Skip to comments.Tough Questions for Senator Kerry
Posted on 05/24/2004 12:51:42 AM PDT by GmbyMan
Tough Questions for Sen. Kerry by The Bandit May 22, 2004
If I had the opportunity to address Sen. John F. Kerry, I'd address him by asking him some very specific questions about his numerous positions and his numerous comments from everything from Vietnam to George W. Bush. In my hypothetical letter to Sen. John F. Kerry, I would explore his positions and integrity by asking him some of the questions found below.
Dear Senator Kerry,
Thank you for taking the opportunity and time to take a few written questions from me. I'll try to keep them short and to the point as mush as possible. I promise.
Question: Speaking of George W. Bush, you told Vogue magazine: "I know this guy [Bush]. He was two years behind me at Yale, and I knew him, and hes still the same guy." (Julia Reed, A Man In Full, Vogue, 3/3/03)
Did you really know, George W. Bush, while at Yale University? What was he like, what did he drive then?
Question: Recently the Wall Street Journal asked you about your crusade against any 'Benedict Arnold CEO' or corporation that exports American jobs overseas, in which you responded:
"You know, I called a couple of times to overzealous speechwriters and said 'Look, that's not what I'm saying.' Benedict Arnold does not refer to somebody who in the normal course of business is going to go overseas and take jobs overseas. That happens. I support that. I understand that. I was referring to the people who take advantage of noneconomic transactions purely for tax purposes -- sham transactions -- and give up American citizenship. That's a Benedict Arnold. You give up your American citizenship but you want to continue to do business."
Why is it then, that in speeches you made yourself without the aid of any speechwriters on Jan. 27, Feb. 3, Feb. 10 and Feb. 16, spoke of 'Benedict Arnold CEO's' who take jobs over seas and never once qualifying what you are saying by mentioning that a 'Benedict Arnold CEO' is someone who has given up their American citizenship?
You say you called a couple of "overzealous speechwriters" to say this isn't what I am saying - if this is really true (and I doubt that it is) - then why do we not see any speeches from you with the clarifications that you claim you made clear to your speechwriters? Did they say, "no way jose, we are not altering any of your 'Benedict Arnold' speeches?"
Question: As recently as March 17, 2004, you charged that "we were misled about weapons of mass destruction." On "Meet the Press" in late August, Tim Russert played a tape of you addressing the Senate in October 2002, declaring Iraq was more then capable of quickly weaponizing biological weapons that could be delivered against "the United States itself."
You responded, "That is exactly the point I'm making. We were given this information by our intelligence community." Did not the National Intelligence Estimate, which you had access to, have a different skeptical view of the same charges you were leveling in October of 2002?
Did not the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on which you sat on, had listened to multiple witnesses who testified to the existence of WMD in Iraq in the summer of 2002? Did not your committee conclude after reviewing witnesses and intelligence that there was "no doubt" Iraq possessed WMD?
One of the witnesses you listened to was, Khidir Hamza, "Saddam's bombmaker," whom had already been discredited and found unreliable prior to testifying before your committee. Many wrote and phoned members of your committee to warn that Khidir Hamza was a fraud. Yet he was allowed to testify anyway.
Who is really misleading who, senator?
Question: You explained to a group of Jewish leaders who had concerns about your offer to dispatch pro-Arab Jimmy Carter or James Baker as envies to the Middle East. The names, you said, had been inserted by mistake, even after you had asked that Carter and Baker names be removed. But you went ahead and told Council on Foreign Relations:
''There are a number of uniquely qualified Americans among whom I would consider appointing, including President Carter, former Secretary of State James Baker or, as I suggested almost two years ago, President Clinton.... And I might add, I have had conversations with both President Clinton and President Carter about their willingness to do this.''
The New Republic obtained this statement from your campaign: ''The candidate eventually did speak with Carter -- but only after noticing that a draft of his speech said that he spoke with Carter.''
