Do you remember the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth?  Do you remember how they came forward to reveal the truth about John Kerry's military service in Vietnam and his support for America's enemies after he came home?  Now the media are trying to rewrite history – just as they lied about the Vietnam War and Vietnam veterans – by using "swiftboating" as a verb for dirty or dishonest politics.

Here's an antidote for the lies. Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler's remarkable new book, To Set The Record Straight: How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs and the New Media Defeated John Kerry is the definitive inside account of how veterans and their supporters changed the course of the 2004 Presidential election. Swift Boat Veterans for Truth spokesman John O'Neill writes in the book's Foreword:

How the Swifties, POWs and other Vietnam veterans circumvented the media and reached out to the public is a story that has profound implications for future political campaigns and news reporting. Perhaps the events of 2004 will one day be seen as a watershed, marking the end of the old media's ability to control public opinion in America.

Author Scott Swett was involved in virtually every aspect of the anti-Kerry effort: 

The authors show how veterans and their supporters forced Kerry to backtrack on claim after claim. Campaign spokesmen had to admit that Kerry hadn't really received illegal orders to fight in Cambodia in 1968, an event he once told the US Senate was "seared, seared" into his memory. The campaign also conceded that the minor injury that led to Kerry's first Purple Heart was probably caused by aiming his M-79 grenade launcher too low. And even the Washington Post had to admit that the campaign's "No Man Left Behind" story – an event featured at the Democratic National Convention and promoted with millions of dollars worth of advertising – didn't square with the facts. To Set The Record Straight shines new light on that engagement, offering previously unpublished eyewitness accounts from a Forward Air Control pilot and the mission's Special Forces commander.

The book recounts how the Swift Vets' spokesmen, led by the incomparable John O'Neill, kept their cool on the air despite astounding efforts by Kerry supporters in the media to ridicule them and shout them down.  It tells how a new generation of online reporters rose to prominence by investigating and accurately covering the charges against Kerry that the old media ignored, distorted and misrepresented.  And a chapter available online, Rather's Ruin and the Rise of the Pajamahadeen, tells for the first time the amazing story of how ordinary citizens exposed the forged documents that Dan Rather and CBS News used in that September 2004 "60 Minutes" report to attack President Bush's service in the National Guard.

The book breaks new ground in showing how the antiwar movement worked closely with the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong to spread "war crimes" propaganda within the US. And it tells the powerful story of a veteran who came forward in 2004 to testify that John Kerry pressured him to lie about US atrocities at the Vietnam Veterans Against the War's 1971 "Winter Soldier" conference.

I have decided that I will no longer remain silent while radicals smear both my generation of veterans and the troops who defend us today. And I am not alone. The wave of veteran activism that began in 2004 carries on through the work of Gathering of Eagles and other groups. There is no better way to learn why this is so important and how it all began than to read To Set The Record Straight.

The book can be purchased in hardcover from the publisher's secure order page.

A paperback version is also available at


Larry Bailey
Captain, USN (RET)

Praise for "To Set the Record Straight"

"...a remarkable and painstakingly notated historical account of the cultural war that coursed beneath the 2004 presidential election."  - Human Events

"...scrupulously documents the most dramatic story of the 2004 campaign."  - Power Line

"Make sure you order a copy of To Set The Record Straight."  - Michelle Malkin

Last Updated Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 02:54 PM MDT|18,790 Hits