In case it has been forgotten, a group calling themselves “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” played a significant role in swinging support to President Bush in the last election. USA Next, a lobbying group, has affiliated with some of the same groups who orchestrated SBVT TV commercials and promoted SBVT leader John O’Neill’s book Unfit for Command which assailed John Kerry’s military record. Originally recruited by President Nixon, O’Neill’s function in the ‘70s was to refute Kerry’s assertions about Viet Nam and reinvigorate the administration’s position with respect to that conflict.
There can be no question that Kerry served honorably and bravely but came to see the war as a military and moral debacle, a conclusion he reached from firsthand experience. That the adjunct swift boaters, who served neither beside him nor under his command, should have used their presence in the general combat zone to raise doubts about Kerry’s record is a shameful betrayal of a fellow comrade in arms for political ends and dishonors their own reputations. That assertions by those not directly involved with actions described by Kerry and others, gained such credence is simply unfathomable.
In the case of Jim Rassman, he affirms being rescued by Kerry, and his description of events on the Bay Hap River that day, is what he remembers to have happened. That he would misrepresent his personal experience is simply not credible. Similarly William B. Rood’s description of events on another occasion when Kerry turned his boat into shore to knock out a sniper nest disputes allegations by the ‘other’ swift boaters that Kerry shot a wounded boy wearing a loincloth. According to Rood, there were several snipers but the one Kerry shot as he was trying to escape was a grown man dressed in “typical VC garb” armed with a rocket launcher. (article here)
It will remain one of life’s great mysteries how a bona fide war hero could have his reputation tarnished by a group of partisans financed by Republican activists wishing to influence an election. It is even more astonishing when one considers that their candidate was a substance-abusing draft evader.
The reason for bringing all this up again is that many of the same political players are being utilized by USA Next to plan their next big thing – – that is to support the Bush private account plan for Social Security and to disparage the AARP. According to the NY Times article, (article here) a White House spokesman said “The administration was familiar with the group and has interacted with it on issues in the past but …had no input on its current efforts.”
One might be curious about what those “issues in the past” were. However, more to the point – – What exactly is the plan that the president and these folks are trying to boost? Is there anywhere extant some cogent, step-by-step methodology as to just how Social Security privatization plans would work? There are plenty of generalizations and many things ‘not on the table’, such as raising the FICA cap, which simply means that, again, Republicans seem content to let middle-income tax payers bear the burden of paying into the system while any attempt to increase the breadth of contributions is to them a tax increase. In sum, nothing resembling a coherent plan with all the bells and whistles spelled out exists at the present time. And that brings us back to the question of exactly what plan these people are behind and what or who is behind them?
We’re in that “fool-me-once” territory again. The so-called Swift Boat
Veterans for Truth and their underwriters have nothing to be proud of except fooling the American people last time around. They shouldn’t be allowed to do it again.

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