Kerry v. Kerry

Mackubin Owens:

"John Kerry, we know, is running against John Kerry: his own voting record. But there is another record that John Kerry is running against, and this has to do with his very emergence as a Democratic politician: Kerry, the proud Vietnam veteran vs. Kerry, the antiwar activist who accused his fellow Vietnam veterans of the most heinous atrocities imaginable.

...

"Kerry began by referring to the Winter Soldiers Investigation in Detroit. Here, he claimed, 'over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.'

...

"This is quite a bill of particulars to lay at the feet of the U.S. military. He said in essence that his fellow veterans had committed unparalleled war crimes in Vietnam as a matter of course, indeed, that it was American policy to commit such atrocities.

"In fact, the entire Winter Soldiers Investigation was a lie. It was inspired by Mark Lane's 1970 book entitled Conversations with Americans, which claimed to recount atrocity stories by Vietnam veterans. This book was panned by James Reston Jr. and Neil Sheehan, not exactly known as supporters of the Vietnam War. Sheehan in particular demonstrated that many of Lane's 'eye witnesses' either had never served in Vietnam or had not done so in the capacity they claimed.

...

"Indeed, Burkett discovered that over the last decade, some 1,700 individuals, including some of the most prominent examples of the Vietnam veteran as dysfunctional loser, had fabricated their war stories. Many had never even been in the service. Others, had been, but had never been in Vietnam.

"Stolen Valor" made it clear why John Kerry's testimony in 1971 slandered an entire generation of soldiers. Kerry gave credence to the claim that the war was fought primarily by reluctant draftees, predominantly composed of the poor, the young, or racial minorities.

"The record shows something different, indicating that 86 percent of those who died during the war were white and 12.5 percent were black, from an age group in which blacks comprised 13.1 percent of the population. Two thirds of those who served in Vietnam were volunteers, and volunteers accounted for 77 percent of combat deaths.

...

"Today, Sen. Kerry appeals to veterans in his quest for the White House. He invokes his Vietnam service at every turn. But an honest, enterprising reporter should ask Sen. Kerry this: Were you lying in 1971 or are you lying now? We do know that his speech was not the spontaneous, emotional, from-the-heart offering that he suggested it was. Burkett and Whitley report that instead, 'it had been carefully crafted by a speech writer for Robert Kennedy named Adam Walinsky, who also tutored him on how to present it.' "

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