First you mention names you did not want to mention, names you had asked to be removed - and then went ahead and met with President Carter because the draft of your speech said that you had? Do you really think voters are so stupid they will buy any lame explanation you offer for you're deceptive word games?
Question: Recently you have come out urging that oil used to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) be diverted to the consumer market in effort to lower high fuel prices. How do you reckon this will offer relief when this amounts to only 105,000 barrels per day - about one-half of 1 percent of America's total daily oil consumption of 20 million barrels?
Question: You told the Boston Globe on 2/23/98, that your support for using ground troops to remove, Saddam Hussein, put you "way ahead of the commander-in-chief, and I'm probably way ahead of my colleagues, and certainly of much of the country. But I believe this."
Do you still feel this way?
Question: You have said that it is not "appropriate in the United States for a legislature to legislate personal religious beliefs for the rest of the country." Does this mean it is acceptable for a legislature to legislate pro-choice laws, but not pro-life because that might cross the line in legislating "personal religious beliefs?"
How do you propose separating 'personal beliefs' from 'personal religious beliefs' with America's lawmakers? What happens if a pro-life legislator happens to be an atheists (I know two pro-life atheists)?
Question: You once told reporters that "I fully intend to continue to practice my religion as separately from what I do with respect to my public life, and that's the way it ought to be in America." During Easter Sunday you attended both Protestant and Catholic communion services.
Just exactly what faith do you practice?
Question: In 1985, responding to questions about your participation in a April 24, 1971 vietnam war protest involving medal tossing, you told the Washington Post, "They're my medals. I'll do what I want with them. And there shouldn't be any expectations about them. It shouldn't be a measurement of anything. People say, 'You didn't throw your medals away.' Who said I had to? And why should I? It's my business. I did not want to throw my medals away."
Couple of quick questions for you here:
1.) On October 6, 1996 the Boston Globe asked you why you didn't bring your own medals to throw since it was planned weeks in advance, for which you responded that you didn't have time to go home [to New York] and get them. Why if you were not interested in tossing your medals, then insinuate that you would have if you would have had the time to go home and return with them?
2.) If you did not want to toss your medals on April 24, 1971, why did you bother showing up to participate in a medal tossing event, only to leave a false impression afterwards that you had indeed tossed your medals over a fence?
3.) Wouldn't it have diminished the "expectations" of the other medal throwers - perhaps even the general public - to have learned you had no desire to throw your own medals over the fence that day?
Question: In a 9/6/02 New York Times Op-Ed, you wrote, "If Saddam Hussein is unwilling to bend to the international community's already existing order, then he will have invited enforcement, even if that enforcement is mostly at the hands of the United States, a right we retain even if the Security Council fails to act."
What happened with the strong, genuine 'international coalition' that you have demand from both President George W. Bush and his father before it would have been acceptable to you to remove Saddam from power?
Question: You once responded to, Wallace Carter, a constituent opposed to the Gulf War on January 22, 1991 by writing, "Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition... to the early use of military force by the US against Iraq. I share your concerns. On January 11, I voted in favor of a resolution that would have insisted that economic sanctions be given more time to work and against a resolution giving the president the immediate authority to go to war."
Then a week later, you responded again to, Wallace Carter, by writing, "Thank you very much for contacting me to express your support for the actions of President Bush in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. From the outset of the invasion, I have strongly and unequivocally supported President Bush's response to the crisis and the policy goals he has established with our military deployment in the Persian Gulf."
What was your REAL position on the war and how can anyone believe your response?
Question: You made a televised comment last year during a Democratic debate suggesting that French and Russian officials at the United Nations were poised to compromise with the Bush administration on the eve of the Iraq war. The following day you followed up by saying, "I have it on the highest authority" that the French and Russians were prepared to make an offer at the UN, but were rebuffed by American officials intent on going to war, and "I'm going to talk about it more publicly at a later time."
Do you still plan to publicly talk about this and reveal what evidence this so-called 'highest authority' may have given you?
