View Full Version : Kerry Campaign Posts Navy Records Online

04-21-04, 08:33 AM
Kerry Campaign Posts Navy Records Online

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - John Kerry (news - web sites)'s campaign is posting his military records on the Internet as his critics question the combat injuries that earned him three Purple Hearts and an early exit from Vietnam.

The first records posted Tuesday night on Kerry's campaign Web site documented the awards that have been a highlight of Kerry's biography as the Democrat seeks to oust President Bush (news - web sites) in November.

During nearly five months as the commander of a Navy swiftboat in the Mekong Delta, Kerry was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic achievement, the Silver Star for gallantry in action and three Purple Hearts for injuries that included shrapnel wounds to his arms, legs and buttocks.

Conservatives, talk radio hosts and some newspaper editorials have questioned the seriousness of his injuries and whether the Massachusetts senator was deserving of the three Purple Hearts, which resulted in his reassignment out of Vietnam.

Kerry's former commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Grant Hibbard, told the Boston Globe last week that Kerry's first Purple Heart came from minor wound, resembling a fingernail scrape.

Besides the citations and certificates posted on the Internet, Kerry's campaign provided The Associated Press with declassified reports that briefly explain the injuries that led to Kerry's final two Purple Heart awards.

They show Kerry had shrapnel wounds in his left thigh after his boat came under intense fire on Feb. 20, 1969, and he suffered shrapnel wounds in his left buttock and contusions on his right forearm when a mine detonated close to his boat on March 13, 1969.

The campaign could not locate a similar report for Kerry's original Purple Heart. As evidence that Kerry was wounded, campaign spokesman Michael Meehan showed The Associated Press a "Sick Call Treatment Record" from Kerry's personal files that included a brief written note dated Dec. 3, 1968, and stamped from the naval support facility at Cam Ranh Bay.

"Shrapnel in left arm above elbow. Shrapnel removed and appl bacitracin dressing. Ret to Duty," it said. The note is followed by a signature that appears to say "JCCarreon" and some illegible letters that Meehan said probably designate the medical official's rank.

Meehan said the campaign would allow a reporter to see the record at the campaign's headquarters, but not take a copy. He said it would not be made available to the public because Kerry considers it a private medical record.

Documentation for the other two injuries shows that Kerry was deemed to be in good condition and returned to active duty after treatment. The documentation does not describe the severity of the injuries.

After the third Purple Heart, the Navy was required to reassign Kerry out of Vietnam, and a document dated March 17, 1969, said Kerry requested duty as a personal aide in Boston, New York or the Washington area. Kerry could have volunteered to stay in Vietnam, but left the country in early April 1969.

Along with his final Purple Heart, Kerry received the Bronze Star after being wounded by the mine. One of his boatmates was thrown overboard in the blast, but Kerry pulled him to safety.

Kerry did this with "his arm bleeding and in pain and with disregard for his personal safety," according to the citation. Kerry and the man who went overboard, retired Los Angeles police officer Jim Rassmann, had an emotional public reunion in January, two days before Kerry would win the Iowa caucuses.

Democrats have been touting Kerry's decorated service during the wartime presidential race and contrasting it with President Bush's lack of combat experience.

"We are happy to compare Senator Kerry's record of service to anybody in the Bush campaign who has or has not served," Meehan said.

Bush was in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War, but did not serve in combat. Bush released hundreds of pages of his Vietnam-era military records in February to counter Democrats' suggestions that he shirked his duty in the Texas Air National Guard.

The White House said the documents comprise his entire military record. The records did not provide evidence that Bush attended drills while in Alabama during a period when Democrats have questioned whether he reported for service. The records did include a dental examination at an Alabama military facility.

When asked about the questions surrounding his Purple Hearts Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Kerry said all his military records are available to the public. Meehan said Kerry requested a copy of his record from the Navy last month and received roughly 150 pages last week. He said the entire file would be posted online.


