In the history of Swift Boats in Vietnam, all military personnel
served a tour of duty of at least one year unless seriously wounded. Among the
few exceptions was John Kerry, who requested to leave Vietnam in 1969
after four months, citing a regulation that permitted release of personnel
with three Purple Hearts.
Kerry, now the four-term senator from Massachusetts and the Democratic
presidential nominee, is also the only known "Swiftee" who received the
Purple Heart for a self-inflicted wound.
None of Kerry's three Purple Hearts was for serious injuries. They
were minor scratches, resulting in no lost duty time.
Each of these decorations is controversial, with considerable evidence
(and in two cases, incontrovertible and conclusive evidence) that the
injuries were caused by his own hand and not the result of hostile fire.
Kerry's injuries are a subject of ridicule among fellow Swiftees.
"Many took exception to the Purple Hearts awarded to Kerry," Swift
Boat veteran William E. Franke, a Silver Star recipient, wrote to
the authors in March. "His 'wounds' were suspect, so insignificant as to not
be worthy of the award of such a medal."
Franke and about 200 others, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, came
forth in May to question Kerry's deception. These veterans from Kerry's
unit signed a petition calling on him to execute Standard Form 180 and allow
the public complete access to his service record.
Swiftees have remarked that if Kerry faked even one of these awards,
he owed the Navy 243 additional days in Vietnam before running for
In a unit where terribly wounded personnel like Shelton White (now an
undersea film producer for National Geographic) chose to return to duty
after three wounds on the same day, Kerry's actions were disgraceful.
Indeed, many share the feelings of Adm. Roy F. Hoffmann, to whom all
Swiftees reported when he was commander of Coastal Surveillance Force
Vietnam in 1968-69: Kerry simply "bugged out" when the heat was on.
The Navy first brought Swift Boats to Vietnam in 1966 to control the
coast. The high-speed, 50-foot aluminum boats — designated PCFs, for Patrol
Crafts Fast — were specifically designed to intercept and inspect offshore
traffic. They carried mortars.
Swift Boats, or PCFs, had no armor and relied on speed and firepower.
Each boat had a six-man crew and operated as part of a small division.
Kerry volunteered for service on the Swifts. Given his extreme
opposition to the Vietnam War and his view that it was an immoral enterprise,
Kerry's action has always puzzled most Swiftees. But in the early days, Swift
Boats saw infrequent combat, which is apparently why they attracted Kerry.
"Although I wanted to see for myself what was going on, I didn't
really want to get involved in the war," Kerry wrote in his 1986 contribution
to "The Vietnam Experience: A War Remembered."
In late 1968, the Swift Boat mission was redefined to root out the
enemy hiding in the difficult terrain of the canals and rivers of the Mekong
On Nov. 17, 1968, Kerry reported for duty to Coastal Squadron One,
Coastal Division 14, at Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam. He had served a year
without seeing combat aboard the USS Gridley, a guided-missile frigate that
spent five weeks off the coast of Vietnam doing guard duty for planes.
Cam Ranh, a French tourist town with a well-protected, deep-water
harbor and beautiful white beaches, was generally regarded as the safest place
in Vietnam. Kerry, promoted five months earlier to lieutenant junior
grade, spent one month of his four-month Vietnam tour training in Cam Ranh Bay.
Kerry's campaign Web site, johnkerry.com, presents his first Purple
Heart incident in typical heroic fashion: "December 2, 1968 — Kerry
experiences first intense combat; receives first combat related injury."
Kerry recalled the incident as "a half-assed action that hardly
qualified as combat" in Douglas Brinkley's book "Tour of Duty: John Kerry and
the Vietnam War" (William Morrow, 2004).
As Kerry described the situation to Brinkley, he grew bored in his
first two weeks in Vietnam while awaiting assignment of his own boat.
So Kerry volunteered for a "special mission" on a boat the Navy calls
a skimmer, but which he knew as a "Boston whaler." The craft was a
foam-filled boat, not a Swift Boat.
Kerry and two enlisted men were patrolling along what Kerry described
as "the shore off a Viet Cong?infested peninsula north of Cam Ranh" when
the action started around 2 or 3 a.m. Here are Kerry's words, quoted by
"The jungle closed in on us on both sides. It was scary as hell. You
could hear yourself breathing. We were almost touching the shore. Suddenly,
through the magnified moonlight of the infrared 'starlight scope,' I
watched, mesmerized, as a group of sampans glided in toward the shore. We had
been briefed that this was a favorite crossing area for VC trafficking
Kerry said he turned off the motor and paddled the Boston whaler out
of the inlet into the bay. Then he saw the Vietnamese pull their sampans
onto the beach; they began to unload something. As recounted in "Tour of
Duty," Kerry decided to light a flare:
"The entire sky seemed to explode into daylight. The men from the
sampans bolted erect, stiff with shock for only an instant before they sprang
for cover like a herd of panicked gazelles I had once seen on TV's 'Wild
Kingdom.' We opened fire ...The light from the flares started to fade, the
air was full of explosions. My M-16 jammed, and as I bent down in the boat
to grab another gun, a stinging piece of heat socked into my arm and just
seemed to burn like hell. By this time, one of the sailors had started the
engine, and we ran by the beach, strafing it. Then it was quiet."
That was the entire action. As Kerry explained to Brinkley, he was not
about to go chasing after the Vietnamese:
"We were unprotected; we didn't have ammunition; we didn't have cover;
we just weren't prepared for that. ... So we first shot the sampans so
that they were destroyed and whatever was in them was destroyed."
Kerry and his crew loaded their gear in the Swift Boat that was there
to cover them and, with the Boston whaler in tow, headed back to Cam Ranh
"I felt terribly seasoned after this minor skirmish," Kerry recalled
in the Brinkley book, "but since I couldn't put my finger on what we had
really accomplished or on what had happened, it was difficult to feel
satisfied. I never saw where the piece of shrapnel had come from, and the vision
of the men running like gazelles haunted me."
Boston Globe's account
A somewhat different version is recounted in "John F. Kerry: The
Complete Biography" (PublicAffairs Reports, 2004), by Boston Globe reporters
Michael Kranish, Brian C. Mooney and Nina J. Easton.
In this account, Kerry emphasized that he was patrolling with the
Boston whaler in a free-fire curfew zone, and that "anyone violating the
curfew could be considered an enemy and shot."
Questions had been raised about whether the incident involved any
enemy fire, and the Globe reporters covered this point as follows:
"The Kerry campaign showed the Boston Globe a one-page document
listing Kerry's medical treatment during some of his service time. The notation
said: '3 DEC 1968 U.S. NAVAL SUPPORT FACILITY CAM RANH BAY RVN FPO
Shrapnel in left arm above elbow. Shrapnel removed and apply Bacitracin dressing.
Ret to duty.'"
The Globe asked the campaign whether Kerry was certain he received
enemy fire and whether Kerry remembers the Purple Heart being questioned by a
superior officer. The campaign did not respond to those specific questions
and, instead, provided a written statement that the Navy did find the
action worthy of a Purple Heart.
Two men serving alongside Kerry that night had similar memories.
William Zaldonis, who was manning an M-60, and Patrick Runyon, operating the
engine, said they spotted some people running from a sampan to a nearby
shoreline. When they refused to obey a call to stop, Kerry's crew began
"When John told me to open up, I opened up," Zaldonis recalled to the
Zaldonis and Runyon both said they were too busy to notice how Kerry
"I assume they fired back," Zaldonis said. "If you can picture me
holding an M-60 machine gun and firing it — what do I see? Nothing. If they
were firing at us, it was hard for me to tell."
