Skip to comments.Kerry Met With Viet Cong And North Vietnamese In Paris In 1971
Posted on 03/06/2004 12:21:15 AM PST by Hon
A couple of weeks ago I posted this thread about a photograph that I wound in a book about Kerry's group, the Vietnam Veterans Against The War:
Kerry's Group Met With The Viet Cong In Paris In 1971
The Vietnam Veterans Against The War (VVAW) sent their own delegation to Paris to meet with the representatives of the National Liberation Front (AKA Viet Cong) in 1971. At this time John Kerry was their spokesman and defacto leader.
This photograph is from the book "The Winter Soldiers", by Richard Stacewicz, page 284:
Since Stacewicz did not mention whether Kerry had attended this meeting and I did not see it mentioned anywhere else, I assumed he did not attend go on this trip.
I was wrong. Kerry did go to Paris. He did talk with the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese. In fact, he was quite proud about it. For it was the first thing that he brought up once he was done with his speech before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 22, 1971:
THURSDAY, APRIL 22, 1971
UNITED STATES SENATE;
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 11:05 a.m., in Room 4221, New Senate Office Building, Senator J. W. Fulbright (Chairman) presiding.
Present: Senators Fulbright, Symington, Pell, Aiken, Case, and Javits.
Thank you. [Applause]
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Kerry, it is quite evident from that demonstration that you are speaking not only for yourself but for all your associates, as you properly said in the beginning.
You said you wished to communicate. I can't imagine anyone communicating more eloquently than you did. I think it is extremely helpful and beneficial to the committee and the country to have you make such a statement.
You said you had been awake all night. I can see that you spent that time very well indeed. [Laughter.]
Perhaps that was the better part, better that you should be awake than otherwise.
You have said that the question before this committee and the Congress is really how to end the war. The resolutions about which we have been hearing testimony during the past several days, the sponsors of which are some members of this committee, are seeking the most practical way that we can find and, I believe, to do it at the earliest opportunity that we can. That is the purpose of these hearings and that is why you were brought here.
You have been very eloquent about the reasons why we should proceed as quickly as possible. Are you familiar With some of the proposals before this committee?
Mr. KERRY. Yes, I am, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you support or do you have any particular views about any one of them you wish to give the committee?
Mr. KERRY. My feeling, Senator, is undoubtedly this Congress, and I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but I do not believe that this Congress will, in fact, end the war as we would like to, which is immediately and unilaterally and, therefore, if I were to speak I would say we would set a date and the date obviously would be the earliest possible date. But I would like to say, in answering that, that I do not believe it is necessary to stall any longer. I have been to Paris. I have talked with both delegations at the peace talks, that is to say the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government and of all eight of Madam Binh's points it has been stated time and time again, and was stated by Senator Vance Hartke when he returned from Paris, and it has been stated by many other officials of this Government, if the United States were to set a date for withdrawal the prisoners of war would be returned.
I think this negates very clearly the argument of the President that we have to maintain a presence in Vietnam, to use as a negotiating block for the return of those prisoners. The setting of a date will accomplish that.
So how come he's never been presecuted for what he's done?
He's worse than Clinton.
Finally, in connection with Lieutenant Calley, which is a very emotional issue in this country, I was struck by your passing reference to that incident.
Wouldn't you agree with me though that what he did in herding old men and women and children into a trench and then shooting them was a little bit beyond the perimeter of even what has been going on in this war and that that action should be discouraged. There are other actions not that extreme that have gone on and have been permitted. If we had not taken action or cognizance of it, it would have been even worse. It would have indicated we encouraged this kind of action.
Mr. KERRY. My feeling, Senator, on Lieutenant Calley is what he did quite obviously was a horrible, horrible, horrible thing and I have no bone to pick with'the fact that he was prosecuted. But I think that in this question you have to separate guilt from responsibility, and I think clearly the responsibility for what has happened there lies elsewhere.
I think it lies with the men who designed free fire zones. I think it lies with the men who encouraged body counts. I think it lies in large part with this country, which allows a young child before he reaches the age of 14 to see 12,500 deaths on television, which glorifies the John Wayne syndrome, which puts out fighting man comic books on the stands, which allows us in training to do calisthenics to four counts, on the fourth count of which we stand up and shout "kill" in unison, which has posters in barracks in this country with a crucified Vietnamese, blood on him, and underneath it says "kill the gook," and I think that clearly the responsibility for all of this is what has produced this horrible abberation.
Now, I think if you are going to try Lieutenant Calley then you must at the same time, if this country is going to demand respect for the law, you must at the same time try all those other people who have responsibility, and any aversion that we may have to the verdict as veterans is not to say that Calley should be freed, not to say that he is innocent, but to say that you can't just take him alone, and that would be my response to that.
Senator SYMINGTON. There have been many reports of widespread use of drugs by U.S. servicemen in Vietnam. I might add I was in Europe last week and the growth of that problem was confirmed on direct questioning of people in the military. How serious is the problem and to what do you attribute it?
Mr. KERRY. The problem is extremely serious. It is serious in very many different ways. I believe two Congressmen today broke a story. I can't remember their names. There were 35,000 or some men, heroin addicts that were back.
The problem exists for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the emptiness. It is the only way to get through it. A lot of guys, 60, 80 percent stay stoned 24 hours a day just to get through the Vietnam -
Kerry sure hung out with a rough crowd for the four months he was in Vietnam.
Mr. KERRY. No, sir; I would just like to say on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War that we do appreciate the efforts made by the Senators to put that resolution on the floor, to help us, help us in their offices in the event we were arrested and particularly for the chance to express the thoughts that I have put forward today. I appreciate it.
The CHAIRMAN. You have certainly done a remarkable job of it. I can't imagine their having selected a better representative or spokesman.
Isn't that nice?
And it makes it just that much more poetic that just seven months later Kerry's group, the VVAW, would be plotting how to assassinate at least 7 Pro-War Senators:
What scum! Helping the Viet f****** Cong dangle American POW's in front of our government and People!
He should have been imprisoned for that, not brought up to the Hill to be fawned over by the ilk of Senator Half-Bright.
This story has everything!