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***JOHN KERRY, SPEECH AGAINST VIETNAM WAR, "Vietname Vets Against the War*** (FLASHBACK 1971)
Modern History SourceBook ^
| Apr. 23, 1971
| John Kerry
Posted on 05/17/2003 12:54:32 AM PDT by FairOpinion
Modern History Sourcebook: Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement, 1971
Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement by John Kerry, 1971 to the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations April 23, 1971
I would like to talk on behalf of all those veterans and say that several months ago in Detroit we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged, and many very highly decorated, veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia. These were not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit - the emotions in the room and the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.
They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.
We call this investigation the Winter Soldier Investigation. The term Winter Soldier is a play on words of Thomas Paine's in 1776 when he spoke of the Sunshine Patriots and summertime soldiers who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough.
We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country, we could be quiet, we could hold our silence, we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country, not the reds, but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out....
In our opinion and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart.
We found that not only was it a civil war, an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever, but also we found that the Vietnamese whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image were hard put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from.
We found most people didn't even know the difference between communism and democracy. They only wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart. They wanted everything to do with the war, particularly with this foreign presence of the United States of America, to leave them alone in peace, and they practiced the art of survival by siding with whichever military force was present at a particular time, be it Viet Cong, North Vietnamese or American.
We found also that all too often American men were dying in those rice paddies for want of support from their allies. We saw first hand how monies from American taxes were used for a corrupt dictatorial regime. We saw that many people in this country had a one-sided idea of who was kept free by the flag, and blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties. We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs and search and destroy missions, as well as by Viet Cong terrorism - and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on the Viet Cong.
We rationalized destroying villages in order to save them. We saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted very coolly a My Lai and refused to give up the image of American soldiers who hand out chocolate bars and chewing gum.
We learned the meaning of free fire zones, shooting anything that moves, and we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of orientals.
We watched the United States falsification of body counts, in fact the glorification of body counts. We listened while month after month we were told the back of the enemy was about to break. We fought using weapons against "oriental human beings." We fought using weapons against those people which I do not believe this country would dream of using were we fighting in the European theater. We watched while men charged up hills because a general said that hill has to be taken, and after losing one platoon or two platoons they marched away to leave the hill for reoccupation by the North Vietnamese. We watched pride allow the most unimportant battles to be blown into extravaganzas, because we couldn't lose, and we couldn't retreat, and because it didn't matter how many American bodies were lost to prove that point, and so there were Hamburger Hills and Khe Sanhs and Hill 81s and Fire Base 6s, and so many others.
Now we are told that the men who fought there must watch quietly while American lives are lost so that we can exercise the incredible arrogance of Vietnamizing the Vietnamese.
Each day to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Vietnam someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn't have to admit something that the entire world already knows, so that we can't say that we have made a mistake. Someone has to die so that President Nixon won't be, and these are his words, "the first President to lose a war."
We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?....We are here in Washington to say that the problem of this war is not just a question of war and diplomacy. It is part and parcel of everything that we are trying as human beings to communicate to people in this country - the question of racism which is rampant in the military, and so many other questions such as the use of weapons; the hypocrisy in our taking umbrage at the Geneva Conventions and using that as justification for a continuation of this war when we are more guilty than any other body of violations of those Geneva Conventions; in the use of free fire zones, harassment interdiction fire, search and destroy missions, the bombings, the torture of prisoners, all accepted policy by many units in South Vietnam. That is what we are trying to say. It is part and parcel of everything.
An American Indian friend of mine who lives in the Indian Nation of Alcatraz put it to me very succinctly. He told me how as a boy on an Indian reservation he had watched television and he used to cheer the cowboys when they came in and shot the Indians, and then suddenly one day he stopped in Vietnam and he said, "my God, I am doing to these people the very same thing that was done to my people," and he stopped. And that is what we are trying to say, that we think this thing has to end.
