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Thursday, August 05, 2004

What the other Swifties say about Kerry; and another type of "war story" about Beldar's courtroom cross-examination of one of those Swifties

[ed: Newer, related posts re the so-called "Elliott retraction" are here, here, and here.]

Those favorably influenced by the glowing tributes to former Navy Lt. John F. Kerry at last week's Democratic National Convention may also wish to hear from some of the other veterans who served with him on the Swift Boats in Vietnam.  This video, which is drawing lots of notice in the blogosphere{note1}, is harsh stuff — but very, very simple, and very, very powerful.   So's the text of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth  website.

On the subject of Sen. Kerry's military record, I've written on my own blog and elsewhere that I don't doubt Kerry's patriotism, and that I genuinely honor his service to his country.  I continue to do so.  I also think it would be a tactical mistake, politically, for President Bush's campaign to attack Sen. Kerry's military record directly. 

However, as I wrote recently in a comment on another blog, there is no logical inconsistency between the proposition that Kerry performed bravely in combat, and the proposition that at least some of his motivations for doing so were selfish, cynical, calculating, and craven.  Personally, everything I've read on the subject — which has been everything I could find on the internet, on both sides of both propositions, including both statements of objective fact and powerful but subjective statements of opinion — has left me inclined to accept both of these propositions.

A 'Swift Boat' of the sort commanded by Messrs. Kerry and O'NeillSo, yes, Sen. Kerry served in combat, and yes, he was brave.  But just how brave?  And how does the entire context of his military record, and his leadership as a war protester thereafter, reflect on his qualifications to be our country's Commander-in-Chief?

There's obviously a large chasm between the portrayals of Sen. Kerry at last week's Democratic National Convention and those on the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth website and in its video.  I don't have a military background myself.  I lack the bona fides to offer any unique evaluation, and I certainly don't have the first-hand experience that either the men who were onstage with Sen. Kerry or who are in the above-linked video clip are drawing on. 

So like most Americans, I'm left having to decide — Which among these knowledgeable sets of witnesses do I believe?


As it happens, I am more than passingly familiar with one of the principal spokesmen for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Houston lawyer John E. O'Neill

Mr. O'Neill, a Naval Academy graduate, served in Coastal Division 11 in Vietnam and took command of PCF 94 — John Kerry's own Swift Boat — after Kerry's departure.  Mr. O'Neill famously debated Kerry on The Dick Cavett Show in 1971 — the era when Kerry was calling his brother veterans "war criminals" in sworn Congressional testimony.  (Mr. O'Neill, whose swift boat service began after Kerry had already left, is not one of the vets in the video — I presume because the SwiftVets wanted to highlight instead the statements from their members who did have first-hand exposure to Kerry.  He was one of the broad class of soldiers and sailors indicted by Kerry's accusations, however, and while he has long taken issue with Kerry's claims and been a spokesman for veterans who were profoundly offended by them, Mr. O'Neill has never pretended to have personal knowledge of Kerry's actions in combat.)

After his combat service in Vietnam, Mr. O'Neill went on to graduate with highest honors from my own alma mater, Texas Law School, where he'd served on the Texas Law Review and earned the highest grades in his class.  ("Grand Chancellor," that's called at UT; I was also on the TLR and was a "mere" Chancellor, but it was seven years later, so our law school tenures didn't overlap).  Mr. O'Neill was a law clerk to Justice William H. Rehnquist on the United States Supreme Court.  His legal career has been every bit as sterling as his military and academic records would have predicted, and he's now a name partner in one of Houston's best law firms.  By hard-earned and universal reputation in our local legal circles, John O'Neill is not only a damned fine trial lawyer{note2} but also as straight an arrow as you'll ever find.

In fact, I had the unenviable task of cross-examining John O'Neill in December 1992 when he was a witness — not in a political campaign, but from the witness stand of the 152nd District Court of Harris County, Texas, whence he gave expert testimony to support my opposing counsel's claim for "reasonable and necessary attorneys' fees" in a huge securities fraud jury trial.{note3}  I'd never met him before, and I don't think I've met him since, but I was certainly familiar with his background and reputation from many, many sources in the Houston legal community.

John E. O'NeillAlthough I could have taken Mr. O'Neill's deposition before the trial, I purposely declined to do so, for I was pretty confident I already knew what he'd say on the witness stand.  Indeed, at the trial, I was entirely unsurprised.  As I'd fully expected, Mr. O'Neill was an extremely credible and formidable witness before the jury.  His testimony — both on direct examination by my opponents and in response to my cross-examination — was absolutely truthful, candid, and fair.  Moreover, he unquestionably was well qualified to give expert opinion testimony regarding attorneys' fees in complex civil litigation.  (These were, of course, precisely the reasons my opposing counsel had asked Mr. O'Neill to be their expert witness on attorneys' fees.)

So it would have been foolish of me to attack his credibility, either directly or indirectly — and I didn't.  Indeed, at the end of my cross-examination, he readily agreed that I hadn't mistreated him.  I believe we shook hands as he stepped down from the witness stand. 

But this kind of witness also presents unique cross-examination opportunities.  Since this was a witness who would tell the truth as he saw it, regardless of where the chips flew, I had the opportunity to point out the chips that, so to speak, flew into my opponents' faces. 

Mr. O'Neill ungrudgingly conceded, for example, that the number of different timekeepers from my opposing counsel's very eminent law firm who'd billed time to this file — I don't recall the exact number, but it was over a dozen different lawyers, and with paralegals included the total was somewhere between twenty-five and thirty — certainly represented adequate, and perhaps even abundant, staffing.  He likewise conceded that although he'd been shown the many banks of file cabinets containing their collective pretrial work product, he'd made no effort to examine those files in detail, and that he wasn't attempting to vouch for the reasonableness or necessity of every task that had been done, every memo that had been written, or every rock that had been turned over and looked under.  After Mr. O'Neill had opined, again truthfully, that for a case of this nature it was not unusual to have — as my opponents did — three senior partners at one counsel table, backed up by a troop of associates, paralegals, and consultants, I asked him whether such a case could also be effectively tried by just one partner, one associate, and a paralegal.  He allowed that yes, he supposed it could — and smiled politely at me, my one young associate, and my one paralegal at our counsel table. 

And finally and most importantly, Mr. O'Neill readily agreed with me that from what he knew of the case, there were plenty of excellent firms in town, including his own, that were well capable of handling this sort of case, and who'd gladly have taken it for the plaintiffs on a pure contingent-fee basis — meaning their actual fee, if the case were ultimately lost, would turn out to be zero.  Because I was well satisfied with Mr. O'Neill's testimony, I chose not to call a controverting expert (i.e., another lawyer) to rebut it. 

