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Sparrowhawk
09-17-04, 08:17 PM
I was able to obtain the full 1971 Kerry testimony (not in pdf form) from CQ and it is worth while reading, to understand what Kerry really disclosed and said before Congress when he sold us out and branded us forever by his lies. I have decided to place it here in the Vietnam Tread as it reveals much of why we were so despised by many of the people including WWII and Korean veterans, when we came home as this was the news of those days.

It only made me angrier at this worthless piece of S*it running for president.

I hope it pis*es you off, as it did me.

Semper Fi

Cook Barela


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TESTIMONY OF JOHN KERRY FROM 1971

HON. SAM JOHNSON

OF TEXAS

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I would like to insert the following testimony into the Record.

On this date in 1971, John Kerry stated that America violated the Geneva Conventions in Vietnam. Mr. Speaker, when Mr. Kerry made these remarks, I just emerged from nearly four years of solitary confinement in Vietnam. Trust me when I say the Vietnamese regularly violated the Geneva Conventions, not the other way around.

John Kerry also alleges American soldiers tortured innocent Vietnamese. These statements were later proved incorrect (during the question and answer session).

Last, John Kerry said communism was not a threat in 1971. This could not have been further from the truth.

These are just a few reasons I believe America needs to see this testimony. It says a lot about John Kerry.

Sparrowhawk
09-17-04, 08:19 PM
LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS RELATING TO THE WAR IN SOUTHEAST ASIA <br />
<br />
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 11:05 a.m., in Room 4221, New Senate Office Building, Senator J. W. Fulbright (Chairman)...

Sparrowhawk
09-17-04, 08:21 PM
We watched the U.S. 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...

Sparrowhawk
09-17-04, 08:22 PM
PROPOSALS BEFORE COMMITTEE

You have said that the question before this committee and the Congress is really how to end the war. The resolutions about which we have been hearing testimony during the past several days, the sponsors of which are some members of this committee, are seeking the most practical way that we can find and, I believe, to do it at the earliest opportunity that we can. That is the purpose of these hearings and that is why you were brought here.

You have been very eloquent about the reasons why we should proceed as quickly as possible. Are you familiar with some of the proposals before this committee?

Mr. KERRY. Yes, I am, Senator.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you support or do you have any particular views about any one of them you wish to give the committee?

Mr. KERRY. My feeling, Senator, is undoubtedly this Congress, and I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but I do not believe that this Congress will, in fact, end the war as we would like to, which is immediately and unilaterally and, therefore, if I were to speak I would say we would set a date and the date obviously would be the earliest possible date. But I would like to say, in answering that, that I do not believe it is necessary to stall any longer. I have been to Paris. I have talked with both delegations at the peace talks, that is to say the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government and of all eight of Madam Binh’s points it has been stated time and time again, and was stated by Senator Vance Hartke when he returned from Paris, and it has been stated by many other officials of this Government, if the United States were to set a date for withdrawal the prisoners of war would be returned.

I think this negates very clearly the argument of the President that we have to maintain a presence in Vietnam, to use as a negotiating block for the return of those prisoners. The setting of a date will accomplish that.

As to the argument concerning the danger to our troops were we to withdraw or state that we would, they have also said many times in conjunction with that statement that all of our troops, the moment we set a date, will be given safe conduct out of Vietnam. The only other important point is that we allow the South Vietnamese people to determine their own future and that ostensibly is what we have been fighting for anyway.

I would, therefore, submit that the most expedient means of getting out of South Vietnam would be for the President of the United States to declare a cease-fire, to stop this blind commitment to a dictatorial regime, the Thieu-Ky-Khiem regime, accept a coalition regime which would represent all the political forces of the country which is in fact what a representative government is supposed to do and which is in fact what this Government here in this country purports to do, and pull the troops out without losing one more American, and still further without losing the South Vietnamese.

DESIRE TO DISENGAGE FROM VIETNAM

The CHAIRMAN. You seem to feel that there is still some doubt about the desire to disengage. I don’t believe that is true. I believe there has been a tremendous change in the attitude of the people. As reflected in the Congress, they do wish to disengage and to bring the war to an end as soon as we can.

QUESTION IS HOW TO DISENGAGE

The question before us is how to do it. What is the best means that is most effective, taking into consideration the circumstances with which all governments are burdened? We have a precedent in this same country. The French had an experience, perhaps not traumatic as ours has been, but nevertheless they did make up their minds in the spring of 1954 and within a few weeks did bring it to a close. Some of us have thought that this is a precedent, from which we could learn, for ending such a war. I have personally advocated that this is the best procedure. It is a traditional rather classic procedure of how to end a war that could be called a stalemate, that neither side apparently has the capacity to end by military victory, and which apparently is going to go on for a long time. Speaking only for myself, this seems the more reasonable procedure.

I realize you want it immediately, but I think that procedure was about as immediate as any by which a country has ever succeeded in ending such a conflict or a similar conflict. Would that not appeal to you?

Mr. KERRY. Well, Senator, frankly it does not appeal to me if American men have to continue to die when they don’t have to, particularly when it seems the Government of this country is more concerned with the legality of where men sleep than it is with the legality of where they drop bombs. [Applause.]

The CHAIRMAN. In the case of the French when they made up their mind to take the matter up at the conference in Geneva, they did. The first thing they did was to arrange a ceasefire and the killing did cease. Then it took only, I think, two or three weeks to tidy up all the details regarding the withdrawal. Actually when they made up their mind to stop the war, they did have a ceasefire which is what you are recommending as the first step.

Mr. KERRY. Yes, sir; that is correct.

The CHAIRMAN. It did not drag on. They didn’t continue to fight. They stopped the fighting by agreement when they went to Geneva and all the countries then directly involved participated in that agreement.