On the Net:

Kerry's military records:


Facsimiles of reports describing Kerry's wounds:




04-21-04, 12:26 PM
Impressive pile of "paper". Nowhere does it show a treatment record for the first PH injury. Instead, there is a reference to a "sick call treatment" for a SHRAPNEL WOUND TO ELBOW, which required bacitracin ointment. This is a BS award!!

Kerry got a scratch, which needed FIRST-AID CREME to complete treatment! He went to a sick call for it. Where is the after-action report which describes the injury? Come on! Whats wrong with this PICTURE?

I'll give Kerry credit for having gone into the Swift Boat division, and having come under enemy fire. I've read the papertrail concerning his second and third PH, and they seem genuine. However, his paperwork for the first PH is as solid as a FART. I don't buy it!

That puts Kerry into the "get me out of here" school of political wannabes, right alongside Al Gore, who spent his time in Veitnam as a staff member of Stars and Stripes. Gore was not exposed to prolonged contact with dangerous things. Kerry was but fudged his first PH to qualify for extraction from the combat zone.

That is how I see it.

Semper Fi!

04-21-04, 01:49 PM
APRIL 21--John Kerry was "unofficially credited" with killing 20 enemy fighters during his five months in Vietnam, according to military records just released by the Democratic presidential candidate's campaign. The body count reference is included in a glowing 1969 Navy report that noted Kerry, a 25-year-old junior grade lieutenant, exhibited "all of the traits desired of an officer in a combat environment." The Navy document, a copy of which you'll find below, was among hundreds of pages released today by the Kerry camp in response to requests from reporters and criticism from Republicans demanding full disclosure of the U.S. Senator's military record. (2 pages)

To see documents...click link


04-21-04, 02:07 PM
John Kerry doesn't have a chance in hell of winning this November, so I could care less about him or what he has to say! He's a Democrat, that says enough!

d c taveapont
04-21-04, 03:01 PM
hey there jarhead !. thinking along the party lines and NOT what might be a good change for this country. and don't say any thing about flip flopping. you do it every time that you change your mind..as will as i...and what else stands out is these words: Read my lips NO more taxes. you can rest assured that you as will as i will be paying taxes for the war...now which GW said this....

04-21-04, 04:43 PM
at least he isn't getting the big VA phone baloney ptsd money like so many other crybabies.

04-21-04, 06:09 PM
hey there jarhead !. thinking along the party lines and NOT what might be a good change for this country. and don't say any thing about flip flopping. you do it every time that you change your mind..as will as i...and what else stands out is these words: Read my lips NO more taxes. you can rest assured that you as will as i will be paying taxes for the war...now which GW said this....

Hi d c, that was George H. Bush who said that and if my memory serves me right, it was a Democrat Bill that President George Herbert Bush signed that had the taxes in it. He did screw up by signing it. Now if George W. Bush gets reelected, you will pay less taxes than if John Kerry gets elected. I guess anytime that a person changes his mind you could call it flip floping and again you could say that they saw the light, don't think it's that way with John F. Kerry, he's just trying to pull the wool over the Americans eyes he's flip floping. Think about it.


at least he isn't getting the big VA phone baloney ptsd money like so many other crybabies.

You really lost me this time, what is VA phone baloney ptsd money? Do you think that John F. Kerry really needs the Va phone baloney ptsd money? If you do then you haven't been keeping up with the News, he has a few buck and if he needs any more his wife would let him have a few millions.

04-22-04, 02:39 PM
All politicians lie.

04-23-04, 12:19 PM
Records on medals spark questions

By Charles Hurt

The military records that Sen. John Kerry posted on his Web site yesterday raise new questions about the actions he took to earn several prestigious war medals and whether he deserved them.
The Navy awarded Mr. Kerry three Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star in just four months of commanding a gunboat along rivers in Vietnam. It's an extraordinary record, say many veterans, and one that raises questions on its face.