And thus, as things turned out, when the jury came back with a defense verdict for my client, it was John O'Neill's own testimony that had formed the factual basis for the jury's answer to the attorneys' fee question submitted as part of that verdict — which was indeed zero, rather than the seven-figure fee award the plaintiffs' counsel had requested.{note4


Unfit for Command:  Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John KerryO'Neill and his fellow Swift Boat veterans insist that they're not shilling for Dubya, Rove & Co. — but rather that they're speaking out as veterans, some of them Democrats and some of them Republicans and some of them independents, who are offended by what they perceive as untruths and distortions from Candidate Kerry.  The Kerry campaign and its supporters are already desperately trying to spin the  SwiftVets' video as being partisan, unreliable, or otherwise incredible.{note5}    

But from my own first-hand experience cross-examining John O'Neill under oath, I can say that I fully believe that John O'Neill fully believes what he's saying — and that he's a damned credible witness in my opinion.

I've already ordered Mr. O'Neill's new book (co-written with Harvard PhD Jerome R. Corsi), "Unfit for Command:  Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry" — which has zoomed to the No. 1 sales ranking on Amazon.com even though it's not yet been released! — and I look forward to reading it when it ships on or about August 15th.  (A free preview chapter is available by email here, although my spam blocker delayed my receiving it.)


Update (Thurs Aug 5 @ 10:40am):  A blogger whose work I read on a daily basis, Dr. James Joyner of Outside the Beltway, writes (to my considerable surprise) that he thinks the SwiftVets "sound increasingly like lunatics."  I only have personal experience with John O'Neill to go on, having never met any other of the SwiftVets, but "lunatic" is about the least apt description I can imagine for him.  Dr. Joyner, and perhaps others, may be influenced by the fact that Matt Drudge "is continuing to flak" for the Swifties.  Well, whatever you think of Drudge, even a blind pig can sometimes find an acorn — and there was that matter a few years ago when Drudge was first with the story of the blue dress.

Other new links:  Rusty at mypetjawa; Backcountry Conservative; Wizbang; A Time for Choosing; and The Key Monk.  See also the Trackbacks to this post; I thank the bloggers who were kind enough to link to this one.

Update (Thurs Aug 5 @ 2:00pm):  In response to a comment I'd left on Dr. Joyner's blog, another commenter (quoting me only in part) had this to say:

I practice law in Houston, and graduated from the same law school as John ONeill albeit seven years later and without quite the same record he had.

Wow, sounds as if you’re about as qualified to comment on O’Neill as O’Neill is qualified to comment on Kerry.

I think the selective quote was intended to be snarky; at least it was taken that way by another commenter.  But as I tried to make very clear in my original post here, I'm not one of John O'Neill's close friends or partners; he doesn't refer business to me; I owe him no favors.  If we ever do meet again, it will almost certainly be as professional adversaries.  My post described O'Neill's reputation because it was very relevant to my one rather extended and unusual first-hand experience with him.  I would agree that report of my first-hand experience with him is more reliable and meaningful than my report on O'Neill's general reputation in the local trial bar; but both are entirely consistent. 

But it occurs to me that I may have failed to make something else clear in my original post.  Sometimes when people ask me what I do for a living, I only half-jokingly tell them, "I'm a corporate assassin."  On a daily basis, my trade requires me to discredit witnesses, to impeach their credibility, to make them into laughingstocks in front of a jury, if I can.  Unlike, say, Mr. Conason, I can only do so using sworn evidence; and I have to follow the canons of ethics, the rules of evidence, and the rules of procedure.

In the specific trial in which I cross-examined Mr. O'Neill, the parties who had designated him as an expert witness and called him to the witness stand were trying to win an eight-figure judgment against my client.  Mr. O'Neill's testimony in particular was what they hoped would be the basis for a seven-figure award of attorneys' fees.  Had they won the lawsuit, my client would have been bankrupted; it was a "bet the company" case.  Accordingly, on that day, John O'Neill was my professional enemy.  It was my professional responsibility to my client to do everything I could, as a zealous advocate acting within the bounds of the law and the canons of ethics, to discredit John O'Neill's testimony.  Failing that, my duty was to make the best of his testimony that I could.

One means of doing so would have been to attack his general credibility.  If he had been an ambulance chaser, a professional testifier, a scoundrel, then I would have brought evidence of that to the jury.  But he wasn't.  If he were a tax lawyer or a politico who'd never tried a complex civil lawsuit and couldn't speak knowledgeably about attorneys' fees involved in such lawsuits, I'd have brought evidence of that to the jury.  But he wasn't.  If he had gone to a third-rate law school and had flunked the bar twice, I'd have brought evidence of that to the jury.  But he didn't. 

I had first learned of O'Neill's reputation and background when I was at Texas Law School precisely because he had been a star there and had landed a Supreme Court clerkship.  I too had aspirations of clerking for a Supreme Court Justice, and made a point to find out who from my school had done so during the past several years.  (I have a nice collection of nine signatures on polite letters telling me "thanks but no thanks."  One of my fellow TLR editors from the class of 1980 did, however, also clerk for Rehnquist; funny how he's now a partner in a prominent Texas-based firm that's a major fundraiser for Kerry and other Democrats.  I'll have to get Joe Conason to explain that to me, I guess.)  I learned more of O'Neill when I began practicing civil trial work in Houston.  I saw his name on reports of verdicts; I tried cases against lawyers who are now his partners; I tried to find out who the movers and shakers in my town and my profession were so I could become one of them myself.  Again, although I've moved in the same professional circles, I can't claim to have had nearly the success that O'Neill has had; but I could not have helped but have heard about him and his, from people whose judgments I trust implicitly.

Another means of impeaching his testimony would have been to expose any exaggerations or lies that he might have told about the specifics of that particular case.  Here I had a considerable advantage over him, because I'd been working on the case for over four years before it went to trial, and I knew in considerable detail what work my opposing counsel had done.  I was prepared to pounce if O'Neill strayed from the paths of honesty and fairness; but he didn't.

The main point I was trying to make, however, was that I was able to use John O'Neill's credentials and his expertise and most of all, his honesty to score points for my client.  A morally squishy lawyer could easily have evaded my questions or quibbled with me.  A greedy or overambitious one would have seen a clear incentive to do just that — for the law firm who'd named him as their expert witness is among the largest and most powerful in Texas, and it hands out hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars in referrals every year. 

But O'Neill played it straight, even though the end result allowed me, in effect, to turn him into an expert witness for my client. 

I had every incentive to discredit O'Neill, but I couldn't.  He had every incentive to fudge his testimony in order to sink my client, but he didn't. 

