Saturday, April 22, 2006


On today’s Boston Globe Op Ed page, John Kerry recalls 1971 and what he now calls “my act of public dissent”. Kerry parallels his 1971 stance with dissent about today's war in Iraq. He closes his column this way [emphasis mine]:

I still believe as strongly as I did 35 years ago that the most important way to support our troops is to tell the truth. Patriotism does not belong to those who defend a president's position -- it belongs to those who defend our country, in battle and in dissent. That is a lesson of Vietnam worth remembering today.

Fair enough, Mr. Kerry. But where does this distinction place you? Below are your own words – the exact words with which you began your Senate testimony in April, 1971. You gave this testimony under oath and in front of a national TV audience. You used this testimony to launch your own political career in Massachusetts.

Were you telling the truth?

If what you said then was not the truth, then why should anyone believe you now? Rather, we should suspect you of acting as one of many (again using your words) “politicians in Washington scheming to save their political reputations.”

“I would like to talk, representing 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, 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, the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam, but they did. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.

They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, tape 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 Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side 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...I would like to talk to you a little bit about what the result is of the feelings these men carry with them after coming back from Vietnam. The country doesn't know it yet, but it has created a monster, a monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence, and who are given the chance to die for the biggest nothing in history; men who have returned with a sense of anger and a sense of betrayal which no one has yet grasped.

1 comment:

Wave Maker said...

Harry, Had to eat some tums after reading that piece. I discovered this interesting piece from Fact Check -- while I suppose we'll never know the extent to which Kerry was deliberately lying in his testimony in 1971, what is quite clear from the ensuing row over it is that Kerry and his campaign lied in the manner they spun the issue during the 2004 campaign.

Any way you slice it, from this and innumerable other instances, you are left with the conclusion that John Kerry should lecture about telling the truth about as much as Ted Kennedy should lecture about drinking and driving.