We are here to ask, and we are here to ask vehemently, where are the leaders of our country? Where is the leadership? We're here to ask where are McNamara, Rostow, Bundy, Gilpatrick, and so many others? Where are they now that we, the men they sent off to war, have returned? These are the commanders who have deserted their troops. And there is no more serious crime in the laws of war. The Army says they never leave their wounded. The marines say they never even leave their dead. These men have left all the casualties and retreated behind a pious shield of public rectitude. They've left the real stuff of their reputations bleaching behind them in the sun in this country....
We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service as easily as this administration has wiped away their memories of us. But all that they have done and all that they can do by this denial is to make more clear than ever our own determination to undertake one last mission - to search out and destroy the last vestige of this barbaric war, to pacify our own hearts, to conquer the hate and fear that have driven this country these last ten years and more. And more. And so when thirty years from now our brothers go down the street without a leg, without an arm, or a face, and small boys ask why, we will be able to say "Vietnam" and not mean a desert, not a filthy obscene memory, but mean instead where America finally turned and where soldiers like us helped it in the turning.
TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 1971; 2004; britain; electionpresident; johnkerry; kerry; kerryrecord; vietnam
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Kerry, who is mentioning in every other sentence that he is a Vietnam Vet, is very silent about his speech to the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations April 23, 1971, when he vehemently spoke out against the Vietnam War, as member of "Vietnam Vets Against the War" and very specifically against US actions.
How do you spell Hypocrite?! Please read the above in its entirety and let everyone know about this.
Thanks, I'm going to bookmark this.
posted on 05/17/2003 12:56:49 AM PDT
by Jean S
You might find this interesting.
posted on 05/17/2003 12:59:26 AM PDT
by Jean S
Kerry was a lunatic Leftist then, and he's a lunatic Leftist now. He's learned nothing. Pathetic.
posted on 05/17/2003 1:04:59 AM PDT
by Free ThinkerNY
(((Liberal range of intelligence: From the brain damaged...to the brain dead)))
To: Free ThinkerNY
As I have been doing some research, I am coming across statements that Kerry actually founded or was one of the co-founders of "Vietnam Vets Against the War", and he and some other five Vitenam Vets lead a protest against the war.
I wonder if he is still associated with them. http://www.vvaw.org
Needless to say, they are vehemently opposed to the Iraq War.
An American Indian friend of mine who lives in the Indian Nation of Alcatraz put it to me very succinctly...
Wasn't this so-called Indian nation actually the illegal occupation of government property by a band of thugs who ended up trashing the place, assaulting women there, burning down parts of it, leaving children unattended resulting in one falling to his death, etc.?
posted on 05/17/2003 1:17:36 AM PDT
I wonder how often these days it gets mentioned about him throwing (someone else's) medals over the wall at the White House. I read often lately about his medals being on prominent display in his office. But I guess that's OK, him being a DemocRat and all....
posted on 05/17/2003 1:20:10 AM PDT
(FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION. It comes bundled with the software.)
posted on 05/17/2003 1:22:01 AM PDT
They're vehemently opposed to any war in defense of this country.
posted on 05/17/2003 1:25:38 AM PDT
by Free ThinkerNY
(((Bet Kerry in the Preakness.)))
To: Free ThinkerNY
"They're vehemently opposed to any war in defense of this country. "
And this is the guy who wants to be president of THIS country? I guess he plans to continue the fine Clinton tradition of destroying it from the inside.
Yes. That's the whole idea.
posted on 05/17/2003 1:34:43 AM PDT
by Free ThinkerNY
(((They don't call them subversives for nothing)))
I searched for it, and the UK Guardian mentioned it, but I didn't see any of the US media bring it up.
"Mr Kerry has been the only senior Democrat in Congress to take on President Bush over the administration's foreign policy and his pursuit of the "war on terror". The senator said he was running because "I have a different vision for where this country is going". A decorated navy veteran in the Vietnam war who threw away his combat ribbons on the steps of Congress in protest against the war, Mr Kerry's background gave him the credentials to issue a detailed critique of the Pentagon's strategy in Afghanistan. http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,861384,00.html
That settles that. Kerry has a lock on the Democratic Party nomination. Sharpton, Dean and Kucinich don't have credentials which will impress the party base as much as this speech.
posted on 05/17/2003 1:47:10 AM PDT
I am afraid you may be right. You have to show sufficient anti-US conviction to get the Democrat nomination.