For example, those military records do not show Mr. Kerry ever missing a day of duty for injuries, there is conflict between some of the accounts and Mr. Kerry's presidential campaign still refuses to release some records.
"The idea that John Kerry would have put in for three Purple Hearts during only four months in country is just ridiculous," said Mel Howell from Evansville, Ind., a retired Navy officer who flew helicopters in Vietnam. "Most of us came away with all kinds of scratches like the ones Kerry got but never accepted Purple Hearts for them."
Upon inspection of the government documents posted on the Massachusetts Democrat's Web site, other questions arise such as the conflicting descriptions in official records of the injuries Mr. Kerry sustained on March 13, 1969. It was the commendations he earned that day — a Bronze Star and a third Purple Heart — that let Mr. Kerry request a transfer out of Vietnam and into a desk job eight months before his tour expired.
The Personnel Casualty Report from that day says Mr. Kerry "suffered shrapnel wounds in his left buttocks and contusions on his right forearm when a mine detonated close aboard" his boat.
But the citation for the Bronze Star that he was awarded for the same action described "his arm bleeding and in pain," saying nothing about arm bruises or shrapnel wounds anywhere.
"I don't want to say it's a lie, but it isn't true," said Charles Kaufman, a retired Air Force captain whose job once was to submit military award requests.
"His Bronze Star medal citation appears to be based on an injury he did not receive," said Mr. Kaufman, who now lives in Germany. "His arm was not bleeding. If the paperwork had said, 'Kerry had a bruised arm,' I wonder if he would have been given this medal for bravery?"
"They don't quite jibe," said James W. Doran, national service director of the advocacy group American Veterans. But he did not fault Mr. Kerry.
"Somebody up the command flowered it up," Mr. Doran said. "They just made it pretty for somebody's signature."
Several requests for comment were not returned by the Kerry campaign yesterday.
During Mr. Kerry's relatively short tour in Vietnam, he racked up a stunning record, based on the documents released by the campaign yesterday.
All of his performance evaluations rated him first or nearly first among his peers, and no evidence suggests he ever missed duty because of illness or injuries. He was credited with killing 20 enemy fighters.
"Intelligent, mature and rich in educational background and experience, Ens Kerry is one of the finest young officers I have ever met and without question one of the most promising," wrote Capt. Allen Slifer, Mr. Kerry's commanding superior aboard the USS Gridley before going into combat.
But some veterans say his record is too good to be true.
"Superhuman" is how Ray Waller, a combat medic in the Marines, described Mr. Kerry's record of awards.
"I don't remember anybody getting three Purple Hearts and leaving, even within six or eight months," said Mr. Waller, who as a medic was responsible for determining whether injuries warranted Purple Hearts. "And if they did, it was very, very rare — not to mention the Silver Star and the Bronze Star."
He also was surprised that Mr. Kerry never missed duty for the wounds that earned him Purple Hearts. Although Mr. Kerry has said one of the injuries caused him to lose two days of service, there is no evidence he ever lost time for any injuries.
"If he's got shrapnel in his buttocks, he's going to lose time," Mr. Waller said. "It would be impossible to have three wounds and never have a loss of time."
Though the campaign released more than 120 pages of Navy records yesterday, Mr. Kerry still refused to release medical records that more thoroughly describe the injuries.
Among the records that the campaign will not release is any explanation for the injuries that led to Mr. Kerry's first Purple Heart, less than a month after going into combat.
Although the campaign won't release one document, called a "Sick Call Treatment Record," officials allowed the Associated Press to view it earlier this week. It said: "Shrapnel in left arm above elbow. Shrapnel removed and appl[ied] bacitracin dressing. Ret[urned] to duty."
"If it only required bacitracin and a Band-Aid, it sounds like a piece of hot shrapnel that was flying around and may not have even broken the skin," said Mr. Waller, adding that he'd never heard of a shrapnel injury that didn't require a tetanus shot and time off leading to a Purple Heart.
It was Mr. Kerry's first injury that already is the source of serious questions raised by his commanding officer at the time, Grant Hibbard.
Mr. Hibbard declined requests yesterday to be interviewed by The Washington Times, but he told the Boston Globe that Mr. Kerry's injuries were too minor to qualify for a Purple Heart.
"He had a little scratch on his forearm, and he was holding a piece of shrapnel," Mr. Hibbard said. "People in the office were saying, 'I don't think we got any fire,' and there is a guy holding a little piece of shrapnel in his palm."
But Mr. Kerry persisted and, to his own "chagrin," Mr. Hibbard told the Globe, he dropped the matter.
"I do remember some questions, some correspondence about it," Mr. Hibbard said. "I finally said, 'OK, if that's what happened ... do whatever you want.' After that, I don't know what happened. Obviously, he got it, I don't know how."
One possible reason why Mr. Kerry racked up so many battle awards in such a short period of time might be the command structure. Because awards are generally recommended by superiors, Mr. Kerry's bosses would have relied on accounts of the action from Mr. Kerry and his underling crew mates.
And because injuries warranting Purple Hearts are verified by medics — or corpsmen — it would have been a soldier inferior to Mr. Kerry who was in charge of determining the seriousness of his injuries.
"If the commander walks up to the corpsman and says, 'I'm wounded,' " said Mr. Waller, "his corpsman isn't going to say it's just a scratch, he's going to say 'OK.' "



