John Kerry: The Great Pretender?

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by conservative_infidel, Aug 20, 2004.

  1. During his service, John Kerry suffered three wounds worthy of a Purple Heart, was decorated for various medals for distinguished service, and then walks away in robust health to clamor before a senate committee to testify against the men he served with?

    Here are some things that trouble me as a veteran of foreign war:

    1. John Kerry was the son of a Foreign Service Officer who served under Eisenhower and exposed to politics throughout his life. From this John Kerry traveled a lot when he was young and “learned firsthand what makes America a leader in the world.”

    2. John Kerry presented (and sometimes insisted) himself for his own military awards.

    3. 64 decorated Veterans who served along side John Kerry and on his boat dispute Kerry’s claims of actions under fire.

    4. John Kerry found time to be filmed, in addition to reenacting, his actions in Vietnam.

    5. John Kerry testified before a Senate subcommittee that he himself committed war crimes along with others.

    6. John Kerry refuses to release his military service and medical records to the public.


    My thoughts:

    1. Heroes do not reenact and/or have them selves filmed.

    2. I don’t think heroes should recommend themselves for medals.

    3. John Kerry’s wounds did not disable him in Vietnam or afterward.

    4. Genuine military heroes/leaders who are fit and healthy do not skip out on their unit based on a technicality.

    5. Decorated war heroes and future Presidents do not typically claim having committed war crimes.

    6. John Kerry has made his service in Vietnam the key to his qualifications as Commander-in-Chief and a war hero who wants to be President. Kerry, who is now waiving his own flag, should not hide behind a privacy clause to release service or medical records.

    7. John Kerry disparaged the men he served with in Vietnam as war criminals; these same veterans have disputed Kerry’s claims of heroism and conduct. Both sides are now casting doubt amidst accusations of each other’s credibility. Why will John Kerry not speak to these men and try to resolve their concerns in a open format, with each side addressing their concerns and questions?

    8. Is there a contradiction when after Vietnam John Kerry stated that he “ . . . volunteered to serve in Vietnam . . . because it was the right thing to do,’” (http://www.johnkerry.com/about/john_kerry/bio.html)? How does he reconcile his political positions pre and post Vietnam?

    9. After admitting to a Senate subcommittee that he himself committed war crimes along with others, is it contradictory to point selectively to his own actions in Vietnam as a key qualification for his Presidential administration.

    10. Why has Kerry said so very little about his voting and attendance record as Senator, and, seems to be overwhelmed reactively rather than behaving proactively to sell his qualifications?

    11.
    He voted to kill the Bradley Fighting Vehicle
    He voted to kill the M-1 Abrams Tank
    He voted to kill every Aircraft carrier laid down from 1988
    He voted to kill the Aegis anti aircraft system
    He voted to Kill the F-15 strike eagle
    He voted to Kill the Block 60 F-16
    He voted to Kill the P-3 Orion upgrade
    He voted to Kill the B-1
    He voted to Kill the B-2
    He voted to Kill the Patriot anti Missile system
    He voted to Kill the FA-18
    He voted to Kill the B-2
    He voted to Kill the F 117

    In short, he voted to kill every military appropriation for the development and deployment of every weapons systems since 1988 to include the battle armor for our troops.


    I am especially interested in responses to this posting by veterans and veterans of foreign war. Political activists from both sides of the political spectrum as well. If my facts are incorrect, please respond in kind with facts and sources.
  2. Chaos Turtle Demiurgic CPA Member, Admin Assistant

    Of which foreign war or wars are you a veteran?

    You are troubled that "John Kerry was the son of a Foreign Service Officer who served under Eisenhower and exposed to politics throughout his life." Why?

    What evidence do you have that Kerry presented himself his own awards?

    Decorated vets who actually served on Kerry's swiftboat dispute the claims of those "64."How many of those actually served on the same swiftboat? Something like none?

    Why on Earth should I be interested in Kerry's medical records?

