Swift Boat Veterans for Kerry

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Introduction

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth got plenty of press nationally in broadcast news stories, but there were other Swift Boat Veterans who disagreed with them. In fact all but one of the Swift Boat Veterans who had served under the direct command of Kerry, and had spoken out, vigorously defended Kerry's Vietnam record.

They were able to get their share of local press in newspapers when they appeared, but national broadcast news seldom ran those local stories; and their reporters seldom pursued the Pro Kerry Swift Boat Veterans for a counter-argument.

What follows are brief synopsises of an abridged listing of local American newspaper accounts of Swift Boat Veterans who were for John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential Election.

Others Who Served With Kerry Disagreed with the SBVT

Kerry's Silver Star

William B. Rood, an editor with the Chicago Tribune was a captian of a swift boat patrolling with Lt. J.F. Kerry on the Dong Cung river on Feb. 28, 1969, the day Kerry earned his Silver Star. He wrote a poignant personal account, for the first time publicly givng his account of that day, which was published by the Chicago Tribune on August 21, 2004.

""There were three swift boats on the river that day in Vietnam more than 35 years ago—three officers and 15 crew members. Only two of those officers remain to talk about what happened on February 28, 1969.
One is John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate who won a Silver Star for what happened on that date. I am the other.
[. . .]
Many of us wanted to put it all behind us-the rivers, the ambushes, the killing. Ever since that time, I have refused all requests for interviews about Kerry's service—even those from reporters at the Chicago Tribune, where I work.
But Kerry's critics, armed with stories I know to be untrue, have charged that the accounts of what happened were overblown. The critics have taken pains to say they're not trying to cast doubts on the merit of what others did, but their version of events has splashed doubt on all of us. It's gotten harder and harder for those of us who were there to listen to accounts we know to be untrue, especially when they come from people who were not there."


Mike Medeiros, of San Leandro, Ca., was serving under Kerry as a rear gunner for seven weeks, and was on patrol with him the day he earned the Silver Star. Medeiros is the sailor who followed Kerry off of the Swift Boat chasing after the Vietnameese carrying a grenade launcher. The newpaper, Tri Valley Herald, published his account of that day in an article on August 17, 2004. It corroborated the account of the action written by Mr. Rood.

At the time of the interview, Medeiros, serving in the National Guard, had been called up and called to active duty in the U.S. Army as a staff sergeant to train Guardsmen at Ft. Bliss before they headed for Iraq.


Fred Short of North Little Rock, Ark., was also serving as a gunner on the boat commanded by Kerry the day he earned his Silver Star. The Toledo Blade published part of an interview with him about that day on July 28, 2004;

"‘The senator chases the [Viet Cong] up the ridge, and sees him standing up, getting ready to let go his weapon,’ he said. ‘I‘m 90 feet away now and I‘m dead in the water. If he was a good pitcher, he could have taken me out with a baseball. ... Sen. Kerry takes him out and, in doing so, allows me to be here to speak to you this morning.’"

Xmas in Cambodia

The Columbus Dispatch reported on August 12, 2004, that Jim Wasser of Illinois, who served with Kerry on a Swift Boat,

"...disputed charges that Kerry lied about his war record and said it‘s time to ‘put a veteran‘s veteran in the White House... I am a swift boat sailor for the truth. They are swift boat sailors for George Bush.’"

The article also reported that Wasser was with Kerry on Christmas, 1968, and

"Wasser said it was nearly impossible to tell exactly where the boat was on the river but that if it wasn’t in Cambodia that day, it was ‘very close.’"

Others

Del Sandusky, who served in the United States Navy from 1961-76, in a news story that was published in the St. Peterburg Times August 8, 2004, was quoted saying,

"Mentally, some days we were a wreck...but John (Kerry) kept us together. He made sure al::l the guys knew where the hot zones and the safe zones were in the river, in case either he or I or both of us got hit. John made sure everyone knew the river and how to get out.
Not all the officers did that.
If John had not done what he did, we'd be names on the wall right now."

