Skip to comments.Kerry's Photo Raises Eyebrows in Museum in Ho Chi Minh City
Posted on 08/16/2004 12:07:27 PM PDT by GarnetGirl04
At a museum run by this countrys Communist regime, visitors gasp and recoil at hundreds of gruesome photographs of atrocities American forces and their allies allegedly committed during the Vietnam War. But one of the more staid official photos on display is prompting anger from veterans and others half a world away.
In an exhibit hall titled The World Supports Vietnam in Its Resistance hangs a picture of a 1993 meeting between Senator Kerry of Massachusetts and the man who was then the general secretary of Vietnams Communist Party, Do Muoi.
An increasing number of visitors to the museum are stopping and staring at the photo,although the caption beneath it does not name Mr. Kerry, the Democratic nominee for president.
Its Kerry, one French tourist exclaimed as he pointed out the picture to a fellow traveler last week.
Hed be better than Bush, one of the other visitors grumbled.
To some of Mr. Kerrys critics, the fact that his image appears in a gallery largely devoted to international opposition to the war underscores how Mr. Kerry undermined the morale of American troops and ultimately aided the enemy by leading a group of anti-war veterans after he returned from military service in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese communists clearly recognize John Kerrys contributions to their victory, said a spokesman for Vietnam Veterans for the Truth, Jeffrey Epstein. This find can be compared to the discovery of a painting of Neville Chamberlain hanging in a place of honor in Hitlers Eagles Nest in 1945.
Since May, right-wing Web sites have been buzzing with stories about the photograph of Mr. Kerry. A new book attacking Mr. Kerrys military record, Unfit for Command, devotes a section to the photo and the import of its placement in the museum in this city, which was known as Saigon before it fell to the communists in 1975.
To find this photograph kind of affirms the extent to which the Vietnamese communists have viewed that John Kerry has been their supporter and ally over the decades, said one of the books authors, Jerome Corsi. Theyre clearly identifying John Kerry as somebody very important to them.
Mr. Kerrys campaign did not respond to calls and e-mail seeking comment, but two visits to the museum last week disclosed some weaknesses in the arguments put forward by the senators critics.
While the museum clearly honors opponents of the war from America and other countries, it is not clear that the photo of Mr.Kerry is part of that tribute. The picture of the senator hangs among a set of photos devoted to the restoration of diplomatic relations between America and Vietnam in the 1990s.
It was apparently taken as Mr. Kerry took part in a delegation President Clinton sent to Hanoi in 1993. Other photos nearby show visits during that period by former American officials who played key roles in the Vietnam War, including a Navy admiral who has since died, Elmo Zumwalt, and a defense secretary, Robert McNamara. A secretary of state during Mr. Clintons term, Warren Christopher, is also shown meeting Vietnamese officials.
The Vietnam veteran who visited the museum earlier this year and set off the controversy by posting his picture of the photo on the Web told The New York Sun yesterday he was surprised that Mr. Kerry was not featured more prominently, given his leading role in the anti-war effort.
I was surprised there werent more pictures of him, said the veteran, William Lupetti of Paramus, N.J.
Mr. Lupetti didnt see a great deal of significance in the photo when he first explored the museum in March.He later posted many of his pictures to an Internet bulletin board. Others saw the Kerry photo there and brought it to Mr. Corsis attention.
I said, Jerry, its not that big a deal. Hes the one who saw more in it than I did, said Mr. Lupetti, who served as a Navy hospital corpsman aboard Swift Boats like those commanded by Mr. Kerry.
Mr. Lupetti said he was not particularly upset by the photo of Mr.Kerry.But he said he was greatly disturbed by the museum, which does not refer to any atrocities committed by the Viet Cong.
For years, the museum was known as the American War Crimes Museum. The word American was dropped in the mid-1990s. It is now known simply as the War Remnants Museum. The exhibits have remained essentially the same. They include bottles containing fetuses with severe birth defects said to be caused by Agent Orange and photos of children allegedly killed or maimed by American weapons, have remained essentially the same.
They only tell one side of the story, Mr.Lupetti said.He said he often gave injections to a sick Vietnamese child only to find that the Viet Cong later visited the village and cut off the childs arm.
If you only knew how many babies they killed, he said.
Mr. Lupetti said he attended two marches by Mr. Kerrys group, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, including one in Brooklyn, but quickly became disillusioned with the organizations politics.
I got out of there as quick as I could. I said, These guys arent trying to end the war. They want the communists to win, Mr. Lupetti said.
The museum is considered Ho Chi Minh Citys most popular tourist attraction. Most visitors are from Europe or Asia. Relatively few are American.
An American professor who toured the gallery last week said he agreed with Mr. Kerrys decision to denounce the war and is baffled about why the Yale graduate decided to join the Navy.
Im surprised he went in the first place.If Id have been in his position,Id have refused, said Simon Glynn, 56, a professor of philosophy at Florida Atlantic University in West Palm Beach. In 1967, we were demonstrating at the university, said Mr. Glynn, who visited the museum along with his teenage son, who was clad in a T-shirt emblazoned with a photo of Ho Chi Minh.
Another American visitor did a double take after spying Mr. Kerrys photo on the wall. I wasnt sure that was him,said Francisco Perez,28,of Las Vegas.He said he was not familiar with the history of the war and did not understand why Mr. Kerrys photo was there.
