Swift boat ad watch


Geraldine Sealey
August 24, 2004 6:55PM (UTC)

FactCheck.org's assessment of the latest anti-Kerry swift boat ad:

"'Swift Boat Veterans for Truth' announced a second anti-Kerry ad Aug. 20, using Kerry's own words against him. It features the 27-year-old Kerry in 1971 telling the Senate Foreign Relations Committee stories about American troops cutting off heads and ears, razing villages 'in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan' and committing 'crimes . . . on a day-to-day basis.'"

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"The Kerry campaign called it a smear and said his words were "edited" out of context. The ad does indeed fail to mention that Kerry was quoting stories he had heard from others at an anti-war event in Detroit, and not claiming first-hand knowledge. But Kerry passed them on as true stories."

"The ad characterizes Kerry as making 'accusations . . . against the verterans who served in Vietnam.' The Kerry campaign denies that, saying Kerry was placing blame on the country's leaders, not the veterans. But Kerry himself said earlier this year that his words were those of 'an angry young man . . . inappropriate . . . a little bit excessive . . a little bit over the top.'"

"Kerry's critics point to a 1978 history of Vietnam that challenged some of the witnesses Kerry quoted. But other published accounts provide ample evidence that atrocities such as those Kerry described actually were committed."


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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