I don’t wish to press you on the details. It is for the committee to determine the best means, but you have given most eloquently the reasons why we should proceed as early as we can. That is, of course, the purpose of the hearing.

Mr. Kerry. Senator, if I may interject. I think that what we are trying to say is we do have a method. We believe we do have a plan, and that plan is that if this body were by some means either to permit a special referendum in this country so that the country itself might decide and therefore avoid this recrimination which people constantly refer to or if they couldn’t do that, at least do it through immediate legislation which would state there would be an immediate ceasefire and we would be willing to undertake negotiations for a coalition government. But at the present moment that is not going to happen, so we are talking about men continuing to die for nothing and I think there is a tremendous moral question here which the Congress of the United States is ignoring.

The Chairman. The Congress cannot directly under our system negotiate a cease-fire or anything of this kind. Under our constitutional system we can advise the President. We have to persuade the President of the urgency of taking this action. Now we have certain ways in which to proceed. We can, of course, express ourselves in a resolution or we can pass an act which directly affects appropriations which is the most concrete positive way the Congress can express itself.

But Congress has no capacity under our system to go out and negotiate a cease-fire. We have to persuade the Executive to do this for the country.

EXTRAORDINARY RESPONSE DEMANDED BY EXTRAORDINARY QUESTION

Mr. Kerry. Mr. Chairman, I realize that full well as a study of political science. I realize that we cannot negotiate treaties and I realize that even my visits in Paris, precedents had been set by Senator McCarthy and others, in a sense are on the borderline of private individuals negotiating, et cetera. I understand these things. But what I am saying is that I believe that there is a mood in this country which I know you are aware of and you have been one of the strongest critics of this war for the longest time. But I think if we can talk in this legislative body about filibustering for porkbarrel programs, then we should start now to talk about filibustering for the saving of lives and of our country. [Applause.]

[Page E602]

And this, Mr. Chairman, is what we are trying to convey.

I understand. I really am aware that there are a tremendous number of difficulties in trying to persuade the Executive to move at this time. I believe they are committed. I don’t believe we can. But I hope that we are not going to have to wait until 1972 to have this decision made. And what I am suggesting is that I think this is an extraordinary enough question so that it demands an extraordinary response, and if we can’t respond extraordinarily to this problem then I doubt very seriously as men on each that we will be able to respond to the other serious questions which face us. I think we have to start to consider that. This is what I am trying to say.

If this body could perhaps call for a referendum in the country or if we could perhaps move now for a vote in 3 weeks, I think the people of this country would rise up and back that. I am not saying a vote nationwide. I am talking about a vote here in Congress to cut off the funds, and a vote to perhaps pass a resolution calling on the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the war, and to do the things that uphold those things which we pretend to be. That is what we are asking. I don’t think we can turn our backs on that any longer, Senator.

The Chairman. Senator Symington?

WITNESS’ SERVICE DECORATIONS

Senator Symington. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Kerry, please move your microphone. You have a Silver Star; have you not?

Mr. Kerry. Yes, I do.

Senator Symington. And a Purple Heart?

Mr. Kerry. Yes, I do.

Senator Symington. How many clusters?

Mr. Kerry. Two clusters.

Senator Symington. So you have been wounded three times.

Mr. Kerry. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. Senator Aiken. [Applause.]

NORTH VIETNAMESE AND VC ATTITUDE TOWARD DEFINITE WITHDRAWAL DATE

Senator Aiken. Mr. Kerry, the Defense Department seems to feel that if we set a definite date for withdrawal when our forces get down to a certain level, they would be seriously in danger by the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong. Do you believe that the North Vietnamese would undertake to prevent our withdrawal from the country and attack the troops that remain there?

Mr. Kerry. Well, Senator, if I may answer you directly I believe we are running that danger with the present course of withdrawal because the President has neglected to state to this country, exactly what his response will be when we have reached the point that we do have, let us say, 50,000 support troops in Vietnam.

Sparrowhawk
09-17-04, 08:24 PM
Senator Aiken. I am not telling you what I think. I am telling you what the Department says. <br />
<br />
Mr. Kerry. Yes Sir; I understand that. <br />
<br />
Senator Aiken. Do you believe the North Vietnamese...

Sparrowhawk
09-17-04, 08:25 PM
[Page E603]

The problem is that the majority of the people in the Congress still don’t agree with the view that you and we have. As the chairman pointed out, and as you know as a student of political science, whenever we wanted to end this war, we could have ended this war if the majority of us had used the power of the purse strings. That was just as true 5 years ago as it is today.

I don’t think it is a question of guts. We didn’t have the desire to do that and I am not sure the majority has the desire to do that yet. Whenever we want to as a Congress, we could do it. We can’t start an action, but we can force an action with the purse strings.

I think it is wonderful you veterans have come down here as a cutting edge of public opinion because you again make this have more respect and I hope you succeed and prevail on the majority of the Congress.

VOTING OF VETERANS AND NONVETERANS CONCERNING VIETNAM WAR

It is interesting, speaking of veterans and speaking of statistics, that the press has never picked up and concentrated on quite interesting votes in the past. In those votes you find the majority of hawks, were usually nonveterans and the majority of doves were usually veterans. Specifically, of those who voted in favor of the Hatfield-McGovern end-the-war amendment in the last session of the Congress 79 percent were veterans with actual military service. Of those voting against the amendment, only 36 percent were veterans.

Now on the sponsors of the Cooper-Church amendment you will find very much the same statistics. Eighty-two percent were veterans as compared to 71 percent of the Senate as a whole being veterans. So I would hope what you are doing will have an effect on the Congress.

OBLIGATION TO SOUTH VIETNAMESE. ALLIES

I have two questions I would like to ask you. First, I was very much struck by your concern with asylum because now I see public opinion starting to swing and Congress passing legislation. Before they wouldn’t get out at all; now they are talking about getting out yesterday. When it comes to looking after the people who would be killed if we left or badly ruined, I would hope you would develop your thinking a little bit to make sure that American public opinion, which now wants to get out, also bears in mind that when we depart we have an obligation to these people. I hope you will keep to that point.

