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Vietnam Veterans, What is your oppinion of Kerry?

Discussion in 'Military' started by Billnew, Jul 14, 2004.

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  1. daidhaid

    daidhaid walkin' slack

    Oh but in the context of Kerry's testimony the question is valid.
    The question is a natural extension of the topic.
    You need not apologize...

    So many times Kerry was said to be lying when in fact he was speaking up about the war and how it was being conducted.

    Winteralfs wasn't asking for kool war stories to muse over.
    There are websites out there loaded with Per Nars.
    I believe he was questioning where the truth lay on the subject of Kerrys statements concerning atrocities and war crimes.

    Was John Kerry telling the truth when he gave his testimony about the war.

    Those of us who will tell what we saw may shed light on that subject.
    I'd just as soon leave that war behind, but everyone pesists in attacking Kerry for what he did, especially after he served.
    So dragging out the terrible acts might lay to rest and stifle the rewriting of history to make Nam look noble.

    In that light...
    Anyone else care to share what they saw in Nam.
    I know I'm not the only vet who can substantiate the charges that the Viet Nam war was often times less than noble.
    It isn't breaking faith with your buddies to explain the truth to the next generation.
    And it doesn't have to mean we are tearing each other down.
    I'm still pro-soldier and I know guys in service right now. That doesn't change the truth or make me less supportive for telling it.

    If you want to say Nam was a good and noble thing then tell a nice we helped a village, and our medic vaccinated kids, story.
    That's part of the truth too.
  2. winteralfs

    winteralfs New Member

    that is exactly the idea behind me asking the question. You got it.
  3. winteralfs

    winteralfs New Member

    I will ask the question again, As daidhaid suggests, to shed light on the testimony of John Kerry. Its accuracy etc....Wat have been some real, personal experiences over there? I will start a new thead to deal with these stories, and so as not to completely side track this one.

    look for "personal experiences of the Vietnam War"
  4. Gunny

    Gunny Remnant Supporter

    (With apologies to Mr. Kipling and the British Army)

    Johnny went public with ‘is boasts, an’ ‘ero without fear,
    “Til sudden like the Swifties say, “We got a turncoat ‘ere.”
    The Libs they just ignored ‘em, sayin’ “Ah, it’s all a lie!”
    Then Johnny’s outted by their ads an’ to myself says I:

    Oh it’s Johnny this an’ Johnny that, ‘e’s the ‘ero of the day.
    But it’s wait now, Mr. Kerry, what’s that record really say?
    The horns are loudly blowin’ boys as our band begins to play,
    An’ it’s goodbye, Mr. Kerry, as they blow your **** away.

    Johnny goes to Cincinnati sober as a man can be,
    An’ they give ol’ George a “Bravo Lad!” but John no sympathy.
    They give ‘im plain their message, sittin’ silent in the ‘alls,
    That when it comes to fightin’ men, they know oo’s got the balls.

    For it’s Johnny this an’ Johnny that, but wait, he might ‘a lied
    From the platform of his campaign train an’ on the Boston tide.
    His ship is on the tide, my boys, his ship is on the tide,
    An’ it’s plain as day she’s sinkin’ boys, because the turncoat lied.

    Yes Johnny mocked our uniforms that guard you while you sleep.
    He cheapened all our medals throwing his upon that heap;
    An’ rustlin’ up his phony troops, he led them for a bit,
    Until his aspirations and theirs no longer fit.

    Now it’s Johnny this an’ Johnny that, an’ Johnny how’s yer soul,
    In that brave front rank of ‘eroes as our drums begin their roll?
    The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
    An’ they’ll keep right on a rollin’ boys, ‘til we chuck ‘im in the hole.

    We make no claim as ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
    But ‘onorable men an’ warriors fightin’ once agin for you.
    An’ if your ‘ero’s record, our charges soundly taint,
    That’s what we’re tryin’ to tell you blokes, your ‘ero ain’t no saint.

    For it’s Johnny this an’ Johnny that, an’ “Check him out, the Loot!”
    Was ‘e the “Savior of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot?
    Now it’s Johnny’s turn to prove us wrong, an’ make us all out liars,
    By signin’ that one eighty form an’ puttin out the fires.

    Oh it’s Johnny this an’ Johnny that, ‘e’s the ‘ero of the day,
    But it’s hold on, Mr. Kerry, what’s that record really say?
    The horns are loudly blowin’ boys, as our band begins to play,

    “Cheerio, Old Man,” to Johnny and blows his **** away.
    Russ Vaughn

    2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
    101st Airborne Division
    Vietnam 65-66

  5. daidhaid

    daidhaid walkin' slack

    posted in the wrong thread my mistake sorry.
  6. daidhaid

    daidhaid walkin' slack

    posted here by mistake wrong thread sorry.
  7. ACougar

    ACougar U.S. Army Retired

    I'm not a Vietnam Vet, however I have no problem understanding why Vietnam Vets can and should be outraged at what Kerry did after he returned from Vietnam. He allowed himself IMO to become caught up in a movement, he probably repeated stories that were not true and allowed his passion against the war to harm those he had honorably served with. I wish he would issue an appology for his actions, and show that he regrets the cloud he helped cast over soldiers who were risking thier lives for our country.
  8. winteralfs

    winteralfs New Member

    and around and around and around we go...

    There are 2 issues present here.

