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694 of 821 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2004
Since I wasn't there, let's take the word of a Republican and retired police officer who actually was. I print below the op-ed article from the Wall Street Journal's opinion page:

Shame on the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush

John Kerry saved my life. Now his heroism is being questioned.


Tuesday, August 10, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT

I came to know Lt. John Kerry during the spring of 1969. He and his swift boat crew assisted in inserting our Special Forces team and our Chinese Nung soldiers into operational sites in the Cau Mau Peninsula of South Vietnam. I worked with him on many operations and saw firsthand his leadership, courage and decision-making ability under fire.

On March 13, 1969, John Kerry's courage and leadership saved my life.

While returning from a SEA LORDS operation along the Bay Hap River, a mine detonated under another swift boat. Machine-gun fire erupted from both banks of the river, and a second explosion followed moments later. The second blast blew me off John's swift boat, PCF-94, throwing me into the river. Fearing that the other boats would run me over, I swam to the bottom of the river and stayed there as long as I could hold my breath.

When I surfaced, all the swift boats had left, and I was alone taking fire from both banks. To avoid the incoming fire, I repeatedly swam under water as long as I could hold my breath, attempting to make it to the north bank of the river. I thought I would die right there. The odds were against me avoiding the incoming fire and, even if I made it out of the river, I thought I'd be captured and executed. Kerry must have seen me in the water and directed his driver, Del Sandusky, to turn the boat around. Kerry's boat ran up to me in the water, bow on, and I was able to climb up a cargo net to the lip of the deck. But, because I was nearly upside down, I couldn't make it over the edge of the deck. This left me hanging out in the open, a perfect target. John, already wounded by the explosion that threw me off his boat, came out onto the bow, exposing himself to the fire directed at us from the jungle, and pulled me aboard.

For his actions that day, I recommended John for the Silver Star, our country's third highest award for bravery under fire. I learned only this past January that the Navy awarded John the Bronze Star with Combat V for his valor. The citation for this award, signed by the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam, Vice Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, read, "Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry's calmness, professionalism and great personal courage under fire were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service." To this day I am grateful to John Kerry for saving my life. And to this day I still believe that he deserved the Silver Star for his courage.

It has been many years since I served in Vietnam. I returned home, got married, and spent many years as a deputy sheriff for Los Angeles County. I retired in 1989 as a lieutenant. It has been a long time since I left Vietnam, but I think often of the men who did not come home with us.

I am neither a politician nor an organizer. I am a retired police officer with a passion for orchids. Until January of this year, the only public presentations I made were about my orchid hobby. But in this presidential election, I had to speak out; I had to tell the American people about John Kerry, about his wisdom and courage, about his vision and leadership. I would trust John Kerry with my life, and I would entrust John Kerry with the well-being of our country.

Nobody asked me to join John's campaign. Why would they? I am a Republican, and for more than 30 years I have largely voted for Republicans. I volunteered for his campaign because I have seen John Kerry in the worst of conditions. I know his character. I've witnessed his bravery and leadership under fire. And I truly know he will be a great commander in chief.

Now, 35 years after the fact, some Republican-financed Swift Boat Veterans for Bush are suddenly lying about John Kerry's service in Vietnam; they are calling him a traitor because he spoke out against the Nixon administration's failed policies in Vietnam. Some of these Republican-sponsored veterans are the same ones who spoke out against John at the behest of the Nixon administration in 1971. But this time their attacks are more vicious, their lies cut deep and are directed not just at John Kerry, but at me and each of his crewmates as well. This hate-filled ad asserts that I was not under fire; it questions my words and Navy records. This smear campaign has been launched by people without decency, people who don't understand the bond of those who serve in combat.

As John McCain noted, the television ad aired by these veterans is "dishonest and dishonorable." Sen. McCain called on President Bush to condemn the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush ad. Regrettably, the president has ignored Sen. McCain's advice.

Does this strategy of attacking combat Vietnam veterans sound familiar? In 2000, a similar Republican smear campaign was launched against Sen. McCain. In fact, the very same communications group, Spaeth Communications, that placed ads against John McCain in 2000 is involved in these vicious attacks against John Kerry. Texas Republican donors with close ties to George W. Bush and Karl Rove crafted this "dishonest and dishonorable" ad. Their new charges are false; their stories are fabricated, made up by people who did not serve with Kerry in Vietnam. They insult and defame all of us who served in Vietnam.