    It's your opinion that "heroes do not reenact and/or have themselves filmed." It's my opinion that being filmed and/or re-enacting events has no bearing at all on one's heroism.

    Check out Kerry's testimony in which he "claims to have committed war crimes" a bit more carefully. He made no such claims. He was quoting others.

    Why will those men not afford the Senator the same courtesy, instead of renewing their very old and still baseless accusations as a political attack co-ordinated with the GOP Campaign to re-elect Bush (which is in violation of campaign finance laws)?

    It's so easy to pick at Congresspersons' voting and attendance records. It's one of the reasons they have such a hard time being elected President.

    Well, I've become bored. I'm curious about something though. Where did you get your information? I suspect a good deal of it came from the "Swift Boat" attack ad and related sources. Perhaps a little jaunt over to www.swiftvets.org will help to set the record straight.
  3. I deployed to Panama for Operation Just Cause in 1989 with A RDF unit out of the 7th ID at Fort Ord.

    I think what bothers me about Kerry's youth was not the fact that his father served as a diplomat, but that it would seem to fit as part of the greater picture of having this influence in his youth that perhaps shaped his goals in life; that he may have desired something of politics early in his life and orchestrated life events to effect that outcome. In single context, no, its not just his young life's experience, but rather together with his self documentary and post Vietnam road into politics simply makes me wonder.

    A news interview with a commanding officer is the source for his presentation and recommendation for decorations for valor. Kerry's insistance for the Purple Hearts I believe are a matter of record-again by his commanding officer. His military service and medical record could shed light on the accusations. Perhaps the truth to these sources are exaggerated. Personally, I don't see the difference from the Swiftvets and Michael Moore or Moveon for that matter. Both are private organizations with political agendas and friendly contributors.

    Actually, Kerry's own gunners mate is apart of the 64 that was on Kerry's boat. I could source the name if necessary for you.

    The only reason you or even I might even be interested in Kerry's medical or service records at all is to respond and validate his own claims verses those who contradict these. Dates, injury, recommending officers, rejection and frankly quite a lot could be seen if we had his records. Again, only to verify his claims and what he has made the centerpiece of his candidacy.

    Having served in combat and being around courageously exceptional people, I can tell you that reenacting and having film shot of oneself altogether is a very strange. It only adds to the circumstances that cause me to consider that John Kerry might have had a political agenda-even way back then.

    I have read and heard the testimony Kerry gave before the Senate subcommittee. Yes he was referencing, but actually did refer to himself as having participated and committed war crimes. Please reread to listen to his entire comments regarding this matter.

    I don't know that Kerry's accusors wont engage in discussion with the Senator. I only suggested that the two engage in dialouge and address each other's concerns. Again, Kerry's records could prove helpful to him in this matter.

    As a Senator cadidate for President, I believe attendance and voting records are an important matter. In my mind it simply speaks to how often one worked and what their priorities were along with their ability to influence and shape policy. But I agree with you, congressional candidates for President have typically not done well. Maybe once you hit Washington it's an uphill battle for the White House.

    THX
  4. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Sounds like you read this:

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/kerry/service.asp

    What's the technicality?

    Not sure of your source for these, did it come from this?

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/kerry/swift.asp

    No, either the Baltimore Sun or Washington Post did a short "bio" on Kerry and his pre-war stance was pretty much the same as his post-war stance (he debated some merits of the war in college?) It was because he came from a military family or something and felt expected to serve (probably need the article for backup)

    Looks like you got this also from an internet email. Check this out:

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/kerry/weapons.asp
  5. Thanks for the reply and web reference. I haven't seen this site yet but I'll take a look-see.

    In general to your post though, I am sincerely interested in discussing the facts and determining motive. I can honestly present to you that although I am conservative in many regards, I try to approach discussions with objectivity and reason--regardless of subject and party affiliation. And if I am wrong, then I have learned something.