Question: Former assistant secretary of defense and Fletcher School of Diplomacy professor, W. Scott Thompson, recalled a conversation with the late Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr. as follows:
"[T]he fabled and distinguished chief of naval operations,Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, told me _ 30 years ago when he was still CNO _ that during his own command of U.S. naval forces in Vietnam, just prior to his anointment as CNO, young Kerry had created great problems for him and the other top brass,by killing so many non-combatant civilians and going after other non-military targets.`We had virtually to straitjacket him to keep him under control.'"
You have made it clear in the past when talking about the 'war atrocities' you personally committed, that you were personally carrying out a policy "with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." Doesn't Professor Thompson's recall of what Admiral Zumwalt told him over 30 years ago demolish your long held Nuremberg defense of all these years for why you personally committed atrocities?
In other words: Your assertion that it was a policy of commanders at all levels to allow for atrocities to be committed on a daily basis is refuted by Admiral Zumwalt. Do you wish to offer us another explanation for your actions?
Question: During a 1971 Senate hearing you were asked whether CBS could defend a documentary titled "The Selling of the Pentagon," that they had recently aired, for which you responded:
"I think they have; yes, sir. I think the public opinion in this country believes that, 'The Selling of the Pentagon.' I was a public information officer before I went to Vietnam, and I know that those things were just the way they said because I conducted several of those tours on a ship, and I have seen my own men wait hours until people got away, and I have seen cooks put on special uniforms for them. I have seen good come out for the visitors and everything else. It really happens."
Were you really once a "Public Information Officer," and if so, when and where?
Question: Since becoming a candidate, you have come out and strongly attacked the Patriot Act. At the time of the passage you said "With the passage of this legislation, terrorist organizations will not be able... to do the kinds of things they did on Sept. 11." Then went on to add that you were "pleased at the compromise we have reached on the anti-terrorism legislation"
You recently suggested that "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."
Has any U.S. citizens lost their liberties due to the Patriot Act? If the Patriot Act is such a terrible piece of law, why in the world did you even support it in the first place? Surely you had read it before casting your 'yes' vote in favor of it?
(Please, don't try and pass the buck to the Bush Administration as the reason for your turnaround: I am addressing you - and you alone here - along with your own actions during the process of enacting this piece of legislation.)
Question: In your own opinion, what important distinctions should be made between a civil union and a civil marriage?
Question: You once referred to 'No Child Left Behind' (NCLB) in July of 2003 as an `Unfunded Mandate.'
How is it you could describe NCLB as 'unfunded' when the states had not yet exhausted all currently available funds to them?
Question: You have spoken about wanting to repeal some of the Bush Administrations tax cuts to pay for some or all of the $87 billion Iraq/Afghanistan Reconstruction package that was requested to fund both the Iraq and Afghanistan military operations in '03. In fact, there was an amendment pending prior to congress voting to approve the $87 billion that would had done just that.
On 'Face the Nation' you were asked, "If that amendment does not pass, will you then vote against the $87 billion?" For which you replied, "I don't think any United States senator is going abandon our troops and recklessly leave Iraq to whatever follows as a result of simply cutting and running. That's irresponsible. ...I don't think anyone in Congress is
going to not give our troops ammunition, not give our troops the ability to be able to defend themselves."
The amendment to roll back some of Bush's tax cuts to pay for Iraq and Afghanistan failed. Yet you went on to vote against the $87 billion anyway. Under your own admission of the consequences of any senator (including yourself) in voting against the $87 billion funding request: Did you not 'abandon our troops?'
Did not your actions - as you personally characterized the result of any senator or congressman voting against the $87 billion funding request - rise to the level of irresponsible?
Question: On December 2, 1968 you claim you were wounded by enemy combat activity for which you received a tiny piece of shrapnel. You visited a medical tent at Cam Ranh Bay on Dec. 3, 1968 and was seen by a Dr. Louis Letson, who described your wound as a "splinter." You told Dr. Letson that you and your crew "had been engaged in a firefight, receiving small arms fire from on shore."