I also came across another article about Kerry from 1996: http://www.usvetdsp.com/story10.htm
John Kerry: The Chameleon Senator
By Ted Sampley
U.S. Veteran Dispatch
October-December 1996 Issue
Despite the prayers and wishful thinking of POW/MIA families and Vietnam veteran activists, Sen. John Forbes Kerry, the "chameleon" senator from Massachusetts, was re-elected to the Senate in the 1996 election. Apparently Kerry's well publicized history as a longtime radical supporter of the Vietnamese communists and a recent flap about whether or not he is guilty of a war crime meant very little to the voters in Massachusetts.
Sen. Kerry, the "noble statesman" and "highly decorated Vietnam vet" of today, is a far cry from Kerry, the radical, hippie-like leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) in the early 1970s. After Kerry, as a Navy Lieutenant (junior grade) commanding a Swift boat in Vietnam, was awarded the Silver he found it advantageous to quit the Navy, change the color of his politics and become a leader of VVAW. He went to work organizing opposition in America against the efforts of his former buddies still ducking communist bullets back in Vietnam. Kerry gained national attention in April 1971, when he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, then chaired by Sen. J. William Fulbright (D-AR), who led opposition in the Congress against U.S. participation in the war. During the course of his testimony, Kerry stated that the United States had a definite obligation to make extensive economic reparations to the people of Vietnam.
Kerry's testimony, it should be noted, occurred while some of his fellow Vietnam veterans were known by the world to be enduring terrible suffering as prisoners of war in North Vietnamese prisons. Kerry was a supporter of the "People's Peace Treaty," a supposed "people's" declaration to end the war, reportedly drawn up in communist East Germany. It included nine points, all of which were taken from Viet Cong peace proposals at the Paris peace talks as conditions for ending the war.
One of the provisions stated: "The Vietnamese pledge that as soon as the U.S. government publicly sets a date for total withdrawal [from Vietnam], they will enter discussion to secure the release of all American prisoners, including pilots captured while bombing North Vietnam." In other words, Kerry and his VVAW advocated the communist line to withdraw all U.S. troops from Vietnam first and then negotiate with Hanoi over the release of prisoners. Had the nine points of the "People's Peace Treaty" favored by Kerry been accepted by American negotiators, the United States would have totally lost all leverage to get the communists to release any POWs captured during the war years.
Kerry was fundamental in organizing antiwar activists to demonstrate in Washington, including the splattering of red paint, representing blood, on the Capitol steps. Several hundred of Kerry's VVAW demonstrators and supporters were allowed by Fulbright to jam into a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in 1972 and to chant "Right on, brother!" as Sen. George McGovern (D-SD), then the only declared Democratic presidential candidate, accused U.S. troops of committing barbarisms in Vietnam.
Kerry became even more of a press celebrity during a highly publicized "anti-war" protest when he threw medals the press reported were his over a barricade and onto the steps of the Capitol. Kerry never mentioned that the medals he so gloriously tossed were not his own. The 1988 issue of Current Biography Yearbook explained: " . . . the ones he had discarded were not his own but had belonged to another veteran who asked him to make the gesture for him. When a 'Washington Post' reporter asked Kerry about the incident, he said: 'They're my medals. I'll do what I want with them. And there shouldn't be any expectations about them.'" Kerry's medals have reappeared, today hanging in his Senate office, now that it is "politically correct" for a U.S. Senator to be portrayed as a Vietnam War hero. Alas, so much for integrity.
Recently, Kerry became extremely defensive when David Warsh, an economics columnist for The Boston Globe, questioned the circumstances for which Kerry was awarded the Silver Star. Kerry, who was in a close re-election battle with Gov. William F. Weld, a Republican, quickly gathered his former crew from his Swift boat days to rebuff the "assault on his integrity."
