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Swift Boat: The Phantom Factor

Reported by Marie Therese - September 13, 2004 -

Newshound Editorial

This posting started out as a report about the September 7th interview between Bill O'Reilly and Swift Boat Vet, John O'Neill, during which O'Reilly basically accused John Kerry of going "way overboard when he came back and unfairly besmirched Vietnam veterans."

The Swift Boat ads have damaged the Kerry campaign and in many ways denigrated all those veterans and civilians who opposed the war in Vietnam. On September 7th O'Reilly became a willing collaborator in an ongoing campaign to create the image of John Kerry as an opportunistic, ambitious, scheming young man whose five medals were, at worst, suspect and, at best, over-stated.

The Swift Boat cancer is eating away at this campaign.

In a moment of clarity, however, I had a wild and crazy idea.

What if John Kerry debated John O'Neill on a television talk show just as he did in 1971? He could ask Oprah Winfrey to moderate, taking over the Dick Cavett role.

There are tens of thousands of us still alive who steadfastly opposed the Vietnam war and applauded actions like those of John Kerry. When he spoke, we felt he was speaking for us as well as for the soldiers bogged down in a hopeless quagmire.

I'd like to ask him to speak for our side again. Throw down the gauntlet. Challenge O'Neill to a rematch and let America make the decision yet again about who is telling the truth and who is not.