I’m waiting–but not holding my breath–for the major media to report on the Kerry campaign’s efforts to silence the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, whose book, Unfit for Command, about the alleged actual (as opposed to the Kerry-reported) circumstances of Kerry’s Vietnam duty and his medals, is already No. 1 at Amazon, even though it hasn’t been released yet. (See my Swift Boat 9/ll, July 29.) Syndicated columnist Robert Novak seems to be the only print-media man so far who is taking the story seriously.
So far–tellingly–the Dem tactics do not include refuting the facts concerning any of the book’s allegations, which include the charge that none of the wounds for which Kerry received three Purple Hearts required hospitalization and one turned out to have been negligently self-inflicted, and that Kerry’s Bronze Star for rescuing with a wounded arm fellow Swiftie Jim Rasmussen under fire was tainted by the fact that Kerry’s boat had first left the fight and returned only when the shooting was over and another boat was already headed to pick up Rasmussen.
Rather than confronting the version of the events presented in “Unfit” by author John E. O’Neill, the naval officer who took over Kerry’s Swift Boat command after the Democratic contender received his third Purple Heart, which got him sent home eight months early (and after only four months on his tour of duty), the Dems are using ad hominem attacks on the Swifties as their main squelch-the-book tactic. First step: hiring lawyers to send a letter to media outlets warning that their pants would be sued off for libel should they dare to advertise the book. Latest move, according to the Crush Kerry website (thanks, Instapundit, for the link): character assassination on the authors and their backers:
“The Democrat National Committee has prepared a full-scale assault against the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to draw their character and veracity into question, according to one anonymous source inside the DNC. The campaign of character assassination is scheduled to coincide with the release of the book Unfit for Command which reveals inconvenient facts for the Kerry campaign.
“‘We have prepared what we call “Brown Books” that contain damaging military records, personal credit histories, medical histories, psychiatric histories, divorce records, you name it,’ our source told us. ‘We’ve got the goods on the Veterans who oppose Kerry.'”
Crush Kerry continues:
“The ‘Brown Books’ are so called because of their distinctive plain brown covers, which contain no words. Some books have already been delivered to Kerry-friendly reporters. Others are on their way, our source told us. When asked if we could have a copy, our source declined, saying there is a limited number of ‘Brown Books’ and they have been carefully inventoried to control in whose hands the books ended up.
“Ultimately the ‘Brown Books’ will end up in the hands of pro-Kerry news agencies and reporters. According to our source, who demanded to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, The New York Times is already on the hook to run a negative series on the Vets, as is the Boston Globe, which is owned by the Times.”
One Kerry-friendly reporter who seems to have received a Brown Book is our old friend David Brock, the onetime conservative who apparently decided a few years ago that he could eat better lunches writing tell-all books about his former life under the tails of the Great Satans of the right. On his website Media Matters, David takes on Jerome R. Corsi, the Harvard Ph.D. and professional conservative polemicist who co-authored O’Neill’s book.
Some of David’s horrifying revelations: Corsi doesn’t care much for Islam (I wonder why, these days), which he calls a “Satanic” religion, and he doesn’t care much for Catholicism, either, what with the pederasty scandal and all. Well. And then–no!–Corsi hates Hillary! Oh, and by the way, the same guy who designed the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth website is also the director of FreeRepublic, the conservative website! And Scott Swett, the Veterans for Truth webmaster, has appeared on Fox News! Talk about a conspiracy! David, ya got the goods.
Meanwhile, the Swifties are fighting back–with factual allegations not invective. Ed Morrisey’s Captain’s Quarters blogsite (thanks again, Instapundit) has the full text of the sober, detailed, and thoroughly documented riposte O’Neill, with the help of his own lawyers, sent the execs who got the Kerry campaign letter. Here is an excerpt (although I strongly recommend clicking to Captain’s Quarters and reading the letter in its entirety:
“Kerry’s third Purple Heart was his ticket home. It also was much of the basis of his Bronze Star, repeating ‘his bleeding arm’ and shrapnel wound from the mine story. The problem is that his operating report was a total lie since Kerry’s shrapnel wound ‘in the buttocks’ came not from a mine at all as he falsely reported, but at his own hand. Larry Thurlow, an officer on shore with Kerry that day, recounts that Kerry’s shrapnel wound came not from any mine, but from a self-inflicted wound when Kerry (with no enemy to be seen) threw a concussion grenade into a rice pile and stayed too close. See Exhibit 10, 3. This ‘brown rice’ incident with rice/shrapnel lodged in Kerry from his own grenade is also recounted by James Rassman, a Kerry supporter and ‘the no man left behind’ on page 105 of John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography By The Boston Globe Reporters Who Know Him Best, by Michael Kranish, Brian C. Mooney, and Nina J. Easton (New York: Public Affairs, 2004) (the “Kranish book”). See Exhibit 21.
“Most surprisingly, John Kerry himself (while falsely reporting to the Navy and public that he suffered a shrapnel wound from a mine explosion so as to get a third Purple Heart and go home) reflected in his own journal that his buttocks’ wound came, not from any mine but, rather, from a grenade tossed into a rice cache by himself or friendly troops (in the absence of any enemy fire). ‘I got a piece of small grenade in my a– from one of the rice bin explosions.’ Exhibit 15, Tour, at 313; see also Exhibit 15, Tour, at 317. ‘Kerry…also had the bits of shrapnel and rice extracted from his backside.’ See also the sworn statement of participants that there was no hostile fire (Exhibits 6, 7, and 10). It also should be noted that the rice extracted from Kerry’s backside could hardly be the result of an underwater mine, as Kerry claimed in his operating report.”
There is much more, including a persuasive demolition of Kerry’s claim that he spent Christmas of 1968 Cambodia on an illegal but (he says) U.S. government-sanctioned mission. O’Neill points in his letter to thorough documentation (including a contemporaneous statement by Kerry himself) that he was actually in Sa Dec, Vietnam, some 50 miles from the Cambodian border. (Again, see Instapundit for much, much more on this issue, including Instapundit’s own digital camera-snapped photo of the very page of the Congressional Record in which Kerry states baldly that he was in Cambodia for Yule of ’68. And click here for Instapundit’s update and here for the latest on the issue from Drudge.)
My prediction: If the Kerry folks don’t come up soon with some serious (not Brock-fluff) counterattacks on the facts before the book’s release, their candidate will have egg on his face–or as may be the more apt metaphor, rice up his you-know-what.