« NYT's confusion on the basic concepts of government | Main | Showing up in court »

Thursday, November 18, 2004

NYPost gossips about possible Kerry defamation lawsuit against SwiftVets

Reader and frequent commenter "Raving Atheist" emailed me a link to a very amusing blurb written by Richard Johnson in the New York Post's "Page Six" column entitled "Kerry Fit to Sue 'Unfit' Author," which begins:

Liberal loser John Kerry might be planning to strike back at John O'Neill, the "Unfit for Command" author who claims some of the credit for Kerry's defeat, sources say.

In the book, published by Regnery not long before the election, O'Neill — who, like Kerry, commanded swift boats in Vietnam — attacked Kerry's war record and branded him a traitor.

(Another reader thoughtfully emailed me with this link to a NewsMax write-up on Johnson's blurb, but it doesn't add much to the NYPost's own gossip.)

I first wrote on the topic of the Kerry campaign's threats of a defamation lawsuit last August 11th, when The New Republic's Kenneth Baer argued (in an article that's now been moved to TNR's subscription-archive, but that I quoted extensively) that such a lawsuit would be well-founded. For reasons both legal and factual, I rather strongly disagreed, and for reasons entirely political, I thought that such a lawsuit would not possibly be filed during the campaign season. Nothing that happened later during the SwiftVets vs. Kerry saga in any way changed any of my original opinions as to the lack of legal and factual bases for such a lawsuit. But Mr. Johnson's unnamed source apparently thinks that the political dynamics no longer would prohibit such a case from being filed:

Now, "the Kerry camp is thinking about filing a libel lawsuit against Regnery and O'Neill," a source close to the candidate's inner circle tells PAGE SIX. "I don't know if they will actually go forward, but consideration is serious. If Kerry plans on running again in 2008 — and I'm hearing he will — it would make sense that he'd file the suit."

Kerry's rep, David Wade, said he hadn't heard about any proposed lawsuit, but promised to look into it.

Let's just say I'm not holding my breath waiting for this lawsuit to be filed. Nor, I strongly suspect, is SwiftVets' spokesman John O'Neill. According to Mr. Johnson's blurb,

O'Neill, who charged that Kerry faked his wounds and won his medals under false pretenses, says he won't write another book if Kerry runs in 2008, but will definitely campaign against him again.

That's actually a substantial overstatement of the SwiftVets' allegations — they never claimed that Kerry "faked his wounds." They did claim, however, that all three of Sen. Kerry's Purple Heart wounds (or four, if you count the bruised elbow) were trivial, and that two of the three Purple Hearts were undeserved because they resulted not from enemy action, nor even from someone else's "friendly fire" while there was incoming enemy fire, but rather from Kerry's own unintentional carelessness (on one occasion while firing a M-79 grenade launcher and on another when using a hand grenade to scatter a rice pile thought to be a Viet Cong food cache).

Regardless, however, if these or the SwiftVets' larger set of allegations were altogether false and groundless, they could have been exploded with a stroke of Sen. Kerry's pen on a Standard Form 180 — during his just-past campaign. The undisclosed military records still being withheld by the Navy Department, Sen. Kerry's and a crewman's wartime journals, and other documents that Sen. Kerry successfully stonewalled throughout the campaign would all become grist for the pretrial discovery mill in the early stages of any defamation case he ever files, however. I remain confident in my previous inference that if those documents were uniformly flattering to and supportive of Sen. Kerry, we'd have long since seen them, and in my further inference that because they aren't, we never will.

Beldar continues to confidently predict: Ain't gonna be no defamation lawsuit. If there is, I'll gladly eat Sen. Kerry's lucky CIA hat.

Posted by Beldar at 07:21 PM in Law (2006 & earlier), Politics (2006 & earlier), SwiftVets | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to NYPost gossips about possible Kerry defamation lawsuit against SwiftVets and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» Kerry to sue O'Neill? from The Truth Laid Bear

Tracked on Nov 18, 2004 10:16:21 PM

» But Bill O'Reilly Would from Who Can Really Say?

Tracked on Nov 19, 2004 7:49:02 PM

» I have one thing to say. from Media Lies

Tracked on Nov 19, 2004 10:52:00 PM


(1) Al made the following comment | Nov 18, 2004 7:34:46 PM | Permalink

If such a suit _were_ brought, how much of the non-released military documentation would be obtainable in discovery? Either from Kerry's own library, or directly from the military? Some of the key documents would seem to be _medical_ documents, would that matter?

(2) Beldar made the following comment | Nov 18, 2004 8:11:30 PM | Permalink

All of it would be obtainable by the defendants' counsel. Some of it — the medical records being a good example — might be made subject to a protective order that would prevent its release to the public, at least during pretrial proceedings.

(3) Eaglespeak made the following comment | Nov 18, 2004 8:16:59 PM | Permalink

Wow, bring it on, John.

