“ONE VERSION OF THE TRUTH”….Knight Ridder ran a very good story this weekend about the genesis of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and its founder, retired Rear Admiral Roy Hoffmann. Here are the key paragraphs:

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was registered with the IRS on April 23. Its early expenditures included money for a Dallas-area private investigator, Tom Rupprath. Hoffmann said Rupprath’s job was to find vets and collect their stories so that a single account could be presented to the public.

“If everyone was saying something different it could be confusing. We wanted one version of the truth,” Hoffmann said.

….In a defining moment, on July 9 and 10, dozens of veterans, the group’s top advisers and a film-making crew descended on a Marriott hotel in Rosslyn, Va., to film raw material for later commercials.

Swift boat veteran Larry Thurlow flew in from Bogue, Kan., after the group offered to pay his and his wife’s expenses. Thurlow said he was hesitant to become involved but Hoffmann kept asking him to join the group.

“The admiral helped me to see in hindsight what was really going on with Kerry,” Thurlow said.

Amazing. It’s practically an admission that they just made this stuff up. “One version of the truth” sounds like something Stalin might brag about, and “helped me to see in hindsight what was really going on” is a remarkably bald acknowledgment that Thurlow’s own memories were rather different until Hoffman coached him a bit.

But so what if their stories are inventions that have been thoroughly discredited? They’ve made a name for themselves, they’ve raised nearly $7 million, and they’re busily moving on to greener pastures. The fact that they’re serial fabricators is yesterday’s news.

It’s a work of high art ? if political assassination can be called high art. The only question is how these guys can still bear to look at themselves in the mirror when they wake up every morning.