Campaign 2004 Archive | The 'Swift Boat' Controversy
It was December 1968, and the United States was in turmoil. The number of U.S. troops in Vietnam had reached a peak of half a million. Antiwar protests were paralyzing American campuses after the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.
 
A group of Vietnam War-era prisoners of war featured in a new documentary criticizing John F. Kerry have teamed up with Navy Swift boat veterans in the final days of the presidential campaign to condemn the Democratic nominee's military record and antiwar activities.
 
Although both President Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry have repeatedly said they have made public their complete military service records, neither presidential candidate has yet permitted independent access to original files held in a high-security vault.
 
The veterans organization that sparked controversy last month when it questioned John F. Kerry's military service in Vietnam plans to launch a new commercial that equates Kerry with Vietnam War protester Jane Fonda and accuses the Democratic presidential nominee of secretly meeting with "enemy leaders" during the conflict.
 
After a coin toss to decide which decorated Vietnam War veteran would speak first, talk show host Dick Cavett invited his guests to debate the issue that had divided America. The tall, long-haired veteran with the big jaw denounced the war as immoral. His clean-cut rival spoke of patriotism and s...
 
When John F. Kerry rescued Jim Rassmann from the Bay Hap River in the jungles of Vietnam in March 1969, neither man could possibly have imagined that the episode would become a much-disputed focus of an American presidential campaign 35 years later.
 
Several Vietnam veterans who have criticized Kerry's war record said in interviews Friday that they are not convinced the candidate is lying, but they dislike him because of his polarizing speeches in the 1970s.
 
Sen. John F. Kerry for the first time personally lashed out at critics who have waged increasingly shrill attacks on his military record.
 
Records of Larry Thurlow, a Swift boat commander who served with Sen. John F. Kerry in Vietnam and disputes his wartime record, counter Thurlow's version of events.
 
The Republican senator, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, rushed to Kerry's defense and urged the White House to condemn the ad partly funded by a major GOP donor.
 

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