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Revolt of the Vietnam Veterans
San Diego Union Tribune ^ | 12/19/04 | Bruce Kesler

Posted on 12/19/2004 7:08:43 AM PST by USMCVIETVET

The revolt of the Vietnam veterans

By Bruce Kesler December 19, 2004

By Bruce Kesler

Post mortems in the liberal press on the role that Vietnam veterans played in presidential candidate John Kerry's defeat mask the key role of the liberal press, which tried to suppress the vets' story and is distorting it now. I was there at the creation of a veterans group and all along, and know better. The American people deserve to know better too.

In 1971 I organized Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace. John O'Neill enlisted to counter the smears of American servicemen in Vietnam. No one else spoke up for us, so we had to. The mainstream press was more diverse than today and we got a spotty but honest hearing.

Kerry's light dimmed then. Americans got the message that a motley crew of exaggerators and frauds didn't speak for Vietnam veterans. We said our piece and went home, back to our diverse, nonpolitical lives.

Meanwhile, anti-Vietnam war protesters of the 1960s marched through academia and the media to claim its power as their own. In 2004, they fought to defend their self-image by defaming that of anti-Kerry Vietnam veterans.

In February 2004, anti-Kerry Vietnam veterans were shocked that he won the Democratic nomination. The mainstream media blessed this coronation. No one except Kerry and his advisers really wanted to revisit Vietnam, but they saw it as a way to appeal to anti and pro-war voters.

Kerry's Vietnam veteran opponents hadn't been in contact for over 30 years, so we searched each other out. Scott Swett, creator of wintersoldier.com that collected research on Kerry's protest activities, was an invaluable connector among us, creating an Internet political network that bound us together.

While we knew all too well about Kerry's anti-Vietnam protest period, we compared notes and surprised ourselves at the extent of deceptions in Kerry's self-hagiography about being a sterling war hero. It was intolerable that John Kerry brazenly glorified this suspect record to centerpiece his few months as a junior officer 35 years ago as qualification to lead the United States in this most challenging time since the Cold War.

The liberal media portrayed anti-Kerry Vietnam veterans as a long-planned, far-right funded conspiracy of liars. That's far, far from the truth. The real story is like the Minutemen, rising from peaceful lives to spontaneously come together to again fight for the America we so deeply love.

There was little or no coordination, just mutual support, with each volunteer shooting from behind his own tree in the same direction. We came to know each other on the field of our revolt against the false image created by Kerry of himself in the media and the false image Kerry was instrumental in painting of us and America.

John O'Neill got off his sickbed. He asked me whether I had the contacts and resources to lead as I did in 1971, which I didn't, and he dug in his own pocket to get the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth started. Vietnam veterans from every service, and Americans from every walk of life, joined in and followed O'Neill into political combat.

Early in the year a friend with access to the Kerry campaign warned me it was digging for any kind of dirt to destroy us. Contrary to the liberal media's story that we surprised Kerry in August, he thought the mainstream media could succeed in ignoring and stifling the Swift Boat veterans, and he had long planned a new smear campaign against us.

The surprise to the Kerry camp and liberal press was that the new media did break through and that Vietnam veterans could not be intimidated. In August, as reported by Newsweek, Kerry operatives fed negative documents and talking points to the New York Times, Washington Post and Boston Globe. Subsequent articles in those newspapers reflected negatively on the Swiftees.

With only one halting exception, the mainstream media refused to investigate the sworn affidavits of 60 credible witnesses to Kerry's behavior, or to follow up on the abundance of additional information given them. The New York Times repeatedly used "unsubstantiated" as its adjective describing the Swift Boat veterans' allegations without ever exerting its considerable power to investigate.

Kerry wasn't pressured by the mainstream media to reveal his full military records to resolve issues, nor questioned as to what he was hiding. The mainstream media's zeal in chasing down every scrap of trivia about Bush's service stands in sharp contrast. That alone strongly suggested a liberal bias.

This behavior by some of the liberal media was purposeful. The survival of their favored candidate was endangered by our truth and facts. As important, the self-image of many reporters was endangered. Their myths of our pervasive evils in defending Vietnamese freedom, and of their valiant memories of mounting school libraries' ramparts, could not take the incongruence of exposure.

