Skip to comments.The Inside Story Of The SwiftBoaters Finally Told
Posted on 12/05/2007 4:32:49 PM PST by Interesting Times
This is the most important book youll buy this year: To Set The Record Straight, How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs and the New Media Defeated John Kerry, by Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler, with Forward by John O'Neill.
Not only will you learn the inside details of the only book Unfit For Command -- that ever decided a presidential election but, especially for those who have any doubts, you will learn about how the peoples' democracy can still work in the United States.
For those inclined toward political science, the book is an important contribution to understanding how political mobilization actually works and to seeing how the major media lost its Delphic grip on America's political fate to the remarkably democratic new media of the Internet. Vietnam veterans took it away.
As John ONeill says in his Foreword to the book,
How the Swiftees, POWs and other Vietnam veterans circumvented the media and reached out to the public is a story that has profound implications for future political campaigns and news reporting .
Honor, Loyalty and Patriotism These values were able to rouse hundreds of Swifties and millions of other veterans from their deep political sleep of 35 years. The blindness of our opponents can be accounted for only because such values are rare and often considered laughable among Kerrys operatives and media allies. These values are neither rare nor a subject of amusement among most Americans. In 2004, they changed the course of history.
Fellow blogger Lorie Byrd credits me with knowing more about the SwiftBoat story than any other blogger. Shes correct, as far as that goes. I founded the Vietnam veterans organization in 1971 that John ONeill joined to confront John Kerrys fabrications. I was very active in the 2004 Vietnam veterans campaign for truth. Im friends with all the Vietnam veterans and others who led in the 2004 campaign, that in a post-election MSM op-ed I dubbed, The Revolt of the Vietnam Veterans. (These are described in the book.)
But, theres someone else who knows more about the 2004 Revolt, Scott Swett. I learned much about the Revolt from this book that even I didnt know. So will you.
The 389-page book is very well-written and documented, based on virtually every public source and on extensive exclusive interviews with all those involved. Footnotes abound, and theres an excellent index.
This is not a partisan diatribe, though of definite views, but an invaluable basic resource to anyone regardless of their politics. Its all true, and the truths the depths to which the Kerry-aligned media stooped to try to squelch the Swiftees are all here, and truly shocking when all pulled together in one place.
In early 2004, Swett, on his own, set up the website WinterSoldier.com. The site collected the various articles written over the years about John Kerrys Vietnam service and his subsequent disservice in support of the program of the North Vietnamese -- denouncing Vietnam veterans as bloodthirsty, out-of-control murderers of innocent Vietnamese.
Once Kerrys nomination for president in 2004 seemed likely, WinterSoldier.com became a meeting place for many Vietnam veterans and others and provided a wealth of information that for the first time demonstrated how widespread were Kerrys exaggerations and lies.
John Kerrys hagiographic biography by courtesan Douglas Brinkley, Tour Of Duty, (A two-part historiographic review I wrote at the academic site H-War is here and here.) contained so many assertions known to be untrue by those actually there -- fellow SwiftBoaters in Vietnam -- that the Swiftees came together to document the falsehoods.
Unfit For Command followed. The destruction of Kerrys invented heroic image followed.
Swett set up the Swiftees website, SwiftVets.com, and was present and involved in most of what occurred.
For the past two years, Swett and co-author former Marine Captain Tim Ziegler, have labored to produce this book. Some other, better known writers wanted to tackle the subject and approached various publishers. Once the 2004 election was settled, major publishers werent interested in documenting the Vietnam veterans revolt as key to a watershed election upset, nor in further distressing the liberal narrative of being treated poorly. (See this post about how substantiated the Swiftees charges were, compared to the repeated MSM use of the term unsubstantiated.) Ive witnessed these disappointments and the persistence of Swett and Ziegler to tell the story.
Our children may wonder what we did in the war, and what we did in 2004 to set the record straight. The first narrative will have to be done privately. (Actually, Swett shared with me this diary of his fathers year in Vietnam in 1970, as a C-123 navigator and Civic Action Coordinator at Phan Rang. Heres the letters sent by a young Marine about his feelings and experiences. One among 58,000 who didnt make it home alive, 2004s Vietnam veterans revolt was about honoring their sacrifices.) The second narrative, this book, belongs on everyones bookshelf. Otherwise, they wont get it, how we set the record straight, if they depend on the MSM.
This book is an extraordinarily comprehensive, documented telling of the Kerry-aligned medias losing efforts to squelch the Swiftees (as a Kerry campaign insider said, The senior staff believes the media is committed to seeing us win this thing ) and how they were foiled (Kerry partisan Susan Estrich admitted theyre shell-shocked at the implosion of Kerrys mythical self-glorification).
Moreover, this book is an important tale of personal and political heroism, a tale that bears remembering and passing on by anyone who cares for the US and for peoples democracy.
For those who depended upon the MSM-Kerry narrative, there is a big surprise: There was no vast right wing conspiracy, nor was there a Rovian one. Those who need to believe there was such a conspiracy need to believe that in order to avoid the truth.