Does that clear it up?


Update (Fri Aug 6 @ 4pm):  Kevin Drum posts "A Tale of Two Officers," in which he describes Mr. O'Neill as "the professional Kerry hater who has 'reluctantly' formed a generously-funded 527 accusing John Kerry of being a liar, a coward under fire, and a medal chaser."  In comments on that thread and an earlier one, I've invited Mr. Drum to deal with the facts of Mr. O'Neill's career before assessing his credibility.  I look forward to an answer.


{note1}Among the bloggers I've noticed commenting on the SwiftVets' video so far, in no particular order, are Mark Levin on NRO's The Corner; Citizen Smash; Blackfive; SondraK; Ace of Spades; Say Anything; AllahPundit; Roger L. Simon; Spoons; PoliPundit; Power Line; Florida Cracker; Ryne McClaren; Little Green Footballs; InstaPundit; Sam Barnes at Redstate; Feddie at Southern Appeal; and Drudge Report.

{note2}As I explained at length in my very first blog post, I do not use the term "trial lawyer" to mean "plaintiffs' personal injury lawyer," but rather a lawyer who actually and regularly takes cases (of whatever sort, from either side) to trial, and then knows what to do there when he gets there.  (The apt if impolite contrasting term used by real trial lawyers is "candy-assed litigator," meaning someone who files or defends lawsuits (personal injury or otherwise), does pretrial discovery, files pretrial motions, postures appropriately — but then inevitably settles before picking a jury.)  Mr. O'Neill is a genuine trial lawyer, and his firm represents both plaintiffs and defendants in civil business litigation.

{note3}I've previously written about other aspects of that same trial here.  If you're insatiably curious for more details about the particular litigants and the issues, email me and I'll send you a link to more information; it's all part of the public record, but just as a matter of taste, I'd rather not put the spotlight on folks who haven't invited it.

{note4}There's some precedent, I acknowledge, to the effect that such an answer from the jury would have been unsustainable on appeal if the plaintiffs had won their underlying case based on the rest of the jury's verdict.  They hadn't, though.  The case was not appealed, and that particular answer ended up being nothing more than, perhaps, a mild rebuke to the esteemed law firm representing the plaintiffs (and a pat on the back for my team) from the jury.  The rebuke doubtless stung considerably less than it otherwise might have because, as I was given to understand, the plaintiffs' law firm had been unsuccessful before the trial in their efforts to convince their very wealthy clients to agree to a contingent fee arrangement — so the firm was paid in full at their regular hourly rates, even though they lost.

{note5}Per my screencap from Google News, the good grey New York Times initially described the video as the SwiftVets' "latest gambit" — but has already toned that down a bit on its website version of the story to read instead "latest tactic."  Heh.  What liberal media?  [ed: the print version, at least as distributed here in Houston, still read "gambit."]

Meantime, I note that someone who enters "swiftboatvets.com" or "swiftboatvets.net" or "swiftboatsvets.org" into his browser — instead of "swiftvets.com" (which is the correct URL) — will find himself redirected to this bit of heavy spin (subscription or annoying commercial req'd to view in full text) by Salon.com's Joe Conason from May 4, 2004.  Gee, now that's a coincidence.  I wonder who paid for those domain-name purchases and redirects.  Obviously someone of high moral integrity.  [ed: corrected URLs per Deb's useful comment below, thanks!]

Mr. Conason's fact-checking skills break down by his third paragraph in the teaser page, where he references "eternal Kerry antagonist and Dallas attorney John E. O'Neill."  Umm, yeah, except he lives in Houston, Joe.  And I think I'd probably be an eternal antagonist of someone who'd called me and the men who served with me in combat "war criminals," pretty much regardless of party affiliation.  If you wade through the advertisements and inuendos, you'll discover another link back to an April 23 article by Conason which manages to distinguish correctly between the state's two largest cities, and then discloses that — oh my God! — Nixon admired O'Neill's willingness to take Kerry on in debate and invited him to the White House!  And even worse, O'Neill has had law partners who are — gasp! — Republicans, and the firm has clients that are big corporations!  Rock solid proof of conspiracy — or could it be ... competency?  Nahhh.

"No doubt it was mere coincidence that O'Neill clerked with William Rehnquist, the controversial conservative who was Nixon's favorite justice and who went on to be appointed chief justice by President Reagan," writes Conason.  Umm, yeah again, Joe, that and maybe the fact that O'Neill was first in his class at Texas Law School (which a few years earlier had refused admittance to young George W. Bush; guess they didn't get the VRWC memo that week).  And you know, I hadn't realized until now that O'Neill's debate on the Cavett show got Rehnquist the CJ spot.   How'd I miss that?  Hey Joe, I think they've got a job waiting for you at the Times!  That should be your next gambit.

Posted by Beldar at 01:01 AM in Law (2006 & earlier), Politics (2006 & earlier), SwiftVets, Trial Lawyer War Stories | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to What the other Swifties say about Kerry; and another type of "war story" about Beldar's courtroom cross-examination of one of those Swifties and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» Kerry: War Criminal, Animal Killer from mypetjawa v. 2.0 (beta)

Tracked on Aug 5, 2004 11:08:14 AM

» Swift Boat Allegations from PoliBlog(TM)

Tracked on Aug 5, 2004 12:47:36 PM

» This is why I would Vote for McCain! from In Search of Utopia

Tracked on Aug 5, 2004 1:05:28 PM

» Beldar Is Back and He Is Not Allowing Tainted Love from Right on the Left Beach

Tracked on Aug 5, 2004 1:15:57 PM

» Swift Boat Nuts? from Outside The Beltway ™

Tracked on Aug 5, 2004 1:28:48 PM

» Down The Rabbit Hole We Go from Chapomatic

Tracked on Aug 5, 2004 1:37:07 PM

» More On The Swiftvets Ad... from Ryne McClaren: A Weblog

Tracked on Aug 5, 2004 6:10:46 PM

» Swift Boat Vets: Kerry Unfit to be Commander-in-Chief from CenterFeud

Tracked on Aug 5, 2004 8:34:40 PM

» Swift Boat Vets Credibility from I love Jet Noise

Tracked on Aug 6, 2004 6:12:33 AM

» If it Pleases the Court... from The Commons

Tracked on Aug 7, 2004 11:15:06 AM

» Our Objective Media, Watchdogs of the Public Good from dislogue

Tracked on Aug 8, 2004 12:32:25 PM


(1) RS made the following comment | Aug 5, 2004 11:04:57 AM | Permalink

Great essay!