In the campaign to discredit anti-Kerry Vietnam veterans, some charged that we were reviving an old vendetta. Actually, we had ignored Kerry until last February. Some charged that we were refighting a cultural war from the '60s. Again, untrue. Many of us smoked marijuana, rocked to the same songs, grew the same long hair. We're Democrats, independents and Republicans.

The true post mortem of Kerry's defeat is simply the last hurrah of simple patriots, amateurishly but fervently rising up and banding together, with few resources, to defeat the mainstream media's boy and juggernaut. Polls and the election show we succeeded.

»Next Story»

Find this article at: http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20041219/news_z1e19kesler.html


TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: deceit; kerry; kerrydefeat; kesler; liberalmedia; msm; swiftboatveterans; swiftees; veteran; vietnam; vietnamveterans

1 posted on 12/19/2004 7:08:44 AM PST by USMCVIETVET
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To: USMCVIETVET

They did a great job blasting the chameleon....You have to love them.


2 posted on 12/19/2004 7:12:35 AM PST by squirt-gun
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To: USMCVIETVET

It is about time, but it's going to take a lot to make up for the twenty-five years of smearing Vietbnam Vets, and what they had to live with.

Maybe someday we'll hear about the atrocities of the North Vietnamese when they took over the north of that country, maybe we'll finally honor Nick Rowe.


3 posted on 12/19/2004 7:17:08 AM PST by squarebarb
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To: squarebarb

Sorry. Vietbnam = Vietnam. Early-morning stiff fingers.


4 posted on 12/19/2004 7:18:07 AM PST by squarebarb
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To: squirt-gun
Bill & Hill owe a lot to the Swiftees. The Clinton's never had to play their ace in the hole, exactly what kind of discharge did Kerry receive from the military?

In all probability it was a dishonorable discharge followed by a pardon from the Carter administration. The Clinton's will play their ace in the hole without hesitation in the prior to the nomination process in 2007-2008

5 posted on 12/19/2004 7:19:02 AM PST by hflynn
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To: squirt-gun

Watching them and seeing the risks they took to defeat a common enemy of theirs and the country made me proud to be an American. I must say that I took sadistic delight in the implosion of the Kerry campaign. It was a joyous occasion to watch it unravel in spite of receiving life support from the Main Stream Media. This is just the beginning. The truth always prevails! Long live the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth.


6 posted on 12/19/2004 7:23:32 AM PST by appeal2
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To: squarebarb

I've made other contributions before, but I never felt more proud to have had the opportunity to give than I feel about the small sums that I gave the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

If they have money left, I would love to see them advance some of it to a respected historian who would write a book about the contrast between the war on the ground in Vietnam and the war at home, the events that shaped public opinion in the US about the war, and especially the role played by the Winter Soldier investigation and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and, at long last, the truth about Kerry's discharge from service.

In my opinion, this is necessary in order to finally bring closure to the war. Now that a structure for such a book has been created (thanks to the Kerry campaign), the timing is appropriate.


7 posted on 12/19/2004 7:26:02 AM PST by Piranha
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To: appeal2

It won't really be over until we have that piece of garbage's records made public.


8 posted on 12/19/2004 7:29:38 AM PST by snowman1
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To: USMCVIETVET
The Swifties gave all of us Vietnam vets a long overdue day of vindication, and for that we should all be eternally grateful.

Now, it's time for John O'Neill to write a definitive historical commentary on the war, its heroes and America's "enemies from within" - who's efforts on behalf of tyrannical communism led to the 1st defeat in America's history. To permit America's domestic enemies free rein to now misrepresent that period permanently in recorded history would be a travesty.
9 posted on 12/19/2004 7:40:55 AM PST by vetsvette (Bring Him Back)
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To: USMCVIETVET
I am just glad that I don't have to get up each morning to read a story about president Kerry.

Life is good.

10 posted on 12/19/2004 7:53:22 AM PST by Tom Bombadil
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To: vetsvette

I heartily agree with the need for the history of that period to be told straight. But calling Vietnam America's first defeat is ceding to America's enemies rhetorical and intellectual territory which should be defended or retaken.

The enemies of America like to portary campaigns as separate wars so that when a campaign goes badly they can unite all who oppose war generically, all who oppose the conduct of the particular campaign, all who oppose America's particular goals, and all who hate America in a grand coalition. That's what they did with Vietnam and that's what they're trying to do with Iraq.

