Veterans prepare new attack on Kerry

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The Independent US

Undaunted by accusations that they were spreading lies on behalf of President George Bush's re-election campaign, a group of Republican veterans of the Vietnam War were preparing yesterday to launch a new television advert accusing John Kerry of cowardice, disloyalty, and worse, during his time in uniform.

Undaunted by accusations that they were spreading lies on behalf of President George Bush's re-election campaign, a group of Republican veterans of the Vietnam War were preparing yesterday to launch a new television advert accusing John Kerry of cowardice, disloyalty, and worse, during his time in uniform.

The advert, due to air this week in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and Nevada, focuses on the anti-war testimony Mr Kerry gave to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971 after he had been wounded in combat and received multiple decorations for valour under fire.

It shows a clip of Mr Kerry, at 27, talking about atrocities committed by US troops, and then has a handful of other veterans describing his words as an act of betrayal against his comrades-in-arms. "He betrayed us in the past," says veteran Ken Cordier. "How can we be loyal to him now?"

But an American journalist who commanded a boat alongside Mr Kerry in Vietnam, William Rood, broke a 35-year silence yesterday and said the tales told by Mr Kerry's detractors are simply untrue. "There were three Swift boats on the river that day in Vietnam more than 35 years ago ... Only two officers remain to talk about what happened on 28 February, 1969," he wrote on the Chicago Tribune's website. "One is John Kerry... I am the other."

Senator Kerry finally retaliated in a speech on Thursday and filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing the group attacking him, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, of close - and illegal - ties to the Bush campaign.

The fear, however, is that Mr Kerry moved too late.

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