(2) Syl made the following comment | Aug 5, 2004 11:07:04 AM | Permalink

Thank you for this excellent post. I appreciate reading your professional sense of O'Neill as principled, intelligent and respected and hope this gets wide exposure.

(3) Deb made the following comment | Aug 5, 2004 1:48:34 PM | Permalink

Very nice piece. I would just correct the info about the Swift Vet site though - their correct url is swiftvets.com

swiftvets.net is owned by some fellow in AZ and swiftvets.org is owned anonymously.

(4) Deb made the following comment | Aug 5, 2004 4:48:52 PM | Permalink

:) You're welcome. Those domains are all registered to someone in Japan. They were all created today, also. People have way too much time on their hands.

(5) Bloggerhead made the following comment | Aug 5, 2004 7:54:25 PM | Permalink

So, yes, Sen. Kerry served in combat, and yes, he was brave. But just how brave?

So there gradations of bravery which below a certain level somehow disqualifies one for the presidency? Hmm. So are there gradations of honesty below which one is disqualified to be taken seriously?

You're passing professional encounter with Mr. O'Neill, who, remember, allowed himself to be inserted into the political process by the Nixon administration for the specific purpose of attacking Kerry back in '74, came in the context of expert witness testimony, presumably dispassionate and certainly under oath. This is a far cry from the political hackdom in which he has long shown himself only too willing to engage.

(6) PurpleStater made the following comment | Aug 5, 2004 8:46:39 PM | Permalink

I watched the Swift Boats press conference back in May and subsequently posted my take on it. I was impressed at the time that these men did not look like political opportunists. With the exception of O'Neill, who was very polished, the Swift Boat Vets looked uncomfortable and anguished, as if they'd rather be anywhere else. But as each spoke, I though "Oh, my God, these are obviously men of conscience and look what they're saying about him."

Then I read the counterpoints, attacking O'Neill's political connections and history as an opponent of Kerry's, and wondered to what extent he was settling an old score, over which anyone would be justifiably angry. But reading your post reinforces my perception that O'Neill and his group are attempting to "speak truth to power" as Michael Moore exhorts his followers to do. Only they appear to have some facts on their side, and are fully prepared to engage legally if necessary. Nor does it appear they will back down. Regardless of how this gets spun, this can't be good for Kerry.

(7) Beldar made the following comment | Aug 5, 2004 9:44:37 PM | Permalink

Bloggerhead, thanks for your comments; opposing viewpoints are welcome when expressed with civility, as yours are.

My personal encounter with O'Neill was just about as "passing" as his encounter with the national spotlight (in 1971-1972, my friend, not 1974). Having been called a war criminal, a baby killer, by Kerry, John O'Neall objected. He inserted himself into the spotlight, briefly — not to attack Kerry, but to defend himself and his brothers from Kerry's attacks! — and yes, the then-President applauded. But then the passion over the Vietnam War mostly subsided until this 2004 election, and O'Neill's been on the political sidelines from 1972 until now. Them's the facts. If you call him a "political hack ever since" it'd be nice if you could point to a fact or two to back it up; but you can't, because he's not. Where's the evidence of his political fundraising? His speech-making and op-ed writing? His running for office, or managing the campaigns of those who did? His service in any appointed position — local, state, or federal? If he was a "political hack," point to some hacking, my friend!

As for gradations of combat bravery being a qualification: Again, I claim no expertise to make that distinction, and don't proclaim it to be a pre-requisite for the C-in-C office. Nor does the candidate for whom I intend to vote. But the candidate for whom I do not intend to vote apparently does think it's important, judging by the scripted show of military symbols and personnel at last week's convention. So, yes, I'm more than mildly curious about whether I should believe Kerry and his Band of Brothers, or the SwiftVets. My point in posting was to pass along a personal experience that I think bears on the credibility of one of the participants in that debate.

(8) djangone made the following comment | Aug 6, 2004 5:56:09 PM | Permalink

You're asking me to give you a lot of credit for your own personal honesty in your description of cross-examining a political ally twelve years ago, Beldar. Based on what I've read from you so far--e.g. 'craven' not being logically inconsistent with 'bravery'--I'm not positive I'm willing to go that far.

I'm going to apply your own line of rhetoric from one of your Drum posts, and we'll see how it works itself out.

"If I cross-examine a man vigorously, despite him being my political ally, it will make me better able to claim some kind of nonpartisan bona fides, even in cases where my cross-examination is absolutely irrelevant to the subject at hand." I question my ally O'Neill in court. From your perspective, and from the perspective of anyone looking onward, I've acted with integrity. And indeed my actions evidenced some dignity on my part. But my motivations were hardly pure.

Neither you, nor I, nor anyone else was inside Beldar's head when he cross-examined John O'Neill. I'm suggesting that we can agree that at least some of his actions then, viewed objectively, exhibited integrity. My simple point is that such actions are not inconsistent with the actor having had mixed motivations, some of which may not have been noble.

Look, I'm not saying any of this is the case. This is an exercise in pure Beldar logic, and it's pretty ridiculous, eh? If you're going to write such a disingenuous line of garbage about Kerry at another site, you certainly deserve to see how silly it sounds about you here.

What's more, I have no problem with O'Neill having dignity in this 1992 case. It has nothing to do with his dignity in the matter at hand. In fact, I imagine he's largely an honorable person. He also happens to be one of those tiny footnotes in history whose entire existence will be vis-a-vis John Kerry. Whenever Kerry comes out, somehow, out pops John. He's a rather honorable tool in the shed for others to use for despicable ends, and that's being generous. Being less generous, on the other hand, I'm personally of the opinion that he's a willing tool, a golem of the unreconstructed Chuck Colson, and when he's not on 'Kerry duty' he probably is a good, charitable and upstanding individual.

(9) Norman Rogers made the following comment | Aug 6, 2004 6:15:04 PM | Permalink

Beldar, I think your comments are on the money.

I too, have a lot of experience both as a witness and as a litigant (I'm one of the guys who pays for the braces on lawyer's kids teeth). And it is rare to meet an honest man who won't slant his story to suit his paymaster.

And my measure of the veterans is consistant with yours: they are honest men who spotted Kerry as a phony nearly forty years, and who are coming forth now to tell their stories because Kerry chose to run on his fudged history instead of his actual record.

(10) Beldar made the following comment | Aug 6, 2004 6:35:56 PM | Permalink

Thanks for dropping by, djangone.

