August 29, 2004

"Operation RAW" deal
Posted by McQ

Reader Becky comments on the Kerry testimony before the Senate in 1971 by asking:

Okay, guys. Could you PLEASE just read the ENTIRE transcript of Kerry's testimony instead of a few random quotes from someone's article?

Kerry emphatically stated, at the beginning of his testimony, "...I am not here as John Kerry. I am here as one member of the group of 1,000 which is a small representation of a very much larger group of veterans in this country, and were it possible for all of them to sit at this table they would be here and have the same kind of testimony...."

He was speaking on behalf of a group of Viet Nam vets he met with in Detroit.

Not an unreasonable request and not an unreasonable assumption, if you only limit your research into Kerry’s anti-war, anti-military activities to his testimony. But there’s more .... much more that makes the case that Kerry was indeed indicting the entire military through his activities in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). His testimony was only the most visible of these activities and certainly not the most damning.

As an example of his other activities, let’s start with “Operation RAW” which began on Labor Day, 1970. Organizing flyers seen here and here were sent out.

Note who is among the organizers and among the speakers. As you can see they planned on “forming an infantry unit of company strength” comprised of “Vietnam vets, active duty GIs and other war veterans” and staging a 4 day march from Morristown, NJ to Valley Forge, PA where they’d have a mass protest. On the surface, it sounds pretty benign, doesn’t it?

But the devil is in the details.

There was a reason they formed an “infantry unit of company strength”. It was so they could portray American infantrymen, every day soldiers, as brutal butchers. Now, the words sound hyperbolic, but they’re not. As Operation RAW moved through each town they enacted their version of a “search and destroy” operation”. As described in one of the flyers, the purpose of this unit was to “dramatize as authentic a picture of a US Army search and destroy mission to the American people as practical."

How did they do this? Well read it straight from the horses’s mouth. As it proclaims in the cite: “This story is taken from material saved by Joe Urgo-VVAW AI. Joe was one of the marchers, a former national officer of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), and the first Vietnam vet to travel to Hanoi in support of the revoluntary struggle of the Vietnamese.”


It was Labor Day weekend 1970. At 10:30 a.m. in Doylestown, PA a company of infantry swept into town, seizing and occupying the center of the city, setting up road blocks and taking civilian prisoners. Anyone fleeing was killed, the rest were tortured and then killed for just being there. The younger women were particularly mauled and abused before being killed. At 10:45, once again on alert, the company marched south of town, leaving a trail of bloody bodies and survivors standing in their yards and streets, mute with shock, unbelieving eyes fastened on the departing soldiers. Leaflets lay in the streets like the one below.

Beginning in Morristown, New Jersey, 150 combat veterans marched through the countryside toward Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The veterans, who held 110 purple heart medals between them, had enlisted the help of the aptly named Philadelphia Guerilla Theater Company to go ahead of the march and plant themselves in the villages and towns along the march route. Sweeping through the rural back countries of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania, the vets wore as much of their combat fatigues and battle gear as they had been able to scrape together. Their "infantry company" was realistically armed with toy rifles.

As the column of veterans passed through the communities, they cordoned off the villages, "interrogated," "tortured," and "shot" the actors posing as civilians, and in general tried to recreate the brutal realities of war. The towns and roads were mapped out in advance and the skits were pre-arranged so that as the company surrounded a home or a village--with walkie-talkies screaming and vets running all over the place, blood capsules bursting on library steps or in front of stores--there was a sense of realism in the air as these safe rural hamlets were "invaded." The veterans terrified and shocked some people, challenging many others. Of course, some patriots thought that the vets were "disgracing the uniform of the U.S." to bring their message to civilian Amerikkka. One thing was certain: there was no business as usual for those communities on the day the column of vets marched through.

"Amerikkka". No agenda in that spelling, is there?

The flyers they left laying in the street as they departed said the following:

A US INFANTRY COMPANY JUST CAME THROUGH HERE

If you had been Vietnamese

--We might have burned your house
--We might have shot your dog
--We might have shot you
--We might have raped the women
--We might have turned you over to your government for torture
--We might have taken souvenirs from your property
--We might have shot things up a bit
–We might have done all these things to you and your town

If it doesn’t bother you that American soldiers do these things every day to the Vietnamese simply because they are “gooks”, then picture yourself as one of the silent victims. Help us end the war before they turn your son into a butcher or a corpse.

Signed,

Vietnam Veterans Against the War


Becky claims Kerry’s focused on the “leadership” of the military, not the soldiers.

Now, before you get all crazy...keep in mind one very important thing. Kerry NEVER blaimed the vets for the atrocities comitted. He blamed our LEADERSHIP. Read the whole thing. Read it 3 times. I read it 5 times.

Operation RAW certainly didn’t do that, did it? It was talking about American soldiers. In particular infantry soldiers. It was saying “American soldiers do these things every day”. It said we were the butchers. It said we raped and murdered “every day”.

You know, just another day at the office.

Listed on the organizing flyers for Operation RAW is a partial list of the event sponsors, including Jane Fonda and John Kerry. Listed as an information and transportation sponsor in Boston is John Kerry. Listed as speakers are Jane Fonda and John Kerry.

So I’m sorry Becky, I can read it 50 times, which I most likely have in the last 35 years, but it is only a part of what John Kerry has responsibility for ... and its high time that all of it was exposed. In Operation RAW the only purpose of their “theater” was to paint everyday soldiers in Vietnam as stone-cold butchers and rapists. As war criminals. And nothing could have been further from the truth. That’s what the 2.5 million Vietnam Vets are finally saying.

Read this stuff 3 times, 5 times. It doesn’t matter. The conclusion is inescapable. John Kerry and the VVAW purposely and viciously painted a whole generation of soldiers as baby killing rapists through actions such as Operation RAW.

I haven’t forgotten it and I haven’t forgiven it.

Becky concludes with:

I am angry. I am VERY angry. And that you people can sit back and condemn Kerry for speaking out against an unjust war, for bringing to light the atocities of war that our LEADERSHIP condoned in the name of freedom -- in the name of MY country....I have no words for you, either.

Well I’m very angry as well, Becky.

I’m angry that a nation treated its soldiers the way it did 35 years ago. I’m angry that actions of John Kerry led to that dishonorable treatment. But more than that, I’m angry that now that we who were maligned and smeared by Kerry and the VVAW want to speak out about it, people like you want us to shut up.

Well we’re not going to shut up.

We kept quite about it for all those years and we’re damn tired of living with the lies Kerry and others told about us. We’ve as much right to speak as John Kerry. And we’ve got as much right to tell you and others he was full of crap as any other citizen of this country.

Its not just YOUR country. Its OUR country as well. And this is about how OUR country treated us because of the lies people like John Kerry and the VVAW spread.

When Kerry grows the balls to stand up and tell the Vietnam Vets that he was wrong, he lied and he portrayed them falsely and that he’s sorry for doing so, then perhaps, some real healing can begin.

Until then, I agree with John O’Neill ... he’s unfit for command.

UPDATE: A few images from the VVAW "Operation RAW" march, found in Kerry's book "The New Soldier", depicting American soldiers 'at work' brutalizing and butchering Vietnamese:


pic060s.jpg


pic061.jpg



Thanks, John Kerry.

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Comments

"Becky,"help me out here.

Didn't Kerry contend in his "anti-war" testimony that enlisted men were indeed committing the atrocities, but that he wasn't attacking them because they were just following orders? Presumably he phrased it this way to avoid personal culpability himself, if of course he too had been committing such atrocities in Viet Nam. It was classic Kerry--too nuanced by half.

First, there was no evidence and he cited none that atrocities were being orderd.

Second, there was no evidence and he cited none that atrocities, at least of the systematic kind that he accused us of, were being committed.

Third, even if systematic atrocities were being committed, those committing them, ordered to or not, would be inviolation of the Geneva Conventions, with which Kerry claimed to be so familiar. This is because conduct considered outside the pale is usually pretty obviously so, which is why the Conventions hold all involved, from the top down, responsible for them.

That Kerry contended that the atocoties violated the Geneva Conventions, but then tried to excuse the perpetrators of culpability even though the Conventions would not have done so indicated how manipulative he was being.

Nor has Kerry changed his stripes. Kerry is making the same kinds of arguments today about culpability regarding the prison abuses in Iraq, and did so even before any of the reports commissioned were in, much less available for review. Almost immediately, Kery asserted that the abuses were systemic, not isolated, and indicted the whole chain of command because the abuses occurred.

