In 2004, after John Kerry made his war record in Vietnam the centerpiece of his campaign against George W. Bush, GOP political operatives countered with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Conceived and organized by the Bush reelection team, this hand-picked collection of former navy officers and enlisted men was used to discredit Kerry’s military service.
Personally, I found this one of the most vile attempts at character assassination in memory. Even a perfunctory investigation into the Swift Boat members revealed the men attacking John Kerry had been doing so since the early seventies. Their real beef with Kerry was that he returned to the U.S. with the opinion that the war in Vietnam had been a mistake. These former comrades never forgave Kerry for breaking ranks. And in 2004, they finally had a chance to get even thanks to the Karl Rove brigade.
Now, a similar attack has surfaced against John McCain. In an article titled "Make-Believe Maverick" by Tim Dickinson in Rolling Stone magazine, it's McCain who gets the swift boat treatment. The article features interviews with former comrades and acquintaces along with details from McCain’s childhood, military service and political career. Dickinson then weaves these selective facts into an armchair psychological pronouncement of John McCain as reckless and dishonest. Are the facts true? I have no way to dispute them. But the net effect of this article is every bit as reprehensible as the Swift Boat smears.
Yesterday, Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama while praising John McCain’s integrity and dedication to his country. That is how statesmen behave.
Enough of the smears and swift boat tactics. This nation deserves better.
Raul Ramos y Sanchez