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Swift Boat Myths Reported As Fact

Patterico calls attention to another case of the media reporting fantasy as fact.

Amazing. The canard that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was a "smear campaign" is so well accepted by Big Media that ABC NEWS feels comfortable in portraying the Swifties' ad campaign as "slanderous" and "smear ads." These characterizations appear in a "straight" news story about the recess appointment of an ambassador who gave money to the group, and had his nomination nixed by a petty group of Retaliacrats bent on extracting some pathetic, small revenge.
This is yet another case of the media misreporting the nature of the Swift Boat Vet claims. They are routinely referred to as "unsubstantiated" claims when most of the claims made by the Swifties were very well supported by eye witness testimony and/or documentation. If the media repeats anything often enough, it becomes the "accepted truth," but that still doesn't make it true. Just for those who were not paying attention in 2004, the Swift Boat Vets were a group of over 250 veterans, including many highly decorated war heroes and even some POW's, of both parties and most of their claims were very well substantiated.

Comments (34)

They are routinely refer... (Below threshold)

They are routinely referred to as "unsubstantiated" claims when most of the claims made by the Swifties were very well supported by eye witness testimony and/or documentation.... most of their claims were very well substantiated.

Wow. If the right-wing blogosphere repeats anything often enough, it becomes the "accepted truth," but that still doesn't make it true.

That POS Matthews said t... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

That POS Matthews said that the recently appointed ambassador to Belgium , Fox pretty much paid $50,000 for his seat with his contribution to the Swift Boat Vets. Spittle Face goes on to repeat the lie that they smeared Fraud Kerry and ruined his Career. What the Swift Boat Vets did was not only exposed Fraud Kerry, they exposed the entire Democrat Party for ehat they are.

Professional liars like these Criminal Democrats and their Media or any politician /political hack for that matter should have their tongues mutilated to resemble that of a snake. Ah heck who am I trying to kid , the pot head burnouts will just think hey man that's cool, he speaks with a fork tongue.

I wonder if Bill Clinton would have made 43 million flapping his yap with "LIAR" Tattooed on his forehead.

It's history pa... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

It's history pal, Kerry is a Lying Fraud and a loser.

Wow. If the right-... (Below threshold)
Wow. If the right-wing blogosphere repeats anything often enough, it becomes the "accepted truth," but that still doesn't make it true.

Well, Brian proved Lorie correct in record time on this one .....

Brian, if 5 people say "X is true" and one person says "Y is true", it doesn't automatically make the 5 people who say "X is true" liars just because you happen to believe "Y to be true" as well.

All it proves is there is a reasonable doubt about what happened.

The only one who it proves to be liars are those who claim that there is no question of doubt.

The SwiftBoat Veterans asked some serious questions that one would think Kerry had an easy answer for, but, apparently doesn't. Instead, as a result of his partial release of records and conflicting stories, we get more questions than we get answers.

I would still like to know why some of his paperwork was generated during the Carter Presidency rather than when he actually served.

Had Kerry not made his Vietnam service the centerpoint of his campaign, these questions may have never surfaced. The fact that he did emphasize his military service and didn't anticipate the fallout from it and his post-service activities indicated to me a major disconnect from reality.

Brian, your cites are to st... (Below threshold)

Brian, your cites are to stuff from early to mid August, '04. You, sir, are out of date. By the way, the sort of stuff you are linking to is there because Kerry was not there to respond to these allegations in August '04. Why don't you link to what he said then? Why didn't his shipmates defend him in August? Newsweek said they were 'Grandfathers on family vacations'. Where is that David Alston? The man of God?

I'm in hopes Kerry follows up his threat to investigate Fox. Maybe someone will ask Kerry a question or two.

Brian,Thanks for t... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:


Thanks for the links, but they really don't prove Swift Boat Vets claims were false. The best witnesses to what actually happened were Kerry's peers and to a man they either are members of Swift Boat Vets or support that version over Kerry's version. As for official Navy records, no one can prove who the author of the reports about Kerry's actions in combat was, and the Swift Boat Vets claim it was Kerry himself hoping to create a JFK like war record for himself.

McCain's statement criticizing the Swift Boat Vets as 'dishonest and dishonorable' just shows how out of touch he was then and still is. Of all people who weighed in on this issue he has the least personal knowledge of the facts. McCain is the one Republican presidential candidate that has a lower rating on my tally sheet than Hillary.