    1. Are the actions that Kerry testified too accurate?

    2. If they were accurate, should Kerry have testified to the behavior, thus defaming his fellow soldiers, and appear to lend sympathy to the enemy killing our own young men, and thus come off as fighting our own young men indirectly himself.


    1) The answer to this should be provable. Its based on historical facts. Did those thing happen or not. This is why our country needs an accurate, verifiable record of what happened over there. Vets testimony, vietnamese testimony, and military evidense all need to be libraried to create this record. The fact that we still debate this issue is frusterating, when we could get the answers to prove it once and for all, one way or the other, what hapened over there, when and under what circumastances. I would strongly argue that the answer to issue 1 is yes.

    2) The answer to issue 2 is more subjective. As long as we can agree that the answer to issue 1 is yes, then we move on to issue 2. (If the answer to issue 1 is no, then of course the actions of Kerry after the war are in error, and he should apoligise.) Until we agree on issue 1, the answer to issue 2 will always be very hard to agree upon as the whole affair gets muddled by misinformation, and a faulty foundation.
  9. daidhaid

    daidhaid walkin' slack

    Published on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 by the Boston Globe
    Made in Iraq: The New Antiwar Veteran
    by Robert J. Lifton

    ON THE FRINGE of the recent Democratic National Convention in Boston, there was a miniconvention of a group called Veterans for Peace. Most of the 400-plus participants were Vietnam veterans, though there were smaller contingents of veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the first Gulf War. But the most dramatic presence was that of a group of new kids on the block, veterans of the war in Iraq. These new veterans could come to have a powerful influence on our country. Iraq veterans undergo the same psychological struggles of all survivors over images of deaths , how much to feel and not to feel, pain and guilt from the deaths of buddies and their own behavior. Above all, war survivors hunger for meaning -- for some kind of moral judgment about their encounters with death.

    In this quest for understanding, it turns out that Iraq veterans have much in common with their older compatriots who fought in Vietnam. Both groups were involved in a confusing counterinsurgency war conducted in an alien, hostile environment against a nonwhite enemy as elusive as he was dangerous. The result in both cases was an atrocity-producing situation -- one structured militarily and psychologically so that ordinary soldiers with no special history of violence or antisocial behavior were suddenly capable of killing or torturing civilians who were loosely designated as "the enemy."

    A significant number of Vietnam veterans found meaning in opposing their war while it was in progress. The hearings on American war crimes and the throwing away of medals were their way of rejecting the war and holding not just themselves but their country accountable.

    Their impact on the nation was different from that of other antiwar protesters because they were able to bring the Vietnam death scene directly to the American public, as John Kerry did in his 1971 testimony before a US Senate subcommittee, when he asked, "How we can ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

    What Kerry and other antiwar veterans were contesting was the wartime tradition that in order to make sure the fallen did not "die in vain," one must rally round the flag, assert the nobility of the cause, and prosecute the war ever more vigorously.Instead, they invoked the authority of the dead to oppose rather than perpetuate the war.

    This kind of alternative is by no means new -- it was powerfully expressed by writers surviving World War I and goes back as far as Homer.

    Iraq veterans are beginning to express similar sentiments. In Boston they sounded not unlike their Vietnam predecessors. They emphasized the large-scale killing of Iraqi civilians by American firepower, along with their own widespread confusion. "We were lost. We had no idea what we were doing," was the way one put it.

    These veterans formed a new organization at the convention, Iraq Veterans Against the War, modeled on the earlier Vietnam Veterans Against the War. It is too early to say how many will join this new group; much depends on what happens in Iraq and on the extent of antiwar opposition at home.

    But there is already a personal and primal connection between veterans of Vietnam and Iraq: They are literally fathers and sons or daughters. Generational transmission of war experience has always had enormous psychological importance. Men who fought in Vietnam told me decades ago of having heard, on their fathers' knees, tales of courage and heroism in fighting the "good war." Those World War II fathers were often perplexed and angered by their sons' disillusionment with and bitter opposition to their own war. But Vietnam veteran fathers may have no such difficulty with the disillusionment of their children.

    The sharing of an antiwar sentiment may indeed be a powerful bond. That was the case with an Iraq veteran, the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, who spoke at the meeting of the extreme chaos in which neither Americans nor Iraqis could be "protected" and of her constant question of "what we were doing there."

    American soldiers fighting in Iraq are also saying things reminiscent of their Vietnam veteran fathers and uncles. The British newspaper The Guardian reported American soldiers as saying: "It's really frustrating cause I mean we can't find these guys. They shoot at us all the time, they run away, we try to figure out who it is, we interrogate people -- do they know who it was? No, nobody knows who it was"; and "This is the last place I'd probably ever want to die"; and "I don't have any idea of what we're trying to do out here. I don't know what the [goal] is, and I don't think our commanders do either."

    These feelings arise from the war in Iraq. But the Vietnam experience hovers over everything; it is reactivated by what we hear about Iraq. In that sense a shared parent-child antiwar sentiment may come to reverberate throughout society. We have not heard the last of this poignant generational alliance.

    Robert J. Lifton is a lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author, most recently, of "Superpower Syndrome: America's Apocalyptic Confrontation with the World."

    © Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.
  10. Gunny

    Gunny Remnant Supporter

  11. ACougar

    ACougar U.S. Army Retired

    1. I believe that he believed what he was saying, I also believe he got caught up in the moment/movement.

    2. Yes and No. It was his right as an American to try to put an end to a war he didn't believe in, at the same time however his acions were in poor taste and he should have no problem understanding why those actions earned him some enemies. If he wants to lead this country I believe he should issue a formal appology for those actions.
  12. daidhaid

    daidhaid walkin' slack

    Point #1. Well Kerry has said as much.
    Back in those days anything less than what he did probably would have had no effect towards stopping the war. He still believes in the war crimes and atrocity allegations but admits that some of the rhetoric especially about genocide was over the top.

    Point#2. Yes and no.
    It was his right and the right of all the others who worked to stop the war.
    Just as hawks had the right to promote war. Looks to me like Nam was a bad mistake gone worse.
    I don't know how you manage the poor taste question when something like the Vietnam war is going on. The whole world was nuts over it.
    I can clearly understand why some hate him, but if he spoke essential truth he should not apologize for it.
    I'm not the same guy I was then I doubt if he is either.
  13. Gunny

    Gunny Remnant Supporter

    I believe Kerry is and has been a self-promoting opportunist. I believe he went to Vietnam with his anti-war rhetoric for he spewed it at his graduation from Yale.

    I believe Kerry didn't give a hoot for those still fighting in Vietnam and being held as POW's when he gave his little talk before Congress in 1971.

    I truly believe Kerry was and is a traitor.

    Kerry is about Kerry and he commited treason as far as I am concerned when meeting with NV Communists in Paris, while the war was still taking place.

    I don't buy the BS that he was attempting to get back the POW's. If this was the case he would not have spewed his BS in 1971, before Congress.

    Kerry, did not consider the plight of those still in harm's way and those being held as POW's.

    As then, as now, Kerry is about Kerry.
  14. Gunny

    Gunny Remnant Supporter

    Kerry Museum Photo Documented

    Communist Vietnamese honor John Kerry, the war protestor, as a hero in their victory over the United States in the Vietnam War -- Part II.

    On Memorial Day, May 31, 2004, Vietnam Vets for the Truth broke an extraordinary story about a photograph hanging in the Vietnamese Communist War Remnants Museum (formerly known as the "War Crimes Museum") in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). The photograph, displayed in a room dedicated to foreign activists who contributed to the Communist victory over America in the Vietnam War, shows Senator John Kerry being greeted by Comrade Do Muoi, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam. Jeffrey M. Epstein of Vietnam Vets for the Truth acquired the photograph during the Memorial Day weekend in response to a general request for photographs and records detailing Kerry's activities on behalf of the enemy.

    Vietnam Vets for the Truth has now further documented the photograph. Photographer Bill Lupetti returned to the War Remnants Museum in Saigon on June 2 at the request of Dr. Jerome Corsi, co-author of the original article, and photographed a current edition of the "Viet Nam News" next to the display honoring John Kerry.



    Photograph of John Kerry meeting with Comrade Do Muoi, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, in Vietnam. Photo displayed in the War Remnants Museum (formerly the "War Crimes Museum") in Saigon. The June 2, 2004, edition of "Viet Nam News" is held beside the Kerry photograph to confirm the date the photo was taken. English-language placard below photograph reads: "Mr. Do Muoi, Secretary General of the Vietnam Communist Party met with Congressmen and Veterans Delegation in Vietnam (July 15-18, 1993)."

    Dr. Corsi asked Mr. Lupetti to more thoroughly document the layout and scope of the museum, particularly the section featuring those foreign anti-war activists whom the Vietnamese communists wished to honor. He took a number of additional photos at the War Remnants Museum and elsewhere, several of which are presented below.

    Dr. Corsi also contacted Dan Tran of the Vietnam Human Rights Project, who asked associates in Saigon to go into the museum to make sure the photograph of John Kerry was actually there. Mr. Tran's contacts confirmed that the photograph is still in the museum.



    Photograph of John Kerry meeting with Comrade Do Muoi, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam. Photo is displayed in the War Remnants Museum (formerly the "War Crimes Museum") in Saigon.

    Dan Tran also asked his Vietnamese associates to get a more precise wording of the placards under the photo. Below are the English and French captions:

    "Mr. Do Muoi, Secretary General of the Vietnam Communist Party met with Congressmen and Veterans Delegation in Vietnam (July 15-18, 1993)"

    "Camarade Do Muoi -- Secrétaire General du Parti Communiste du Vietnam -- recevait une délégation de Sénateurs et Anciens Vétérans du Vietnam le 18 Juillet 1993"

    Bill Lupetti, who had served as a Navy corpsman working with Swift Boat sailors in An Thoi, was in Vietnam and happened upon the Kerry photo display while visiting the War Remnants Museum. Mr. Lupetti posted the photo to an album maintained on MyFamily.com by Swift Boat veteran Jim Deal that contains hundreds of Vietnam War era photos posted by participating Swift Boat veterans. One of those veterans, Bob Shirley, forwarded the Kerry photo to Jeff Epstein of Vietnam Vets for the Truth in response to an Internet request for photographs documenting John Kerry's activities as a Naval officer and as an antiwar protestor.

    Several members of the mainstream media have questioned the authenticity of the photograph on the grounds that they have no proof that Senator Kerry was in Vietnam during July 15-18, 1993.