Some time ago I wrote a < ahref="http://eaglespeak.blogspot.com/2004/09/swift-vet-case.html">post in response to an Eleanor Clift Newsweek web article in which she wrote "The charges advanced by the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth would never hold up in a court of law." Of course, my position was if the SwiftVets were plaintiffs they had a case... I cannot imagine Kerry attempting to get past the "public person" burden. However, xuch a suit is probably necessary if Kerry has a chance of running in 2008.

(4) Eaglespeak made the following comment | Nov 18, 2004 8:21:28 PM | Permalink

Preview is my friend. Oops.

(5) pds made the following comment | Nov 18, 2004 8:22:13 PM | Permalink


Everything would be discoverable, including his medical records, especially in light of the fact that Kerry would be the plaintiff, thus putting these documents directly at issue regarding the underlying claim. The court would likely require him to execute a medical release and authorization, much like plaintiffs are required to do throughout the country day in and day out in personal injury litigation.


I agree with you. There ain't gonna be a lawsuit. Worse for Kerry than the production of the documents, imagine the fun O'Neil or his lawyers would have taking his deposition--no way Kerry is going to subject himself to that. But here is a potential twist: my advice to O'Niel, should Kerry refuse to back away from the threats of a lawsuit or name calling against the Swift Vets, would be to file a declaratory judgment and/or defamation action against Kerry in to bring this to a head.

I'd be willing to do that one pro bono.

(6) Neo made the following comment | Nov 18, 2004 8:47:18 PM | Permalink

I think you're right about no suit, but we can wish.
The Kerry folks are a bit slow; I don't mean stupid, but just slow, so it should that them a few months to sort this thing out one way or another. If there is a suit it should show up I guess .. about July.

(7) A Comment made the following comment | Nov 18, 2004 9:10:29 PM | Permalink

IF John Kerry were to file such a lawsuit, would the people who donated to the Swiftboat Vets and thereby financed their activities be potentially included in it?

(8) julie made the following comment | Nov 18, 2004 10:02:40 PM | Permalink

At first I thought Kerry was going to try to shut O'Neill up by bleeding him dry in a libel suit. Then I remembered Kerry would have to turn over discovery. So, there will be no lawsuit. Kerry knows this. What is the purpose of the rumor? Only to save face?

(9) Beldar made the following comment | Nov 18, 2004 10:21:37 PM | Permalink

"A Comment," the answer to your question is: No, not a chance. In my humble but very confident opinion, donating money to the SwiftVets, by itself, could not possibly give rise to any sort of derivative or secondary liability even if John O'Neill, his publisher, some of the other individual SwiftVets, or their organization were to be successfully sued.

As for bloggers like myself who've written at length and in detail about the SwiftVets' allegations, I stand by my prior offer: If Sen. Kerry wants to sue me, I'll waive issuance of citation and service of process, and gladly meet him at the judge's chambers with my initial pretrial discovery salvo in hand.

(10) Dave made the following comment | Nov 18, 2004 10:34:52 PM | Permalink

Gotta love this .Well, we shall see if sKerry is as full of fertilizer as he so appears. I do indeed think this is a bluff and a poorly planned one. By the way,I'm no lawyer but shall be glad to haul briefcases and boxes if this happens.

(11) Charlie (Colorado) made the following comment | Nov 18, 2004 10:40:00 PM | Permalink

God knows I'm no lawyer, but would Kerry's (hypothetical) less-than-honorable discharge be likely to be sealed? It would seem not.

If not, then game over, man. Unless he's in a complete fugue state, he'll never go forward.

(12) OhMike made the following comment | Nov 18, 2004 11:18:38 PM | Permalink


I agree that "there ain't gonna be no lawsuit." So why is Kerry talking about this, you ask?

I think if there is talk about this, it is mere posturing. Kerry and his acolytes are just spinning. They'll talk about this, generate some buzz, and ultimately do nothing. They'll claim that Kerry had a good case, but decided to be magnanimous and move on.

By doing this, they'll set it up so Kerry's operatives and his media shills can go around repeating over and over," The Swiftvets lies were slanderous. O'Neill and the Swiftvets were lucky they didn't get sued. Kerry had a good case. The Swiftvets lied about Kerry. He almost sued them. They were lucky they didn't get sued." Rinse and repeat.

The Kerryites will hope this gets repeated often enough that it becomes accepted as fact. They are trying to create their own urban legend.

Kerry KNOWS he's a liar. He knows the truth about Cambodia and his rice wounds and other "exaggerations." There is NO way he is going to sue O'Neill. If he did it might not be Christmas in Cambodia, but it would seem like Christmas to Mr. O'Neill, who I believe would welcome the opportunity to deal with these issues in court.

The problem with Kerry and his people is that they don't think very far ahead. Maybe it's their arrested development that makes them act like teenagers with no sense of the future. As far as this "suing O'Neill" scenario goes, Kerry may be looking to innoculate himself for a future run, but this exposure will probably kill his (slim) chances.