McCain jumped to the conclu... (Below threshold)

McCain jumped to the conclusion about the Swifties without adequate informaation and in response to his emotional ties with Kerry. He, too, is Unfit for Command.

Sadly, though, the real pro... (Below threshold)

Sadly, though, the real problem here, and again it is MSM, is that the verb, to swiftboat, has taken on more of the meaning of an illegitimate political attack. Several years ago, a person's political inclinations were detectable by how they used the verb, leftists using it to mean dishonest politics, and rightists in the sense of 'speaking truth to power'. I don't see that anymore.

Someday, historians are going to be amazed at the coincidence of stunning access to information with effective disinformation campaigns.

There are no reasons to believe Kerry or Joe Wilson other than that their memes are anti-war. But when a campaign must enlist liars for its maintenance, it is ultimately doomed.

John O'Neil was in Vietnam ... (Below threshold)

John O'Neil was in Vietnam a lot longer than Kerry. He was more decorated. His career is far more exemplary than Kerry's.

He is a far better person than is Kerry.

And so is every one of those 240 plus Swifties.

"He was takin' it to 'em". ... (Below threshold)

"He was takin' it to 'em". And this was only two and a half years ago. Oh, David, someone is looking for you. Is there a Mr. Alston in church, today?

Isn't ABC slandering the Sw... (Below threshold)

Isn't ABC slandering the Swifties?

Very kinder and gentler thr... (Below threshold)

Very kinder and gentler thread of comments, its [not] surprising how few contrarians actually comment when they are held to standards of decent speech and arguement.

I believe the swift boat ve... (Below threshold)

I believe the swift boat vetertans simply because they are private citizens who did not want to be embroiled in controvery but thought people should know what Kerry is like. There is no other motivation. You cannot have so many veterans will to speak ill of another veteran without some substance there. Just is logical. Kerry is a loser. He brought up Vietnam time and time again. The swift boat veterans could not take the lies anymore. ww

It is probably worth pointi... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

It is probably worth pointing out, although it will not matter to the "truthers," that John O'Neill is a Democrat, not a Republican.

The big thing about Kerry i... (Below threshold)

The big thing about Kerry is that he Swiftboated himself, several times.

"Christmas in Cambodia," sent there by a President who wasn't even in office yet? Do we actually need other people's stories, after a howler like that?

Does he still carry the Magic Hat around?

Brian:To be short ... (Below threshold)


To be short and specific to Brian, your defense of Kerry is sad, feckless and at best disingenuous.

In general it always amazes me those that even attempt to defend Kerry at this point. The man did everything he could to stay out of the military including receiving deferments that Cheney gets excoriated for.

When that didn't work he went into the Navy, served on the USS Gridley then got the "bright" idea to "go Swift Boating."

The genesis of that idea was rooted in the fact Swift Boats missions were only off the coast and not inland where the action was.

THEN the mission changed and Kerry became the reluctant warrior and did everything possible to cut his in country time short including using three minor injuries to bugout on his fellow crewman and others in country.

P.S Brian Go through Beldar's archives, no one from the left or right followed Kerry's story closer than he did.

When you're done, hang your head in shame for linking the two pieces of tripe you did.

Kerry "Swiftboated himself"... (Below threshold)

Kerry "Swiftboated himself" in more than one way. His biggest gaffe has already been noted earlier - referring to his memory being "seared" by listenting to a speech by President Nixon on Christmas Eve, 1968. Nixon was not to become President for another 4 weeks!

But two other gaffes remain for the same event. He was on a mission on the Song Be Da river to deliver Special Ops personnel into Cambodia and was in Cambodia at the time of the "Speech". Not only did the Swiftboaters have it in for Kerry but there was also a "Conspiracy of Cartographers" at work here. That river does not go into Cambodia.

And lastly, for a mission of such importance involving Special Ops personnel there has never once been any supporting documentation provided that such a mission ever even occurred.

I won't even bother to discuss his war record or even his post-war activities. A man stands up to the world and portrays himself a hero and his story, seared into his memory, cannot stand ap to simple scrutiny.

Brian, you would do well to expend your efforts defending someone deserving like - - - Ted Kennedy!

C'mon, isn't there any oppo... (Below threshold)

C'mon, isn't there any opposing fire? What the hell are we wailing away at the bushes for?

Because they keep printing ... (Below threshold)
kim's sock puppet:

Because they keep printing that stupid stuff, stupid, and people stupider than you keep believing it.

Brian - Much of th... (Below threshold)

Brian -

Much of this could be clarified if John Kerry signed Form SF 180, specifying his permission for the complete public release of his military records.