    THX
  6. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Ditto. I didn't reply to the other points and opinions you made because I don't have enough knowledge or info about them.
  7. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    You may have seen these next two articles since they've been out sine Sunday, but here they are. I included the full text since you have to register at the two news sites to get them (Baltimore Sun and Chicago Tribune) and not sure if you want to bother with that.

    Boat Commander Disputes Attacks On Kerry

    Boat commander disputes attacks on Kerry
    Editor at Chicago Tribune served in Vietnam beside presidential candidate

    By Tim Jones
    Chicago Tribune

    August 22, 2004

    The commander of a Navy Swift boat who served alongside Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry during the Vietnam War stepped forward yesterday to dispute attacks challenging Kerry's integrity and war record.

    William B. Rood, an editor on the Chicago Tribune's metropolitan desk, said he decided to speak about the Feb. 28, 1969, mission that resulted in Kerry's receiving a Silver Star because recent portrayals of Kerry's actions published in the best-selling book Unfit for Command are wrong and smear the reputations of veterans who served with Kerry.

    Rood, who commanded one of three Swift boats during that 1969 mission, said that Kerry came under rocket and automatic weapons fire from Viet Cong forces and that Kerry devised an aggressive attack strategy that was praised by their superiors. He called untrue the allegations that Kerry's accomplishments were "overblown."

    "The critics have taken pains to say they're not trying to cast doubts on the merit of what others did, but their version of events has splashed doubt on all of us. It's gotten harder and harder for those of us who were there to listen to accounts we know to be untrue, especially when they come from people who were not there," Rood said in a 1,700-word first-person account published in today's Tribune.

    The Tribune is owned by Tribune Publishing, which also owns The Sun.

    Rood's recollection of what happened on that day at the southern tip of South Vietnam was supported by military documents, including his citation for a Bronze Star he earned in the battle and a glowing after-action report written by the Navy captain who commanded his and Kerry's task force and who is now a critic of the Democratic candidate.

    Rood's previously untold story and the documents shed new light on a key historical event that has taken center stage in an extraordinary political and media storm generated by a group calling itself the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

    The book, co-written by one of the leaders of the group, accuses Kerry of being a coward who fabricated wartime events and used comrades for his "insatiable appetite for medals." The allegations have fueled a nearly two-week-long TV ad campaign against the Democratic nominee. Talk radio and cable news channels have feasted on the story.

    Animosity toward Kerry from some veterans goes back more than 30 years, when Kerry returned from Vietnam to take a leadership role in the anti-war group Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Anger reached a boiling point with Kerry's presidential nomination and his highlighting of his service during the war, a centerpiece of his campaign strategy against President Bush, who spent the war stateside in the Air National Guard in Texas and Alabama.

    A poll released Friday by the National Annenberg Election Survey reported that more than half the country has heard about or seen TV ads attacking Kerry's war record, a remarkable impact for ads that have appeared in a handful of states.

    Kerry strongly disputes the allegations made in the ads. Last week he called on the White House to denounce the TV ads and accused Bush of relying on the Vietnam veterans "to do his dirty work." On Thursday, Kerry challenged Bush to a debate on their respective war records. Democrats point to unresolved questions about whether Bush served all the time he was credited with serving in Alabama.

    The Bush campaign has denied any association with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth but has declined to condemn the book and the group's TV ads. A report in Friday's New York Times disclosed connections between the anti-Kerry veterans and the Bush family; Bush's chief political aide, Karl Rove; and several high-ranking Texas Republicans. Some of the recent accounts from veterans critical of Kerry have been contradicted by their earlier statements, the Times reported.

    Rood's account also sharply contradicts the version put forth by the anti-Kerry veterans. Rood, 61, wrote that Kerry had contacted him and other crew members, asking that they go public with their accounts

    Rood said that he had "wanted to put it all behind us. ... My intent is to tell the story here and to never again talk publicly about it."

