Vol. 2, Issue 32, August 24, 2004
Veteran's Group Now Says Kerry Never In Vietnam to Begin With
In recent weeks a group that calls itself Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has catapulted itself to the forefront of the presidential campaign, disputing Democratic candidate John Kerry's war record. The veterans, many of whom served with Kerry, have advanced their cause in a book, in a television advertisement and on cable news and talk radio shows.
They have alleged that Kerry didn't earn his medals and that the reports leading to the awards were fabricated. But on close examination, the accounts of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth prove to be riddled with inconsistencies. In many cases, material offered as proof by these veterans is undercut by official Navy records and the men's own statements. Moreover, several of those now declaring Mr. Kerry "unfit" had previously lavished praise on him, some as recently as last year.
"Kerry's numbers just weren't dropping," said Washington Post political analyst Charles Weiss. "So I guess they felt a need to turn up the heat a little."
The group is now alleging in a new series of television ads that Kerry was in fact never in Vietnam, but instead had secretly paid a lookalike stuntman to serve his tour in Vietnam.
"Now that we think about it, we're all positive that Kerry wasn't even there," said Roy F. Hoffmann, a retired rear admiral and a leader of the group. "That lookalike was a little bit taller, and his hair was a different color. Kerry, our investigations indicate, actually spent the war hiding as a marijuana farmer in a commune just outside Toronto."
Kerry's camp vigorously denied the allegations, with campaign spokesman Chad Clanton rolling his eyes so much during the press conference he was subsequently admitted to a hospital for ocular strain.
"This has gone far enough," Kerry told reporters after Clanton was taken away by paramedics. "Look, if it will help, I will get on a plane right now and go back to Vietnam and shoot someone, just to prove that I know how."
The White House, to the surprise of some observers, has officially condemned the latest allegations by the Swift Boat Veterans group.
"Look, I really don't want to get into a discussion about who didn't show up for duty," said President Bush.