Skip to comments.Viet Vet Urges Kerry To Come Clean
Posted on 02/11/2004 5:36:13 PM PST by SAMWolf
Vietnam Veteran Larry J. O'Daniel has today challenged former fellow officer and veteran, John Forbes Kerry to come clean with charges Kerry has made in the past. O'Daniel, a decorated combat veteran from Vietnam and Phoenix says that the issue is one that the Senator himself has brought on.
Senator John Forbes Kerry is attempting to be our generation's Vietnam War hero, much the same way his avowed idol, John F. Kennedy was of that generation. Kerry falls short in many ways. I do not deny his heroism under fire. His Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Hearts all attest to that. Attempting to ride into the White House on those medals alone is not enough. As a former officer who served as a combat advisor and participant in a Special Operations program, I know a little bit about integrity, courage, and character. Kerry lacks what it takes to be Commander in Chief.
Kerry would be an extreme embarrassment to his party if nominated for President. On the surface, he seems to be the exact type of rival needed to run against a popular President with a military background, albeit not in combat. A popular President who proved his courage jockeying supersonic aircraft. On the surface, Kerry would seem to be able to cut into the military vote that has become increasingly one party over the past 30 years.
This senator is JFK from Massachusetts, a coincidence that he has played upon for years. Like the first JFK, he is a heroic Naval Officer. However, he has a record which speaks volumes about his current abilities and views. Kerry will both exploit his war record and run from it. His checkerboard past explains his actions today. He has been critical of the way the current war on terrorism has been waged. Inevitably, his criticism is always preceded by media notices of Kerry, decorated Vietnam war veteran. However, thirty two years ago, Kerry charged decorated war veterans with unspeakable crimes. Those charges were never proven accurate.
Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April 1971, Kerry asserted he represented veterans, honorably discharged and very highly decorated, who participated in war crimes. These crimes were not isolated incidents, he charged, but crimes committed on a day - to - day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. Crimes that this country made them do.
These veterans personally raped women, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned on the power. They cut off limbs; blew up bodies; randomly shot at civilians; razed villages like Ghenghis Khan; shot livestock for fun; poisoned food; and ravaged the Vietnamese countryside. From his personal experience, Kerry asserted that the Vietnamese only wanted to work in rice paddies without our helicopters strafing and napalming them and their villages. Our men died while our allies refused to help and fight. Kerry said we rationalized destroying villages in order to save them; accepted a My Lai; enforced free fire zones by shooting anything that moves. Our GIs falsified body counts while leaders glorified body counts. In a well orchestrated political move, he asked, how do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? The well scrubbed veteran began his career that day.
A problem arises. Kerry's testimony was largely untrue. These charges were investigated then and since. My challenge as we honor veterans of that war and others - Prove them or apologize.
Kerry's widely covered charges largely paralleled that of another highly decorated veteran, LTC Anthony Herbert. Some of the unsubstantiated and uncorroborated accusations of Kerry were almost identical to specific charges leveled by Herbert. Both charged war crimes were ignored, uninvestigated, part of the routine.
The Senator's own VVAW and similar groups relied upon people like: K. Barton Osborn, a Vietnam veteran and testifier of atrocities to Congress. He told of prisoners being thrown out of helicopters, a woman starved to death, a prisoner being killed by a six inch dowel pushed through his ear. Osborn was not in Phoenix, refused to name names, and provided no documentation.
Lieutenants Francis Reitemeyer and Michael J. Cohn. Both sought conscientious objector status because of Phoenix. Reitemeyer testified to being assigned to Phoenix as an adviser and maintained a kill quota of fifty bodies a month. They became famous as My Lai hit the news. Neither served in Vietnam, in Phoenix, or had any first hand information. Reitemeyer later denied receiving any assassination training. Both were at Ft. Holabird when I underwent my intelligence training there.
Dux, like others relied, upon the specific charges of Herbert, which were publicly aired in this same time frame as that of Senator Kerry, in order to prove his charges. Herbert was highly decorated, apparently corroborating the Senator¹s charges. Despite highly specific unit naming charges of some 21 war crimes, the facts of a subsequent investigation contradict both Herbert and Kerry. Overall, this contemporaneous investigation lasted seven months. Investigators located and interviewed 333 personnel located in 31 different states, and six different foreign countries, including Vietnam. Out of the 21 incidents involved in the initial charges by Herbert, only seven charges had sufficient substance to merit action or further investigation. Two of the seven had already been acted upon with justice administered. One ended with an article 15 punishment and one with a general court martial.