But when the noise and fog of their distortions and lies have cleared, a man who volunteered to serve his country, a man who showed up for duty when his country called, a man to whom the United States Navy awarded a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts, will stand tall and proud. Ultimately, the American people will judge these Swift Boat Veterans for Bush and their accusations. Americans are tired of smear campaigns against those who volunteered to wear the uniform. Swift Boat Veterans for Bush should hang their heads in shame.

Mr. Rassmann, a retired lieutenant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, served with the U.S. Army 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam 1968-69.
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461 of 550 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2004
Karl Rove is a genius. He has all of you reading a book about Vietnam instead of reading the reports of what is happening in Iraq today, or what about the lost jobs to other countries, the increasing poverty level, the increasing number of unemployed and uninsured and the growing disgust the world has for America. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Look behind the George W. Bush curtain and you will find the mighty wizard Karl Rove controlling your every thought.
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281 of 334 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2004
John Eisenhower, son of President Eisenhower and a lifelong Republican, declares that he is switching to Independent and plans to vote for John Kerry in November -

Why I will vote for John Kerry for President


Guest Commentary

The Presidential election to be held this coming Nov. 2 will be one of extraordinary importance to the future of our nation. The outcome will determine whether this country will continue on the same path it has followed for the last 3½ years or whether it will return to a set of core domestic and foreign policy values that have been at the heart of what has made this country great.

Now more than ever, we voters will have to make cool judgments, unencumbered by habits of the past. Experts tell us that we tend to vote as our parents did or as we "always have." We remained loyal to party labels. We cannot afford that luxury in the election of 2004. There are times when we must break with the past, and I believe this is one of them.

As son of a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, it is automatically expected by many that I am a Republican. For 50 years, through the election of 2000, I was. With the current administration's decision to invade Iraq unilaterally, however, I changed my voter registration to independent, and barring some utterly unforeseen development, I intend to vote for the Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry.

The fact is that today's "Republican" Party is one with which I am totally unfamiliar. To me, the word "Republican" has always been synonymous with the word "responsibility," which has meant limiting our governmental obligations to those we can afford in human and financial terms. Today's whopping budget deficit of some $440 billion does not meet that criterion.

Responsibility used to be observed in foreign affairs. That has meant respect for others. America, though recognized as the leader of the community of nations, has always acted as a part of it, not as a maverick separate from that community and at times insulting towards it. Leadership involves setting a direction and building consensus, not viewing other countries as practically devoid of significance. Recent developments indicate that the current Republican Party leadership has confused confident leadership with hubris and arrogance.

In the Middle East crisis of 1991, President George H.W. Bush marshaled world opinion through the United Nations before employing military force to free Kuwait from Saddam Hussein. Through negotiation he arranged for the action to be financed by all the industrialized nations, not just the United States. When Kuwait had been freed, President George H. W. Bush stayed within the United Nations mandate, aware of the dangers of occupying an entire nation.

Today many people are rightly concerned about our precious individual freedoms, our privacy, the basis of our democracy. Of course we must fight terrorism, but have we irresponsibly gone overboard in doing so? I wonder. In 1960, President Eisenhower told the Republican convention, "If ever we put any other value above (our) liberty, and above principle, we shall lose both." I would appreciate hearing such warnings from the Republican Party of today.

The Republican Party I used to know placed heavy emphasis on fiscal responsibility, which included balancing the budget whenever the state of the economy allowed it to do so. The Eisenhower administration accomplished that difficult task three times during its eight years in office. It did not attain that remarkable achievement by cutting taxes for the rich. Republicans disliked taxes, of course, but the party accepted them as a necessary means of keep the nation's financial structure sound.

The Republicans used to be deeply concerned for the middle class and small business. Today's Republican leadership, while not solely accountable for the loss of American jobs, encourages it with its tax code and heads us in the direction of a society of very rich and very poor.

Sen. Kerry, in whom I am willing to place my trust, has demonstrated that he is courageous, sober, competent, and concerned with fighting the dangers associated with the widening socio-economic gap in this country. I will vote for him enthusiastically.

I celebrate, along with other Americans, the diversity of opinion in this country. But let it be based on careful thought. I urge everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike, to avoid voting for a ticket merely because it carries the label of the party of one's parents or of our own ingrained habits.


John Eisenhower, son of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, served on the White House staff between October 1958 and the end of the Eisenhower administration. From 1961 to 1964 he assisted his father in writing "The White House Years," his Presidential memoirs. He served as American ambassador to Belgium between 1969 and 1971. He is the author of nine books, largely on military subjects.