Runyon said he assumed the suspected Viet Cong fired back because
Kerry was hit by a piece of shrapnel.
"I can't say for sure that we got return fire or how [Kerry] got
nicked," Runyon told the Globe. "I know he did get nicked, a scrape on the
So even in the Globe accounting, it was not clear there was any enemy
fire, just a question about how Kerry might have been hit with shrapnel.
The Globe reporters noted that upon the group's return to base, Lt.
Cmdr. Grant Hibbard, Kerry's superior officer in Coastal Division 14, was
skeptical about the injury. The Globe account quoted William Schachte, a
lieutenant in command for the operation who went on to become an admiral. "It
was not a very serious wound at all," Schachte said in 2003.
Still, on April 18, when NBC correspondent Tim Russert questioned
Kerry on national television about the incident, Kerry described it as "the
most frightening night" of his Vietnam experience.
The Globe reporters noted that Kerry declined to be interviewed about
At the time of this incident, Kerry was an officer in command (OinC)
under training. He was aboard the skimmer using the call sign "Robin" on
the operation; Schachte, using the call sign "Batman," also was on the
After Kerry's M-16 jammed, Kerry picked up an M-79 grenade launcher
and fired a grenade too close, causing a tiny piece of shrapnel (one to two
centimeters) to barely stick in his arm. Schachte berated Kerry for almost
putting someone's eye out.
There was no hostile fire of any kind, nor did Kerry on the way back
mention to OinC Mike Voss, who commanded the PCF that towed the skimmer,
that he was wounded.
There was no report of hostile fire that day (as would be required),
nor do the records at Cam Ranh Bay reveal such hostile fire. No other
records reflect hostile fire. There is no casualty report, as would have been
required had there actually been a casualty.
To the surprise of both Schachte and the treating doctor, Louis
Letson, Kerry managed to keep the tiny hanging fragment barely embedded in his
arm until he arrived at sick bay miles away. Kerry was examined by Letson,
who never has forgotten the experience and related it to his Democratic
county chairman early in the 2004 primary campaign.
Letson, observing Kerry's unimpressive scratch, asked in surprise,
"Why are you here?"
Kerry answered, "I've been wounded by hostile fire."
Accompanying crewmen told Letson that Kerry had wounded himself.
Letson used tweezers to remove the tiny fragment, which he identified as
shrapnel like that from an M-79 (not from a rifle bullet), and put a small
bandage on Kerry's arm.
The following morning, Kerry appeared at the office of Cmdr. Hibbard
and applied for the Purple Heart. Hibbard turned down the award.
When the authors interviewed Hibbard on June 17, he was emphatic that
Kerry's slight injury, in his opinion, could not possibly merit the Purple
Q: When did you first meet John Kerry?
Hibbard: Kerry reported to my division in November 1968. I didn't
know him from Adam.
Q: Can you describe the mission in which Kerry got his first
Hibbard: Kerry requested permission to go on a skimmer
operation with Lieutenant Schachte, my most senior and trusted lieutenant, using a
Boston whaler to try to interdict a Viet Cong movement of arms and
The next morning at the briefing, I was informed that no enemy fire
had been received on that mission. Our units had fired on some VC units
running on the beach. We were all in my office, some of the crew members, I
remember Schachte being there.
This was 36 years ago; it really didn't seem all that important at the
time. Here was this lieutenant, junior grade, who was saying, "I got
wounded," and everybody else, the crew that were present were saying, "We
didn't get any fire. We don't know how he got the scratch."
Kerry showed me the scratch on his arm. I hadn't been informed that he
had any medical treatment. The scratch didn't look like much to me; I've
seen worse injuries from a rose thorn.
Q: Did Kerry want you to recommend him for a Purple Heart?
Hibbard: Yes, that was his whole point. He had this little piece
of shrapnel in his hand. It was tiny. I was told later that Kerry had fired
an M-79 grenade and that he had misjudged it. He fired it too close to the
shore, and it exploded on a rock or something. He got hit by a piece of
shrapnel from a grenade that he had fired himself.
The injury was self-inflicted, that's what made sense to me. I told
Kerry to "forget it." There was no hostile fire, the injury was
self-inflicted for all I knew. Besides, it was nothing really more than a scratch.
Kerry wasn't getting any Purple Heart recommendation from me.
Q: How did Kerry get a Purple Heart from the incident, then?
Hibbard: I don't know. It beats me. I know I didn't recommend him
for a Purple Heart. Kerry probably wrote up the paperwork and recommended
himself, that's all I can figure out. If it ever came across my desk, I
don't have any recollection of it. Kerry didn't get my signature. I said "no
way" and told him to get out of my office.
The doctor's account
Kerry somehow "gamed the system" nearly three months later to obtain
the Purple Heart that Hibbard had denied. How he obtained the award is
unknown, since his continued refusal to execute Standard Form 180 means that
whatever other documents exist are known only to Kerry, the Department of
Defense and God.
Only a treatment record reflecting a scratch and a certificate signed
three months later have been produced. There is no "after-action" hostile
fire or casualty report. This is because there was no hostile fire,
casualty, or action on this "most frightening night" of Kerry's Vietnam
Letson agreed with Hibbard, in a statement the doctor gave us in
April, that Kerry's injury was minor and probably self-inflicted:
"The incident that occasioned my meeting with Lieutenant Kerry began
while he was patrolling the coast at night just north of Cam Ranh Bay,
where I was the only medical officer for a small support base. Kerry returned
from that night on patrol with an injury.
"Kerry reported that he had observed suspicious activity on shore and
fired a flare to illuminate the area," Letson continued. "According to
Kerry, they had been engaged in a firefight, receiving small arms fire from
on shore. He said that his injury resulted from this enemy action.
"The story he told was different from what his crewmen had to say
about that night. Some of his crew confided that they did not receive any fire
from shore, but that Kerry had fired a grenade round at close range to the
shore. The crewman who related this story thought that the injury was from
a fragment of the grenade shell that had ricocheted back from the rocks.
That seemed to fit the injury I treated.
"What I saw was a small piece of metal sticking very superficially in
the skin of Kerry's arm. The metal fragment measured about one centimeter
in length and was about two or three millimeters in diameter. It certainly
did not look like a round from a rifle," Letson continued.
"I simply removed the piece of metal by lifting it out of the skin
with forceps. I doubt that it penetrated more than three or four millimeters.
It did not require probing to find it, nor did it require any anesthesia
to remove it. It did not require any sutures to close the wound. The wound
was covered with a Band-Aid. No other injuries were reported and I do not
recall that there was any injury to the boat.
"I remember that Jess Carreon [Letson's corpsman, now dead] was
present at the time, and he, in fact, made the entry into Lieutenant Kerry's
Letson also said: "Lieutenant Kerry's crew related that he had told
them that he would be president one day. He liked to think of himself as the
next JFK from Massachusetts."
Most fellow Swiftees who were with Kerry at Cam Ranh Bay never knew
until Kerry decided to run for president that he had somehow successfully
maneuvered his way to this undeserved Purple Heart. But in Coastal Division
14, Kerry's attempt to gain the award through fraud marked him as someone
who could never be trusted.
