ZIEGLER: Good morning. We're here, and this is The Inquisition. Welcome. Scott Swett, Tim Ziegler, hosts, and today we're interviewing Mr. John O'Neill.

John, welcome to The Inquisition.

O'NEILL: It's a pleasure to be on your show. Thank y'all very much. It's great to be on your show.

ZIEGLER: We're really excited to have you here. We had Dr. Corsi on last week, your co-author of "Unfit for Command," and went through a lot of the book that has changed the political landscape this year. It's been the most dynamic, impactful thing that's happened during the election season. How do you feel about that?

O'NEILL: Well honestly, for all of us it was a matter of just simply putting the facts out and letting the chips fall where they may. A lot of Republican political analysts like Dick Morris said that the book would actually hurt the Republicans. Then other people have said that it has hurt Kerry substantially.

For us it was such a deep personal part of our lives. It was really just a matter of sticking it out and letting what happened happen.

SWETT: John, can you tell us a little bit - this is Scott - about how "Unfit for Command" came to be. What were the steps that led to your decision to co-write it with Jerry Corsi?

O'NEILL: Really, what happened is Admiral Hoffman began gathering us together.

I was actually in the hospital when all this began. I had given a kidney to my wife Ann. And Admiral Hoffman began calling people and finally got around to calling me, and we got together, met, and decided we would have a press conference in Washington in early May. We had that press conference and it got little public attention. We were convinced it would be covered, but the truth is it got minimal coverage. So it became apparent we would have to do something else. We settled on a strategy first of trying to raise some money and put up some ads, and then Jerry Corsi suggested perhaps writing a book, and from that the book "Unfit for Command" came out.

ZIEGLER: One of the elements that did come out of that press conference, Scott attended the press conference and you got to meet Scott, and he had done and been the webmaster for WinterSoldier.com and is now the webmaster for SwiftVets.com.

O'NEILL: Exactly right. Another very important thing was starting an adequate website. We had a website in existence in early May, but it was continuously hacked and knocked off by the Kerry people and really was almost unfunctional.

Scott Swett got involved in actually producing a website that would be usable, and the result is the website SwiftVets.com. There have been days that SwiftVets has had as many as 900,000 hits right on that website. The Kerry people have surrounded it with other web sites to try and divert traffic off, and it has produced at this - 110,000 individual contributions.

So it's very clear without that website, you know, we'd be talking in a whisper as opposed to what we've been able to do.

ZIEGLER: What I like about the website is that - and Scott knows this as well - the interactivity of the new media allows people who have heard you be talked over on the various interview shows go for themselves to the website and find out for themselves the actual occurrences and what happened and the - and then the ongoing discussion in the forum that allows people to discover for themselves what your other 250 members believe.

O'NEILL: Yes, I think that's been wonderful. Another feature that I think is astounding is that as we came out with ads, people could go to our website, download the ads, and send it to other people.

I continue to believe that our ads have gotten considerably more exposure through people going to our website, downloading them and sending them to other people than any media we bought or than any other way of transmitting them.

SWETT: John, in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that as one of the webmasters of SwiftVets.com, I am a contract employee of Swift Vets and POWs for Truth.

My impression of the Swift Vets story as it's unfolded is that in many ways it's been an end run around the traditional media. Not only the website. The use of the ads, the book which really first came to widespread public attention through the Drudge Report, and of course, later spent four weeks as number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Would you care to comment on that aspect of what's happened?

O'NEILL: Yeah. I think there was a definite decision by the mainline media, by which I mean the three main networks and the New York Times, to simply ignore the story, and I think they are and always have been very pro-Kerry, you know, media, and not dispensers of facts so much as dispensers of a preconceived opinion.

I think that they were very resistant to our story and made a determination that they wouldn't carry it either as to Kerry's conduct in Vietnam or as to the post-Vietnam conduct by Kerry, meeting with the North Vietnamese and the like.

That was most evident to us during the press conference when the only coverage we basically got were attacked, really inaccurate and ridiculous attacks on us.

And so we had to figure out how do you get around that. Well, one way to get around it was the ads and the downloading of ads on the website, Scott, that you prepared. A second way to get around it was to retreat back 500 years in history to the book, just a plain, simple book like the books in Germany in the 15th century, to produce a book and to let people buy the book.