    According to a AP newswire report carried in The Chronicle-Telegram of Elyria, Ohio, on July 17, 1993, a US delegation headed by US Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Hershel Gober, was in Vietnam on a mission sent by President Clinton, to deliver to the Vietnamese microfilm of some 3 million captured Vietnam War documents that pertained to finding American POWs and MIAs. The newspaper states that the mission was scheduled to meet with Communist Party General Secretary Do Muoi.

    The reports do not confirm that Senator Kerry was part of the US delegation; however, in his press release of July 2, 1993 announcing the formation of the delegation, President Clinton mentioned John Kerry and noted that "Members of Congress and representatives of veterans groups have traveled to Vietnam to press for the goal" of resolving the fate of American service personnel who did not return from Vietnam. There is ample documentation that John Kerry has met with General Secretary Do Muoi. The Far Eastern Economical Review of February 11, 1999 notes that Senator Kerry met with Do Muoi when he visited Hanoi in December 1998. In a speech given on the Senate Floor on April 29, 1992 Senator Kerry discussed in detail a meeting he had recently had with Do Muoi in Vietnam to discuss the fate of American POWs and MIAs. A photo widely circulated on the Internet shows John Kerry formally posed with Do Muoi. The two men are seated with a statue of Ho Chi Minh in the background.

    The existence of photographs showing Senator Kerry meeting with General Secretary Do Muoi is not in question. In the course of pursuing the POW and MIA issue, it is reasonable that Senator Kerry would seek to meet with the communist leaders of Vietnam. The critical issue is that the Vietnamese communists have chosen to honor Senator Kerry in their War Crimes Museum for his assistance in helping them achieve victory over the United States. The sign outside the entrance to the room where Kerry's photo is displayed reads: "The World Supports Vietnam in its Resistance." Also exhibited inside the room are protest banners and emblems from various nations and photographs of international leaders who supported North Vietnam's cause.


    Mr. Lupetti also photographed a picture honoring Jane Fonda, who stands next to Nguyen Thi Dinh, deputy commander of the Viet Cong.


    [​IMG] Photograph of Nguyen Thi Dinh and Jane Fonda displayed in the Women's Museum, Saigon, May 28, 2004.

    Vietnam Vets for Truth
  15. arnegrim

    arnegrim ...still not convinced it was the wrong one.

    They questioned if Kerry was actually in Vietnam in '93?

    Perhaps Mr. Do Muoi met Kerry in Cambodia.
  16. ACougar

    ACougar U.S. Army Retired

    Let me get this right.... Kerry went over to Vietnam in the 1990's on a mission to return American POWs and MIAs to the United States and Viatnam Vet's for the truth is trying to use it to smear Kerry?

  17. daidhaid

    daidhaid walkin' slack


    In the effort to be anti Kerry we have merged into the ridiculous.

    I wouldn't have to stoop far to say worse about Bush but what is the point.
    Undecided voters are not going to be deciding based on a war we lost 30 years ago.
    The current war, the economy, jobs, health care, the environment, any of those have more bearing than Nam.
    If there is a Nam connection for me it is Bush, the hawk, didn't go.
  18. Gunny

    Gunny Remnant Supporter

    Why Families Say Kerry Betrayed POWs and MIAs
    Dave Eberhart, NewsMax.com
    [font=arial,helvetica]Friday, Feb. 13, 2004[/font] ​
    Editor’s note: This is Part 1 in a series revealing the Democratic front-runner’s track record on the important issues of the day.

    Putative presidential nominee Sen. John Forbes Kerry, D-Mass., began his involvement with the nation’s painful POW/MIA drama long before entering the hallowed halls of American political power.

    In April 1971, when as a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War he gave his infamous war-bashing testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry did not stop at declaring that he and many other veterans of that conflict were war criminals.

    Pointedly, Kerry also insisted that the United States had a definite obligation to make extensive economic reparations to the people of Vietnam.

    Specifically, the newly discharged Navy veteran was an advocate of the so-called “People’s Peace Treaty,” a tome reportedly drafted in communist East Germany. Its nine points closely followed the enemy Viet Cong’s proposals being touted at the Paris peace talks as a quid pro quo for ending the fighting.

    What rankles many Vietnam veterans today is that Kerry’s blatant advocacy of the enemy's position occurred while hundreds of captured American fighting men suffered and languished as prisoners of war in North Vietnamese prisons.

    Keep the POWs Hostage
    Until the Communists Get Their Way

    A key provision of the enemy platform supported by Kerry:

    “The Vietnamese pledge that as soon as the U.S. government publicly sets a date for total withdrawal [from Vietnam], they will enter discussion to secure the release of all American prisoners, including pilots captured while bombing North Vietnam.”

    In the end, of course, the American leadership wanted nothing to do with a sham proposition that called for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Vietnam first, followed later by negotiations for the release of prisoners.

    Some observers suggest that the perfidy of the youthful Kerry had not much tempered by the time, when as a U.S. senator, he was frocked as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs in 1992.

    To many, Kerry's agenda as chairman appeared to be more about racing to the normalization of relations with Vietnam than ending the miseries of POW/MIA survivors thirsting for definitive answers as to what happened to their men.

    Visiting Vietnam, Kerry repeatedly angered the homefolk by praising his former enemy for being open and reporting that he was convinced they were not holding American POWs.

    In the end, Kerry and his committee determined in a 500-page final report that American POWs were left alive in Vietnam after the war but felt none were still alive. It made no attempt to identify those left behind, how they died, who killed them or where their remains might be located.