When Kerry was dispatched to go to An Thoi with Lt. Tedd Peck (who
would retire as a Navy captain), Peck told him: "Kerry, follow me no closer
than a thousand yards. If you get any closer, I'll teach you what a real
Purple Heart is."
A number of the combat commanders, fellow officers and other men
who served with Sen. John Kerry in Vietnam have challenged his accounts of
combat heroism in a new book, "Unfit for Command" (Regnery Publishing), by
John E. O´Neill, who took over command of Swift Boat PCF 94 from Lt.
Kerry, and Jerome R. Corsi, a political scientist who has written extensively
about the Vietnam War protest movement. Each of these excerpts from "Unfit
for Command" includes comparisons of Mr. Kerry´s earlier published
accounts to recollections of others who served with him.
It is nice to see an article like this in the Washington Times.
I'm about half way through "Unfit For Command". This is not even half of it. If everything in this book is factual, it would make anyone furious that Kerry would ever consider running for office. The bad part is that Kerry's picture is on the front so I always have to put it face down when I'm done reading.
If the media used as much time researching this (or WMDs in Iraq, but that's another thread) as they do trying to dig up crap on Bush and Cheney, the sheeple would see how much of a sham Kerry is.
let's talk about Chaney and Hallibuton and millions in fraud while he was VP
Contracts given to Chaney's old company -- this Kerry medal thing is fly shit on a huge turd.
The turd being the present administration and all the bullshit they are pulling.
For all I know, this article is correct, but it is difficult to know what is honest reporting and what is partisan spin. For the record, I have a very difficult time with Kerry's account of his service in Viet Nam (and am inclined to disbelieve it based on comparing the accounts of Kerry and O'Neil), but I also have a difficult time believing much from the Washington Times:
The Washington Times, is a newspaper owned by Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church.
In a speech on the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Washington Times, Moon explained his motivation behind establishing the paper. "I founded The Washington Times as an expression of my love for America and to fulfill the Will of God, who seeks to establish America in His Providence," he said.
"In the context of God's Will, there needed to be a newspaper that had the philosophical and ideological foundation to encourage and enlighten the people and leaders of America," he explained.
In Moon's analysis, there was an important role for the paper in bolstering support for the continuance of the cold war asgainst Russia."The Washington Times’ editorials and columns supported the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) at a time when many were trying to block this critical development," he said.
"I do not have the slightest doubt that God used The Washington Times to help bring an end to the most pernicious worldwide dictatorship in history and gave freedom to tens of millions of people!" he said.
With the collapse of the USSR, Moon's support for anti-communist campaigns shifted to central America. "In the 1980s, the Contras in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and other countries were fighting for their lives against the communist Sandinistas who were seeking to seize control of their countries, slaughtering thousands of people. While other media failed to recognize the seriousness of the situation. The Washington Times emphasized through its stories and columns the dangers of communist expansion in the hemisphere and why the freedom fighters should be supported. Once again, The Times news and information helped the leaders in Washington stay strong in their support for the Contras," he said.
During the 1990's with opportunities for anti-communist campaigns fading, Moon shifted focus to the "Cultueral War" - "the fight against the degradation of values".
While editors of the Washington Times argue that the owners of the paper have no role in setting editorial policy, Moon made clear that he plays a critical role in the priorities of the publication. "Ten years ago, at the 10th anniversary celebration for The Times, I defined another mission for the media. This is the need for media to promote ethics and moral values in our society. For its second ten years, I envisioned for The Washington Times the task of contributing to bringing about a moral society. Because a peaceful world is only possible based on the existence of peaceful, ideal families, The Times became a newspaper that helped people understand the importance of strong moral, family values," he said.
In its third decade Moon has new priorities for the title: "...this is the time to emphasize and support faith, the time to emphasize and support spiritual values that are based on the faith of each individual," he said.
"While the media can provide all the facts, they also have the responsibility to provide values to prevent confusion and to provide leadership and direction, especially today when the entire world is flooded with news and information. The Washington Times and its affiliated media properties are taking a leading role in this regard," he said.
In an article on the Unification Church website discussing the prospects of re-unification of North and South Korea, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, wrote: "With the establishment of The Washington Times in America we initiated a worldwide movement of ideally educating the free world, an intention that I had for a long time; we are also organizing around the globe to form many newspapers, to educate the world media, to give direction to university professors worldwide, to guide student movements in every nation, to bring about cooperation among various South American countries and to form understanding among the world religions."
"This new era of media, with the massive distribution of news and information, requires leadership and clear guidance for the betterment of individuals based on values and on the knowledge of God and spirit world. The Washington Times and our family of media have been providing this direction for the past two decades and will continue to do so into our third decade. My hope is that each one of you as well will embody the qualities of defending freedom, promoting family values, and strengthening your faith in God so that you may become leaders of the world," he said.
In an August 2002 address at the Heritage Foundation, the Editor in Chief of The Washington Times, Wesley Pruden, who started work with the paper when it commenced in 1982, explained the mood of the time. "Ronald Reagan was new in town, trying to stoke the fires of the free market and pluck up the courage of those of us who still wanted to make a fight of it. He had managed to get himself elected President of the United States, but he was greeted, like the media establishment greeted us, with incredulity, suspicion, frustration, even anger," Pruden said.
Pruden defends his papers style of journalism as being more in tune with the public than other mainstream media. "We would not only cover the news without slant or bias, but give voice to those who had been shut out of the national debate. This challenged a smug and entrenched journalism establishment that was swiftly losing touch with its constituency," was how he explained the charter of the paper.
"The one constant would be our editorial independence. We would never be told to put anything in the paper; more important, perhaps, we would never be asked to leave anything out. All that was ever asked was to be faithful to the task of reporting the news without fear or favor, to get it first and get it right", Pruden told those attending the Heritage Foundation’s ‘Second Annual Distinguished Journalist Lecture’.
"We hold to conservative political views, but we do not cover the news with a conservative slant or bias. A newspaper with a conservative bias in covering the news is no better than the newspapers with a liberal bias, because the reader can never know when someone is blowing smoke at him. We keep our opinions, and we have a few, to the editorial and commentary pages, or to columns clearly identified as opinion, in the honored tradition of American newspapers," he said.
Gene Grabowski, who resigned in 1988 over the misleading alternation of an article, said of the Washington Times: "It's the Fox News of the print world."
Another reporter, Dawn Ceol – daughter of Paul Weyrich resigned too after Pruden – who has been editor in chief since 1992 – altered a story she wrote about Anita Hill to be more critical of Hill.
Beirich and Moser, writing in the Intelligence Report published by the Southern Poverty Law Center, argue that those who dismiss The Washington Times as having little influence are mistaken. "But nobody has to actually read the Times to imbibe its spin on the news; the wilder its stories, the more likely television and print media are to pick them up and run with them," they wrote.
In particular they cited the case of a series of stories and editorials initiated by Washington Times reporter, Audrey Hudson, claiming that scientists had been caught attempting to fabricate evidence that lynx were more widespread than they really were.
The story was picked up by Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, the Seattle Times gaining widespread coverage within the US and even internationally. While the story was that the biologists who made the unauthorized lynx hair submissions claimed to be submitting blind samples in order to test the labs, the limited after the event retraction did little to diminish the impact of the original story.
In May 1992, after the Times had been operating almost ten years, Moon disclosed that he had invested "close to $1 billion" in the paper.