    Rood declined requests from a Tribune reporter to be interviewed for this article. Rood wrote that he could testify only to the February 1969 mission and not to any of the other battlefield decorations challenged by Kerry's critics -- a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts -- because Rood was not a witness to those engagements.

    In February 1969, Rood was a lieutenant junior grade commanding PCF-23, one of the three 50-foot aluminum Swift boats that carried troops up the Dong Cung, a tributary of the Bay Hap River. Kerry commanded another boat, PCF-94,and Lt. j.g. Donald Droz, who was killed in action six weeks later, commanded PCF-43. Ambushes from Viet Cong fighters were common because the noise from the boats, powered by twin diesel engines, practically invited gunfire. Ambushes, Rood said, "were a virtual certainty."

    Before this day's mission, though, Kerry, the tactical commander of the mission, discussed with Rood and Droz a change in response to the anticipated ambushes: If possible, turn into the fire and attack the ambushers, Rood recalled Kerry saying. The boats followed that new tactic with great success, Rood said, and the mission was highly praised.

    In the book Unfit for Command, Kerry's critics maintained otherwise. The book's authors, John O'Neill and Jerome Corsi, wrote that Kerry's attack on the Viet Cong ambush displayed "stupidity, not courage."

    "The only explanation for what Kerry did is the same justification that characterizes his entire short Vietnam adventure: the pursuit of medals and ribbons," they wrote. Later in the war, O'Neill commanded the same Swift boat Kerry had led. O'Neill is now a leader of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

    In the book, O'Neill and Corsi said Kerry chased down a "young Viet Cong in a loincloth ... clutching a grenade launcher which may or may not have been loaded."

    Rood recalled that the fleeing Viet Cong was "a grown man, dressed in the kind of garb the VC usually wore." There were other attackers as well, he said, and his boat and Kerry's boat took significant fire.

    After the attack, the task force commanding officer, then-Capt. Roy Hoffmann, sent a message of congratulations to the three Swift boats, saying their charge of the ambushers was a "shining example of completely overwhelming the enemy," Rood said.

    In the official after-action message, obtained by the Tribune, Hoffmann wrote that the tactics developed and executed by Kerry, Rood and Droz were "immensely effictive" and that "this operation did unreparable damage to the enemy in this area."

    But more than three decades later, Hoffmann, now a retired rear admiral, is one of Kerry's most vocal critics, saying the attacks against the ambushers 35 years ago call into question Kerry's judgment and show his tendency to be impulsive.

    Rood challenges that criticism, recalling that the direction for more aggressive actions on the river came from the highest ranks of the Navy command in Vietnam.

    O'Neill said in a statement yesterday that, unlike Rood, most of the officers who served with Kerry do not support him. "Bill Rood is one of 23 officers who served with John Kerry at An Thoi," O'Neill said. "Seventeen of those officers have condemned John Kerry."

    O'Neill also said in the statement that "while the action involved a degree of courage, it was not compatible with the description given to senior command nor worthy of the Silver Star. We are joined in that judgment by many Vietnam veterans who expressed similar views."


    Copyright © 2004, The Baltimore Sun
  8. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    "This is hurting crewmen"

    'This is hurting crewmen'
    Witness: Former Swift boat commander gives details of combat.

    By William B. Rood
    Chicago Tribune

    August 22, 2004

    There were three swift boats on the river that day in Vietnam more than 35 years ago - three officers and 15 crew members. Only two of those officers remain to talk about what happened on February 28, 1969.

    One is John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate who won a Silver Star for what happened on that date. I am the other.

    For years, no one asked about those events. But now they are the focus of skirmishing in a presidential election, with a group of swift boat veterans and others contending that Kerry didn't deserve the Silver Star for what he did on that day, or the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts he was awarded for other actions.

    Many of us wanted to put it all behind us - the rivers, the ambushes, the killing. Ever since that time, I have refused all requests for interviews about Kerry's service - even those from reporters at the Chicago Tribune, where I work.