You know, like he promised to do.

Instead of partial release to cherry-picked MSM-types, as he actually did.

I, for one, would love to see his original discharge...

P, he has signed it, author... (Below threshold)

P, he has signed it, authorizing release of his records only to selected news outlets, who've given no assurance that they've received or released all his records. It took him about a year, but he came up with a way to sign the 180, but not release his records.

He is not in in '08 because he is still getting torn up in focus groups.

I mean, look at this one.<b... (Below threshold)

I mean, look at this one.

It's silly to claim that th... (Below threshold)

It's silly to claim that the Swiftboaters were just concerned citizens with no gripe against Kerry. It has been clearly documented that a large number of Viet Nam vets bear him a great deal of ill will because of his comments when he returned from Viet Nam. Many based their entorie Presidential vote on that. I'm sure it's easy to find a lot of Viet Nam vets who hate Kerry, especially since his comments have been mischaracterized so frequently.

Mac Lorry, this comment is ridiculous: "The best witnesses to what actually happened were Kerry's peers." No, the best witnesses were the men on his boat. The vast majority of the Swifties were nowhere near the combat in question. How is it their opinion trumps that of the men who were under fire with him?

And the statement that O'Neill is a Democrat is another canard that you people accept uncritically. He was fecruited by Chuck Colson to counter Kerry during the Nixon administration, clerked for Rehnquist, contributed to GHW Bush in 1992, voted in the Republican primary in 1988, has regularly contributed to the Republican Party, with no record of any contributions to Democrats and seconded Nixon's nomination at the 1972 Republican Convention. But he does claim to have voted for Gore, so for your purposes I guess that makes him a Democrat.

He has every right to support whomever he wants. But this kind of free floating misinformation is exactly what has given credence to the Swifties. Throw enough crap around, and pretty soon people are saying "I guess we'll never know the real truth." It's interesting how many people fall back on the "Why doesn't Kerry release his records" dodge. Kerry not releasing his records (which he has released to the media) does not in any way prove any of the Swifties points. Because someone doesn't effectively disprove a lie doesn't automatically turn the lie into truth.

And I know this will be hard to believe for people who only know the Boston Globe through Jay Tea's rants, but believe me, no one has been harder on Kerry than the Globe. If there was damaging information in his records, they would have wasted no time publishing it.

Meanwhile, were any of you offended by all the fat ladies from Omaha wearing purple band-aids at the Republican Convention? These lard asses are ridiculing a soldier because he didn't bleed sufficiently to suit them when he was wounded? Or how about O'Neill ridiculing Kerry because he claims he shot a "teenager in a loincloth"? Is this your vaunted support of the troops? A soldier is ridiculed because he killed an enemy carrying a rocket launcher, but the enemy wasn't sufficiently attired (leaving aside the fact thatr it's a false statement)? And do we now train our soldiers to only shoot armed enemies when they are actually facing them? Armed soldiers fleeing are now to be allowed to escape because O'Neill thinks it's dishonorable to shoot them if they're teenagers? What hypocrisy. You know who I bet really appreciates that ridicule? The teenagers we have seving in Iraq. I'm sure they're happy to learn they're not real soldiers.

ChrisO:Is that the... (Below threshold)


Is that the best you can do?
Defend Kerry because O'Neil may or may not be a Democrat?
Defend Kerry based upon someone else's reading of his records?
Defend Kerry based upon the Boston Globe's dedication to honesty and the truth?
Defend Kerry based upon the people on his boat - all of them or just the ones who stuck up for Kerry?
Defend Kerry by ranting about fat ladies from Omaha?

And regarding "You know who I bet really appreciates that ridicule? The teenagers we have seving in Iraq. I'm sure they're happy to learn they're not real soldiers." I'll bet those teenagers serving in Iraq will be glad to tell you what they think of Kerry - just ask them!

How about trying to do something worth while for a change. Like letting Kerry sink or swim in the bile he himself created!

So, ChrisO, was David Alsto... (Below threshold)

So, ChrisO, was David Alston on Kerry's boat? What does he say now about Kerry? What do the rest of his shipmates say now, these 'grandfathers on vacation' in August, 2004?

Mostly though, your whole rant is 'free floating misinformation' that sounds a lot like 'Waaaaaahhhhh'.