* Sun Myung Moon, "Freedom, Family, Faith - The Role of the Media in the 21st Century", Washington Times 20th Anniversary Banquet Washington DC May 21, 2002. (http://www.tparents.org/moon%2Dtalks/sunmyungmoon02/sm020520%2Dmedia.htm)
* Wesley Pruden,"Fear and Loathing on the Potomac:The Washington Times at Twenty", Heritage Lecture No 757, August 15, 2002. (http://www.heritage.org/Research/PoliticalPhilosophy/HL757.cfm)
* Heidi Beirich and Bob Moser,"America's Newspaper?: The Washington Times has a long record of hyped stories, shoddy reporting and failure to correct errors", Intelligence Report, Southern Poverty Law Center, undated (approx 2002). (http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?sid=65)
* Allan Freedman, "Washington's Other Paper: Is the time right for the Times?", Columbia Journalism Review, March/April 1995. (http://www.cjr.org/archives.asp?url=/95/2/times.asp)
* Fred Clarkson, "Behind the Times: Who Pulls The Strings at Washington's No. 2 Daily?", Exra!, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, August/September 1987. (http://www.fair.org/extra/best-of-extra/washington-times.html)
* Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Way Of Unification (Part 2), November 21, 1986. (http://www.unification.net/wu2/wu2-7-1.htm)
* Elisabeth Bumiller, "The Nation's Capital Gets A New Daily Newspaper", The Washington Post, May 17, 1982; page C01. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/cult/unification/wtimes.htm)
* The Consortium for Independent Journalism The Dark side of Rev. Moon. This page has a small archive of stories relating to Rev. Moon and American politics between 1997 and early 2001. (http://www.consortiumnews.com/archive/moon.html)
* Paul Tolme, “The Washington Times’ Hair-Raising Tall Tale Lynx fur "hoax" story shows the power of right-wing media, Extra!, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, May/June 2002. (http://www.fair.org/extra/0205/lynxgate.html)
* Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, “Engineering a scandal: How the Washington Times Manipulated the Lynx Story”, undated, accessed December 9, 2003. PEER has created a webapges with links to the various uinvestigations rebutting the Washington Times claims at http://www.peer.org/Lynx/index.html. (http://www.peer.org/Lynx/times_factsheet.html)
* Heidi Beirich and Bob Moser, “Defending Dixie:The Washington Times has always been conservative and error-prone — now it's helping to popularize extremist ideas”, Intelligence Report, Southern Poverty Law Center, undated. (http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?pid=124)
* Wayne Madsen, “Moon Shadow:The Rev, Bush & North Korea”, CounterPunch, January 14, 2003. (http://www.counterpunch.org/madsen01142003.html)
* Statement of Ronald Malfi, Acting Managing Director, Office of Special Investigations. "Canada Lynx Survey: Unauthorized Hair Samples Submitted for Analysis" US GAO Publication GAO-02-496T, March 6, 2002 (http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/archives/107cong/fullcomm/2002mar06/malfi.pdf)
cynadie - give it a break. Are you on the payroll for john-john.com or something?
Kerry was/is a Marxist. If you've ever really read Tom Hayden and the VVAW materials,
they're not talking about getting out of Vietnam, they're talking about
violent overthrow of the US and forced redistribution of wealth and a one
world Soviet apparatus.
The New Soldier represents his true nature, then and now. Marxist.
Vote Bush '04
John Kerry told the world we were war criminals who raped, tortured and murdered in Vietnam. Now, thirty-three years later, we will tell America the truth. Join us at the rally we call:
KERRY LIED . . . while good men died
A gathering of Vietnam veterans from across America
Where: Upper Senate Park, Washington, D.C. It is easy to get to, shady and pretty, with a great view of the Capitol dome in back of the speaker's platform. THIS IS A NEW LOCATION AS OF 7/17/04
When: Sunday, Sept 12, 2004 2:00-4:00 PM (EDT)
Why: To tell the truth about Vietnam veterans.
To counter the lies told about Vietnam veterans by John Kerry
All Vietnam veterans and their families and supporters are asked to attend. Other veterans are invited as honored guests.
WTF anyone can say anything they want , but let me bring up a few thngs --- why don't you give it a break and I will follow suit.
Are you saying war crimes never occurred?
John O'Neil admitted that he took part in free fire zones in the '71 Kerry O'Neil debat on Dick Cavett: rtsp://video.c-span.org/project/c04/c04_rwh081504.rm
The point, Cy, is for the media to put the same effort to Kerry they did to Bush and Cheney. Which they won't, because he's their golden boy.
By the way... Halliburton is an oil infrastructure company. Who would you contract to go rebuild an oil infrastructure?
ETA: Also what about the war crimes Kerry testified to seeing and committing?
No, I am saying Kerry broad brushed ALL Vietnam vets as war criminals but now expects us to look up in admiration to him because of his 4 months of service? What a hypocrite! That's as phony as 'eating' at Wendy's to make it look like you have a bound with the common working person but shuttle gourmet food in throgh the back door. Oh wait, he did that too. What a fake.
The VN war is over, I swear people had an easier time forgiveing each other after the civil war than what happened after the VN war.
It is over ! If people could forgive each other after the civil war we should be able to do the same with the VN war.
What a maroon.
The popular attack on Kerry is that he impugned all VN vets. I have yet to see any factual report that quotes Kerry as saying anything close to that. In fact, what I have found on the subject clearly shows that Kerry indicated that war crimes occurred, and that it was endemic, but not that all vets were involved.
As is indicated in the '71 Cavett show, Kerry demonstrates that anyone who took part in free-fire zones was in violation of Geneva and Hague conventions banning such activities. John O'Neil admitted that he was involved in such activities. (rtsp://video.c-span.org/project/c04/c04_rwh081504.rm)
If you have a link that quotes Kerry as saying anything that broadly impugnes all vets, I would like to read it.
If you truly understand history then you'd never compare the American Civil War with Vietnam. They are apples and oranges.
If Kerry would stop bragging about his heroic actions in Vietnam maybe people wouldn't want to point out the hypocrasy in his statements. How can we forgive and forget (blech, not that I would do it) his Vietnam service when he constantly reminds us of it! He's saying he will be a good, effective leader of our military based on that four months of service, and his three Purple Hearts. If he's pulled the wool over your eyes, sorry. He hasn't pulled it over mine. I thank him for his service. But for him to politicize it and use it as a tool is ridiculous.
This point will not go away until he drops it.
Obviously, Kerry is hammering us to death with his war experience to contrast himself with Bush who has somewhat questionable service.
As far as I know, Kerry's second tour lasted only 4 1/2 months (swift boat duty, which he volunteered for), while his first tour was aboard a ship off the coast of Viet Nam. I do not know if that tour was 12 months, but I believe it was somewhat shorter than that.
In any case, his service to this country was at least four years (IIRC), until he resigned his commision to protest the war/run for congress.
Well that is why you will cast your vote one way in Nov. and others will cast theirs another -- will be a close election for sure, and I for one was tired with the mud slinging from both sides very early on. I just wish there was a third "reality" person to vote for, and I bet you do also.
In November one of use will be able to poke fun at the other for sure .
Wrong. Try again.
Detestible Americans such as Kerry The Liar are why many people still believe VN vets were mostly psychopathic murderers.
That is UNFORGIVABLE.
Did I mention that he's a Marxist?
This we can agree on!
to think our next president
Then tell your bullshit artist Golden Butt-boy Kerry to shut his hole about it. HE'S the one that made the Vietnam War a focal point of his candidacy.
