It seems that one of the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth has now changed his mind:
But yesterday, a key figure in the anti-Kerry campaign, Kerry’s former commanding officer, backed off one of the key contentions. Lieutenant Commander George Elliott said in an interview that he had made a ”terrible mistake” in signing an affidavit that suggests Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star — one of the main allegations in the book. The affidavit was given to The Boston Globe by the anti-Kerry group to justify assertions in their ad and book.
Elliott is quoted as saying that Kerry ”lied about what occurred in Vietnam . . . for example, in connection with his Silver Star, I was never informed that he had simply shot a wounded, fleeing Viet Cong in the back.”
The statement refers to an episode in which Kerry killed a Viet Cong soldier who had been carrying a rocket launcher, part of a chain of events that formed the basis of his Silver Star. Over time, some Kerry critics have questioned whether the soldier posed a danger to Kerry’s crew. Crew members have said Kerry’s actions saved their lives.
Yesterday, reached at his home, Elliott said he regretted signing the affidavit and said he still thinks Kerry deserved the Silver Star.
”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.”
The affidavit also contradicted earlier statements by Elliott, who came to Boston during Kerry’s 1996 Senate campaign to defend Kerry on similar charges, saying that Kerry acted properly and deserved the Silver Star.
Which just goes to show that the Kerry response of lawyering up was even dumber than I asserted yesterday. Let the ads air, let these people face scrutiny. If what they are telling is the truth, we will find out. If they are lying- well, see above.
*** Update ***
He retracts his retraction:
The following statement from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth concerns an article appearing in morning edition of the BOSTON GLOBE, written by GLOBE reporter and author of the official Kerry-Edwards campaign book, Mike Kranish.
“Captain George Elliott describes an article appearing in today