04-23-04, 12:35 PM
Attention on deck!

At least we know that Kerry HAS military records.

Where are George W's infamous Air National Guard records for the "missing" 18 months?

C'mon! Kerry didn't award these decorations to himself! We all know how the system works! Someone up the chain thought he was deserving of the PH and put the paperwork in.

It's amazing that idiots like Rush Limbaugh who haven't spent a minute in uniform are all of a sudden experts on the military awards system?

Give me an f'ing break!!!

This is political BS started by the Bush re-election campaign to create a smoke screen for the Bush "no-records" fiasco. You guys should be smarter than to get sucked into this.

Use your brain-housing group, people!

04-23-04, 02:01 PM
QUANAH - Charles Hurt, died Wednesday, March 17, 2004, in Wichita Falls.
Services will be at 2 p.m. today in Quanah Church of Christ with Bill Osborne and Larry DeLong officiating. Burial will be in Quanah Memorial Park by Smith Funeral Home.

Mr. Hurt was born in Eldorado, Okla. He married Robbie Owen on April 9, 1947, in Childress.

Attention on deck!
At least we know that Kerry HAS military records.
Where are George W's infamous Air National Guard records for the "missing" 18 months?
C'mon! Kerry didn't award these decorations to himself! We all know how the system works! Someone up the chain thought he was deserving of the PH and put the paperwork in.
It's amazing that idiots like Rush Limbaugh who haven't spent a minute in uniform are all of a sudden experts on the military awards system?
Give me an f'ing break!!!
This is political BS started by the Bush re-election campaign to create a smoke screen for the Bush "no-records" fiasco. You guys should be smarter than to get sucked into this.
Use your brain-housing group, people!

You are right John F. Kerry had Military Records, then we all knew this for a long time Maj, you don't have to keep telling us this over and over.

George W. Missing 18 months National Guard records, Are they missing? Maybe to you they are.

This is political BS started by the Bush re-election campaign. Show proof that Bush is behind this, I don't think that you can.

Now you hurt me when you say bad things about Rush Limbaugh, he only reports the truth and you know it. Look at your boy Alan Colmes on Fox News do you believe him?

You guys should be smarter than to get sucked into this, we don't get sucked into anything that the LEFT tries to pass out to the brain-damaged liberals, sorry I shouldn't have said that, should have said brain-retarded liberals. Even that would be nasty.

C'mon! Kerry didn't award these decorations to himself! We all know how the system works! Someone up the chain thought he was deserving of the PH and put the paperwork in. Is it possible that John F. Kerry had a spy somewheres that help him get his awards? Now I am not saying that he had friends in higher places that could help him when needed. Something to think about, isn't it?

04-23-04, 02:15 PM
Originally posted by MAJMike
At least we know that Kerry HAS military records.

