as "the charges" against Rudy versus what kerri did; it's night and day....

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    The radio issue is a problem for first responders nationally. Until a wireless Broadband Infrastructure is completed we may have this as a problem

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    [QUOTE=Come Back to NY]nothing the SBV claimed was debunked quickly...it could've been had kerri released his records via the SF180, but he never did...

    as far as "the charges" against Rudy versus what kerri did; it's night and day....[/QUOTE]

    This is all you need to know about the Swift Boat vets. Under oath, they said Kerry was a hero. 30 years later, they decided they didn''t like his politics so they lied about him.

    This is as plain as day here...


    [QUOTE]Records Counter A Critic Of Kerry; Fellow Skipper's Citation Refers To Enemy Fire
    Michael Dobbs
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    1335 words
    19 August 2004
    The Washington Post
    FINAL
    A01
    English
    Copyright 2004, The Washington Post Co. All Rights Reserved

    Newly obtained military records of one of Sen. John F. Kerry's most vocal critics, who has accused the Democratic presidential candidate of lying about his wartime record to win medals, contradict his own version of events.

    In newspaper interviews and a best-selling book, Larry Thurlow, who commanded a Navy Swift boat alongside Kerry in Vietnam, has strongly disputed Kerry's claim that the Massachusetts Democrat's boat came under fire during a mission in Viet Cong-controlled territory on March 13, 1969. Kerry won a Bronze Star for his actions that day.

    But Thurlow's military records, portions of which were released yesterday to The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act, contain several references to "enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire" directed at "all units" of the five-boat flotilla. Thurlow won his own Bronze Star that day, and the citation praises him for providing assistance to a damaged Swift boat "despite enemy bullets flying about him."

    As one of five Swift boat skippers who led the raid up the Bay Hap River, Thurlow was a direct participant in the disputed events. He is also a leading member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a public advocacy group of Vietnam veterans dismayed by Kerry's subsequent antiwar activities, which has aired a controversial television advertisement attacking his war record.

    In interviews and written reminiscences, Kerry has described how his 50-foot patrol boat came under fire from the banks of the Bay Hap after a mine explosion disabled another U.S. patrol boat. According to Kerry and members of his crew, the firing continued as an injured Kerry leaned over the bow of his ship to rescue a Special Forces officer who was blown overboard in a second explosion.

    Last month, Thurlow swore in an affidavit that Kerry was "not under fire" when he fished Lt. James Rassmann out of the water. He described 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, which was released by Swift Boats Veterans for Truth. The group claims the backing of more than 250 Vietnam veterans, including a majority of Kerry's fellow boat commanders.

    A document recommending Thurlow for the Bronze Star noted that all his actions "took place under constant enemy small arms fire which LTJG THURLOW completely ignored in providing immediate assistance" to the disabled boat and its crew. The citation states that all other units in the flotilla also came under fire.

    "It's like a Hollywood presentation here, which wasn't the case," Thurlow said last night after being read the full text of his Bronze Star citation. "My personal feeling was always that I got the award for coming to the rescue of the boat that was mined. This casts doubt on anybody's awards. It is sickening and disgusting."

    Thurlow said he would consider his award "fraudulent" if coming under enemy fire was the basis for it. "I am here to state that we weren't under fire," he said. He speculated that Kerry could have been the source of at least some of the language used in the citation.

    In a telephone interview Tuesday evening after he attended a Swift Boat Veterans strategy session in an Arlington hotel, Thurlow said he lost his Bronze Star citation more than 20 years ago. He said he was unwilling to authorize release of his military records because he feared attempts by the Kerry campaign to discredit him and other anti-Kerry veterans.

    The Post filed an independent request for the documents with the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, which is the central repository for veterans' records. The documents were faxed to The Post by officials at the records center yesterday.

    Thurlow and other anti-Kerry veterans have repeatedly alleged that Kerry was the author of an after-action report that described how his boat came under enemy fire. Kerry campaign researchers dispute that assertion, and there is no convincing documentary evidence to settle the argument. As the senior skipper in the flotilla, Thurlow might have been expected to write the after-action report for March 13, but he said that Kerry routinely "duked the system" to present his version of events.