Edward Elliott "Skip" Barker (Capt. US Navy, Ret.), an attorney from Selma, Alabama, first met Senator Kerry when they attended officers' school together in Coronado Ca. Barker and Kerry occasionally served on patrol together, each commanding their own boat. In an interview with the Montgomery Advertiser published August 10, 2004, Barker recounted one of those missions, when Kerry, armed with an M-16, charged a bunker on foot shouting in English and Vietnameese to surrender, only to find 42 civillians, malnurished and sickly emerge from it. Kerry saw to it that they were taken to a protected hamlet, where they received medical attention and food.

"John was very sensitive to the fact that we were fighting a war in the middle of an indigenous population."

About the SBFT members Barker said,

"They're either intellectually dishonest or intellectually inept."

References

Citations

  • Rood, William B.; Feb. 28, 1969; On Thr Dong Cung River: Anti-Kerry vets not there that day; Chicago Tribune, August 21, 2004. [1]
  • Katz, Alex; "Local vet recalls time on Kerry's swiftboat"; Tri Valley Herald (Pleasanton, Ca.), August 17, 2004. (original url dead, but a google search offers insight)
  • Toledo Blade Staff Writers; "Swift boat gunner says Kerry's blood red, not blue"; Toledo Blade, July 28, 2004, (paid archives)
  • Niquette, Mark; "Navy veteran who served with Kerry rips television ad"; Columbus Dispatch, August 12, 2004 [2]
  • Zucco, Tom; "Serving with Kerry, again"; St. Petersburg Times, August 8, 2004; [3]
  • Radelat, Ana; "Selma lawyer shields Kerry"; Montgomery Advertiser, August 10, 2004 - (Original url dead)

Other Newspaper Links

  • Associated Press; "State Democrats defend AEA"; The Decatur Daily (Ala), March 8, 2004 [4]
  • Abraham, Lisa A.; "Vietnam vet praises Kerry. Arkansas man says his Navy skipper was a good leader"; Akron Beacon Journal, July 28, 2004 [5]
  • Washington Post Editorial; "Swift Boat Smears"; Thursday, August 12, 2004 [6]
  • Keso, August; "Patterns Emerge with the Swift Boat Veterans"; Washington Dispatch, August 13, 2004 [7]
  • Braun, Stephen and a La Gang, Maria L.; "Veterans Battle Over the Truth"; Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2004 [8]
  • Kaplan, Fred; "Holiday in Cambodia - The "Christmas Eve" attack on Kerry is cheap and almost certainly wrong"; Slate, august 23, 2004 - [9]

Periodical

Salon Magazine

  • Conason, Joe; Smear Boat Veterans for Bush", May 4, 2004, [10]
  • Conason, Joe; "The Vietnam investor behind the "Swift Boat Vets" attack"; May 14, 2004 [11]
  • Conason, Joe; "Aiming for John Kerry's Purple Heart"; August 16, 2004 [12]
  • Lewis, Martin; "Another swift lie: John O'Neill has been trying to discredit John Kerry for three decades"; Aug. 6, 2004 [13]

Intervention Magazine

  • Nusbaumer, Stewart; "The War Against Vietnam Veterans"; February 15, 2004 [14]
  • Rellick, Gerald; "Commentary: Swift Boaters Lie for Bush"; August 13, 2004 [15]
  • Sabol, Regis T.; The smear campaign by the ‘Swift Boat Veterans for Truth’ and other shady maneuvers show just how devious the Republican right can be"; August 13, 2004 [16]

Capitol Hill Blue

  • FactCheck.Org; "Anti-Kerry Ad Laced With Distortions, Inaccuracies"; Aug 10, 2004 [17]
  • McTavish, William D.; "GOP Viet Vet Says Kerry Attackers ‘Lying...Without Decency’; Aug 11, 2004 [18]
  • Capitol Hill Blue Staff and Wire Reports; "Former GOP NavSec Says Kerry Deserved Medals"; Aug 16, 2004 [19]
  • McTavish, William D.; "CHB Investigates: Swift Boat Vets Honcho Lied About Political Activity"; Aug 16, 2004 [20]

Pro Kerry Political