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Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry (2004)

af John E. O'Neill, Jerome R. Corsi

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351654,947 (3.56)7
"What sort of combination of hypocrite and paradox is John Kerry?" ask the authors in this heated critique of the Democratic presidential candidate's Vietnam-era military service and antiwar activism. O'Neill, a lawyer and swift boat veteran, and Corsi, an expert on Vietnam antiwar movements, argue that Kerry misrepresented his wartime exploits and is therefore incompetent to serve as commander in chief. Buttressed by interviews with Navy veterans who patrolled Vietnam's waters, some along with Kerry, the book claims he exaggerated minor injuries, self-inflicted others, wrote fictitious diary entries and filed "phony" reports of his heroism under fire--all in a calculated quest to secure career-enhancing combat medals. They also maintain that Kerry, whom they call a "moral coward," committed atrocities that alarmed his peers and superior officers during his four-month tour of duty. Yet his activities on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War clearly raises the authors' hackles the most, and they present Kerry's post-war actions as additional, damning evidence of his "total unfitness," claiming that his testimony against the war "caused more deaths and prolonged the war in Vietnam by undermining support at home and contributing directly to a Vietnamese Communist victory." The battle that lies at the heart of this book is the decades-old feud between antiwar veterans and their my-country-right-or-wrong counterparts. The authors' conservative take on the war is palpable: the U.S. military failed to unleash "massive, indiscriminate bombing" to force North Vietnam's capitulation; the conflict was a struggle against communism, not a civil war; and the dissenting soldiers undermined homefront morale. Consequently, this overwrought and repetitive polemic seethes with a resentment that compromises the otherwise eyebrow-raising testimonies. Further, without access to Kerry's full military and medical records, the authors rely heavily on 35-year-old recollections and recent Kerry biographies by Douglas Brinkley and a Boston Globe reporting team. Those looking for a thorough, unbiased investigation into Kerry's wartime record would do best to wait for more objective, methodical chroniclers who have access to the relevant documents.… (mere)

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Viser 5 af 5
The viewpoint is obviously biased, so it is hard to tell the complete legitimacy of the complaints. I would be far more interested in reading something provided by a third party in between the anti-Kerry vets and the Kerry side. Biased or not, though, it is obvious there are many people with very strong feelings against Kerry, and it doesn't seem as though those feelings are completely unfounded. ( )
  SMBrick | Feb 25, 2018 |
I was not expecting too much from this book, as it is old news from the 2004 presidential election. Published as a means of showing the disregard of Kerry to slander veterans as a means to political office this book did not play a large role in his loss in the general election. In the media, the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth were dismissed as embittered drunks and baby killers.
At 200 pages it is very short and the main author is a Naval Academy Graduate and now attorney. John O’Neill took command after Kerry left his command of PCF 94. Kerry’s Vietnam Swift Boat combat tour of four months enabled him enough time to win 3 Purple hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star. That’s good work. That’s almost unheard of to most Vietnam combat veterans.
Very well written and the authors do not delve into exaggerated speculations or personal vitriol. The book looks at Kerry’s own words an compares them to other published accounts by Kerry himself or authoritative records such as the FBI surveillance reports, books, or journalist’s news articles.
This book is still worth reading as it makes sense to see why Obama would pick Kerry for his Secretary of State. Kerry’s personal ideas fit perfectly with Obama’s view of American global involvement.
In any case, Kerry always seemed to have been a social climber and wanted to use his military service as a springboard to political office. This in itself is not unusual among some veterans and even praiseworthy most of the time. The Swift boaters had a major problem when Kerry accused all Vietnam veterans of war crimes and that he himself had been complicit while he was there (presumably at the same time as he was earning military medals).
The book refutes all of Kerry’s claims about his and the United States’ war crimes (crimes against humanity for which there are no statute of limitations).
Kerry was a Yale grad and attempted to avoid being drafted in 1966, so once his deferment to study in Paris was denied, he enlisted in the US Naval Reserves, status “inactive.” The Tet Offensive was in 1968 and marked the point at which doubts arose in the media’s coverage and in the minds of US politicians.
I learned much from this book and it was not a sleazy attempt to tar Kerry with blatant falsehoods. The media tried to ignore the claims by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth each of whom affixed their complete names to the appendix of the book. ( )
  sacredheart25 | Mar 14, 2017 |
This book is devastating, and although a quick read, it is a sickening read. I went through various opinions about Kerry as the evidence unwound: coward, narcissist, fantasist, and eventually settled on psychopath. It's well-researched and the evidence leaves you nowhere to turn. Why did he refuse to allow the reprinting of "The New Soldier"? Why did he pretend to throw away his medals? Why did a man who thinks the entire US army was one war crime machine turn around and run as a war hero? O'Neill and Corsi have all the answers, and they fit. John Kerry (AKA) "Boston Strangler" is a dangerously self-absorbed man, and we are all but chess pieces to him and men like him. As a side note, it's interesting just how much braver reporters were in 2004, or perhaps it was Kerry's long history in politics that couldn't be so easily avoided as a certain Constitutional scholar's was. ( )
  CollectorOfAshes | Feb 15, 2010 |
It's possible that this book cost John Kerry the 2004 election. If it did, it's a testament not to the truth of the matters asserted in this book, but rather to the power of the book to sway public opinion. Gutenberg would be proud. ( )
  horacewimsey | Jan 15, 2009 |
http://btripp-books.livejournal.com/9341.html
  BTRIPP | Dec 26, 2005 |
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John E. O'Neillprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Corsi, Jerome R.hovedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
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To Anne O'Neill, the most courageous person I ever met - J.O.
For my wife, Monica, and my daughter, Alexis, whose love make life worth living - J.C.
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John O'Neill served in Coastal Division 11 in Vietnam, the same unit John F. Kerry had been assigned.
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"What sort of combination of hypocrite and paradox is John Kerry?" ask the authors in this heated critique of the Democratic presidential candidate's Vietnam-era military service and antiwar activism. O'Neill, a lawyer and swift boat veteran, and Corsi, an expert on Vietnam antiwar movements, argue that Kerry misrepresented his wartime exploits and is therefore incompetent to serve as commander in chief. Buttressed by interviews with Navy veterans who patrolled Vietnam's waters, some along with Kerry, the book claims he exaggerated minor injuries, self-inflicted others, wrote fictitious diary entries and filed "phony" reports of his heroism under fire--all in a calculated quest to secure career-enhancing combat medals. They also maintain that Kerry, whom they call a "moral coward," committed atrocities that alarmed his peers and superior officers during his four-month tour of duty. Yet his activities on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War clearly raises the authors' hackles the most, and they present Kerry's post-war actions as additional, damning evidence of his "total unfitness," claiming that his testimony against the war "caused more deaths and prolonged the war in Vietnam by undermining support at home and contributing directly to a Vietnamese Communist victory." The battle that lies at the heart of this book is the decades-old feud between antiwar veterans and their my-country-right-or-wrong counterparts. The authors' conservative take on the war is palpable: the U.S. military failed to unleash "massive, indiscriminate bombing" to force North Vietnam's capitulation; the conflict was a struggle against communism, not a civil war; and the dissenting soldiers undermined homefront morale. Consequently, this overwrought and repetitive polemic seethes with a resentment that compromises the otherwise eyebrow-raising testimonies. Further, without access to Kerry's full military and medical records, the authors rely heavily on 35-year-old recollections and recent Kerry biographies by Douglas Brinkley and a Boston Globe reporting team. Those looking for a thorough, unbiased investigation into Kerry's wartime record would do best to wait for more objective, methodical chroniclers who have access to the relevant documents.

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