Friday, August 20, 2004

Smear Exposed

The New York Times has a good article - praise be, some actual investigative reporting - on the Swift Boat Smear. I'm recapping some of the points below, with a few comments.


Does the smear come from Bush?

As you probably know, Kerry has stated that the smear comes from the Bush campaign. The Bush campaign denies it.

But interviews and documents show TONS of connections to the Bush family, Texas politics and Karl Rove (of COURSE Karl Rove).

The groups two largest financiers are Bob Perry, who has been a political associate of Rove's for 30 years, and Harlan Crow, the seventh-largest Republican donor in the state of Texas and a trustee of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.

And their Public Relations Coordinator is Merrie Spaeth, the wife of Bush's old Lieutenant Governor, Tex Lezar.

But Bush had NOTHING to do with it. Really.

How about the groups affadavits?

According to Patrick Runyon, who served on a mission with Kerry, he was one of those originally contacted by the group. He actually had the impression that they were a pro-Kerry group, and gladly gave them a statement about the night Kerry received one of his Purple Hearts.

The caller told Runyon he would be sent an email of his statement to sign and return.

But what they sent Runyon to sign WASN'T WHAT HE ACTUALLY SAID. It was what they WANTED him to say:

"Mr. Runyon said the edited version was stripped of all references to enemy combat, making it look like just another night in the Mekong Delta.

"It made it sound like I didn't believe we got any returned fire," he said. "He made it sound like it was a normal operation. It was the scariest night of my life."

So then sent Runyon a falsified affadavit, telling him to just sign it and send it back.

How many of the OTHER affadavits were phony?

What about what they say? Are they believable?

In the TV commercial, Dr. Louis Letson says, "I know John Kerry is lying about his first Purple Heart because I treated him for that injury."

But Letson's name does not appear on ANY of the medical records for Kerry.

Under "person administering treatment" for the injury, the form is signed by J. C. Carreon, a medic who died a few years ago. Letson said it was common for medics to treat sailors with the kind of injury that Mr. Kerry had and to fill out paperwork when doctors did the treatment.

But, when asked in an interview if there was any way to confirm that he had treated Mr. Kerry, Letson said, "I guess you'll have to take my word for it."

Thanks, Louis, we'll pass.

Then there is William Schachte, Jr. Schachte claims in the book that he was on the boat the night Kerry received his injury, and Kerry wounded himself while firing a grenade.

One problem: the other two guys on the boat - Bill Zaladonis and David Runyon - say Schachte WASN'T EVEN THERE. They say there WAS no third man on the boat. Period.

David Runyon: "Me and Bill aren't the smartest, but we can count to three."

A spokesman for William Schachte says that Schachte will not comment. Surprise, surprise.

And, of course, Larry Thurlow claims that there was no enemy fire, but his OWN BRONZE STAR CITATION says there was. And the fact that Thurlow received a Bronze Star for the same action that he says didn't happen was conveniently left out of "Unfit for Command."

The actual citation, Mr. Thurlow said, was with an ex-wife with whom he no longer has contact.

Why the hell would his ex-wife get custody of his citation?

And when asked if he would authorize the Navy to release a copy of it, he REFUSED.

But a copy of the citation obtained by the Washington Post under Freedom of Information flatly contradicts him, mentioning "enemy small arms," "automatic weapons fire" and "enemy bullets flying about him."

Thurlow, pathetically, tried to explain that away by claiming that Kerry himself wrote the reports.

But George Elliott and Adrian Lonsdale, two members of the group who have previously supported Kerry, have said that medals were awarded only if there was corroboration from others and said that they had thoroughly corroborated the accounts.

"Witness reports were reviewed; battle reports were reviewed. It was a very complete and carefully orchestrated procedure." - Adrian Lonsdale

In a sad attempt to prove that Kerry wrote the reports, they point to the initials on one of the reports. Get this: They read "K.J.W."


Kerry's middle initial is F. When asked why the hell Kerry would initial a report "K.J.W.," Larry Thurlow said, "What the W. is for, I cannot answer." But he still says that MUST be Kerry's.

A Navy official said the initials refer to the person who had received the report at headquarters, not the author.

Thurlow ALSO says that one piece of evidence that there was no enemy fire is that the boats received no bullet holes.

But a damage report to Thurlow's own boat shows that it received three bullet holes, and later intelligence reports indicate that one Vietcong was killed in action and five others wounded, which sure as hell indicates that SOMETHING was fired.

Larry Thurlow say that the boat was actually hit the day before.

If it was hit the day before, how come there is no report for the day before?

It says something really lousy about the news media that a web of lies so transparent and so easily ripped apart is getting any play at all.

But that's ok: they thought it would hurt Kerry, but this smear appears to be KILLING Bush. It seems to provoke total disgust in everyone who isn't one of Bush's Kool-Aid drinkers.

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