Seeing through Kerry

By Joseph Farah

It is obvious from John Kerry’s acceptance speech last week at the Democratic National Convention that he considers his “service” in Vietnam to be a major issue in his bid for the presidency.

I’m glad he made it so. Now he can’t complain when critics attack his military record for what it is – fraudulent, disgraceful and dishonorable. Though, knowing Kerry, I’m sure he will squeal like a pig when we do.

Kerry deviated from the text of his prepared speech only once, when he began with what he no doubt considered a poignant line: “My name is John Kerry and I’m reporting for duty.”

Let’s talk about the last time Kerry reported for duty.

He enlisted in the Navy with one thought in mind – building a resume that would one day propel him to the presidency. He told college friends. He told his peers in Vietnam. He took a movie camera with him to record his acts of “heroism.”

In a training mission, he misfired a rocket-propelled grenade, causing a small piece of shrapnel to ricochet and hit him in the arm. The injury was so minor, it required only a Band-Aid. He had the audacity to ask the doctor who treated him if he would be eligible for the Purple Heart. The doctor laughed and told him to go back to duty. He went to his commanding officer and requested a Purple Heart. His commander laughed and told him to report to duty.

But Kerry, whose family was close with the Kennedy family since he was a small child, wrote a letter to someone in Saigon and – voila – got his first Purple Heart.

Later, Kerry took his swiftboat down the river and spotted a sampan floating innocently in the water. For some reason Kerry thought he should blow it up. He fired on it and blew it up, all right. But it was carrying dangerous cargo – rice. Some of the rice flew up and hit Kerry. Second Purple Heart.

He got a third one for another minor injury not associated with enemy fire – another one that didn’t cause him to miss even a day on active duty.

And Kerry knew he had his ticket home. Three Purple Hearts and you’re out – if you choose to leave. Those were the rules. And Kerry left Vietnam after four rather uneventful months.

Eyewitnesses and his fellow swiftboat officers say the act of “heroism” portrayed in his official documentary at the convention is a lie. He didn’t pull that man out of the river under fire. There was no battle raging. A man fell out of the boat and Kerry reached over and pulled him in – just like he pulled that hamster out of the water for his daughters.

But the real dishonor, the real fraud, the real disgrace of Kerry’s service record came when he went home.

Kerry betrayed his comrades in arms – even while the fighting continued in Vietnam, even while U.S. prisoners were languishing in torture camps.

He went before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971 and lied. He spoke of U.S. war crimes that never happened. He spoke of U.S. soldiers as “monsters” who cut off ears and killed innocent women and children.

Meanwhile, men in the “Hanoi Hilton” and other camps were enduring unspeakable abuses – some were being murdered in cold blood – because they refused, even under duress, to say the things Kerry said so willingly in the comfort of the U.S. Senate.

Apparently, Kerry, with his moist finger in the wind, had decided by then that his best shot at political success and national recognition would come about by switching sides in the war and aiding the enemy.

Unfortunately he was right. He not only won a prominent spot of “honor” in Hanoi’s war-crimes museum, he also eventually was able to persuade Massachusetts voters to send him to the U.S. Senate – again and again – just like they did with his disgraceful, fraudulent and dishonorable friend Teddy Kennedy.

I find it difficult to believe, however, that Kerry can fool enough Americans nationwide to make him the leader of the greatest country on earth – and the one he has done so much to hurt.

If his Vietnam record is the centerpiece of his career, his life, his achievements and his character, this is truly a man corrupt to the core.