They’re baaack…and their first target is Congressman John Murtha (D-PA). Tomorrow morning, at 11:00 am, they plan to hold a press conference outside of Mr. Murtha’s campaign office to discuss an anti-Murtha rally in October. The group goes by the name “Veterans for the Truth” (formerly known as “The Swiftboat Veterans for the Truth”).
The group Veterans for the Truth is targeting U.S. Rep. John Murtha, a critic of the Iraq war and a de facto spokesman on the subject for the national Democratic Party.
Bailey, in an interview from North Carolina, said he and other vets didn’t get interested in Murtha’s race until he went public about a Pentagon war crimes investigation.
The main speaker at the October rally is expected to be John O’Neil, a former Navy officer who served during the Vietnam War. O’Neil was part of the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” a group that was an active campaigner against Sen. John Kerry during his failed 2004 presidential bid.
Murtha supporters are not letting this conference go unchallenged:
(Johnstown, PA) – Tomorrow, former Senator Max Cleland will join members of PATRIOT PROJECT in Johnstown, Pennsylvania for a rally in support of fellow veteran Rep. John Murtha. Congressman Murtha, who advocated the immediate withdrawal of troops serving in Iraq, is now the subject of an all-too-familiar smear campaign launched by the newly-formed “Veterans for Truth.” Cleland will condemn this group and others that use similar tactics.
The event, which is co-sponsored by Patriot Project and the Veterans’ Alliance for Security and Democracy (VETPAC), will be held at 10:30 a.m., Aug. 3, in front of Rep. Murtha’s office in Johnstown.
A bit of background on the “Veterans for Truth”:
According to their own site, Veterans For Truth operates under a group called the Iowa Presidential Watch, a Federal Political Action Committee operating out of a mailbox in Iowa. A quick visit to its website shows its advisory board is headed by one Richard Schwarm. Mr Schwarm, in his bio on the IPW site, claims to be a good friend of Karl Rove’s. … A deeper dive into Iowa Presidential Watch via Campaign Money reveals that at the end of the last filing period, they had a grand total of $7 in the bank. Seven dollars. Hmm.
This means one of two things. This group is either bluffing or there will be significant amounts of money poured into this group over the next thirty to sixty days which will not be reported till after the election, diminishing the political fallout. Will Bob Perry, another good friend of Karl Rove’s, contribute more than $4,000,000 like he did to the Swift Boat Veterans when they attacked another decorated veteran in John Kerry? We’ll have to wait and see.
I am sure that you remember the Swiftboat group’s attacks on John Kerry’s Viet Nam record. Do you remember how Senator John McCain felt about their activities?
Sen. John McCain — who has publicly endorsed Bush and even appealed for donations to the President’s campaign — came to Kerry’s defense on this. McCain didn’t witness the events in question, of course. But he told the Associated Press in an August 5 interview:
McCain : I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable. As it is none of these individuals served on the boat (Kerry) commanded. Many of his crewmates have testified to his courage under fire. I think John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam.
It is also important to revisit the issue of the Swiftboat group’s initial funding:
… the group’s financing is highly partisan. The source of the Swift Boat group’s money wasn’t known when it first surfaced, but a report filed July 15 (2004) with the Internal Revenue Services now shows its initial funding came mainly from a Houston home builder, Bob R. Perry, who has also given millions to the Republican party and Republican candidates, mostly in Texas, including President Bush and Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay, whose district is near Houston.
So now, they are setting their sights on Mr. Murtha and his military/public service credentials solely because his views on Iraq differ from their views. How many more democratic candidates who are military veterans, and there are over 60 at present, will they try to attack and discredit prior to November’s election?
We will definitely keep an eye on this group and their efforts during this election season.