Interview with John O'Neill
The invaluable LGF points us to this fascinating interview with John O'Neill in the most recent issue of The American Enterprise. O'Neill, of course, is one of the SwiftBoat Veterans who had an enormous impact on the recent Presidential Election. And, according to O'Neill, they tried to convince the Democratic Party to nominate someone, anyone, other than John Kerry. The Swiftvets, far from being partisan, simply despised the idea of Kerry as President.
Coincidentally, today marks the forty-fifth day since John Kerry promised -- on national television -- to sign his Form-180, which would release his military service records. He has yet to do so. Anyone still undecided as to the truth behind his military service need only contemplate that Kerry, despite his promises, continues to stonewall on his service records. That should tell you all you need to know.
|TAE: How and when did the idea for the Swift Boat veterans group come into being?|
O’NEILL: The one who conceived of this was Admiral Roy Hoffmann. He began contacting many Swift Boat people in January and February last year. At that time, I was in the hospital. I had given my wife a kidney for a transplant.
I became a part of it in early to mid March. I was motivated by several things, the first and most important being a genuine fear of what would happen to our country, our national security, and our armed forces if John Kerry became Commander in Chief.
The reason we had our press conference on May 4 was that we thought if we could come forward quickly, we might be able to prevent John Kerry from becoming the Democratic nominee and allow the Democratic Party to pick someone else, in which case we could all go home.
TAE: At the Swift Boat veterans’ May 4 press conference you had an open letter calling Kerry unfit to be Commander in Chief. It was signed by virtually all of John Kerry’s commanders in Vietnam. Yet the story fell flat. The media ignored it. How did your group react to the media blackout?
O’NEILL: We were shocked. We couldn’t believe it. I haven’t been involved in politics or media relations, and I thought the job of the media was primarily to report the facts. It was obvious to me that many hundreds of his former comrades coming forward to say that he lied about his record in Vietnam and that he was unfit to be President would be important information for Americans. I only then became aware of the bias of the media.
TAE: How do you explain the media’s response?
O’NEILL: The establishment media was very pro-Kerry. They were opposed to any story that was critical of Kerry, and I believe that they were captured by their own bias. We met with one reporter around that time. We told a story to him relating to Kerry’s service. He acknowledged it was true and terribly important. And he told us he would not print it because it would help George Bush. That’s when we began to realize we had a real problem on our hands.
TAE: Is there anything other than pro-Kerry bias to account for the establishment media’s attitude to the story?
O’NEILL: Perhaps a second factor is that there are very few veterans in the established media. It makes it very difficult for them to understand the story or to care about it. That’s very different from the situation 40 or 50 years ago when most people had served in some fashion in the armed forces or had uncles or brothers who had.
The American Enterprise: John O'Neill