Kerry Shipmates, Dodd Come Out Strong Against Fox Nomination
The occasion this time is the nomination of Sam Fox of St. Louis to be the new American Ambassador to Belgium. While it's sadly not unusual to have an unqualified person, who happens to be a big political donor, rewarded with a diplomatic post, Fox truly ups the ante in that arena by virtue of a whopping $50,000 donation he made to the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004.
"We write to urge the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to oppose the nomination of Mr. Sam Fox for United States Ambassador to Belgium," reads a letter addressed to Joe Biden (D-DE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), the Chairman and ranking Republican, respectively, on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"As Swift Boat veterans who served together in Vietnam, we strongly believe that Mr. Fox does not deserve to be confirmed for this position. We have been frustrated to hear some suggest that the 2004 election is in the past and we should 'get over it.' Those who make that argument forget that this wasn’t just about an election; John Kerry may have been the target of the lies of the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, but he wasn’t alone in having his military record falsely impugned."
Saying "for us, this is personal," the letter is signed by eleven Swift Boat sailors, including Jim Rassmann, who said Kerry saved his life in the incident for which the Massachusetts Senator was awarded the Bronze Star.
The Vietnam Veterans make it clear that their opposition to Fox is not just for how he contributed to the smear campaign against Kerry, but also for helping the "Swifties" in a sordid campaign that by extension slimed anyone who ever served on a Swift Boat in the Mekong Delta.
"The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth sullied the reputation of one of the Navy's bravest, most dedicated fighting forces. Today we see the word 'Swiftboating' used as a pejorative -- not the valiant, honorable term it was nearly 40 years ago when young men gave their lives on the Mekong Delta," the men write. "Mr. Fox was one of the largest contributors to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. He put his money to work in support of a vicious and reprehensible campaign to lie about our collective combat records."
"We know campaigns are not for the faint of heart. But one of the lessons drilled into us by the military and preserved through the memory of friends who were not lucky enough to come home from Vietnam alive, is that truth matters above all else. Lies about those who put on the uniform of our country have no place in politics."
Also stepping up to the plate to do the right thing in the vote, which will take place on Wednesday in the Foreign Relations Committee, is Chris Dodd (D-CT), the first Senator to make clear his plan to reject Fox's nomination.
"I strongly oppose the nomination of Sam Fox to be U.S. Ambassador to Belgium. U.S. Ambassadors need to be both responsible and credible, and Mr. Fox’s support for an organization known to have spread falsehoods illustrates neither," said Dodd, a candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, in a statement. “Moreover, the fact that Mr. Fox refused to apologize for his behavior during his nomination hearing reinforces my belief that he would not be an acceptable representative for the position of U.S. Ambassador.”
And leave it to the men who actually served with Kerry in Vietnam to once again point people in the right direction and, in this case, tell 21 Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee the correct way to vote tomorrow.
"In our judgment, those who finance smears and lies of combat veterans don’t deserve to represent America on the world stage. We think too highly of the country we defended in combat to trust America in the hands of someone who would so casually bankroll lies about our combat records," say Kerry's shipmates. "We can’t change history. But the Senate Foreign Relations Committee can make an important, and we hope bipartisan, statement about the truth – and make it clear that in the Senate at least, individuals are held accountable for their political contributions."