According to the official citation accompanying the Silver Star for Kerry's actions on the waters of the Mekong Delta on February 28, 1969: "Kerry's craft received a B-40 rocket close aboard. Once again Lieutenant (j.g.) Kerry ordered his units to charge the enemy positions. . . Patrol Craft Fast 94 then beached in the center of the enemy positions and an enemy soldier sprang up from his position not ten feet from Patrol Craft 94 and fled. Without hesitation Lieutenant (j.g.) Kerry leaped ashore, pursued the man behind a hootch and killed him, capturing a B-40 rocket launcher with a round in the chamber." In an article printed in the October 21st and 28th 1996 edition of The New Yorker, Kerry was asked about the man he had killed.
"It was either going to be him or it was going to be us. It was that simple. I don't know why it wasn't us--I mean, to this day. He had a rocket pointed right at our boat. He stood up out of the hole, and none of us saw him until he was standing in front of us, aiming a rocket right at us, and, for whatever reason, he didn't pull the trigger--he turned and ran. He was shocked to see our boat right in front of him. If he'd pulled the trigger, we'd all be dead . . . I just won't talk about all of it. I don't and I can't. The things that probably really turn me I've never told anybody. Nobody would understand," Kerry said. In the column, Warsh quoted the Swift boat's former gunner, Tom Belodeau, as saying the Viet Cong soldier who Kerry chased "behind a hootch" and "finished off" actually had already been wounded by the gunner.
Warsh wrote that such a "coup de grace" would have been considered a war crime. Belodeau stood beside Kerry and said he'd been misquoted. He conceded that he had fired at and wounded the Viet Cong, but denied Kerry had simply executed the wounded Viet Cong. Dan Carr, a former Marine from Massachusetts, who served 14 months as a rifleman sloshing around in the humid jungles of I Corps, South Vietnam, questioned whether or not Kerry deserved a Silver Star for chasing and killing a lone, wounded, retreating Viet Cong. "Kerry is certainly showing some sensitivity there. Most people I knew in Vietnam were just trying to pull their time there and get the hell out. There were some, though, who actually used Vietnam to get their tickets punched. You know, to build their resumes for future endeavors," Carr said.
In 1991, the United States Senate created the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs to examine the possibility that U.S. POW/MIAs might still be held by the Vietnamese. As chairman of the Select Committee, Kerry proved himself to be a masterful chameleon portraying to the public at large what appeared to be an unbiased approach to resolving the POW/MIA issue. But, in reality, no one in the United States Senate pushed harder to bury the POW/MIA issue, the last obstacle preventing normalization of relations with Hanoi, than John Forbes Kerry. (Remember the middle name "Forbes").
In fact, his first act as chairman was to travel to Southeast Asia, where during a stopover in Bangkok, Thailand, he lectured the U.S. Chamber of Commerce there on the importance of lifting the trade embargo and normalizing relations with Vietnam. During the entire life of the Senate Select Committee, Kerry never missed a chance to propaganderize and distort the facts in favor of Hanoi.
Sydney H. Schanberg, associate editor and columnist for New York Newsday and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist veteran of the Indochina War whose book, The Death and Life of Dith Pran, became the subject of the Academy Award-winning film The Killing Fields, chronicled some of Kerry's more blatant pro-Hanoi biases in several of his columns.
In a Nov. 21, 1993 column, Schanberg wrote, "Highly credible information has been surfacing in recent days which indicates that the headlines you have been reading about a 'breakthrough' in Hanoi's cooperation on the POW/MIA issue are part of a carefully scripted performance. The apparent purpose is to move toward normalization of relations with Hanoi.
"Sen. John F. Kerry, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, is one of the key figures pushing for normalization. Kerry is currently on a visit to Vietnam where he has been doing two things: (1) praising the Vietnamese effusively for granting access to their war archives and (2) telling the press that there's no believable evidence to back up the stories of live POWs still being held. "Ironically, that very kind of live-POW evidence has been brought to Kerry's own committee on a regular basis over the past year, and he has repeatedly sought to impeach its value. Moreover, Kerry and his allies on the committee - such as Sens. John McCain, Nancy Kassebaum and Tom Daschle - have worked to block much of this evidence from being made public."
In December of 1992, not long after Kerry was quoted in the world press stating "President Bush should reward Vietnam within a month for its increased cooperation in accounting for American MIAs," Vietnam announced it had granted Colliers International, based in Boston, Massachusetts, a contract worth billions designating Colliers International as the exclusive real estate agent representing Vietnam.