I can picture Mr. O'Neill taunting Kerry in 2008: "C'mon Senator, you claimed I defamed you. Why don't you sue me?"

(13) holdfast made the following comment | Nov 18, 2004 11:38:08 PM | Permalink

I agree with OhMike - this is just to give the MSM another line to deploy when they dismiss the Swifties.

Total F'n losers - they're still fighting the last political battle, just like Jean Kerry is still fighting the last war (actually 5 back - Afghan, Yugo, Gulf War I, Grenada and Vietnam). Talk about yesterday's man. He's a malingerer and a fraud - go ahead Jean, sue me.

(14) khr128 made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 1:07:33 AM | Permalink

Kerry is such a dunce. Who created the myth that he is an "intellectual"? Boy, am I glad that he's forever damned to the garbage heap of history.

(15) lyle made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 1:39:43 AM | Permalink

Does it make you wonder about the competence of Kerry's legal team?

They are the same high-priced numbskulls who sent a bullying letter to stations that aired the first SwiftVet ad. Their crude and sloppy threat afforded O'Neill the opportunity to make his case to a wider public, attract more donations, sell more books, get free radio and TV time, and ultimately derail the Kerry campaign.

And now they are pretending they're going to sue him. Yeah, right.

(16) Bob Dixon made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 1:58:37 AM | Permalink

The fact that Newsweek in their election recap story still says the Swift Boat ads were misleading says a lot. They are still covering up for Kerry. I would hope that someone in the MSM would have the guts to dig into this story and actually present the facts. Kerry should not even be allowed to continue as Senator. He should be forced to release his Navy records. He is a shame to all Vietnam veterans and to our country.

The MSM’s idea of fair was first to ignore the Swift Boat story, then attack the veracity of the story and finally tell us that we were all tired of this story. The Kerry supporters tried to say that we needed to talk about the real issues during their campaign. Isn’t character the biggest issue of all? If we can’t believe someone, what does it really matter what they are saying? Isn’t this just another case of the "Powerful Protecting the Powerful"? The key here is that it’s not about medals, it’s not about who was more heroic, it’s not about 527’s and it’s not about smear campaigns. It is about character. What can we do to get some real investigation and disclosure? What do most people know about Joe Bangert, who falsely testified to some of the most vile war crimes in the Wintersoldier investigation, and who was right next to Kerry on the stage at the DNC in Boston? What about John Hurley, the lawyer who appeared against John O’Neill on most of the talk shows and the others in Kerry's "Band of Brothers" who have been with him since his days in the VVAW? What about Scott Camil, who came up with the VVAW plan to assassinate U.S. senators in 1971 and who was part of Kerry's election campaign in Florida before he was outed? Who is David Thorne besides Kerry’s ex-brother-in-law and editor of "The New Soldier" and why was he still involved in Kerry’s campaign? I have seen reports that at least a couple of the Swift Boat "Band of Brothers" were also in the VVAW. I would bet that most people in the country today are not aware of these connections and would be appalled to find out about them. The media should show how John Kerry has demonstrated his "loyalty" to this group while attempting to sell our country "down the river". John Kerry and these guys saying they were ready to defend our country against terrorism is about as believable as Bill Clinton on stage with Heidi Fleiss, Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton urging "Moral Reform".
I am sure that a lot of other people can fill in many more details than I can but none of us on our own has the ability to get these stories out. I have tried to send out a message to the networks, cable news and the newspapers to do some investigations of their own. I feel like the "Swift Boat Veterans" that this is our "Second Call to Duty" and it may be even more important than the first. We have not allowed this man to become our "Commander in Chief" but it should not stop here. It is of utmost importance that all the citizens of this country are fully informed of the true character of John Kerry. I urge all of you to write the networks, newspapers, news magazines and your representatives in Washington to encourage a full and proper investigation and disclosure of John Kerry’s past and present connections to the Anti-war left and the Communist causes that he has pandered to and promoted.

(17) Geek, Esq. made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 2:00:31 AM | Permalink

Just go away John. Just go.

(18) lyle made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 2:46:14 AM | Permalink

Instead of a suicidal lawsuit, I'll bet Kerry takes a page from Uncle Ted's playbook.

Back in the 80's there was a devastating book about Chappaquiddick. Big Media ignored it but Kennedy's people hired a couple of 'reporters' to debunk it, just in case. Their slovenly hackjob got major reviews and media play. Big Media had been given their official spin, and damaging charges were effectively neutralized.

I expect we'll see a half-assed junk-news response to Unfit. It will supply the official Party line for Big Media, which had dutifully but unconvincingly recycled the 'debunked SwiftVets' myth during the campaign.

The fun part of this fantasy comes when John O'Neill and the SwiftVets sue for defamation.