    But Kerry's critics, armed with stories I know to be untrue, have charged that the accounts of what happened were overblown. The critics have taken pains to say they're not trying to cast doubts on the merit of what others did, but their version of events has splashed doubt on all of us. It's gotten harder and harder for those of us who were there to listen to accounts we know to be untrue, especially when they come from people who were not there.

    Even though Kerry's own crew members have backed him, the attacks have continued, and in recent days Kerry has called me and others who were with him in those days, asking that we go public with our accounts.

    I can't pretend those calls had no effect on me, but that is not why I am writing this. What matters most to me is that this is hurting crewmen who are not public figures and who deserved to be honored for what they did. My intent is to tell the story here and to never again talk publicly about it.

    I was part of the operation that led to Kerry's Silver Star. I have no firsthand knowledge of the events that resulted in his winning the Purple Hearts or the Bronze Star.

    But on Feb. 28, 1969, I was officer in charge of PCF-23, one of three swift boats - including Kerry's PCF-94 and Lt. j.g. Donald Droz's PCF-43 - that carried Vietnamese regional and Popular Force troops and a Navy demolition team up the Dong Cung, a narrow tributary of the Bay Hap River, to conduct a sweep in the area.

    The approach of the noisy 50-foot aluminum boats, each driven by two huge 12-cylinder diesels and loaded down with six crew members, troops and gear, was no secret.

    Ambushes were a virtual certainty, and that day was no exception.

    The difference was that Kerry, who had tactical command of that particular operation, had talked to Droz and me beforehand about not responding the way the boats usually did to an ambush.

    We agreed that if we were not crippled by the initial volley and had a clear fix on the location of the ambush, we would turn directly into it, focusing the boats' twin .50-caliber machine guns on the attackers and beaching the boats. We told our crews about the plan.

    The Viet Cong in the area had come to expect that the heavily loaded boats would lumber on past an ambush, firing at the entrenched attackers, beaching upstream and putting troops ashore to sweep back down on the ambush site. Often, they were long gone by the time the troops got there.

    The first time we took fire - the usual rockets and automatic weapons - Kerry ordered a "turn 90" and the three boats roared in on the ambush. It worked. We routed the ambush, killing three of the attackers. The troops, led by an Army adviser, jumped off the boats and began a sweep, which killed a half-dozen more VC, wounded or captured others, and found weapons, blast masks and other supplies used to stage ambushes.

    Meanwhile, Kerry ordered our boat to head upstream with his, leaving Droz's boat at the first site.

    It happened again, another ambush. And again, Kerry ordered the turn maneuver, and again it worked. As we headed for the riverbank, I remember seeing a loaded B-40 launcher pointed at the boats. It wasn't fired as two men jumped up from their spider holes.

    We called Droz's boat up to assist us, and Kerry, followed by one member of his crew, jumped ashore and chased a VC behind a hooch - a thatched hut - maybe 15 yards inland from the ambush site. Some who were there that day recall the man being wounded as he ran. Neither I nor Jerry Leeds, our boat's leading petty officer with whom I've checked my recollection of all these events, recalls that, which is no surprise. Recollections of those who go through experiences like that frequently differ.

    With our troops involved in the sweep of the first ambush site, Richard Lamberson, a member of my crew, and I also went ashore to search the area. I was checking out the inside of the hooch when I heard gunfire nearby.

    Not long after that, Kerry returned, reporting that he had killed the man he chased behind the hooch. He also had picked up a loaded B-40 rocket launcher, which we took back to our base in An Thoi after the operation.

    John O'Neill, author of a highly critical account of Kerry's Vietnam service, describes the man Kerry chased as a "teenager" in a "loincloth." I have no idea how old the gunner Kerry chased that day was, but both Leeds and I recall that he was a grown man, dressed in the kind of garb the VC usually wore.