    Many POW/MIA families simply didn’t believe him, and they were soon given more to ruminate on as to what could have driven Kerry to such unsatisfying and incomplete conclusions.

    Multimillion-dollar Incentive to 'Reward Vietnam'

    Shortly after Kerry declared to the world, “President Bush should reward Vietnam within a month for its increased cooperation in accounting for American MIAs,” Vietnam announced it had granted Colliers International, based in Boston, a contract worth millions.

    Designating Colliers International as the exclusive real estate agent representing Vietnam, the communist regime positioned the company to rake in tens of millions of dollars in future contracts to upgrade Vietnam’s ports, railroads and other infrastructure.

    C. Stewart Forbes, chief executive officer of Colliers International, is John Forbes Kerry’s cousin.

    The saga, however, does not end there. There remains the nettlesome matter of the document shredding.

    John F. McCreary, a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst assigned to Kerry’s committee, is a member of the Virginia State Bar and consequently saw an obligation to report what he suspected was misconduct by Kerry, also an attorney governed by the lawyers’ ethics code.

    McCreary felt duty-bound to report knowledge of Kerry’s document shredding – specifically, the intelligence briefing text - to Vice Chairman Bob Smith.

    Kerry: Destroy All Copies

    A memorandum by McCreary: “Sen. John Kerry ... told the Select Committee members that ‘all copies’ would be destroyed. This statement was made in the presence of the undersigned and of the Staff Chief Counsel who offered no protest.”

    On April 9, 1992, McCreary verified that the original document was destroyed, as well as 14 copies.

    The McCreary memo continued: “On 15 April 1992, the Staff Chief Counsel, J. William Codinha ... ridiculed the Staff members for expressing their concerns; and replied, in response to questions about the potential consequences, ‘Who’s the injured party,’ and ‘How are they going to find out because its classified.’”

    To defuse the growing crisis, on April 16 Kerry stated that the original documents had remained in the Office of Senate Security all along, so nothing wrong had been done.

    But according to McCreary: “The Staff Director had deposited a copy of the intelligence briefing text in the Office of Senate Security at 1307 on 16 April.”

    Kerry had, according to McCreary, ordered a non-original copy of the document entered into the Office of Senate Security, but only after protests from staff caused him to rethink complete destruction of the documents.


    As McCreary stated at the time, this “constituted an act to cover up the destruction.”

    Ironically, the Kerry campaign's Web site states: “When John Kerry returned home from Vietnam, he joined his fellow veterans in vowing never to abandon future veterans of America’s wars. Kerry’s commitment to veterans has never wavered and stands strong to this day.”

    Part 2: Defense
  19. Gunny

    Gunny Remnant Supporter

    Senator covered up evidence of P.O.W.'s left behind
    When John Kerry's Courage Went M.I.A.
    by Sydney H. Schanberg
    February 24th, 2004 1:00 PM


    Related Articles:

    "Did America Abandon Vietnam War POWs?" by Sydney H. Schanberg

    "Follow the Microfiche" [​IMG]Vets Demonstrate Against 'Jane Fonda Kerry' on Park Ave ([​IMG] 2 min. 8 sec.)

    [​IMG]enator John Kerry, a decorated battle veteran, was courageous as a navy lieutenant in the Vietnam War. But he was not so courageous more than two decades later, when he covered up voluminous evidence that a significant number of live American prisoners—perhaps hundreds—were never acknowledged or returned after the war-ending treaty was signed in January 1973.

    The Massachusetts senator, now seeking the presidency, carried out this subterfuge a little over a decade ago— shredding documents, suppressing testimony, and sanitizing the committee's final report—when he was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on P.O.W./ M.I.A. Affairs.

    Over the years, an abundance of evidence had come to light that the North Vietnamese, while returning 591 U.S. prisoners of war after the treaty signing, had held back many others as future bargaining chips for the $4 billion or more in war reparations that the Nixon administration had pledged. Hanoi didn't trust Washington to fulfill its pro-mise without pressure. Similarly, Washington didn't trust Hanoi to return all the prisoners and carry out all the treaty provisions. The mistrust on both sides was merited. Hanoi held back prisoners and the U.S. provided no reconstruction funds.

    The stated purpose of the special Senate committee—which convened in mid 1991 and concluded in January 1993—was to investigate the evidence about prisoners who were never returned and find out what happened to the missing men. Committee chair Kerry's larger and different goal, though never stated publicly, emerged over time: He wanted to clear a path to normalization of relations with Hanoi. In any other context, that would have been an honorable goal. But getting at the truth of the unaccounted for P.O.W.'s and M.I.A.'s (Missing In Action) was the main obstacle to normalization—and therefore in conflict with his real intent and plan of action.

    Kerry denied back then that he disguised his real goal, contending that he supported normalization only as a way to learn more about the missing men. But almost nothing has emerged about these prisoners since diplomatic and economic relations were restored in 1995, and thus it would appear—as most realists expected—that Kerry's explanation was hollow. He has also denied in the past the allegations of a cover-up, either by the Pentagon or himself. Asked for comment on this article, the Kerry campaign sent a quote from the senator: "In the end, I think what we can take pride in is that we put together the most significant, most thorough, most exhaustive accounting for missing and former P.O.W.'s in the history of human warfare."