    For much of the episode, Kerry was not in a position to know firsthand what was happening on Thurlow's boat, as Kerry's boat had sped down the river after the mine exploded under another boat. He later returned to provide assistance to the stricken boat.

    Thurlow, an oil industry worker and former teacher in Kansas, said he was angry with Kerry for his antiwar activities on his return to the United States and particularly Kerry's claim before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that U.S. troops in Vietnam had committed war crimes "with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command."

    " 'Upset' is too mild a word," said Thurlow, a registered Republican, of his reaction to Kerry then. "He did it strictly for his own personal political gain, and it directly affected every single one of us as we were trying to put our lives together."

    Two other Swift boat skippers who were direct participants in the March 13, 1969, mine explosion on the Bay Hap, Jack Chenoweth and Richard Pees, have said they do not remember coming under "enemy fire." A fourth commander, Don Droz, who was one of Kerry's closest friends in Vietnam, was killed in action a month later.

    The incident featured prominently in an anti-Kerry television ad produced by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth earlier this month. "John Kerry lied to get his Bronze Star," says Van Odell, a gunner on PCF-23, one of the boats that came to the rescue of the stricken boat. "I know. I was there."

    The Bronze Star controversy is also a major focus of an anti-Kerry book by John E. O'Neill, "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry," which will hit No. 2 on The Post's bestseller list this weekend. The book accuses Kerry of "fleeing the scene" and lying repeatedly about his role.

    Members of Kerry's crew have come to his defense, as has Rassmann, the Special Forces officer whom he fished from the river. Rassmann says he has vivid memories of being fired at from both banks after he fell into the river and as Kerry came to his rescue. The two had an emotional reunion on the eve of the Iowa Democratic caucuses in January, an event that some political analysts believe helped swing votes to Kerry at a crucial time.

    The Bronze Star recommendations for both Kerry and Thurlow were signed by Lt. Cmdr. George M. Elliott, who received reports on the incident from his base in the Gulf of Thailand. Elliott is a supporter of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and has questioned Kerry's actions in Vietnam. But he has refused repeated requests for an interview after issuing conflicting statements to the Boston Globe about whether Kerry deserved a Silver Star. He was unreachable last night.

    Money has poured into Swift Boat Veterans for Truth since the group launched its television advertisement attacking Kerry earlier this month. According to O'Neill, the group has received more than $450,000 over the past two weeks, mainly in small contributions. The Dallas Morning News reported yesterday that the organization has also received two $100,000 checks from Houston home builder Bob Perry, who backed George W. Bush's campaigns for Texas governor and for president.

    Bush campaign officials have said they have no connection to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which is not permitted to coordinate its activities with a presidential campaign under federal election law. [/QUOTE]

    And another...

    [QUOTE]Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete; Critics Fail to Disprove Kerry's Version of Vietnam War Episode
    Michael Dobbs
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    4368 words
    22 August 2004
    The Washington Post
    FINAL
    A01
    English
    Copyright 2004, The Washington Post Co. All Rights Reserved

    When John F. Kerry rescued Jim Rassmann from the Bay Hap River in the jungles of Vietnam in March 1969, neither man could possibly have imagined that the episode would become a much-disputed focus of an American presidential campaign 35 years later.

    For Kerry, then a green and gangly Navy lieutenant junior grade and now the Democratic challenger to a wartime Republican president, that tale of heroism under fire has become integral to his campaign. A centerpiece of public rallies, videos and a new campaign advertisement, it has helped distinguish the candidate from his Democratic primary rivals and from President Bush, who spent the war at home as a member of the Texas Air National Guard.

    For the Massachusetts senator's critics, who include three of the five Swift boat skippers who were present that day, the incident demonstrates why Kerry does not deserve to be commander in chief. They accuse him of cowardice, hogging the limelight and lying. Far from displaying coolness under fire, they say, Kerry was never fired upon and fled the scene at the moment of maximum danger.

    Establishing the facts is complicated not merely by fading memories and sometimes ambiguous archival evidence, but also by the bitterly partisan nature of the presidential campaign.

    An investigation by The Washington Post into what happened that day suggests that both sides have withheld information from the public record and provided an incomplete, and sometimes inaccurate, picture of what took place. But although Kerry's accusers have succeeding in raising doubts about his war record, they have failed to come up with sufficient evidence to prove him a liar.