Two more of the seven involved Vietnamese versus Vietnamese offenses, outside the scope of American jurisprudence and not necessarily proven. The remaining three, at the time of the DA writing, November 5, 1971, were then pending further action by officers exercising general court martial jurisdiction. In other words, it was being further investigated to see if it warranted charges being filed. This shows atrocities and allegations of atrocities were neither condoned nor swept under the rug.
The Senator allegedly knew from personal experience of atrocities being committed and condoned by officers at all levels of command. He was obligated to report those atrocities. There is no known record of any such report from the Senator. My Lai was not condoned, it was prosecuted. Fellow anti-war activist Daniel Ellsberg, who likewise served in the war zone, belied atrocity charges being more pronounced in Vietnam versus previous wars. The Senator used trumped up allegations from phonies, wannabes, stretchers of the truth to sully the valor, service, and integrity of his fellow veterans to climb a political ladder of success. When sentiments changed, he embraced those same veterans becoming an alleged champion of the Vietnam era.
When challenged last week to repudiate his previous testimony, after I faxed to his office for review, a spokesman there abruptly terminated the call saying if Senator Kerry testified to it, he stands by it. The Senator recently condoned the alleged atrocities, war crimes, committed by a fellow Democratic Senator and Vietnam Veteran, Robert Kerrey. He said the operation should not be investigated because it allegedly happened all the time in Vietnam. Further, on the Sam Donaldson show, Kerry short shrifted the program, Phoenix, under which the atrocity allegedly occurred, saying he personally helped conduct similar anti-infrastructure operations, ferrying SEALs. This, apparently is part of the source of the Senator¹s alleged first hand knowledge he testified to before.
The Senator, as a former officer, knows his obligations were to avoid participating in war crimes and reporting them when knowledge of them occurred. Instead, the Senator broad brushed veterans of the war as crazed killers forced to be that because of governmental policy. As a US Senator now, when faced head on with an allegation that a member of his party, his Senatorial Fraternity, Robert Kerrey helped cut a civilian's throat and possibly commanded an operation that killed over 20 civilians without provocation, the Senator Kerry reverted to the 1971 allegations that everyone did it. He ignored the formalized eyewitness allegation by a veteran of that operation who belatedly lived up to a responsibility to report a crime. Murder in a war zone has no time limits for investigation or prosecution.
The Senator, knows the charge is that Kerrey was on a Phoenix mission, like those he self proclaimed to have participated in, because the Senator and Sam Donaldson discussed that specific aspect on Donaldson¹s show. As I watched the Senator's response from that show, he implied personal knowledge of those Phoenix missions, although he clearly ducked any involvement with Phoenix. No proud Vietnam warrior emerged in that interview.
My challenge is clear. Make the specific charges, times, dates, persons, programs, units involved, of war crimes as outlined in your 1971 testimony. Be specific on your own knowledge of these war crimes. Clear the air about Phoenix, your participation, knowledge, even suspicions. Support the investigation of the war crime allegations of your former colleague. Do not allow his status of being a fellow privileged fraternity member from doing your sworn duty, either now as a Senator, or from that era, where as an officer and gentleman, you claimed personal knowledge of atrocities.
Either itemize those incidents or apologize to the veterans of Vietnam whose reputations, valor, and integrity you sullied then and now and renounce those charges you then and now refuse to itemize. I make this challenge as a veteran of Vietnam, Phoenix, and as a former fellow officer and colleague. Duty - Honor - Country - These are our obligations. You are at a fork in a path. Integrity or disgrace. Your choice.
Seems to be an on-going problem with lib/dems....
This little discrepancy to me is just a tad more important than whether George Bush served guard duty on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
This is a beaut. Those of you too young to remember Vietnam have no idea of the illogic and immorality engaged in by the left. Kerry spins like a crazy top, as did all of his ilk.
There's the catch, I sure don't believe him.
I wouldn't be holding my breath. ;-)
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