(19) blogaddict made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 3:36:11 AM | Permalink

pdl: You don't need to volunteer pro bono. John O'Neill is a lawyer himself, and a very successful one at that.

(20) Allan Yackey made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 8:10:00 AM | Permalink

For the forseeable future my prayer each night will be: "Please let John Kerry file a defamation action"

The legal talent ready willing and able to sign on pro bono for the Swift Boat Vets would fill "Lambert" stadium.

I'll be right in front jumping up and down yelling "Pick me!, Pick Me!". If there are no assignments left for lawyers, I'll be the photo copy guy.

PS I'm a Viet Nam Veteran.

(21) Dimsdale made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 8:10:37 AM | Permalink

In my humble opinion, if anyone has a reason to sue for defamation, it is the Swiftees. Considering that they were directly called liars, on the record, by Kerry himself, his daughters, his staff, and his other staff, the MSM, all without basis, simply invites a countersuit at minimum.

Considering that two lies (at minimum) that Kerry has already been forced to admit to (PH #1, and Christmas in Cambodia), hasn't Kerry already set a precedent of sorts and pulled the rug out from under his own legs?

When you consider what Kerry would have done to the Swiftees if he were president, i.e. the Clintonian IRS rectal audits etc., you have to admire the bravery of these men to publicly release their names and put their life and fortunes at risk. Kerry risked nothing but his already weak reputation. If he lost, he goes back to Sugarmomma. If he wins, he sticks a thumb in the eye of the Vietnam vets he betrayed, and still has Sugarmomma.

Maybe the Vietnam Veterans should file a class action suit against Kerry for libel, slander, and/or defamation of character? ;-)

Is that even possible? Only in a perfect world........

(22) lurkinjerk made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 8:36:56 AM | Permalink

It's inconceivable that Kerry would just haul off and file a suit. Why, he hasn't even conducted a poll on it yet!

(23) Carlos V made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 9:51:25 AM | Permalink

No worry about a diet of CIA hat. The defense of "substantial truth" will head off any but a "threatened" suit. The analysis never even gets to the "reckless disregard" phase.

And Kerry will never again be a realiistic candidate. His moment in the sun has passed, and he will return, in a cloud of melancholy, to working for the people of Massachusetts or whatever it was he was doing.

(24) SemiPundit made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 10:06:20 AM | Permalink

I've never been much into chasing shadows, so I agree that no such suit should be brought. He should leave the matter alone.

In most of the interviews of O'Neill that I saw, his response to "what is your proof" was to pick up his book and wave it around, saying "...it's all here, right in my book". He and his cohorts made a case that was believable enough by enough voters to get the job done.

It might not be a bad idea to look into Mr. O'Neill's connections to the RNC, however, and to further probe his organization's financial support system. This, to me, was primarily a political operation that took advantage of a sensitive issue.

My understanding is that Mr. O'Neill's law firm has had strong connections to Enron, and to our new Attorney General Gonzales.

Would it be fair, then, to question whether Mr. O'Neill is working in the interests of the people of America long after the Vietnam war is over?

(25) The Old Coot made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 10:11:18 AM | Permalink

Beldar: I'm with Dave. I'll schlep coffee and donuts, wash your car, whatever, while you are taking Senator Kerry's deposition.

(26) The Raving Atheist made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 11:54:41 AM | Permalink

SemiPundit: John O'Neill's response to questions, no matter how hostile, about his proof was to answer them directly and in detail. I never saw him say "just read my book." Maybe you're confusing him with John Kerry, who never subject himself to a single interview or press conference on the issue, and when pressed about his plans for America directed people to his website. Or maybe you're thinking about Lawrence O'Donnell, whose response to every question was to shout "liar, liar, liar!"

The reason Kerry doesn't bring suit has nothing to do with "chasing shadows" or "sensitive issues." It's about "finding skeletons" in closets that Kerry has the keys to but doesn't want to re-open, even though he put his service in issue and made it the very centerpiece of the Democratic Convention.

O'Neill's finances and political connections are completely irrelevant to the facts concerning Kerry's Vietnam service. He wasn't running for office. Nevertheless, your tactic was employed, with great success, by the MSM to distract voters from the issues raised by the Swift Boat vets. Bush's margin of victory would have been much greater had the New York Times et al spent as much time investigating MoveOn and George Soros as it did O'Neill's alleged connections.

(27) John Theotonio made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 12:24:56 PM | Permalink

Is there anyway at all that can force Kerry to release his full military records? I was looking into the Freedom of Information Act, but don't think it would cover this issue.

God, PLEASE - SOMEONE get him to RELEASE those records.

(28) Al made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 12:52:06 PM | Permalink

He often wasn't waving _his_ book, but 'Tour of Duty'. He didn't miss a chance to plug 'Unfit for Command', that's true. But there were several different books that were his references and props on stage - and for several of the claims that were considered scurrilous by, say, Chris Matthews, they're supported by quotes from the books authorized by JFK himself. Not that the talking heads ever grasped that or reiterated it for our consumption.

