Published September 29, 2004
WASHINGTON – A new ad featuring wives of Vietnam POWs criticizing John Kerry's (search) testimony before the Senate in 1971 will begin airing Thursday.
The new ad is by Swift Vets and POWs for Truth (search), an expansion of the earlier Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
The group's ad buy is its largest yet — $1.4 million — and the ad can be seen on broadcast affiliates in Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Nevada and on national cable channels.
In the ad, titled "Never Forget," John Kerry is quoted from his 1971 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which he alleged widespread war crimes condoned up and down the American chain of command.
A graphic shows a quotation from Kerry in which he said U.S. soldiers and sailors "had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads" of Vietnam civilians.
Mary Jane McManus, wife of former POW and retired Air Force Cpt. Kevin McManus, and Phyllis Galanti, wife of former POW and retired Navy Cmdr. Paul Galanti, then discuss the internment of their husbands in Vietnam.
"All of the prisoners of war in North Vietnam were tortured in order to obtain confessions of atrocities," McManus says. "John Kerry gave aid and comfort to the enemy by advocating their negotiating points to our government."
"Why is it relevant?" Galanti then asks. "Because John Kerry is asking us to trust him."
"If we couldn't trust John Kerry then, how could we possibly trust him now?" McManus concludes.
Paul Galanti was featured in an earlier Swift Boat ad that also attacked Kerry's anti-war testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Galanti and some other Vietnam POWs have argued Kerry's testimony led to even more cruelty at the hands of the North Vietnamese.
Kerry's said some of his Senate testimony was "over the top" but has also said he was replying to Senate testimony taken at the Winter Soldier investigation (search) organized by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (search).
More than 100 Vietnam veterans testified to committing war crimes and said the war-time barbarism was a part of a system-wide failure of military leadership.
Kerry echoed those sentiments in his Senate testimony and has said during the current campaign that war crimes were committed in Vietnam, but were in all likelihood not as widespread or as widely condoned as his Senate testimony suggested.
Kerry supporters say the Senate testimony exemplified Kerry's willingness to take a tough stand and speak up on behalf of thousands of veterans who felt voiceless and powerless to stop the war. After the testimony, Kerry emerged as a key leader of the VVAW.
Spokesmen for the Swift Vets say the wives who appear in the ad will also participate in a satellite media tour to talk to local groups of veterans and civic groups to take the anti-Kerry message to markets where the TV ads are not running.
FOX News' Major Garrett contributed to this report.