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Imagine you’re called to testify before a U.S. Senate committee.

Your remarks are recorded. Your words are broadcast for much of the world to hear. The statement is transcribed. It’s published in books.

Years later, along comes the Internet, and now your famous testimony can be heard on Real Audio. It can be heard in Windows media format. It can be read on hundreds of websites. It has been reprinted by dozens of publications.

Now, imagine you are running for president and you deny ever making those well-preserved, well-remembered, well-documented statements.

That’s what John F. Kerry is trying to do. Whether he gets away with it will say a great deal about how gullible America has become – how easy it is to pull the wool over our nation’s eyes.

Last week, on CNN, Kerry denied ever accusing American troops of war crimes.

Yet, here’s what that historical record shows.

Kerry participated in the “Winter Soldier” investigation in 1971 in Detroit. It was organized by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. It was underwritten by Jane Fonda, and the main purpose was to highlight alleged U.S. war atrocities in Vietnam.

Later, Kerry led an anti-war rally in the Capitol Mall in Washington where he threw away the medals of troops who fought in Vietnam. Why were they thrown away? Presumably because those soldiers were embarrassed about their conduct in the war.

A few days later, while testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 23, 1971, Kerry said U.S. soldiers had “raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam.” He said this while U.S. troops were still fighting and dying in Vietnam – while many were still imprisoned and being tortured by the North Vietnamese communists.

Now he is suddenly struck with amnesia.

Here’s the way the interview with CNN’s Judy Woodruff went:

Woodruff: “Vietnam veterans upset with the fact that when you came back from the war, you went to Capitol Hill, and you testified in so many words against the kinds of things that U.S. soldiers were doing over there … ”

Kerry: “Yes, I did.”

Woodruff: “To the Vietnamese.”

Kerry: “Yes, I did.”

Woodruff: “They are saying, in effect, you were accusing American troops of war crimes.”

Kerry: “No, I was accusing American leaders of abandoning the troops. And if you read what I said, it is very clearly an indictment of leadership. I said to the Senate, ‘Where is the leadership of our country?’ And it’s the leaders who are responsible, not the soldiers. I never said that. I’ve always fought for the soldiers …”

He never said that. That’s his new story. Forget what you’ve read. Forget what you’ve seen with your own eyes. Forget what you’re heard with your own ears. John Kerry is reinventing himself and hoping you won’t be confused with the facts.

It’s beyond astonishing.

In his Senate testimony in 1971, Kerry made no pretense of supporting the U.S. troops still fighting for their lives in Vietnam. In fact, he challenged a statement by Vice President Agnew that the servicemen in Vietnam were America’s best and the protesters mere misfits.

It is a distortion because we in no way consider ourselves the best men of this country, because those he calls misfits were standing up for us in a way that nobody else in this country dared to, because so many who have died would have returned to this country to join the misfits in their efforts to ask for an immediate withdrawal from South Vietnam, because so many of those best men have returned as quadriplegics and amputees, and they lie forgotten in Veterans’ Administration hospitals in this country which fly the flag which so many have chosen as their own personal symbol … And we cannot consider ourselves America’s best men when we are ashamed of and hated what we were called on to do in Southeast Asia.

Kerry should be ashamed, all right, but not for what he did in Vietnam. He should be ashamed for almost everything he has done since Vietnam.

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