Kerry’s other Vietnam record

By Les Kinsolving

Mackubin Thomas Owens is professor of strategy and force planning at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I.

He is also a retired officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, who commanded an infantry platoon in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969.

He therefore has the full credentials to write the current cover story in National Review magazine:


Professor Owens fully acknowledges Kerry’s heroism in combat, for which he received Silver and Bronze Stars, plus three Purple Hearts.

“But as I heard him invoke the support of veterans in his quest for the White House, I couldn’t help cringing. And if the sentiment expressed in a large number of e-mails I received shortly after I wrote an earlier piece about Kerry is any indication, my reaction was far from unique among Vietnam veterans.”

Indeed, there is a website for the rapidly growing Vietnam Veterans Against Kerry organization – which almost all of the major Democrat-dominated media are refusing to report.

“Those who might be otherwise inclined to support Kerry should ask themselves if they appreciate themselves being portrayed as war criminals; murderers, rapists, men capable of committing the most heinous atrocities. This is how Kerry did, in fact, portray them when he was a leader of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.”

(This Kerry accusation, “American soldiers raped, cut off ears, cut off limbs …” is on National Review’s cover, along with a photograph of Kerry testifying before Congress on April 22, 1971, when he also threw medals across the fence on Capitol Hill – only later admitting they were not his medals.)

Professor Owens further notes:

  • “John Kerry … helped to slander the generation of soldiers who had done their duty with honor and restraint. … [H]e chose the path that dishonors their service.”

  • Kerry could have remained serving in Vietnam with hundreds of thousands of others. Instead he applied to come home and later to leave the Navy early, which was granted due to his decorations.

  • “But what Kerry did after leaving the Navy constituted a breach of trust with his fellow veterans, because, to protest the war, he cast aspersions on their character.”

  • Kerry participated in the Jan. 31 “Winter Soldier Investigation” organized by Mark Lane and “Hanoi Jane” Fonda. “At this event, individuals purporting to be Vietnam Veterans told horrible stories of atrocities.”

Professor Owens noted how many of such atrocity claimants were investigated by both the Naval Investigative Service as well as Army investigators. Many refused to answer questions or were found to be fraudulent.

  • “Kerry in essence claimed that his fellow veterans have committed unparalleled war crimes in Vietnam as a matter of course, [that] indeed, it was U.S. policy to commit such atrocities.”

  • “In his 1971 testimony, Kerry portrayed the Vietnam veteran as ashamed of his service: ‘We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service. …’ And yet a comprehensive 1980 survey reported that 91 percent of those who had seen combat in Vietnam were ‘glad they had served their country.’ Eighty percent disagreed with the statement ‘the U.S. took advantage of me.'”

Of his own men in that Marine Corps platoon, former Lt., now professor, Owens wrote:

“They were the best men I have ever known. I would put them up against any other generation of warriors. I trusted them with my life, and they trusted me with theirs. …”

Of Sen. Kerry, Owens concludes:

“Today, Sen. Kerry appeals to veterans in his quest for the White House. He invokes his Vietnam experience at every turn.

“But how can he? If he believes his 1971 indictment of his country and his fellow veterans was true, then he couldn’t possibly be proud of his Vietnam service. Who can be proud of committing war crimes of the sort that Kerry recounted in his 1971 testimony?

“But if he is proud of his service today, perhaps it is because he always knew that his own indictment in 1971 was a piece of political theater that he, as an aspiring politician, exploited merely as a ‘good issue.’ If the latter is true Kerry should apologize to all of the men who served in that war for slandering them to advance his political fortunes.”