    What was the body of evidence that prisoners were held back? A short list would include more than 1,600 firsthand sightings of live U.S. prisoners; nearly 14,000 secondhand reports; numerous intercepted Communist radio messages from within Vietnam and Laos about American prisoners being moved by their captors from one site to another; a series of satellite photos that continued into the 1990s showing clear prisoner rescue signals carved into the ground in Laos and Vietnam, all labeled inconclusive by the Pentagon; multiple reports about unacknowledged prisoners from North Vietnamese informants working for U.S. intelligence agencies, all ignored or declared unreliable; persistent complaints by senior U.S. intelligence officials (some of them made publicly) that live-prisoner evidence was being suppressed; and clear proof that the Pentagon and other keepers of the "secret" destroyed a variety of files over the years to keep the P.O.W./M.I.A. families and the public from finding out and possibly setting off a major public outcry.

    The resignation of Colonel Millard Peck in 1991, the first year of the Kerry committee's tenure, was one of many vivid landmarks in this saga's history. Peck had been the head of the Pentagon's P.O.W./M.I.A. office for only eight months when he resigned in disgust. In his damning departure statement, he wrote: "The mind-set to 'debunk' is alive and well. It is held at all levels . . . Practically all analysis is directed to finding fault with the source. Rarely has there been any effective, active follow-through on any of the sightings . . . The sad fact is that . . . a cover-up may be in progress. The entire charade does not appear to be an honest effort and may never have been."

    Finally, Peck said: "From what I have witnessed, it appears that any soldier left in Vietnam, even inadvertently, was in fact abandoned years ago, and that the farce that is being played is no more than political legerdemain done with 'smoke and mirrors' to stall the issue until it dies a natural death."

    What did Kerry do in furtherance of the cover-up? An overview would include the following: He allied himself with those carrying it out by treating the Pentagon and other prisoner debunkers as partners in the investigation instead of the targets they were supposed to be. In short, he did their bidding. When Defense Department officials were coming to testify, Kerry would have his staff director, Frances Zwenig, meet with them to "script" the hearings—as detailed in an internal Zwenig memo leaked by others. Zwenig also advised North Vietnamese officials on how to state their case. Further, Kerry never pushed or put up a fight to get key government documents unclassified; he just rolled over, no matter how obvious it was that the documents contained confirming data about prisoners. Moreover, after promising to turn over all committee records to the National Archives when the panel concluded its work, the senator destroyed crucial intelligence information the staff had gathered—to to keep the documents from becoming public. He refused to subpoena past presidents and other key witnesses.

    When revelatory sworn testimony was given to the committee by President Reagan's national security adviser, Richard Allen—about a credible proposal from Hanoi in 1981 to return more than 50 prisoners for a $4 billion ransom—Kerry had that testimony taken in a closed door interview, not a public hearing. But word leaked out and a few weeks later, Allen sent a letter to the committee, not under oath, recanting his testimony, saying his memory had played tricks on him. Kerry never did any probe into Allen's original, detailed account, and instead accepted his recantation as gospel truth.

    A Secret Service agent then working at the White House, John Syphrit, told committee staffers he had overheard part of a conversation about the Hanoi proposal for ransom. He said he was willing to testify but feared reprisal from his Treasury Department superiors and would need to be subpoenaed so that his appearance could not be regarded as voluntary. Kerry refused to subpoena him. Syphrit told me that four men were involved in that conversation—Reagan, Allen, Vice President George H.W. Bush, and CIA director William Casey. I wrote the story for Newsday.

    The final Kerry report brushed off the entire episode like unsightly dust. It said: "The committee found no credible evidence of any such [ransom] offer being made."

    A newcomer to this subject matter might reasonably ask why there was no great public outrage, no sustained headlines, no national demand for investigations, no penalties imposed on those who had hidden, and were still hiding, the truth. The simple, overarching explanation was that most Americans wanted to put Vietnam behind them as fast as possible. They wanted to forget this failed war, not deal with its truths or consequences. The press suffered from the same ostrich syndrome; no major media organization ever carried out an in-depth investigation by a reporting team into the prisoner issue. When prisoner stories did get into the press, they would have a one-day life span, never to be followed up on. When three secretaries of defense from the Vietnam era—James Schlesinger, Melvin Laird, and Elliot Richardson—testified before the Kerry committee, under oath, that intelligence they received at the time convinced them that numbers of unacknowledged prisoners were being held by the Communists, the story was reported by the press just that once and then dropped. The New York Times put the story on page one but never pursued it further to explore the obvious ramifications.

    At that public hearing on September 21, 1992, toward the end of Schlesinger's testimony, the former defense secretary, who earlier had been CIA chief, was asked a simple question: "In your view, did we leave men behind?"

    He replied: "I think that as of now, I can come to no other conclusion."

    He was asked to explain why Nixon would have accepted leaving men behind. He said: "One must assume that we had concluded that the bargaining position of the United States . . . was quite weak. We were anxious to get our troops out and we were not going to roil the waters . . . "

    Another example of a story not pursued occurred at the Paris peace talks. The North Vietnamese failed to provide a list of the prisoners until the treaty was signed. Afterward, when they turned over the list, U.S. intelligence officials were taken aback by how many believed prisoners were not included. The Vietnamese were returning only nine men from Laos. American records showed that more than 300 were probably being held. A story about this stunning gap, by New York Times Pentagon reporter John W. Finney, appeared on the paper's front page on February 2, 1973. The story said: "Officials emphasized that the United States would be seeking clarification . . . " No meaningful explanation was ever provided by the Vietnamese or by the Laotian Communist guerrillas, the Pathet Lao, who were satellites of Hanoi.

