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Kerry's Vietnam ghosts won't go away
San Diego Union-Tribune ^ | 10/24/04 | Robert Caldwell

Posted on 10/24/2004 2:27:49 PM PDT by freespirited

In a race appropriately dominated by questions of presidential leadership, the war on terror, Iraq and the economy, Vietnam nonetheless continues to haunt Democrat John Kerry. For this, Kerry has only himself to blame.

It is Kerry who quite deliberately made his brief four months on Navy Swift Boats in Vietnam in 1968-69 his signature credential to be commander in chief 35 years later. It is Kerry and his surrogates who repeat constantly the mantra that he "defended this country as a young man." It was Kerry who presented his "band of brothers" – the seven (out of eight) members of his Swift Boat crew who support him for president – as a backdrop at the Democratic National Convention.

Yet, the echoes of Vietnam also have grievously wounded Kerry's presidential aspirations, and rightly so.

A month of largely unanswered attacks by other Navy Swift Boat veterans on Kerry's war record and his subsequent anti-war, if not anti-American, radicalism helped President Bush build a lead in September. The Swiftees' anti-Kerry critique, detailed in their best-selling book "Unfit for Command" and publicized in television ads, raised profound questions about Kerry's fitness for the presidency. Against the seven supportive members of Kerry's Swift Boat crew, more than 250 Swift Boat combat veterans who served alongside Kerry in the same units denounce him as unfit to be commander in chief. Among them are 17 of the 20 officers in Kerry's chain of command in Vietnam.

Now, the anti-Kerry Swiftees are being joined by a second aggrieved group, former American prisoners of war. In North Vietnam's fetid prisons, they were subjected to years of torture and tormented by their interrogators with propaganda from America's anti-war movement. These highly decorated ex-POWs denounce Kerry for giving aid and comfort to a vicious communist enemy. In some cases, they recall being threatened with trial and execution by interrogators quoting Kerry's outrageous accusations.

In 1971, Kerry testified under oath before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that U.S. forces in Vietnam were guilty of systematic war crimes, including rape, murder, mutilation and pillage with the full knowledge and complicity of their entire chain of command.

Virtually all of America's former Vietnam prisoners of war also believe – with good reason, as North Vietnam's army commander has since said publicly – that the anti-war movement Kerry helped lead in the early 1970s encouraged Hanoi to fight on despite the odds. That prolonged the imprisonment of American POWs.

Ralph Gaither, a Navy pilot who was shot down over North Vietnam and spent, as he notes, "seven years, three months and 23 days" as a prisoner of war, is unsparing about the radical protest movement Kerry helped lead in the early 1970s.

"My imprisonment was extended by the anti-war movement. The war would have ended sooner if the (North) Vietnamese had not believed that the anti-war movement would win in the United States. It prolonged the war. I had friends die during this time. One was beaten to death, one died on a hunger strike and a third of malaria," Gaither says.

George 'Bud' Day, an Air Force pilot who won the Medal of Honor for his heroic resistance in North Vietnamese captivity, says this of Kerry:

"This man committed an act of treason. He lied, he besmirched our name and he did it for self-interest. And now he wants us to forget. What he stands for is wrong."

Leo Thorsness, another former POW and Medal of Honor winner, says the North Vietnamese threatened to execute him if he did not confess to war crimes.

"John Kerry and that whole movement made our lives more difficult. The things he said were just devastating because he was using words like 'war criminal.' He (was) saying the same things we were being tortured to say. I was told by them the penalty for this was death," Thorsness says.

James Warner, a Marine pilot who spent years in North Vietnamese captivity, recalls that John Kerry's 1971 accusations against the U.S. military were quoted and thrown in his face by a table-pounding interrogator at a punishment camp for resistant POWs.

"'This naval officer admits you are all war criminals. These words prove you all deserve punishment,'" Warner remembers his interrogator shouting. "He (Kerry) abandoned his comrades. His allegations were utterly absurd. To be charitable, at a minimum, he showed abominable bad judgment."

Mike McGrath, now a retired Navy captain, was a POW in North Vietnam for six years. Torture broke his back, dislocated both shoulders and broke an arm and a leg. "I nearly died," McGrath says. "They wanted us to make statements against the war."