    The man Kerry chased was not the "lone" attacker at that site, as O'Neill suggests. There were others who fled. There was also firing from the tree line well behind the spider holes and, at one point, from the opposite riverbank as well. It was not the work of just one attacker.

    Our initial reports of the day's action caused an immediate response from our task force headquarters in Cam Ranh Bay.

    Known over radio circuits by the call sign "Latch," then-Capt. and now retired Rear Adm. Roy Hoffmann, the task force commander, fired off a message congratulating the three swift boats, saying at one point that the tactic of charging the ambushes was a "shining example of completely overwhelming the enemy" and that it "may be the most efficacious method of dealing with small numbers of ambushers."

    Hoffmann has become a leading critic of Kerry's and now says that what the boats did on that day demonstrated Kerry's inclination to be impulsive to a fault.

    Our decision to use that tactic under the right circumstances was not impulsive but was the result of discussions well beforehand and an agreement of all three boat officers.

    It was also well within the aggressive tradition that was embraced by the late Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, then commander of U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam. Months before that day in February, a fellow boat officer, Michael Bernique, was summoned to Saigon to explain to top Navy commanders why he had made an unauthorized run up the Giang Thanh River, which runs along the Vietnam-Cambodia border. Bernique, who speaks French fluently, had been told by a source in Ha Tien at the mouth of the river that a VC tax collector was operating upstream.

    Ignoring the prohibition against it, Bernique and his crew went upstream and routed the VC, pursuing and killing several.

    Instead of facing disciplinary action as he had expected, Bernique was given the Silver Star, and Zumwalt ordered other swifts, which had largely patrolled coastal waters, into the rivers.

    The decision sent a clear message, underscored repeatedly by Hoffmann's congratulatory messages, that aggressive patrolling was expected and that well-timed, if unconventional, tactics like Bernique's were encouraged.

    What we did on Feb. 28, 1969, was well in line with the tone set by our top commanders.

    Zumwalt made that clear when he flew down to our base at An Thoi, off the southern tip of Vietnam, to pin the Silver Star on Kerry, and assorted Bronze Stars and commendation medals on the rest of us.

    My Bronze Star citation, signed by Zumwalt, praised the charge tactic we used that day, saying the VC were "caught completely off guard."

    There's at least one mistake in that citation. It incorrectly identifies the river where the main action occurred, a reminder that such documents were often done in haste and sometimes authored for their signers by staffers. It's a cautionary note for those trying to piece it all together. There's no final authority on something that happened so long ago - not the documents and not even the strained recollections of those of us who were there.

    But I know that what some people are saying now is wrong. While they mean to hurt Kerry, what they're saying impugns others who are not in the public eye.

    Men like Larry Lee, who was on our bow with an M-60 machine gun as we charged the riverbank, Kenneth Martin, who was in the .50-caliber gun tub atop our boat, and Benjamin Cueva, our engineman, who was at our aft gun mount suppressing the fire from the opposite bank.

    Wayne Langhoffer and the other crewmen on Droz's boat went through even worse on April 12, 1969, when they saw Droz killed in a brutal ambush that left PCF-43 an abandoned pile of wreckage on the banks of the Duong Keo River. That was just a few months after the birth of his only child, Tracy.

    The survivors of all these events are scattered across the country now.

    Jerry Leeds lives in a tiny Kansas town where he built and sold a successful printing business. He owns a beautiful home with a lawn that sweeps to the edge of a small lake, which he also owns. ...

    Cueva, recently retired, has raised three daughters and is beloved by his neighbors for all the years he spent keeping their cars running. Lee is a senior computer programmer in Kentucky, and Lamberson finished a second military career in the Army.

    With the debate over that long-ago day in February, they're all living that war another time.

    The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.


    Copyright © 2004, The Baltimore Sun
  9. train The Wildcard!!!...

    Man - I didn't know snopes was that in-depth...:eek:
  10. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    They do their research which apparently is more than some authors of emails circulating around... :rolleyes:

Share This Page