The book has been printed now over 900,000 times. Over 900,000 copies have been shipped to stores. It's been on the New York Times bestseller list for 10 weeks, I believe. It's currently number four -

ZIEGLER: But it took them six weeks to review it.

O'NEILL: - but it's always been either number one, two, three or four.

SWETT: I think if you look back at the Swift Vets' activities, you can identify the three phases of media coverage.

The first you just mentioned, which is they totally stonewalled it. As you're aware, the Associated Press had at the May 4th press conference a reporter there who declined to file any story whatsoever as the entire chain of command of a presidential candidate came forward to denounce him as unfit to command.

The second phase, I think, you could characterize as unsupported allegations, when they claimed that the well-documented charges of your group in fact were not well supported.

More recently they've moved to phase three in which they say, "Oh, the Swift Vets have been totally discredited," which of course is easier to say than to actually do the discrediting. So my question is: How do you counter unsupported allegations that your group has been totally discredited?

O'NEILL: All you can do is go out and keep putting out the word. You know, the resources of the Kerry campaign are many times ours, and they have, you know, in many ways operated with effective control over the three networks and the New York Times in particular. As a matter of fact, in some ways the three networks and the New York Times have been more aggressive proponents of Kerry than his own campaign.

We speak often to reporters who use the terms either "discredited allegations" or "unsubstantiated allegations," and we ask them, "Why did you put that in there," and they say, "Well, our editors put it in. That is not our language."

So all we can do is just keep plugging, Scott. We have a website where people can get most of the information at SwiftVets.com. We've produced at least two documentaries. Well, we produced one documentary and in addition, people can see the documentary "Stolenhonor.com" produced by the POWs.

And you know, I guess what we can do is put the information up on the table, and if people want to look at it, they can, and if they don't, they won't.

SWETT: John, what can you tell us about the decision of the Swift Vets to combine forces with the POWs who produced "Stolen Honor"?

O'NEILL: Well, we of course, came out first and produced our stuff, took tremendous flak, and moved forward beginning in August, and through August and into September and thereafter our story began to be told. It was evident that there was a second story, if anything, more meaningful than ours, and that was the story of these prisoners of war, who had served six to eight, sometimes nine years in prison who had been tortured using Kerry's testimony and his allegations.

Keep in mind that the justification of the North Vietnamese for torturing our prisoners was that they were not covered by the Geneva Conventions; instead they were simply war criminals, pretty much what Kerry had to say about all of us in his Senate testimony.

So the POWs at a point in time came and said, "Why don't we get together," and we were thrilled to do that because our object is really to put out the whole story of John Kerry in and post Vietnam.

ZIEGLER: John, you talked about the new media and how the Washington Times and the other mainstream media had just ignored you.


ZIEGLER: Now we're getting into the phase where the election's only a few weeks away. I know that you've been effective because the people are attacking you so fiercely, and it appears to me that that is exactly why I know you're not affiliated with the RNC because you have been effective.

O'NEILL: Well, there's been a massive attack, really on all levels, from our inception. You know, they threatened the stations that carried our ads. They threatened the - and when I say they threatened, I mean the Democratic National Committee.

ZIEGLER: They threatened the publisher. They threatened Barnes and Noble and Border Books.

O'NEILL: They threatened them, threatened the publisher that published the book. More recently they picketed my house during my daughter's wedding. They secured one of our guys being fired. And now they have begun to track wherever we go to speak, any of the Swift Boat guys. We're always met with protestors and the like, sometimes very disruptive protestors.

ZIEGLER: It sounds like Kristallnacht to me, but it's -

O'NEILL: It's a strange thing to see how the First Amendment crowd operates when they disagree with the opinions being expressed.

SWETT: The classic American political system is you get to say your piece and the other guys get to say their piece. The voters decide in the end. But it does seem that the Kerry forces and supporters have a disquieting tendency to want to silence their opposition. What other examples have you seen of that?

O'NEILL: Well, the most classic example is the treatment of the film "Stolen Honor." Michael Moore made a film that's very controversial that everyone knows about, and you know, I haven't even seen the film, but most people believe it's very, very inaccurate.

The POWs, you know, served an average length of time of about seven and a half years in North Vietnamese jails, much of it under torture. They produced their own film, "Stolen Honor," and a network, Sinclair, was going to cover it, and they were going to have a premier exactly a week ago - actually five days ago, six days ago - in Philadelphia.