ACTIONS OF LIEUTENANT CALLEY

Finally, in connection with Lieutenant Calley, which is a very emotional issue in this country, I was struck by your passing reference to that incident.

Wouldn’t you agree with me though that what he did in herding old men, women and children into a trench and then shooting them was a little bit beyond the perimeter of even what has been going on in this war and that that action should be discouraged. There are other actions not that extreme that have gone on and have been permitted. If we had not taken action or cognizance of it, it would have been even worse. It would have indicated we encouraged this kind of action.

Mr. KERRY. My feeling, Senator, on Lieutenant Calley is what he did quite obviously was a horrible, horrible, horrible thing and I have no bone to pick with the fact that he was prosecuted. But I think that in this question you have to separate guilt from responsibility, and I think clearly the responsibility for what has happened there lies elsewhere.

I think it lies with the men who designed free fire zones. I think it lies with the men who encouraged body counts. I think it lies in large part with this country, which allows a young child before he reaches the age of 14 to see 12,500 deaths on television, which glorifies the John Wayne syndrome, which puts out fighting man comic books on the stands, which allows us in training to do calisthenics to four counts, on the fourth count of which we stand up and shout “kill” in unison, which has posters in barracks in this country with a crucified Vietnamese, blood on him, and underneath it says “kill the gook,” and I think that clearly the responsibility for all of this is what has produced this horrible abberation.

Now, I think if you are going to try Lieutenant Calley then you must at the same time, if this country is going to demand respect for the law, you must at the same time try all those other people who have responsibility, and any aversion that we may have to the verdict as veterans is not to say that Calley should be freed, not to say that he is innocent, but to say that you can’t just take him alone, and that would be my response to that.

Senator PELL. I agree with you. The guilt is shared by many, many, many of us, including the leaders of the get-out-now school. But in this regard if we had not tried him, I think we would be much more criticized and should be criticized. I would think the same fate would probably befall him as befell either Sergeant or Lieutenant Schwarz of West Virginia who was tried for life for the same offense and is out on a 9 months commuted sentence. By the same token I would hope the quality of mercy would be exercised in this regard for a young man who was not equipped for the job and ran amuck. But I think public opinion should think this through. We who have taken this position find ourselves very much in the minority.

Mr. KERRY. I understand that, Senator, but I think it is a very difficult thing for the public to think through faced with the facts. The fact that 18 other people indicted for the very same crime were freed and the fact among those were generals and colonels. I mean this simply is not justice. That is all. It is just not justice.

Senator PELL. I guess it is the revolutionary adage. When you see the whites of their eyes you are more guilty. This seems to be our morality as has been pointed out. If you drop a bomb from a plane, you don’t see the whites of their eyes.

I agree with you with the body count. It is like a Scottish nobleman saying, “How many grouse were caught on the moor.” Four or five years ago those of us who criticized were more criticized.

Thank you for being here and I wish you all success. [Applause.]

The CHAIRMAN. Senator from New Jersey.

Senator CASE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

STRATEGIC IMPLICATIONS OF VIETNAM WAR

Mr. Kerry, thank you too for coming You have made more than clear something that I think always has been true: that the war never had any justification in terms of Indochina itself. I wish you would take this question a little further and touch on the larger strategic implications. It is in these larger strategic implications, if anywhere, that may be found justification for our involvement. As you know, the President said the other day that it is easy to get out and to end the war immediately.

The question is to get out and leave a reasonable chance for lasting peace. We have to look at this because the American people are going to see the issue in the terms he has defined it. I would be glad to have your comment on this matter, although I won’t press you to discuss it because in a sense you have already said this is not your area.

Mr. KERRY. I do want to. I want to very much.

Senator CASE. And I would be very glad to have you do it.

Mr. KERRY. Thank you, sir. I would like to very much.

In my opinion what we are trying to do, as the President talks about getting out with a semblance of honor is simply whitewashing ourselves. On the question of getting out with some semblance for peace, as a man who has fought here, I am dying to say that this policy has no chance for peace. You don’t have a chance for peace when you arm the people of another country and tell them they can fight a war. That is not peace; that is fighting a war; that is continuing a war. That is even criminal in the sense that this country, if we are really worried about recrimination, is going to have to some day face up to the fact that we convinced a certain number of people, perhaps hundreds of thousands, perhaps there will be several million, that they could stand up to something which they couldn’t and ultimately will face the recrimination of the fact that their lives in addition to all the lives at this point, will be on our conscience. I don’t think it is a question of peace at all. What we are doing is very, very hypocritical in our withdrawal, and we really should face up to that.

Senator CASE. May I press you just a little further or at least raise the question on which I would ask you to comment.


Mr. KERRY. I wish you would, please.

INDOCHINA AND QUESTION OF WORLD PEACE

Senator CASE. I think your answer was related still to the question of Indochina, but I think the President has tried to tie in Indochina with the question of world peace.

Mr. KERRY. I would like to discuss that.

It is my opinion that the United States is still reacting in very much the 1945 mood and postwar cold-war period when we reacted to the forces which were at work in World-War II and came out of it with this paranoia, about the Russians and how the world was going to be divided up between the super powers, and the foreign policy of John Foster Dulles which was responsible for the creation of the SEATO treaty, which was, in fact, a direct reaction to this so called Communist monolith: And I think we are reacting under cold-war precepts which are no longer applicable.

I say that because so long as we have the kind of strike force we have, and I am not party to the secret statistics which you gentlemen have here, but as long as we have the ones which we of the public know we have, I think we have a strike force of such capability and I think we have a strike force simply in our Polaris submarines, in the 62 or some Polaris submarines, which are constantly roaming around under the sea. And I know as a Navy man the underwater detection is the hardest kind in the world, and they have not perfected it, that we have the ability to destroy the human race. Why do we have to, therefore, consider and keep considering threats?

