THE definitive takedown
of Swift Boats for Gutter Politics, courtesy of the NYT.
A series of interviews and a review of documents show a web of connections to the Bush family, high-profile Texas political figures and President Bush's chief political aide, Karl Rove.
Records show that the group received the bulk of its initial financing from two men with ties to the president and his family - one a longtime political associate of Mr. Rove's, the other a trustee of the foundation for Mr. Bush's father's presidential library. A Texas publicist who once helped prepare Mr. Bush's father for his debate when he was running for vice president provided them with strategic advice. And the group's television commercial was produced by the same team that made the devastating ad mocking Michael S. Dukakis in an oversized tank helmet when he and Mr. Bush's father faced off in the 1988 presidential election.
The strategy the veterans devised would ultimately paint John Kerry the war hero as John Kerry the "baby killer" and the fabricator of the events that resulted in his war medals. 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 [...]
Mr. Perry, who has given $200,000 to the group, is the top donor to Republicans in the state, according to Texans for Public Justice, a nonpartisan group that tracks political donations. He donated $46,000 to President Bush's campaigns for governor in 1994 and 1998. In the 2002 election, the group said, he donated nearly $4 million to Texas candidates and political committees.
Mr. Rove, Mr. Bush's top political aide, recently said through a spokeswoman that he and Mr. Perry were longtime friends, though he said they had not spoken for at least a year. Mr. Rove and Mr. Perry have been associates since at least 1986, when they both worked on the gubernatorial campaign of Bill Clements.
After documenting the group's close ties to prominant Republicans with close ties to Rove and Bush himself, the piece takes on the allegations they've spewed.
Among other things, the long piece includes the outing of Jerome Corsi (courtest of Atrios) as a wingnut Freeper (who then cowardly backstabs his Freeper bretheren by apologizing and distancing himself from the site); the claims by Dr. Letson that he treated one of Kerry's wounds, when in fact, his name appears nowhere in any records; how Larry Thurlow claims Kerry's Bronze Star is fraudulent because Kerry encountered no enemy fire the night of his heroics, and so on...
Actually let's check in on the Thurlow portion, since it so vividly illustrates just how hard hitting this piece is:
A damage report to Mr. Thurlow's boat shows that it received three bullet holes, suggesting enemy fire, and later intelligence reports indicate that one Vietcong was killed in action and five others wounded, reaffirming the presence of an enemy. Mr. Thurlow said the boat was hit the day before. He also received a Bronze Star for the day, a fact left out of "Unfit for Command."
Asked about the award, Mr. Thurlow said that he did not recall what the citation said but that he believed it had commended him for saving the lives of sailors on a boat hit by a mine. If it did mention enemy fire, he said, that was based on Mr. Kerry's false reports. The actual citation, Mr. Thurlow said, was with an ex-wife with whom he no longer has contact, and he declined to authorize the Navy to release a copy. But a copy obtained by The New York Times indicates "enemy small arms," "automatic weapons fire" and "enemy bullets flying about him." The citation was first reported by The Washington Post on Thursday.
It goes on and on. This piece SHREDS the Swift Boat liars. It's breathtaking.
Given Chris Matthews takedown of the hopelessly over-her-head Michelle Malkin on the latest smear attempt (Kerry's wounds were "self-inflicted"), and even Bill O'Reilly's condemnations of the Swift Boat campaign, there are precious few places left for these slanderes to peddle their wares. Good thing for them Rush will always welcome them with open arms.
Update: The NY Times also put together this handy graphic to track all the Bush and Rove connections in their slimy glory, as well as several of the Swift Boat Veterans lies.
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