In an April 4 NewsMax.com article, B.G. "Jug" Burkett, co-author of Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History (Verity Press Inc., 1998), revealed the plan to smear Senator John Kerry's (D-MA) Vietnam War record; this plan surfaced in the form of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. On the August 26 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes, Burkett followed Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in issuing a series of false attacks against Kerry's military record: He attempted to link Kerry's post-Vietnam War service to Jane Fonda; claimed Kerry "was never for peace" and that Kerry "call[ed] Vietnam veterans murderers and rapists"; and flip-flopped on whether Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony was "radical."
Burkett sought to link Kerry to Jane Fonda
Burkett began his appearance on the FOX News Channel program by invoking the common right-wing tactic (as demonstrated in a February 19 column by Robert Novak and by bumper stickers for sale) of seeking to link Kerry to actress and prominent antiwar activist Jane Fonda, which has even involved the doctoring of a photograph to make it appear that Kerry stood alongside Fonda while speaking at an antiwar protest. Burkett remarked on Hannity & Colmes that there were "several outrageous things that are in that era between John Kerry and Jane Fonda. I mean, they toured the country. They made speeches." When confronted by show co-host Alan Colmes about the "false impression" he was creating by linking Kerry and Fonda, Burkett furthered his claim: "They were on the same agenda. They lectured at universities. He -- Kerry was the headliner. She was the secondary speaker."
Although Kerry and Fonda did both appear at an 1970 antiwar rally in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, CNN noted that the Kerry campaign "stressed that Kerry and Fonda were only acquaintances, and the meeting took place two years before Fonda took a controversial trip behind enemy lines and posed for pictures on a North Vietnam army anti-aircraft gun which prompted her angry detractors to dub her 'Hanoi Jane.'" CNN noted that "Kerry aides said he did not support Fonda's trip to Vietnam," and Fonda "said that she does not recall meeting Kerry during the antiwar movement." For her part, Fonda remarked: "Any attempts to link Kerry to me and make him look bad with that connection is completely false. We were at a rally for veterans at the same time. I spoke, Donald Sutherland spoke, John Kerry spoke at the end. I don't even think we shook hands."
Burkett claimed Kerry "was never for peace"
Of Kerry's protests of the Vietnam War upon returning from combat, Burkett said, "I defy anybody to count the number of times he used the words peace. He was never for peace."
Kerry mentioned the word "peace" nine times in his 1971 testimony before the senate Foreign Relations Committee. At one point, criticizing then-President Richard Nixon's "Vietnamization" of the war for ruining the chance of peace, Kerry said: "On the question of getting out with some semblance for peace, as a man who has fought there, I am trying to say that this policy has no chance for peace. You don't have a chance for peace when you arm the people of another country and tell them they can fight a war."
Burkett claimed that Kerry "call[ed] Vietnam veterans murderers and rapists"
Burkett claimed that Kerry's presidential campaign has sought to play up his image as a war hero, while hiding "the era where he was calling Vietnam veterans murderers and rapists." As Media Matters for America has extensively documented, Kerry did not accuse veterans of the crimes he spoke of in his testimony; he related the stories of other Vietnam veterans who came home and testified to their personal experiences in what was known as the Winter Soldier Investigation. In addition, as MMFA has noted, Kerry's testimony was an indictment of the leaders at the time and did not blame the soldiers who reported having committed atrocities in Vietnam.
Burkett labeled Kerry testimony "radical," then indicated he wasn't because "the public had turned against the war"
When Colmes said to Burkett, "[Y]ou try to paint him as a radical in your book," Burkett replied, "[I]f you read the testimony in front of the Senate, I will let the American public decide whether he was a radical or a moderate." However, just moments later, Burkett denied that Kerry's testimony had been radical. When asked by Colmes, "How can he [Kerry] at once be [politically] calculating and then get up before the Senate and make a very controversial statement about atrocities?" Burkett responded, "Actually it was not a -- the public had turned against the war, and they were very much trying to shove Nixon out of office with the antiwar movement."
Burkett ended his appearance with one final smear of Kerry
Before his appearance on Hannity & Colmes concluded, Burkett took one more cheap shot at Kerry: "He absolutely caused more deaths in Vietnam. He extended the war. That's why he's mentioned favorably in virtually every north Communist book, biography. His picture hangs in honor."
Burkett is a Vietnam veteran whom The Washington Post described on October 1, 2000, as a "Dallas stockbroker" who "spends his spare time seeking to expose bogus combat tales of veterans."