Sparrowhawk
09-17-04, 08:26 PM
At any time that an actual threat is posed to this country or to the security and freedom I will be one of the first people to pick up a gun and defend it, but right now we are reacting with paranoia to this question of peace and the people taking over the world. I think if we are ever going to get down to the question of dropping those bombs most of us in my generation simply don’t want to be alive afterwards because of the kind of world that it would be with mutations and the genetic probabilities of freaks and everything else.

Therefore, I think it is ridiculous to assume we have to play this power game based on total warfare. I think there will be guerrilla wars and I think we must have a capability to fight those. And we may have to fight them somewhere based on legitimate threats, but we must learn; in this country, how to define those threats and that is what I would say to this question of world peace. I think it is bogus, totally artificial. There is no threat. The Communists are not about to take over our McDonald hamburger stands. [Laughter.]

[Page E604]

Senator, I will say this. I think that politically, historically, the one thing that people try to do, that society is structured on as a whole, is an attempt to satisfy their felt needs, and you can satisfy those needs with almost any kind of political structure, giving it one name or the other. In this name it is democratic; in others it is communism, in, others it is benevolent dictatorship. As long as those needs are satisfied, that structure will exist.

But when you start to neglect those needs, people will start to demand a new structure, and that, to me, is the only threat that this country faces now, because we are not responding to the needs and we are not responding to them because we work on these old cold-war precepts and because we have not woken up to realizing what is happening in the United States of America.

Senator CASE. I thank you very much. I wanted you to have a chance to respond to the question of Indochina in a large context.

Mr. Chairman, I have just one further thing to do. Senator Javits had to go to the floor on important business, and he asked me to express his regret that he couldn’t stay and also that if he had stayed he would have limited his participation to agreement with everything Senator Symington said. [Applause.]























BACKGROUND OF VIETNAM WAR

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Kerry, I have one other aspect of this I would like to explore for a moment. I recognize you and your associates, putting it on a personal point of view, feeling the seriousness and the tragedy of the experience in Vietnam. But I am disturbed very much by the possibility that your generation may become or is perhaps already in the process of becoming disillusioned with our whole country, with our system of government. There was much said about it. You didn’t say it, but others have said this. I wonder if we could explore for a moment the background of this war.

It has seemed to me that its origin was essentially a mistake in judgment, beginning with our support of the French as a colonial power, which, I believe, is the only time our country has ever done that. Always our sympathies has been with the colony. If you will recall, we urged the British to get out of Egypt and India, and we urged, many thought too vigorously, the Dutch prematurely to get out of Indonesia. I think there was much criticism that we acted prematurely in urging the Belgians to get out of the Congo. In any case, the support of the French to maintain their power was a departure from our traditional attitude toward colonial powers because of our own history.

It started in a relatively small way by our support of the French. Then one thing led to another. But these were not decisions, I believe, that involved evil motives. They were political judgments which at that time were justified by the conditions in the world. You have already referred to the fact that after World War II there was great apprehension, and I think properly. The apprehension was justified by the events, especially from Stalin’s regime. There was apprehension that he would be able, and if he could he would impose his regime by force on all of Western Europe which could have created an extremely difficult situation which would amount to what you said a moment ago. You said if our country was really threatened, you would have no hesitancy in taking up a gun. So I think, in trying to evaluate the course of our involvement in this war, we have to take all of this into consideration. It was not a sign of any moral degradation or of bad motives. They were simply political judgments as to where our interest really was.

In retrospect I think we can say that our interest was not in supporting the French, that it was not in intervening, and it was not in undoing the Geneva Accords by the creation of SEATO, but that is all history. I am not saying this in order to try to lay the blame on anyone, but to get a perspective of our present situation, and hopefully to help, if I can, you and others not to be too disillusioned and not to lose faith in the capacity of our institutions to respond to the public welfare. I believe what you and your associates are doing today certainly contributes to that, by the fact that you have taken the trouble to think these things through, and to come here. I know it is not very pleasant to do the things you have done.

While I wouldn’t presume to compare my own experience, I have taken a great deal of criticism since I myself in 1965 took issue with the then President Johnson over his policies. I did what I could within my particular role in the Government to persuade both President Johnson and subsequent political leaders that this was not in the interests of our country. I did this, not because I thought they were evil men inherently or they were morally misguided, but their political judgment was wrong. All of us, of course, know that as fallible human beings we all make errors of judgment.

Sparrowhawk
09-17-04, 08:27 PM
POSSIBILITY OF MAKING U.S. INSTITUTIONS WORK EFFECTIVELY

I think it is helpful to try to put it in perspective and not lose confidence in the basically good motives and purposes of this country. I believe in the possibility of making our institutions work effectively. I think they can be made responsive to the welfare of the people and to proper judgments. I only throw this out because I have a feeling that because of the unusual horror that has developed from this war too many people may lose confidence in our system as a whole. I know of no better system for a country as large as this, with 200-plus millions of people. No other country comparable to it in history has ever made a democratic system work.

They have all become dictatorships when they have achieved the size and complexity of this country. Only smaller countries really have made a democratic system work at all.

So I only wish to throw it out hopefully that, in spite of the tragic experiences of you and so many other people and the deaths of so many people, this system is not beyond recall and with the assistance of people like yourself and the younger generation we can get back on the track, and can make this system operate effectively.

I know that the idea of working within the system has been used so much, and many people have lost confidence that it can be done. They wish to destroy the system, to start all over, but I don’t think in the history of human experience that those destructions of systems work. They usually destroy everything good as well as bad, and you have an awful lot of doing to recreate the good part and to get started again.