C'mon! Kerry didn't award these decorations to himself! We all know how the system works! Someone up the chain thought he was deserving of the PH and put the paperwork in.

Give me an f'ing break!!!

This is political BS started by the Bush re-election campaign to create a smoke screen for the Bush "no-records" fiasco. You guys should be smarter than to get sucked into this.

Use your brain-housing group, people!


Many served in different positions during the Viet Nam war, but they served.

Self serving Kerry however, glorified his own accomplishments and made them out to be something bigger then they were in order to obtain awards to be used for political reasons in the goals he had set for himself.

Kerry stepped on and betrayed the honor of the Vietnam Veteran for political reasons.

It wasn't the Bush administration that started this, any veteran that has seen combat or any intelligent American voter would wonder about his awards. As A veteran, I've seen Purple Hearts awarded in the Corps very sparely.

The Navy likewise, sometimes was stricter in awarding the Purple Heart. Mr. Kerry's political influence with the Kennedy family gave him a lot of pull. Kerry had already served in a safe position in Nam, so his second tour was just for political reasons. He was groomed for this time by liberal democrats.

John Kerry couldn't keep the vows he made to his first wife, why does anyone think he'll make a trustworthy president?

One of the documents at WinterSoldier.com is the minutes of a VVAW executive meeting where members including John Kerry decided to take down American flags from all VVAW offices.

Kerry himself claims in his testimony before Congress that he had committed war crimes in Vietnam, then suggested he was merely following orders.

That type of false testimony before Congress and the news media forever stole the valor of those who had served with honor.

"The section “Busted by the historians” contains an excerpt from Stolen Valor by B. G. Burkett, Glenna Whitley. The key quote: “But years later, after his election to the Senate, Kerry’s medals turned up on the wall of his Capitol Hill office. When a reporter noticed them, Kerry admitted that the medals he had thrown that day were not his.”

He uses his medals and obtained them for political reasons, not because he did his duties.

"Since Kerry’s comrades seem so eager to judge President Bush’s character by whether or not he fulfilled a handful of National Guard obligations, the door may already have been opened to attacks on the Democratic front runner’s own conduct from those days.

Voters could have plenty of versions of Kerry from which to choose: the communist sympathizer who gleefully defamed America and millions of American soldiers, the war hero too cowardly to throw away his own medals, or the anti-war activist who was so eager to claim he had committed war crimes." Joel Mowbray

This guy is a scumbag that our military servicemen would have no respect to serve under, and world leaders see him as a wimp!

04-23-04, 02:31 PM
Marines vote only one word YES or NO

Yes move on

No stay and discuss more

MAJMike, BaldEagle and all members, I don't know how many time we have been over this same subject, don't you think that it's time to move on to something more interesting to discuss? lets take a vote on it.

04-23-04, 02:55 PM
Now that we know that Kerry is a manipulative bas"Turd"

Let’s talk about Kerry being refused communion in the Catholic Church because of his support for homos and abortions.

But, first lets find out why he won't release "All' of his military records?

The topic of this forum is on his military records.

Kerry said, he would release all of his military records, Bush has. Why hasn't Kerry?

Is it because they show he received a shot of penicillin for fooling around with little Suzy in Singapore?

This man double speaks with the best of politicians, but if you listen to what he says, it doesn't make sense, but people are mesmerized by the conviction in which he says what he does.

Listen to him the next time he speaks and you'll see what I mean.

04-23-04, 04:00 PM
Vetting the Vet Record (Part I)
Is Kerry a proud war hero or angry antiwar protester?

John Kerry, we know, is running against John Kerry: his own voting record. But there is another record that John Kerry is running against, and this has to do with his very emergence as a Democratic politician: Kerry, the proud Vietnam veteran vs. Kerry, the antiwar activist who accused his fellow Vietnam veterans of the most heinous atrocities imaginable.