Of John Kerry's lurid litany of accusations in 1971, McGrath says, "I agree with the Swiftees. I was ashamed that a Navy lieutenant would give such testimony. I'm disappointed this guy did the wrong thing. He shouldn't be commander in chief."

The testimony of these and other American POWs from the Vietnam War is the basis for a documentary entitled "Stolen Honor" that the Kerry campaign is trying, shamefully, to suppress.

Politics aside, no one can question the right of these men to be heard. No one can doubt the authenticity of their words.

How could this not be a legitimate issue as John Kerry, the unrepentant anti-war activist whose slanderous testimony did so much damage, seeks the presidency, and with it, the command of America's armed forces?


TOPICS: Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: issues; kerry; kerryrecord; militaryrecord; pows; unfit; vietnam

1 posted on 10/24/2004 2:27:49 PM PDT by freespirited
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To: freespirited

The VVAW group seems to be pretty shady. What do you all think are the best links which thoroughly discredit them? The swiftees and others, while they have good information, seem to have almost too much -- it's not packaged together in a way that outsiders would use.


2 posted on 10/24/2004 2:32:18 PM PDT by johnnyb_61820
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To: freespirited

Whatch it Union Tribune... I hear Lawrence O'Donnell is gonna come pay you a visit...


3 posted on 10/24/2004 2:32:32 PM PDT by trashcanbred (Anti-social and anti-socialist)
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To: freespirited

Of course Kerry based his candidacy on Vietnam . . . After all, he couldn't base it on his very thin, very liberal senate record, now could he? Also, his "band of brothers" and "I served in Vietnam" crapola worked in Massachussetts, so why shouldn't it work in the entire US of A </sarcasm>


4 posted on 10/24/2004 2:33:23 PM PDT by gop_gene
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To: freespirited

Not only should he not be the commander in chief, he should face charges of treason and never hold public office again. Benedict Arnold received no less.


5 posted on 10/24/2004 2:33:41 PM PDT by Kadanne (God bless our troops and the red, white and blue)
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To: freespirited

"Politics aside, no one can question the right of these men to be heard. No one can doubt the authenticity of their words."

No one except John Kerry and the scum of the Democrat party.


6 posted on 10/24/2004 2:34:12 PM PDT by MisterRepublican
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To: freespirited

John Kerry went to Vietnam for a photo-op.How many others there took movies of themselves while in country?He has been planning to run for national office since he met Pres. Kennedy.He is a phony who has been on all sides of every issue for 35+ years.


7 posted on 10/24/2004 2:34:53 PM PDT by carlr
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To: freespirited

Almost the entire interior of "Insights" (Op-Ed) section of the Sunday San Diego U-T was taken up with less-than-positive commentaries about Kerry's anti-war activities. Not that the majority in this military town needs much more of a reason to vote to re-elect the President. A very encouraging read over Sunday brunch...


8 posted on 10/24/2004 2:35:12 PM PDT by macbee ("Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." - Napoleon Bonaparte)
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To: freespirited

I have new faith in the San Diego Union. They were a lefty rag when I lived there.


9 posted on 10/24/2004 2:35:37 PM PDT by annyokie ("I have a plan" )
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To: freespirited
Why would a SELF-ADMITTED WAR CRIMINAL who ALSO gave aid-and-comfort to the enemy during time of war,,,

think that his country would just forget his harmful words and hurtful actions?

10 posted on 10/24/2004 2:36:13 PM PDT by stockstrader
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To: freespirited

I saw Stolen Honor the other day, and I think what made Kerry look worst was his Senate testimony; the juxtaposition of this pompous, pretentious, lying, jerk, against the real-world suffering of those who actually served this country, who didn't self-inflict 3 bloodless "purple hearts" in order to flee in the face of danger, was very powerful.

You could see that he was at the time something of a JFK groupie, trying to sound poetic and Presidential, but he was even then driven by some sort of egomaniacal desire to gain office or get attention, it is obvious that Kerry is the sort of person that would spit on his own country to get ahead.

No, he won't live down what he did in the 60s and early 70s, and even if his pompous bravado from those adolescent days has faded, and his blather has aged into nuanced double-speak on every issue to try to appeal to the full spectrum of Democrats at the same time, that same lack of sincerity and self-over-country anti-patriotism is apparent.