So I am very hopeful that the younger generation—and I am certainly getting at the end of my generation because I have been here an awfully long time—but that you younger people can find it possible to accept the system and try to make it work because I can’t at the moment think of a better one given the conditions that we have in this country and the great complexity and diversity.

I really believe if we can stop this war—I certainly expect to do everything I can. I have done all I can with all my limitations. I am sure many people have thought I could do bettor, but I did all that I was capable of doing and what wisdom I may have has been applied to it. I hope that you and your colleagues will feel the same way or at least you will accept the structure of the system and try to make it work. I can see no better alternative to offer in its place.

If I thought there was one, I would certainly propose it or try.

CAN BASIC SYSTEM BE MADE TO WORK?

Have you yourself arrived at the point where you believe that basic structural changes must be brought about in our system or do you believe it can be made to work?

Mr. KERRY. I don’t think I would be here if I didn’t believe that it can be made to work, but I would have to say, and one of the traits of my generation now is that people don’t pretend to speak for other people in it, and I can only speak as an individual about it, but I would say that I have certainly been frustrated in the past months, very, very seriously frustrated. I have gone to businessmen all over this country asking for money for fees, and met with a varying range of comments, ranging from “You can’t sell war crimes” to, “War crimes are a glut on the market” or to “well, you know we are tired now, we have tried, we can’t do anything.” So I have seen unresponsiveness on the racial question in this country. I see an unwillingness on the part of too many of the members of this body to respond, to take gutsy stands, to face questions other than their own reelection, to make a profile of courage, and I am—although still with faith—very, very, very full of doubt, and I am not going to quit. But I think that unless we can respond on as a great a question as the war, I seriously question how we are going to find the kind of response needed to meet questions such as poverty and hunger and questions such as birth control and so many of the things that face our society today from low income housing to schooling, to recent reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision on busing.

But I will say that I think we are going to keep trying. I also agree with you, Senator. I don’t see another system other than democracy, but democracy has to remain responsive. When it does not, you create the possibilities for all kinds of other systems to supplant it, and that very possibility, I think, is beginning to exist in this country.

The CHAIRMAN. That is why I ask you that. The feeling that it cannot be made responsive comes not so much from what you have said but from many different sources. I can assure you I have been frustrated too. We have lost most of our major efforts. That is we have not succeeded in getting enough votes, but there has been a very marked increase, I think, in the realization of the seriousness of the war. I think you have to keep in perspective, as I say, the size and complexity of the country itself and the difficulties of communication. This war is so far removed. The very fact, as you have said, you do not believe what happens there to be in the vital interests of this country, has from the beginning caused many people to think it wasn’t so important.

GRADUAL DEVELOPMENT OF CONCERN ABOUT VIETNAM WAR

In the beginning, back in the times that I mentioned when we first supported the French and throughout the 1950’s up until the 1960’s, this whole matter was not very much on the minds of anybody in the Congress. We were more preoccupied with what was going on in Western Europe, the fear, particularly during Stalin’s time, that lie might be able to subjugate all of Western Europe, which would have been a very serious challenge to us. This grew up almost as a peripheral matter without anyone taking too much notice until the 1960’s. The major time when the Congress, I think, really became concerned about the significance of the war was really not before 1965, the big escalation. It was a very minor sideshow in all the things in which this country was involved until February of 1965. That was when it became a matter that, you might say, warranted and compelled the attention of the country. It has been a gradual development of our realization of just what we were into.

[Page E605]

As I said before, I think this came about not because of bad motives but by very serious errors in political judgment as to where our interest lies and what should be done about it.

I am only saying this Hopefully to at least try to enlist your consideration, of the view that in a country of this kind I don’t believe there is a better alternative from a structural point of view. I think the structure of our Government is sound.

To go back to my own State certainly, leaving out now the war, its affairs are being well managed. The people are, as you may say, maybe too indifferent to this.

Mr. KERRY. As it does in Massachusetts, too.

The CHAIRMAN. I have often thought they were too indifferent to it, but they have responded to the arguments as to where our interest lies quite well, at least from my personal experience. Otherwise I would not be here. But I think there is a gradual recognition of this.

WAR’S INTERFERENCE WITH DEALING WITH OTHER PROBLEMS

I also feel that if we could finish the war completely within the reasonably near future, as some of the proposals before this committee are designed to do if we can pass them, I think the country can right itself and get back on the track, in a reasonably quick time, dealing with the problems you mentioned. We are aware and conscious of all of them.

The thing that has inhibited us in doing things about what ,you mention has been the war. It has been the principal obstacle to dealing with these other problems with which you are very concerned, as, I think, the Congress is. Always we are faced with the demands of the war itself. Do you realize that this country has put well over $1,000 billion into military affairs since World War II?

Sparrowhawk
09-17-04, 08:27 PM
I think it now approaches $1,500 billion. It is a sum so large no one can comprehend it, but I don’t think outside of this war issue there is anything fundamentally wrong with the system that cannot be righted.

If we can give our resources to those developments, I don’t have any doubt myself that it can be done. Whether it will be done or not is a matter of will. It is a matter of conviction of the various people who are involved, including the younger generation.

In that connection, I may say, the recent enactment of the right of all people from 18 years up to vote is at least a step in the direction where you and your generation can have an effect.

I hope that you won’t lose faith in it. I hope you will use your talents after the war is over, and it surely will be over, to then attack these other problems and to make the system work.

I believe it can be made to work.

Do you have anything else you would like to say?

Mr. KERRY. Would you like me to respond at all, sir?

The CHAIRMAN. If you care to.

Mr. KERRY. Well, my feeling is that if you are talking about the ideal structure of this country as it is written down in the Constitution, then you or I would not differ at all. Yes, that is an ideal structure.