And even after former Secretray of Defense Schelsinger said that only America's worst enemies would rejoice over the sacking of Rumsfeld, Kerry called for just that result!

If that kind of slicing and dicing is the sign of presidential timber, then Kerry is Becky's kind of man. To this observer, Kerry was pathetic in the early 70's and he's even more pathetic now, because he hasn't learned anything for over 30 years.

Posted by: KEWSR at August 29, 2004 03:00 PM

"...I am not here as John Kerry. I am here as one member of the group of 1,000 which is a small representation of a very much larger group of veterans in this country, and were it possible for all of them to sit at this table they would be here and have the same kind of testimony...."

So what? His words certainly don't deny (in fact, just the opposite) that he's a member of this group. He's just saying they would say what he's saying if they were in his place. He's speaking for them. In my mind, this destroys the argument that he was only representing someone elses words. As a member of the group of 1000 who would say the same thing, he's quite clearly endorsing the words as his own, as would be the case for anybody else in his group who testified. His own words clearly show that he supports the generalized lies he's spreading.

Posted by: hitest at August 29, 2004 03:09 PM

I am angry. I am VERY angry. And that you people can sit back and condemn Kerry for speaking out against an unjust war, for bringing to light the atocities of war that our LEADERSHIP condoned in the name of freedom -- in the name of MY country....I have no words for you, either

There's a lot wrong in this statement, including:

1) Who said Vietman was unjust? Given the massacres that the communists embarked on after we left, you can argue strongly that it was indeed just.

2) Who said our leadership condoned those atrocities? Last time I checked, that sort of thing was not permissable, even if they did happen

3) It's not just YOUR country Becky, but people like you generally don't understand that.

4) The anger isn't with Kerry for just "bringing to light atrocities", but for the way he smeared all soldiers (in his own words, he admitted he meant "not the swifties, just all the rest". Yup, that anger may be a bit justified there

5) Becky seems to believe, as Kerry said, that all our soldiers from that time were war criminals. Shameful. I have no words for that either Becky.

Posted by: shark at August 29, 2004 03:38 PM

The issue with Kerry for the country as a whole, isn't really his 1971 testimony, it is his bifurcated personal view. He consciously positions himself passionately for one point of view and then totally reverses himself and passionately supports another point of view. (i.e. voting for Iraq war funding, touting a war record, then becoming a virulent anti-war activist)

There is a substantial element, 30% to 35% of the US population that actually supports Kerry's point of view in 1971. Nothing will stir them off of that point of view.

The issue for most citizens of the country is having a President without a firm point of view. The Demos are comfortable that Kerry will automatically return to a conventional liberal position controlled by his party. That describes his broad base of support. The issue for the rest of us is that 1) he espouses a liberal/anti-war/anti-America-first point of view and 2) he will be a weak war leader against Islamofascism.

For my two cents, I don't want yet another Democrat president that can't be trusted to uphold my country.

Posted by: mantic at August 29, 2004 03:39 PM

Preach. Becky is much like a playwright who has written "The Emperor's New Words", in which the wise and righteous can divine the hidden, deep meaning of The Emperor's remarks, and it is only the stupid, evil people who think they can rely on what he plainly wrote and said.

If clear text and context still aren't enough for Becky, I suggest recourse to the Gospel of Matthew: "By their works shall ye know them." For myself, I saw what he did. I saw what he advocated. I saw who he joined with. I know what he did. He just never thought the day would come when he would have to face his past.

Posted by: Jumbo at August 29, 2004 03:59 PM

There is another little detail about that 'testimony'. The Hee-row stated that 'veterans' told him of these acts. Trouble is, many of those he was quoting were later proven to have not spent one single day wearing Uncle's suit. Others were proven to never have set foot in Southeast Asia. None of those 'veterans' were willing to testify under oath, even when offered immunity.
The Hee-row knew this in 1971. He knew he was repeating lies.
Don't you find it odd that The Hee-row didn't say a word about all these horrible things he witnessed until after he ran for office, as a conventional 'heroic veteran', and lost?
Becky, you say that you are angry. My children came home from school repeating those lies that they were taught as fact. I knew men who died there, leaving children behind. Those children were taught those lies as fact, as, apparently you were. Think you are angry? I had to tell my daughter why those allegations of widespread rape couldn't have happened.
You go ahead and be angry all you want. John Kerry knowingly and deliberately slimed my name, the names of two and a half million veterans and the names of 58,000 dead Americans. He did it for no other reason than to jumpstart a failing political career. Some of those 58,000 Americans were men I served with. Some of those 58,000 Americans, whose names he slimes, were men that I have bled with. All of those 58,000 Americans had families.
You are angry, Becky? Sorry. You havent seen anger.

Posted by: Peter at August 29, 2004 04:02 PM

Bravo!!!

Posted by: Jamie at August 29, 2004 04:39 PM

If JFKerry was as interested in imparting context as Becky seems to believe, whouldn't he have started his comments, "I am not here as John Kerry. I am here to carry second and third hand accounts, backed up by no evidence whatsoever, spoken by frauds and liars, who sometimes claimed to be vets and were not and sometimes claimed to have served in Vietnam and had not, but, what the Hell, you probably should believe these stories anyway, because you want to." Now THAT would be context.

I seem to remember somewhere in the Bible it says, "Judge not, lest ye be judged" which means judgement of good and evil is in the hands of God. It also says, "by the fruits of their labors shall ye know them" which I take to mean it's okay for me to be a fruit inspector. The fruits of John Kerry's labors appear to me to be variously stunted, rotten, wizened, and mostly without value. But that's just my inner fruit inspector coming out. I'll leave the judging to God.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at August 29, 2004 05:19 PM

Its just another glaring example of people disigenuously using American soldiers as a premise for their platforms. I am not a soldier, nor was I ever, but watching protestors (as it has come to be known, FEW of Kerry's comrades in 1971 were actually soldiers) use the military as a means to convey their anti-war message is dispicable and dishonorable. I'd like to see what Vets have to say about things like this, as I can't offer the unique perspective they can. Any comments on protestors parading around with makeshift coffins draped in flags in New York this weekend? Even as a civilian, I thought it was extremely bad taste to use the deaths of loyal soldiers to espouse anti-war views. What gives these protestors the right to denigrate their service in such a way?

Posted by: Chris at August 29, 2004 05:34 PM

I don't care if he claims he's speaking for the group.
Wasn't he a member of the group? Wasn't he in that group because he agreed with them?

Sorry the dodge doesn't work.

Posted by: Bithead at August 29, 2004 05:47 PM

Kerry was a founder, spokesman and advocate and not just a member of VVAW.

Posted by: RonW at August 29, 2004 05:53 PM

Since most of what Kerry testified to has subsequently been proven true (at least in the cases that are known), it's reasonable to assume that even if some the stories were 2nd and 3rd hand accounts they still contained some truth. Would the conditions contributing to this conduct have deteriorated resulting in increasingly brutal and senseless slaughter? I wonder how much more innocent blood on our hands would have been required to win and for it still to be seen as just?

Posted by: Wm D at August 29, 2004 06:16 PM

WmD:I wonder how much more innocent blood on our hands would have been required to win and for it still to be seen as just?

I don't know. Why not ask the 2 million innocent Cambodians who died in the killing fields.

Oh, that's right, you can't.

They're dead.

Suffice it to say that's more than were lost in the entire 10 years of American involvement.

And, I'd appreciate your cites as to those things he testified to as being 'true', since you're one of the few who appears able and eager to provide such evidence.

Don't forget, it has to be in the context of atrocities that were "not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command."

We await your proof.

Posted by: McQ at August 29, 2004 06:59 PM

"Since most of what Kerry testified to has subsequently been proven true (at least in the cases that are known), it's reasonable to assume that even if some the stories were 2nd and 3rd hand accounts they still contained some truth."

WmD: What possible basis have you for this ridiculous statement?

Posted by: KEWSR at August 29, 2004 07:04 PM

"Since most of what Kerry testified to has subsequently been proven true" AND
"I wonder how much more innocent blood on our hands would have been required to win and for it still to be seen as just?"

Excuse me, but WTH? "Most" "proven true"? There is a world view I suppose that can take a handful of verified incidents committed by no more than a few dozen soldiers and extrapolate it to a widespread, common practice of all commands, which was tolerated, even condoned, at the highest levels of government, save none. But I take heart that view seems to be a decided minority in this country, at least among mature adults.