The first thing that occurred was the theater owner was threatened with suit and there were threats of violence at the theater so that the theater premier, which the POWs were supposed to attend, couldn't be held. I mean, they literally shut down the theater to stop people from seeing it.

The next thing that occurred is that Sinclair Broadcasting, which was going to broadcast it, had all kinds of bad things begin to occur, obviously concerted efforts by the Kerry campaign. They ranged from advertisers canceling advertising to threats of shareholder suits by large California Strike suit firms to activities by the New York Pension Fund claiming that they would sell all their shares in a single swoop, the political officials, if the show was shown.

A pretty sad day, isn't it, Scott, in the history of the United States when we actually suppress the opinions of others, particularly of people who have given so much to the United States, simply to win politically.

SWETT: Well, there's certainly a precedent for that sort of thing. The trick is to make sure that it doesn't succeed. I think it's fortunate that we have alternative means of getting information out to people that makes it difficult for that to be successful.

ZIEGLER: John, we often hear that you're a lawyer, and that's usually used, except by the left for their own guys, as a derogative term, but as a lawyer and a practicing attorney, how do you respond to the intimidation and threats that are being practiced by the members of your profession on those who are trying to get the word out, trying to get the First Amendment...

O'NEILL: Well, it's tragic. Nothing shows the decline of the legal profession more than the 10,000 or so locusts that are being released apparently throughout the United States, lawyers, to go and intimidate voters in Florida and in other states. I mean, my God, what on earth are we talking about here?

SWETT: You've mentioned once that you would have considered backing John Edwards for president - you of course, being a longtime Democrat. In light of the recent occurrences that we're talking about, have you reconsidered that thought?

O'NEILL: Well Scott, to be fair, I'm really not a longtime Democrat. I'm more an independent.

SWETT: Okay.

O'NEILL: I've always just voted for the person. Sometimes it's been a Democrat and sometimes a Republican. And I was sort of for John Edwards, but I'm very disappointed in what I've seen. Candidly, I mean, I'm very, very disappointed in what I've seen.

SWETT: Let me follow that up. First of all, about how many interviews do you think you've done since the May 4th press conference? Do you have any idea?

O'NEILL: My guess is like 400, but that's just a guess.

SWETT: Four hundred.

O'NEILL: I believe our group has probably done close to 2,000. Once again, just a guess.

SWETT: So has four or five months of unremitting abuse at the hands of democratic operatives on all these shows moved you any closer to the Republican column?

O'NEILL: Well, what it's done definitely is show me that the - you know, the sad state of the media. That is really tragic. I think we can find thugs in both parties, and we can you know, find people that are bad in both parties. It's sad.

That's what Ralph Nader indicated when I spoke to him in a green room one time while I was doing one of these interviews. It's really amazing what the Kerry people have done. The stuff of trying to keep Nader off the ballot. I mean, the techniques are just astounding when you read about them. The efforts to intimidate our people in a million different ways. It's just completely different than all the things that the Democratic party stood for, and what, indeed, you know, everyone that I know that believes in the First Amendment believes in free political discussion stands for.

It's really tragic, and it's a tragic comment on what Kerry would do as President of the United States if he succeeded in getting elected.

ZIEGLER: I've listened to you on two shows here in Colorado. You were interviewed by Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman, and Mr. Silverman's an attorney and former prosecutor, and you've gone toe to toe with these guys. Have you had any interviews in which you have not been stepped on and not been overtalked and actually had the full opportunity to disclose your views?

O'NEILL: Well, the thing I've never had - of course I've had friendly interviews and I've had hostile interviews, and for a little while they would actually put people on to debate me and we could go in a certain way point by point.

For example, I did that in front of George Stephanopoulos with John Podesta, but after that interview they pulled everybody, and the technique followed by the Kerry campaign is either to produce no one or to simply produce someone like Lawrence O'Donnell on CNBC, who simply screams over and over again, a mantra -

ZIEGLER: Yeah, we've got him in a cage downstairs.

O'NEILL: I think he was off his medication or something. He you know, simply sat there screaming, "Liar, liar." Well, that doesn't really advance trying to learn things or to learn the facts or to actually cope with and deal with the facts.

