Kerry vs. the Vets


As the Washington Times runs its third and final excerpt from the anti-Kerry tome Unfit for Command, The New York Times publishes a story about the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

As is often the case in these sorts of things, more information rarely helps to clarify much. The NY Times story documents that the SwiftVets have a lot of ties to Republican powerbrokers but I'm not sure it undermines the credibility of the anti-Kerry crew. That's partly because of statements like this:

George Elliott, one of the Vietnam veterans in the group, flew from his home in Delaware to Boston in 1996 to stand up for Mr. Kerry during a tough re-election fight, declaring at a news conference that the action that won Mr. Kerry a Silver Star was "an act of courage."…

In an evaluation of Mr. Kerry in 1969, Mr. Elliott, who was one of his commanders, ranked him as "not exceeded" in 11 categories, including moral courage, judgment and decisiveness, and "one of the top few" - the second-highest distinction - in the remaining five. In written comments, he called Mr. Kerry "unsurpassed," "beyond reproach" and "the acknowledged leader in his peer group."…

Mr. Elliott, who recommended Mr. Kerry for the Silver Star, had signed one affidavit saying Mr. Kerry "was not forthright" in the statements that had led to the award. Two weeks ago, The Boston Globe quoted him as saying that he felt he should not have signed the affidavit. He then signed a second affidavit that reaffirmed his first, which the Swift Boat Veterans gave to reporters. Mr. Elliott has refused to speak publicly since then.