There was a grounds-up revolt by Vietnam veterans who knew better than the ersatz heroism that Kerry and friends tried to peddle. The facts and details are in this book. Sure, it took big bucks to get the message across. That came from some big donors and 150,000+ other individuals who believed it should be heard and not smothered or ignored. Polls and the election proved them correct. Indicative of who was listening: 80,000 copies of Kerrys self-glorifying Tour Of Duty sold; over 800,000 copies of Unfit For Command sold. Very curiously, the pollsters didnt bother to survey Vietnam veterans, but polls of veterans generally there are over 25-million, plus their families who support them -- found strong opposition to Kerry.
I hope that To Set The Record Straight sells as well. You can get your copy direct from the authors at their website. www.ToSetTheRecordStraight.com. (It wont be up at Amazon for a few months, so the authors dont have to prematurely split their needed earnings from two-years work.) There, you can also preview the contents, view excerpts and sources, and more.
For those Vietnam veterans, journalists and bloggers who joined in the battle, your contributions are described. Those of us who served in Vietnam needed your support, and are thankful. It took heroism on manys part for this victory yours no less than the Swiftees.
The old media, however, is not grateful. The continuing decline of their reading and viewing audiences is partly due to Americans turning away from their repeatedly exposed sloppy and biased reporting.
The Vietnam veterans revolt, so well-documented here as it overcame MSM obstacle after obstacle, awakened millions of Americans to the MSM at its crudest and energized the new media to new heights. If Watergate spurred young journalists to be investigative to demand honesty from those in government, todays young journalists will hopefully find in To Set The Record Straight a new spur to demand honesty from those in the media.
John ONeill and I had a better experience in 1971 with the major media than in 2004, which highlights how the major media has changed, and not for the better. As ONeill is quoted from an interview:
The big difference is that, in 1971, while the media would spin facts on occasion and spin them very favorably to Kerry and his group, they wouldnt actually suppress the news .That is really a brave new world that did not exist in the 1970s.
For example, on May 13, 1971, I had an op-ed in the New York Times disputing Kerrys maligning of Vietnam veterans. By contrast, in 2004, as Kerry campaign insiders at Newsweek exposed, the New York Times acted as a conduit for Kerry releases. (So did the Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times, perhaps leading to both being exclusive post-election recipients from Kerry of what he purported to be his military records, which they refused to publish for public scrutiny, even on their no-cost websites.) Otherwise, the major media ignored the Swiftees evidence or maligned it while almost without exception refusing to actually investigate the charges and evidence. (See, for example, my correspondence with the New York Times ombudsman.)
As Captain Ed Morrissey sardonically notes, The Boston Globe has put a lot more effort and resources into staking out the house of Mitt Romney [to investigate illegal aliens mowing the lawn] than they ever did on resolving the controversy over John Kerry's Christmas in Cambodia fables.
A notable MSM exception was Thomas Lipscomb, formerly founder and president of Times Books, who managed with difficulty to publish several devastating investigative columns on Kerrys mendaciousness in newspapers other than the New York Times, Boston Globe or Los Angeles Times. Lipscomb succinctly summed up Kerrys mode of defense:
[W]henever one of Kerrys lies is under attack, he attacks everyone else as liars. And there is a pattern to his responses as well. When the lie becomes undeniable, the sources are attacked.
The book takes us step-by-step from 1971 to the present in a level of detail that most readers under the age of 60 probably never saw before. The Aftermath chapter is worth reading in and of itself, if only for bringing us up to date from 2004 to now. As Scott Swett wrote me thanking me for my help, On reflection, I think the best thing about this book is the happy ending. The book concludes:
Though politicians, the media and Hollywood had freely smeared and denigrated Americas Vietnam veterans for more than thirty years, something had changed in the wake of the 2004 campaign. Every post-election attempt to slander the U.S. military had sparked widespread resentment and active opposition. Trashing the troops was no longer the ticket to fame and success it had been in that long-ago spring of 1971.
As someone who has been there from the beginning, fighting every step of the way for this day, I say Amen.
Hanukkah began Tuesday night, commemorating the upset victory of faith and courage by a small group over those who tried to rob them of their accomplishments and heritage. Its fitting that this book is launched on this day, for the same reason.
Kerry and the vets ping...
If Tonkin could only see this now...
Thank you for this ping, Interesting Times.
I will link to it.
CONGRATS!!!! Swifties did us ALL proud!!!
Terrific news. This looks like a book I just “gotta” have.
Good luck with the Book!
Giants, all. God Bless them for stepping up to render a service to the country yet again.
As a small part of exposing the lying john kerry...for what he really was....a lying wanabee...makes me proud. I can go to the wall and tell my buddies whose name’s appear there....I and thousands of other Vietnam Veterans put our money where our hearts were and defeated a traitor who was trying to lie his way into the Presidency to the American people.
As a matter of interest where is kerry in responding to Boone Pickens million dollar challenge...???
Got to get this book. I proudly contributed to the Swifties with financial help, and it was rewarding to see that my, and thousands of others, efforts paid off.
WOW! I have never seen a review like that. It is an absolutely outstanding endorsement, from beginning to end, by a man who knows what he is talking about. Congratulations!
I am proud to say that I am one of the 150,000. I'll bet that many Freepers are.
I only wish that any of the other political contributions that I have ever made were as well spent.
What a wonderful model for dealing with the border issue.
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