    As a bombshell story for the media, particularly the Washington press corps, it was there for the taking. But there were no takers.

    I was drawn to the P.O.W. issue because of my reporting years for The New York Times during the Vietnam War, where I came to believe that our soldiers were being misled and disserved by our government. After the war, military people who knew me and others who knew my work brought me information about live sightings of P.O.W.'s still in captivity and other evidence about their existence. When the Kerry committee was announced (I was by then a columnist at Newsday), I thought the senator—having himself become disillusioned about the Vietnam War, and eventually an advocate against it—might really be committed to digging out the truth. This was wishful thinking.

    In the committee's early days, Kerry had given encouraging indications of being a committed investigator. He said he had "leads" to the existence of P.O.W.'s still in captivity. He said the number of these likely survivors was more than 100 and that this was the minimum. But in a very short time, he stopped saying such things and morphed his role into one of full alliance with the executive branch, the Pentagon, and other Washington hierarchies, joining their long-running effort to obscure and deny that a significant number of live American prisoners had not been returned. As many as 700 withheld P.O.W.'s were cited in credible intelligence documents, including a speech by a senior North Vietnamese general that was discovered in Soviet archives by an American scholar.

    Here are details of a few of the specific steps Kerry took to hide evidence about these P.O.W.'s.
    • He gave orders to his committee staff to shred crucial intelligence documents. The shredding stopped only when some intelligence staffers staged a protest. Some wrote internal memos calling for a criminal investigation. One such memo—from John F. McCreary, a lawyer and staff intelligence analyst—reported that the committee's chief counsel, J. William Codinha, a longtime Kerry friend, "ridiculed the staff members" and said, "Who's the injured party?" When staffers cited "the 2,494 families of the unaccounted-for U.S. servicemen, among others," the McCreary memo continued, Codinha said: "Who's going to tell them? It's classified."

      Kerry defended the shredding by saying the documents weren't originals, only copies—but the staff's fear was that with the destruction of the copies, the information would never get into the public domain, which it didn't. Kerry had promised the staff that all documents acquired and prepared by the committee would be turned over to the National Archives at the committee's expiration. This didn't happen. Both the staff and independent researchers reported that many critical documents were withheld.
    • Another protest memo from the staff reported: "An internal Department of Defense Memorandum identifies Frances Zwenig [Kerry's staff director] as the conduit to the Department of Defense for the acquisition of sensitive and restricted information from this Committee . . . lines of investigation have been seriously compromised by leaks" to the Pentagon and "other agencies of the executive branch." It also said the Zwenig leaks were "endangering the lives and livelihood of two witnesses."
    • A number of staffers became increasingly upset about Kerry's close relationship with the Department of Defense, which was supposed to be under examination. (Dick Cheney was then defense secretary.) It had become clear that Kerry, Zwenig, and others close to the chairman, such as Senator John McCain of Arizona, a dominant committee member, had gotten cozy with the officials and agencies supposedly being probed for obscuring P.O.W. information over the years. Committee hearings, for example, were being orchestrated to suit the examinees, who were receiving lists of potential questions in advance. Another internal memo from the period, by a staffer who requested anonymity, said: "Speaking for the other investigators, I can say we are sick and tired of this investigation being controlled by those we are supposedly investigating."
    • The Kerry investigative technique was equally soft in many other critical ways. He rejected all suggestions that the committee require former presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush to testify. All were in the Oval Office during the Vietnam era and its aftermath. They had information critical to the committee, for each president was carefully and regularly briefed by his national security adviser and others about P.O.W. developments. It was a huge issue at that time.
    • Kerry also refused to subpoena the Nixon office tapes (yes, the Watergate tapes) from the early months of 1973 when the P.O.W.'s were an intense subject because of the peace talks and the prisoner return that followed. (Nixon had rejected committee requests to provide the tapes voluntarily.) Information had seeped out for years that during the Paris talks and afterward, Nixon had been briefed in detail by then national security advisor Brent Scowcroft and others about the existence of P.O.W.'s whom Hanoi was not admitting to. Nixon, distracted by Watergate, apparently decided it was crucial to get out of the Vietnam mess immediately, even if it cost those lives. Maybe he thought there would be other chances down the road to bring these men back. So he approved the peace treaty and on March 29, 1973, the day the last of the 591 acknowledged prisoners were released in Hanoi, Nixon announced on national television: "All of our American P.O.W.'s are on their way home."

    The Kerry committee's final report, issued in January 1993, delivered the ultimate insult to history. The 1,223-page document said there was "no compelling evidence that proves" there is anyone still in captivity. As for the primary investigative question —what happened to the men left behind in 1973—the report conceded only that there is "evidence . . . that indicates the possibility of survival, at least for a small number" of prisoners 31 years ago, after Hanoi released the 591 P.O.W.'s it had admitted to.

    With these word games, the committee report buried the issue—and the men.

    The huge document contained no findings about what happened to the supposedly "small number." If they were no longer alive, then how did they die? Were they executed when ransom offers were rejected by Washington?

