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Swift boaters' slurs expected to surface

March 06, 2007

Re "Up a creek in a Swift boat," Opinion, March 2

As a Vietnam-era vet and antiwar activist, I continue to be appalled by the Swift boaters' hate campaigns. Who is more truly on the side of the troops than we who have served and decry the futility of wars that end in a quagmire? The Swifties, having attacked Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and then Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), must be in search of new soldiers to smear. Who will be next? Vietnam War veteran and anti-Iraq war Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel?

TOM PUCKETT

Sherman Oaks

*

I wish Rosa Brooks were right. Bringing back the shameless Swift boaters to trash Democrats as against the troops, she says, shows that the radical right has finally gone too far. She's too optimistic. The iron grip of the far right over public perception is secured by the ruthless efficiency of its media outlet and the hapless dithering of the left. When Murtha, to protect the troops, proposed practical restraints on the latest madness from President Bush, the Republican response was swift, ruthless and wrong -- but polished, coordinated and fully reported. Democrats, the pundits solemnly declare, are divided, disorganized and scurrying about like chickens seeking cover -- another unfair manipulation, of course, but with enough truth to sting. Instead of a House, we have a chicken coop, in which the fox is free to feed. Wake up, Congress -- and lead.

JOHN PHILLIPS

Camarillo

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I often agree with Brooks. However, in this column, I fear she's wrong. She wrote, "Americans just aren't that dumb." From an admittedly cynical perspective, though, I submit that too many Americans were dumb enough to credit these disgusting liars (the so-called Swifties) the first time, so what makes Brooks think any of them has suddenly become wise enough to see these lying smear artists for what they really are? I submit that as long as folks continue to belly up to the trough to feed on the slop that folks like Rush Limbaugh are serving up daily on conservative (really, radical) talk radio, despicable lies like those told by the Swifties will still be credited. However, to assume that folks, as a voting group, are smart enough to see what people like Brooks and I see is naive at best. People often prefer the so-called party line over the facts when delivered loud and often enough.

GARY L. PLATT

West Covina

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