August 28, 2004
What's it all about, Kerry?
One of my favorite former Marines, Oliver North, has some advice for John Kerry. He starts by pointing out that it's not President Bush's fault and it's not about the medals and not about getting lost (not) in Cambodia. So what's it about? "The issue is what you did to us when you came home, John."
When you got home, you co-founded Vietnam Veterans Against the War and wrote "The New Soldier," which denounced those of us who served -- and were still serving -- on the battlefields of a thankless war. Worst of all, John, you then accused me -- and all of us who served in Vietnam -- of committing terrible crimes and atrocities.
On April 22, 1971, under oath, you told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that you had knowledge that American troops "had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam." And you admitted on television that "yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed."
And for good measure you stated, "(America is) more guilty than any other body, of violations of (the) Geneva Conventions ... the torture of prisoners, the killing of prisoners."
Your "antiwar" statements and activities were painful for those of us carrying the scars of Vietnam and trying to move on with our lives. And for those who were still there, it was even more hurtful. But those who suffered the most from what you said and did were the hundreds of American prisoners of war being held by Hanoi. Here's what some of them endured because of you, John:
Capt. James Warner had already spent four years in Vietnamese custody when he was handed a copy of your testimony by his captors. Warner says that for his captors, your statements "were proof I deserved to be punished." He wasn't released until March 14, 1973.
Maj. Kenneth Cordier, an Air Force pilot who was in Vietnamese custody for 2,284 days, says his captors "repeated incessantly" your one-liner about being "the last man to die" for a lost cause. Cordier was released March 4, 1973.
Navy Lt. Paul Galanti says your accusations "were as demoralizing as solitary (confinement) ... and a prime reason the war dragged on." He remained in North Vietnamese hands until February 12, 1973.
John, did you think they would forget? When Tim Russert asked about your claim that you and others in Vietnam committed "atrocities," instead of standing by your sworn testimony, you confessed that your words "were a bit over the top." Does that mean you lied under oath? Or does it mean you are a war criminal? You can't have this one both ways, John. Either way, you're not fit to be a prison guard at Abu Ghraib, much less commander in chief.
One last thing, John. In 1988, Jane Fonda said: "I would like to say something ... to men who were in Vietnam, who I hurt, or whose pain I caused to deepen because of things that I said or did. I was trying to help end the killing and the war, but there were times when I was thoughtless and careless about it and I'm ... very sorry that I hurt them. And I want to apologize to them and their families."
Even Jane Fonda apologized. Will you, John?
Good question. Our vets deserve at least an apology. But so far, Kerry hasn't answered the Swift Boat Vet charges . . . he attacked them 30 years ago and he is still doing so. Major Kenneth Cordier, who spent six years in a Vietnamese POW camp where his captors quoted Kerry's words to him, spoke up against Kerry and was instantly slammed by the Kerry campaign. That's their strategy. Attack the messenger instead of addressing the message. Our vets deserve better and so does this country. To use Kerry's own words, "We can do better."
Posted by Deb at August 28, 2004 12:09 PM
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Ollie has been there, looked into the "eye of the Tiger" and found what is really important.
Another thing: Ollie is religious, and he gives most people a lot of slack.
But, he knows that we can not afford to have someone as President who is a self-identified, or " Fellow Traveler" Communist.
Posted by: Dave H. at August 28, 2004 01:47 PM
Great reading from another one of the war heros
I truly respect.
Posted by: Glynn Ross at August 29, 2004 02:15 PM
Posted by: Lewis Shugar at September 2, 2004 04:24 PM