Thanks for sight of the outraged appeal to "stop the Swift Boat Smear." I have been inundated with indignant attacks from my Hollywood colleagues who, as well you know, hold me personally responsible for all that happens from right-of-center. Yours, I choose to answer (and copy a small group of my like-minded friends) as I know you to be a reasonable questing spirit (!
My own view -- now and from the beginning -- is those who were not there should not speak. I learned a lot making HANOI HILTON and TO HEAL A NATION but that all remains with me. I do know that GWB and the GOP are not behind the Swifties (I interviewd O'Neill for a movie I'm making just three days ago.)
The fact is, John Kerry is the ONLY AMERICAN MALE in the NV "Hall of Heroes" honoring those who aided them in "winning the war" -- which indicates to many vets his efforts extended far beyond merely opposing the war here at home. The fact is, John Kerry did go to Paris and told the NV delegation things they were torturing prisoners in the Hanoi Hilton because they refused to say what they knew to be lies.
The fact is, John Kerry did make outrageous claims about the behavior of our troops in VN and many hold him personally responsible for their dreadful treatment upon their return. I've had them literally cry on my shoulder about the way even their children see them -- either as brutes before they went or inevitably brutalized by the experience. He broke faith, not by describing his service, but by:
1) lying about it;
2) more egregiously, lying about the actions of others.
Why do they choose to speak out now, after all these years? Because, they say, Kerry's behavior -- it is now clear to them -- was never a matter of conscience. It was, from the beginning, designed purely to advance his personal career. In their view, he sullied other men's reputations and marred their lives for his own gain. Soldiers don't do that. Not honorable ones.
What is the evidence he lied? Well, they point to three clear open mistruths as indicative of the value of his other claims:
1) He wasn't in VN when MLK was assassinated (MLK was assassinated in the Spring, he arrived in-country in the late autumn);
2) He was never in Cambodia (he now acknowledges this);
3) The first of the three Purple Hearts that gained him a ticket home was self-inflicted, the result of blowback from a rocketlauncher. (See his own journals for this) I have seen many men receive smilar scratches from firing range training excerises. They're little more than scratches -- if that!
So what do we have? Frankly, the settling of old scores. He made choices when he returned, choices he would rather forget. That is allowed -- to all of us. But trying to turn them into heroic deeds worthy of election to the Presidency rankles those he once maligned. They're now presenting their statement of account and exacting payment. We're merely audience who may decide upon the drama. Righteousness on the part of the spectators -- who never served -- is a little disgusting. Kerry should fight his own battles -- by answering forthrightly and not trying to dismiss it simply as "a smear."
Men who served honorably should be allowed to speak their mind; this is America. On a partisan note, it seems strange that after $68 million dollars of Moveon.org and other Soros/Tides Foundation/etc., funded groups that compared a sitting president to Hitler, a $275,000 ad buy has brought screams of "off-the-air" and censorship.
We are refighting the home front of the VN war. The real impetus for this -- in my view -- comes from the anti-Iraq war bloc. Surely, the world changed after 9/11. My interest in Kerry is his 19 years in the Senate. As I read it, his voting record disqualifies him from conducting a war on highway litter, let alone one against a murderous enemy abetted by two of our cynical European "allies".
Herewith, more-or-less, endeth my rant. But keep tham card 'n' letters comin'.