Thursday, August 05, 2004

The Swift Boat Debate

A new political ad criticizing John Kerry's military service debuted today. The ad features men who claim that they served under John Kerry in his swift boat unit. The veterans assert that John Kerry lied about his first Purple Heart and that he lied about the events surrounding his Bronze Star. The ad minces no words. Click here to read the text of the ad. The ad is put together by a group of Vietnam veterans who call themselves Swift Boat Vets for Truth.

Republican Senator John McCain, a Vietnam vet who spent several years as a POW, immediately condemned the ad. McCain called the ad "dishonest" and "dishonorable." Although McCain did not point out any factual errors in the ad, he called on President Bush's campaign to condemn the ad as well. The Vets for Truth responded to McCain by asking that McCain respect their right to express their opinions. The Vets for Truth pointed out that McCain did not serve with Kerry as they did and that he does not know what really happened on the swift boat missions.

However, much to many of the President's supporters' consternation, the Bush campaign did condemn the ad. White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, said, "We have been very clear in stating that ... we have not and we will not question Senator Kerry's service in Vietnam."

The debate surrounding Kerry's service in Vietnam will not be fading quickly, however. One of the Vets for Truth has recently penned a book entitled Unfit for Command : Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry. The book is set for release later this month, but it has already reached #1 on the Amazon best-seller list.