    Two best-selling books have formed the basis for public discussion of the events of March 13, 1969, as a result of which Kerry won a Bronze Star and his third Purple Heart. The fullest account of Kerry's experience in Vietnam is "Tour of Duty" by prominent presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. It was written with Kerry's cooperation and with exclusive access to his diaries and other writings about the Vietnam War. "Unfit for Command," by John E. O'Neill, who succeeded Kerry as commander of his Swift boat, and Jerome R. Corsi, lays out a detailed attack on Kerry's record.

    The Post's research shows that both accounts contain significant flaws and factual errors. This reconstruction of the climactic day in Kerry's military career is based on more than two dozen interviews with former crewmates and officers who served with him, as well as research in the Naval Historical Center here, where the Swift boat records are preserved. Kerry himself was the only surviving skipper on the river that day who declined a request for an interview.

    On the core issue of whether Kerry was wounded under enemy fire, thereby qualifying for a third Purple Heart, the Navy records clearly favor Kerry. Several documents, including the after-action report and the Bronze Star citation for a Swift boat skipper who has accused Kerry of lying, refer to "all units" coming under "automatic and small-weapons fire."

    The eyewitness accounts, on the other hand, are conflicting. Kerry's former crew members support his version, as does Rassmann, the Special Forces officer rescued from the river. But many of the other skippers and enlisted men who were on the river that day dispute Kerry's account and have signed up with Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a public advocacy group that has aired television advertisements accusing Kerry of lying about his wartime service.

    From an outsider's perspective, the flotilla of five 50-foot Swift boats that followed the Bay Hap River that humid March day has spawned two competing bands of brothers. One is fiercely loyal to Kerry and frequently appears with him at campaign events. The other dislikes him intensely and is doing everything it can to block his election.

    Many Swift boat veterans opposed to Kerry acknowledge that their disgust with him was fueled by his involvement in the antiwar movement. When they returned from Vietnam, they say, they were dogged by accusations of atrocities. While Kerry went on to make a prominent political career, they got jobs as teachers, accountants, surveyors and oil field workers. When he ran for president, partly on the strength of his war record, their resentment exploded.

    At one level, an attempt to establish what happened during a Vietcong ambush on the Bay Hap River 35 years ago is a simple search for facts. At another, it is the story of the divisions that tore the United States, and its armed forces, into two opposing camps at the time of the Vietnam War -- tensions that have resurfaced with a vengeance during the current political campaign.

    "The old wounds have been reopened, and they still bleed," said Larry Thurlow, one of Kerry's accusers, who was awarded a Bronze Star for heroism for going to the rescue of a boat that was rocked by a mine explosion that day. He says he got involved with the anti-Kerry campaign organized by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth because Kerry's distortion of the truth about the Vietnam War "makes me madder than hell."

    "We decided we aren't going to take it anymore."

    Boats Thrown Into Fight

    When Kerry signed up to command a Swift boat in the summer of 1968, he was inspired by the example of his hero, John F. Kennedy, who had commanded the PT-109 patrol boat in the Pacific in World War II. But Kerry had little expectation of seeing serious action. At the time the Swift boats -- or PCFs (patrol craft fast), in Navy jargon -- were largely restricted to coastal patrols. "I didn't really want to get involved in the war," Kerry wrote in a book of war reminiscences published in 1986.

    The role of the Swift boats changed dramatically toward the end of 1968, when Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., commander of U.S. naval forces in South Vietnam, decided to use them to block Vietcong supply routes through the Mekong Delta. Hundreds of young men such as Kerry, with little combat experience, suddenly found themselves face to face with the enemy.

    Taking a 50-foot aluminum boat up a river or canal was replete with danger, ranging from ambushes to booby traps to mines. Kerry and his comrades would experience all these risks on March 13, 1969. The purpose of the mission was twofold: to insert pro-government forces upriver in a group of Vietcong-controlled villages; and more generally to show the flag, keeping the waterways free for commerce.

