Another perspective on what I said yesterday--that the swiftees were basing many of their accusations on potential openings in Kerry's own accounts--Kerry's own words about his experiences contain unvarnished truths.
When Kerry said he headed out of the "kill zone" (quotes from Kerry's journals, Tour of Duty) and only returned when Sandusky pointed out there were wounded behind them, he's not trying to hide any questionable action. Someone who was actively trying to hide cowardice would certainly not take the trouble to point out Sandusky's role.
When Kerry said, about the circumstances of his third Purple Heart: "I got a piece of small grenade in my ass from one of the rice-bin explosions", he is not making any claim on nobility. He's speaking facts. The swiftees are merely taking Kerry's own account and trying to put the worst spin possible on it--by implying that Kerry had told a different, more pumped up story. Also, the swiftees here are shooting for a bit of ridicule, claiming that the "fanny injury" wasn't even shrapnel, but rice, which ignores the fact that to this day Kerry carries a piece of metal around in his ass, a fact that has been proven in countless x-rays.
In contrast we have Bush, who has no qualms about taking credit for any good action around him (so long as it remains good in the eyes of the public). Bush, the champion of the Texas Patient Bill of Rights, who fought it and sabotaged it and ultimately, when faced with a veto-proof fait accompli by his own legislature, refused to put his signature on it. Bush, who repeatedly called Enron the "one bad apple" (in the months before WorldCom, Global Crossing, etc.) and resisted any attempts to reform corporate oversight legislation--until confronted with polls indicating popular anger on the issue, and the Sarbanes-Oxley bill. Bush, who resisted implementing the 2000 terror task force recommendations, including setting up a Dept of Homeland Security, until after 9/11, and continued to resist until after polls showed majority support for the measure. Bush, who violently opposed the 9/11 commission, until the 9/11 victims families went public and gathered popular support to their cause.
I'm sure the swiftees would love to catch Kerry in a lie, but they have yet to do it. The best they can come up with is to offer some unsubstantiated alternate story, contradicting Kerry and others (and existing documentation), and call it a lie. It is worth noting that some of the more peripheral swiftees, such as George Elliott, admit that their own opinions of Kerry, initially positive, were changed, not by actual facts, but by being presented with these stories as facts. Elliott admits that he had no problem with Kerry until he was told, by the swiftees, that Kerry had shot a fleeing VietCong in the back, a patently untrue story.
For some of the best coverage of Kerry's accounts and the swiftee claims, go to FactCheck.org. They've got the meat. Also check out Snope's de-mythology site.