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To Set The Record Straight: A Review by William Neal

In To Set The Record Straight, Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler have provided a great service to their country and to our understanding of how the Internet is changing politics. What a great piece of writing and research! It almost reads like a novel.

Someone who was deeply involved in the anti-Kerry operation had this to say: "Scott Swett was probably the single individual who had the greatest impact on the 2004 presidential election." This book shows how and more importantly, why.

The book actually has four themes running throughout, each one interwoven and operating on a different level.

At the uppermost level, the book thoroughly documents how the Swift Vets, the POWs, and other groups of Vietnam Vets (and their families) rose up in anger against the candidacy and nomination of Senator John Kerry to be President of the United States. It puts to rest the myth that the Kerry campaign managers and Kerry himself were just too slow or too late in their response to the first Swift Vet ads. Rather it shows that the liberal establishment that coalesced around the Kerry campaign simply did not understand the resentment they had created when they trashed the personal reputations of a generation of war veterans 30 years earlier to establish their own bona fides. Simply stated, the vets fervently believed that Kerry was unfit to be the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States. They believed Kerry was (1) a traitor to his country based on his actions in 1971 (for which he never recanted or apologized) and (2) Kerry lied about his service and his actions in Vietnam. When Kerry defined his presidential campaign around his faked military heroism, it was just too much over the line for these former swift boat vets who knew better. When the Swift Vets acted, a very large number of other Vietnam vets, especially former combat vets, picked up the banner and charged into the fray.

At the second level, the book documents just how intertwined and collusive the dominant liberal media and the Democrat Party really are, and how that runs so counter to Americans' deep sense of independence and fairness. The documentation is overwhelming and awesome. Interestingly, the liberal media have yet to take a critical look within to understand why that is so. The shenanigans of Dan Rather in the Bush National Guard faked papers incident was apparently just the tip of the iceberg.

At the third level, the book shows how a group of dedicated and focused citizens Vietnam Vets in this case - can overcome the bias and stonewalling of the mainstream media to get their message through, using the Internet and the new media, thus the tagline How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs, and the New Media Defeated John Kerry. The unfortunate side of that story is that it took a lot of money to do it over $23 million. The upside is that they did it in four months.

Along this theme, I think the authors did miss the boat in one area. They did not address much of the misinformation that was going around the Internet at that time both that in opposition and more importantly, that in support. To the best of my recollection, even some of the sites the authors lauded for their investigative insight and support also occasionally took off on wild goose chases and created false impressions or advanced "facts" that later proved false. But, it self-corrected over time. I think that can be expected when there is such a diverse and independent set of players as we have in cyberspace, all trying to go in the same general direction get to the truth, whatever it is. In my book, that's democracy in action.

Underneath all of this lies a fourth theme - that of the modern liberal psyche. Modern liberals (or at least their self-appointed leaders) continue to define themselves based on the beliefs they formed in the 1960's and 70's. They rejected the classic philosophy-based and reasoned underpinnings of their predecessors. So an underlying theme in this book, backed up by an ever increasing body of scholarly research, is that many of those modern liberal beliefs are, in reality, based on falsehoods. Soldiers in Vietnam were not mass murderers or baby killers. They didn't return to the US as burned out drug addicted dysfunctional dregs. There was a reasonable justification for the US intervention in South Vietnam. South Vietnam was, indeed being invaded by North Vietnam, it was not an insurgency. Militarily, the war had been won by US and South Vietnamese fighting forces. The withdrawal of US forces and support did result in the deaths of over 2.5 million citizens of Southeast Asia. Morality is important. Honesty is important. John Kerry and Jane Fonda committed treason, along with their enablers and surrogates.

In case you have forgotten, treason is the violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies. (Emphasis added)

William D. Neal
Major (retired), Infantry, USA

William Neal is Senior Partner at SDR Consulting, Atlanta, Georgia. He served as an infantry officer in the US Army from June, 1966 to October, 1977, including two combat tours in Vietnam. In 1967 and 1968 he was an advisor to high-mobility "strike" battalions with the ARVN 18th Division until he was severely wounded in August 1968. In 1970 and 1971 he was a company commander of D Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division, and later served as company commander of D Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry (Angry Skipper.)

Last Updated Monday, December 31 2007 @ 11:09 AM MST|5,481 Hits