    In some ways, it was a day like any other. The previous day, Kerry had taken part in a Swift boat expedition that had come under fire, and several windows of Kerry's boat were blown out. A friend, Lt. j.g. William B. Rood, almost lost an eye in the ambush. [Now an editor with the Chicago Tribune, Rood yesterday broke three decades of public silence to support Kerry's version of how he won the Silver Star on Feb. 28. Rood has no firsthand knowledge of the Bronze Star incident.]

    In other respects, March 13 would mark the culmination of Kerry's Vietnam War career. With three Purple Hearts, he became eligible for reassignment. Within three weeks, he was out of Vietnam and headed home after a truncated four-month combat tour.

    As commander of PCF-94, Kerry was responsible for ferrying a group of Chinese Vietnamese mercenaries, known as Nung, eight miles up the Bay Hap River, and then five miles up the winding Dong Cung Canal to suspected Vietcong villages. His passengers included Rassmann, the Special Forces officer, who had run into Kerry at a party a couple of weeks before and remembered him as "a tall, skinny guy with this humongous jaw."

    The expedition began to go wrong soon after they inserted the Nung troops into a deserted village off the Dong Cung Canal. As the mercenaries searched from house to house, Rassmann recalled, one reached for a cloth bag at the base of a coconut tree and was blown to pieces. It was a booby trap. Kerry, who arrived on the scene soon after, helped wrap the body in a poncho and drag it back to the boat, diving into a ditch when he thought he was under fire.

    "I never want to see anything like it again," Kerry wrote later. "What was left was human, and yet it wasn't -- a person had been there only a few moments earlier and . . . now it was a horrible mass of torn flesh and broken bones."

    In "Tour of Duty," these thoughts are attributed to a "diary" kept by Kerry. But the endnotes to Brinkley's book say that Kerry "did not keep diaries in these weeks in February and March 1969 when the fighting was most intense." In the acknowledgments to his book, Brinkley suggests that he took at least some of the passages from an unfinished book proposal Kerry prepared sometime after November 1971, more than two years after he had returned home from Vietnam.

    In his book, Brinkley writes that a skipper who remains friendly to Kerry, Skip Barker, took part in the March 13 raid. But there is no documentary evidence of Barker's participation. Barker could not be reached for comment.

    Brinkley, who is director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans, did not reply to messages left with his office, publisher and cell phone. The Kerry campaign has refused to make available Kerry's journals and other writings to The Post, saying the senator remains bound by an exclusivity agreement with Brinkley. A Kerry spokesman, Michael Meehan, said he did not know when Kerry wrote down his reminiscences.

    As they were heading back to the boat, Kerry and Rassmann decided to blow up a five-ton rice bin to deny food to the Vietcong. In an interview last week, Rassmann recalled that they climbed on top of the huge pile and dug a hole in the rice. On the count of three, they tossed their grenades into the hole and ran.

    Evidently, Kerry did not run fast enough. "He got some frags and pieces of rice in his rear end," Rassmann said with a laugh. "It was more embarrassing than painful." At the time, the incident did not seem significant, and Kerry did not mention it to anyone when he got back on the boat. An unsigned "personnel casualty report," however, erroneously implies that Kerry suffered "shrapnel wounds in his left buttocks" later in the day, following the mine explosion incident, when he also received "contusions to his right forearm."

    Anti-Kerry veterans have accused Kerry of conflating the two injuries to strengthen his case for a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Kerry's Bronze Star citation, however, refers only to his arm injury.

    At 2:45 p.m., according to Navy records, Kerry was joined by four other Swift boats for the Bay Hap trip. Kerry led the way on the right-hand side of the river, in PCF-94, followed 15 yards behind by one of his best friends in Vietnam, Don Droz, in PCF-43. A procession of three boats on the left side of the river was led by Richard Pees on PCF-3, followed by Jack Chenoweth on PCF-23 and Thurlow on PCF-51.

    Ahead of them was a fishing weir, a series of wooden posts across the river. That morning, the Swiftees had noticed Vietnamese children in sampans attaching nets to the posts and had thought little of it. To get through the weir, their boats had to pass to the left or to the right of the fishing nets.

    Just as the Kerry and Pees boats reached the weir, there was a devastating explosion, lifting Pees's boat, PCF-3, three feet out of the water.