There _is_ a long list of things said by the Swiftees that have been shown to be tarnished - but the bulk of them were either first published in Kerry's official books, or public statements by Kerry himself that have been redacted. The 'boy in a loincloth in the back' comment for instance.

(29) Boger made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 12:59:09 PM | Permalink

Mr. Beldar has written a nice blog giving credibility to the notion that Kerry is seriously considering a defamation lawsuit against O'Neill. Since I don't think Kerry is dumb or a dunce, the first I hear that he has filed such court action, that will tell me he is serious about 2008, that he knows he has to take this issue off the table from the get-go, that he thinks he can prevail in the case (notwithstanding y'all's 'bring it on legal' opinion about discovery) and make it a non-factor in a future campaign.

Every time I slice and dice his sorry military record baggage, I conclude he has to jettison it prior to day-one of another campaign. Howard Dean campaigned his butt off for Kerry, was a good soldier, etc. But already he is contending to be the center of Dem gravity going forward, and consequently to deny this role to Kerry. He will be the first and loudest in his party to assert that Kerry is de facto unelectable due to this baggage. And he will be the first and most aggressive in using the SwiftBoatVet baggage to deny him the nomination. Dean's attack will be, sorry pal, you trotted out the bemedaled uniform on me once but that dog is not going to hunt a second time.

I am fascinated to see if a legal suit goes forward. I will find it interesting either way.

(30) Beldar made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 1:03:37 PM | Permalink

Semi, I think perhaps you're confusing John O'Neill's law firm, Clements, O'Neill, Pierce, Wilson & Fulkerson, with a much, much larger Houston firm, Vinson & Elkins. Gonzales was a V&E partner, but to my knowledge never worked for Clements, O'Neill. V&E did indeed do a great deal of work for Enron. During its glory days, Enron did spread around its legal work, but I don't recall hearing of Clements, O'Neill (or even its precedessor before a split quite a few years ago, Porter & Clements) being very high up on that particular list. Clements, O'Neill may employ, or have employed, some ex-V&E lawyers, but that's no surprise at all — there are literally thousands of V&E alums among Texas law firms (just as there are from the other two Houston-based mega-firms, Fulbright & Jaworski and Baker Botts, the latter of which being where I served my journeymanship). This all may be close enough to qualify for lines on one of the NYT's famous "degrees of separation" chart, but I doubt that there's any "there" there.

Mr. Theontonio, you're right that the FOIA has been tried already by several media and other organizations as a means to get Sen. Kerry's military records, without notable success. An FOIA request from Gerald Nicosia, with considerable follow-up skirmishing to enforce it, did apparently produce a huge volume of FBI records on its surveillance of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, which form the basis of Nicosia's claim, generally ignored by the mainstream media, that Sen. Kerry not only was in attendance at the VVAW meeting that discussed assassinations (grudgingly admitted by the Kerry campaign after first denying it), but also made more than one Paris trip to meet with the NV and VC (still denied by the Kerry campaign). The Privacy Act trumps the FOIA with respect to Sen. Kerry's military records. Judicial Watch's complaint to the Navy Dep't and DoD was a fairly creative attempt to expose the records through a backdoor channel, but proved unsuccessful. Bottom line: I'm very pessimistic that there's any way for private individuals to force the disclosure of the records that Kerry has stonewalled, unless it were in the context of civil litigation that Sen. Kerry himself brought.

Dimsdale, if Sen. Kerry had identified particular individuals in his 1971 Fulbright Committee testimony about "atrocities," they might well have had a defamation claim then. Defamation is generally a creature of each state's law, though, rather than federal law, and while various state statutes of limitations on defamation claims are different, they tend to be quite short — often as little as one year. The potential membership of any class action would also be problematically dissimilar, although perhaps not fatally so. In any event, for a variety of reasons, I doubt that there's a viable civil lawsuit — or even one that could get to the substantive pretrial discovery stage — to be brought on behalf of Vietnam Vets individually or collectively.

Sen. Kerry himself has been extremely careful not to "publish" — i.e., make publicly, from his own pen or lips — any detailed allegations about the SwiftVets group or its members or spokesmen. That fit, of course, with his "pretend they don't exist" strategy, but also helps immunize him from defamation claims. His surrogates, of course, have said outrageous things — but it would be very hard to hold him derivatively responsible for them in a court of law.

PDS, I haven't looked lately, but some years ago I did some digging on both the federal and Texas declaratory judgment actions; I think the general rule is that a mere threat of litigation (like those made jointly by the DNC and the Kerry-Edwards 2004 Campaign) aren't held to create a sufficiently "live controversy" to justify preemptively suing for declaratory relief.

