Democrats haven’t been this upset about an American engaging in free speech since Juanita Broaddrick opened her yap. Two hundred fifty-four Swift Boat Veterans have signed a letter saying John Kerry is not fit to be commander in chief, a point developed in some detail in the blockbuster new book by John O’Neill, aptly titled Unfit for Command. At the 2003 reunion of Swift Boat Veterans, about 300 men showed up: 85 percent of them think Kerry is unfit to be president. (On the bright side, Kerry was voted, in absentia, “Most Likely to Run for President on His Phony War Record.”) Fewer than 10 percent of all Swift Boat Veterans contacted refused to sign the letter. Kerry was in Vietnam for only four months, which, coincidentally, is less than the combined airtime he’s spent talking about it. It takes a special kind of person to get that many people to hate your guts in so little time. The last time this many people hated one person after only four months was when Margaret Cho had her own sitcom. But our young Eddie Haskell managed to annoy other servicemen even before he came home and called them war criminals. About 60 eyewitnesses to Kerry’s service are cited in the book, describing Kerry fleeing comrades who were under attack, disregarding orders, putting others in danger, sucking up to his commanders, creating phony film footage of his exploits with a home-movie camera, and recommending himself for medals and Purple Hearts in vainglorious reports he wrote himself. (This was apparently before the concept of “fragging” put limits on such behavior.) After three months of combat, Kerry had collected enough film footage for his political campaigns, so he went home. He even shot three different endings to the episode where he chases down a VC guy after test audiences thought Kerry shooting a wounded teenager in the back was too much of a “downer.” After filming his last staged exploit, Kerry reportedly told a buddy, “That’s a wrap. See you at the convention in about 35 years.” Kerry is demanding to be made president on the basis of spending four months in Vietnam 35 years ago. And yet the men who know what he did during those four months don’t think he’s fit to be dogcatcher. That seems newsworthy to me, but I must be wrong since the media have engineered a total blackout of the Swift Boat Veterans. In May, the Swiftees held a spellbinding press conference in Washington, D.C. In front of a photo being used by the Kerry campaign to tout Kerry’s war service, the officers stood up, one by one, pointed to their own faces in the campaign photo, and announced that they believed Kerry unfit for command. Only one officer in the photo supports Kerry for president. Seventeen say he is not fit to be president. The press covered it much as they covered Paula Jones’ first press conference. With the media playing their usual role as Truth Commissar for the now-dead Soviet Union, the Swiftees are having to purchase ad time in order to be heard. No Tim Russert interviews, no “Today” show appearances, no New York Times editorials or Vanity Fair hagiographies for these heretics against the liberal religion. The only way Swift Boat Veterans for Truth could get less attention would be to go on “Air America” radio. If the 254 veterans against Kerry got one-tenth as much media coverage for calling Kerry a liar as Clown Joe Wilson did for calling Bush a liar, the veterans wouldn’t need to buy ad time to get their message out. (Wilson, you’ll recall, was a media darling for six or seven months before being exposed as a fantasist by Senate investigators.) With their commitment to free speech and a robust exchange of ideas (i.e., “child pornography” and “sedition”), the Democratic National Committee is threatening to sue TV stations that run the Swift Boat Veterans’ paid ads. Sue? Can you tell already that there are two lawyers at the top of the Democratic ticket? These are the same people who accuse John Ashcroft of shredding the Bill of Rights. WHY ISN’T THE PRESS COVERING THIS??? Wait, now I remember. OK, never mind. (Contribute to the Swift Boat Veterans here.) The threat to sue is absurd, but will allow the very same TV stations that are already censoring the Swiftees to have an excuse to censor even purchased airtime. Leave aside the fact that Kerry is a presidential candidate and — judging by the ads being run against George Bush — I gather there’s nothing you can’t say about a presidential candidate, including calling him Hitler. After reading Unfit for Command, I am pretty sure Kerry doesn’t want a neutral tribunal deciding who’s telling the truth here. The Swift Boat Veterans provide detailed accounts from dozens and dozens of eyewitnesses to Kerry’s Uriah Heep-like behavior — which Unfit for Command contrasts with Kerry’s boastful descriptions of the exact same incidents. By contrast, Kerry’s supporters have their usual off-the-rack denunciations of any witness against a Democrat. The veterans are: liars, bigots, idiots, politically motivated, and I was never alone in a hotel with Paula Jones. Ron Brownstein, Los Angeles Times reporter and Bill Clinton’s favorite reporter, compared the Swift Boat Veterans’ ad to a “snuff film.” He claimed the veterans have “strong Republican ties.” Apparently, before being permitted to engage in free speech against Democrats in this country you have to:
(1) prove that you are not a Republican, (2) take a vow of poverty, and (3) purchase the right to speak in a TV ad.
On the basis of Clown Wilson, Michael Moore, George Soros, Moveon.org, etc., etc., etc., I gather the requirements for engaging in free speech against a Republican are somewhat less rigorous. Hey! Maybe John Edwards is right: There really are two Americas! O’Neill, the author of Unfit for Command and founder of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, can be heard on the Nixon tapes — unaware that he was being taped — telling Nixon that he came from a family of Democrats and voted for Hubert Humphrey in the prior election. Unlike Joe Wilson, Anita Hill or Richard Clarke, Woodward and Bernstein, et al., O’Neill has said he will take no royalties on his book but will donate all his profits to the Navy. So I think even under liberals’ rules, O’Neill is allowed to have an opinion. Before the book was released and O’Neill could appear to defend it, liberals were on television denouncing the book. If memory serves, the last book Democrats tried this hard to suppress was the Bible. The DNC is threatening to sue to prevent the Swift Boat Veterans from buying ad time. When Democrats are this terrified of a book, it’s not because they have a good answer. Howard Dean can accuse Ashcroft of book-burning all he wants, but it’s the Democrats who are doing everything in their power to prevent you from reading Unfit for Command. In bookstores beginning this week.