In evaluating the respective disputants' credibility we should note that neither Kerry nor his defenders have even attempted to refute the great majority of the factual assertions in the book. They tried with the "Christmas in Cambodia" incident and dug themselves a far deeper hole, and they're still digging.
They haven't been willing to engage in a debate with Mr. O'Neill. Instead, they have shouted him down. Just review the transcript of O'Neill's appearance on CNN's "Crossfire," where James Carville and Lanny Davis ceaselessly berated O'Neill and literally wouldn't let him speak.
And Chris Matthews, though he allowed O'Neill to speak between interruptions, couldn't seem to get past his perception that Kerry had to be a hero because the Navy, as an institution, bestowed multiple awards on him.
But if Chris had read the book, he would have understood that one of its premises is that Kerry often circumvented those who had actual knowledge of events and duped his superiors into giving him honors by falsifying reports and presumably recommending himself for these awards when his superiors refused to do so.
Kerry could clear much of this up by releasing all his medical and military records, but so far he has been quite selective with their release. We need to know, for example, if he filed false reports, such as claiming that certain self-inflicted wounds were a result of enemy fire.
But what's even more damning to John Kerry's credibility is his unsubstantiated defamation of his fellow servicemen in his opportunistic Senate testimony and elsewhere upon his return from Vietnam. Kerry not only indicts his fellow soldiers as war criminals, but the entire command structure of the U.S. military as directing these types of activities.
Yet Kerry has never been able to produce specific names and dates of those who committed these actions, nor any real proof of systematic, much less top-down orchestrated atrocities. Kerry has never apologized for these slanders.
If just one tenth of what the Swiftees assert is true, we should shudder at the prospect of a Kerry presidency. Where are the media?