For those who hand-waved aw... (Below threshold)

For those who hand-waved away my links, I invite you to respond directly to the facts (or, in your opinion, alleged facts) contained therein. Those sites, one of which I think all can agree is non-partisan, address accusations raised, research their validity, and document their sources. You can't just say "oh, well I believe differently" and be taken seriously. The sources include public documents, and the men directly in contact with Kerry during that time. If you have better sources than those (and men not directly in contact with Kerry during that time don't count), feel free to post them.

One of which you apparently... (Below threshold)

One of which you apparently agree is biased?

But take any of the points,... (Below threshold)

But take any of the points, as known 8/22/04, from the Annenberg Center, and let's see what you know about developments since then. I told you before your stuff was out of date.

By the way, I'm not admitti... (Below threshold)

By the way, I'm not admitting that the Annenberg Center is always perfectly nonpartisan. This early investigation of the Swifties uproar to which you link, certainly looks partisan in retrospect.

ChrisO,You got you... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:


You got your fact wrong. The swift boats usually patrolled with at least two boats. The commanders of the other boats in a given patrol know what the orders are, but the crew doesn't. Also, the commanders of the other boats have the best view of the action and the best understanding of what other commanders are supposed to do or not do in any circumstance. If you were ever in the military then you would know that officers are judged by their peers and superiors, not their subordinates. Kerry's peers and superiors think he's a phony. Fools like McCain who knows nothing about the facts are the ones who support Kerry.

I believe Kerry's peers wan... (Below threshold)

I believe Kerry's peers wanted him out of Vietnam because he was an active hazard. He had poor fire discipline and he ran off with injured sailors in the water. He wanted to leave, but few wanted him to stay.

He panicked folks; he got s... (Below threshold)

He panicked folks; he got stressed, freaked, and made bad decisions. That doesn't make him a bad man. But nearly everything else he's done does.

For those who hand... (Below threshold)
For those who hand-waved away my links, I invite you to respond directly to the facts (or, in your opinion, alleged facts) contained therein.

I see that you still are missing the point.

"Debunking" something as a myth does not occur simply because you have found someone who says something different. You haven't "responded directly" to what was said by the Swiftboaters - you simply provided someone who said something else.

Yes, it casts a reasonable doubt - but on BOTH versions that have been presented. Yours isn't automatically right because you said so.

And, as to your snark "in your opinion, alleged facts", no one said anything of the kind about your source. If anything, it is you who is making the claim and not following it up.

Those sites, one of which I think all can agree is non-partisan, address accusations raised, research their validity, and document their sources.

Well, I KNOW one of them isn't non-partisian and the other I am unfamiliar with so I can't agree. I will say that the one I have previously been unfamiliar with uses rhetoric that is anything but non-partisian. It does mention accusation raised but does not "debunk" them at all so "research their validity" did not occur. It does provide an alternative version - which is no the same as "debunking".

The only thing I can give you on this claim is that it lists a lot of sources. I didn't look at all the sources used, but at least one I noticed could hardly be described as non-partisian.

You can't just say "oh, well I believe differently" and be taken seriously.

No, you can't - which is why your claims can't be taken seriously either since that is precisely what you are doing.

As I said previously, alternative versions simply cast all the versions into doubt.

The sources include public documents, and the men directly in contact with Kerry during that time. If you have better sources than those (and men not directly in contact with Kerry during that time don't count), feel free to post them.

Do you realize that you just invalidated the sources that you quoted earlier?

Rood is a well-spoken and compelling voice.

However, he was EQUALLY close to action on that day as others who were members fo the SwiftBoat group. If you invalidate them, you must logically invalidate his perspective as well.

I'm not sure that I could even differentiate who qualifies in that argument.

On one mission - that resulted in medal - there were supposedly only 2 men and Kerry, but more than 2 men have claimed to have been there. Kery himself has not cleared up that discrepancy.

Those who opposed the Swiftboaters always say that no one who served on his boat (which itself was wrong because Kerry served on 2) - opposed him. That is also untrue - one member of one of his boats was a member of the SwiftBoat group. When that issue was raised, suddenly Kerry was claiming that the man hated him because he stopped him from committing a war crime.

I applaud Kerry for serving 4 months in Vietnam, but I cannot, in good conscience, damn people who served years in the same theater as liars simply because their version doesn't match the version that Kerry has put forth over the years.

Kerry has already had to backtrack on a couple of stories so he is hardly the perfect source. (One was the Cambodia myth - another involved a battle that one of his boats went through but before he actually was on board it).

Droz knows.========<... (Below threshold)

Droz knows.






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