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Swift Boat Veterans Condemn Kerry as Unfit to Command
News Max ^ | May 4 ,2004 | Dave Everhart

Posted on 05/04/2004 11:00:32 AM PDT by GrandMoM

WASHINGTON – It was the news conference John Kerry did not want to see happen.

In a standing-room-only suite at National Press Club, former “Swiftee” John O’Neill, spokesman for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, told reporters that the junior U.S. senator from Massachusetts spent 45 minutes on the phone with group founder Rear Adm. Roy Hoffman, USN (Ret.), trying to “discourage” the band of brothers from going public with their united sentiment that Kerry is unfit to be the nation’s commander in chief.

The effort failed, and in a 90-minute session one veteran after another described with brutal honesty why he fixed his signature to a public letter to the Democrat candidate condemning Kerry’s allegations of war crimes and demanding that the former decorated Swift Boat skipper authorize the Department of Defense to release all his military records.

The letter, which is the centerpiece of the organization’s efforts, is signed, said O’Neill, by Swift Boat veterans “at all levels and from the entire political spectrum; the entire chain of command during the period Kerry served in Vietnam; veterans who participated in the engagements resulting in his medals; and the majority of officers who served with him in Coastal Division 11, the unit in which he spent most of his abbreviated four-month tour of duty.”

Leading off the parade of vets who trooped up to the podium was Rear Adm. Hoffman, who remarked, “I signed this letter because I do not believe John Kerry is fit to be commander in chief of the armed forces of the United States. This is not a political issue. It is a matter of his judgment, truthfulness, reliability, loyalty and trust – all absolute tenets of command.”

Hoffman, the former commander of Task Force 115, was near the top of Kerry’s chain of command while the senator was a young lieutenant junior grade serving in Vietnam in 1968-69.

Some of the comments:

Veteran Steve Gardner: “I watched him put his crew in jeopardy, his indecisive moves …” Needs 'Constant Supervision'

Veteran Charles Plumley, who was seriously wounded in Swift Boat river operations combat, described Kerry as “self-absorbed, requiring constant supervision.”

Veteran Robert “Friar Tuck” Brant emotionally described how he was going to visit the Vietnam War Memorial wall right after the press conference and “tell my two dead crewmates” not to pay attention to how Kerry has dishonored them with his charges of nearly universal war crimes and atrocities (referring especially to Kerry's testimony on Capitol Hill in 1971).

Veteran James M. Zumwalt (son of the late Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, former chief of naval operations during Kerry’s tour of duty) chastised Kerry for repeating some of his Capitol Hill “falsehoods” again in the book “Tour of Duty.” “He [Kerry] has a personality disorder.”

Veteran Barnard Wolff: “He needs to clarify that first Purple Heart.”

Veteran Andy Horne: “Kerry left us with the stain of sewage.”

Veteran Robert G. Elder: “We didn’t loose the war on the ground in Vietnam, we lost it at home, and at home John Kerry was the field general.”

Veteran Grant Hibbard: Kerry’s former immediate commander decried the first Purple Heart award. “I received the report on the mission; there had been no enemy fire.” Hibbard went on to explain that his only information was that Kerry himself had perhaps fired an M-79 grenade at the shore and got “scratched” from his own friendly fire. “There was no medical treatment. To this day I have no information [re the medal] on how or whom.” But O’Neill told NewsMax.com that the medals and their back stories were not the real issue being targeted by the organization, referring to the second paragraph of the letter to Kerry:

'Grossly and Knowingly Distorted'

“It is our collective judgment that, upon your return from Vietnam, you grossly and knowingly distorted the conduct of the American soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen of that war (including a betrayal of many of us, without regard for the danger your actions caused us.) Further, we believe that you have withheld and/or distorted material facts as to your own conduct in this war.”

But it is with regard to the latter sentence of the charge that O’Neill and others get vague.

When asked by NewsMax if they had in mind any potential smoking gun of distortion that might be revealed by an unfettered examination of Kerry’s military records, there was no answer forthcoming.

The organization’s letter to Kerry ends with:

“Senator Kerry, we were there. We know the truth. We have been silent long enough. The stakes are too great, not only for America in general but, most important, for those who have followed us into service in Iraq and Afghanistan. We call upon you to provide a full, accurate accounting of your conduct in Vietnam.”

At the time of this writing Kerry's campaign headquarters, only blocks away from the Press Club, had no response to the letter or the news conference.

O’Neill, however, made it clear that the group was not on the Kerry camp's hit parade, making reference to the fact that some were referring to his organization as a collection of “bitter alcoholics.”

The 30-some Swift Boat vets on hand for the press meeting said that there was no political agenda and that they gained no joy from the enterprise but considered it a hallowed duty. As O’Neill said in his opening remarks:

“We endorse nobody. If a fit choice [for president] emerged, we would all be going home.”

O'Neill, an attorney in Houston, served in the same naval unit as Kerry and commanded Kerry's Swift Boat after Kerry left country.

Kerry's tour of duty lasted four months, ending at his own request after he received his third Purple Heart. According to naval regulations at the time, any service member who received three Purple Hearts could request a transfer out of the combat zone.