SWETT: You've established a reputation for keeping your cool on the air under extreme provocation, with the antics of Lawrence O'Donnell being one excellent example. Another, of course, being James Carville coming over to hiss at you, but the only time that I'm aware of where you really seemed to become angry was on Nightline up against Ted Koppel, when they tried to place you at a disadvantage. What were you thinking at that time?

O'NEILL: Well, Ted Koppel's conduct was the worst, I think, I've ever seen. Maybe he didn't realize how bad it was, but Ted Koppel was trying to go through this Silver Star incident relating to John Kerry.

Basically there's not a whole lot of factual argument, as I understand it, between the account in our book and the account of the people we've interviewed and the Kerry account for the Silver Star.

What Koppel did, instead of reading carefully either Kerry's account or our account, he simply dispatched a film crew over and they interviewed either four Viet Cong or relatives of Viet Cong. Their position of course was that Kerry was a fabulous hero, a logical position since he's a hero for their side in their museum in Saigon. But they were claiming he was incredibly brave and he charged into 20 people, and they were just making it up in front of a minder, with ABC listening.

Now, that can happen to anybody, but for Ted Koppel to say these were disinterested people and then refuse to actually even interview the guys we had within a few miles of his studio, I guess it finally got to me. A pretty sad performance.

It reminded me very much of what I saw in 1969 and '70 when ABC went over and interviewed the keepers of our prisoners of war, who told ABC that they were being very well treated too.

ZIEGLER: John, when we get back for the next segment, we want to talk about some of the early debate times in 1971 and we want to talk more about "Stolen Honor."

This is The Inquisition with Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler, and we're interviewing Mr. John O'Neill. Come back and we'll hear some more.

(Commercial break)

ZIEGLER: I love that music. This is The Inquisition. We're here with Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler, and we're interviewing Mr. John O'Neill and discussing his recent interviews. He's done about 400 interviews with various radio and media outlets, and he was on with Lawrence O'Donnell - and there's now a cartoon out about it. It has Lawrence O'Donnell in a straitjacket. I mean, and this man went so over the top, he was screaming in rage, "Liar, liar" at John.

John, is that the worst example of an interview that's gone on?

O'NEILL: I think it really was. You know, there's something particularly cowardly, to tell you the truth, about somebody who has a louder microphone sitting there and screaming continuously, "Liar, liar," and not allowing you to respond. It's like sort of tying somebody up and hitting them. It's kind of a cowardly thing to do, so I have very little respect for Mr. O'Donnell, either his intellect, his control of himself, or even just sort of his basic integrity and courage.

SWETT: John, one of the friends that I've worked with on various websites made a suggestion after viewing that performance that you should consider taking signs to your TV show appearances to hold up. When they're screaming over you, you could hold up a sign that says, "What are they so afraid of," then flip up one that says, "I'm trying to be polite," or possibly, "If I'm a liar, why won't anybody sue me?"

O'NEILL: All the above are true, or why wouldn't anybody at least want to discuss the specific facts that cause me to not be telling the truth? I have a book that's 210 pages long. It's very specific. If there's stuff wrong in it, it should be very easy to prove that I'm all wrong.

SWETT: I think it's a measure of the success of not only your appearances, but the hundreds if not thousands of additional appearances done by Swift Vets around the country and now prisoners of war that the focus of the opposition has completely shifted away from trying to take on the facts and the points that you're making to just doing essentially character assassination.

O'NEILL: You know, the problem that they have, in my opinion, is when you have so many people speaking out, how do you take on 40 different people all as liars or shills? I mean, what happened? Did the government have a conspiracy to put people as POWs who were just Republicans or send just Republicans to this little island we were all on?

SWETT: It's remarkable planning.

O'NEILL: You know, and also what possible motive would any of us have? We're all going home; we're not - we have no history in politics, no past, present or future, and none of us are ever going to go into politics. None of us ever wanted to. And so why on earth would we be involved in this, you know, elaborate sort of conspiracy that the Kerry guys try and, you know, claim?

There's an old adage - I wish I could remember, but it's something razor. It says that the simplest explanation is sometimes the best.

SWETT: Occam's Razor.

O'NEILL: Occam's Razor. The simplest explanation here, you know, is that the now 254 guys that have signed our letter are telling the truth and that we have one liar, John Kerry.