11 posted on 10/24/2004 2:36:44 PM PDT by EaglesUpForever
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To: freespirited
The people who vote for Kerry are immoral and without a conscience.

Does that sound harsh?

It is the truth. They can surround themselves with all the quasi-morality and ethics-lite speeches they want, but Truth is absolute. There are no shades of grey.

12 posted on 10/24/2004 2:38:43 PM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: freespirited
George 'Bud' Day, an Air Force pilot who won the Medal of Honor for his heroic resistance in North Vietnamese captivity, says this of Kerry: "This man committed an act of treason. He lied, he besmirched our name and he did it for self-interest. And now he wants us to forget. What he stands for is wrong."

How could this not be a legitimate issue as John Kerry, the unrepentant anti-war activist whose slanderous testimony did so much damage, seeks the presidency, and with it, the command of America's armed forces?

I don't see how anyone with a soul could look at such a spineless worm as Kerry and consider voting for him.

13 posted on 10/24/2004 2:38:53 PM PDT by stevem
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To: freespirited

Those aren't ghosts. They're the souls of men he stepped on to get where he is today.


14 posted on 10/24/2004 2:41:41 PM PDT by cripplecreek (We've turned the corner and we're not smokin crack.)
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To: freespirited
I watched the 42 minutes of Stolen Honor which is available for free by clicking here. (It is viewable using a WINDOWS media compatible player.)

I do not believe any NORMAL human being is capable of watching this news/documentary film and not be moved by these brave men's testimonies.

I encourage anyone who reads this to please contact anyone you know even casually and recommend they view Stolen Honor.
15 posted on 10/24/2004 2:48:33 PM PDT by pyx (Too busy ? If you get cheated by the LEFT on November 2, 2004, you only have yourself to blame.)
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To: freespirited

Thanks for posting that article!
I'm amazed that half the country doesn't seem to think that should have any bearing on his fitness to be Commander-In-Chief!
It' a shame that his medals weren't awarded posthumously.


16 posted on 10/24/2004 3:00:04 PM PDT by outlaw5209 (Kerry should have been tried for Treason!)
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To: johnnyb_61820
it's not packaged together in a way that outsiders would use.

I note that you've just joined FreeRepublic. Is your comment supposed to be some sort of joke ?
17 posted on 10/24/2004 3:06:29 PM PDT by pyx (Too busy ? If you get cheated by the LEFT on November 2, 2004, you only have yourself to blame.)
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To: freespirited

Have the photos of Kerry having homosexual relations with the North Vietcong in France surfaced yet ? You know the ones with them using the American Flag for a bedsheet ?

I may have to gin this up on ye ole photoshop but I'm really hoping a more better October Surprise will surface because frankly, that would be work that should qualify me for a medal of some sort if I should have to do it........


18 posted on 10/24/2004 3:17:16 PM PDT by festus (Whats the frequency Kenneth ?)
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To: freespirited
John Kerry will be "the last man to die in Vietnam."

And it will be a suicide.

19 posted on 10/24/2004 3:18:43 PM PDT by Phsstpok (often wrong, but never in doubt)
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To: carlr

Even the VVAW, Buffalo chapter, thought he was a phony, building a political career.


20 posted on 10/24/2004 4:17:57 PM PDT by expatpat
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To: freespirited
Watched Stolen Honor a couple of nights ago, and it just reaffirmed my belief that kerry should not only never be president, but should be tried for treason. Everything he has done has been for pure political gain and nothing else. He is rapidly moving to the top of my most despicable humans list.
21 posted on 10/24/2004 4:46:56 PM PDT by vpintheak (Liberal = The antithesis of Freedom and Patriotism)
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To: johnnyb_61820

Well some of the links at http://freedomkeys.com/propagandist.htm will probably be like what you're looking for, if not precisely what you're looking for. It's a page of Kerry-really-is-a-traitor links formatted for easy copying and emailing.


22 posted on 10/24/2004 6:05:42 PM PDT by FreeKeys (A TRAITOR for President? NEVER! Besides, nutcase Scary Kerry wants to give nuclear fuel to Iran!)
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