[GP Ed. Note – This is a guest posting from GP Reader “I Love Capitalism “]
Following MoveOn.org’s contemptible attack on the patriotism of General Petraeus, one of the sillier comments to be heard from some of the ad’s defenders is along the lines, ‘How is this any different from the Swift Boat Vet attacks on Kerry in the 2004 election?’ For example, Senator Dick Durbin tried it on the Senate floor.
The Swift Vets and POWs for Truth apparently got under the skin of the Left in 2004. All manner of falsehoods and conspiracies are now attributed to their perceived members. For example, just recently, more than one Kos diarist wanted to tie them to an alleged plot to ‘steal’ California’s electoral votes. (Yeah. Weird.)
That the Swift Vets allegedly “lied” and “stole” the 2004 election has become an article of faith, not to be disputed, among the MSM-Left-Nutroots in their soundproof echo chamber. Even MSM editorials willing to criticize the attack on Petraeus will breezily cite the SVPfT as examples of “libel”. Let’s note here that Kerry’s supporters tried to muzzle the SVPfT ads at the time on grounds of allegedly being libelous, and wanted Kerry to sue the Swift Vets for libel, but Kerry avoided a courtroom showdown and now he will never sue them. (Scared much, John?)
In any case, MoveOn.org’s attacks on Petraeus are, in fact, different from SVPfT’s on Kerry. Here’s why.
Who they are: The Swift Vets and POWs were a case of decorated, honorable veterans – including Bud Day from the POW side, the most-decorated U.S. veteran still living – in a dispute with a fellow veteran running for office, John F. Kerry. MoveOn.org, by contrast, is a bunch of civilian politicos attacking, not a long-ago veteran running for political office, but a currently-serving general.
Who they’re affecting: The Swift Vets were in dispute with Kerry over matters past. By contrast, to the extent MoveOn.org’s attack on Petraeus will have any meaning or impact, it must and will be to undermine the morale of U.S. troops in the field today.
Who started it: Kerry started the dispute with his Swift Vet comrades and commanders when he publicly – and falsely – smeared them as war criminals. Needless to say, Petraeus had done nothing of the kind to anyone at MoveOn.org.
How they know: The Swift Vets served with Kerry (or commanded him), and knew him personally. They objected to Kerry’s fitness as a potential Commander-in-Chief because of incidents that occurred in their own direct, personal experience of him.Click here to see who some of the Swift Vets were and are.
MoveOn.org speaks with no comparable authority, as regards Petraeus’ character or actions in “betraying” anyone.
What they’re after: Contrary to left-liberal myth, the Swift Vets represented a broad spectrum of American political opinion, including “Democrats, Republicans and Independents” (and also the occasional Green, and the occasional Constitutionalist). As a young man, their leader John O’Neill pointedly told President Nixon he was a Democrat. Later, O’Neill contributed to some Republican candidates, but also voted for Al Gore in 2000. Their motive truly was that they believed that Kerry – given his record of slandering the United States, its military, and them – would make the worst possible Commander-in-Chief.
By contrast, MoveOn.org represents only the far Left, and even pretends to own the Democratic Party.
The state of their evidence: The Swift Vets had prime evidence against Kerry, including not only their own first-hand experiences, but also Kerry’s own words in slandering the United States, and them. Some of their most important ads did nothing but present Kerry’s own words and actions.
How can the same be said of MoveOn’s shameful, sleazy allegations about Petraeus? MoveOn.org cites as its “evidence”, things like the fact that Petraeus had thought we were making progress in Iraq back in December 2004 – which indeed we were at the time, before the Golden Mosque bombing of early 2006. Kerry, in sharp contrast to Petraeus, really did betray America by meeting with its enemies to directly give them political aid and comfort.
I could go on, but let’s sum up.
– Attacked a general currently serving us well in the field: MoveOn.org
– Only attacked a politician running for office: Swift Vets
– Had served with their target, and knew his poor character from personal experience: Swift Vets
– Attacked only in response to their target’s earlier scurrilous attacks on them: Swift Vets
– Represented a political-cross section, attacking essentially from a non-partisan and personal kind of concern: Swift Vets
– Had incontrovertible evidence against their target, including his own words in his explicitly condemning and turning on America: Swift Vets
Advantage: Swift Vets.