And "innocent blood on our hands"? You mean the innocent blood of the "Northern" faction of what Kerry said was "nothing more than a civil war"? The innocent blood of the "no more than 3,500 or so" "Southerners" Kerry said might be in danger from those high-spirited Northern gents if we left South Vietnam, or the scores of thousands regular citizens who had the effrontery to be educated or Christian? The ones Kerry sort of, "miscalculated" about in 1971 when he pimped for his buds from Hanoi? The ones the "Northerners" killed in droves,which Kerry somehow must have overlooked as they were being slaughtered? Or did you mean the innocent blood spilled after April, 1975, by those freedom- and justice-loving "Northerners" when they actually DID demonstrate how Genghis Khan ravaged a countryside? Ot would it have been the inncocent blood of the 250,000 boat people which we (it WAS us, wasn't it? I mean, WE were the monsters that expelled them, weren't we?) cast into the China Sea? Is that the innocent blood you mean?

Tell you what. Why don't you go to Orange County, California, where something like 75% of the Vietnamese in America live today, and pontificate about America having "innocent blood" on its hands. You may get some agreement. At least from people who think the innocent blood is that of every person butchered by the Northern invaders after America had its will undermined and ran away. And you'd probably get for free the opnion that it is John Kerry and his ilk who have that blood to answer for.

But maybe that's not the blood you want to talk about...

Posted by: Jumbo at August 29, 2004 07:18 PM

If it weren't for blogs like this, we'd probably never know...all we'd have is the pictures painted by Michael Moore and the mass media.

Keep it up!

Posted by: Mr. K at August 29, 2004 08:03 PM

wm D, please show your 'proof' that what kerry said was true. It's easy to say his testimony is true, it's another to back that up with raw facts. Please link or post said evidence.

I'd also like to remind you that most lies surround a kernal of truth to lend them authenticity. Were American servicemen handing out diasies to the NVA and singing 'Michael Row Your Boat Ashore'? No. But niether was My Lai an every day, every week, every month, EVERY YEAR occurance. Even at the time, My Lai was considered an anomaly hyped up by the far Left as evidence of the horrible-bad-evil U.S. infantryman, toady to the even-more-horrible-dispicable-evil muckety-mucks that created the war. According to Mr. Kerry and his ilk.

Posted by: Jamison Banks at August 29, 2004 09:17 PM

Gee where is Becky? Anyone seen her around these parts? Come on Becky post your response, we are all waiting for you to drop another turd.

If anyone spots Becky tell her to read this New York Post article "Kerry Should Look in the Mirror," it goes a long way towards explaining why a 35 year old war is the centerpiece of Kerry's campaign. And why he will lose despite Becky's vote.

Posted by: Marc at August 29, 2004 09:17 PM

George Bush never called me a baby killer.

--==--

Steal this sig:

There is a big difference between William Calley and John Kerry. William Calley is a proven war criminal. For John Kerry we only have his word as an officer and a gentleman.

What is the War Hero Afraid of?
Form 180. Release ALL the records.

The Ads: Video links

Posted by: M. Simon at August 29, 2004 09:31 PM

Rich Lowry in NRO.com reported a personal communication from an ex-Army VN vet who said it all in the most succinct way possible:

"If Kerry loses, that will be the parade that we never had."

Damned well merited, too, even if 30 years too late.

Posted by: John Van Laer at August 29, 2004 09:54 PM

Well, the S sure has hit the fan on this post. I guess I must be among the 30-35% who agreed with Kerry in 1971. I didn't agree with all of his characterizations or those that have been attributed to him. I don't know all the minutae of the Winter Soldier conference. I was never in the military. I had two older brothers who served and one didn't make it all the way back home. PTSD or something.

I would like everyone to consider how they feel about the war in Iraq. How do you think you'll feel about it in another 14 years and 57,000 American lives later?

Was the war in Vietnam "justified"? I don't know. I do know that it has some of the same characteristics of the war in Iraq. In 1971 we weren't fighting Vietnam, we were fighting communism. Today, we're not fighting Iraq, we're fighting terrorism. In both cases we invaded based on an inaccurate justification, Gulf of Tonkin vs. WMD. In Iraq we have a poorly defined political objective that we are trying to accomplish with military force.

I believe it was General Shelton that remarked that "the military is a great hammer, but not every problem is a nail." His analysis could apply to either Iraq or Vietnam. Was victory in Vietnam just around the corner in 1971 or would we have been there another five or ten years?

"The first casualty of war is truth." General Franks admitted on Hannity & Colmes that atrocities were committed in Vietnam. Does Kerry owe Vietnam vets an apology or do LBJ and Nixon? I seem to recall an "apology" of sorts by McNamara that wasn't received all that well.

I don't believe American soldiers are evil today or yesterday, despite My Lai and Abu Guraib. I hope we can agree that war is evil. It may sometimes be a necessary evil, but even if it is justified, war itself is still evil. That's why we need to exercise extraordinary restraint in the exercise of military power.

Is there really anything Kerry can do or say that will allow real healing to begin? Physician and Veteran heal thyself. Kerry doesn't have that much power unless you give it to him.

Posted by: Gary at August 29, 2004 09:56 PM

Gary: Its not about the war. Its not about who we're fighting. Its not even about how many we lost.

Its about the false characterization John Kerry and his THEN "band of brothers" (VVAW) made of American fighting men in Vietnam. It was false, a lie, not true, a smear, a stab in the back.

He broke faith with his "band of brothers". He abandoned them. And now he want's them to rally to him and to wrap himself in his "service" in Vietn.

Well, screw him. He can't have it both ways.

Posted by: McQ at August 29, 2004 10:08 PM

BTW, here's a link to an group that thought My Lai was everyday in Vietnam. Conservatives, if you want to see first hand your leftist, burn-america-down, kook-fringe enemy, here you go. Kerry is a major lynchpin for groups like these. I should also note this site is also part of a free speech portal that practically worships Amy Goodman, Mother Jones, our good friends at NPR, etc.

http://free.freespeech.org/americanstateterrorism/vietnamgenocide/Mylai.html

I'll quote from their page (no there will be no rebuttle from me on these quotes. They are so over the top there's no need).

-------------------------------------------------
"The greatest acts of terrorism are not committed by furtive gangs of masked desperados in foreign lands. The most horrific acts of terrorism in world history have always been committed by governments and their militaries."

"The totally satanic military and government of the United States of America have committed massive acts of international terrorism and brutal genocide — from 1899 to the present day."

"The United States Government Committed the September 11 Attacks. In fact, our own evil government would have borne the ultimate responsibility for the disaster even if foreign terrorists actually had carried it out."

"However the fact that such brutal massacres (My Lai) were actually the routine policy of the U.S. Army is testified to by a great many ex-soldiers, John Kerry and platoon-leader Jim Linnen being well-known examples."
------------------------------------------------

Does everyone understand why Kerry is so hated by Vietnam Vets because of this? He latched on to groups that, in their eyes, considered America a terror state from it's inception - from enslaving blacks through WWII (yes, we committed war crimes against GERMANY!! according to these people!) through Vietnam well through today with Iraq. Abu Ghraib simply confirms what every good anti-American knows.

Does everyone understand why he was an incredible IDIOT for thinking he was going to run as a Vietnam war HERO? Yeah, that'll go over well with the Dems - a Vietnam War Hero is the antithesis to what the Left believes. Will they be able to stomach such cynical attempts at political pandering? And now that it's failing, what will become of HIM once he loses? And you thought Al Gore had a mental breakdown. Quotes from above are from his pals, who can't show their faces in the mainstream because everyone would either laugh at them or shout them down.

My Lai is one thing. John Kerry is another. I should also note those pictures of My Lai are what Osama and Company want to do to Americans. The Left does not have America's good at heart, it only wishes to bring the country down as payback for real evil acts (like My Lai) and percieved evil men, like Karl Rove and Rummy, who they incorrectly attach to such acts. Karl Rove is no Nixon, Rummy is no Westmoreland, and Kerry is no war hero. Thank God! So a threat like Muslim extremists isn't a threat, it's to be welcomed with open arms, to them. That's the internal struggle the extreme kook Left is mulling over - 'I hate America, but do I hate it so much I want atrocities like My Lai to happen in America's streets? Well, if the ends justify the means . . .'

