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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Swift Boat Ads Swiftly Diverts the Campaign

August 28, 2004

Ben Wasserstein's Aug. 24 commentary, "You Can Report, but We Will Decide," is just another piece of he said/she said in the inconsequential debate over Sen. John Kerry's war record.

Kerry is not going to be a sailor ever again, so even if I were a Kerry supporter (or President Bush, for that matter), looking at his war record is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is Kerry's voting record since that time. As a "leader" of the people, Kerry voted to go to war, then voted against funding the soldiers and the war effort.

The more recent Kerry, one that can be seen without wading through the spin and murkiness of a troubling time in America, is the one I plan on voting against.

Paul Teague

Lakewood

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I would like to congratulate Wasserstein on an excellent commentary on the conservative media's handling of the Swift boat dispute. I have followed the coverage very carefully and have found the coverage on the Fox News Channel and talk radio to be unbelievably biased in the favor of this obvious attempt by Bush operatives to smear the military record of Kerry.

To say that they are "fair and balanced" is a joke. Obviously, the Bush people realize that Bush has no record to run on, so they must resort to dirty politics to win this campaign.

By the way, I am a Republican. To see the Republican Party associated with these tactics is intensely depressing.

Ron Hull

West Hollywood

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The Swift boat controversy actually creates a useful diversion for both the Kerry and Bush campaigns, as a majority of media coverage has been spent rehashing the Vietnam War rather than focusing on the vital issues facing America today.

Neither candidate has a clue how to extract U.S. forces from the Middle East, balance the budget or arrest the accelerating diffusion of economic and industrial power from America to China.

Chris Swanson

Mission Viejo

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Incredibly, Bush and his Swift boat veteran cronies have succeeded in shifting the burden of proof to Kerry. The evidence that Kerry is a combat veteran is irrefutable. The evidence that Bush dodged the draft is overwhelming.

As an Army Vietnam veteran, I don't begrudge Kerry his medals. But the sight of Bush masquerading as a warrior in a flight suit on a carrier deck fills me with contempt.

Brian Masson

Harbor City

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I'd like to propose a moratorium on the word "values" for the rest of the presidential campaign. No candidate, political party, faith, region or ethnicity has a monopoly on values, and the candidates would do well to address real issues that have an impact on the lives of the people they seek to represent.

Bill Collins

Sacramento

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