John Kerry not only served honorably in Vietnam, but also with distinction, earning a Silver Star (America's third-highest award for valor), a Bronze Star, and three awards of the Purple Heart for wounds received in combat as a swift-boat commander. Kerry did not return from Vietnam a radical antiwar activist. According to the indispensable Stolen Valor, by H. G. "Jug" Burkett and Genna Whitley, "Friends said that when Kerry first began talking about running for office, he was not visibly agitated about the Vietnam War. 'I thought of him as a rather normal vet,' a friend said to a reporter, 'glad to be out but not terribly uptight about the war.' Another acquaintance who talked to Kerry about his political ambitions called him a 'very charismatic fellow looking for a good issue.'" Apparently, this good issue would be Vietnam.

Kerry hooked up with an organization called Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). Two events cooked up by this group went a long way toward cementing in the public mind the image of Vietnam as one big atrocity. The first of these was the January 31, 1971, "Winter Soldier Investigation" organized by "the usual suspects" among antiwar celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Dick Gregory, and Kennedy-assassination conspiracy theorist, Mark Lane. Here, individuals purporting to be Vietnam veterans told horrible stories of atrocities in Vietnam: using prisoners for target practice, throwing them out of helicopters, cutting off the ears of dead Viet Cong soldiers, burning villages, and gang-raping women as a matter of course.

The second event was "Dewey Canyon III," or what VVAW called a "limited incursion into the country of Congress" in April of 1971. It was during this VVAW "operation" that John Kerry first came to public attention. The group marched on Congress to deliver petitions to Congress and then to the White House. The highlight of this event occurred when veterans threw their medals and ribbons over a fence in front of the Capitol, symbolizing a rebuke to the government that they claimed had betrayed them. One of the veterans flinging medals back in the face of his government was John Kerry, although it turns out they were not his medals, but someone else's.

Several days later Kerry testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His speech, touted as a spontaneous rhetorical endeavor, was a tour de force, convincing many Americans that their country had indeed waged a merciless and immoral war in Vietnam. It was particularly powerful because Kerry did not fit the antiwar-protester mold. He was no scruffy, wide-eyed hippie. He was instead the best that America had to offer. He was, according to Burkett and Whitley, the "All-American boy, mentally twisted by being asked to do terrible things, then abandoned by his government."

Kerry began by referring to the Winter Soldiers Investigation in Detroit. Here, he claimed, "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 their stories. 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 Genghis 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.

This is quite a bill of particulars to lay at the feet of the U.S. military. He said in essence that his fellow veterans had committed unparalleled war crimes in Vietnam as a matter of course, indeed, that it was American policy to commit such atrocities.

In fact, the entire Winter Soldiers Investigation was a lie. It was inspired by Mark Lane's 1970 book entitled Conversations with Americans, which claimed to recount atrocity stories by Vietnam veterans. This book was panned by James Reston Jr. and Neil Sheehan, not exactly known as supporters of the Vietnam War. Sheehan in particular demonstrated that many of Lane's "eye witnesses" either had never served in Vietnam or had not done so in the capacity they claimed.

Nonetheless, Sen. Mark Hatfield inserted the transcript of the Winter Soldier testimonies into the Congressional Record and asked the Commandant of the Marine Corps to investigate the war crimes allegedly committed by Marines. When the Naval Investigative Service attempted to interview the so-called witnesses, most refused to cooperate, even after assurances that they would not be questioned about atrocities they may have committed personally. Those that did cooperate never provided details of actual crimes to investigators. The NIS also discovered that some of the most grisly testimony was given by fake witnesses who had appropriated the names of real Vietnam veterans. Guenter Lewy tells the entire study in his book, America in Vietnam.

Kerry's 1971 testimony includes every left-wing cliché about Vietnam and the men who served there. It is part of the reason that even today, people who are too young to remember Vietnam are predisposed to believe the worst about the Vietnam War and those who fought it. This predisposition was driven home by the fraudulent "Tailwind" episode some months ago.

