October 22, 2004

PressThink Response re: Kerry Testimony

Jon Koppenhoefer

I do not follow this 'logic'. I'm also aware that Sinclair and Sherwood do not clarify that Kerry was reporting to the Senate what he was told during the Winter Soldier hearings, rather than making accusations of his own.

Sorry if this is repetitious... but it is needed to answer this. First - the high level. Kerry was not reporting, he was giving a propaganda speech. The wording is highly loaded and the speech is structure to cause maximum damage, not simply supply information. Second, the idea that because there were American atrocities in Vietnam that Kerry's speech is correct (something that not only you but the MSM is starting to try to sell) is incorrect, and reading the speech shows that - he grossly exaggerates the situation, makes atrocities out to be a matter of policy by the way he describes who failed to act on atrocities, and also interjects other false information (the creation of a monster - read the link below to see it). That many Americans chose to believe what he said caused great problems for a lot of Vietnam vets. See Stolen Valor (Burkett) for that (author name is coincidental - no connection to RatherGate). Also, his many speeches matched North Vietnamese propaganda closely, to the point his speech is still being used today y the North Vietnamese today.

Second, Winter Soldier was fraudulent. To use terms around here, it didn't come up to journalistic standards. Specifically witnesses were coached, many had lied about their Vietnamese experience and could not have witnessed what they claim to have seen. Some were not Vietnam Veterans or even veterans, but were using the names of real vets without their knowledge. If you know anything about how communist guerilla theater and show trials work - that was the way Winter Soldier was run. It was held in Detroit at Jane Fonda's demand and with some of her money. One witness spoke at the Kerry Lied Rally on 9/12. He spoke to apologize to us for the lies he had told, and said he was just a confused kid at the time but with no actual witnessing of atrocities.

Kerry's speech was not a report, it was classic deceptive propaganda - some true, some fabrication, much exaggeration. If some of the facts are false in the Swiftie ads or Stolen Honor, it is not by intent. Certainly not the Swiftie ads - I know some of the people. Having not seen Stolen Honor, and can't say, but knowing that it is a bunch of POWs from Vietnam, it is highly unlikely that any of them would give false information. One thing that kept people going in the Hanoi Hilton was a fierce honor code.

What is truly ironic is that atrocities were the policy and practice of the Viet Cong and NVA, and they did a lot of it. They were unauthorized and illegal acts by our troops. Consider how Lt. Calley was stopped: A passing helicopter pilot saw the slaughter, landed in by the platoon, got out and at gunpoint (him vs. a platoon) ordered it ceased. That was an American pilot, and he was acting on his own initiative.

Kerry strongly implies that our normal practice was atrocities and slaughter of civilians. That is a major lie, but was what the North Vietnamese line was. One of the oddest thing in his report is his way of talking about anti-Vietnamese racism. It is simply incorrect. And assertion that we used weapons on the Vietnamese that we wouldn’t use on Europeans was very, very wrong..

Today, there is a new phenomenon. Long after the attack by the Swifties, members of the MSM are attempting to prove Kerry's statements to be true. They are doing so by collecting anecdotal reports of atrocities, and some larger collection of reports from the Pentagon. The referenced Village Voice is an example of that. It doesn't meet my standards, because part of this campaign involves misrepresenting Kerry's statement to be "there were some atrocities", proving it true, and not dealing with the fact that Kerry was making claims that can only mean a huge number of atrocities as a matter of policy - a disgusting lie.

In computers, we say RTFM. Here, I'll say: read how what he says is meant to be, and was interpreted

But Kerry didn't simply say that a few Americans committed atrocities. Had he done so, everyone would have agreed. Instead, he slandered all of us with the charge, turning a normal (but uncommon) wartime situation into an attack on the very humanity of all of us and of America. Other parts of his "testimony" is structured to support it. For example, he said the war had created a monster composed of millions of veterans, who had been psychologically damaged by what they were forced to do (implying atrocities). First, this destroys the premise that he was merely reporting what he was told, since there was no way the Winter Soldier 'investigations' could have determined that. Second, it is rank nonsense, but it hurt a lot of Vietnam Vets (such as the man who wrote Stolen Valor) because people believed it and were leery of Vietnam vets.

It is factual that Kerry accused essentially all of us. His charges and language were sweeping. The "monster" statement, if you look at the numbers, actually includes more than the total number of combat veterans.

The attacks against Kerry are a result of people reading what he said, and looking at what he did, and seeing it for what it was. The fact that the every single one of Kerry's commanders and the vast majority of his fellow officers pronounce him unfit doesn't come from "outbursts of hysteria" or "bitter complaints". Not when polls have shown that most Vietnam Vets felt good about what they had done and were willing to do it again. There are bitter Vietnam vets, and more people pretending to be bitter vets who aren't Vietnam vets.

To avoid filling up Jay's place with more repetitious assertions, go here for a far less friendly analysis, and for lots of facts and analyses about Kerry during that period, go to Winter Soldier.

Jon, your education on Kerry is just beginning based on your assertions (which as a Vietnam Veteran I find both naive and offensive).

How Sinclair will handle these issues is still an open question..

Posted by John Moore at October 22, 2004 02:43 PM | TrackBack

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