Let's start with the "political ally" bit. Although I'd heard of John O'Neill sometime during law school, it was in connection with his being a Texas Law School graduate who'd been a Supreme Court Clerk. I heard more of him when I entered practice, but solely in connection with him being a well-regarded and high profile trial lawyer. When I cross-examined him in 1992, I was entirely unaware of his history with Kerry from the early 1970s, and indeed, I only became aware of that part of Mr. O'Neill's background last year, in connection with Kerry's current campaign. It was very much a "Hey, I know him!" moment when I heard that Mr. O'Neill was re-entering the political arena in the limited capacity of speaking up about Sen. Kerry.

My own bona fides and credibility, I concede, are put in issue when I offer myself as a witness an event that sheds light upon Mr. O'Neill's credibility. My own politics are no secret — note the "Blogs for Bush" .jpg in my sidebar. But on the day in 1992 when I met Mr. O'Neill, I didn't know his politics (or care about them). He was my professional enemy because he was being called to give testimony against my client in a bet-the-company case.

There's no transcript of the cross-examination because the case was never appealed. Transcribing a six-week jury trial would have cost tens of thousands of dollars. But if you genuinely doubt my version of the events of that day, though, I'd be glad to email you with names of my opposing counsel, who could confirm them.

If you speak of political history, you're correct — John O'Neill will be a tiny footnote, and I'm sure he's never even aspired to that. As I've written on Mr. Drum's blog and elsewhere, I'm well acquainted with the species Lawyerus Politico, and John O'Neill shares none of its defining characteristics.

But of course, the 2004 Presidential campaign will be more than a footnote in tomorrow's political histories. Sen. Kerry and his supporters have chosen, as part of that campaign, to question the integrity and credibility of Mr. O'Neill and the other SwiftVets who've disputed Sen. Kerry's claim to war-hero status. When I read, for example, Joe Conason's latest description of Mr. O'Neill as being "an early protégé of Nixon-era dirty trickster Charles Colson" — or, for that matter, your opinion of Mr. O'Neill as being "a golem of the unreconstructed Chuck Colson" — that strikes me as inconsistent with my own first-hand experience with the man, my own knowledge of his reputation, and all the facts I've been able to dig up about what actually happened in 1971-1972.

I frown; therefore I blog.

(11) Beldar made the following comment | Aug 6, 2004 6:52:38 PM | Permalink

Norman, thank you for the comment. Your post, and in particular the word "paymaster," prompts me to mention something that I've earler neglected, though:

I frankly don't know for sure whether O'Neill was being paid for his time in appearing as an expert witness for the plaintiffs back in 1992. My assumption was, and is, that he did it as a professional favor and courtesy to my opposing counsel. The reason I never bothered to ask was that I was pretty sure the answer would be that he was unpaid. Any fee he might have been paid for his time would have been trivial for him; if plaintiffs' counsel did pay him, it certainly would have been at his normal hourly rates, and O'Neill is a lawyer who has to turn away clients because there aren't enough of his hours in the day to handle them all. And anyway, I knew that I'd never be able to persuade the jury that this was someone whose opinion was for sale. O'Neill's bearing and demeanor are still that of a Naval Academy graduate. In all the intangible ways that jurors assess credibility, the man simply dripped with honesty.

Likewise, I never attempted to challenge Mr. O'Neill's unfavorable testimony on grounds that it had been influenced by his acquaintance with plaintiffs' counsel. It wouldn't have worked. And it would have been borderline unethical for me to have done so, frankly, because his unfavorable testimony, even if of the expert opinion variety, was indeed accurate and truthful. For example, I knew that he was telling the truth when he testified about prevailing local rates among lawyers of the experience and resources to handle this kind of lawsuit (because I knew what my firm was charging, and it was comparable).

There were other experts in that same case, of lesser reputation and integrity, who I did indeed aggressively cross-examine on grounds of financial or other bias.

But O'Neill wasn't biased. It was as simple as that.

(12) djangone made the following comment | Aug 6, 2004 7:25:11 PM | Permalink

Oh, come on. You frown, therefore you blog? It's hardly an unbiased posture to concoct those 'seeing inside the head of Kerry' bits on Political Animal. Nobody who's genuinely waiting for the facts to convince him writes such a thing. Nor does an unconvinced third party include a paragraph like yours impugning the motives of activities of which you were not witness.

It's perfectly possible to think John O'Neill will be tranlated to heaven directly upon his demise--a sterling and moral individual in all respects. I absolutely don't doubt that he believes what he says. Neither do I doubt that he feels he's doing his duty now.

It's just that he's a part of a smear campaign that's horribly twisted and downright dishonest. I don't share such lofty post-mortem predictions for the purveyors of the advertising, or the book, in which Mr. O'Neill makes his latest stand against Kerry. Mr. Corsi in particular. The publishers, of 'the Clintons decorated trees with condoms fame,' right alongside.

(13) Tom Maguire made the following comment | Aug 7, 2004 9:09:09 AM | Permalink

According to my FEC search, "professional Kerry hater" John O'Neill has forgotten to contribute to any national Repsublicans or Massachusetts Republicans.

Even locally, he only shows up for a few Congressman.

Unless his firm is bundling, or has a PAC, or some such, he is not showing up as much of a partisan.

(14) Narniaman made the following comment | Aug 7, 2004 10:41:41 AM | Permalink

Just one comment. . . . .

Please keep blogging, Beldar.

Your writing and your arguments are very good and quite convincing.

And I say that as the natural prey of the lawyer plainticus. . . .a surgeon!!

(15) Joe Baby made the following comment | Aug 7, 2004 11:03:52 AM | Permalink

...Mr. O'Neill, who, remember, allowed himself to be inserted into the political process by the Nixon administration for the specific purpose of attacking Kerry back in '74...

I realize that the Cavett interview took place in a political environment. However;

isn't it possible that O'Neill had the courage of his convictions--that is, was horrified at another swift boat'er making outlandish charges and demanding that national policy be determined by a different political view?

doesn't O'Neill get any credit for debating a Kerry argument that Kerry has now taking steps to discredit?

doesn't O'Neill get any credit for having a better idea of what would happen in post-1975 Vietnam?

In short--we can drag Nixon's ghost thru the argument, but O'Neill is still telling the same story as decades before. It's John Kerry's version that has changed.

(16) sarah made the following comment | Aug 7, 2004 11:32:27 AM | Permalink

Stands tall huh? The fact that he has been after Kerry for 30 years, the fact that he was recruited by Nixon and Colson (who later went to jail for Watergate) - that's nothing right?

How about Jerome Corsi, co-author of the book?

Here are some memorable quotes from him from the free republic website:

Corsi on Islam: "a worthless, dangerous Satanic religion"

• Corsi on Catholicism: "Boy buggering in both Islam and Catholicism is okay with the Pope as long as it isn't reported by the liberal press"

• Corsi on Muslims: "RAGHEADS are Boy-Bumpers as clearly as they are Women-Haters -- it all goes together"

• Corsi on "John F*ing Commie Kerry": "After he married TerRAHsa, didn't John Kerry begin practicing Judiasm? He also has paternal grandparents that were Jewish. What religion is John Kerry?"