Why do you think the American Left was absolutely silent after 9/11? They so badly wanted to say 'America, you deserved it. Your bloody, moneygrubbing, whorish hands brought this upon yourselves and we're grinning from ear to ear.'

Problem is, the Left is part and parcel members of America. Can one's hand look back at the body and say 'I hate you!', or an eye state 'no more light for the rest of you!'? And yet, that is what the Left is attempting. They better grow up quick, or the country will be having an amputation soon.

Posted by: Jamison Banks at August 29, 2004 10:13 PM

Kerry did not come before the Senate to present a balanced view of the war. He didn't say "some soldiers allege this, and some disagree." he wasn't there to present a balanced debate. He clearly sided with those who claimed atrocities were committed daily and with the full knowledge of the chain of command. In addition, Kerry's subsequent actions (e.g., his interview on meet the Press and other TV appearances) clearly indicated he supported the atrocities charge to the extent that HE admitted/claimed to have committed some! So Kerry supporters need to decide whether their man is a war criminal or merely a liar. Nice choice.

Posted by: Lewis at August 29, 2004 10:14 PM

The types of things cited by Kerry are known to have happened. There are also letters sent up the chain of command saying things were happening beyond their own units that had the appearance of santioned policy. You know this stuff would get whitewashed and buried, there was media suppression, and soldiers were threatened to keep their mouths shut. There's more than just what's been verified. It's not about accusing all soldiers at all times, but it shows a turn for the worse in attitudes and conduct. One incident at My Lai could be contained. But since more is known, this tells me that these weren't whole-cloth fabrications and word was getting around. There's also the draining of the sea to make places uninhabitable for the enemy to blend in with civilians by destroying villages, livestock and crops. There was the carpet bombing. And the humanity of the Vietnamese people was discounted. What makes you think things weren't turning for the worse only to get worse and spread over a larger geography? Hey, I only asked a simple question: What would it have taken to win and at what cost?

Posted by: Wm D at August 29, 2004 10:21 PM

Yo, Becky:

Reasonable people interpret REPRESENT to mean TESTIFY TO THE TRUTHFULNESS THEREOF.

As then still-Lt. Kerry should have known, the group of 150-or-so come-clean vets he was -- in his own words -- representing included a rather large number of fakers and frauds who had either never served in combat, never served in Vietnam (as befits the founder of VVAW, or, never served in uniform at all.

So we are left to conclude that still-Lt. Kerry was either a mendancious, grandstanding shill or a willing, credulous dupe -- neither of which is particularly appealing in a Commander-in-Chief.

--furious

Posted by: furious_a at August 29, 2004 10:22 PM

"Veteran heal thyself" is an evil thing to say someone who has lived under the shadow that John Kerry took the lead in casting over all Vietnam-era veterans.

You admit that you have never served, so you can't possibly understand the level of anger that is seething toward John Kerry. You think Bush-hatred is strong? You've obviously never spoken to a Vietnam veteran who was told not to wear his uniform off base for fear that it would incite civilians to attack him. You've obviously never had to explain to a child that "No...Daddy didn't rape anyone and he never killed any babies..." In short: you ain't seen nothing yet.

In short, you are ignorant and know not that of which you speak.

There is such a thing as "honor." You may not understand the concept, but Kerry took it away from these men because of a bunch of lies - lies he knew for a fact to be untrue because he was there. If they were true then why does "Tour of Duty" detail no war crimes by Kerry or anyone he encountered? Tell me that...You can't because you know he lied and now you want to cover his ass...Too late...

This is a BS argument: Kerry owes all Vietnam veterans an apology. No apology could ever be enough, but it would be vindication that they were right all along to claim honor in their service even when self-serving liars like Kerry tried to take it away.

These men have lived for 35 years "healing themselves" without your sanctimonious advice - and they'll get along for another 35 without any more. God/Karma/Fate has given them a chance to regain that which was taken away from wrongly, and to tell them they should "heal themselves" is ridiculous on its face and asinine in the extreme.

Posted by: Jim B at August 29, 2004 10:23 PM

Would someone please explain to me why or how is Kerry even qualified to run as President?? Or for Senator either for that matter! He was still in the military, we were at war, he went to our enemy for 'talks'and caused havoc to be wreaked on our POW'S, and protested against the war with extreme radicals with a 'few' commies thrown in.He lied about being in Kansas when there were talks about assassinating a US Senator. On top of all this, he committed war 'atrocities'accusing others of same,giving plenty of propaganda opportunities to the enemy.

Posted by: YellowRose at August 29, 2004 10:45 PM

Any way you look at it, John Kerry is a phoney. He gamed the system to get three purple hearts (without one day in the hospital) to come home early. His lies about what he did (Christmas in Cambodia, etc), his Silver Star medal with a V for valor (never ever given), his ribbon for four campaigns in Vietnam (he was entitled to two) his sworn testimony before Congress about atrocities sanctioned by all levels of command, etc. etc. etc. His vote for the War and then his vote not to fund the War. His vote in the Senate against every major weapons system and his vote trying to reduce funding for the CIA, etc. etc. etc. His trying to silence 250 +/- Swift Boat veterans who served in his unit at the same time he did - trying to deprive them of their basic rights of Freedom of Speech. His failure to release his Navy records, etc. etc. Add them all up and then determine what type of man he really is.
Now - I have a super thought for him - what he deserves - true revenge:
He loses the election and Teresa divorces him. No more gravey train with a rich widow.

Posted by: Korean Veteran at August 29, 2004 11:05 PM

Well, this sure is an active post. Sorry Jim, but if you give Kerry that much power you give him too much blame and too much credit. Forgiveness is an inside job. Whether I understand the word "honor" may be debateable, but it doesn't strike me as something that can be taken away by another person's conduct or words.

Jamison, your post is a perfect example of over-reaching. Blaming Kerry for those quotes is quite bizarre. So is trying to blame Kerry for millions of deaths in Cambodia. Was Kerry's Senate testimony piped to the Khmer Rouge? If Kerry is that powerful Bush might as well just make his concession speech this week. If Kerry loses and all of the anti-Kerry vets throw the longest parade and the biggest kegger in history, is Vietnam finally over?

I don't pretend to understand the demons that people carried home from Vietnam, but hating Kerry or defeating his run for President won't exorcise them either.

I'm far from being a big Kerry fan. I think he's worse than Al Gore was, and the only good idea Gore ever had, aside from inventing the internet, was the lockbox idea. As far as I'm concerned both parties should admit that their candidate is a liar and is unfit for command. That's what 49.5% of the country is going to believe anyway. Then they can both get back to lying about the issues like they're supposed to be doing.

I don't know why asking Rumsfield to step down is anti-American. Schlesinger is entitled to his opinion, but I don't have to agree with him. Is this a great country or what? I think you can make a very good dereliction of duty type case against Rumsfield.

Rumsfield was wrong about the post-combat troop levels we would need. What was General Shinseki's reward for being right? Rumsfield ignored a State Department after combat plan as well as a similar one from the Army (or was it the Navy) War College. Isn't Rumsfield at least partly responsible for dismissing the Iraqi army? No matter how much you support the Iraq war, it's hard to deny that large portions were mangled. Is anybody responsible?

President Bush said Rumsfield was doing a superb job. Let us all pray that he doesn't hit a rough patch.

Posted by: Gary at August 29, 2004 11:52 PM

Gary,

The Iraqi army wasn't "dismissed," it was DESTROYED as a functioning entity. With what remained, there was no choice but to shut it down temporarily to "de-Baathify" it of its more grossly evil elements.

Posted by: Ernest Brown at August 30, 2004 12:06 AM

Gary, I can understand you mistaking me directly attributing those quotes to Kerry, this is indeed an active thread. However, you're mistaken, I didn't say Kerry said them, I attributed them to those who support Kerry.

"Conservatives, if you want to see first hand your leftist, burn-america-down, kook-fringe enemy, here you go."

No, I was talking about what the left has beating in it's HEART. Those quotes hit a little close to home? See, I think overreaching is declaring before Congress that American servicemen on a daily basis, ahem:

" . . .personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, CRIMES COMMITTED ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS, ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam . . ."