The first cliché is that atrocities were widespread in Vietnam. But this is nonsense. Atrocities did occur in Vietnam, but they were far from widespread. Between 1965 and 1973, 201 soldiers and 77 Marines were convicted of serious crimes against the Vietnamese. Of course, the fact that many crimes, either in war or peace, go unreported, combined with the particular difficulties encountered by Americans fighting in Vietnam, suggest that more such acts were committed than reported or tried.

But even Daniel Ellsberg, a severe critic of U.S. policy in Vietnam, rejected the argument that the biggest U.S. atrocity in Vietnam, My Lai, was in any way a normal event: "My Lai was beyond the bounds of permissible behavior, and that is recognizable by virtually every soldier in Vietnam. They know it was wrong....The men who were at My Lai knew there were aspects out of the ordinary. That is why they tried to hide the event, talked about it to no one, discussed it very little even among themselves."

04-23-04, 04:02 PM
Vetting the Vet Record (Part II)

My Lai was an extreme case, but anyone who has been in combat understands the thin line between permissible acts and atrocity. The first and potentially most powerful emotion in combat is fear arising from the instinct of self-preservation. But in soldiers, fear is overcome by what the Greeks called thumos, spiritedness and righteous anger. In the Iliad, it is thumos, awakened by the death of his comrade Patroclus that causes Achilles to leave sulking in his tent and wade into the Trojans.

But unchecked, thumos can engender rage and frenzy. It is the role of leadership, which provides strategic context for killing and enforces discipline, to prevent this outcome. Such leadership was not in evidence at My Lai.

But My Lai also must be placed within a larger context. The NVA and VC frequently committed atrocities, not as a result of thumos run amok, but as a matter of policy. While left-wing anti-war critics of U.S. policy in Vietnam were always quick to invoke Auschwitz and the Nazis in discussing alleged American atrocities, they were silent about Hue City, where a month and a half before My Lai, the North Vietnamese and VC systematically murdered 3,000 people. They were also willing to excuse Pol Pot's mass murderer of upwards of a million Cambodians.

The second cliché is that is that Vietnam scarred an entire generation of young men. But for years, many of us who served in Vietnam tried to make the case that the popular image of the Vietnam vet as maladjusted loser, dehumanized killer, or ticking "time bomb" was at odds with reality. Indeed, it was our experience that those who had served in Vietnam generally did so with honor, decency, and restraint; that despite often being viewed with distrust or opprobrium at home, most had asked for nothing but to be left alone to make the transition back to civilian life; and that most had in fact made that transition if not always smoothly, at least successfully.

But the press could always find the stereotypical, traumatized vet who could be counted on to tell the most harrowing and gruesome stories of combat in Vietnam, often involving atrocities, the sort of stories that John Kerry gave credence to in his 1971 testimony. Many of the war stories recounted by these individuals were wildly implausible to any one who had been in Vietnam, but credulous journalists, most of whom had no military experience, uncritically passed their reports along to the public.

I had always agreed with the observation of the late Harry Summers, a well-known military commentator who served as an infantryman in Korean and Vietnam, that the story teller's distance from the battle zone was directly proportional to the gruesomeness of his atrocity story. But until the publication of the aforementioned Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and its History, neither Harry nor I any idea just how true his observation was.

In the course of trying to raise money for a Texas Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Burkett discovered that reporters were only interested in homeless veterans and drug abuse and that the corporate leaders he approached had bought into the popular image of Vietnam veterans. They were not honorable men who took pride in their service, but whining welfare cases, bellyaching about what an immoral government did to them.

Fed up, Burkett did something that any reporter worth his or her salt could have done: he used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to check the actual records of the "image makers" used by reporters to flesh out their stories on homelessness, Agent Orange, suicide, drug abuse, criminality, or alcoholism. What he found was astounding. More often than not, the showcase "veteran" who cried on camera about his dead buddies, about committing or witnessing atrocities, or about some heroic action in combat that led him to the current dead end in his life, was an impostor.

Indeed, Burkett discovered that over the last decade, some 1,700 individuals, including some of the most prominent examples of the Vietnam veteran as dysfunctional loser, had fabricated their war stories. Many had never even been in the service. Others, had been, but had never been in Vietnam.