Soon afterwards, you visited your commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Grant Hibbard, in his office holding a piece of shrapnel. Hibbard has told the Globe, "People in the office were saying, 'I don't think we got any fire,' and there is a guy holding a little piece of shrapnel in his palm." You recently told, Douglas Brinkley, for his book Tour of Duty, that the Dec. 2, 1968 'splinter' wound you received was the result of "a half-assed action that hardly qualified as combat."
As you are well aware of, military requirements for issuance of a Purple Heart require that an injury must be received during "action against an enemy of the United States." Isn't it a fact your 'splinter' wound was directly the result of of your own actions the night of Dec. 2, 1968 when there had been a M-79 fired at the shore? Isn't it a fact there was no enemy engagement the night of Dec. 2, 1968, which explains why The Naval Historical Center has no "casualty card" on file for your Purple Heart?
Do you not feel any dishonor to claim an award that you did not deserve to receive - lied about the circumstances in order to be awarded the medal - an award that required most others to receive stitches; massive blood loss or loss of life in order to qualify for the medal?
Question: During a conference call on April 22, you told reporters that you did not own a SUV. Responding to whether your wife might own a SUV, you said that your wife owns a Chevrolet SUV - "The family has it. I don't have it."
During an New Hampshire rally, you were asked what you have done to reduce the dependency on oil, which you responded, "I sold my gas guzzler and got a van and downgraded, that's what I did personally, in my own life. Also got an economical car in Washington and so forth so that I was trying to live up to that standard."
A month later in Michigan, you listed the auto's you own as follows: "I own a Dodge 600 that I've had for about 20 years; I own a Chrysler 300M; we have a Chrysler van, a minivan; a Chrysler PT Cruiser; a Suburban Chevy-big Suburban - and she has a Land Rover Defender."
What compelled you to so boldly lie about what you own and drive?
Question: The Congressional Record for 1/22/85 quotes you as follows: "The right to choose is the law of the United States. No person has the right to infringe on that freedom. Those of us who are in government have a special responsibility to see to it that the United States continues to protect this right, as it must protect all rights secured by the constitution."
Does the constitution not declare that the most fundamental natural right that exists for all people is the natural right to life? Additionally, does the constitution not declare that no one can be denied either their right to life or liberty without due process of the law?
Just how does your "right to choose" constitutionally trumps the fundamental sacred right to life embedded in the very fabric of the constitution itself?
Question: You were quoted by the New York Times as reacting to Massachusetts' highest court's decision legalizing same-sex marriages by saying, "I personally believe the court is dead wrong." But when you were asked twenty days later why you believed the decision was not correct, you replied, "I didn't say it wasn't."
Did you not indicate on February 5, that you personally believed the court was "dead wrong" in legalizing same-sex marriages?
Question: I am confused as to why the United States Navy awarded you the Silver Star. I am confused because of the speed in which it was given to you (did you know you may have received the fastest awarded Silver Star in Navy history without even receiving a scratch?), the actions that earned you the medal - and I am confused to why you have three Silver Star citations all signed by three different people. If I understand correctly, you skippered a swift boat among two others that participated in a mission to insert some 70 Vietnamese troops to check out a hot area along a channel on February 28, 1969.
All the troops were inserted by all three swift boats and they quickly chased off 20 Viet Cong's that were along the shore of the insertion point. You then went up river to investigate some other activity when a Viet Cong fired a rocket at your boat and missed. You then ordered your swift boat to be beached within ten feet of the guy who had fired at your boat and missed. He attempts to run away and your forward gunner hits him in the leg with his M-60 machine gun and he falls - only to get up again to continue fleeing. The citation says you chased him behind a hooch and killed him.
But several of your crewmembers have significant changing recollections of what happened that day. You don't help the confusion either by telling CNN in April of 2001 of the reason you beached your swift boat only ten feet from someone holding a B-40 rocket launcher.