DEVELOPMENTS IN UNITED STATES REQUIRING FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES

What has developed in this country, however, at this point is something quite different and that does require some fundamental changes. I do agree with you that what happened in Vietnam was not the product of evil men seeking evil goals. It was misguided principles and judgments and other things.

However, at some point you have to stop playing the game. At some point you have to say, “All right we did make a mistake.” At some point the basic human values have to come back into this system and at this moment we are so built up within it by these outside structures, other interests, for instance, government by vested power which, in fact, you and I really know it is. When a minority body comes down here to Washington with a bill, those bodies which have the funds and the ability to lobby are those which generally get it passed. If you wanted to pass a health care medical bill, which we have finally perhaps gotten to this year, we may, but in past years the AMA has been able to come down here and squash them. The American Legion has successfully prevented people like <Vietnam> <Veterans> against the War from getting their programs through the Veterans’ Administration. Those bodies in existence have tremendous power.

There is one other body that has tremendous power in this country, which is a favorite topic of Vice President Agnew and I would take some agreement with him. That would be the fourth estate. The press. I think the very reason that we veterans are here today is the result partially of our inability to get our story out through the legitimate channels.

That is to say, for instance, I held a press conference here in Washington, D.C., some weeks ago with General Shoup, with General Hester, with the mother of a prisoner of war, the wife of a man who was killed, the mother of a soldier who was killed, and with a bilateral amputee, all representing the so-called silent majority, the silent so-called majority which the President used to perpetuate the war, and because it was a press conference and an antiwar conference and people simply exposing ideas we had no electronic media there.

I called the media afterward and asked them why and the answer was, from one of the networks, it doesn’t have to be identified, “because, sir, news business is really partly entertainment business visually, you see, and a press conference like that is not visual.”

Of course, we don’t have the position of power to get our ideas out, I said, “If I take-some crippled veterans down to the White House and we chain ourselves to the gates, will we get coverage?” “Oh, yes, we will cover that.”

So you are reduced to a position where the only way you can get your ideas out is to stage events, because had we not staged the events with all due respect, Senator, and I really appreciate the fact that I am here obviously, and I know you are committed to this, but with all due respect I probably wouldn’t be sitting at this table. You see this is the problem.

It goes beyond that. We really have a constitutional crisis in this country right now. The Constitution under test, and we are failing. We are failing clearly because the power of the Executive has became exorbitant, because Congress has not wanted to exercise its own power, and so that is going to require some very fundamental changes.

So the system itself on paper, no, it is a question of making it work, and in that I would agree with you, and I think that things are changing in a sense. I think the victory of the ABM was a tremendous boost.

The Chairman. SST.

Mr. Kerry. SST, excuse me.

The Chairman. I hope the ABM.

[Applause.]

Mr. Kerry. Wrong system.

I think the fact that certain individuals are in Congress today, particularly in the House, who several years ago could never have been. I would cite Representative Dellums and Congresswoman Abzug and Congressman Drinan and people like this. I think this is a terribly encouraging sign, and I think if nothing more, and this is really sad poetic justice, if nothing more, this war when it is over, will ultimately probably have done more to awaken the conscience of this country than any other similar thing. It may in fact be the thing that will set us on the right road.

I earnestly hope so and I join you in that.

But meanwhile, I think we still need that extraordinary response to the problem that exists and I hope that we will get it.

IMPACT OF VIETNAM WAR AND OTHERS ON CONSTITUTIONAL BALANCE

The Chairman. I am glad to hear you say that. I have the same feeling. But you must remember we have been through nearly 30 years of warfare or cold war or crises which I think have upset the balance, as you say, in our constitutional system. Senator Javits has introduced a bill with regard to the war powers in an effort to reestablish what we believe to be the constitutional system in which you say you have confidence. I introduced and we passed a commitments resolution. There are a number of others. I won’t relate them all, but they are all designed to try to bring back into proper relationship the various elements in our Government. This effort is being made.

I think the culprit is the war itself. The fact we had been at war, not just the Vietnam war but others too, diverted the attention of our people from our domestic concerns and certainly eroded the role of the Congress. Under the impact of this and other wars we have allowed this distortion to develop. If we can end the war, there is no good reason why it cannot be corrected.

REPRESENTATION OF CONSTITUENCIES

You mentioned some new faces in the Congress. After all, all these people get here because of the support back home, as you know. They are simply representative of their constituents. You do accept that, I believe.

Mr. Kerry. Partially, not totally.

The Chairman. Why not?

Mr. Kerry. As someone who ran for office for 3½ weeks, I am aware of many of the problems involved, and in many places, you can take certain districts in New York City, the structure is such that people can’t really run and represent necessarily the people. People often don’t care. The apathy is so great that they believe they are being represented when in fact they are not. I think that you and I could run through a list of people in this body itself and find many who are there through the powers of the office itself as opposed to the fact they are truly representing the people. It is very easy to give the illusion of representing the people through the frank privileges which allow you to send back what you are doing here in Congress. Congressman insert so often.

[Page E606]

You know, they gave a speech for the Polish and they gave a speech for the Irish and they gave a speech for this, and actually handed the paper in to the clerk and the clerk submits it for the record and a copy of the record goes home and people say, “Hey, he really is doing something for me.” But he isn’t.

The Chairman. Well——

Mr. Kerry. Senator, we also know prior to this past year the House used to meet in the Committee of the Whole and the Committee of the Whole would make the votes, and votes not of record and people would file through, and important legislation was decided then, and after the vote came out and after people made their hacks and cuts, and the porkbarrel came out, the vote was reported and gave them an easy out and they could say “Well, I voted against this.” And actually they voted for it all the time in the committee.

Some of us know that this is going on. So I would say there are problems with it. Again I come back and say they are not insoluble. They can be solved, but they can only be solved by demanding leadership, the same kind of leadership that we have seen in some countries during war time. That seems to be the few times we get it. If we could get that kind because I think we are in a constant war against ourselves and I would like to see that come—they should demand it of each other if we can demand it of people.