• Corsi on Senator "FAT HOG" Clinton: "Anybody ask why HELLary couldn't keep BJ Bill satisfied? Not lesbo or anything, is she?"

Also how about the publiser? Regency. Which
is also just published a book by Michelle Malking titled "In defense of Internment: The case for racial profiling in World War II and the War on Terror".

Nice. You want to be associated with a bunch of conviced felons and race-baiters - go right ahead. I'm sure it won't bother you much.

(17) Patrick R. Sullivan made the following comment | Aug 7, 2004 11:49:11 AM | Permalink

I don't know what his political affiliation is now, but O'Neill told an amusing story about meeting Nixon. He mentioned he'd voted for Humphrey in '68 which didn't go down well with some of Nixon's aides.

And, of course, the Conason tactics are classic logical fallacies.

(18) Beldar made the following comment | Aug 7, 2004 11:56:25 AM | Permalink

Commenter sarah: I know nothing of Dr. Corsi and won't presume to comment about him; I haven't yet read the book, and certainly don't know what his contributions to it were as compared to John O'Neill's.

However, this statement is terribly bogus:

The fact that he [O'Neill] has been after Kerry for 30 years, the fact that he was recruited by Nixon and Colson (who later went to jail for Watergate) - that's nothing right?

O'Neill decided on his own to speak out, to try to refute Kerry's widely publicized accusations that American soldiers and sailors, including the Swiftees among whom both O'Neill and Kerry had served, were "baby-killers" and "war criminals." O'Neill had repeatedly challenged Kerry to debate him publicly, and had already finally gotten Kerry to agree to debate him on the Dick Cavett Show, before O'Neill had any contact from the Nixon White House.

Yes, Colson and Nixon approved of and applauded O'Neill's efforts; yes, O'Neill was invited to the White House to meet Nixon just before the Cavett debate. But there has been no suggestion made that O'Neill ever participated in any of Colson's "dirty tricks" with respect to Kerry, much less anything Colson did that sent him to prison (which to my recollection, had something to do with Watergate rather than John Kerry).

As for being "after Kerry for 30 years," well, yes, it was 30 years ago that Kerry made his accusations and that O'Neill spoke out to rebut them. O'Neill's been essentially silent on the subject since the early 1970s, however, so to imply that he's been on an active and continuous 30-year crusade is misleading.

Less inuendo, spin, and guilt-by-association, please. More facts and fairness, please.

(19) jake made the following comment | Aug 7, 2004 12:12:37 PM | Permalink

I linked to your site to read about John O'Neil and although it is interesting that you once came across him personally, I think that their are already signs that any first year law school student could cast some serious doubt on their credibility.

Let it be noted, that I am only arguing the effectiveness of the campaign. These are strong allegations, which, in my opinion make them less effective.

1. John O'Neil proved in 1972 he has a strong dislike of Kerry when he debated him on the DC Show and was furious at his comments post-Vietnam.

2. Elliot stood next to JK in 1996 and defended his services.

3. All of the after action reports give favorable coverage to Kerry immediately following the events for which he received his medals

4. Larry Thurlaw received a Bronze star for actions during the same incident as JK.

5. John McCain had his military record smeared during the primaries, as well as his personal life.
- Rumors were circulated that he was unfit to serve because of trauma from being a POW.
- Push polling was conducted asking "would you vote for Bush if you knew that one of his opponets had fatered an illegitimate child?" McCain has an adopted daughter of color.

6. All of the men who served DIRECTLY under his command and were on his boat support him. Including Rassuman whom claims Kerry saved his life.

7. It was widely reported that Rassuman contacted Kerry FIRST.

All of this on top of the fact that GWB didn't go to vietnam.

Kerry certainly put his war service out front, but the Bush team has mishandled this from the start. I saw K. Hughes on Meet the Press months ago challenging Kerry's patriotism.

These types of negetive ads are less and less effective. Everyone is online and connected, research is easy to do. Sticking to their OPINION that Kerry dishonored the military by testifying would have been more effective.

They are giving the press a full 80+ days to dig into their story. Why not run it late?

(20) Peter made the following comment | Aug 7, 2004 12:47:07 PM | Permalink

Jake, they have to run their ads now, if at all. McCain/Feingold makes it illegal to run that ad within thirty days before a primary and sixty days before a general election, remember?
I shall not debate your other points, it's odd that you only bring up the misdeeds of people who are not connected with this argument.

(21) ech made the following comment | Aug 7, 2004 1:04:30 PM | Permalink

When Kerry became the front runner, some of the local media decided to track down Mr. O'Neill for comments since his appearance on Dick Cavett was well known. For quite a while he resisted talking about the debate. One of the local right-wing talk shows was unable to get him as a guest when the stories first appeared in the local press. The first radio interview I heard with him had a strong flavor of his wanting to be doing almost anything else. He hardly came across as a right wing moonbat.

(22) Merv Benson made the following comment | Aug 7, 2004 3:28:31 PM | Permalink

I think you have hit on what has the DNC sending out panicky scare letters to TV stations. O'Neill and the other Swift Boat Vets have credibility. So far the Dems response has been what some trial lawyers call mad dogging. They are trying to bark so loud and so often that it is hard to get a word in response. It will not work with someone like O'Neill. Note how the Boston Globe report of recanting was quickly shot down, not with barking but with affidavits. Al Hunt also pulled out his Max Cleland war form ande plugged in Kerry names for his mad do attack on anyone who would challenge Kerry's story.

If you go back to the Globes 96 story where Kerry's crew was asked about his action that resulted in Kerry's Silver Star, you will find that their description of events is inconsistent with Kerry's citation. They talk about Kerry chasing down the one wounded VC with a rocket launcher. The citation says Kerry's action was done against a numerically superior force. The reality is that Kerry and his crew were numerically superior. It should be noted that this description of the action was by those who still support Kerry. The Globe never noted the descrepancy.

As a former Marine Corp officer who served in Vietnam, and also a former general counsel to two different public companies in Houston, I believe O'Neill is the more credible witness. While we may have been in law school at the same time, I did not personally know O'Neill. I do know some of his partners and have a high regard for them.

