Swift Boat Veteran retracts criticism of Kerry

This is definitely a bombshell. It’s good to see that at least one member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has some integrity left.

Merrie Spaeth, the PR consultant for the group and a former PR person for Ronald Reagan, must be going ballistic. Now they’ll try to say that there’s so much the other members agree on, they couldn’t possibly be making it up. Of course they can; they’re being managed by a master of “staying on message” and they’re being funded by a wealthy Texas Republican who remains anonymous (that came out on Hannity and Colmes last night). Of course they’ll all say the same thing.

Today’s retraction, however, proves that a major contention they make in the ad and in their book is a lie: Kerry did indeed deserve his Silver Star, the retractor now says. I’m sure the Republicans who ordered their copy of the book early will manage to brush this aside, but most of us know better.

Yes, this episode will definitely end up a big net minus for the GOP. Thank you, Ms. Spaeth, and I’d love to know how you sleep at night.

The Discussion: 13 Comments

“Big net minus?”


For those to be true, wouldn’t the ad and the book have to be significant to begin with? I don’t even think they’ve begun to register yet.

“Kerry did indeed deserve his Silver Star, the retractor now says”

I must be reading different news: What I read says he was in a hurry and now feels he shouldn’t have signed his agreement.

August 6, 2004 @ 10:33 am | Comment

What did he say about “Christmas in Cambodia?”

August 6, 2004 @ 10:54 am | Comment

Sam, the book and the ad were played up on all the news shows yesterday. So they were definitely bombshells themselves. Now, with one of the accusers recanting and apologizing, it’s a counter-bombshell. If you don’t see it that way, ain’t nothing I can do.

The guys now says, “I still don’t think he shot the guy in the back,” Elliott said. ”It was a terrible mistake probably for me to sign the affidavit with those words. I’m the one in trouble here.”

For you to try to neutralize the story, to make it sounds like it’s just about a guy reflecting that maybe he signed an affidavit too fast — it tells us something. This guy is saying he made a terrible mistake signing the affidavit as it was worded. That’s a retraction; the way it was worded told the world Kerry shot a teen in the back. Now the guy says he cannot say that. Go on, spin away. If you don’t see this as a bombshell after the charges were levelled with great fanfare and media coverage yesterday — well, what can I say. But since you were one of the Republicans who ordered a copy of the book early, I don’t expect you to give in. You want it to be true, even if it’s fantasy. Even if it’s denounced by McCain and bush and — most iumportantly — the men who actually served with Kerry on the boat, you want this to ruin Kerry. I have bad news for you: it’s already backfiring, and the news of this man’s retraction will now get more coverage than the initial flase charges against Kerry got yesterday. And that’s exactly what should happen.

August 6, 2004 @ 10:54 am | Comment

Sam, I’m going to delete your comment. I will not allow people on this site to refer to “Kerry’s murders.” Go post it at your own site, not here.

August 6, 2004 @ 11:11 am | Comment

You’ve got your head in the clouds, or in the sand again, Richard. I have no book: I’m not Republican. I have the same attitude as I did in earlier posts about peering into every nook and cranny of a candidate’s life. Bush’s seven minutes may be significant, though I don’t really think so. Why wouldn’t Kerry’s military service–which he brings up every 3 or 4 onutes–be worthy of scrutiny? Now one guy has second thoughts about who Kerry did or didn’t kill. If we must dig into every second of a candidate’s life, let the digging begin!

August 6, 2004 @ 11:23 am | Comment

You said you read a whole chapter already, and the book was just released, so you must be mighty interested. Go ahead and look in every nook and cranny — but someone’s lying, and it’s either Kerry’s crew and the man he saved, or the Republican-financed slanderers denounced by McCain and bush and Bill O’Reilly (!) as liars and fools, men who knew all these awful things and yet kept them secret for 30 years, only to pop up weeks before the election with all the dirt in a manner totally consistent with Rove and his own destruction of McCain in 2000. Men being led by John O’Neill, who has a long history of pathological hatred of Kerry. Believe what you want, but you sure seem bent on damning Kerry, and don’t be surprised if I don’t always grant you the soapbox to do so here. I am fighting for Kerry, and anyone who wants to attack him is free to do so on his or her own site. You can do so here if you want to argue intelligently. But the fact that in your last post you called him a murderer tells me your intentions aren’t honorable.

August 6, 2004 @ 11:32 am | Comment

Actually, Richard, I’m interested in finding out the truth, and I don’t trust election campaigns to deliver it to me—Kerry’s or Bush’s. So I take free copies of publications which are offered to me, and I read a lot.

The freebie chapter I read is pretty damning, with or without the recanting guy, and I think if you’re really fighting for Kerry, you might want to take a look at what it alleges, who’s doing the “alleging”, and whether it’s possible to rebut the allegations or not.