ZIEGLER: It is so amazing to me that ABC News found it more credible to interview former Viet Cong in the presence of their captors at the same time they won't interview two Medal of Honor winners and who knows how many other medals.

O'NEILL: It absolutely takes your breath away. It's a sad commentary. I think when people look back in the history of journalism, they remember the Pulitzer prize that the New York Times was required to give back that it received in 1933 when it indicated that there were no serious problems occurring in the Ukraine or in Russia from Stalin's forced, you know, collectivization program. We now know that millions and millions of people died then. They gave the Pulitzer back.

ZIEGLER: And the reporter was on the take to the - was being paid by the communists.

O'NEILL: Exactly. That too. Here you've got a situation between the Dan Rathergate deal where he got the Kinko papers and tried to publish a story based on them and then the repeated refusal to cover the basic facts relating to Kerry and Kerry's post-Vietnam activities. I think you have one of these things that in the history of journalism, if it's written by free people, it will certainly be noted as a disgraceful episode in the history of American journalism.

SWETT: Several pundits compared the treatment you received at the hands of Nightline to the Dan Rather scandal involving the use and the continued claims that falsified documents were in fact true. Did you get any indication before you went on Nightline about what they were going to do or what tack they were going to take, or was that a complete sandbag job?

O'NEILL: It was a total sandbag. They called us up - we had tried, by the way, much earlier to get them to interview our people, and they wouldn't. And they wouldn't interview the people who were directly present on that day, of whom several belong to our group. That is, the day of February 20th, when Kerry shot the kid in the back. Instead they simply showed up - I was able to view the show for a few, you know, minutes, and then immediately they began asking me questions.

If I hadn't shown up right then, they were going to announce that I was refusing to be on the show, so I was perfectly happy to go on the show, of course, because I know that our account is the truth.

It was, you know, astounding that they would go to North Vietnam - excuse me - to South Vietnam with handlers, interview these people at length, prepare a whole show, never get any comment from us, never interview any of our people, throw it on the air and give us five minutes of being berated by Ted Koppel to reply. It's a disgrace for Ted Koppel, a black mark on his journalism career, which I know little about, and -

ZIEGLER: Is it a black mark or is it merely indicative of now we know more about how they operate, more about the story, and is it time to re-examine those who have been purported journalists and what they've told us over the last 30 years?

O'NEILL: Oh, I agree. It's the second. I mean, we're clearly dealing with a situation that's more and more gotten out of hand. We of course all worked on the premise that major reputable journalistic groups would start with the facts and then perhaps form their own opinion, but would at least present the facts.

I think we have to recognize in the three main networks and the New York Times, we're dealing with enterprises that start with opinions and only then adduce such facts or purported facts as support the opinions.

ZIEGLER: I know that when I was in the Marines and I was being interviewed in various locales that the story that came out afterwards seldom resembled what we saw occurring, and that's been what has been reported to me by other Vietnam veterans I have known, that - not that I'm - Vietnam veterans.

When they talk about their experience with the media in Vietnam, they said they didn't show the truth, they didn't show what really occurred. So now we have Rather, Jennings, Brokaw - all of those guys were young reporters on scene in Vietnam. Now we have them telling us from the anchor chair what's occurring. Is it just possible this is a continuation of what they've always felt?

O'NEILL: It is, without question. They have exactly the same situation. It's got to be sort of deja vu. They want to, you know, plunge as many arrows as they can into the existing president whom they disagree with in favor of a candidate whom they identify with, and there is little or no effort to report the truth.

A classic example of that is that the poll conducted by USA Today and many other polls show that the troops on active duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and generally, less than 13 percent of them are in favor of John Kerry for President of the United States. That's astounding. That's like the people who didn't push the chads through.

ZIEGLER: John, we've got a caller, and let's bring her on and see what she has to say.

CALLER: Hello. I'm real happy to be able to talk to Scott Swett and John O'Neill. John, my family's been watching you over the last few months, and we just admire you so much for your integrity and your courage in facing down those barking moonbats, and we just appreciate how you've represented your truth.

I'm a peacetime sailor. My husband was a career sailor. Now we're parents to a sailor and soon we'll be parents to two sailors.

O'NEILL: Isn't that great? That's such a wonderful story. My family is an old Navy family too that goes back generations. It's a wonderful tradition.