The Chairman. Take the two cases of what goes on in the House about the secret votes. That is not a structural aspect of our Government. That is a regulation or whatever you call it of the procedures in the House itself.

NECESSITY OF INFORMED ELECTORATE

Fundamentally you said that the people can bamboozle their constituents; they can fool them. Of course, that is quite true of any system of a representative nature. The solution to that is to inform the electorate itself to the extent that they recognize a fraud or a phony when they have one. This is not easy to do, but it is fundamental in a democracy. If you believe in a democratic system, the electorate who elect the representatives have to have sufficient capacity for discrimination. They have to be able to tell the difference between a phony, someone who simply puts pieces in the record, and someone who actually does something, so that they can recognize it in an election, if they are interested.

Now if they are apathetic, as you say they are apathetic, and don’t care, then democracy cannot work if they continue to be apathetic and don’t care who represents them. This comes back to a fundamental question of education through all different resources, not only the formal education but the use of the media and other means to educate them. Our Founding Fathers recognized that you couldn’t have a democracy without an informed electorate. It comes back to the informing of the electorate; doesn’t it? That is not a structural deficiency in our system. You are dealing now with the deficiencies of human nature, the failure of their education and their capacity for discrimination in the selection of their representatives.

I recognize this is difficult. All countries have had this same problem and so long as they have a representative system this has to be met. But there is no reason why it cannot be met.

A structural change does not affect the capacity of the electorate to choose good representatives; does it?

Sparrowhawk
09-17-04, 08:28 PM
COST OF ELECTION CAMPAIGNS

Mr. KERRY. Well, no, sir; except for the fact that to run for representative in any populated area costs about $50,000. Many people simply don’t have that available, and. in order to. get it inevitably wind up with their hands tied.

The CHAIRMAN. That is a common statement, but we had an example during this last year of a man being elected because he walked througn Florida with a minimum of money. As he became attractive to the people he may have received more, but he started without money. You are familiar with Mr. Chiles.

Mr. KERRY. Yes, I am familiar. I understand it.

The CHAIRMAN. I know in my own state, our Governor started without any money or with just himself and came from nowhere and defeated a Rockefeller. So it is not true that you have to have a lot of money to get elected. If you have the other things that it takes, personality, the determination and the intelligence, it is still possible. “There were other examples, but those are well known. I don’t think it is correct to say you have to have a lot of money. It helps, of course. It makes it easier and all that, but it isn’t essential. I think you can cite many examples where that is true.

ESSENTIAL QUESTION WILL BE RESPONSE TO VIETNAM ISSUE

Mr. KERRY. Senator, I would basically agree with what you are saying and obviously we could find exceptions to parts of everything everywhere and I understand really the essential question is going to be the response to the issue of Vietnam.

The CHAIRMAN. I agree with that. I can assure you that this committee and, certainly, I are going to do everything we can. That is what these hearings are about. It is lust by coincidence you came to Washington in the very midst of them. We only opened these hearings on Tuesday of this week. I personally believe that the great majority of all the people of this country are in accord with your desire, and certainly mine, to get the war over at the earliest possible moment. All we are concerned with at the moment is the best procedure to bring that about, the procedure to persuade the President to take the steps that will bring that about. I for one have more hope now than I had at any time in the last 6 years because of several things you have mentioned. I think there is a very good chance that it will be brought about in the. reasonably near future.

COMMENDATION OF <VIETNAM> <VETERANS> AGAINST THE WAR

I think you and your associates have contributed a great deal in the actions you have taken. As I said in the beginning, the fact that you have shown both great conviction and patience about this matter and at the same time conducted yourself in the most commendable manner has been the most effective demonstration, if I may use that word. Although you have demonstrated in the sense that has become disapproved of in some circles, I think you have demonstrated in the most proper way and the most effective way to bring about the results that you wish and I believe you have made a great contribution.

I apologize. I am not trying to lecture you about our Government. I have just been disturbed, not so much by you as by other things that have happened, that the younger generation has lost faith in our system. I don’t think it is correct. I think the paranoia to which you referred has been true. It arose at a time when there was reason for it perhaps, but we have long since gone out of that time, and I think your idea of timing is correct. But I congratulate you and thank you very much for coming. [Applause.]

Senator Symington would like to ask a question.

Senator SYMINGTON. Yes. Mr. Kerry I had to leave because we are marking up the selective service bill in the Armed Services Committee. But I will read the record.

ATTITUDE OF SERVICEMEN TOWARD CONGRESSIONAL OPPOSITION TO WAR

The staff has a group of questions here, four of which I would ask. Over the years members of this committee who spoke out in opposition to the war were often accused of stabbing our boys in the back. What, in your opinion, is the attitude of servicemen in Vietnam about congressional opposition to the war?

Mr. KERRY. If I could answer that, it is very difficult, Senator, because I just know, I don’t want to get into the game of saying I represent everybody over there, but let me try to say, as straightforwardly as I can, we had an advertisement, ran full page, to show you what the troops read. It ran in Playboy and the response to it within two and a half weeks from Vietnam was 1,200 members. We received initially about 50 to 80 letters a day from troops there. We now receive about 20 letters a day from troops arriving at our New York office. Some of these letters—and I wanted to bring some down, I didn’t know we were going to be testifying here and I can make them available to you—are very, very moving, some of them written by hospital corpsmen on things, on casualty report sheets which say, you know, “Get us out of here.” “You are the only hope we have got.” “You have got to get us back; it is crazy.” We received recently 80 members of the 101st Airborne signed up in one letter. Forty members from a helicopter assault squadron, crash and rescue mission signed up in another one.

I think they are expressing, some of these troops, solidarity with us, right now by wearing black arm bands and <Vietnam> <Veterans> Against the War buttons. They want to come out and I think they are looking at the people who want to try to get them out as a help.