New Hampshire Union Leader [Sept. 9, 2004]
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157 of 185 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2004
The popular media had pre-conditioned me to dislike this book. I anticipated yet another political screed filled with half-truths, poor or no documentation, and a bilious tone. Although the authors clearly believe that his service record DISqualifies Kerry to be president, I nonetheless found the tone of this book to be remarkably restrained and even handed. The rhetoric is not inflammatory, it is more ... lawerly and in cases shades toward the scholarly.

In my opinion the most damaging allegations in the book DO NOT revolve around Kerry's various combat medals. I believe that Kerry's well-documented anti-war activities, and his evident cooperation with the Communist government of North Vietnam, and the fact that he failed to disclosed an assasination plot that targeted various U.S. Senators will prove far more damaging.

This latter is especially troubling because Kerry had a moral and legal responsibility to reveal a murder plot to the authorities. The fact that the plot did not unfold is irrelevant. This raises an important question: How can a man who cooperated with foreign enemies and complicitly hid a murder plot be believed when he takes an oath to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States?

In closing let me say that I am not particularly happy with Geroge Bush and I did have anti-Kerry sentiments before I read this book. Having read the book and in sorting out the facts from the ensuing firestorm, I am convinced that Kerry is dangerous.
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79 of 91 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2004
I am not a Vet and was too young to serve in Vietnam War; however I did read this book. Although I heard many war stories from my family and friends that served in the Vietnam War, this one appears to be more sinister than any one I have ever heard of. Something tells me these Vets left out the worst of what happen over there that involved Senator Kerry.

This book is well written and documented well. I am now ordering "Reckless Disregard" by Robert Patterson to see what else is going on with this story.

BTW, if it matters, I am a Democrat that will probably not be voting the Democratic ticket this year; especially after witnessing the reaction to this book.
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78 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2004
I'm real disappointed that Amazon just decided to make this a "politcal hate" forum by allowing ad hominem attacks rather that real book reviews. There is value to someone's honest opinion (good or bad) about a book they have actually read....and hate speech.

But, oh well.....that's the way the cookie crumbles.

I have actually read the book. I couldn't put it down until I finished. It is extremely powerful. If I wasn't going to give this book a five star rating anyway....I would have done it just to offset all the liberal trolls who can't stand "free speech".

First part of the book covers Kerry's four months in Vietnam...and, actions around the incidents where he was awarded medals. This part of the book does bring questions about Kerry's character. However, it is the second half of the book that made me literally turn white and sick. Kerry's Vietnam Vets Against the War was a radical group who did things that could easily be called "treasonous"....and, are indeed called treasonous by many vets.

The book is extremely well documented....or, explanations for the basis of the conclusions are layed out for all to judge.

Those who write ad hominem attacks about this book by citing that none of the vets served with Kerry, etc haven't read the book. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (over 250 vets) include almost the entire chain of command over Kerry while in Vietnam as well 64 eyewitness accounts of people who served in his Division, on boats that went out on missions together, and on Kerry's own boat.

By reading the can evaluate the facts yourself.

You can believe or not believe. But, one thing is clear to me...

we refused to listen to our veterans in the 1970's when they tried to tell the other side of the story (against Kerry's accusations)...we stifled them (as we allowed Congress to put so much validity into a man (Kerry) who only spent four months in Vietnam) over the thousands of voices of those vets who were in Vietnam for a year or longer fighting with honor.

America should not turn their back on them again. All they are asking for is a voice.

As for the truth in the book. I think it is reasonable to conclude that the fog of war could give varying explanations or beliefs. But, you can decide for yourself what sounds more feasible once armed with the facts in the book. Keep in mind that the military records on the surface might only agree with Kerry's account....because Kerry wrote most of those reports himself.

Kerry has already admitted he was not in Cambodia in Christmas, the injury for his first purple heart may have been the result of an accidental self inflicted wound (no enemy fire), he did attend that meeting where the VVAW discussed assasinating Senators, etc.

The fact that Kerry has already admitted he was wrong about 5 or 6 of the charges made in the book (with little media reporting) should raise anyone's interest to read more.
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499 of 597 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2004
Shouldn't we be talking more about the war in Iraq instead of talking about a war that happened 30 years ago? Something has to be wrong here.

John Kerry served in Vietnam. Bush did not... and that's it!

And why did Bush say that the war in Iraq cannot be won? Has he gone mad? Of course it can be won! I bet that if Bush would have stayed in Afghanistan and captured Bin Laden, that would have broken the confindense of these terrorists.

Again John Kerry can only do better than George W. Bush as I don't think any president can stoop that low. John F. Kerry is a confident man, and that is what we need in America... especially in these times of crisis.
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289 of 344 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2004
We have lost 4,000 lives in the twin tower attacks on 9/11. Since then we have added 1,500 American lives killed in combat. We have succeeded in killing thousands of Iraqis.