CALLER: It is a tradition, and this is only the second generation in our family, but I hope it goes on forever.

O'NEILL: And you know what great people we've always had.

CALLER: We did.

O'NEILL: And have always had. That was, of course, the ultimate tragedy of Kerry, to represent those people (unintelligible) as war criminals.

CALLER: Exactly.

O'NEILL: It's just very, very sad.

CALLER: We bought your book as soon as we could possibly get our hands on it, and we're all very impressed that not one of the allegations or charges that you've made in that book have been in any way substantially questioned, much less discredited, by anyone in the mainstream media or otherwise.

They bring out these moonbats like O'Donnell who just scream, "Liar, liar, liar" and never attempt to refute the facts, and we're just very impressed with the fact that a book can stand that long. You know, we had an anti-Bush book come out and within three days the bloggers had it torn apart.

ZIEGLER: Ma'am, do you have a question for John?

CALLER: Actually no, I just had a comment for him and for Scott Swett. I just found the Winter Soldier site at the start of the year, and it's become a huge resource. And I'm wondering if either of you guys can see that the efforts that you've made are beginning to correct the history of the Vietnam War. Do you have any sense of the cultural changes that your efforts have begun? I'll hang up and just listen.

ZIEGLER: Thanks for your call. We appreciate your service.

O'NEILL: I think that was such a wonderful point that you just made. I think in many ways the greatest thing we did was taking on the war crimes charges basically to clear the names of the people who served there and actually the people who died there and their relatives, their children and their spouses. I think, you know, to me, at least emotionally, that was the most important thing we did.

I do believe that the left is just sort of holding this in reserve, kind of not coming with it right now so they can elect Kerry, or try to, because they know that the war crimes claims are very unpopular and very unprovable, and I do think we'll see a bunch of them after the election, no matter who wins, simply, you know, kind of getting even. I think that that's just the nature of the people involved. I've heard threats, for example, by Douglas Brinkley to that effect.

SWETT: Yeah, I agree very strongly that a real opportunity has come out of Kerry's candidacy in that it has provided Vietnam veterans the opportunity to come forward and testify to their honorable service.

We were talking about some of the now anchors who were in Vietnam and were essentially propagandists then.

I wanted to mention a special report done by Dan Rather a few years ago called "The Wall Within" in which he interviewed guys who claimed to be in Vietnam and committed grotesque atrocities. One man said he had skinned alive some 50 men, women and children. That broadcast was totally discredited by Jug Burkett and his book "Stolen Valor."

Would you care to comment on that sort of ongoing propaganda effort and how perhaps we can overturn that even past the election?

O'NEILL: Well, I really believe, Scott, you're going to get the same thing again that we've seen. It'll be the hearsay allegations. These people live and die on that. It'll be a sequence of hearsay claims of war crimes. "I heard X from X, I heard Y from Y," and the like. And of course, it's always harder to disprove it than to make the allegation.

You would think by now with the founder of the movement having been indicated to be a, you know, fraud, Al Hubbard and the rest of them, that they would die off, but they won't.

SWETT: But we're in a different world today, and will the war crimes charges of 1971 play in a 2004 world? I don't think they play nearly as well with a better-informed populace.

O'NEILL: I hope so.

ZIEGLER: John, we really appreciate you being on The Inquisition. This is The Inquisition with Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler. We're interviewing John O'Neill. We'll be back in a couple of minutes. We've got to pay some bills so that we can keep the show on the air. Come back and we'll continue our discussion with John O'Neill about "Unfit for Command" and the documentary "Stolen Honor."

(Commercial break)

ZIEGLER: We're back with The Inquisition. Scott Swett, Tim Ziegler, interviewing John O'Neill, author of "Unfit for Command." A lot of the information on "Unfit for Command" is found at SwiftVets.com. You can check it out there.

We have a caller, and we'll take a call right now and see what they have to say.

CALLER: Hello?


CALLER: Hi. This is Geri.

ZIEGLER: Do you have a question for Mr. O'Neill?

CALLER: Yes. John, this is Geri. I e-mailed you right out of the box when your book first came out.

O'NEILL: Yeah.

CALLER: And one thing - I made a mistake in that e-mail because I assumed that you were a Republican, and that's one reason I want to call you because - and talk to you is because I am extremely concerned that the party, the Democratic party, has been totally ignoring and acting as if it's unimportant what John Kerry did when he came back from Vietnam. The other day I heard you talk about Tiger Teague.