Now realize, Kerry was still an enlisted man when he said things like this. He was still in the Navy. People took him at his word because he was in the military. His public campaigns had a direct effect on opposition to the war effort, a direct effect on North Vietnamese soldiers and their morale, a direct effect on American P.O.W.'s. who were shown this stuff. I never said he was directly responsible for the KM wiping out millions. I wouldn't even say he laid the road to defeat. But I would say that he poured the sidewalks, posted the stop signs, and became the traffic guard. Can you imagine if what he said wasn't true? Oh my, it wasn't. Hmm, that must be why all these veterans are ready to lynch him for trying to be a VIETNAM war hero, of all things. After being an antiwar activist alongside Jane Fonda? Tsk-tsk, veterans have long memories.

Honestly, I'm surprised one of them hasn't made an attempt on Kerry's life (there's an awful lot of anger there, YA THINK?!). Kill a man's spirit and you kill the man. I suppose they'll settle for taking away his dream of being president instead. Seems fitting, but still not enough I think.

Posted by: Jamison Banks at August 30, 2004 01:57 AM

Oh, BTW. Asking Rumsfeld to step down isn't unAmerican. But it would be irresponsible. It would be like asking Churchill to step down a day AFTER Germany invaded Poland. No, Rummy made some gaffs, like trying to run the war on the cheap, not smart, but he has recovered well. Why, just imagine what he had a hand in making happen:

-Saddam captured.
-Saddam's sons dead.
-The Baathists control Fallujah and little else.
-Al Sadr and Najaf becoming a non-issue.
-No more Palaces For Food!
-We've taken 1,000 casualties out of 130,000 men.

WOW. There isn't a single conflict, except Gulf War I that can claim a better record. We lost that much in postwar Germany in *1 month* back in 1945. You know, after the shooting stopped.

Considering how this went, it was brilliant. I wish we hadn't tried to do everything on the cheap, but then again, it was going to be tried sometime, this was a good chance without courting disaster. He pulled it off, hats off to him.


Posted by: Jamison Banks at August 30, 2004 02:20 AM

Gary:

Whether I understand the word "honor" may be debateable, but it doesn't strike me as something that can be taken away by another person's conduct or words.

But it can be taken away from an institution, like the military and thereby reflect on everyone in it. That's what Kerry did through a series of lies and exaggerations.

I don't pretend to understand the demons that people carried home from Vietnam, but hating Kerry or defeating his run for President won't exorcise them either.

Possibly not ... but it sure will go a long way toward satisfying the need by a lot of Vets to tell HIM what they thought of what he did.

Posted by: McQ at August 30, 2004 07:25 AM

Southeast Asia in 1975 proved to be the display piece for the Anti-war movement in America.
Inside a span of months three countries proved out the 'fallacy' of the Domino Theory.

The peace loving peoples of North Vietnam brought happy re-education camps to South Vietnam and the evil South Vietnamese (these would be the people our troops committed Daily atrocity on, because we couldn't GO north of the DMZ in force) continued to support American atrocity and occupation by fleeing what had been South Vietnam in rowboats, rubber rafts, innertubes, sampans, junks...etc...etc...etc...so they could save themselves and come to America, where hopefully more Americans would commit atrocities upon them (Stockholm syndrome or something I guess).

Meanwhile back at the Ranch, Cambodia and Laos freed themselves (Laos had only been a Monarchy for 6 centuries, but hey, what the heck, 1975 was a good year for change!) from Non-Communist forms of government and the Cambodian's in particular got an opportunity to "see the country" as the Khmer Rouge cleaned out the cities.

John Kerry's testimony helped make all this possible. The North Vietnamese have said so themselves.

Vote John Kerry in November, Arab Fundamentalists all over the globe are behind him.

Posted by: looker at August 30, 2004 07:37 AM

I wasn't confused about the source of your quotes Jamison. I just think it's a stretch to associate them with Kerry. I don't think this link is representative of the Republican party:

http://www.jameshartforcongress.com/

but there is a closer causal connection between James Hart and George Bush than there is between Kerry and your quotes. There are plenty of legitimate criticisms of John Kerry that are diminished by the irrational ones.

I don't believe Kerry was still enlisted when he testified before the Senate in 1971. I've seen some discussion about why he wasn't discharged until 1978, but I have not been persuaded that is either accurate or relevant.

Claiming our pullout from Vietnam proved the domino theory is logically questionable and historical revisionism as well looker. Post hoc ergo propter hoc and all that. Were the political problems in Cambodia and Laos caused by our withdrawal or by fifteen years of military intervention?

I saw one post, it may have been another site, that blamed Kerry because Vietnam vets were not given sufficient decompression time when they were sent home. Making Jane Fonda and John Kerry the scapegoat for everything that every went wrong in Vietnam may be emotionally satisfying, but it isn't persuasive. I think blaming Kerry for all the sins of Vietnam is what the shrinks call misdirected agression.


Posted by: Gary at August 30, 2004 08:01 AM

Well said, McQ! I am too young to remember the Vietnam War firsthand, as I barely remember being angry at Sesame Street being pre-empted by something called "Watergate." The more I learn about the Vietnam era antiwar protests, the more it apparent to me that the present day assumption among the Dems (without unpacking all of the other assumptions for a moment) is that while the Vietnam War was an 'evil war' perpetrated on the people Vietnam by a 'sadistic' American leadership, but the soldiers were all really OK. We see that Becky has glossed over history a little bit, though we can allow that perhaps it is not really in contradiction to Operation RAW, but rather an evolved understanding of the true situation of the soldiers who fought in Vietnam. That being said, I think people like Becky (and myself!) just don't know what it was really like.

On those other assumptions about the Vietnam War, let me begin with a confession: almost everything I know abouyt the Vietnam War I learned in high school in the late 80's. And I will summarize what I learned with the following: (1) the reasons for going to war in Vietnam were based on the "faulty" domino theory of Communism's advance in Southeast Asia, (2) the US was beaten by the North Vietnamese, (3) Vietnam was a happy country before the US invaded and they went back to being a happy country after the US pulled out, (4) the US leadership was paranoid and not telling the truth, and (5) the antiwar protestors were the good guys and rumors that they were coordinating with foreign powers was just more evidence of US paranoia. While I think today that there are excellent grounds for questioning all of these assumptions, I bring it up because I am beginning to think that the Democrats of today actually had a shining reason to make Vietnam the centerpeice of Kerrys's campaign: they see the Iraq war through the lens of Vietnam, and as long as they think that everyone holds the same assumptions about the Vietnam War as I listed above, it is that much easier for them to make the same case about Iraq. In short, the Democrats decided that if the head-on approach of Dean in opposing the Iraq War was too dangerous for an electorate traumatized by 9/11, then they could still oppose the Iraq War in a roundabout way by attempting to stick onto it the Vietnam War assumptions, which have been drilled into our heads by educators for the last 30 years. So the centerpiece of Kerry's campaign IS actually precisely the Democrats case against the war in Iraq: the noble but misguided soldier, the paranoid US leadership, the lying president. It's all there.

Remarkably, I think the by-product of re-electing Bush may be inextricably linked now to a rehabilitation of sorts of the Vietnam War. I for one would like to know the following: Would the domino theory have been correct if we had not vigorously opposed it? Was it right to leave Vietnamese to languish in concentration "reeducation" camps? What do those in the Vietnamese diaspora have to say about it? The academic history makers won't like it, but bloggers will no doubt hold their feet to the fire.

Posted by: pdq332 at August 30, 2004 08:51 AM

I don't recall blaming EVERYTHING on Kerry, I said he helped make it possible.
No one bothers to ask why "we" were in South Vietnam without support from the UN all those years.


Well, golly gee, surprise, it was the French who 86'd that too!, though I'm guessing the Soviets would have if the French had not. There could only be so many days in a century that the Soviets didn't show up for a Security Council vote, but the French saved them the trouble.

We actually liked Ho Chi Minh.

Yes, I suppose you could theorize that the war caused the fall. But if you seriously think the Communists weren't looking to expand their influence in South East Asia, well, you must not have been paying attention. I guess it was sheer coincidence that North Korea & North Vietnam came into existence around that time period. And I guess there's no credible evidence that countries that border a hardline Communist Country without a significant hardline border obstruction tended to start having discussions about becoming Communist.

There's absolutely no evidence the Communists weren't working to put little versions of Marxist heaven at convenient spots all around the world.
No Cuba, No South Vietnam, No El Salvador, No
Nicarauga, No Ethiopia, etc....