That deal alone put Colliers in a position to make tens of millions of dollars on the rush to upgrade Vietnam's ports, railroads, highways, government buildings, etc. C. Stewart Forbes, Chief Executive Officer of Colliers International, is Kerry's cousin. Kerry was portrayed in The New Yorker as a proud Vietnam veteran and "war hero" who, as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, dared to take on and defeat the "mendacious POW lobby."
In its 1993 final report, the Select Committee determined that live U.S. prisoners of war were left behind in the hands of the Vietnamese after the end of the war. The committee also claimed it found no "compelling" evidence proving the POWs remain alive today. Kerry's committee stopped there without answering three of the most profound questions of the entire Senate POW/MIA investigation: What happened to those U.S. prisoners of war who the Select Committee said were alive and in the hands of the Vietnamese but not released at the end of the war? If they are dead, where are their remains? Who is responsible for their deaths?
No doubt most of the Establishment press will continue to obscure from the public and themselves the raw truth about Kerry, the communist Vietnamese and the POW/MIA issue because it is politically convenient. There is also no doubt the POW/MIA families and Vietnam veteran activists know the truth and recognize Kerry for what he truly is--a traitor, hypocrite, liar and chameleon.
And this is the guy who wants to be president of THIS country?
For the life of me, I just cannot get a handle on their "strategy" for winning in 2004.
Running anti-America candidates in a time of perpetual war just doesn't make any sense at all.
But if that's how they want to run it, why should we stop them?
posted on 05/17/2003 2:12:51 AM PDT
To: *Election President
posted on 05/17/2003 2:31:26 AM PDT
by Free the USA
(Stooge for the Rich)
Benedict Arnold was an American war hero, until one measly little act of treason lost him his place in the Pantheon of American patriots. Like young Bill Clinton, young John F. Kerry wanted to maintain his "political viability" during the Vietnam War. Because he had a little more physical courage (and a little less libido) than X42, however, he chose to enlist in the Navy. As an officer, he had more options as to where in the Navy he wanted to serve: don't think for a moment that he was somehow accidentally assigned to the "swift" boats by the "little old GS-13" lady in tennis shoes. Kerry chose Navy in general, and swift boats in particular because it conjured up images of
"the Real JFK" in PT109. As to whether Kerry's actions in Vietnam were the stuff that legends are made of, I doubt we'll ever know. As an Army Veteran who served in Vietnam, I can say that (with the notable exeception of Naval Aviators and SEALS) the Vietnam-era Navy was notorious for handing out "valor" awards for acts that would have been considered "doing your duty" in other branches of service. What is clear, however, is that when Kerry got back to Mass., the political winds had definitely shifted to the radical Left. A "War hero" was more likely to be viewed as a "baby killer" by the movers and shakers in the Bay State Democratic political machine. So Kerry broke faith with his fellow Vietnam vets, and went heavily anti-war. I remember that there was a lot of media on him at the time, and in my recollection he made a lot of "Hanoi good, America evil" kind of statements. I'm sure that the archives of major TV networks are, even as we speak, being purged of some of JFK the Second's most radical moments, just as all documentary record of X42's doings in the anti-war movement at home and abroad mysteriously disappeared in the early 90's, but there's a lot of paper out there on Kerry's transformation from American patriot to Hanoi propaganda conduit (if the Republicans, or Kerry's Democrat political rivals, have the cojones to exploit it).
but, but, but, how can he *say* one thing and do another? That, that, that would make him a liar ? < /sarcasm >
posted on 05/17/2003 4:21:42 AM PDT
(It's all an Amish plot)
Kerry did not write this speech himself. It was ghostwritten by Adam Walinsky, former speechwriter for Robert F. Kennedy, who also coached Kerry on how to deliver it for maximum effect. No one ever mentions the speech given on the same day by former Zumwalt aide Melville Stephens. It was a polar opposite to what was written for Kerry and Stephens wrote his speech by himself and wasn't coached on how to deliver it. Read all about the puke John French Kerry and his role in Dewey Canyon III in "Stolen Valor", pp 135-136.
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