Must be Bush's fault, too, right?
You can listen to the recording of his 1971 Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs testimony and see the facts surrounding his statements here:
You have to wait 30 seconds or so for it to load and then hit the "play" button in the lower right-hand corner. Keep hitting it until you get to the slide showing a close-up of his face. That's when the recording starts.
"Not isolated incidents..."
He claims that American soldiers had "personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan..." and that these acts were "not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." Kerry also accuses the U.S. military of "rampant" racism and of being "more guilty than any other body" of violating the Geneva Conventions, supports "Madame Binh's points" when asked to recommend a peace proposal, and states that any reprisals against the South Vietnamese after an American withdrawal would be "far, far less than the 200,000 a year who are murdered by the United States of America."
BTW, my father served in the Army in Vietnam. He guarded ammo dumps in Cam Rah Bay. He absolutely detests John Kerry. I'll bet my dad would spit in Kerry's face if the two met.
Thanks ChuckHammer. If I recall, he also admits to taking part in such activities.
I can't and won't forgive lies of that magnitude by someone that seeks to be president.
This isn't about Vietnam, Cyanide, it's about how much of a slimeball Kerry is, and how he will use anything in his ongoing grab for power.
The Left chants - endlessly - that "Bush LIED!", but he didn't. He based what he said and his consequent actions on intelligence that even Kerry believed. But here we have an example of Kerry deliberately, purposefully, LYING - and the reaction of the left is "The Vietnam war is OVER! It's not IMPORTANT" Bullshit.
Let me quote two things I think that illustrate the difference between the two candidates. James Lileks wrote last Wednesday:
He doesn't equivocate, he doesn't obfuscate, and he hasn't lied. And Kerry does. Shamelessly. And he's been caught at it, baldfaced and red-handed, and the Left cannot stand it.
Pardon the hell out of me, but I'm going for the guy with obvious PRINCIPLES.
Kerry is such lying asswhipe. I don't think even the media can ignore the traction these charges are generating.
Yes, I have seen the testimony many times.
As I stated in my reply to you, Kerry indicated that war crimes were endemic. His statements indicated that the actions occurred routinely and that knowledge of such acts went from top to bottom. That is not the same as saying that all servicemen committed those acts - which Kerry did not say.
The ACTS were endemic, NOT that all servicemen were commiting those acts. John O'Neil, who disputed that any war crimes were occurring, was forced to admit that he had taken part in the very crimes he claimed never happened.
On a recent Hannity & Colmes, Hannity quoted the above statement ("personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan...") to General Tommy Franks, and asked Franks if that sort of thing occurred in VN. Franks said that it did occur.
So, who should I believe?
1. John Kerry, who says that war crimes occurred, and that he personally took part in types of illegal activity (free-fire zones, burning villiages, search and destroy missions) and had knowledge of other crimes?
2. John O'Neil, who says that no illegal crimes occurred, but personally took part in types of illegal activity as part of his duty (free-fire zones, search and destroy missions)?
3. Gen Tommy Franks, who when asked about the specific types of activities that John Kerry testified to, acknowledged that such acts did occur?
Is Kerry a proud war hero or angry antiwar protester?
January 27, 2004, 8:25 a.m.
Vetting the Vet Record
Is Kerry a proud war hero or angry antiwar protester?
John Kerry, we know, is running against John Kerry: his own voting record. But there is another record that John Kerry is running against, and this has to do with his very emergence as a Democratic politician: Kerry, the proud Vietnam veteran vs. Kerry, the antiwar activist who accused his fellow Vietnam veterans of the most heinous atrocities imaginable. (emphasis added)
John Kerry not only served honorably in Vietnam, but also with distinction, earning a Silver Star (America's third-highest award for valor), a Bronze Star, and three awards of the Purple Heart for wounds received in combat as a swift-boat commander. Kerry did not return from Vietnam a radical antiwar activist. According to the indispensable Stolen Valor, by H. G. "Jug" Burkett and Genna Whitley, "Friends said that when Kerry first began talking about running for office, he was not visibly agitated about the Vietnam War. 'I thought of him as a rather normal vet,' a friend said to a reporter, 'glad to be out but not terribly uptight about the war.' Another acquaintance who talked to Kerry about his political ambitions called him a 'very charismatic fellow looking for a good issue.'" Apparently, this good issue would be Vietnam.
Kerry hooked up with an organization called Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). Two events cooked up by this group went a long way toward cementing in the public mind the image of Vietnam as one big atrocity. The first of these was the January 31, 1971, "Winter Soldier Investigation," organized by "the usual suspects" among antiwar celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Dick Gregory, and Kennedy-assassination conspiracy theorist, Mark Lane. Here, individuals purporting to be Vietnam veterans told horrible stories of atrocities in Vietnam: using prisoners for target practice, throwing them out of helicopters, cutting off the ears of dead Viet Cong soldiers, burning villages, and gang-raping women as a matter of course.
The second event was "Dewey Canyon III," or what VVAW called a "limited incursion into the country of Congress" in April of 1971. It was during this VVAW "operation" that John Kerry first came to public attention. The group marched on Congress to deliver petitions to Congress and then to the White House. The highlight of this event occurred when veterans threw their medals and ribbons over a fence in front of the Capitol, symbolizing a rebuke to the government that they claimed had betrayed them. One of the veterans flinging medals back in the face of his government was John Kerry, although it turns out they were not his medals, but someone else's.
Several days later Kerry testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His speech, touted as a spontaneous rhetorical endeavor, was a tour de force, convincing many Americans that their country had indeed waged a merciless and immoral war in Vietnam. It was particularly powerful because Kerry did not fit the antiwar-protester mold — he was no scruffy, wide-eyed hippie. He was instead the best that America had to offer. He was, according to Burkett and Whitley, the "All-American boy, mentally twisted by being asked to do terrible things, then abandoned by his government."
Kerry began by referring to the Winter Soldiers Investigation in Detroit. Here, he claimed, "over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command."
It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit, the emotions in the room, the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam, but they did, they relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.
They told their stories. At times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.
This is quite a bill of particulars to lay at the feet of the U.S. military. He said in essence that his fellow veterans had committed unparalleled war crimes in Vietnam as a matter of course, indeed, that it was American policy to commit such atrocities.
In fact, the entire Winter Soldiers Investigation was a lie. It was inspired by Mark Lane's 1970 book entitled Conversations with Americans, which claimed to recount atrocity stories by Vietnam veterans. This book was panned by James Reston Jr. and Neil Sheehan, not exactly known as supporters of the Vietnam War. Sheehan in particular demonstrated that many of Lane's "eye witnesses" either had never served in Vietnam or had not done so in the capacity they claimed.
Nonetheless, Sen. Mark Hatfield inserted the transcript of the Winter Soldier testimonies into the Congressional Record and asked the Commandant of the Marine Corps to investigate the war crimes allegedly committed by Marines. When the Naval Investigative Service attempted to interview the so-called witnesses, most refused to cooperate, even after assurances that they would not be questioned about atrocities they may have committed personally. Those that did cooperate never provided details of actual crimes to investigators. The NIS also discovered that some of the most grisly testimony was given by fake witnesses who had appropriated the names of real Vietnam veterans. Guenter Lewy tells the entire study in his book, America in Vietnam.