But this is about Young John aiding and abetting when we were in the midst of it. Now if you want to deny that the North was certainly taking heart at the concept that America was starting to show cracks in the will to fight, what can I say. I think they already admitted they really appreciated the help from the Americans against the war.
The historical record is made clear by the North Vietnamese themselves - they appreciated the fact that the Media and anti-war folks made so much of Tet in '68, which FAILED. They appreciated Jane Fonda visiting and lamenting not being able to "get those bastards" in her sights. They appreciated John Kerry's tesimony before the Senate.

Not to be callous but when you invest in something, and never completely pay it off, you usually end up with nothing. We invested the lives of 58,000+ Americans in South Vietnam not to mention the ones who were wounded. Courtesy of people like John Kerry, we ended up with nothing to show for the sacrifice, and our veterans had to hang their heads when they came back, be spit on, and called baby killer. They have been portrayed for years as one feather edge from going psychopathic at any moment.
I know a lot of these guys and call them friends, and I don't recall fearing for my safety at any time by associating with them.

So, I don't blame it ALL on Kerry, I blame him for the support he gave our enemies, and the enemies of the free world. And I for sure as hell don't want him in office NOW giving support to people who's idea of fighting a war and spreading their belief (and government) is to wear scarves on their faces and saw off the heads of prisoners.

And if I hear one more idiot tell me 14 years from now we're still going to be losing guys to roadside bombs in Baghdad I'm going to puke.

Posted by: looker at August 30, 2004 08:58 AM

"Claiming our pullout from Vietnam proved the domino theory is logically questionable and historical revisionism as well looker. Post hoc ergo propter hoc and all that."

Except that the left claimed NO countries would fall, because, after all, Vietnam was a simple little internecine squabble. Kerry called it "a civil war" (that was a favorite phrase of leftist contempt in those days), which we had no business in, and certainly not a war of ideological conquest sponsored by the West's mortal enemy. Right.

"Was it right to leave Vietnamese to languish in concentration "reeducation" camps? What do those in the Vietnamese diaspora have to say about it?"

I agree with the point pdq makes.The answer is, they curse John Kerry as the current face of that arrogant, sanctimonious "peace movement" which abandoned them to the brutal recriminations of the North Vietnamese invaders, without a single twinge of conscience. And they remember what Kerry said and did.
http://www.npr.org/features/feature.php?wfId=1892130

(And note, please, the irony that NPR as of May, 2004, found this to be true. heh.)

Posted by: Jumbo at August 30, 2004 12:08 PM

Okay, I think my eyes are playing tricks on me. Who is that long-faced "New Soldier" directing a guerrilla theater "massacre" in the photos attached to this post? It simply cannot be that good. Anybody?

Posted by: Jumbo at August 30, 2004 12:13 PM

And so goes the "logic" of these so-called conservatives. Speaking out against a immoral war dishonors our country. STARTING an immoral war on false pretenses resulting the murder of untold thousands of civilians doesn't dishonor this country. How sad.

Posted by: Airborne at August 30, 2004 08:58 PM

The so-called "immoral war" was started by one John F. Kennedy. And many of us who were there saw it as a just war ... a fact that was driven home in spades when the North Vietnamese slaughtered hundreds of thousands in the south once they took over, not to mention the 2 million that died in the killing fields of Cambodia.

What's sad and pathetic is that yahoos like you think that branding the combat troops who fought in VN as baby-killers and rapists was somehow "moral" and "honorable" when in fact it was a pack of lies that have lived on to this day. What Kerry and the VVAW did was despicable.

Well, be my guest, back that irresponsbile SOB if you wish but don't come whining about "immoral war" and then try to ignore the results John Kerry and his ilk brought about with our pullout. As someone mentioned ... go to Orange County CA sometime and poll the huge Vietnamese immigrant community out there about John Kerry and his "moral" dissent.

As I understand it his name is a cuss word among them.

Posted by: McQ at August 30, 2004 09:14 PM

I would point out, however re: debate here, that NO ONE here has said that Kerry did not tell the truth (altho someone might be hiding behind what someone else said in an article s/he posted) about atrocities.

What, IMO, is actually being debated is:

1) whether the American people had the right DURING the war to hear what was really going on, and
2) whether it was betrayal to tell the truth - at least what was believed to be the truth at the time.

If this has a familiar and recent ring to it, it's because loyal Americans who questioned the wisdom, the reasons, or the strategy for attacking Iraq were/are accused of the same thing - being unAmerican and sympathizers (giving aid and comfort) with the enemy.

I'd hate to live in an America of these folks making and I don't think I will.

Posted by: Ms. Cleo at August 30, 2004 09:19 PM

I guess we should all be thankful Bush wasn't in VIETNAM. How many of our guys would a chicken!sht, coke-head, booze-addicted idiot like that have gotten killed?

Posted by: Airborne at August 30, 2004 09:33 PM

As the Vietnam War was controversal, so has this support and non-support between veterans.

I guess its just not good anymore to note that Kerry was where the shooting was. Now, we must know what he shot at, who shot at him, who eles was observing Kerry and not defending themselves, and whether it was a rowboat, a swiftboat, or a dingy that one served on! It just amazes me that other combat vets can just come out with this garbage of who was where and who saw what. There were over 500 swiftboat missions. Some would think that the swiftboat vets for bush were on all of them.

Let me see if I grasp this rightly:

Kerry
1- Served in a combat zone
2- Obeyed orders
3- Promoted for achievement
4- Wants to be President

Bush
1- Direct commission/never promoted
2- Did not report to Alabama National Guard
3- Got his teeth worked on
4- Is President

Hmmmmmmmmmmm

Being a combat vet, I choose Kerry. Seems to me that if Norman Schwartscroft chose to be a Democrat and ran for President, the Right Wing will nit-pick his every award and military move also.

Let it go, focus on what is here and now. Kerry's war record, impecable or impeachable, is not going to bring comfort to new war widows or to soldiers missing legs.

Posted by: Ms. Cleo at August 30, 2004 09:51 PM

Ms. Cleo: The lie John Kerry told can be found in his testimony if you'll take the time to read it. He claimed that atrocities and war crimes were committed and were "not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command."

That, dear lady, is a flat out lie. Its not even close to being true. And that's been more than adequetly proven by historian after historian who've written about Vietnam.

Did you even read the post this is appended too? Did you see how Kerry's organization portrayed those of us who served in Vietnam?

Its now become clear that the gamed the system to get two Purple Hearts he didn't deserve, and some of his "band of brothers" weren't even on his boat when they said they were.

I agree with the VN vet who said:

"If Kerry loses, that will be the parade that we never had."

Amen.

Posted by: McQ at August 30, 2004 10:03 PM

I’m a lefty, a girlie, a “people like you”. I’m shameful, stupid and evil -- and my postings to this blog are “turds”.

I’ve been posting (very infrequently) to this blog for nearly a year. In my second posting to this blog, I clearly indicated that, although I was a liberal Dem, I’ve always found Q&O to be a place where I could go to find some sense of balance -- a place where I could read and comment on topics and issues that concerned me. I’ve always thought the ideas presented here were well researched. I’ve never failed to respect the opinions presented here – and although I (almost always disagreed), I’ve always appreciated your collective thoughts, and I have never failed to be respectful of your opinions.

Yesterday, I posted a second reply after I was slammed for my original post. Take a look – I’m certain most of you did not read it.

It is with much sadness that I have nothing more to add to this conversation or this blog.

Posted by: Becky at August 31, 2004 01:06 AM

I don't know McQ. This is your parade and you're cerainly welcome to take it anywhere you want to. I'm just standing on the sidewalk making some casual observations that maybe some of the floats weren't quite ready to leave the barn. It still seems like a stretch to say that Kerry was accusing all Viet Nam vets of being baby killers and rapists.

I don't know the extent of "atrocities" that were committed in Viet Nam. General Franks admitted that they did occur on Hannity & Colmbs, and I didn't get the impression he was talking solely about My Lai and Firefox. I think we can agree that a small number of grunts were fragging officers near the end. I find it difficult to believe that officers were being fragged, but the same violent impulses that led to fragging were never channeled against civilians.

pdq332, you won't find a simple definitive answer to any of your questions. The accuracy of the domino theory is just one example of the many questions about Viet Nam that will never be settled. I remember reading a good book that probably is no longer in print called "America's Longest War". The only thing I remember about it is the title and I can't really speak to how "objective" it was after all these years. I suspect McQ may have some suggestions as well.

