In the run up to the American presidential elections we will be asking a panel of BBC News Online users to share their views. Here, we asked them for their thoughts on the row over negative campaign ads and John Kerry's war record.
MEET THE PANEL
Name: Jim Hill
Lives: Sudbury, Massachusetts
Job: Equipment finance manager
Current voting intention: Republican
In 10 words or less: "Family man, business owner, community volunteer, gardener, fisherman, sports fan"
John Kerry spent his time at the Democratic Convention showing re-enacted movies of himself in Vietnam keeping the focus off his lacklustre 20 years in the Senate.
John Edwards crowed: "If you have any question about what he's made of, you need to spend three minutes with the men who served with him."
Now that decorated veterans who fought beside Kerry - but aren't on his payroll - are challenging the changing versions of his biography, such as the now-infamous "Christmas in Cambodia" fable and Kerry's post-Vietnam claims of war crimes, Kerry attacks them as liars and accuses Bush of smearing him.
Instead, he simply should have addressed the charges directly by authorising the release of his Vietnam records and answering questions from the media.
Kerry personally challenged Bush's National Guard service record months before the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad.
It was a direct attack ad, similar to those produced by anti-Bush groups who have spent millions on attack ads and questionable books, which have been embraced by the Kerry-Edwards campaign.
Kerry has challenged: "Bring It On".
Now he is whining because the veterans did.
Typical Kerry. I'll vote Bush.
Send us your comments on Jim's views using the form below.
Jim doesn't see the whole picture. Kerry's records have always been available. Some of the men who now are trying to smear Kerry's record have spoken favourably of his service in the past. Furthermore, how can anyone even question someone's service who did not have to go to Vietnam? Kerry came from as much of a patrician family as Bush did, but he didn't avoid service in Vietnam, he went, saw the horrors of the unjust war, and decided to speak out when he came back. What is wrong with trying to end an unjust, hideous war? I laud Kerry for his service both in Vietnam and after.
Interesting that you bring up the anti-Bush ads in his defence. Weren't the attack ads on George Bush based on his record in office and the extent to which he has worsened world opinion of the US? There is a difference between attacking someone for his decisions in a position for which he is asking to be elected again and attacking someone for something that is long past. Bush's record in office is relevant. Kerry's Vietnam service is not.
Alice, London, UK
Wow, what a surprise - a dyed in the wool Republican wanting to defend a calculated, cynical smear campaign simply because the veterans in question are on Bush's payroll. Here's a wake up call - even Republican senators spoke out against the swift boat campaign of lies.
John Simmonson, Queens, NY, USA
I see a typical clutching at straws. It is difficult for 'patriotic' Republicans to accept that their hero is a draft dodger. Obviously, they will jump on a smear campaign against his opponent.
Lars Backstrom, Fairbanks, USA
John Kerry's so called feats of heroism have been questioned for a lot longer than the SBVT ads have been airing. Perhaps you should read John O'Neill's book "Unfit for Command". You might also want to read some of the stuff written by Kerry over the years, that is now totally at odds with his stories today.
Andy, GA, USA
Jim, bravo. It's also pertinent to add that Kerry raked Bush for joining the National Guard when he joined the Navy. He actually joined the Navy Reserves and the unit was later activated.
James Ball, Lake Charles, LA, USA
Although I do not agree with Jim, perhaps this will be a defence for him: people will interpret and skew events to fit their own views. Polls, partial information, campaigns designed to bend the truth, all have been employed by both sides of the campaign (as well as the third party, Nader). The world would be a much better place if we could just sit down and calmly discuss the actual facts without all this hoopla.
Tae Kim, Seoul, Korea
Jim, thanks for bringing some common sense to this discussion.
Kevin L Feck, Cincinnati, USA
This is a typical Jim comment. If I told him the sky was green for days on end and had commercials on TV saying the same, he'd believe me. Jim - it appears that the Swift Boat Veterans own statements after Vietnam contradict what they are saying now. The bottom line is that they lied.
Steven Kofsky, Brooklyn, USA
Since we now know that the TV attacks on Kerry's war record were part of a smear campaign paid for by a member of the Republican party and one of Mr Bush's close advisers, this article would appear to be somewhat misdirected and out of date.
Kerry should not be trusted to Command our Military. Kerry has voted "NO" on every "bill" that supports our military, including equipment. The day we denigrate the Military, is the day we will be a Socialist-Communist society.
Muriel Latus, East Troy, WI