Kerry inspires Iraq vets to protest

By WND Staff

WASHINGTON – If John Kerry is elected president and doesn’t immediately pull U.S. troops out of Iraq, he could be faced with an unusual situation – anti-war protests by a group modeled after the one he led during the Vietnam War.

A new organization, Iraq Veterans Against the War, is just that – an organization inspired by Kerry’s own Vietnam Veterans Against the War legacy.

The group was actually conceived last week during Kerry’s nominating convention in New York.

And the horror stories these vets are remarkably similar – though not as harrowing – as those told by Kerry in 1971 when he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“I didn’t feel like I was a liberator,” said Kelly Dougherty. “I felt like I was an oppressor. We burned a flatbed filled with produce in front of Iraqi people who were starving.”

Mike Hoffman, who heads the new group, currently about 30 strong, says he’s not sure the election of Kerry as president will bring about any change in Iraq war policy.

“My biggest fear is if he gets elected, it’s not going to be all that much different,” says the 24-year-old Pennsylvanian, who saw combat in Iraq with the 1st Marine Division.

Hoffman said: “I can see myself in Kerry’s shoes in 1971.”

Kelly Dougherty’s father is also joining the fight against the war: “The day George Bush sent my daughter to war was the day I declared war against Bush,” said Sean Dougherty, wearing a pin on his shirt with a picture of Bush and the slogan “9/11: Expose the Deception.”

Not unlike Kerry’s Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the Iraq peace group is being embraced by extremist organizations like the Communist Party USA.

“War veterans and their allies gathered in historic Faneuil Hall on the eve of the Democratic National Convention to demand the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and to call for the defeat of George W. Bush Nov. 2,” reads the story in the latest issue of the party’s People’s Weekly World. “The meeting was sponsored by Veterans for Peace as part of its national convention. Hundreds of veterans of every war since World War II were in the crowd. A cheer went up when a group of Iraq war veterans filed onto the stage and announced they have formed Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), modeled on Vietnam Veterans Against the War that Kerry helped lead and that played a crucial role in forcing the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam.”

Kerry may have led that peace movement, but he has showed no indications of calling for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq if elected president.

Now some Americans are wondering if President Kerry might actually get a taste of his own protest medicine.

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