McQ is right that Kennedy started the Viet Nam war and LBJ escalated it after Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. Viet Nam was not a happy happy place before we intervened. The French occupied Viet Nam shortly after WWII and we intervened some years after the Vietnamese defeated the French about 1955. During that time there was a continuing civil war among the Vietnamese. Viet Nam has a very violent history. My memory fails me, but I believe Japan may have also invaded Viet Nam before or during WWII. There's a reasonably objective time line of the Viet Nam war at:

http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/vietnam/index.html

Once you get past the basic timeline, Viet Nam is an extremely contentious issue. The foreign policy philosophical roots of the domino theory go back to the Truman Doctrine and foreign policy heavyweights like Keenan and McBundy and the Cold War. My memory fails me on exactly when and where the Domino Theory popped up, but I believe Kissinger was one of it's primary proponents. Jeane Kilpatrick, Bill Kristol's father Irving Kristol and a whole host of early neo-conservatives join the fray somewhere in the early 60's. Those were the "good old days" of liberal hawks like JFK and Scoop Jackson and conservative "isolationists" who complained that America could not afford to be the policeman to the world.

And yes, Viet Nam does play a role in the debate over Iraq. I'm reading an excellent book by some conservative critics of the neo-conservative foreign policy theory behind the war in Iraq called "America Alone". Their proponents describe their policy as something like Global Realism and their opponents describe it as Global Imperialism. The central issue revolves around America's military role in the world.

Posted by: Gary at August 31, 2004 02:26 AM

Nice - thirty something years later, we're still having the same discussions.

The same wishful thinking arguments where bullets only kill the bad guys and if they don't well, we just should talk the bad guys into being good.

Anyone who thinks the above approach works needs to run the Tienamen Square videos again and while your at it, there's some good footage from New York city that was just taken a few years ago.

Ya know, all the people we sent to Vietnam weren't GOOD people, we have bad people right here at home, and some of them go into the military, especially if there's a draft.
But our intentions, as a nation, were positive.
If you insist on judging the collective by the behaviors of a few you will always find fault.

John Kerry made the military a collective the day he said the atrocities were condoned by the command structure in testimony before the United States Senate.

I don't see anyone denying the North Vietnamese were grateful for his support, and I'm still trying to figure out why people who we abused and terrorized on a daily basis would want to flee here after the fall of South Vietnam.
And I'm trying to figure out why THESE people
aren't greatful to John for "telling it like it was".

John does what is expedient for John, he did it then, and you'd better believe he'll do it now if you give him the chance.

Posted by: looker at August 31, 2004 08:57 AM

Becky: Check out your "respectful" post to which I originally responded. Maybe its just me but I found nothing 'respectful' about it.

As you've probably figured out by now, this isn't an issue that can be discussed clinically except by those who weren't there or didn't live through the period. Because of the anti-war crowd being a member of the military of that era was an awful experience. I can't recreate that atmosphere or experience for you. You have the luxury of sitting here 35 years later, reading a very small portion of what happened and deciding with a wave of the hand that we're just making too much of it.

Well, as has been portrayed here very forcefully, its not that easy. This is STILL a white hot issue with many veterans and it will remain so. Whether you or the latter-day apologists for Kerry will acknowledge or agree, the generation of Vietnam vets who suffered being smeared and characterized as murderers and rapists DO hold he and those like him (for instance, Jane Fonda) responsible for shaping that image. Whether you like it or not, that's reality. And while it may be uncomfortable and something you'd just as soon move past, its an opportunity we now have, because of technology and Kerry making Vietnam his centerpiece, to speak out.

We have the opportunity to address the smear in a way we've never had before and we're going to take advantage of that opportunity.

You need to get used to it and try to be more understanding as to WHY this is so important to us. Get over the personal parts of the replies and try to understand WHY the anger is STILL there.

I noticed you didn't address this post at all. I noticed you ignored the point that this particular operation debunks the myth that Kerry and the VVAW weren't characterizing the soldier as a murderer and a butcher.

You obviously can take your marbles and go home in a huff, but since it was your premise this post addressed, I'm surprised you've chosen to do so.

Posted by: McQ at August 31, 2004 09:06 AM

Becky - okay I see you going over your original post, and regretting your words in some cases, and hanging on to some other stuff in others.

That's not the point really - you were able to adjust your point of view and scope it down to indicate you really didn't believe that ALL the troops were doing it in Vietnam, or Afghanistan, or Iraq. That it wasn't commonplace, or widespread, or daily. There's a lot of appeal to emotion in your first post - images of the kids killed, our own people dead, etc.
We don't DO that on purpose in America, you know that, you acknowledge it, we all regret it, you apologize for saying it or implying it.

Now, through this extremely tiny sample of emotion, yours and those in reponse, try to imagine the years from about 1966 - 1973 and imagine those emotions from this one tiny blog being spread all across the country. Imagine people functioning on your emotional images from your first post, imagine what they think of guys in uniform that they don't know. Killers, murders, huns. Imagine how those guys feel, Christ, they can't even find peace when they come home!
We won't let them!
Murders!

All you're getting is a faint distillation of what it was like - to me we didn't have a decade change in 1969-70 - we kinda had a decade that didn't end. It wasn't new and the hatred went right on from Vietnam into Watergate.

My point is (I knew we'd get there sooner or later) this - look at what you did - first generalizing the reports and testimony, and then realizing after getting knocked around that you'd done so.
And reflecting on that - you attempted to make good on your mis-statements. You didn't jump over to the other side of the fence, and that's fine, why should you have to? You can still NOT agree with Iraq or Vietnam, it's your right. But you tried to make good on some of the things you could see you'd said that were blanket condemnations.

JOHN. FORBES. KERRY. HASN'T. EVEN. DONE. THAT. YET.

Frankly, I don't see how it could do any good even if he did. He can't undo the damage.
But we can for damn sure see to it he doesn't have the opportunity to do any more.

Posted by: looker at August 31, 2004 02:12 PM

Becky - one final note - you asked what Kerry had to gain, more or less. He'd already run a failed candidacy for political office once BEFORE he gave the Senate testimony, though it's not mentioned in his web site, it IS specifically the reason he requests and receives an early discharge.

1970- January 3: Discharged from the Navy.
February: Kerry gives up on his first bid for office as a protest candidate in the race for the Third Congressional district.
More detail about that here - http://www.boston.com/globe/nation/packages/kerry/061803.shtml

Note, perhaps the author's characterization, but probably Kerry's expressed desire paraphrased.

By 1972, John F. Kerry was a national figure, but without roots in one place he could call home. For a young man with congressional ambitions, that was a handicap, one he would quickly compound.

How better to become a player on the big stage?
Here's an interesting quote from the article

Kerry had tenuous ties to the Fifth District that proved to be a flimsy shield against the withering assaults of critics. Leading the attack was The Sun, the conservative daily in Lowell, the old, parochial mill city that anchored the district.
Resentment poured from many of the other nine candidates, whom Kerry would leave in the dust of a freewheeling Democratic primary. In the wait-your-turn political culture of Lowell and nearby Lawrence, Kerry was a carpetbagger trying to cherrypick a seat in Congress.
In the general election campaign, Kerry was lashed relentlessly by The Sun, which questioned his patriotism, his loyalty to the district, and his financial backers. He blew a huge lead and lost to the Republican nominee, Paul W. Cronin, a former state representative who had served on Morse's staff.
Suddenly, the fast track to political glory vanished beneath the feet of the war hero turned war protester. There would be no official soapbox in the nation's capital, not any time soon at least. Kerry's first campaign for elected office had failed(emphasis mine)
.
Sounds like a man with a plan to make a name for himself. Anti-war, Senate Testimony, where's my job?

With all those commendations, he's not just an officer, he's a HERO when he gives his testimony.

This quote from one of my friends -

In 1971, I was president of the Veterans Club at College and a member of the "Tidewater POW-MIA" project. I participated in several public debates, and led a counter march against the hippies.
When he testified, it was very difficult for us defending against a decorated Navy Officer. I hated him then, and I hate him now.

Posted by: looker at August 31, 2004 03:17 PM

"Speaking out against a immoral war dishonors our country. STARTING an immoral war on false pretenses resulting the murder of untold thousands of civilians doesn't dishonor this country."

