flotilla of douche-bags part two: oh, you meant that cambodia?

John ONeil, one of the Swift Boat assholes out to torpedo John Kerrys presidential campaign, was just caught in another lie. This time it has to do with Cambodia and his recent claim that, when he and Kerry were swift boat commanders in Vietnam, they never entered into the country. In saying this, he, of course, is suggesting that Kerrys been lying when hes said that he was running missions into Cambodia. Well, it turns out that a tapes just surfaced of a conversation between a young ONeil and president Nixon. Heres part of the transcript from CNN last night.

O’Neill said no one could cross the border by river and he claimed in an audio tape that his publicist played to CNN that he, himself, had never been to Cambodia either. But in 1971, O’Neill said precisely the opposite to then President Richard Nixon.

O’NEILL: I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border on the water.

NIXON: In a swift boat?

O’NEILL: Yes, sir.

So, when were you lying, John? Then, or now?

Of course all of these bits and pieces that are coming out now arent getting a fraction of the airplay that the ads against Kerry were. But the Republicans knew all of this when they launched the campaign in the first place. They knew the attacks and the attackers would be discredited in due time, but they also knew that it didnt matter. They just needed to get in quickly and plant the seed in the minds of those voters who hadnt already decided long ago who they were voting for. Just as they did with their first baseless attack, suggesting that Kerry had an extramarital affair with a young student, the facts didnt matter. They just wanted the words Kerry and intern said repeatedly together, recalling the Clinton affair. This time they just wanted images of men in uniform calling him a coward and a liar (and all the better if it could be shot in such a way as to suggest that they actually served on board the same ship). This is about winning at all cost. This is war and they will do whatever it takes to win.

And if youre one of those who dont think that this Swift Boat charade was orchestrated from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, theres a story you should read on the Washington Monthly site about Ben Ginsberg, one of Bushs attorneys who just stepped down after an eye-witness surfaced that placed him at a meeting of the Swift Boat group. Heres a clip:

Ben Ginsberg, says that everything he’s done is technically legal. And that may be true — I’m not enough of an election law expert to judge.

But what’s also true is that Ginsberg himself has attacked what he characterizes as the impropriety of individuals holding dual roles with campaigns and 527s.

An article that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer just two weeks ago included this bit about Ginsberg: “Ben Ginsberg, a legal adviser to the Bush campaign, specifically condemned the dual roles played by Democrats Harold Ickes and Bill Richardson, who had official roles at the convention and also within prominent friendly 527s. ‘They’re over the coordination line,’ Ginsberg said of Ickes and Richardson. ‘The whole notion of cutting off links between public officeholders and soft-money groups just got exploded.'”

So, the pieces are falling into place, but it may be too late. In a few months we may be watching as the media examines their complicity (as theyre doing with regard to the question of WMDs now), but it wont matter. The election will have come and gone, just as the war did, without even a whimper from the nations press. (note: On a very local note, I think its absolutely shameful that a great university like the University of Michigan does not have a journalism department.)

On the subject of the role of journalism in this whole Swift Boat mess, heres a clip from a good piece at the Columbia Journalism Reviews site:

While the SBVFT may have a questionable grasp of the facts, it has been extraordinarily sophisticated in its manipulation of the media. To understand why this campaign has been hijacked by a small group of veterans bearing a thirty-year old grudge, it’s worth examining the institutional susceptibilities of a campaign press corps that allowed the SBVFT’s accusations to take on a life of their own. The SBVFT may have put themselves in the game, but it’s a flawed media that made them stars.

One last question Why arent there fucking people in the streets? Where are the young people of our nation? Dont they have spines anymore? I know were about to see protests in New York, but is that all the energy we can muster? Why arent there sit-ins at college campuses? Isnt all of this every bit as bad as what was happening during the Nixon administration? Why is it that were so much less angry? Is the TV that much better now? Is it video games? Is it that we’re fatter now than ever? Is the only difference the draft? Is that what it takes to outrage people? If so, I say, Bring it on.

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