Unfit for Command

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Unfit for Command
Unfit for Command.jpg
AuthorJohn E. O'Neill and Jerome Corsi
PublisherRegnery Publishing
Publication date
August 2004
Media typeHardcover/Paperback
973.931/092 B 22
LC ClassE840.8.K427 O54 2004

Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry is a 2004 book about then U.S. Presidential candidate John Kerry by John O'Neill and Jerome Corsi published by Regnery Publishing. The book was released at the time that ads by Swift Vets and POWs for Truth were being aired on U.S. television.

Content and criticism[edit]

The book criticizes Kerry's judgment in battle, his truthfulness, his entitlement to certain medals, and his later anti-war activities. The book was based in part on interviews with veterans who served in or with Kerry's division, and also on biographies of Kerry.[1] Several members of Kerry's crew stated that O'Neill failed to interview them.[2] Neither O'Neill nor Corsi had any firsthand knowledge of Kerry's service. O'Neill served on the Swift boats after Kerry left Vietnam and Corsi never served in Vietnam.[3] According to the Swiftboat skipper who served with Kerry, the book was "wrong."[4]

Kerry's fellow sailors released a point-by-point rebuttal of the claims and stated that "The book's authors don't give Kerry's supporters the space or the credence that they warrant."[5] According to Seattle Times, the government documents support Kerry's war awards and claims.[6] Some veterans interviewed for the book complained that their statements were edited to strip out material favorable to Kerry.[7]

At the same time the book was being criticized, Swift Vets and POWs for Truth group was being criticized because "None of those in the attack ad by the Swift Boat group actually served on Kerry's boat. And their statements are contrary to the accounts of Kerry and those who served under him."[8]

After controversial statements made by Corsi became public, O'Neill denied Corsi's coauthorship of the book, saying that Corsi was "simply an editor and not really any sort of co-author."[9][10] However, portions of the book[11] contain material also found in articles posted under Corsi's name at WinterSoldier.com, a website critical of John Kerry,[12][13] and O'Neill is cited in a later book as describing Corsi as helping to write "Unfit for Command," and urging him to back out of media appearances after the controversial comments became public.[14]

Controversy with publisher[edit]

In 2007 Corsi, along with several other authors, sued Regnery's parent company, Eagle Publishing, claiming the company "orchestrate[d] and participate[d] in a fraudulent, deceptively concealed and self-dealing scheme to divert book sales away from retail outlets and to wholly owned subsidiary organizations within the Eagle conglomerate."[15] The suit was dismissed on June 30, 2008.[16]

2008 election[edit]

Corsi published The Obama Nation in August 2008, criticizing then U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama. Corsi's motivations behind its publication and book itself has been compared to Unfit for Command and criticized as unsubstantiated, misleading, or inaccurate.[17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25] In response, the Obama campaign issued a 40-page rebuttal called Unfit for Publication, a play on the title of Corsi's 2004 book, on his website FightTheSmears.com, alleging serious factual errors.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Book Details – Unfit for Command". Regnery. 2008-08-17. Archived from the original on 2008-08-04.
  2. ^ Zernike, Kate; Rutenberg, Jim (2004-08-20). "Friendly Fire: The Birth of an Anti-Kerry Ad". New York Times. Archived from the original on May 24, 2006.
  3. ^ "Unfit for Publication" (PDF). Obama for America. 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2008-11-14. page 36
  4. ^ Jones, Tim (2004-08-04). "Swift boat skipper: Kerry critics wrong". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
  5. ^ King, Colbert I. (August 28, 2004). "What Matters About Kerry and Vietnam". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
  6. ^ "Participant in mission, documents support Kerry's war claim". Seattle Times. August 22, 2004. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
  7. ^ Zernike, Kate; Rutenberg, Jim (2004-08-20). "Friendly Fire: The Birth of an Anti-Kerry Ad". New York Times. Archived from the original on August 17, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-26. "Mr. Runyon said the edited version was stripped of all references to enemy combat, making it look like just another night in the Mekong Delta."
  8. ^ "Republican-funded Group Attacks Kerry's War Record". Factcheck.org. August 6, 2004. Archived from the original on July 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
  9. ^ “Scarborough Country,” MSNBC, 10 August 2004
  10. ^ “John O'Neill Interview with Wolf Blitzer,” CNN, 11 August 2004.
  11. ^ "Excerpts from Unfit for Command". Archived from the original on 2007-03-23. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
  12. ^ Corsi, Jerome (2004-07-27). "Communist Vietnamese honor John Kerry, the war protestor, as a hero in their victory over the United States in the Vietnam War – Part II". WinterSoldier.com. Archived from the original on 2005-03-24. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
  13. ^ Corsi, Jerome (2004-05-03). "Coordinating with the enemy: Vietnam Veterans Against the War in Paris and Hanoi". WinterSoldier.com. Archived from the original on 2005-03-05. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
  14. ^ “To Set the Record Straight: How Swift Boat Veterans, POWS and the New Media Defeated John Kerry,” by Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler, pp. 120–124
  15. ^ "Conservative Authors Sue Publisher". Retrieved 2008-08-17.
  16. ^ Rich, Motoko (2008-02-02). "Authors Suit Dismissed". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
  17. ^ "Democrats Seek to Undermine Anti-Obama Author With His Own Words". ABC News. August 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
  18. ^ "Book on Obama blasted for 'vicious innuendo'". CNN. 2008-08-14.
  19. ^ Eli Saslow (2008-08-14). "New Books Aim To Unweave the Obama Narrative". Washington Post.
  20. ^ "Latest smear against Obama an abomination". Sun-Times. 2008-08-14. Archived from the original on August 19, 2008.
  21. ^ Kate Linthicum, "Book attacking Obama makes the bestseller list", Los Angeles Times, August 12, 2008
  22. ^ "Wild theories of 'Obama Nation' author". The Politico. 2008-08-14.
  23. ^ Rutenberg, Jim; Julie Bosman (August 12, 2008). "Book Attacking Obama Hopes to Repeat '04 Anti-Kerry Feat". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
  24. ^ "Unfit for Publication: Corsi's The Obama Nation filled with falsehoods". Media Matters for America. August 4, 2008.
  25. ^ "Who We Are". Media Matters for America. August 10, 2008.
  26. ^ "Unfit For Publication: An Investigative Report On The Lies In Jerome Corsi's "Obama Nation"". Obama for America. 2008-08-14. Archived from the original on August 18, 2008.