Thank you, "Airborne". I couldn't have done any better to demonstrate that the people who loved Atrocity Kerry in the 70's are the same kind of folks that argue he's Courageous Kerry today. And today those kind of folk feign respect for military service because they know it's just for show, and that the Real Kerry is the guy who testified before the Senate Committee about "cut ahf eahs".

BTW, is "Airborne" yout idea of a good, macho, miltaristic handle that Moby said would make you more credible when you do your troll-and-destroy missions? And how many similar ones have you used, just on this site, to try to pump your numbers? If you're Airborne, I'm a ballerina.

Posted by: Jumbo at August 31, 2004 07:38 PM

"I'd hate to live in an America of these folks making and I don't think I will."

And so, head held high, Ms. Cleo turns majestically after having used her obvious moral righteousness to put the cretinous nazis in their place. She allows herself to smile slightly, knowing the secret looks of shame which now must be passing between her humiliated tormenters. How dare they not agree with her! They were so, so STUPID! Ah, but the French, they understand the threat from American Imperialism and the Worldwide Zionist Conspiracy. There, there she will find an appreciatuve audience.

Posted by: Jumbo at August 31, 2004 07:57 PM

To Jumbo:

Get your tutu on, tootsie.

I have 55 jumps and, as long as the patch on my left sleeve has me as a member of the 82nd Airborne, I'll be AIRBORNE still!!

Now, we can "dog the goat" all day long. However, you should stick to your arguments instead of trying to get my DD214. If you want to nickle and dime me on my credentials, it just shows how low the biligerent right will go in its support of troops.

Kerry volunteered. Kerry served. Argue the events if you will, but the fact is that he risked his life and gave more than lip service. How can any patriotic American not respect and appreciate that?

There is a book that some of you need to read: "Bloods", by Wallace Terry. Anyway, in it a soldier writes how another soldier in his platoon kept ears as souvenirs.

Now, I read the book back in 1987. My father has my copy somewhere. The first hand accounts noted in the book were also some of the same things Kerry noted that he was told happened in Vietnam.

In my professional military career, have I heard of this?? My answer is no--not in modern warfare. Do I believe it to be true?? Yes. However, not in a large scale as it is being made out today.


Get Real! Atrocities occur in war and the US is no exception!

Posted by: Airborne at August 31, 2004 11:07 PM

Airborne - I don't think anyone from the pathetic and morally corrupt nazi right here has claimed there were NO atrocities.

What is it with people and absolutes?
The words "Always" and "Never" should be used sparingly when you're talking about the way people actually behave. It sure helps sway an argument though.

Of course we had men that committed atrocities.
You're right, and that's happened in EVERY war.
But to liken the U.S. military to Tilly moving across Germany and letting his army have it's way isn't nearly accurate by even a thousandth.

We're talking about scope here, we're talking about whether or not it was condoned, officially, sanctioned as a matter of policy, or whether it was an aberration performed by individuals who could have come back and turned into Ted Bundy, Gary Dahmer, Charlie Manson. These guys were all atrocious, they weren't in the military in Vietnam. If I gave Senate testimony tomorrow on atrocities in the US do I get to claim that what these sicko's did is sanctioned? Common place? Accepted by the government? Does the country accept it? It happens, therefore it must be acceptable?

Are we still upset with My Lai? Yes, it shows, we still talk about it! We still hold it up as a disgusting example! What does that say about us as a nation? That we're evil? That we set out to DO the wrong thing? That we sanction it?

If Kerry had proof of things, he should have named names, named places, named dates, named units.
What he did was akin to my taking my view of the Iraq War from Baghdad Bob and then giving Senate Testimony on it like I'm an authority on what really went on. It's all kinda vague, it's all kind generalized, it's all kind of a broad brush slander.

If Kerry SAW it, as an OFFICER he had a duty to DO something about it. If he only 'heard' about it (and we won't even discuss who he heard it from, as most of those guys knew as much about having actually BEEN in Vietnam as I do) then it's all talk, secondhand, possibly fabricated.
We've HAD people who laid their military career on the line to DO something about atrocities they witnessed. Was Kerry one of THOSE guys?
Well, no, um, truth be told he waited until he was only in the in-active reserve to say something about it. He waited until his first run for political office had cratered.

So his military career wasn't at risk. He was back in the U.S. for quite a while, and funny, he never felt it necessary to use his bully pulpit as a hero to say something about the atrocities until a couple of years later. Now there's a guy who's losing a lot of sleep at night from the images 'seared' into his memory.

What would have had more impact, a hero who'd just returned from the war, in 1970, telling the world we were a nation that fielded the finest baby slaughtering army the world has seen since the Khan, or some guy who waited a couple of years to talk about it? If the war was morally wrong in 1972, it was morally wrong in 1970 when he came back.

Did atrocities happen? Yes. He didn't have a right to say that it was accepted.

Posted by: looker at September 1, 2004 08:43 AM

"Get your tutu on, tootsie.

I have 55 jumps and, as long as the patch on my left sleeve has me as a member of the 82nd Airborne, I'll be AIRBORNE still!!"

You do have my apologies, Airborne. I went ad hom, and I shouldn't have done it.

Posted by: Jumbo at September 1, 2004 11:33 PM

So now tell us what patch is on your right sleeve, Airdrop?


FOR THE RECORD:
The legendary Anthony 'Tony Po' Poshepszny, CIA paramilitary (former trainer of the Dalai Lama's resistance) operating a training camp in Northern Laos, used ears for a VERY short time to make a point up his chain to the numbskull-micro-managing Vientiane embassy that refused to believe his reports. He stapled a few ears to the paperwork to get the REMF's attention. Point was made, point was quickly taken.

He paid his troops to bring him ears for while. Then when he found that some indig were cutting ears off their own kids just to make money they couldn't make otherwise he instantly terminated the program.

BTW, SF on both sleeves, child, 359 jumps, only 4 Hollywoods, dating back to 1969.

De Oppresso Liber


P.S. You need to study less BS propaganda, and your history more accurately, and learn to somehow tell the difference.

Posted by: recon at September 4, 2004 05:15 PM

On my right shoulder is the patch of the 18th ABN Corps--The Dragon Brigade. And, over my heart is a combat infantryman's badge, with one star (second award). It sits above my bronze star with "V" device and my Purple Heart. I was on the same bird that Jessica Lynch rode to Germany on, however, I was able to jump out of that one (six inches--I know it did not count but at the time, it was a blessing), and I was able to return to my unit in time to redeploy back to Fort Bragg, NC

The funny thing about history, Snakeater (I say that respectively), is that there are different views to just about everything written.

So, when other vets write that there were rapes, murders and other crimes, someone is going to claim "oh no, that did not happen". Its like clinically describing the actions which caused the M16 to malfunction, but the private just says: "It jamed".

Everyone wants to die of a kanipsion because Kerry had the nerve to claim that there were rapes, murder and other atrosities committed by servicemen during the Vietnam War. NO ONE says that the things that Kerry said happened in Viet Nam did not happen. Oh yeah, they're mad as hell that he said it and I understand - to a point.

You know the Army Times is not known by any stretch of the imagination as a liberal publication. Quite the opposite; it's straight-up military. The editors do an EXCELLENT job of taking stances that are patriotic, NOT nationalistic, and ALWAYS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN.

That's why when that publication, time after time, points out the flaws in U.S. policy in the Gulf you HAVE to take it seriously. When it criticizes the presidents huge, deep, program-ending cuts to the V.A., you have to take it seriously. When it brings into consideration the callous deployment of National Guardsmen and Reservist for EXTENDED periods of time in combat zones WITHOUT the same benefits of the Active Duty Regular Army, you have to take them seriously.

It just galls me that Kerry's service 35 years ago has bearing on today's presidential race. Oh well, I guess when I make my run for City Council, there's going to be that one vet on the side saying: "that guy should not be a councilman--all he did was get shot at on a bridge over the euphrates!"

Out

Posted by: Airborne at September 7, 2004 04:07 PM

It just galls me that Kerry's service 35 years ago has bearing on today's presidential race. Oh well, I guess when I make my run for City Council, there's going to be that one vet on the side saying: "that guy should not be a councilman--all he did was get shot at on a bridge over the euphrates!"

Hey Airborne ... who made his service 35 years ago the centerpiece of his campagin? Who brought this all up as his best qualification to be commander in chief?

Kerry brought it up. Kerry used it.

Its fair game.

He chose to do so, and now he's paying for that choice.

That's the way politics works.

Posted by: McQ at September 7, 2004 04:16 PM