O'Neill is perhaps best remembered for his debate with Kerry in 1971 on "The Dick Cavett Show." He fought Kerry's allegations that many Vietnam soldiers had routinely engaged in atrocities. At the time Kerry was the spokesman for the anti-war group Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Appearing on "Meet the Press in 1971, Kerry said that he and other U.S. troops committed "atrocities" in Vietnam. To this day he will not give details of what "atrocities" he committed.

Appearing on "Meet the Press" last month, he said: "I think the word ['atrocities'] is a bad word. I think it's an inappropriate word. The words were honest, but on the other hand they were a little bit over the top. I don't like it when I hear it today."


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Massachusetts; US: Washington
KEYWORDS: betrayal; johnfnkerry; johnoneil; johnoneill; kerry; swiftboatveterans; unfit
John O’Neill, spokesman for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, told reporters that the junior U.S. senator from Massachusetts spent 45 minutes on the phone with group founder Rear Adm. Roy Hoffman, USN (Ret.), trying to “discourage” the band of brothers from going public with their united sentiment that Kerry is unfit to be the nation’s commander in chief.
1 posted on 05/04/2004 11:00:33 AM PDT by GrandMoM
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To: GrandMoM
Wow. Thanks for posting this!
2 posted on 05/04/2004 11:06:41 AM PDT by Fedora
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To: GrandMoM
"I think the word ['atrocities'] is a bad word. I think it's an inappropriate word. The words were honest, but on the other hand they were a little bit over the top. I don't like it when I hear it today."

Atrocities: "Bad, inappropriate, honest, over the top, don't like it." Which is it again, Senator?

3 posted on 05/04/2004 11:09:28 AM PDT by Uncle Miltie (Islam: Nothing BEER couldn't cure.)
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To: GrandMoM
Listen to the press conference at
4 posted on 05/04/2004 11:11:28 AM PDT by DesertWalker
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To: GrandMoM
Woops sorry.

www.nranews.com

5 posted on 05/04/2004 11:12:06 AM PDT by DesertWalker
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To: GrandMoM
So, Hildabeaste, which way is the wind blowing now?
6 posted on 05/04/2004 11:15:24 AM PDT by upchuck (Message to Senator John F'ing sKerry: Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.)
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To: Fedora
Good stuff. But it's going to be interesting to see how much play it gets in the lamestream media.

I'm not expecting much.
7 posted on 05/04/2004 11:15:51 AM PDT by Ronin (We are in a war. The enemy is Islam. It's time we stopped pretending otherwise.)
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To: Brad Cloven
Which is it again, Senator?

No Fair. Such a question will just toggle the Flip Flop to another state. :-)

8 posted on 05/04/2004 11:17:37 AM PDT by Jeff Gordon (LWS - Legislating While Stupid. Someone should make this illegal.)
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To: GrandMoM
Parents should make their kids read about this or watch it on the news (if it makes it that far). Lesson: actions have consequences, i.e. you reap what you sow.
9 posted on 05/04/2004 11:17:41 AM PDT by randog (Everything works great 'til the current flows.)
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To: GrandMoM
Thanks for posting. I have called CSPAN to inquire when the news conference would be televised. I was told that it "might" be this evening. I also emailed CSPAN to request that the news conference be televised.

We all need to keep our ears to the ground to see when the news conference is actually televised.

The efforts of these veterans must not go unnoticed.

We allowed one traitor to be elected and reelected, we cannot allow another one.

Semper Fi,
Kelly
10 posted on 05/04/2004 11:19:23 AM PDT by kellynla (U.S.M.C. 1/5 1st Mar Div. Nam 69&70 Semper Fi http://www.vietnamveteransagainstjohnkerry.com)
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To: All
'Requires constant supervision'.

What an apt discription of John Kerry and his ilk.
11 posted on 05/04/2004 11:25:56 AM PDT by Belisaurius ("Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, Ted" - Joseph Kennedy 1958)
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To: Fedora
BOOKbumpIRISH
12 posted on 05/04/2004 11:26:24 AM PDT by S.O.S121.500 ("Just gag me with a three-skegged surf board." Apologies to Bob Hardy Jr.-where ever you are.)
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To: kellynla
Drudge still not carrying this. Has anyone heard Rush today (I can't get radio reception here where I work) and Hannity ain't on yet (Sent him head's up mail earlier today, hopefully he gets the information out). I don't see ANYONE but newsmax (who has't the greatest of reputations!) doing this. :(
13 posted on 05/04/2004 11:29:01 AM PDT by Rick.Donaldson
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To: Rick.Donaldson
Drudge never picks up on anything you send him. I have sent him stuff on Kerry numerous times and nothing. I have been hitting all the major media outlets and nothing yet. But you know sometimes it takes them a while to write their stories so hopefully this may hit the media tomorrow.
14 posted on 05/04/2004 11:31:54 AM PDT by areafiftyone (Democrats = the hamster is dead but the wheel is still spinning)
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To: Rick.Donaldson
Laura Ingraham discussed this am the piece written by O'Neill that appears in today's Wall St. Journal. I can't speak for the rest of the talk show hosts.
15 posted on 05/04/2004 11:33:54 AM PDT by kellynla (U.S.M.C. 1/5 1st Mar Div. Nam 69&70 Semper Fi http://www.vietnamveteransagainstjohnkerry.com)
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To: GrandMoM
About Time...