My mission as president is to increase these numbers.

I would like to increase the casualty rate and decrease the job rate in America.

My plan for middle class America is to send them all to Iraq.

America has turned the corner. We are getting things done.

I am George W. Bush and I approve of this message.
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297 of 354 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2004
The broad outlines are these: John Kerry had grave misgivings about the Vietnam War. Yet he volunteered to fight anyway, braving deadly combat. After serving two tours with distinction and experiencing the war firsthand, he returned to exercise his right as an American to speak out against it--which he did eloquently and powerfully. You may not agree with what he said, but you cannot deny that he earned the right to say it, or that he had the courage of his hard-won convictions.

George Bush, by contrast, supported the Vietnam war just as long as he didn't have to fight in it himself. He explicitly declined the opportunity to serve "in-country," instead preferring a stateside berth in the Texas Air National Guard's "Champagne Unit" where he flew an obsolete plane and caroused with other sons of privilege. Just about the time mandatory drug screening was implemented, Bush skipped his required flight physical and was grounded. To this day, despite a confounding avalanche of Friday-evening document dumps, he has been unable to demonstrate that he even reported for all of his required duty.

Now we have this book, written by the very man Nixon recruited to trash Kerry back in 1971 and funded as part of a larger effort by the same GOP surrogates who smeared POW John McCain and triple amputee Max Cleland. O'Neill is joined by other veterans with conspicuous ties to the Bush campaign (neocons, please apply the same standards you used to "link" Al Qaeda and Saddam). Many of these men once praised Kerry's service to the skies in their official capacities but have now flip-flopped 180 degrees, for reasons that are all too transparent. None of them served aboard Kerry's swift boat, yet they now claim to know what happened better than those who did. Their latter-day revisionist accounting contravenes their own earlier statements and award citations, the Navy's official records, the testimony of Kerry's crewmates, physical evidence, and basic common sense.

It's ridiculous to argue over whether Kerry's mission to Cambodia took place in late December or early January when George Bush can't account for six whole MONTHS of his National Guard obligation. It's pure desperation to insinuate that Kerry wounded himself because it would look good on his resumé. And it's deeply insulting to ALL who served to gauge the supposed legitimacy of war wounds and Purple Hearts by how much blood was spilled, when the difference between a minor scratch and six-feet-under is a matter of inches and dumb luck. It's the courage in being there to begin with that really counts: Kerry showed up; Bush weaseled out. No compendium of lies can alter that basic truth.

It's time to apply Occam's Razor to this tangle of Gordian garbage and Astroturf angst, follow the money, and consider the source: namely, Republicans who are deathly afraid of Kerry's manifest competence and the inevitable comparisons to their own unfortunate standard-bearer. Whom would you rather have as YOUR commander in chief? A decorated combat veteran who decisively and instinctively rescues his comrade in the heat of battle, or a chickenhawk who sits paralyzed in a room full of kids reading "The Pet Goat" while our country is under attack, waiting for others to supply him with marching orders?

Side-stepping Vietnam, getting bailed out of one bad business deal after another, smearing John McCain, trashing Max Cleland, sending our sons and daughters to wage an ill-conceived elective war in Iraq...this reprehensible book is just the most current example of George W Bush letting other people fight his dirty battles for him. This November, you have the opportunity to decide if this is what you really want in a leader. Make sure you exercise it: REGISTER and VOTE!
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68 of 78 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2004
John Kerry bellowed in a speech last week to "Bring it on!" At the same time, he has threatened to sue the Swift Boat Vets to silence them. He has demanded that the publisher of this book cease selling it and had his lawyers demand that TV stations not broadcast the Swift Boat ads, in blatant attempts to suppress dissent. Daily, he whines that Bush should somehow require the Swift Boat Vets to back down, in violation of campaign finance law. He has made a series of frantic, wheedling calls to other vets, begging for their support. His surrogates are out bashing the vets on TV. Kerry has yet to counter any of the assertions made in this book - although he could easily put the matter to rest simply by releasing ALL of his military records, as did the President. What a coward! He has already admitted that he lied about about Cambodia - the fantasy that somehow was a formative experience in his political/philosohpical development. Now we learn that his first Purple Heart was caused by a self-inflicted wound (he shot a grenade at a nearby rock), and thus not valid. Just yesterday we learn that he has been claiming a false "V" for his Silver Star commendation, and that his citation papers have been altered and forged. I've never seen a campaign in such a free fall. You've got to read this book - it's THE political event of the the season. Five Stars!
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