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).
"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.
First of all, thank you for your honorable service.
The Navy did, and may possibly still have a system where the OFFICERS were basically handed out valor awards for seemingly doing their jobs. I've seen officers get awards for things their enlisted men did as well. Its not everywhere, but it was rampant.
I've also seen enlisted men pay for officers mistakes.
I also read part of another article that wondered why Kerry publicly gave a great amount of lip service to finding and returning any Vietnam veterans who may have still been POWs, and privately worked against it at every turn.
This came out about a year ago, and I know Vietnam has a policy of harassing other members of service who fought over there, but its noteworthy. It shows the other side of Kerry's Silver Star
Associated Press | Saturday, June 1, 2002
Vietnam: Kerrey Committed War Crime
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) - Vietnam accused former Sen. Bob Kerrey of crimes during the Vietnam War, saying Friday that families of villagers killed by his Navy team experienced ``incomparable suffering and losses.''
It was the first time Vietnam has publicly accused Kerrey of criminal activity. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Phan Thuy Thanh made the accusation in reaction to a revised account of the raid in Kerrey's new memoir.
Thanhdid not specify what crimes Vietnam believed Kerrey had committed.
``Whatever Mr. Kerrey says cannot change the truth. Mr. Kerrey himself has admitted that he was ashamed of the crimes he committed,'' she said.
On Friday, Kerrey said he was disappointed by the government's comments,saying officials there have long blamed Americans for war-time atrocities.
``I pointed out then, and I'm pointing out now, both sides did a lot of damage in the Vietnam war,'' he said, adding the North Vietnamese used terror as one of their tools.
``You gotta get beyond it,'' he said at a Washington bookstore where he was doing a reading. ``I'm quite certain the majority of people in Vietnam want to go on with their lives.''
Kerrey currently serves as president at New York's New School University.
The incident, which Kerrey first acknowledged last year, put the former senator at the center of a national discussion about U.S. conduct during the war.
Kerrey said then that about 13 civilians were killed ``by mistake'' after his SEAL team was fired on and returned fire during the raid on Thanh Phong village on Feb. 25, 1969. He said he did not know of the civilian casualties until the shooting stopped.
But in his new memoir, ``When I Was a Young Man,'' Kerrey writes that he was aware that women and children had begun to gather as his squad searched the village for enemy Viet Cong.
Shortly thereafter, Kerrey says his men were fired upon from the direction of the women and children. The Americans fired back, and the villagers were hopelessly caught in the cross fire, he says.
Kerrey acknowledged the difference in his recollection of events in an author's note, saying it changed after he met with members of his squad following news reports.
After Kerrey acknowledged the incident last year, a member of his Navy SEAL unit and two Vietnamese women who said they witnessed the raid alleged the soldiers herded the women and children together and massacred them - a
charge that Kerrey and five other members of the Navy SEAL team deny.
Oneof the women, Pham Thi Lanh, said 20 unarmed villagers, mostly women and children, were killed.
On Friday, Thanh, the foreign ministry spokeswoman, said, ``Our countrymen in Thanh Phong, Ben Tre province, clearly told the truth about the massacre.''
She said families in the village had experienced ``incomparable suffering and losses'' because of the ``crimes committed by Kerrey's unit.''
She said Kerrey and other Americans who fought in Vietnam now ``should take specific and practical actions that contribute to the healing of the wounds of the war they caused in Vietnam.''
Thanh did not specify what crimes Kerrey had committed in the raid or what actions should be taken.
Kerrey, who later served as Nebraska governor and senator, and ran for president in 1992, received a Bronze Star medal for heroism in the Thanh Phong raid.
More than 58,000 Americans and an estimated 3 million Vietnamese perished
in the Vietnam War, which ended in a communist victory in 1975
posted on 05/17/2003 6:10:34 AM PDT
by judicial meanz
(Audaces Fortuna Juvat)
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