Swiftvets not shills for Bush

John O'Neill:

We formed Swift Boat Veterans For Truth for one purpose: to present to the American public our conclusion that John Kerry is not fit to be commander in chief. We are organized as a "527 group" with Adm. Roy Hoffmann at the helm, our leader today as he was some 35 years ago when we served under him in Coastal Squadron One in Vietnam. Our membership is transparent and shown on our Web site, www.swiftvets.com, currently including more than 250 Swiftees. We have 17 of the 23 officers who served with Mr. Kerry, most of his chain of command, and most sailors. We have more than 60 winners of real Purple Hearts. No one has a better right than we do to speak to the matters involving our unit.

Are we controlled by the Bush-Cheney campaign? Absolutely not. The Swift boat veterans who joined our group come in all political flavors: independents, Republicans, Democrats and other more subtle variations. Had another person been the presidential candidate of the Democrats, our group never would have formed. Had Mr. Kerry been the Republican candidate, each of us would still be here.

We do not take direction from the White House or the president's re-election committee, and our efforts would continue even if President Bush were to ask us directly to stop.

...

How many different ways will John Kerry devise to ask President Bush to condemn our ads and squash our book? Why, Mr. Kerry, are our charges as a 527 group unacceptable to you, while the pronouncements from 527 groups favorable to you are considered acceptable, regardless of stridency and veracity? And we do not have a George Soros, willing to drop millions into our modest group. We control our message. To date, we have received $2 million from 30,000 Americans who have donated an average of around $64.

Mr. Kerry, we ask you not to repeat the same mistake you made when you returned from war: Please stop maligning your fellow veterans. Dealing with us should be easy. Just answer our charges. Produce your Vietnam journal and notes, and execute Standard Form 180 so the American people can see your complete military record--not just the few forms you put on your website or show to campaign biographers.


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