by John Hawkins | February 9, 2004 12:54 am
I find it quite interesting that John Kerry has made Vietnam the centerpiece of his campaign. Not only because being a decorated Vietnam Vet doesn’t automatically make you a foreign policy genius, but because war records haven’t really meant very much over the last few elections (Think George H.W. Bush vs. Clinton, Bob Dole vs. Clinton, & George W. Bush vs. McCain). Moreover, I think it’s important to note that John Kerry has not one, but two Vietnam records.
Of course, Kerry has talked extensively about his time in Vietnam. Given the fact that Kerry earned three Purple Hearts, a Silver Star, and a Bronze Star there, it’s understandable that he’d want people to know about it. Other people may question Kerry’s length of time in Vietnam or whether he earned those medals or not, but I don’t plan to be one of them. To the contrary, I have nothing but respect and admiration for John Kerry’s service to our country in Vietnam.
On the other hand, Kerry did not cover himself with glory when he returned from Vietnam. To the contrary, his behavior was disgraceful. It has been often noted that John Kerry pretended to throw his medals away and years later corrected the record. Today, those very medals he apparently cared so little for are an integral part of his campaign for the Presidency. That’s ironic isn’t it?
Furthermore, in 1970, Kerry actually “railed against U.S. war policy from the back of the same pickup truck” as Jane Fonda, a fervent supporter of VVAW, an organization that Kerry would later lead. Of course, we are talking about “Hanoi” Jane Fonda who later proved to be a despicable traitor (and I do not use those words lightly) to our country.
Moreover, while American soldiers were still fighting, dying, and being tortured in Vietnamese prison camps, the John Kerry led Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) were holding anti-war protests that featured soldiers wearing “pro-communist graffitti” & marching with communists under the “flag of the Viet Cong”.
So what sort of effect did John Kerry’s actions have on our soldiers? Here are a few excerpts from a column written by former POW Joe Crecca that doesn’t paint a pretty picture…
“The rigors and hardships of being a POW aside, I remember the so-called “peace movement” and peace marches and rallies that were taking place back home in the United States.
Our captors were more than willing, within their means, to provide us with any and all anti-U.S. and anti-Vietnam War propaganda. Without a choice in the matter, we listened to the “Voice of Vietnam” broadcasts by “Hanoi Hannah” and were shown newspaper and magazine photos and articles about those opposing the war back in the states.
One of the peace marchers’ standard slogans was, “Bring our boys home now and alive.” The warped thinking of such people was that by demonstrating against U.S. involvement in Vietnam, they’d be shortening the war and reducing the number of American casualties. These demonstrators would also try to make one believe that their efforts would bring POWs like me home sooner. They were utterly wrong on both counts, not to mention the detrimental effect their actions had on the morale of our troops and our POWs.
John F. Kerry was not just one of these demonstrators. He was leading them.
These demonstrations for peace had the exact opposite effect of what they purported to accomplish. Instead of shortening the war the “peace movement” served only to protract the conflict, resulting in a vastly greater number of Americans killed and wounded, greater economic burdens and longer periods of incarceration for Americans held captive in Vietnam….
…I hope people will reconsider their support for Kerry in light of his actions, which were so detrimental to our Vietnam combat soldiers, sailors and airmen, many of whom are not here today to tell you themselves.”
I hope so too Joe, I hope so too.
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