Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Give this man a political Silver Star for valor in the face of an evil enemy:

A Vietnam veteran shown in a documentary criticizing Sen. John Kerry's anti-war activities filed a libel lawsuit against the movie's producer Monday, saying the film falsely calls him a fraud and a liar.

Kenneth J. Campbell, now a professor at the University of Delaware, said in the suit that "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal" combines footage of him appearing at a 1971 war protest with narration that claims that many of the supposed veterans who took part in the event were later "discovered as frauds" who "never set foot on the battlefield, or left the comfort of the States, or even served in uniform."...

Campbell attached copies of his military records to the lawsuit, showing he received a Purple Heart and eight other medals, ribbons and decorations for his service in Vietnam....

The segment involving Campbell shows him speaking with another Marine at a 1971 gathering in Detroit, during which Kerry and other servicemen shared stories about horrific acts they had committed or witnessed during the war.

Campbell asks whether the Marine recalls an assault on a Vietnamese village; the Marine offers to provide more detail. Neither man is identified. Sherwood introduces the conversation by saying, "Many of the horror stories seem made up on the spot," but does not elaborate as to why he believes that to be the case....


The New York Times adds this:

A lawyer for Mr. Campbell, a decorated marine who is now a professor at the University of Delaware, said the film was edited to take out footage in which Mr. Campbell made clear that only soldiers who witnessed the atrocities firsthand would be allowed to testify at the hearings, and footage in which he recounted his military superiors ordering him to kill innocent civilians.

Campbell may also sue Sinclair, and has told a movie theater in Philadelphia that the movie is defamatory. The theater canceled a showing of the film. (Unless you consider libel to be protected free speech, I don't think this should set off civil-liberties alarm bells.)

I don't want to take anything away from Jon Lieberman, the Sinclair D.C. bureau chief who was fired for truthfully telling the Baltimore Sun that Stolen Honor is propaganda, but what Campbell is doing is absolutely essential, because it attacks the content of this film, which, once it's been aired, is all that's going to matter to voters.

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