Mr. Perez, who was in town to assess the performance of slot machines recently installed in a local hotel, said he was still struggling to deal with the more dramatic photos of shredded corpses and injured children in the other parts of the museum.
The building next door, that was terrible.Seeing all this really hits you.Thats not right, he said, shaking his head.
Two Australian men said that the photo of Mr. Kerry made them think that the attention that the senators presidential campaign has focused on his military service in Vietnam was legitimate because of his long-running involvement with the country.
Its not a propaganda thing.It hasnt been set up. Its been sitting there for years, said a car dealer from Adelaide, David Holst, 48.
His friend, Michael Brock, 51, who is in the real estate business, congratulated Mr.Holst on his find.Thats extraordinary. You see a bloke whose running for president of the United States. Thats good spotting, Mr. Brock said.
Some visitors, including the two Australians, said that the museum was far from objective. They pointed to one caption that suggested an American soldier bore a half grin as he held up part of a dead mans torso.
I did not see any half-grin, said Mr. Brock, whose countrys troops fought in Vietnam alongside the Americans.
Mr. Holst said of the museum, Its not neutral .but who won?
One display grossly distorts an admission by Bob Kerrey, a Vietnam veteran who was once one of Mr. Kerrys Senate colleagues and is now
president of the New School University in Manhattan.
In 2001,Mr.Kerrey conceded that his Navy Seal unit killed several civilians in a firefight in February 1969.The museums exhibit says the Seals cut the throats of an elderly couple and stabbed to death three children before shooting to death another 14 people.
Mr. Kerrey, who received a bronze star for the operation, has acknowledged that some civilians were killed inadvertently, but the museum suggests inaccurately that Mr. Kerry has admitted killing non-combatants in a scenario that could not plausibly be accidental. One member of Mr. Kerreys unit has offered an account that is closer to the Vietnamese version.
After viewing the exhibits, many visitors have used comment books to denounce America and the recent invasion of Iraq.
Shame on the Americans. Long live Ho Chi Minh and Vietnam, wrote a couple from France.
Enough is enough. Get the hell of out of Iraq, too. So very sorry, wrote a tourist from New Zealand.
Mr. Corsi called on Mr. Kerry to ask the Vietnamese to remove his photo from the museum and to remove the entire exhibition.
Why doesnt John Kerry say to the Vietnamese communists, Take down this hall? That whole museum is there to perpetuate the myth of war crimes, Mr. Corsi said.
A tour guide at the museum said that the display where Mr. Kerrys photo appears is intended to depict Vietnams relationship with America after the war.
Mr. Corsi said his book presents the full context of the photos placement in the museum and does not suggest that the Vietnamese have praised Mr. Kerrys anti-war efforts as explicitly as those of others pictured in the same hall,such as draft resisters and activists who immolated themselves to protest the war. Theres no representation in the book thats hes being honored in the museum for being a war protester, except by inference, Mr. Corsi said.
Still, Mr. Corsi said that the photo should be viewed in the context of Mr. Kerrys positions on Vietnam-related issues over the years.
Theres hardly been an argument that the Vietnamese communists have advanced in the last 35 years that John Kerry hasnt supported. He has been a consistent advocate for North Vietnam, Mr. Corsi said.
Another museum, in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, does include some buttons produced by Mr. Kerrys organization that say, I support Vietnam Veterans Against the War. A label says that the buttons were presented to the communists at the time of the signing of the Paris peace accord in 1973.
Neither museum takes note of Mr. Kerrys April 1971 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which he suggested a communist takeover of Vietnam and other countries posed no danger to America.
Don't know any other word... UGH!
Iraq will be another Vietnam if that SOB is elected.
Commie sympathizer and admirer then - terrorist pawn now?
BTTT! Good find.
"[T]he fact that his image appears in a gallery largely devoted to international opposition to the war underscores how Mr. Kerry undermined the morale of American troops and ultimately aided the enemy by leading a group of anti-war veterans after he returned from military service in Vietnam."
Eureka! Now I know how Kerry landed Ta-ray-za - He won her as the grand prize for the 'Name the Museum Contest'.
Bingo. And they got their way ... and then the atrocities began in earnest. Nearly 3 million dead and millions of others in refugee camps or taking to sea in leaking boats.
And Hanoi John and Jane are still proud of their "victory."
Uh, no it cannot. Chamberlain, for all his faults, later recognized that he was wrong about Hitler and regretted his prior actions. He turned around rolled up his sleeves and got involved in the war against fascism. He never called Churchill a liar and a war criminal and he never thought England was in the wrong.
That should remove any doubt that Kerry is a war hero. He certainly is to the communist Viet Namese.
read Comrade Kerry's speech at the Vietnam Memorial in 2002.
Please imagine what the left would be saying if a photo of George W. Bush were on a North Korean wall of heroes.
We'll never know unless he is elected. Seems like there are way too many blind, ignorant people in this country, because a Kerry presidency is all too real a possibility.
**To some of Mr. Kerrys critics, the fact that his image appears in a gallery largely devoted to international opposition to the war underscores how Mr. Kerry undermined the morale of American troops and ultimately aided the enemy by leading a group of anti-war veterans after he returned from military service in Vietnam.**
Exactly what the SwiftVEts for Truth are saying.
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