Neither was or is a war, each was or is a campaign in a larger war. WW III (a.k.a. the Cold War) in the case of Vietnam, and WW IV (a.k.a. the War on Terror) in the case of Iraq. America has lost campaigns in wars it has won--the disasterous campaign which led to the terrible winter at Valley Forge and the mid-Atlantic campaign of the War of 1812 when the British burned the White House spring to mind.

For the history to be written right, Vietnam must be seen as a campaign in the ultimately successful Cold War which was lost because of the domestic forces you decry.

We still need to have a Cold War victory parade with Vietnam and Korea veterans marching front and center.


11 posted on 12/19/2004 8:07:19 AM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know what this was)
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To: snowman1
It won't really be over until we have that piece of garbage's records made public.

Yes, we won the battle, but have yet to defeat the enemy.

12 posted on 12/19/2004 8:30:32 AM PST by Cold Heat (What are fears but voices awry?Whispering harm where harm is not and deluding the unwary. Wordsworth)
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To: squirt-gun
If it was merely a revolt against Kerry, then it all dies after the elections. In which case the radical liberals, who have controlled the mainstream media since the Vietnam war, will simply resurface like a nest of crocodiles to continue their coordinated assault on the American way of life. They may even rehabilitate Kerry and run him again (he didn't miss by much). Rather is gone (sort of), Brokaw is gone (want to bet), the Canadian Jennings is not going to disappear. There is too much radical liberal investment in these media "jackboot thugs," to willingly allow them to exit the stage. The crocodile nest has is full of radical liberal clones waiting for when they are needed. The radical liberal control of the media will not be released until it is clubbed from their nasty hands. They may have lost one battle, but they will counter attack in mass, and they will employ their legions in the university and public schools. Like the Islamic terrorists, the liberal media is much too entrenched to be beaten quickly. If we are to free ourselves from their treacherous clutches, it will take many years. In the meantime, Americans will be persecuted by the government, the courts, educators and the press for having the criminal audacity to say Merry Christmas and to worship as they please.
13 posted on 12/19/2004 8:34:25 AM PST by ghostrider
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To: USMCVIETVET
The New York Times repeatedly used "unsubstantiated" as its adjective describing the Swift Boat veterans' allegations without ever exerting its considerable power to investigate.

This election showed the deserved irrelevance of the 'Old Grey Lady' to modern American politics.

14 posted on 12/19/2004 9:19:30 AM PST by SuziQ (W: STILL the President)
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To: USMCVIETVET

WE didn't lose THAT war, and we didn't lose THIS war..
It was cowardly, self serving leftist traitors like Kerry that lost the war for us and for the Vietnamese people..

Kerry continues to insult our living and fallen warriors, by his presence in the Senate and outside of prison bars..

Kerry stood for and continues to stand for EVERYTHING I despise and hold responsible for slandering the good names or our true warrior brothers and patriots..

All the money in the world will not defend Kerry from the ghosts of those men..
They are waiting.....

I await the opportunity to piss on his muddy grave.

Semper Fi


15 posted on 12/19/2004 9:24:21 AM PST by river rat (You may turn the other cheek...But I prefer to look into my enemy's vacant dead eyes.)
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To: The_Reader_David

I agree with all of your very perceptive points.


16 posted on 12/19/2004 9:29:08 AM PST by vetsvette (Bring Him Back)
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To: Tom Bombadil
I am just glad that I don't have to get up each morning to read a story about president Kerry.

Amen.

Humble thanks to all, particularly the vets, who prevented it.

17 posted on 12/19/2004 9:34:54 AM PST by dighton
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To: USMCVIETVET
"The New York Times repeatedly used "unsubstantiated" as its adjective....."

The Boston Globe, and others in the media have also used the terms debunked and discredited in articles which I have read. I do not know how they substantiate such terms, but they use them anyhow. When called upon it, the media types simply do not respond.

18 posted on 12/19/2004 9:37:47 AM PST by Radix (You are looking at the very lowest part of my actual post.)
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To: USMCVIETVET
My dad(who was in Nam when Kerry gave his 71 speech) is usually a fairly calm guy and isn't one to gloat. He voted against Kerry and for Bush.