O'NEILL: Right.

CALLER: I knew Tiger Teague because I was at A&M when he was still representative there. He was -

O'NEILL: Do you remember what a tremendous hero he was? Yeah.

CALLER: Yeah, he was the second most decorated World War II veteran after Audie Murphy. And I would like you to comment on what you're seeing with the Democratic party and their behavior towards you, the disrespecting of the Vietnam vets, the apparent acceptance of John Kerry going and talking to the enemy because of - even though I'm a Republican, I think it's of concern to have an entire party taking on the persona of, you know, an anti-war party.

O'NEILL: It is tragic. In the days - I was a Democrat in the early 1960s and thereafter. It's hard to realize, but the Democratic Party was at least as supportive of the military as the Republican Party in the early '60s until the McGovern campaign.

The Democratic Party had people like Henry Scoop Jackson, one of the great proponents of bipartisan foreign policy. Olin Tiger Teague was a tremendously well-decorated congressman who became the head of the Armed Services Committee, a tremendous hero, and you could go through person after person.

Sadly, things began to change with the McGovern campaign when the anti-war wing of the party began to take over the Democratic Party, and I guess the Kerry candidacy is the culmination of all that.

It is one thing, as Bill Clinton did, to protest the war in Vietnam. No one made a major issue of that, but it is another thing to actually be nominating and supporting heavily a guy who met directly and on purpose with our enemies in the middle of the war, took the position that our guys were war criminals, and that the people - that Ho Chi Minh was George Washington, that he was simply going to bring a constitution to, you know, Vietnam when we know what he did was bring the death of at least four million people and a totalitarian, dark, repressive regime.

It's very, very sad. We see this in another way. The Democratic Party that I grew up in was the ultimate party of free expression and free political belief. The repression of political opinion was completely alien to most of the Democratic Party. So the activities that we've seen occur here, the efforts to suppress the book, to suppress the ads, the effort to suppress the showing of "Stolen Honor," the incredible media bias are things that are vastly different than the Democratic Party that I knew as a little kid in the '60s.

CALLER: Yeah, I -

ZIEGLER: Thank you for your call.

CALLER: Okay, thanks.

ZIEGLER: We really appreciate it.

Scott's got some questions from the Swift Vets forum, John. Do you want to answer a couple of those for us?

O'NEILL: Sure.

SWETT: John, as I think you're aware, you have a loyal following and the Swift Vets have a very excellent support group at the bulletin board of SwiftVets.com, along with some excellent researchers there. They have forwarded me several questions.

The first one is: Will there be a new ad before the election?

O'NEILL: The answer, Scott, is probably not, but I don't know for sure. I've heard that we may put out a new ad, but the truth is I'm too far removed right now sitting in Michigan to know for sure.

SWETT: Okay. I do understand that there are efforts underway to support the showing of "Stolen Honor," the complete "Stolen Honor," online backed by a fair amount of bandwidth, that that should happen in the next day or two.

O'NEILL: That's what I understand will be happening.

SWETT: I don't have any other information about ads either.

Next question from Fuzzy: What can we Vietnam veterans do for him, or how can we show our respect and gratitude for what you have done? I think the real question here is: What can we do?

O'NEILL: The biggest things we can do are first and foremost, just go and vote.

Second, the great enemy of Kerry is the truth. We need to just go out and tell the truth to as many people as we can and get as many different people to vote.

Our website is a wonderful website to get the truth to people. Another great vehicle is that book, "Unfit for Command."

I've had friends who were otherwise going to vote for Kerry read the book. They may become Nader voters as a result of reading the book, but very few of them remain Kerry voters after looking at the book.

So basically we've got to go out and do that as much as we can. Those are the things that could still be done in this hour.

SWETT: Deborah Mack asks: Would Mr. O'Neill and his family honor us by attending an event sometime after November 2nd, the time of which to be determined, sponsored by the members of this forum to thank him and all the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth for what they've done?

O'NEILL: For sure. Anytime, anywhere. The people that I've gotten to meet after 35 years, my old comrades in Vietnam, my old friends, it's the greatest group of people I ever served with back then, best people I've ever known in my life, and I would love to have us all get together one time.

SWETT: Okay.