Jonathan Karl: "...The Silver Star citation says an enemy soldier sprang up less than 10 feet from Kerry's boat and fled. The citation reads, quote: "Kerry pursued the man behind a hooch and killed him, capturing a B-40 rocket launcher with a round in the chamber."
Sen. Kerry: "On that particular day, I heard the ambush, I heard the firepower, and I made the judgment. Besides, we were very heavily weighted down. We had troops on board. We couldn't reach maximum speed. I knew that to whatever degree we were in the ambush, we were going to get hurt, so I turned the aspect of us toward it, minimizing our exposure, surprising them, and we did win. I mean, we ran right over the ambush, and it felt good to win.
One problem I have with your explanation: you only had four crewmembers and yourself aboard you're boat when you encountered the Viet Cong soldier with the B-40. The late, Tom Belodeau, whom was there that day and part of your crew, standing right beside you in October of 1996 when he stated that there was only five crew members aboard your swift boat during this incident. Where did all these troops come from to weigh you down and force you to have beached your boat near a Viet Cong with a B-40 rocket launcher?
Question: Touching further on your Silver Star award, why did you refuse to release the official 'after-action' reports for February 28, 1969, the date that earned you the Silver Star? Why did you not release the nomination for the award? Did your superior officers take two witness statements and investigate as required under Navy regulations?
Question: In February of 1998, you told the Boston Globe that your position on Iraq is consistent with your Vietnam War experience. "The lessons I learned are that if you're going to commit young people to fight, make sure you've got an objective and it's achievable, and it meets the needs of your country."
When you voted in favor of sending ground troops to remove Saddam Hussein, did the same objectives you talk about above have any influence on your decisions to approve the use of force in removing Saddam Hussein?
Question: Will you sign a Standard Form 180? If not, why?
Question: On voting to invade Iraq to disarm Saddam Hussein, you have said, "I voted not specifically to go to war....I voted for a process.....The process that we got out of the president by standing up to him was that he was going to go to the U.N. and build an international coalition, a true international coalition. Going to war was a last resort.
During a Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate on May 4, 2003, you said, "George, I said at the time I would have preferred if we had given diplomacy a greater opportunity, but I think it was the right decision to disarm Saddam Hussein, and when the President made the decision, I supported him, and I support the fact that we did disarm him."
If you really voted for a process - and not specifically for war - why did you not make that clear in your May 4, 2003 debate comments? Did not President Bush go to the UN and build a international coalition? If you had some specific definition for a 'real international coalition' in mind, why did you not insist that definition be part of the authorization for war you voted in favor of, or had entered into the public record during your senate floor comments in favor of the war authorization bill?
Question: March 2003 Headline: "Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts said he will cease his complaints once the shooting starts. `It's what you owe the troops,' said a statement from Kerry, a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War. `I remember being one of those guys and reading news reports from home. If America is at war, I won't speak a word without measuring how it'll sound to the guys doing the fighting when they're listening to their radios in the desert.'" (The Boston Globe, 3/11/03)
But when troops were within 25 miles of Baghdad, you said in a speech at the Peterborough Town Library, "What we need now is not just a regime change in Saddam Hussein and Iraq, but we need a regime change in the United States." (The Boston Globe, 4/3/03)
Why did you go back on your word and attack President Bush after the shooting had started? Why did you claim we needed a 'regime change' just before troops entered Baghdad, while later on May 4, you told a national audience that you supported the decision to disarm Saddam Hussein?
Do you ever actually listen to yourself and take your own positions seriously?
Question: You have a habit of telling voters you supported bill's that you had in fact voted against in the senate. Isn't the very act of voting against a bill a sign that you don't support the bill, regardless of you're reasons or explanations? Should politicians be able to tell voters after voting 'no' on a bill that they really did support the bill?
If politicians can do that, do we then even need to bother with maintaining voting records for every congressmen since they will have little value because yes/no votes can be publicly withdrawn and revised afterwards?
Question: Were you asked to leave Vietnam by fellow officers or did you initiate leaving on your own?