(23) Patrick R. Sullivan made the following comment | Aug 7, 2004 5:37:25 PM | Permalink

It's disingenuous to suggest that the 1996 appearances by Elliott and Lonsdale with Kerry discredit their testimonies now. Kerry had been accused of comitting a war crime in the Silver Star incident by the Boston Globe's economics columnist David Warsh. And this happened only a few days before the election. Here's what Warsh wrote:

According to the citation, ". . . an enemy soldier sprang up from his position not 10 feet from Swift boat 94 and fled. Without hesitation Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry leaped ashore, pursued the man behind a hootch and killed him, capturing a B-40 rocket launcher with a round in the chamber."

Twice more the expedition came under fire before returning safely to base, according to the citation. Ten Viet Cong were killed during the day and one was wounded; many weapons were captured; no Americans were hurt.

Last Monday, as he described the long-ago events to me, Tom Bellodeau said with no inflection in particular, "You know, I shot that guy. He jumped up, he looked right at me, I looked at him. You could tell he was trying to decide whether to shoot or not. I expected the guy on Kerry's boat with the twin 50s to blast him but he couldn't depress the guns far enough. We were up on the bank." Bellodeau said he fired at the man, wounding him.

But didn't Kerry shoot him? "When I hit him he went down and got up again. When Kerry hit him, he stayed down," said Bellodeau....

What's the best interpretation? That a breathless young lieutenant, his pulse pounding with the exhilaration of battle, ran some distance from the river bank in pursuit of a soldier, turned the corner behind the hootch and came face to face with an enemy ready to kill him — and that he fired in self-defense.

What's the ugliest possibility? That behind the hootch Kerry administered a coup de grace to the Vietnamese soldier — a practice not uncommon in those days, but a war crime nevertheless, and hardly the basis for a Silver Star. And that he went back the next day with a movie camera, perhaps to build his own case for what happened. Different people will draw different conclusions from the limited information that is available, depending on their experiences."

Elmo Zumwalt also appeared, as did Bellodeau. They were there to deny Kerry had commited a war crime, not to endorse him in the election.

(24) Beldar made the following comment | Aug 7, 2004 6:15:47 PM | Permalink

Patrick, thanks for the comments, both here and on my later post about Captain Elliott's affidavits. You raise good points with supporting factual arguments.

It's not clear from the newer Elliott affidavit when he first acquired the additional (albeit still second-hand) information that may have caused him to rethink his views regarding the Silver Star recommendation. The affidavit references Kranish et al.'s 2004 book as being among "many sources." If all of those sources were post-1996, that would further resolve any arguable inconsistency between Elliott's 1996 statements and his current ones for the SwiftVets.

(25) M. Simon made the following comment | Aug 7, 2004 6:28:16 PM | Permalink

This opening attack is not ment to destroy Kerry. It is intended to make splinters and draw allention.

The fire bombing will be Winter Soldier.

Once that is hashed out we will know if Kerry is a war criminal as he claimed or a liar.

I'm sure a few other points will come out as well.

(26) Bruce Moomaw made the following comment | Aug 7, 2004 7:09:54 PM | Permalink

If O-Neill isn't a "Republican hack", as Beldar insists, then all one can say is that he has VERY odd taste in co-authors. (Incidentally, it's interesting that Tom Maguire is enthusiastically in favor of investigating Kerry's wartime activities, given that a few days ago he was raging on his website against those horrible Democratic partisans who insisted on "smearing Bush's character" by trying to dig into his Vietnam wartime performance.)

(27) Beldar made the following comment | Aug 7, 2004 7:46:31 PM | Permalink

I have no first-hand knowledge of Dr. Corsi; nor do I swoon over all Harvard PhDs, and neither have I attempted to do any serious research about his background and career. Before coming to any judgments about him, I'd like to see his own, or Mr. O'Neill's, or the SwiftVets', response(s) to some of the info about Dr. Corsi that's been squirted around the blogosphere. And I'd like to read the book.

(28) Bruce Moomaw made the following comment | Aug 7, 2004 7:56:56 PM | Permalink

Well, Corsi himself explicitly stated -- on one of his Free Republic bloggings (linked to by Media Matters) -- that he WAS responsible for the utterly grotesque ravings printed there under that pen name. It's rather difficult to believe that O'Neill didn't know about his co-author's views.

As for Elliott's behavior regarding his affidavits, see CNN:

"In Friday's Boston Globe, Elliott was quoted as saying: 'It was a terrible mistake probably for me to sign the affidavit with those words. I'm the one in trouble here.'

"Elliott told the Globe Kerry did deserve the medal.

"Inundated with calls to verify the statement, Elliott grew media shy and said through his wife he would not talk. Earlier in the day, Mrs. Elliott said her husband was playing golf and would call back when he returned in the afternoon.

"Elliott later issued another affidavit -- witnessed and notarized -- this time saying he was misquoted by the Globe and reaffirming his belief that Kerry has 'not been honest about what happened in Vietnam.' "

Ah, yes, there's nothing like a firm, confident witness, yes indeed.

(29) Bruce Moomaw made the following comment | Aug 7, 2004 8:03:24 PM | Permalink

As for the plausibility of Adm. Roy Hoffmann -- the co-founder of SBVT -- well... link

(30) Beldar made the following comment | Aug 9, 2004 10:54:37 AM | Permalink

Bruce, your comments are welcome, but I've edited the URLs you included in them to put them into hyperlink form. (The long text versions of the URLs blow my sidebar graphics, and links are probably more useful anyway.)

The Media Matters links regarding Dr. Corsi and Admiral Hoffman are interesting — but I'd find them more credible if I hadn't already seen how disingenuous that organization has been in describing the one individual I actually do know a fair amount about, John O'Neill.

Finally, regarding Captain Elliott as a "firm, confident witness": The CNN account adds nothing substantive. I've posted elsewhere about how I believe Mike Kranish of the Boston Globe [ed: corrected per Mark-o's comment just below] likely manipulated Captain Elliott and his first, rather inartfully drafted affidavit to obtain the so-called retraction. Links to my three posts on that subject are now at the top of this post. I can't say that I blame Captain Elliott for being "media shy" after having been abused by Kronish; he would indeed be wise to avoid further media contacts without some media-savy assistance to help ensure that he won't be manipulated again.

(31) Mark-o made the following comment | Aug 9, 2004 1:29:23 PM | Permalink

Hi - It isn't Kranish of the Boston Post, it's the Globe (as logged on boston.com) The Globe has zero cred on this issue, and neither will the NYT since the publisher's hand has been tipped. Interesting (not) that Moomaw says "Elliott told the Globe" knowing full well it was Kranish, that non-partisan. I guess this is what a crocodile's "death spin" looks like. Kerry is toast, and deservedly so.

(32) Beldar made the following comment | Aug 9, 2004 3:18:30 PM | Permalink

D'oh. I knew that, misspoke. Thanks Mark-o.