    Witness Accounts Diverge

    "My God, I've never seen anything like it," Chenoweth wrote in what he says is a diary recorded soon after the events. "There was a fantastic flash, a boom, then the 3 boat disappeared in a fountain of water and debris. I was only 30 yards behind." Assuming that they had run into a Vietcong ambush, Chenoweth wrote, "we unleashed everything into the banks."

    A later intelligence report established that the mine was probably detonated by a Vietcong sympathizer in a foxhole who hit a plunger as the Swift boats passed through the fishing weir.

    Aboard the 3 boat, Pees remembered in an interview being "thrown up in the air" into the windscreen of his pilothouse and landing "kind of dazed," his legs numb, lap covered with blood. When it was over, Pees and three members of his crew would be medevaced to a Coast Guard cutter offshore with serious head and back injuries.

    "When the mine went off, we were still going full speed," recalled Michael Medeiros, one of Kerry's crew members. Kerry's boat raced off down the river, away from the ambush zone.

    It is at this point that the eyewitness accounts begin to diverge sharply. Everybody agrees that a mine exploded under the 3 boat. There is no argument that Rassmann fell into the river and that Kerry fished him out. Nor is there any dispute that Kerry was hurt in the arm, although the anti-Kerry camp claims he exaggerated the nature of his injury. Much else is hotly contested.

    When the first explosion occurred, Rassmann was seated next to the pilothouse on the starboard, or right, side of Kerry's boat, munching a chocolate chip cookie that he recalls having "ripped off from someone's Care package." He saw the 3 boat lift out of the water. Almost simultaneously, Kerry's forward gunner, Tommy Belodeau, began screaming for a replacement for his machine gun, which had jammed. Rassmann grabbed an M-16 and worked his way sideways along the deck, which was only seven inches wide in places.

    At this point, Kerry crew members say their boat was hit by a second explosion. Although Kerry's injury report speaks of a mine that "detonated close aboard PCF-94," helmsman Del Sandusky believes it was more likely a rocket or rocket-propelled grenade, as a mine would have inflicted more damage. Whatever it was, the explosion rammed Kerry into the wall of his pilothouse, injuring his right forearm.

    The second explosion "blew me right off the boat," Rassmann recalled. Frightened that he might be struck by the propellers of one of the boats, he dived to the bottom of the river, where he dumped his weapons and rucksack. When he surfaced, he said, bullets were "snapping overhead," as well as hitting the water around him.

    At first, nobody noticed what had happened to Rassmann. But then Medeiros, who was standing at the stern, saw him bobbing up and down in the water and shouted, "Man overboard." Around this time, crew members said, Kerry decided to go back to help the crippled 3 boat. It is unclear how far down the river Kerry's boat was when he turned around. It could have been anywhere from a few hundred yards to a mile.

    O'Neill claims that Kerry "fled the scene" despite the absence of hostile fire. Kerry, in a purported journal entry cited in Brinkley's "Tour of Duty," maintains that he wanted to get his troops ashore "on the outskirts of the ambush."

    The Kerry/Rassmann version of what happened next has been retold many times, in TV advertisements and campaign appearances: Rassmann struggling to climb up a scramble net, Kerry leaning over the bow of the boat and pulling him up with his injured arm. As Kerry later recalled, in notes cited by Brinkley, "Somehow we got him on board and I didn't get the bullet in the head that I expected, and we managed to move down near the 3 boat that was still crawling a snail-like zig-zag through the river."

    Rassmann remembers several boats coming back up the river toward him. But Chenoweth believes that the rescue must have taken place fairly close to the other boats, which had been drifting slowly downriver. In his diary, he said, he wrote that "we spotted a man overboard, started to pick him up, but 94 [Kerry's boat] got there first."

    While Kerry was rescuing Rassmann, the other Swift boats had gone to the assistance of Pees and the 3 boat. Thurlow, in particular, distinguished himself by leaping onto the 3 boat and administering first aid, according to his Bronze Star citation. At one point, he, too, was knocked overboard when the boat hit a sandbar, but he was rescued by crewmates.

