From Salon.com, Joe Conason on the right-wing smear machine:
The contrast between the military careers of George W. Bush and John Kerry is drawing veterans to the Democratic Party — and maddening conservative Republicans who have grown accustomed to monopolizing the symbolism of flag and country. To tarnish Kerry, the right has reached back more than 30 years to develop a narrative that transforms him from hero to traitor, by distorting his antiwar activism after he returned from Vietnam.
They hope to convince America that by testifying and organizing for peace, the young Navy lieutenant somehow “dishonored” his fellow sailors and soldiers.
The right-wing extremists at Free Republic have set up a new “Winter Soldier” Web site devoted to that event, highlighting Kerry’s subsequent testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about alleged U.S. war crimes. According to the Freeper theory, he “launched his political career” by denigrating his comrades in arms, although nobody who reads his testimony will find much evidence to support that accusation. (He did run for Congress in 1972 — and lost in part because of his VVAW connections.)
Coordinating with the Freeper attack are Texas chicken-hawk Rep. Tom DeLay, who recently upbraided Kerry for the Winter Soldier episode, and Gary Aldrich, the former White House FBI agent who fabricated salacious stories about Bill and Hillary Clinton, who now suspects that Kerry was “pro-Communistic” and is demanding to see his old FBI files.
Oh, please – is that their best shot? It’s actually funny – it sounds like Col. Flag from M*A*S*H is in the tent again.