(33) Bob made the following comment | Aug 9, 2004 4:03:36 PM | Permalink

The Swiftboat Veteran's analysis of Senator Kerry's fitreps are bang on. For four years in the mid-80's I was the officer responsible for data processing in all the Navy's officer selection boards. I sat in every board session, maintained records of deliberations (including voting), provided statistical analysis of voting trends, tracked the number of selectees in each category, and created the final report of selectees that was forwarded to Congress for approval. Many of thoose officers had seen service in Vietnam. Every point the Swifties made about understanding fitreps is accurate. The evaluation of fitreps is an area with which very few people have personal knowledge. Given that I cannot find anything in their description of fitreps that sounds strained or slanted against the Senator, I can only conclude that they are basically trying to tell the truth and it makes the rest of the information they provide seem more plausible.

(34) Chris made the following comment | Aug 10, 2004 5:15:10 PM | Permalink

I can't believe you guys are actually falling for this load. Explain to me why all of the men who served on the boat with Kerry support his run for the presidency? All of those same men consider him a hero. Further, why did one of the SBVFT members step forward in 96 or 98 to defend Kerry against these very same charges during his senatorial run? When is someone going to step forward and say they served with Bush in Alabama? When is someone going to step forward and explain Cheney's 5 draft deferrments? These are the people that sent 900+ to die. However, when it was their time, they were too busy or too good to answer the call. God bless America and every other nation of this world.

(35) Beldar made the following comment | Aug 10, 2004 5:37:15 PM | Permalink

Chris: Short answer is, not all of them do. With all due respect, your posts here will be more credible — and less likely to be deleted as being bot-products — if you'll actually read my posts, at a minimum, before you post comments. Better still, read stuff from several sources before posting here. Again, I intend no offense, but I don't have time to refute the same fallacy over and over again.

(36) Steve made the following comment | Aug 11, 2004 5:43:57 PM | Permalink

I've known John O'Neill for some 25 years. While we don't always see eye to eye politically, itegrity and honor are corner posts in his life.

(37) OhMike made the following comment | Aug 13, 2004 10:30:31 PM | Permalink

Beldar, I agree with you: you ARE pretty smart. Your intellectual honesty and keen analysis rock...Kerry's leaky SWIFT boat. Keep it up. -OhMike

(38) Pete made the following comment | Aug 17, 2004 8:19:54 PM | Permalink

One incentive for the press to begin to get interested in this story is that every single element of Kerry's Vietnam era record that has been examined has been proven to be false. Winter Soldier: totally discredited. Throwing away the medals: He still has them. VVAWW: His fellow "leader" was an imposter. His 1971 Congressional testimony: Discredited. (and by several reports, was actually written by Saul Alinsky.)The 'atrocities': as he was forced to admit by O'Neil, were never witnessed. Cambodia: A bald faced lie.

John Kerry is a weak man. Given his responses to questions about his voting record, the press knows full well where any investigation of the swift vets charges will lead. I am not a well-heeled Texas developer, but I am a Vietnam combat vet and I am sending money. This guy is bad news.

(39) chris made the following comment | Aug 25, 2004 12:50:15 PM | Permalink

Why not have John Kerry show us the scars from his putative combat wounds. Scars don't lie. No scars ? NO wounds.

(40) bob klahs made the following comment | Sep 7, 2004 9:41:50 AM | Permalink

I have done a lot of web research on Kerry's critics. It would take some time to put it together, but, if you like, I can forward some of the commentary I've written to others.

However, regarding Oneil's book.

His Harvard PHD co-author is also a noted source of religious bigotry. Anti-Catholic as well as Anti-Islamic.

His publisher, William Regnary, not only publishes but also writes for a white seperatist magazine, the Occidental Quarterly. Available online.

Not exactly reputable people.

Why didn't Oneil, a lawyer, vet his coauthor?

Summarizing something I just sent to another Texas lawyer, all the documentation, and most of the witnesses who were there, support Kerry.

And Admiral Schachte, the prime witness on his first Purple heart, in an interview, was asked several questions on Kerry's service, courage and honor. On courage he answered directly, yes.

On questions where he was asked if Kerry's service was honorable and when he was asked if he supported the Swift boat vets for truth, he did not give ONE single direct answer. His answers were all evasive. Yet he is cited by the SBVTs as a witness against Kerry.

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5840657/

Oh, and why weren't the SBV affadivits available on their website last time I looked? I found them on factcheck.org. Also I got a copy of the letter that accompanies the ad to tv stations off the web, but not on the SVBT website.

My conclusion is, the Swiftboat Vets for Truth are liars. And Oneil is among them.

(41) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 8, 2004 2:39:07 PM | Permalink

Mr. Klahs, the affidavits are on the website; you're not looking in the right place, apparently. Corsi and O'Neill knew each other as debate opponents as undergrads; Corsi's apologized without reservation for remarks that he intended to be humorous that many people found instead to be offensive. He only became "known" for such things when the Kerry camp searched the web for dirt and found his ill-chosen comments on a Free Republic bulletin board.

Schachte's statements stand for themselves; if you think they're helpful to Kerry, you're high on your own fumes.

Neither "all the documentation" nor "most of the witnesses" support Kerry — feel free to click on the link in the top right corner of this page for my SwiftVets index page, follow some of the links, and you'll get a start toward seeing what the documents and witnesses actually say.

You are indeed entitled to draw your own conclusions. But I respectfully suggest, sir, that if you're going to make up your mind about people based on what the Kerry camp tells you to think, you're wasting your time reading my blog anyway. (Actually, it's fairly clear from your comment that you haven't spent any significant time actually reading my blog, but that too is your choice to make.) And you're about a month behind the rest of the blogosphere in this discussion. But thanks for dropping by. :-)

(42) Pamela Ross made the following comment | Oct 4, 2004 12:35:11 AM | Permalink

Is there any familial or personal connection between John O'Neill and JOE AND JAN O'NEILL, the Midland couple credited with introducing George W. and Laura Bush?

(43) Robert W. De Roos made the following comment | Jun 1, 2005 1:30:25 AM | Permalink

It's odd that "your O'Neill and his buddies didn't come out before Kerry's book came out!!"
Mmmmmm. Interesting. And did you claim (allege is also a popular word!) that O'Neil
has some great friends and his background, well, now it's to bad we have to compare them against some other allegations.
Oh, well, thems "polotics" for ya. So John was weak. Seems Geoge W.
would like us to believe he is vey strong, so very tough. Why, when he lies
but does not deserve to be impeached. You can't win 'em
all! Strange that America is so screwed up by
Georgies immature ineptitudes.

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