Kerry's 1971 testimony includes every left-wing cliché about Vietnam and the men who served there. It is part of the reason that even today, people who are too young to remember Vietnam are predisposed to believe the worst about the Vietnam War and those who fought it. This predisposition was driven home by the fraudulent "Tailwind" episode some months ago.
The first cliché is that atrocities were widespread in Vietnam. But this is nonsense. Atrocities did occur in Vietnam, but they were far from widespread. Between 1965 and 1973, 201 soldiers and 77 Marines were convicted of serious crimes against the Vietnamese. Of course, the fact that many crimes, either in war or peace, go unreported, combined with the particular difficulties encountered by Americans fighting in Vietnam, suggest that more such acts were committed than reported or tried.
But even Daniel Ellsberg, a severe critic of U.S. policy in Vietnam, rejected the argument that the biggest U.S. atrocity in Vietnam, My Lai, was in any way a normal event: "My Lai was beyond the bounds of permissible behavior, and that is recognizable by virtually every soldier in Vietnam. They know it was wrong....The men who were at My Lai knew there were aspects out of the ordinary. That is why they tried to hide the event, talked about it to no one, discussed it very little even among themselves."
My Lai was an extreme case, but anyone who has been in combat understands the thin line between permissible acts and atrocity. The first and potentially most powerful emotion in combat is fear arising from the instinct of self-preservation. But in soldiers, fear is overcome by what the Greeks called thumos, spiritedness and righteous anger. In the Iliad, it is thumos, awakened by the death of his comrade Patroclus that causes Achilles to leave sulking in his tent and wade into the Trojans.
But unchecked, thumos can engender rage and frenzy. It is the role of leadership, which provides strategic context for killing and enforces discipline, to prevent this outcome. Such leadership was not in evidence at My Lai.
But My Lai also must be placed within a larger context. The NVA and VC frequently committed atrocities, not as a result of thumos run amok, but as a matter of policy. While left-wing anti-war critics of U.S. policy in Vietnam were always quick to invoke Auschwitz and the Nazis in discussing alleged American atrocities, they were silent about Hue City, where a month and a half before My Lai, the North Vietnamese and VC systematically murdered 3,000 people. They were also willing to excuse Pol Pot's mass murderer of upwards of a million Cambodians.
The second cliché is that is that Vietnam scarred an entire generation of young men. But for years, many of us who served in Vietnam tried to make the case that the popular image of the Vietnam vet as maladjusted loser, dehumanized killer, or ticking "time bomb" was at odds with reality. Indeed, it was our experience that those who had served in Vietnam generally did so with honor, decency, and restraint; that despite often being viewed with distrust or opprobrium at home, most had asked for nothing but to be left alone to make the transition back to civilian life; and that most had in fact made that transition if not always smoothly, at least successfully.
But the press could always find the stereotypical, traumatized vet who could be counted on to tell the most harrowing and gruesome stories of combat in Vietnam, often involving atrocities, the sort of stories that John Kerry gave credence to in his 1971 testimony. Many of the war stories recounted by these individuals were wildly implausible to any one who had been in Vietnam, but credulous journalists, most of whom had no military experience, uncritically passed their reports along to the public.
I had always agreed with the observation of the late Harry Summers, a well-known military commentator who served as an infantryman in Korean and Vietnam, that the story teller's distance from the battle zone was directly proportional to the gruesomeness of his atrocity story. But until the publication of the aforementioned Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and its History, neither Harry nor I any idea just how true his observation was.
In the course of trying to raise money for a Texas Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Burkett discovered that reporters were only interested in homeless veterans and drug abuse and that the corporate leaders he approached had bought into the popular image of Vietnam veterans. They were not honorable men who took pride in their service, but whining welfare cases, bellyaching about what an immoral government did to them.
Fed up, Burkett did something that any reporter worth his or her salt could have done: he used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to check the actual records of the "image makers" used by reporters to flesh out their stories on homelessness, Agent Orange, suicide, drug abuse, criminality, or alcoholism. What he found was astounding. More often than not, the showcase "veteran" who cried on camera about his dead buddies, about committing or witnessing atrocities, or about some heroic action in combat that led him to the current dead end in his life, was an impostor.
Indeed, Burkett discovered that over the last decade, some 1,700 individuals, including some of the most prominent examples of the Vietnam veteran as dysfunctional loser, had fabricated their war stories. Many had never even been in the service. Others, had been, but had never been in Vietnam.
Stolen Valor made it clear why John Kerry's testimony in 1971 slandered an entire generation of soldiers. Kerry gave credence to the claim that the war was fought primarily by reluctant draftees, predominantly composed of the poor, the young, or racial minorities.
The record shows something different, indicating that 86 percent of those who died during the war were white and 12.5 percent were black, from an age group in which blacks comprised 13.1 percent of the population. Two thirds of those who served in Vietnam were volunteers, and volunteers accounted for 77 percent of combat deaths.
Kerry portrayed the Vietnam veteran as ashamed of his service:
We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service as easily as this administration has wiped their memories of us. But all that they have done and all that they can do by this denial is to make more clear than ever our own determination to undertake one last mission, to search out and destroy the last vestige of this barbaric war, to pacify our own hearts, to conquer the hate and the fear that have driven this country these last ten years and more, and so when in 30 years from now our brothers go down the street without a leg, without an arm, or a face, and small boys ask why, we will be able to say "Vietnam" and not mean a desert, not a filthy obscene memory, but mean instead the place where America finally turned and where soldiers like us helped it in the turning.
But a comprehensive 1980 survey commissioned by Veterans' Administration (VA) reported that 91 percent of those who had seen combat in Vietnam were "glad they had served their country;" 80 percent disagreed with the statement that "the US took advantage of me;" and nearly two out of three would go to Vietnam again, even knowing how the war would end.
Today, Sen. Kerry appeals to veterans in his quest for the White House. He invokes his Vietnam service at every turn. But an honest, enterprising reporter should ask Sen. Kerry this: Were you lying in 1971 or are you lying now? We do know that his speech was not the spontaneous, emotional, from-the-heart offering that he suggested it was. Burkett and Whitley report that instead, "it had been carefully crafted by a speech writer for Robert Kennedy named Adam Walinsky, who also tutored him on how to present it."
But the issue goes far beyond theatrics. If he believes his 1971 indictment of his country and his fellow veterans was true, then he couldn't possibly be proud of his Vietnam service. Who can be proud of committing war crimes of the sort that Kerry recounted in his 1971 testimony? But if he is proud of his service today, perhaps it is because he always knew that his indictment in 1971 was a piece of political theater that he, an aspiring politician, exploited merely as a "good issue." If the latter is true, he should apologize to every veteran of that war for slandering them to advance his political fortunes.
— Mackubin Thomas Owens is an NRO contributing editor and a professor of strategy and force planning at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. He led a Marine infantry platoon in Vietnam in 1968-1969.
Kerry vs. Kerry
January 26, 2004, 8:38 a.m.
Kerry vs. Kerry
Running against his record.
MANCHESTER, N.H. — John Kerry has surged into first place here, proving his oft-repeated contention that he is a "good closer." Kerry has long said that he is a great fighter. If he completes his miraculous comeback to win the Democratic nomination, he will indeed have the fight of his life on his hands — against his own legislative record.
