Tuesday, September 07, 2004


September 07, 2004


See if this sounds familiar. A sour and rabidly-partisan Vietnam vet named John O'Neill is plucked from obscurity by the Republican White House to be used as an attack dog against John Kerry. O'Neill creates a hokey "citizens" group as a political front for no other purpose than to pound Kerry about his war service.

But the assault I'm describing is not this year's effort by O'Neill to ambush Kerry with a dummy operation he has labelled "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth." Rather I'm talking about O'Neill's first tour of duty in service to a Republican president's campaign – none other than Richard Nixon's!

Yes, Tricky Dick, the guy who invented our detestable modern-day politics of personal destruction, was the one who first unleashed O'Neill on Kerry, way back in 1971. Kerry then was the just-returned war hero who was so elequently speaking out and helping turn public opinion against Nixon's expanding war. So Tricky Dick decided to try killing the messenger through a nasty personal attack on Kerry.

Of course, a president can't be seen doing such dirty work himself, so Nixon's top political hatchetman, the infamous Chuck Colson, recruited O'Neill specifically to make the hit on Kerry. Back then, O'Neill called his front group "Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace," but it was the exact same kind of negative scam he's fronting today.

It's unclear whether George W has personally met with O'Neill to urge him on, as Nixon did in 1971, but it's clear that the Bush political operation and funding network is behind O'Neill's smear campaign. Not only is the truth of this coming out, but so is the hilarious, knee-slapping irony of watching George trying to shuck and jive around the smear. Since Bush can't even produce proof that he showed up for his National Guard duty in Mississippi (a secure 8,000 miles from action in Vietnam) – he should not be trying to spit on the five medals that Kerry earned in combat.