Considering that we are continually treated to the mud slinging of Vietnam veterans who oppose John Kerry (pictured) and also just happen to be operatives of the GOP, why haven't we heard much about a former member of the smear campaign who has recanted? Richard Einhorn at Tristero tells us about Lieutenant Commander George Elliott, who had second thoughts after doing his duty as a conservative. After refuting attempts to discredit Kerry in 1996, Elliott succumbed to pressure from very conservative Vietnam veterans to aid them in their latest assault. He now regrets having given in and performed according to their script.
. . . a key figure in the anti-Kerry campaign, Kerry's former commanding officer, backed off one of the key contentions. Lieutenant Commander George Elliott said in an interview that he had made a ''terrible mistake" in signing an affidavit that suggests Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star. . .
The statement refers to an episode in which Kerry killed a Viet Cong soldier who had been carrying a rocket launcher, part of a chain of events that formed the basis of his Silver Star...Crew members have said Kerry's actions saved their lives.
Yesterday, reached at his home, Elliott said he regretted signing the affidavit and said he still thinks Kerry deserved the Silver Star. . .
Elliott said. ''It was a terrible mistake probably for me to sign the affidavit with those words. I'm the one in trouble here."
Readers will note that I removed as many of the lies as I could from the article in quoting these excerpts. I did so for a reason.
The people trying to slime Kerry are doing so not because they have a legitimate point of view but because they hate Kerry for opposing the Vietnam War. They are deliberately spreading falsehoods in order to muddy the discourse, to turn a clearcut case of heroism into a he said/she said "debate."
But it isn't working. The Bush campaign has publicly repudiated them and McCain has reamed both them and the Bush campaign.
More importantly, the facts speak for themselves. Those who were most in a position to know, Kerry's boatmates, stand by Kerry. As do contemporary Army records.