(31) F. Rottles made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 1:22:25 PM | Permalink

Based on his character, I'd say that JfK could easily be provoked into a public fight over his entire Vietnam war record.

But he'd straddle the fence on a decision to go to court. This story probably reflects his talking tough privately and his friends being overly protective verbally.

Each time this sort of thing reaches the public, JfK draws more attention to the standoff between him and the Swifties. But I don't believe he, nor his buddies, can help themselves. The Swifties may retire now that the campaign is over, but they will not disappear. And they too have shown they can be provoked into action -- but with sound tactics and purpose.

Purse speculation on my part: there must be a few book prospects out there that will continue to hound JfK for years and years to come. There's a renewed interest in our country's experience in Vietnam and that coincides, of course, with the inevitable appeitite for books on the Iraq experience. JfK is going to be steamrolled. If he can foresee that much, then, he may have sufficient arrogance to get his own book out there. His legacy. Heh.

(32) Connecticut Yankee made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 2:53:17 PM | Permalink

Beldar-- Radioblogger has posted some photos of Kerry (in his magical Cambodian raincoat) getting soaked at the opening of the "Bill Clinton Presidential Library and Karaoke Bar" that cry out for a snarky caption contest. Also a photo of Vermont's contribution to the Dem funny farm. Enjoy!


(33) TouchDown made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 3:07:48 PM | Permalink

All we have here is Mr Kerry's frustration that he's now become an official loser as seen throughout the world. And, let's not forget that he had lamented about not believing he was losing to "that idiot", meaning President Bush. So, all he is doing is beating his breastbone again....big, tough guy. It is totally pathetic that a 60 yr old man continues to strut around acting like some kind of macho man. Men that have experienced tough times in considerable combat action do not continue to act like this. They live in a more quiet dignity, not needing to try to convince people at every turn of their hard-ass "guts".
Kerry is a complete fraud and I believe he does this kind of nonsense to puff himself up,for his own image of himself. This is because he too knows he is really a complete fraud.
This is a deranged guy who could have had his finger on the big button. Yikes.

(34) vanderwall7 made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 3:16:26 PM | Permalink

I seriously doubt the lawsuit will happen. Kerry would be pressured to release all of the military records or maybe even sign the form 180. Would his original DD-214 that was replaced by a DD-215 be in the record and show in the character of service section that he was less than honorably discharged? If so he would have a lot of explaining to do. Just the thought of many the eyewitness SBV on the witness stand and those backing Kerry should be enough to deter any serious thought he has of letting it get that far.
O'Neil would like nothing more and probably is saying "bring it on Kerry"

(35) wannabe made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 4:37:02 PM | Permalink

Raving Atheist, right on......

I cannot begin to count the number of times when John O'Neill's response to many questions was in fact John Kerry's VERY OWN WORDS or other excerpts from Kerry's official biographies - when poor John was given a chance to answer questions, being constantly interrupted by people like Chris Matthews and Larry O'Donnell bellowing the DNC mantra......

My most surprising experience of the campaign was tuning into Hardball to hear John O'Neill was actually back on Hardball after being abused by Matthews last time.

More shocking was the utmost deference that Matthews accorded O'Neill that time, even if he wasn't buying the Swift Boat arguments. What caused this change in attitude - was it the angry emails from viewers like, oh, me!

(36) Todd made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 7:02:34 PM | Permalink

I think it would be great if Kerry would file a lawsuit against O'Neill et al. I think O'Neill would enjoy it, actually. The media would have to report on it and the truth would come out, which ain't gonna be favorable to John. And, of course, all of Kerry's service records would come out. B R I N G I T O N!

(37) Screaming Eagle made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 7:33:27 PM | Permalink

I dont't need a book. I saw him lie. He said soldiers told him they commited crimes like cutting off ears and many other atrocities. He also said he commited war crimes. Bring forth the soldiers that told him these things and lets hear it from them. Now what I think. John Kerry was a rich kid that didn't quite fit in. Attended the best schools but did not excel. Tried to avoid the war with deferments but finaly joined the Navy to escaped the draft. Served four months in combat and used his position to escape further duty. After returning home and because of his experience he became enamored and sought the company of antiwar prostesters like Fonda and Biez. He was the perfect parrot for the left and something they very much needed, Officer, hero, and aganist the war. He was quickly promoted and elected leader of the VVAW. Then under pressure and to keep the approval of his new found friends he partisipated in the fabrication of lies and gave fraudulent testimony. I have never thought that he was any kind of leader but simply a pawn placed in certain positions for political purposes. I do think he is good at speeches and has a good memory for the thoughts of others but nothing he can create and plan himself. This is why he flipflops. He could not even make much needed decisions in his own campaign. In short he does not have the abilities of a leader. He should never have had to serve because simply, he was just not cut out for the military. People of this nature are more hindrence than help. Thats why I oppose the draft in favor of a voluntary force which is better trained, more effective and smaller in numbers. None of this however excuses Kerry's actions, He lied and that makes him a traitor.

