The last time a Republican President was fighting a losing war and a losing battle here at home about the war, he recruited and used veterans to attack political opponents of the war on the basis of patriotism and "supporting the troops."
The President was, of course, Richard Nixon. And the veteran willing to attack his fellow veterans for fun and profit was John O'Neill.
The more things change....
This weekend in Pennsylvania, we will witness another attack on a decorated veteran, in this case John Murtha, the first Vietnam combat veteran elected to Congress and lifelong supporter and defender of our troops, our veterans and our country. I discussed the rally yesterday here.
The attack rally is being orchestrated by the so-called "Vets For Truth" a front group that is attacking Jack Murtha (let me repeat the facts - Jack Murtha is a decorated combat veteran who supports our troops and veterans) for not supporting the troops because he favors a redeployment out of Iraq.
Larry Bailey, who is the vet on parade and payroll of "Vets for Truth" has invited none other than John O'Neill to come speak at the rally. Wouldn't that just be perfect? Because if you understand John O'Neill, you also start to understand a few facts about these swiftboating front groups.
For starters, John O'Neill never served a day in Vietnam with John Kerry. Not one single day.
(Swiftboating Insight #1: the truth doesn't matter.)
John O'Neill was cut a $50,000 check by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth on August 31, 2004. No word on a gold watch. (Swiftboating Insight #2: people involved in front groups don't do it out of their convinctions.)
When John Kerry was trying to stop the Vietnam War, (President lying to the people, kids dying half a world away, no way out, quagmire, senseless deaths and expense, back to the story) Charles Colson, who later went to jail for his crimes in Watergate, created the first front group in modern political history. He called it creating a "counterfoil" to John Kerry.
In The New Yorker, Colson is quoted as saying:
"We found a vet named John O'Neill and formed a group called Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace. We had O'Neill meet the President, and we did everything we could do to boost his group."
There's even a picture from the meeting in The White House files.
Swiftboating Insight #3: these attack groups have nothing to do with what real veterans think, and a whole lot to do with what real political strategists are trying to accomplish.
And the last thing you need to remember about John O'Neill?
If he hadn't agreed to take the job thirty five years ago of smearing and defaming a decorated veteran, you would have never heard of John O'Neill - ever.
He's made a living and a degree of fame out of attacking and smearing veterans.
How someone who served can become so twisted as to spend his time after the service denigrating and trashing and lying about a fellow veteran I have no idea.
But I know there's someone else John O'Neill can ask for advice on how to handle his guilty conscience - Larry Bailey. Because Larry Bailey is doing the exact same thing this weekend to Jack Murtha.
Jack Murtha stands up for our troops, our veterans and us. Let's stand up for him on Sunday.
A final note:
For Quinn and Rose, the XM Satellite Radio Hosts who are accepting appearance money to emcee the event, let me use small words.
You are using your fame to make money by attacking and defaming a decorated veteran.
You should be ashamed of yourselves.
Jack Murtha supports our troops, lock, stock and barrel. He wants to redeploy them so they can live.
You want them to stay and die.
Enjoy your blood money.