However, I do recognize there are some men who are in the military for life. The job in the military is to fight wars. When they have a war to fight, they are just as happy in a sense, and I am sure that these men feel they are being stabbed in the back. But, at the same time, I think to most of them the realization of the emptiness, the hollowness, the absurdity of Vietnam has finally hit home, and I feel if they did come home the recrimination would certainly not come from the right, from the military. I don’t think there would be that problem.

Senator SYMINGTON. Thank you.

Has the fact Congress has never passed a declaration of war undermined the morale of U.S. servicemen in Vietnam, to the best of your knowledge?

Mr. KERRY. Yes; it has clearly and to a great, great extent.

USE OF DRUGS BY U.S. SERVICEMEN IN VIETNAM

Senator SYMINGTON. There have been many reports of widespread use of drugs by U.S. servicemen in Vietnam. I might add I was in Europe last week and the growth of that problem was confirmed on direct questioning of people in the military. How serious is the problem and to what do you attribute it?

Mr. KERRY. The problem is extremely serious. It is serious in very many different ways. I believe two Congressmen today broke a story. I can’t remember their names. There were 35,000 or some men, heroin addicts that were back.

The problem exists for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the emptiness. It is the only way to get through it. A lot of guys, 60, 80 percent stay stoned 24 hours a day just to get through the Vietnam——

Senator SYMINGTON. You say 60 to 80 percent.

[Page E607]

Mr. KERRY. Sixty to 80 percent is the figure used that try something, let’s say, at one point. Of that I couldn’t give you a figure of habitual smokers, let’s say, of pot, and I certainly couldn’t begin to say how many are hard drug addicts, but I do know that the problem for the returning veteran is acute because we have, let’s say, a veteran picks up a $12 habit in Saigon. He comes back to this country and the moment he steps off an airplane that same habit costs him some $90 to support. With the state of the economy, he can’t get a job. He doesn’t earn money. He turns criminal or just finds his normal sources and in a sense drops out.

The alienation of the war, the emptiness of back and forth, all combined adds to this. There is no real drug rehabilitation program. I know the VA hospital in New York City has 20 beds allocated for drug addicts; 168 men are on the waiting list, and I really don’t know what a drug addict does on the waiting list.

And just recently the same hospital gave three wards to New York University for research purposes.

It is very, very widespread. It is a very serious problem. I think that this Congress should undertake to investigate the sources because I heard many implications of Madam Ky and others being involved in the traffic and I think there are some very serious things here at stake.

Sparrowhawk
09-17-04, 08:29 PM
Senator SYMINGTON. In the press there was a woman reporter. I think her name was Emerson. In any case she stated she bought drugs six or nine times openly, heroin, in a 15-mile walk from Saigon. The...

Sparrowhawk
09-17-04, 08:29 PM
Mr. KERRY. I think they have; yes sir. I think the public opinion in this country, believes that, “The Selling of the Pentagon.” I was a public information officer before I went to Vietnam, and I know that those things were just the way they said because I conducted several of those tours on a ship, and I have seen my own men wait hours until people got away, and I have seen cooks put on special uniforms for them.

I have seen good food come out for the visitors and everything else. It really happens.

The CHAIRMAN. The Senator from New York has returned. Would he care to ask a question?

RESOLUTION CONCERNING <VIETNAM> <VETERANS>’ ENCAMPMENT

Senator JAVITS. I don’t want to delay either the witness or the committee. Senator Case was tied up on the floor on your resolution on the encampment and the expected occurred, of course. It has gone to the calendar.

Senator SYMINGTON. If you will yield, Senator. I have to preside at 1 o’clock. I thank you for your testimony.

Mr. KERRY. Thank you, Senator. [Applause.]

Senator JAVITS. It has gone to the calendar but I think the point has been very well made by, I think, the total number of sponsors. There were some 27 Senators.

WITNESS’ CREDENTIALS

Senator Case was kind enough to express my view. I wish to associate myself with the statement Senator Symington made when I was here as to your credentials. That is what we always think about with a witness and your credentials couldn’t be higher.

The moral and morale issues you have raised will have to be finally acted upon by the committee. I think it always fires us to a deeper sense of emergency and dedication when we hear from a young man like yourself in what we know to be the reflection of the attitude of so many others who have served in a way which the American people so clearly understand. It is not as effective unless you have those credentials. The kind you have.

The only other thing I would like to add is this:

EVALUATION OF TESTIMONY

I hope you will understand me and I think you will agree with me. Your testimony about what you know and what you see, how you feel and how your colleagues feel, is entitled to the highest standing and priority. When it comes to the bits and pieces of information, you know, like you heard that Madam Ky is associated with the sale of narcotics or some other guy got a good meal, I hope you will understand as Senators and evaluators of testimony we have to take that in the context of many other things, but I couldn’t think of anybody whose testimony I would rather have and act on from the point of view of what this is doing to our young men we are sending over there, how they feel about it, what the impact is on the conscience of a country, what the impact is on even the future of the military services from the point of view of the men who served, than your own.

Thank you very much.

Mr. KERRY. Thank you, Senator. [Applause.]

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Kerry, I am sure you can sense the committee members appreciate very much your coming. Do you have anything further to say before we recess?

EXPRESSION OF APPRECIATION

Mr. KERRY. No, sir; I would just like to say on behalf of the <Vietnam> <Veterans Against the War that we do appreciate the efforts made by the Senators to put that resolution on the floor, to help us, help us in their offices in the event we were arrested and particularly for the chance to express the thoughts that I have put forward today. I appreciate it.

The CHAIRMAN. You have certainly done a remarkable job of it. I can’t imagine their having selected a better representative or spokesman.

Thank you very much. [Applause.]

(Whereupon, at 1 p.m. the committee was adjourned subject to the call of the Chair.)


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