    The Kerry and anti-Kerry camps differ sharply on whether the flotilla came under enemy fire after the explosion that crippled the 3 boat. Everybody aboard Kerry's boat, including Rassmann, says there was fire from both riverbanks, and the official after-action report speaks of all boats receiving "heavy a/w [automatic weapons] and s/a [small arms] from both banks." The Bronze Star citations for Kerry and Thurlow also speak of prolonged enemy fire.

    A report on "battle damage" to Thurlow's boat mentions "three 30 cal bullet holes about super structure." According to Thurlow, at least one of the bullet holes was the result of action the previous day, when he ran into another Vietcong ambush.

    Thurlow, Chenoweth, Pees and several of their crew members who belong to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth say neither they nor Kerry came under fire. "If there was fire, I would have made some notation in my journal," Chenoweth said. "But it didn't happen that way. There wasn't any fire." Although he read his diary entry to a reporter over the phone, he declined to supply a copy.

    The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Rassmann said, "are not just questioning Kerry's account, they are questioning my account. I take that very personally. No one can tell me that we were not under fire. I saw it, I heard the splashes, and I was scared to death. For them to come back 35 years after the fact to tarnish not only Kerry's record, but my veracity, is unconscionable."

    Until now, eyewitness evidence supporting Kerry's version had come only from his own crewmen. But yesterday, The Post independently contacted a participant who has not spoken out so far in favor of either camp who remembers coming under enemy fire. "There was a lot of firing going on, and it came from both sides of the river," said Wayne D. Langhofer, who manned a machine gun aboard PCF-43, the boat that was directly behind Kerry's.

    Langhofer said he distinctly remembered the "clack, clack, clack" of enemy AK-47s, as well as muzzle flashes from the riverbanks. Langhofer, who now works at a Kansas gunpowder plant, said he was approached several months ago by leaders of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth but declined their requests to speak out against Kerry.

    Who Initialed Navy Report?

    Much of the debate over who is telling the truth boils down to whether the two-page after-action report and other Navy records are accurate or whether they have been embellished by Kerry or someone else. In "Unfit for Command," O'Neill describes the after-action report as "Kerry's report." He contends that language in Thurlow's Bronze Star citation referring to "enemy bullets flying about him" must also have come from "Kerry's after-action report."

    O'Neill has said that the initials "KJW" on the bottom of the report "identified" it as having been written by Kerry. It is unclear why this should be so, as Kerry's initials are JFK. A review of other Swift boat after-action reports at the Naval Historical Center here reveals several that include the initials "KJW" but describe incidents at which Kerry was not present.

    Other Swift boat veterans, including Thurlow and Chenoweth, have said they believe that Kerry wrote the March 13 report. "I didn't like to write reports," said Thurlow, who was the senior officer in the five-boat flotilla. "John would write the thing up in longhand, and it would then be typed up and sent up the line."

    Even if Kerry did write the March 13 after-action report, it seems unlikely that he would have been the source of the information about "enemy bullets" flying around Thurlow. The official witness to those events, according to Thurlow's medal recommendation form, was his own leading petty officer, Robert Lambert, who himself won a Bronze Star for "courage under fire" in going to Thurlow's rescue after he fell into the river. Lambert, who lives in California, declined to comment.

    In a telephone interview, the head of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, retired Adm. Roy Hoffmann, who commanded all Swift boats in Vietnam, said he believed that Kerry wrote the March 13 after-action report on the basis of numerical identifiers at the top of the form. He later acknowledged that the numbers referred to the Swift boat unit, and not to Kerry personally. "It's not cast-iron," he said.

    Some of the mystery surrounding exactly what happened on the Bay Hap River in March 1969 could be resolved by the full release of all relevant records and personal diaries. Much information is available from the Web sites of the Kerry campaign and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and the Navy archives. But both the Kerry and anti-Kerry camps continue to deny or ignore requests for other relevant documents, including Kerry's personal reminiscences (shared only with biographer Brinkley), the boat log of PCF-94 compiled by Medeiros (shared only with Brinkley) and the Chenoweth diary.

    Although Kerry campaign officials insist that they have published Kerry's full military records on their Web site (with the exception of medical records shown briefly to reporters earlier this year), they have not permitted independent access to his original Navy records. A Freedom of Information Act request by The Post for Kerry's records produced six pages of information. A spokesman for the Navy Personnel Command, Mike McClellan, said he was not authorized to release the full file, which consists of at least a hundred pages.

