Thursday, 5 August 2004

Not so swift

I somewhat agree with both Glenn Reynolds and Lorie Byrd that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad (link only works in Internet Explorer) is “devastating”—mind you, leaving aside the truth of the charges it makes against John Kerry. And I think the Kerry campaign is going to have to do much better than threatening to sue any TV station or network that airs the ad, even if the ad is maliciously false and libelous under the NY Times v. Sullivan standard—a legal standard public opinion doesn’t care much about.

That said, charges of lunacy toward some of the “Swift Boat Veterans” (say that six times fast!) are flying on both sides of the political aisle, while Steven Taylor is skeptical and cautious, but points out three reasons that the SBVfT account of events may indeed be credible:

  1. It strikes me as odd that a large number of veterans would come together to make these allegations, knowing the amount of public and media scrutiny they would have to endure. ...
  2. The leader of this group, and the first named author on the book, Houston lawyer John O’Neil, has had some compelling character witnesses, if you will, who also give me pause for thought. ...
  3. Mr. Kerry’s own words give credence to some of the accusations.

On the other hand, I agree with von of Obsidian Wings that it’d be real nice to have the actual evidence these accusations are based on before pronouncing judgment on their veracity—or, for that matter, the sanity of Kerry’s accusers.