Question: Back in 1991, soon after Iraq had invaded and taken over the country of Kuwait, you indicated going to war to liberate Kuwait was wrong because doing so would abandon "the theory of deterrence."
How would 'deterrence' have removed Iraqi forces from Kuwait?
Question: You have often ridiculed the 'international coalition' that has assisted the United States in removing Saddam Hussein from power in '03. You have also attacked Bush's father's 'international coalition' that had liberated Kuwait as lacking "a true United Nations collective security effort." You also went on to say this about the 1991 international coalition, "I regret that I do not see a new world order in the United States going to war with shadow battlefield allies who barely carry a burden."
Yet today when you talk about what you would have done differently then George W. Bush, in removing Saddam, you often speak of how you would have built a strong 'international coalition' to confront Saddam Hussein with. Do you seriously believe any of the dozens of countries who have participated in two Gulf Wars against Iraq - France; Germany; Saudi Arabia; Britain, to name a few - would take you seriously after you accusing them of not being able to "barely carry a burden?"
How and why should anyone take you seriously when you speak of building strong international coalition's in the fight against terrorism when you so easily denounce and belittle one of the greatest international coalition's in history?
Question: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, stated on October 10, 2002:
"Now, I believe the facts that have brought us to this fateful vote are not in doubt...
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons....
"It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security."
Did you not agree with Sen. Clinton that the facts she spelled out were not in doubt? Is this not the same evidence President Bush was looking at, the same evidence that goes back before President Bush was even president?
Would you agree that this bandwagon you and your fellow democrats are riding that says 'Bush mislead' or 'Bush lied' has more then a few broken wheels?
Question: CNN's Jonathan Karl asked you in '01 if you still had the rocket launcher you had taken from the VC soldier you had killed, for which you replied, "I do have the rocket, yes, I do have the rocket. One of the SEALs disarmed it for me, and I brought it home."
Can you make it available to the media for inspection?
Question: Which is most important to you; personal convictions or political ambitions?
Question: Recently, Alan Colmes, asked you in an interview, "How do you define in such a nugget a John Kerry presidency? " You replied, "I'm going to bring truth and responsibility back to the White House, and I'm going to bring influence and respect in the world back to America."
You don't personally believe that; do you? I for one do not, senator.
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We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
This says nothing about life. I am wondering if anyone knows of somewhere in the Constitution (and not the Declaration) where the protection of life is imbedded.
My second question is about Khidir Hamzi. How has he been discredited? Also, could people have been saying that all the intelligence that the CIA relied on to prove that Saddam had WMD came from Ahmed Chalabi. In this set of questions, the author mentions many people coming in front of the Senate arms committee to testify. Could these people have alos provided information about Saddam's WMD and who are they?
Sorry, I pinged the wrong guy. Let me try again. Please see entire thread.
Forgive me if I deviated from policy. I found the questions about the constitution and WMD far more intersting and wanted an answer.
I agree with you about his military record. OTOH, since John Kerry brings it up at every moment....
Stop digging up worthless stuff about his military career 30 years ago. It just seems shameless. How can people criticize the left wing's theories about George Bush's National Guard service when the right wing is engaged in the same dirt digging.There's a big difference. First of all, Bush isn't going around the country reminding people of the jet planes he flew in the early '70s, as Kerry is bringing up Vietnam every chance he gets.
Secondly, the Bush AWOL story is made up from whole cloth, has been descredited in past elections and is a non-issue, while Kerry's behavior when he returned from Vietnam is captured on video and in print.
Third, the whole issue of what Kerry said about American soldiers committing war crimes and what he said about what he did with his medals/ribbons is part of a long history of military-bashing and inconsistency that has continued through his entire public-service career.
In other words, the Bush AWOL accusations are untrue and irrelevant.
The question of Kerry's understanding of US military power and his ability to stick to the truth are as relevant today as they were back in the '70s, when he himself first brought them up.
So please stop trying to find moral equivalence where there is none.