Aug 252004

John O’Neill, author of the book touting the position of the "Swift Boat Veterans For Truth" position has been on news show after news show claiming that John Kerry never could have been in Cambodia on a black mission. It was impossible because there were all sorts of precautions in place to prevent any border crossings and that he would have been "court-martialed" had he done so (see this column for excerpts from his book and his appearance on ABC’s This Week program last Sunday.)

Now CNN has come up with tapes of O’Neill telling Richard Nixon in 1971 that he himself had been on missions inside Cambodia. From last night’s Aaron Brown show

O’Neill said no one could cross the border by river and he claimed in an audio tape that his publicist played to CNN that he, himself, had never been to Cambodia either. But in 1971, O’Neill said precisely the opposite to then President Richard Nixon.

O’NEILL: I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border on the water.

NIXON: In a swift boat?

O’NEILL: Yes, sir.


JOHNS: Now, O’Neill may have an explanation for this but he has not returned CNN’s calls. What does seem clear is that a top member of the swift boat group is now being held to the same standard of literal accuracy they’ve tried to impose on John Kerry — Aaron.

So it seems Mr. O’Neil is, once again, lying through his teeth. Not misremembering some date, not having a conflicting recollection of some battle action, but telling everyone that none of the Swift Boats crossed into Cambodia when, in fact, he himself appears to have done so routinely. So which claim is true, Mr. O’Neil?

Of course, the underyling facts here aren’t in dispute. As Fred Kaplan points out here and many others have as well, it is well known that the US military — and Swift Boats in particular — made covert ventures into Cambodia.

But, again, right from O’Neill’s own mouth — Mr. Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth.

So how much more free publicity is the press going to give this group, before all these brilliant reporters recognize this group for the bunch of crackpots they are. How many more lies are they going to get to tell on free media through these talking head shows.

At the moment the standard seems to be, "Okay, on your first nineteen claims, it seems like you were lying to us, but send along number twenty and we’ll run that one up the flag pole too."

My message to the news media….either do your jobs, and research their claims fully before you air them…then expose them for the liars they are, or at least…just shut up about them. You all in the press are starting to look like idiots for falling for it.

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