    Some Felt Betrayed

    Kerry's reunion with Rassmann in January this year, nearly 35 years after he pulled the former Green Beret from the river, was a defining moment of his presidential campaign. Many political observers believed that the images of the two men embracing helped Kerry win the Iowa Democratic caucuses. The "No Man Left Behind" theme has become a recurring image of pro-Kerry advertising.

    But many of the men Kerry served with in Vietnam feel betrayed and left behind by him. Soon after Kerry returned to the United States, he began organizing antiwar rallies. Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April 1971, he appeared to endorse accusations that U.S. troops in Vietnam had committed war crimes "with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command."

    The anti-Kerry veterans began mobilizing earlier this year, following publication of the Brinkley biography and the nationwide publicity given to Kerry's emotional reunion with Rassmann. Many of the veterans were contacted personally by Hoffmann, a gung-ho naval officer compared unflatteringly in "Tour of Duty" to the out-of-control lieutenant colonel in the movie "Apocalypse Now" who talked about how he loved "the smell of napalm in the morning."

    Hoffmann, who was already angry with Kerry for his antiwar activities on his return from Vietnam, said in an interview that he was "appalled" to find out from reading "Tour of Duty" that Kerry was "considered to be a Navy hero." "I thought there was a tremendous amount of gross exaggeration in the book and, in some places, downright lies. So I started contacting some of my former shipmates," he said.

    One of the men Hoffmann contacted was O'Neill, a longtime Kerry critic who debated Kerry on television in 1971. O'Neill put Hoffmann in touch with some wealthy Republican Party contributors. One of O'Neill's contacts was Texas millionaire Bob Perry, who has contributed $200,000 to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Perry has also contributed to the Bush campaign.

    "I'd met him three or four times and represented people he knew," said O'Neill, who has practiced law in Houston for nearly 30 years.

    In addition to helping to organize the anti-Kerry campaign, O'Neill wrote his own book about the senator's wartime record, which soared to the top of the Amazon.com best-seller list before its publication earlier this month.

    With the exception of a sailor named Stephen Gardner, who served with Kerry in late 1968 on PCF-44, Kerry's own crew members have remained loyal to him. "If it wasn't for some of his decisions, we would probably be some of the names in that wall," said Gene Thorson, the engineman on PCF-94, referring to the Vietnam War Memorial. "I respect him very much."

    Others who served on boats that operated alongside Kerry on that fateful day in March 1969 say they cannot stand the man who is now challenging George W. Bush for the presidency.

    "I think that Kerry's behavior was abominable," said Pees, the commander of the boat that hit the mine. "His actions after the war were particularly disgusting. He distorted the truth when he talked about atrocities. We went out of our way to protect civilians. To suggest otherwise is a grotesque lie. As far as I am concerned, he did not speak the truth about how we conducted operations in Vietnam."

    "A lot of people just can't forgive and forget," countered Kerry crew member Medeiros. "He was a great commander. I would have no trouble following him anywhere."

    Staff writer Linton Weeks contributed to this report. [/QUOTE]

  19. #19
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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola]This is all you need to know about the Swift Boat vets. Under oath, they said Kerry was a hero. 30 years later, they decided they didn''t like his politics so they lied about him.

    This is as plain as day here...


    And another...[/QUOTE]

    this has been debated time and time again on this forum and it's getting boring....it has been debated on this forum by people who served in Vietnam or had fathers who served with kerri in vietnam ...kerri was a fraud from start to finish as has been proven time and time again...

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    [QUOTE=Come Back to NY]this has been debated time and time again on this forum and it's getting boring....it has been debated on this forum by people who served in Vietnam or had fathers who served with kerri in vietnam ...kerri was a fraud from start to finish as has been proven time and time again...[/QUOTE]

    Your personal opinion of Kerry is irrelevent to this topic.

    Here is what is relevant, and undisputed:

    The central allegations the Swift Boat guys were highly questionable and, at best, of dubious accuracy.

    The central allegations about Rudy's 9/11 performance --that he dragged his feet on radio upgrades and made a major gaffe by putting the disaster response center in the WTC-- are not in dispute.

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