O'NEILL: Hopefully it won't have to be in Brazil.

ZIEGLER: Which brings up a great question: What happens to the Swift Boat Vets? what happens to John O'Neill if John Kerry's elected next Tuesday?

O'NEILL: Well, the Swift Boat Vets, the group, will have to decide, the board of directors of the group, but for myself, I've always intended to get involved - bring the truth to people and then at the end go home.

That's - you know, what we can do is give people a chance to know the truth, and then they have to - each four years our country has an intelligence test in many ways. Sometimes it passes and sometimes it fails. When it fails, the country suffers consequences usually, as it did during the Carter years. When it succeeds, the country succeeds.

I hope the country succeeds, but whether it succeeds or fails, I hope to go home.

SWETT: So for you personally the campaign and the effort ends with the election regardless of whether Bush or Kerry becomes the next Commander in Chief.

What about additional efforts to continue the process that's already gotten started now of telling the truth about the honorable service of Vietnam veterans? Any chance you might continue to be involved in that?

O'NEILL: Well, many people of the Swift Boat guys say we should do that, and that really is going to have to be decided by the - you know, the committee, the steering committee, what people will do.

One thing we're going to do is the royalties from the book, "Unfit for Command," my section of them, go to a foundation that will be used to disperse money to military charities, which is a great thing, and that should be a great continuing thing that will enable that book in its own way to bear fruit and help people in the military and their survivors for a long time.

ZIEGLER: John, you obviously have a flair for this. You know the truth. You know how to deal with people. You don't get - you're unflappable.

When we get back from this break I'd like you to go into a little bit of detail about why you wouldn't run for Congress, why you wouldn't try to carry on this message and continue this work.

So this is The Inquisition with Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler interviewing Mr. John O'Neill. We'll be back for our final segment in a couple of minutes. Let's pay some bills.

(Commercial break)

ZIEGLER: We're back. The Inquisition. Scott Swett, Tim Ziegler, with John O'Neill.

John, we were asking you before the break, you know, I've always been of a belief that 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean would be a good start, but you're helping change my mind.

What do you have in the future for you? What are you going to do? I mean, why wouldn't you run for Congress?

O'NEILL: Well, it wouldn't make any sense, Tim, honestly. That's not the skill set I have, and second, I would be too old, and third, you know, of course, my wife has had health issues and stuff. And also, I wouldn't fit neatly into any party, I'm afraid.

The truth is that what I'm really going to do is go back home, practice law just like I always have, represent the same people I always have, and then have, I hope and I believe, a lot of satisfaction in having had the courage to come forward and do the right thing, and someday my grandchildren and I will probably talk about this.

SWETT: No doubt. That does raise one interesting point, though. You could run for Congress in Texas as a Democrat and confuse the daylights out of everybody.

O'NEILL: Well, I don't think I'll run as anything. I was also asked was I looking for a federal appointment. Not hardly, you know. After all, I'm 58 or 59 years old. I think honestly that I'll do perfectly well, you know, doing what I've been doing, and besides that, my friends in our firm will be very happy to see me back.

SWETT: Well, I think there's no doubt whatsoever that you've made a difference.

O'NEILL: Well, Thank you very much. I think you have too, Scott.

SWETT: Thank you.

O'NEILL: And I think it's really the brave guys, you know, that I was over in that little unit with. Those are the best people I've ever seen, better than the people I went to the Naval Academy with, who were great people, better than the guys I clerked with on the Supreme Court. Those are - the Swift Boat guys are the best people I ever saw.

ZIEGLER: John, you have exemplified and personified your oath of office that you took in the late '60s in which you said that you would defend the country against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that didn't stop when you left the Navy, and for that we're greatly honored and greatly appreciative of your service and what you've done with Swift Vets.

Thank you, and thank you for your time with The Inquisition.

O'NEILL: I've enjoyed very much being on your show. Thank you all.

ZIEGLER: This is The Inquisition. We're finishing up. We really appreciate you listening to us. We'll be back in two weeks. We'll be doing election recap, and I'm sure we'll have a very interesting guest to discuss whatever occurs in the next eight days.

This is The Inquisition with Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler. Thanks for listening. We look forward to having you aboard again.

(End of transcript)

Last Updated Monday, November 05 2007 @ 08:55 AM MST|4,142 Hits