Can anyone refute the claims in this letter?
My understanding is that these men did serve with Kerry, just not under him. They were on the other 2 swift boats in his group. And the nonsense about the Doctor is transparant ("He did not sign the ..." blah, blah, blah)
Yes, I can. The letter claims the ad is libelous.
In fact, it's would be IMPOSSIBLE to win a libel claim about just about anything said about a high profile politician. Any lawyer will tell you don't even bother with a libel suit if a person is a public figure....anything goes.
They showed each man's before and present-day image.... the before being a photo taken standing in a group with Kerry.
The ad never claims that the men in thew ad were on the boat. The lawyers are just setting up a straw man to knock down. Clever to deny what hasn't been claimed.
Unless I am seeing things, I believe that the image in the background as each man speaks in the commercial is one of the same man in the often shown picture with Kerry in the group. It seems evident that the man in the picture and the one speaking in each instance are the same person; only older.
I think that makes it clear that these people were with Kerry in some capacity.
My guess is that most of it could be proven quite easily.
The DNC letter's claims are "nuanced." The Swift Boat Vets didn't claim to be "shipmates" so the statement that none of them served on Kerry's boat is bogus. The SBV's said they were serving in Swift Boats at the same time Kerry was. They don't dispute that the doctor didn't treat Kerry, bandaide and a splash of iodine, but rather that some other doctor signed the form. And so it goes.
Anyone paying attention can. The DNC seems desperate to convince people to adopt a prejudice and just move along without looking any further.
The Rats' problem is, many of the vets in the ad were in a photo of fellow swift boat Captains the Kerry campaign has already used (as the ad makes clear with clever camera work).
And as others have pointed out, the vets did not claim to be in Kerry's swift boat, only to have served with him. The doctor did not claim to have signed Kerry's sick call, but to have treated him.
The claim is a bunch of indignant straw man B.S. and has no chance in any court (other then the 9th U.S. circuit, but that hardly counts).