In a 12-page letter disputing the Swift Boat campaign against Kerry, a group of 10 veterans identified 10 falsehoods from the campaign that members stated had "tarnished the sacrifices [they] made":
[T]he lies of the SBVT ... tarnished the sacrifices we made, called into question the medals we were awarded and challenged the very authenticity of our service. In countless radio talk shows, television appearances and ads, newspaper and magazine interviews, not to mention political speeches and group appearances, SBVT lied about or skipper's and our service in Vietnam and in so doing, damaged our reputations and attacked the quality of our service to country. We have children and families who were deeply affected by these lies and we believe you and the SBVT whom you supported owe us and the American people an apology for the tactics you bankrolled.
We are aware of media reports that at a dinner in Washington, D.C. on November 6th, 2007, you made a public challenge that you would give a million dollars to anyone who could show that anything the SBVT said was false. We also know that Senator John Kerry, who was the skipper of PCF-94, contacted you to take you up on that challenge. We are writing to you now as a group to accept your challenge and document how you funded lies and character assassination.
Those of us who served with John Kerry on PCF-94 were personally there, on the boat and with him in the actions for which he was awarded a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and two of his purple hearts. Many of us were decorated for some of these same actions and we are outraged that thirty five years later, for political purposes, people lied so outrageously about what we did, attacking our character and the Navy's integrity--lies told by people who were not there and never bothered to talk with us. How can your group call itself the Swift Boat Veterans "for Truth" when you never interviewed the PCF-94 boat eyewitnesses? [Letter from PCF-94 crew, 6/19/08, via Huffington Post]
Wash. Post: Swift Boat Group Has "Failed To Come Up With Sufficient Evidence To Prove Him A Liar."
A Washington Post investigation into the Swift Boat allegations headlined, "Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete," found that "although Kerry's accusers have succeeded in raising doubts about his war record, they have failed to come up with sufficient evidence to prove him a liar." [The Washington Post, 8/22/04]
NY Times: "Extensive News Media Accounts Undermined The Swift Boat Charges."
A June 2008 New York Times article headlined "Veterans Rebut 'Swift Boat' Charges Against Kerry In Answer To Challenge" explained that though Swift Boat Veterans for Truth continued to push their false allegations, news media had already undermined their charges:
Extensive news media accounts undermined the Swift boat charges in 2004, pointing out that some of the Swift boat critics had written statements in Vietnam lauding Mr. Kerry for extraordinary bravery in the incidents they later said he made up. One critic had himself received a medal for heroism during a hail of gunfire he later claimed Mr. Kerry had concocted to win his third Purple Heart. [The New York Times, 6/22/08]
NY Times: McCain Condemned Swift-Boat Attacks.
A New York Times article headlined "Anti-Kerry Ad Is Condemned By McCain" reported in August 2004 that Senator John McCain, who had endorsed Bush, defended Kerry's record and attacked Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's claims as dishonest:
Senator John McCain on Thursday repudiated a new advertisement accusing Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts of lying about his Vietnam War record and called on the President Bush to do the same.
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''I think the Bush campaign should specifically condemn the ad,'' The Associated Press quoted Mr. McCain, Republican of Arizona and a Vietnam War veteran, as saying. [The New York Times, 8/6/04]
Republican Veteran Who Served With Kerry Defended His Record.
Jim Rassmann, a veteran who served with Kerry in Vietnam, defended Kerry's record and affirmed "John Kerry's courage and leadership saved my life." Rassmann went on to condemn the "Republican-financed Swift Boat Veterans for Bush" who "are suddenly lying about John Kerry's service in Vietnam":