U.S. Sen. John Kerry’s comments on Monday regarding a possible future bid for the presidency, and his arming up against the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, are reopening old wounds from the Vietnam War and the 2004 presidential race.

U.S. Sen. John Kerry’s comments on Monday regarding a possible future bid for the presidency, and his arming up against the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, are reopening old wounds from the Vietnam War and the 2004 presidential race.

‘‘He’s a liar,’’ said J. Craig Herman of Pahoa, Hawaii, a former U.S. Navy officer and registered Republican. ‘‘Real heroes and real Navy officers do not not waltz around with a ... camera taking pictures of themselves on duty.’’

While some veterans question Kerry’s military decorations and criticize his subsequent actions as a Vietnam War protester, others say they just never warmed to the Massachusetts Democrat’s style.

‘‘There’s something weasely about him,’’ said Elliot Olson, a self-described independent voter from Minneapolis. ‘‘You can compare him to Bill Clinton, but with Clinton you know what you’re getting.’’

The 63-year-old Kerry said Monday that he might run again for president, perhaps in 2012. He also said he has compiled a dossier on his critics in Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group that dogged Kerry in the 2004 presidential race.

The comments, reprinted on political blogs including drudgereport.com, opinionjournal.com and lucianne.com, prompted hundreds of e-mails critical of the Vietnam veteran turned war protestor turned politician.

‘‘I see John Kerry as a traitor to this country,’’ said Stephen Chudej of Plano, Texas, who describes himself as a political independent. ‘‘I think what he did was treachery and treason.’’

In 2004, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth accused Kerry of embellishing his military service to further his political career, a view that seems right to Tom Mustin of Coronada, Calif., a former Navy lieutenant commander who says he has no involvement with the Swift Boat group.

‘‘You don’t get that kind of reaction from your comrades in arms because they’re in a different political party,’’ said Mustin, a Republican. ‘‘It’s the way he tried to amplify what he did and create a war-hero record for himself. That’s very offensive.’’

Others faulted Kerry for not, in 2004, signing a waiver to allow the Navy to release his military records.

‘‘It was such a simple thing for him to do, he could have deflated the whole Swift Boat attacks,’’ said Terry Baugh of San Diego, a registered Republican.

Democrat Mark Keaney of Pensacola, Fla., a retired Navy commander, said: ‘‘Until Kerry releases his total military record, there can be no discussion about his past or his future.’’

Although Kerry ultimately did sign a waiver - in 2005, after the presidential election - the information remains available only to members of the media and not the general public, critics charge. They also would like to see Kerry’s journal and self-made films covering his Vietnam service.

John O’Neill of Houston, a co-founder of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and author of the 2004 book ‘‘Unfit for Command,’’ said Kerry cannot refute his own 1971 statements condemning fellow Vietnam vets.

‘‘He portrayed us as a group of brutish thugs savaging a nation, and that simply isn’t what happened,’’ O’Neill said. ‘‘I think what he should do is apologize for the remarks he made with respect to war crimes, to the people who served in Vietnam, and the relatives and friends of the people who died there. Those remarks were vicious, unfounded and untrue.’’

Kerry has long maintained that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is backed by Republican organizations, and he accuses the group of a smear campaign.

On Monday, Kerry said: ‘‘I have no doubt at all that some of the people involved on the other side don’t care about the truth, think nothing about distorting it, will not hesitate to say and do whatever they think is necessary to win. But I think we are now much more prepared and savvy about those kind of things, and certainly in my own involvement, I will make certain that people don’t get away with that.’’

In a prepared statement issued Tuesday, Kerry aide David Wade said: ‘‘What was true in 1969 and true in 2004 is still true today: Sen. Kerry served his country with honor, and the right wing was disgustingly wrong to smear a decorated combat veteran. An assault on one veteran’s service is an attack on all veterans.’’

Kerry’s staff noted that the senator’s military records were posted on the Kerry campaign Web site in 2004 and at http://news.findlaw.com/legalnews/lit/election2004/docs.html