Kerry, of course, has struggled with his vote in 2002 to authorize the Iraq war. "We did not empower the president to do regime change," Kerry said of the resolution on Meet the Press last summer. Actually, the Kerry-supported resolution specifically cited regime change as a goal, and Kerry also voted to make regime change U.S. policy in 1998. That's two Kerry votes in favor of regime change, but who's counting? The Massachusetts senator has similar trouble with other prior votes, making him the first candidate in U.S. history to run a presidential campaign against himself.
Today's Kerry excoriates Attorney General John Ashcroft for violating American civil liberties with his evil tool, the Patriot Act. "We are a nation of laws and liberties, not of a knock in the night," Kerry huffs. "So it is time to end the era of John Ashcroft. That starts with replacing the Patriot Act with a new law that protects our people and our liberties at the same time." Maybe Kerry should have thought about that before voting for the Patriot Act in 2001 — since laws and liberties are pretty important and all.
Back before he had to worry about competing with one Howard Brush Dean, Kerry was positively delighted by the Patriot Act. "It reflects," he said on the Senate floor, "an enormous amount of hard work by the members of the Senate Banking Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. I congratulate them and thank them for that work." While supportive of "sunset" provisions in the bill, Kerry pronounced himself "pleased at the compromise we have reached on the anti-terrorism legislation." These are not the words of a man about to help inaugurate an era of brown-shirt law enforcement.
John Kerry, A.D. (After Dean), attacks President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act as "one-size-fits-all testing mania." Worse, according to Kerry, "By signing the No Child Left Behind Act and then breaking his promise by not giving schools the resources to help meet new standards, George Bush has undermined public education and left millions of children behind." The funding charge is a canard — overall spending on education under Bush is up 65 percent — but it gives Kerry a way to join the Dean-led assault on the act, which he voted for — enthusiastically.
"This is groundbreaking legislation," John Kerry, B.D. (Before Dean), gushed on the Senate floor, "that enhances the federal government's commitment to our nation's public education system ... and embraces many of the principles and programs that I believe are critical to improving the public education system." He didn't just support the bill, he took credit for it: "Last year I worked with 10 of my Democratic colleagues to introduce legislation that would help break the stalemate and move beyond the tired, partisan debates of the past. Our education proposal became the foundation of the bill before us today."
As for the North American Free Trade Agreement, the target of Dean and other liberal critics, Kerry promises to "fix it." The agreement supposedly doesn't do enough to keep Mexico from employing low-wage workers, thus encouraging jobs to leave the United States and depressing wages here. True to form, he used to love the trade deal. "NAFTA is not the problem," he explained in 1993. "Job loss is taking place without NAFTA."
And so, if the senator grabs his party's nomination, it will make for the fight of the century, a brawl to the finish — Kerry vs. Kerry. No wonder he wants to get himself out of the Senate. By his own lights, Kerry's votes there were simply too dangerous and shortsighted for the nation to tolerate any longer.
— Rich Lowry is author of Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years.
Not by a long shot on the civil war comment. Most folks in the south didn't forgive they just died. They damn sure didn't forget.
The Old Cause
by Joseph R. Stromberg
May 15, 2001
A Short History of Warmongering at the National Review
AN UNCHANGING MONOLITH?
I have entitled this piece "A Short History," because a full history of warmongering at National Review magazine would be long indeed. James J. Martin wrote two volumes in the early 1960s on the turn of The New Republic and The Nation from a critical view of US foreign policy to full-throttle interventionism in the period 1919-1939. Fortunately, there is little change with which to deal where National Review (hereafter: NR) is concerned, and while our time span (1955-2001) is longer than Martin's, a light sampling of NR's warlike moments will suffice to make the point.
INTERVENTIONIST FROM THE BEGINNING
In August 1954, as NR waited in the wings, young William F. Buckley, Jr. wrote that foreign policy had divided the American right wing into two camps, that of the non-interventionists and that of more realistic persons like himself who understood the Communist Menace in its horrible Totality. Given such an unprecedented and cosmic threat, victory would require Americans to "think in terms of institutionalizing native despotism"1: better a near-totalitarian central state run by our fellow Americans than Soviet takeover.
At its birth, the next year, NR boasted that it stood "athwart the path of history, yelling Stop!" Given the editors' willingness to create a bureaucratic despotism on our shores, it would have been more truthful to say that they stood in the path of the total federal state, yelling Come On Down! Such an admission would, of course, have been bad for their self-image as defenders of the free market and the two or three liberties whose suspension might not be demanded by the great emergency.
MUCH CONTINUITY AND LITTLE CHANGE
Of course the whole point of NR was to heal the division on the right by driving the non-interventionists out of respectable society. The right, no longer "divided," could now serve in the forefront of the new crusade. Through the fifties and into the sixties, there was hardly a war or intervention about which NR showed any skepticism or reluctance.2 There were, indeed, a number of wars or interventions on the editors' wish list, which we did not, thankfully, get.
Over time, the magazine's initial enthusiasm for European colonialism became more muted, but its enthusiasm for extensions of US power anywhere and everywhere grew and grew. NR went all out for Barry Goldwater in 1964 and when that adventure went sour, committed itself to apologizing for LBJ and the war in Indochina. The only complaint from NR was that more bombs, more troops, and more money might be needed to win the war, "contain" China, stop communism, and so on.
As for atrocities – lately popular again because of claims about Senator Kerry's wartime activities – NR laid down the law in no uncertain terms. Deriding Time's coverage of Songmy (the Mylai Massacre), the editors wrote: "During the American Civil War atrocity was not an aberration, the act of bewildered or temporarily unbalanced men, but a matter of settled military policy. 'Until we can repopulate Georgia,' said General Sherman, 'it is useless for us to occupy it; but the utter destruction of its roads, houses and people will cripple their military resources.' Does Time conclude that the Union, therefore, should have been permitted to disintegrate?"3
I don't know what Time might have replied to that, but I do wonder exactly how NR expected Southerners to react to that little sally.
Unhappy about the release of the Pentagon Papers, NR published its own "secret documents," which were quickly exposed as faked. To this, the magazine replied that such documents should exist and therefore NR's papers were merely "technically fictitious" not "substantively fictitious."4 Cornered by popular revulsion against the war, NR defiantly began praising the notion of "American empire."5
And so it went. The heroic cause in Vietnam ran aground, somehow, leaving NR to grumble that more firepower, atrocities, defoliation, whatever, would have led to victory, but the weak liberals had not been up to it. If NR had been running the war, it might still be going on today; that, or the place would be a flat plain of radioactive ruin. I'm afraid they never made the case, though, that the deaths of 50,000 Americans and a couple million Vietnamese had much to do with the actual defense of the liberties and property of the American people.
Deprived of their war, NR whooped it up for invasion and occupation of Libya in 1973, but to no avail. Meanwhile, Nixon had come and gone, and the poor editors had to endure the Carter years. They and their new allies, the Neo-Conservatives, stirred up a crisis atmosphere about the renewed Soviet threat – "the Present Danger" – and then got all the dandy new weapons systems they wanted during the long and profligate reign of Ronald Reagan and Bush I.
IMPLOSION OF THE ENEMY
Then, with improper stealth and suddenness, the Evil Empire imploded. The intelligence agencies with their large and unaccountable budgets had somehow failed to see it coming. One might think NR would have no reason to go on. But No, NR cast about for new enemies. Having signed on for "native despotism," it would never do for them to let their guard down now.
This famously led to a renewed "division" on the right, as some conservatives acknowledged what many libertarians had said all along, namely, that under cover of waging the Cold War the United States had been transformed from a republic into an empire. The Gulf War and the humanitarian aggression against Serbia helped sort out the real commitments of members of the right.