Stolen Valor made it clear why John Kerry's testimony in 1971 slandered an entire generation of soldiers. Kerry gave credence to the claim that the war was fought primarily by reluctant draftees, predominantly composed of the poor, the young, or racial minorities.

The record shows something different, indicating that 86 percent of those who died during the war were white and 12.5 percent were black, from an age group in which blacks comprised 13.1 percent of the population. Two thirds of those who served in Vietnam were volunteers, and volunteers accounted for 77 percent of combat deaths.

Kerry portrayed the Vietnam veteran as ashamed of his service:

“We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service as easily as this administration has wiped 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 the fear that have driven this country these last ten years and more, and so when in 30 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 the place where America finally turned and where soldiers like us helped it in the turning.”

But a comprehensive 1980 survey commissioned by Veterans' Administration (VA) reported that 91 percent of those who had seen combat in Vietnam were "glad they had served their country;" 80 percent disagreed with the statement that "the US took advantage of me;" and nearly two out of three would go to Vietnam again, even knowing how the war would end.

Today, Sen. Kerry appeals to veterans in his quest for the White House. He invokes his Vietnam service at every turn. But an honest, enterprising reporter should ask Sen. Kerry this: Were you lying in 1971 or are you lying now? We do know that his speech was not the spontaneous, emotional, from-the-heart offering that he suggested it was. Burkett and Whitley report that instead, "it had been carefully crafted by a speech writer for Robert Kennedy named Adam Walinsky, who also tutored him on how to present it."

But the issue goes far beyond theatrics. If he believes his 1971 indictment of his country and his fellow veterans was true, then he couldn't possibly be proud of his Vietnam service. Who can be proud of committing war crimes of the sort that Kerry recounted in his 1971 testimony? But if he is proud of his service today, perhaps it is because he always knew that his indictment in 1971 was a piece of political theater that he, an aspiring politician, exploited merely as a "good issue." If the latter is true, he should apologize to every veteran of that war for slandering them to advance his political fortunes.

Mackubin Thomas Owens is an NRO contributing editor and a professor of strategy and force planning at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. He led a Marine infantry platoon in Vietnam in 1968-1969

04-23-04, 04:15 PM
BaldEagle, I have listen to him and all that I can see is his lips moving no words ever seem to come out, them why keep on this subject, we keep repeating ourselves over and over. Does it really matter if we see all of John F. Kerry military records or not? I don't care what he did in Vietnam, man that was over 30 years ago, same with George W. Bush again that was over 30 years ago. What matters now depends on what John F. Kerry or George W. Bush says about this Iraq war, what he will do to end it, how he will protect the United States from Terrorist, what he plans on doing about the Income Tax plan, Illegal Immigration, protecting our borders, bringing our troops home from not just Iraq but also from, Afghanistan, Germany, Korea, Japan, Bosnia Great Britain and Spain. Setting up a home defense system to protect our shores from any attack, close the border with Canada until they stop letting terrorist live there, close the borders with Mexico until they help stop the Illegal from coming into the United States across their borders. Why worry what happen 30 years ago?

Skull and Bones, with all its ritual and macabre relics, was founded in 1832 as a new world version of secret student societies that were common in Germany at the time. Since then, it has chosen or "tapped" only 15 senior students a year who become patriarchs when they graduate -- lifetime members of the ultimate old boys' club.
“Skull and Bones is so tiny. That's what makes this staggering,” says Robbins. “There are only 15 people a year, which means there are about 800 living members at any one time.”

Senator John Kerry, Democrat, was a member of Skull & Bones. George W. Bush, Republican, was a member of Skull & Bones.

For some Political Humor Cartoons on Bush, Kerry, Saddam and more go to this web site. Relax a little and have some fun.


Senator John F Kerry is aiming to be the second Senator from Massachusetts with the initials JFK to reach the White House. And like John Fitzgerald Kennedy he is running more on his personality than on his policies.