The day after the election, he opened up a bottle of his best wine (and he's not a big drinker) and just kicked back in his recliner watching and laughing at the talking heads cry in their beer.

19 posted on 12/19/2004 9:49:16 AM PST by Dan from Michigan ("BZZZZZT You are fined one credit for violation of the Verbal Morality Statute")
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To: USMCVIETVET
The true post mortem of Kerry's defeat is simply the last hurrah of simple patriots, amateurishly but fervently rising up and banding together, with few resources, to defeat the mainstream media's boy and Juggernaut.

I can hardly wait for the movie. There is at least one movie being planned, right? Has anyone seen Mel Gibson around lately?
20 posted on 12/19/2004 9:53:27 AM PST by oldbrowser (You lost the election.....................Get over it.)
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Comment #21 Removed by Moderator

To: USMCVIETVET

Thank you Swifties - you did what hundreds of us wanted to do and didn't - God Bless You and keep You safe till the next time.


22 posted on 12/19/2004 10:01:15 AM PST by sandydipper (Less government is best government!)
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To: USMCVIETVET
Wounds from war heal but the scars are visible forever. Mental scars are not visible and most never heal. Kerry wounded several generations with his lies. Political lies are easily covered up but lies that affect people are remembered. I did not kill babies.

I WILL NOT FORGET!!!
23 posted on 12/19/2004 10:09:10 AM PST by mountainlyons (alienated vet)
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To: USMCVIETVET
As important, the self-image of many reporters was endangered. Their myths of our pervasive evils in defending Vietnamese freedom, and of their valiant memories of mounting school libraries' ramparts, could not take the incongruence of exposure.

LOL!!

24 posted on 12/19/2004 10:09:41 AM PST by randog (What the....?!)
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To: USMCVIETVET

God bless Bruce Kesler, John O'Neill and the Swiftees, Scott Swett, Jerry Corsi and the other patriots who worked together to bypass old media to get the word out about John Kerry. But for these people, we very well may have seen a Kerry presidency in '5.


25 posted on 12/19/2004 11:17:45 AM PST by alnick
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To: Interesting Times

Scott Swett ping.


26 posted on 12/19/2004 12:47:12 PM PST by Nick Danger (Want some wood?)
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To: USMCVIETVET
Awesome post and story. These Vietnam Veterans represent the best that America can offer. For more reasons than beating John Kerry.

I have two Christmas wishes: One is that the troops who are serving today know that we are grateful for them, and two- that the Vietnam Vets know this election was as much about each one of them as it was about John Kerry. We never got to show our appreciate and love for the Vietnam Vets before, we did back in Nov of 2004.

Thank you Swifties for you have given us so much.

27 posted on 12/19/2004 1:00:00 PM PST by Diva Betsy Ross (I am not NOT PC.. And Proud of it!: Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah!)
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To: USMCVIETVET

thanks to the Vietnam vets...again, for saving us from Kerry.


28 posted on 12/19/2004 1:11:00 PM PST by JPJones ("We'll cross all our tee's and dot all our.....lower case j's")
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To: Nick Danger
Bruce Kesler will be our guest on The Inquisition, webcast at RighTalk.com this afternoon at 2pm Eastern. We'll cover Bruce's work during the recent campaign, as well as discussing how and why he founded Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace as a counter to the VVAW in 1971.
29 posted on 12/20/2004 5:58:31 AM PST by Interesting Times (ABCNNBCBS -- yesterday's news.)
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To: Piranha
I never felt more proud to have had the opportunity to give...How true!
The Swift Boat Veterans gave me the hope that TRUTH would win out. The RNC was way too political to tackle Kerry's lies, deception and arrogance.
I too would like to see the "rest of the Story"...the meetings with the Cong in Paris, the spin of lies by Cronkite, the funding of the antiwar movement by commies, Kerry's dishonorable discharge...The betraying of America by Liberals from the 60's to 2004.
30 posted on 12/20/2004 6:22:35 AM PST by UltraKonservativen (( YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID ))
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To: squarebarb
It is about time, but it's going to take a lot to make up for the twenty-five years of smearing Vietnam Vets, and what they had to live with.

We’ll quietly slide back into the woodwork – until needed again. It would be nice to see Hanoi John held accountable for his sedition and treason, but others can handle that end.
31 posted on 12/20/2004 6:29:04 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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