CHINESE DERBYSHIRE AND INEXORABLE INEVITABILITIES
The recent China incident may have been another defining moment for the right. The unrestrained warmongering from NR was wondrous to behold. John Derbyshire distinguished himself in the struggle.
In "America Grovels," NR online, April 11, 2001, he set everyone straight on the evils of China. China, it seems, is Communist and Leninist. But, wait, that's not quite right either; China is "anti-democratic" and committed to "racial superiority." Therefore China is HITLER. This "fascist" China brings to mind Mussolini, not to mention Imperial Japan.
Now we come to the bottom line: "Early 20th-century Japan was not bent on world conquest, only a Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere – precisely what China wishes to construct in Central Asia and the West Pacific."
Shocking, what? I'd sure go to war to prevent that.
Actually, it was a mistake for the US to get on a collision course with Japan over that nation's attempt to create an economic sphere of influence for itself. The Japanese pointed out in the twenties and thirties that all they wanted was an arrangement similar to that which the US enjoyed in relation to Latin America. High-minded US spokesmen could see no similarity whatsoever. Myopia in high places is nothing unusual.
But why repeat the exercise of the 1940s? Any fool could see that, in the nature of things, China will be an influential power in East Asia. Carl Oglesby, of SDS fame, theorized that the war in Vietnam was really about preventing an inevitable economic relationship between China and Japan, a relationship which US neo-mercantilists opposed as too competitive with their interests.6 One would have to be very cynical to believe that…..
Short of beating China back into the sorry shape it was in around 1900, I think one has to accept that China will play a role in the future of East Asia. We can trade with China and – this is the hard part for many Americans – mind our own business as regards China's form of government and internal affairs. That would tend to promote peace.
There are those so enamored of "the joys and sorrows" of being a Pacific Power that the appearance of any rival seems a casus belli. Mr. Derbyshire is polishing his pith helmet, even now, and dusting off his manuals on "Wog-Caning" and "Surviving on the Bamboo Shoot Diet While Securing the Sea Lanes to India." He has already announced that war with China is inevitable.
India is gone; the old reflexes live on. It seems somehow fitting that NR should recruit fresh warmongers from the Old Country to stiffen the soft Americans' resolve (not to mention those upper lips). They did it for so much longer. It worked so well. I shall not even raise the Irish Question, or Questions. The original empire was so wonderful and so beneficial for all concerned that I'm surprised that our ancestors fought to secede from it, or that those terrible Boers suffered 26,000 civilian casualties before giving into such good government.
FROM NATIONAL REVIEW TO NATIONAL REVIEW
The British imperial connection is indeed fitting. Young Mr. Buckley consciously named his new magazine after the original National Review.
The British NR had existed for several decades when Leopold James Maxse, the son of an admiral and a committed imperialist, took it over in the late 1880s. Under Maxse, the magazine proclaimed the "inevitability" of war between Britain and Imperial Germany.7
The Colonel Blimps and Social Reformers were already going into coalition when Leopold Maxse took over the National Review. Here, truly, was a school of National Greatness, efficiency, and cold showers. The original NR did not have to wait for Neo-Cons to come on board. Beyond that, the two magazines seem rather similar.
William F. Buckley, Jr., "A Dilemma of Conservatives," The Freeman, 5, 2 (August 1954), p. 52.
James Burnham, ex-Trotskyite, proto-Neo-Conservative, and NR's reigning foreign affairs guru, did not want to crusade against Rhodesia or the Republic of South Africa ("Which Isolationism is Your Isolationism?", NR, January 16, 1968), but this pretty much exhausts NR's opposition to intervention.
"The Great Atrocity Hunt," National Review, December 16, 1969.
Editorial, National Review, August 10, 1971.
Cf. James Burnham, "The Joys and Sorrows of Empire," National Review, July 13, 1971.
Containment and Change (New York, 1967) pp. 127-130.
Bernard Semmel, Imperialism and Social Reform (New York, 1968), pp. 68-69.
I'm not trying to convince you that no attrocities happened. My point is that this statement is patently false:
"I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command."
This quote is why John Forbes Kerry has his picture on the wall at the Vietnamese Communist War Remnants Museum (formerly known as the “War Crimes Museum”) in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) :
"The Viet Cong didn't think they had to win the war on the battlefield, because thanks to these protestors they were going to win it on the streets of San Francisco and Washington."
-- Paul Galanti, P.O.W. from 1966-1973
According to both Kerry and O'Neil, atrocities such as interdiction, free-fire zones, search and destroy missions, burning villiages, etc., occurred routinely. Perhaps not on a daily basis (I don't know), but as a routine part of their duty.
The statements of these two men, seemingly diametrically opposed but yet making essentially the same point, dispute what you say is "patently false."
Come on it is a fact Halliburton paid large sums of money in fines and restitution for fraudulent charges made to the US. Common knowlage -- www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A48597-2002Feb8?language=printer
Saturday, February 9, 2002; Page A06
SACRAMENTO, Feb. 8 -- A defense contractor once overseen by Vice President Cheney will pay the government $2 million to settle allegations it defrauded the military, the U.S. attorney's office said.
Houston-based Kellogg Brown & Root, an offshoot of the worldwide energy giant Halliburton Co., was accused of inflating contract prices for maintenance and repairs at Fort Ord, a now-shuttered military installation near Monterey, Calif.
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The company admitted no liability and denies any wrongdoing, said Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall. The settlement precludes further investigations and penalties, and she said Halliburton anticipates it will continue to be a major military contractor.
Though Hall could provide no immediate contract estimates, she noted that Halliburton holds the services contracts for the U.S. deployment in the Balkans.
Cheney was Halliburton's chairman and chief executive when the alleged fraud occurred, but no evidence surfaced that he knew of it. Democrats made the federal grand jury investigation an issue before the 2000 election.
A Cheney spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
The suit, filed in Sacramento, alleged the company submitted false claims and made false statements in connection with 224 delivery orders between April 1994 and September 1998.
Under the terms of its contract, the company did not bid against other contractors for maintenance and repair projects, instead presenting the military with fixed costs it said were necessary to perform specific projects.
Oh I want to see someone call the AP a kook organization.
Well of course your right lump--- but I see no harm in talking about both parties so people can vote having full knowledge about all the candidates. As far as I see it we have a choice / a turd that smells bad = Kerry, and a turd that don't smell so bad = Bush -------- some choice, but still a choice I guess.
What's your point? This happened prior to Cheney becoming VP. And it states "but no evidence surfaced that he knew of it". Furthermore he is no longer financialy associated with Halliburton.
I say again. What's your point?
Army Drops Halliburton Penalty
WASHINGTON — The Army on Tuesday abruptly reversed itself and decided to pay all of Halliburton Co.'s fees to house and feed U.S. troops in Iraq and Kuwait after the company threatened to legally challenge the effort to penalize it.
The Houston oil services company announced early Tuesday that the Army had decided to pay 85% of the bill for services in the war zone after a dispute over how the company calculated its bills.
it all was a big mistake, or , never happened - whatever.
Clinton gets a blow job and is impeached -- someone cheats the USA and it is no big deal -- I get it.
The following in no way should be interpreted as a form of support for Clinton - I hated his guts, but lets take things in perspective.
just funny that the mistakes are never in the other guys favor ..............