    Kerry now slides past all the radio messages, satellite photos, live sightings, and boxes of intelligence documents—all the evidence. In his comments for this piece, this candidate for the presidency said: "No nation has gone to the lengths that we did to account for their dead. None—ever in history."

    Of the so-called "possibility" of a "small number" of men left behind, the committee report went on to say that if this did happen, the men were not "knowingly abandoned," just "shunted aside." How do you put that on a gravestone?

    In the end, the fact that Senator Kerry covered up crucial evidence as committee chairman didn't seem to bother too many Massachusetts voters when he came up for re-election—or the recent voters in primary states. So I wouldn't predict it will be much of an issue in the presidential election come November. It seems there is no constituency in America for missing Vietnam P.O.W.'s except for their families and some veterans of that war.

    A year after he issued the committee report, on the night of January 26, 1994, Kerry was on the Senate floor pushing through a resolution calling on President Clinton to lift the 19-year-old trade embargo against Vietnam. In the debate, Kerry belittled the opposition, saying that those who still believed in abandoned P.O.W.'s were perpetrating a hoax. "This process," he declaimed, "has been led by a certain number of charlatans and exploiters, and we should not allow fiction to cloud what we are trying to do here."

    Kerry's resolution passed, by a vote of 62 to 38. Sadly for him, the passage of ten thousand resolutions cannot make up for wants in a man's character.

    Recent stories by Sydney H. Schanberg
    When John Kerry's Courage Went M.I.A. Senator covered up evidence of P.O.W.'s left behind — Senator Kerry may have been courageous as a navy lieutenant in the Vietnam War, but, alleges Sydney H. Schanberg, he was not so brave more than two decades later, when he covered up evidence that a significant number of live American prisoners—perhaps hundreds—were never acknowledged or returned after the war-ending treaty was signed.

    2004 Village Voice Media, Inc., 36 Cooper Square, New York, NY 10003 The Village Voice and Voice are registered trademarks. All rights reserved.
  20. Gunny

    Gunny Remnant Supporter

    Vietnam veterans protest Kerry
    By Arlo Wagner and Judith Person
    [​IMG] Thousands of Vietnam veterans and their families and friends applauded, yelled support and waved signs and flags for more than two hours yesterday at an anti-John Kerry rally outside the U.S. Capitol.
    "John Kerry is not fit to tie the shoes of the heroes we have here at this rally," said John O'Neill of Houston, a member of the Swift Boat crews who have disclaimed the Democratic presidential candidate's statements about his military service.
    "Leave John Kerry to command the largest vessel he's ever competently handled — his surfboard," said another speaker, B.G. Burkett, 60, another veteran and author of "Stolen Valor," which is about the legacy of the Vietnam generation.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] The comments drew hearty approval from a crowd that organizers estimated at between 8,000 and 10,000.
    Park and Capitol officials no longer provide crowd estimates, but some veteran observers estimated that the crowd numbered in the low thousands.
    About a half-dozen pro-Kerry boosters stood with a banner, Veterans For Kerry, near the stage. John Grant, 57, of Philadelphia, entered the crowd, got in an argument and was escorted out by police.
    "It's not right," Mr. Grant said, complaining that the rally was really a campaign to re-elect President Bush and that a permit for a similar rally in opposition to Mr. Bush would have been denied.
    Several speakers and audience members said the rally was not political. There were no statements urging the re-election of Mr. Bush. But Mr. Burkett criticized CBS News anchor Dan Rather, who has become embroiled in a controversy over the network's reporting on "military records" of Mr. Bush's that appear to be forged.
    Other speakers included Jim Warner of Rohrersville, Md., who said he was a prisoner of war when Mr. Kerry returned to the United States and criticized the conduct of American troops in Vietnam.
    The Viet Cong interrogated Mr. Warner and used Mr. Kerry's quotes in an effort to persuade Mr. Warner to sign a statement about U.S. military cruelties.
    The audience cheered and obviously agreed with all speakers.
    "I have some real problems with Kerry," said retired Sgt. Maj. Ben Swartz, 66. "We feel that he degraded the servicemen who were serving their country."
    Mr. Swartz and brother-in-law, retired Sgt. Bryant Bowman, and their wives came from Charleston, W.Va.
    Mr. Bowman put his hand on his wife's shoulder. "She had to stay home and worry about me. She had our first baby while I was in Vietnam," he said, pausing as tears welled in his eyes. "And John Kerry is stirring it up all over again."
    Debbie Ewert, 53, wore a T-shirt that read: "Kerry lied while good men died."
    Mrs. Ewert's son is in the Marines. "I don't want him coming back to the same things the Vietnam vets came back to," she said.
    Veterans, many holding flags and military banners aloft, stood or sat in lawn chairs listening. A smattering of younger protesters, many wearing anti-Kerry T-shirts, were sprinkled among the mostly middle-aged crowd.
    Christy Williams, 28, and Olivia Tauthus, 27, said they were members of the conservative group Protest Warriors. "We are here to support the troops," Miss Williams said.
    "This has nothing to do with political affiliation," said David Skocik, 56, who drove from Dover, Del., for the rally. His son was partly disabled serving in the military during the Persian Gulf war era, and his son-in-law recently returned from active duty in Afghanistan.
    "I feel very strongly that we have to look out for our vets and to be sure that their best interests will be in mind from the White House," he said. "I don't think Kerry can do that."

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