Saturday, August 28, 2004

And it isn't just the POW's

Mark Steyn - Who's to blame for nation's Vietnam wounds? Kerry:
So when John McCain sternly warns the swift boat veterans of ''reopening the wounds of Vietnam,'' it's worth asking: Why is Vietnam a ''wound'' and why won't it heal? The answer: not because it was a military or strategic defeat but because it was a national trauma. And whose fault is that?

Well, you can't pin it all on one person, but, if you had to, Lt. John F. Kerry would stand a better shot at taking the solo trophy than almost anyone. The ''wounds'' McCain complains of aren't from losing Vietnam, but from the manner in which it was lost. Today Sen. Kerry says he's proud of his anti-war activism, but that's not what it was. Every war has pacifists and conscientious objectors and even disenchanted veterans, but there's simply no precedent for what John Kerry did: a man who put his combat credentials to the service of smearing his country's entire armed forces as rapists, decapitators and baby killers. That's the ''wound,'' Sen. McCain. That's why a crummy little war on the other side of the world still festers. ... Because Kerry didn't just call for U.S. withdrawal, he impugned the honor of every man he served with.

In his testimony to Congress in 1971, Kerry asserted a scale of routine war crimes unparalleled in American history -- his ''band of brothers'' (as he now calls them) ''personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads . . . razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan.'' Almost all these claims were unsupported. Indeed, the only specific example of a U.S. war criminal that Kerry gave was himself. As he said on ''Meet The Press'' in April 1971, ''Yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I used 50-caliber machineguns, which we were granted and ordered to use.''

Really? And when was that? On your top-secret Christmas Eve mission in Cambodia? If they'd taken him at his word, when the senator said ''I'm John Kerry reporting for duty,'' the delegates at the Democratic Convention should have dived for cover.

But they didn't. So Kerry is now the first self-confessed war criminal in the history of the Republic to be nominated for president. Normally this would be considered an electoral plus only in the more cynical banana republics. But the Democrats seemed to think they could run an anti-war anti-hero as a war hero and nobody would mind. As we now know, a lot of people -- a lot of veterans -- do mind, very much. They understand that, whether or not he ever mowed down civilians with his 50-caliber machinegun, Kerry is responsible for a lot of wounds closer to home.
Cut to SondraK who posts a comment from a reader:
There is a reason that some of those veterans turned their backs to Kerry and that many others sat with arms folded, refusing even polite applause. A reason that non veterans can, perhaps, know intellectually but not feel in their guts.

Like all veterans of all wars, regardless of branch of service or duty stations, we all lost friends there. Some of those we lost were closer than brothers. Unlike other wars in our history we didn't go over together and come home together, our individual wars ended individually.

Unlike other wars we came home branded by a large segment of our society as war criminals, by another segment as losers. Then, as most of us were already home, one of our own officers branded us all, including the dead that we were just beginning to mourn, as war criminals, murderers and rapists.

We later discovered that many of those that he was quoting as witnesses to our 'crimes' had not spent one day in uniform. Others had never served in Viet Nam. None of them, not a single one, would testify under oath, even if granted immunity. Yet our 'crimes' became part of the common knowlege. Our children were given that testimony as fact in their history classes. We all knew soldiers, sailors,airmen and Marines that had died, leaving children behind, we know that those children were taught those same lies as fact. Who sat with those children as we did with ours, explaining that those were lies told for political gain?

It's bad enough that we couldn't mourn our dead then. Now we see the same man that stood over the open graves of our brothers and pissed on their bodies is back. This time he's dug up those bodies and is standing on them to give himself the stature for high office.

I am no famous war hero, just one of the two and a half million guys who wore Uncle's suit for awhile in a place where the same truck would splash red mud on your trousers and throw a cloud of dust on your face at the same time. My service was entirely undistinguished but I stood shoulder to shoulder with some genuine heros. Those heros came home in shiney aluminum caskets, they cannot speak for themselves. I hope someone more famous and more eloquent will speak for them soon. Until they do I can only say that not only is John Kerry not fit to command the young men and women that inherited the uniforms but he is not fit to speak of my comrades, much less speak for them. I shall say this as long as I have a breath left in my body.

But what really gets me is the hubris that lead the sleazebag poseur to think he could get away with it. To think that nobody would care.