22 August 2004

"War Protesters for Kerry" or "Band of Others"

Update: most of the links in this post are now dead...

In one of the most-ignored stories surrounding the Swift Boat Vets flap, the head of "Veterans for Kerry" is himself a former Vietnam war protester, who has known Kerry since 1971, and worked on each of his campaigns since 1984.

"Veterans for Kerry" was started by, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of, Kerry for President. It really isn't an organization at all, but the name of the Kerry campaign's outreach program to veterans, and it's head, picked by John Kerry, was indeed a veteran, but he first met Kerry when they were both war protesters.

The head of the group, John Hurley, a semi-retired Wellesley lawyer, works full-time for the Kerry campaign, and has worked on Kerry's previous campaigns dating back to at least 1984, by his own account. He also marched in the John Kerry/VVAW-organized "Dewey Canyon III" in 1971. (The medal-tossing protest.) Read for yourself.

Hurley also has reportedly made calls to try to strong-arm people into changing their recollections of Kerry's VVAW past (such as his presence at the meeting discussing the plot to assassinate Senators.)

He even posted this note searching for one of Kerry's crew in November, 1996 - remember this when they suggest that Kerry's "Band of Brothers" reassembled on their own. In case it's purged later, here's what it says:

Trying to locate: Delbert "Del" Sandusky

Branch of Service: Navy

Unit was: swift boats

Where served: the Delta

When served: 1969

Message is: Trying to locate Delbert Sandusky for reunion of Swift Boat 94.

Call 617-235-2287

Please contact: John Hurley

Mailing address: 78 Longfellow Rd

City, State, Zip: Wellesley, MA 02181

Or send email to John Hurley using this automatic email form BQI@AOL.com

It doesn't say, "come work for John Kerry" - it says "trying to locate... for reunion." Why would an Army vet be trying organize a reunion with a Navy guy he'd never met? Obviously, this was a political recruitment - and a dishonest one.

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth get grilled about whether they've ever voted for a Republican, attacked for their contributors, and treated like stealth political operatives. Yet every talk show Hurley has appeared on - from Hannity, to Hardball to Scarborough - gives a free pass to the guy who actually *is* a political operative.

John Hurley is a longtime Democrat activist and John Kerry supporter. He is not part of any sort of spontaneously formed veterans group in support of Kerry, and it is very dishonest to allow him to present himself as anything other than what he is. Beyond that, his first meeting with Kerry was not in the service, but in the anti-war movement - a "Band of Brothers" with whom Kerry's strongest loyalties, it would seem, still lie.