Hopefully Mr Moore of the Mobile Riverine Force Association- Veterans will get all our members to
also deny this pos.....Jean Kerry....

I hope the MRFA revokes Kerry's membership....
16 posted on 05/04/2004 11:35:15 AM PDT by joesnuffy (Moderate Islam Is For Dilettantes)
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To: GrandMoM
"John O’Neill, spokesman for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, told reporters that the junior U.S. senator from Massachusetts spent 45 minutes on the phone with group founder Rear Adm. Roy Hoffman, USN (Ret.), trying to “discourage” the band of brothers from going public with their united sentiment that Kerry is unfit to be the nation’s commander in chief."

And Kerry replied afterward... BWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHA!
17 posted on 05/04/2004 11:35:15 AM PDT by BillyCrockett
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To: WorkingClassFilth
^
18 posted on 05/04/2004 11:47:52 AM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (I used to support Kerry. Then I changed my political philosophy. Now I support Kerry.)
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To: GrandMoM; Ronin
Hugely important. Kerry and the Demos. will pull out all stops to neutralize this. They will probably find some wiling Vietnam veterans to counter (but obviously not of the same stature as those making the charges) - and then seek to submerge the whole thing by overshadowing it through loudly attempting to move the focus to such events as improper prisoner-care in Iraq. It is up to us, and all other good-hearted folk, to see that this is in the news - and that it stays in the news. It can't be let up on. Kerry will try to minimize it - and then assert that it is old news and that "we need to move on." He will have a tough time getting most of the terriers off his leg.
19 posted on 05/04/2004 11:54:45 AM PDT by mtntop3 ("Those who must know before they believe will never come to full knowledge.")
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To: GrandMoM
In any political campaign, there is going to be some over the top rhetoric, but this is a solidly damaging set of quotes and assessments of Kerry from people who know him and have worked with him.

No wonder Kerry wanted to derail this.

20 posted on 05/04/2004 11:56:14 AM PDT by tdadams (If there were no problems, politicians would have to invent them... wait, they already do.)
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To: GrandMoM
This is sour grapes!! These guys are just mad because Kerry bugged out on them, running for safety, while they stayed to face the enemy and complete their obligation. Sure Kerry falsified the records and, to this day, tries to conceal the truth about his shame. But, these guys must realize that had Kerry not been a coward and run, he might have stayed and gotten them all killed with his grandstanding and indecision.

Some of them are probably still pis**d that someone didn't tell them about the three wounds trick or how to fake them to slip through the loophole. I for one don't think that Kerry's cowardice, indecision or deceptiveness would hurt too bad if he were elected because his current wife would be there to tell him what to do and when.

21 posted on 05/04/2004 12:03:48 PM PDT by Tacis
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To: GrandMoM
It's kick to read this -- I was sitting right next to Dave at the press conference, and kept peeking over to see what he was writing down.

This is a very thorough and fair account of what happened there.

22 posted on 05/04/2004 12:05:43 PM PDT by Interesting Times (ABCNNBCBS -- yesterday's news.)
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To: mtntop3
Kerry and the Demos. will pull out all stops to neutralize this.

They're already claiming that the same "group" behind the attack on McCain in 2000 are behind this "smear" of Kerry. NY Daily News reported that.

23 posted on 05/04/2004 12:17:05 PM PDT by alnick (Mrs. Heinz-Kerry's husband wants teh-rayz-ah your taxes.)
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To: GrandMoM
Swift action to garner three Purple Hearts in four months of Nam duty. File for swift return to homeland duty, then discredit his fellow soldiers and reveal that he himself partook in committing war atrocities.
Not the deeds of a true action Swift Boat Commander
24 posted on 05/04/2004 12:18:00 PM PDT by hermgem
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To: Ronin
Bush needs to use footage for the campaign time and time again!
25 posted on 05/04/2004 12:23:33 PM PDT by patriciamary
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To: GrandMoM
Veteran Robert G. Elder: “We didn’t loose the war on the ground in Vietnam, we lost it at home, and at home John Kerry was the field general.”

Never Forget.

26 posted on 05/04/2004 1:05:51 PM PDT by T. Buzzard Trueblood (Fortuna fortes metuit, ignavos premit. -Seneca)
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To: T. Buzzard Trueblood
NEVER EVER FORGET!!!!!
27 posted on 05/04/2004 2:25:47 PM PDT by GrandMoM (Whatever you ask for in prayer, having FAITH & Really BELIEVING, you WILL receive- matthew 21:22)
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To: kellynla
The efforts of these veterans must not go unnoticed.

BUMP

28 posted on 05/04/2004 5:20:47 PM PDT by GrandMoM (Whatever you ask for in prayer, having FAITH & Really BELIEVING, you WILL receive- matthew 21:22)
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