(38) SemiPundit made the following comment | Nov 19, 2004 11:45:55 PM | Permalink

And, with all of that working against him, he still came close to winning the election.

(39) F. Rottles made the following comment | Nov 20, 2004 1:32:15 AM | Permalink

Well, Big Media was good for 10-15 points. But with all that JfK still lost to the better man.

(40) Hunter made the following comment | Nov 21, 2004 1:36:39 AM | Permalink

- O'Neill issued a public statement as soon as he heard the "rumors" that were being floated in the liberal press to the effect that while for the time being the Swifties have "retired" if they see any indication that Kerry has decided to make a move to run again for higher office "[WE] want him to know we will be waiting for him and pick up right where we left off"...

- Doesn't sound like he's to worried about any litigation. Everyone knows that disclosure would sink Kerry's swiftboat swiftly....

(41) SemiPundit made the following comment | Nov 21, 2004 2:49:24 AM | Permalink

Consider this: Mr. Kerry came within a few million popular votes and won the electoral decision by the outcome in Ohio.

Perhaps the missing piece of the puzzle for him would be a sad turn of events for the current administration, with our economy in trouble, our efforts to colonize the rest of the world in disarray, and our standing in the world in shambles.

Mr. Bush's functionaries managed to get it over the top this time, but may not be so successful in the future.

(42) Jonathan Sadow made the following comment | Nov 21, 2004 4:07:19 AM | Permalink

SemiPundit wrote

Consider this: Mr. Kerry came within a few million popular votes and won the electoral decision by the outcome in Ohio.

Of course, this is a silly argument. One could just as easily say that Kerry could have won if he hadn't lost Texas by 1.7 million votes - you just can't cherry-pick a state in isolation like that. One might also note that close losses by Bush in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire prevented a Bush win of 100+ electoral votes.

Perhaps the missing piece of the puzzle for him would be a sad turn of events for the current administration, with our economy in trouble, our efforts to colonize the rest of the world in disarray, and our standing in the world in shambles.

Mr. Bush's functionaries managed to get it over the top this time, but may not be so successful in the future.

I'm not sure how relevant this is, because Bush won't be running again and whatever he does or doesn't do won't necessarily affect the Republican candidate in 2008, and it's moot anyway because most of the premises in your statement are either debateable or untrue.

(43) perfectsense made the following comment | Nov 21, 2004 5:31:12 AM | Permalink

I would love to see Kerry humiliated by a losing a lawsuit of this nature. Like the Swiftvets, we should start a web site to raise money to pay Kerry’s legal fees in order to induce Kerry to sue O'Neil.

(44) SemiPundit made the following comment | Nov 21, 2004 10:10:59 AM | Permalink

I am not predicting, but only speculating.

Thanks for pointing out that Mr. Bush will not be running again. However, I do think it is possible for a candidate to be burdened by poor performance of his cohorts in the preceding administration. Ask Mr. Gore.

After conceding Ohio, the final electoral count was 286 to 252, and the popular vote margin was 3%. I, and I assume you as well, have no reason to think that the Swiftboat Veterans held back on any of their claims and allegations (why would they?). In short, I believe that we now know everything there is to know about their presentation.

Most of the picture I got from them was of a hot dog officer who made some exaggerated claims and made a lot of enemies. I doubt that such an officer is or has been a rarity. I also think that many people saw it that way as well.

Regarding his post-war attempts to help end the war, there is no doubt in my mind that his efforts were honorable and in no way designed to help the enemy at America's expense, let alone designed to unnecessarily harm his fellow soldiers. I believe many Americans see it that way and his opponents just cannot comprehend that point of view. For example, I have talked to a number of veterans over the years who have told me that they just wanted the nightmare to end and to be gotten out of there.

If think that if we had been allowed to continue, and have been "successful" our prize would have been direct confrontation with both the Soviet Union and China. It was a war in which we should not have engaged ourselves, and it seems today that we learned nothing from the experience.

Finally, Mr. Kerry probably doesn't need any money for a potential lawsuit. Also, being a qualified attorney, he should be able to handle his own process. And I suspect that if he should press it (which I doubt he will), then you can be sure he has something to go on.

(45) MeTooThen made the following comment | Nov 21, 2004 12:57:06 PM | Permalink


With all due respect, are you incapable of listening?

"And I suspect that if he should press it (which I doubt he will), then you can be sure he has something to go on."

John Forbes Kerry cannot and will not bring any action describing defamation against Mr. O'Neill and the other SBVT.

To litigate such a claim, John Forbes Kerry will be obliged to produce all of his records, including those that he and his proxies have fought to conceal regarding his Navy experience. Further to the point, Kerry will be forced to testify under oath and be submitted to cross examination to all of the charges (and more) made by Mr. O'Neill and his cohorts.