August 6, 2004 @ 11:38 am | Comment

I’ve looked very carefully at both candidates. As I’ve said before, I’m not enamored of Kerry and don’t think he’s the best candidate out there. But he’s infinitely better than bush, and then some. I’ve also studies bush’s campaign history, and the use of third-party veterans to condemn a war-hero opponent is repellent. Okay, we both know where the other stands. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are all yours — embrace them as you choose. Lnowing how bush operates and based on their timing and mysterious financing, they smell to high heaven. If this is to be your source for whether Kerry is valid or not, we are nont going to get anywhere, and I sincerely hope you’ll write about it on your own site and not here, because I don’t like giving such nonsense a platform on the site I pay to host and maintain. A personal request, okay?

August 6, 2004 @ 11:47 am | Comment

“The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are all yours — embrace them as you choose. Lnowing how bush operates and based on their timing and mysterious financing, they smell to high heaven. If this is to be your source for whether Kerry is valid or not, we are nont going to get anywhere, and I sincerely hope you’ll write about it on your own site and not here, because I don’t like giving such nonsense a platform on the site I pay to host and maintain. A personal request, okay?”

Actually, Richard, I don’t embrace them; I don’t even know them. I am, however, interested in the truth, which I think from some of your posts, you are too.

Those Swift Boat guys might deserve a hearing, just like the other veterans, don’t you think? If they had a shocking revelation about Kerry, would it affect your thinking?

Why don’t you make it clear what you allow here, it being your blog and all? Is truth allowed? Is it disagreement, exactly, that you don’t allow? If disagreement is off-limits, why bother?

August 6, 2004 @ 11:56 am | Comment

Truth is allowed, and I have debates with people who disagree with me all the time. But I believe you have an agenda. You tried to slip into a casual phrase a reference to how “Kerry murdered people.” Don’t bullshit us; that’s what you’re trying to get across here. You say you want to listen to all sides and embrace truth. Good for you. But you didn’t come here and praise Kerry for the heroism cited by his crewmates last week. Instead, you only came to support the obviously politically moitivated damnation of a group of men who didn’t serve on Kerry’s boat, with the disingenuous suggestion that if we don’t hear everything they have to say and give them a fair audience then we are being closed minded.

Bullshit. I repeat, these men came out weeks before an election heavily financed by Republicans and under the direction of Reagan’s former PR consultant Merrie Spaeth. Then, a day after the big announcement, one of their own recants and calls his signing of the affidavits “a terrible mistake.” But still, despite what the soldiers closest to Kerry say, you insist we give these men fair hearing, just like the veteran who bush pulled out of a hat 4 years ago to assassinate McCain’s reputation.

You see, I don’t think this is a serious argument. You asked in one comment about Christmas in Cambodia. Then you tried to do so several more times, the way a troll does. I say you are making mischief. I don’t know what your site traffic is because you have your sitemeter closed, but maybe you think you’re getting more attention here — I don’t know. Whatever your motives, you seem determined to needle and irritate like a classic troll, and I don’t have to accept it. I usually let it go because I know you’re intelligent and sometimes we have productive conversations. But this is one where you’re trying to inflame in a very blatant and childish way, so I’m telling you, politely and sincerely, I’d rather you move it over to your own site.

Comments are a courtesy to my readers. There are no guarantees of free speech on a private site. I almost never delete comments; I have to be mighty irritated to do so. But it’s always my right. I have brutal arguments with Conrad all the time, but I have never once deleted his comments, because he never seems to be playing cat-and-mouse games the way you’ve been doing today.

Okay, I think I’ve made myself clear and I don’t want to argue about it all day. State your case, argue away, but don’t play games and participate in an endless game of “Gotcha.” I don’t like it and I won’t tolerate it.

August 6, 2004 @ 12:13 pm | Comment

Richard this is your own site and you have the right to put on it whatever you want. This site has one of the nicest groups of commenters so I hope you don’t delete a lot of comments, but if trolls try to ruin it you have no obligation to be their host.

August 6, 2004 @ 6:34 pm | Comment

Significantly in today’s papers, John McCain asked Bush to condemn the smear campaign, BUT hear this, the White House DECLINED to do so.

As Chubby Checker said, “How low can one go!”

August 6, 2004 @ 7:19 pm | Comment

bush is being clever, and it is exactly what he did to McCain himself in South Carolina: He let a third party unassociated with him (or at least so it looked) do all the dirty work. bush could stand on the sidelines and claim he had nothing to do with it. Funny thing is, I just heard on the news that the same woman, Merrie Spaeth, represented that veteran back in 2000, and she’s the one doing all the work now for the Swift Boat Veterans. How odd.

August 6, 2004 @ 7:23 pm | Comment

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