Man Without Qualities

Friday, August 06, 2004

O Those Veterans III

Any credibility and effectiveness that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth may have had or hoped for will dissolve pretty quickly with this kind of key member retracting key accusations. Whether John Kerry shot a fleeing man in the back to get his Silver Star is not exactly nuance:

I still don't think he shot the guy in the back," Elliott said. "It was a terrible mistake probably for me to sign the affidavit with those words. I'm the one in trouble here." Elliott said he was no under personal or political pressure to sign the statement, but he did feel "time pressure" from those involved in the book. "That's no excuse," Elliott said. "I knew it was wrong . . . In a hurry I signed it and faxed it back. That was a mistake."
They have the right to say what's on their minds and get it on the air, but I'd keep away from these guys. And, by the way, Mr. Elliott's actions further suggest that the White House was not involved with this ad. Whatever else one may think about Mr. Bush's organization, it's not amateur hour.

There's lots more good stuff on this from Maguire. Of course, one should not be so naive as to actually start believing every detail of John Kerry's version of these events just because Mr. Elliott can't seem to make up his mind as to what he saw. Senator Kerry has himself used Mr. Elliott as a witness in the past. If Mr. Elliott is an unreliable witness now, he was also an unreliable witness then.

UPDATE: In my view, Mr. Elliott retains enough, somewhat shaky credibility to be heard out, and the Boston Globe (aka the New York Times) is trying to pull a serious fast one if it doesn't promptly alert its readers a to the irregularities in the anti-Elliott story its Mr. Kranish wrote yesterday. Mr. Elliott's document are available here. But the whole thing is sufficiently tenuous that I also think other people - especially anyone within a parsec of the White House or the RNC should stay away from this group. But not because they have been revealed to be bad people - just not as professional, stable and vetted as they need to be for higher involvement.

For now, the Globe is not giving an inch.

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