John Forbes Kerry has nothing to "go on." Talk of him suing the SBVT is a bluff or an attempt, as noted above, to transform the myth that there is a case against the SBVT into "fact" and thereby restore his lost credibility.

And lastly, if you are inclinced to give Kerry 130,000 votes so he could win Ohio, be sure to give Bush 130,000 as well. This would give Bush victories in New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Hawaii. Kerry wins Ohio, and still loses the election.

It's over. John Forbes Kerry lost. Deal.

(46) SemiPundit made the following comment | Nov 21, 2004 2:23:43 PM | Permalink

I think you are tending to make this more complicated than necessary. I indicated that I think he probably should not bring suit and likely would not. He would have to cooperate fully in the process of the case.

Logic would tell us, then, that if we should hear that he has decided to go ahead--knowing the evidence and disclosures he would have to provide--then we could be certain that he has something to go on.

On the election, there could have been any of a number of starting and ending points for the tallying of votes. All that matters is the end count. My point is that even with everything that was leveled against him, the final margin was fairly small.

If all other conditions remain equal, and the current administration founders, then he might be realistically positioned for another run. Then a large number (somewhat less than half) of voters supporting the opposite side could be disappointed and upset.

I am confident that the DNC will not give its blessing to Kerry or the woman so many of you secretly admire, but will instead nominate me.

Based on the qualifications and performance of the past few incumbents (and their seconds) I now know that I am qualified to hold the office.

(47) jukeboxgrad made the following comment | Nov 21, 2004 6:07:51 PM | Permalink

Apologies for going somewhat off-topic.

Beldar, since you're again discussing O'Neill, this is hopefully an appopriate time and place to again remind you of an unfulfilled commitment.

On 9/25 you posted a challange (http://www.beldar.org/beldarblog/2004/09/a_challenge_to_.html). At the time, you said "[I] will try to summarize the results of this challenge fairly in a new post sometime early next week."

On 10/5 you said "I'm working on what's likely to be a long post summarizing the results of my 'debunked' challenge from September 25th" (http://www.beldar.org/beldarblog/2004/10/swiftvets_updat.html).

On 10/18, in update to the original article, you suggested you were still working on "the long-promised summary."

On 10/25, I reminded you of your unfulfilled commitment (http://beldar.blogs.com/beldarblog/2004/10/how_would_sadda.html). As far as I can tell, you completely ignored that reminder.

Your failure to provide the promised summary creates the impression that the outcome of the challenge doesn't please you and you'd prefer to bury it.

(48) F. Rottles made the following comment | Nov 21, 2004 6:30:41 PM | Permalink

>>>My point is that even with everything that was leveled against him, the final margin was fairly small.

Yeh. Point noted. But a more illuminating point, made immediately after your post, was that Big Media was good for 10-15 points (some say 20 points) and even with that advantage JfK and the Democrats failed across the country.

Whatever was "leveled against him" was studiously avoided by Big Media and this cushioned the blow against JfK who dodged the substantive allegations against him. If the SwiftVets influenced the campaign despite this handicap, then, the election results demonstrated the continuing decline of Big Media, as well. It is a trend worth noting even by Dems who hope for a return to power next time.

(49) Cap'n DOC made the following comment | Nov 22, 2004 8:47:41 AM | Permalink

"Most of the picture I got from them was of a hot dog officer who made some exaggerated claims and made a lot of enemies. I doubt that such an officer is or has been a rarity. I also think that many people saw it that way as well."

I think that your argument is dismissive on its face, SemiPundit. He went much further than making "some exaggerated claims". HE LIED. The lies are a matter of public record. He can lay claim to committing war crimes if he wants, but to put that burden on us was beyond the pale. He dishonored us. If he even so much as thinks about filing suit against the SwiftVets he's going to be given another lesson on how not to treat your fellow men in arms.

He's been shown the door, sir. You can remain embarrassed about your support for a proven liar, or you can admit that you made a mistake. But don't for a minute think that you can wash this stain away with the brush of 'some exaggerated claims'.

(50) rhodeymark made the following comment | Nov 22, 2004 9:11:21 AM | Permalink

SemiPundit: "I, and I assume you as well, have no reason to think that the Swiftboat Veterans held back on any of their claims and allegations (why would they?). In short, I believe that we now know everything there is to know about their presentation." Don't be so sure, pal. Given the nature of the public's attention span and the fact that the MSM barely spoke to the debunking of Winter Soldier, I would say the SBVT have plenty of dry powder. The fact that the Kerry campaign had to reluctantly admit (after AGAIN lying) that he was present at the "assasination meeting" of the VVAW would be an eye opener to a huge swath of the populace who are ignorant of those events still. Yes - I mean blue staters... just watch Leno's "Jaywalking" segment to see how smart and informed the "reality based community" is.

The comments to this entry are closed.