There’s Something About Kerry

 

This widely-distributed email is alleged to be a letter from a veteran in Dallas to John Kerry:

 

>Senator Kerry: > Since it has become clear that you will probably be the

>Democratic nominee for President, I have spent a great deal of time

>researching your war record and your record as a professional politician.

>The reason is simple, you aspire to be the Commander in Chief who would lead

>my sons and their fellow soldiers in time of war. I simply wanted to know if

>you possess the necessary qualifications to be trusted in that respect. >

 

Well, since the nature of this letter is purely political and basically parrots the lies and mischaracterizations of radical groups like the Free Republic, you'll forgive me if I question the motivation of the so-called "research."  But I'll still take the comments at face value and respond accordingly.

 

>You see, I belong to a family of proud U.S. veterans. I was a Captain in the

>Army Reserve, my father was a decorated Lieutenant in World War II; and I

>have four sons who have either served, or are currently serving in the

>military. The oldest is an Army Lieutenant still on active duty in

>Afghanistan after already being honored for his service in Iraq. The

>youngest is an E-4 with the military police. His National Guard unit just

>finished their second tour of active duty, including six months in

>Guantanamo Bay. My two other sons have served in the national guard and the

>navy. > In looking at your record I found myself comparing it not only to

>that of my father and my sons, but to the people they served with.  My

>father served with the 87th Chemical Mortar Battalion in Europe. They landed

>on Utah Beach and fought for 317 straight days including the Cherbourg

>Peninsula, Aachen, the Hurtgen Forest, and the Battle of the Bulge.

 

These are all honorable achievements and the family should be very proud.  However, they have no bearing upon the validity of the arguments or the accuracy of the statements.  To wit...

 

>You

>earned a Silver Star in Vietnam for chasing down and finishing off a wounded

>and retreating enemy soldier.

 

Horse-pucky.  Kerry earned his Silver Star (awarded for "gallantry in action") on 28 February 1969, when he beached his craft and jumped off it with an M-16 rifle in hand to chase and shoot a guerrilla who was running into position to launch a B-40 rocket at Kerry's boat.  It's true that the guerilla had been clipped in the leg, but he was still armed and obviously a serious threat.  Frederic Short, a gunner on the boat, recently told the Boston Globe that Kerry saved both the boat and crew.  Charles Gibson, another crewman, said that "Kerry was a good leader. He knew what he was doing."

 

>My father won a Bronze Star for single

>handedly charging and knocking out a German machine gun nest that had his

>men pinned down. You received three purple hearts for what appears to be

>three minor scratches. In fact you only missed a combined total of two days

>of duty for these wounds. The men of my father's unit, the 87th, had to be

>admonished by their commanding officer because: "It has been brought to our

>attention that some men are covering up wounds and refusing medical

>attention for fear of being evacuated and permanently separated from this

>organization..." It was also a common problem for seriously wounded soldiers

>to go AWOL from hospitals in order to rejoin their units. You used your

>three purple hearts to leave Vietnam early

 

I'm confused... On one hand, you say that good soldiers don't miss time due to injuries, and then you say that Kerry only missed two days of duty while suffering three injuries.  So that's a GOOD thing, right?

 

Two of Kerry's Purple Hearts were given for shrapnel wounds, one of which reportedly caused him pain for years.  The third was for damage to his arm from a mine explosion.

 

You know, all this crap about Kerry's medals would be disgusting if it weren't so laughable.  I mean, do you think Kerry awarded these medals to himself?  Or was the military so stupid that they couldn't figure out who was deserving of them and who wasn't???  The lengths to which these people will go to smear a decorated war veteran is just downright bizarre, not to mention despicable.

 

> My oldest boy came home from

>Iraq with numerous commendations and then proceeded to volunteer to go to

>Afghanistan and from there back to Iraq again.  My sons and father have

>never had anything but the highest regard and respect for their fellow

>soldiers. Yet, you came home to publicly charge your fellow fighting men

>with being war criminals and to urge their defeat by the enemy.  

 

I hear this accusation about Kerry all the time, and it's not simply mischaracterized or taken out of context; it's a downright LIE.  Yes, Kerry testified before Congress about his experiences in the war, during which he mentioned certain atrocities that other soldiers had committed.  But he was only making reference to testimony that other soldiers had ALREADY GIVEN regarding their OWN actions.  He was not accusing anyone of these acts; on the contrary, he was DEFENDING the actions of soldiers in Vietnam, on the grounds that they were not properly trained, and never should have been put into the kinds of situations where such things could occur.  (Abu Ghraib, anyone?)

 

>You even

>wrote a book that had a cover which mocked the heroism of the U.S. Marines

>who raised the flag on Iwo Jima.  

 

It wasn't a "mockery," it was homage.  The book is called THE NEW SOLDIER and was published in 1971.  The cover shows five Vietnam veterans holding the flag at an anti-war rally.  One of the men, Michael Roach, was quoted as follows: "It was Thursday night, after the candlelight march, when the guys came back and were on stage with the flag. There was this spontaneous feeling of pride. I sort of drew a parallel with Iwo Jima. I guess you had to, because it was with the same type of pride that they put up the flag in Iwo Jima. And when it was done - instead of burning the flag, they took it and they folded it up because as Phil Lavoie, one of the vets with the flag said, 'We love America, we're not here to destroy it.' "

 

Why is it so hard to believe that good men and women who love God and country might find the death, carnage and destruction of an unnecessary and poorly-planned war to be a bit distasteful?

 

>Our current crop of soldiers has a

>philosophy that no one gets left behind; and they have practiced that from

>Somalia to the battlefields of the Middle East .

 

Absolutely right.  And Kerry earned a Bronze Star for refusing to leave a man behind.  After injuring his arm in the mine explosion mentioned above, he turned his Swift boat around, heading back into an area of heavy enemy fire, in order to save Green Beret Jim Rassmann from the water.  Note that the above criticism of Kerry's service record doesn't bother to mention the Bronze Star, which was given for "heroic or meritorious achievement or service."

 

>Yet as chairman of a Senate

>committee looking into allegations that many of your fellow servicemen had

>been left behind as prisoners in Vietnam, you chose to defend the brutal

>Vietnamese regime.

 

Defended them???  Hardly!  He simply reported the facts-specifically, that there was no compelling evidence that any POWs were still alive and being held in Vietnam as of 1993.

 

>You even went so far as to refer to the families of the

>POWs and MIAs as Professional malcontents, conspiracy mongers, con artists,

>and dime-store Rambos.

 

That's a lie.  Kerry never said anything of the sort.  That quote in fact came from Republican Senator John McCain, who himself was a POW in 'Nam.  In 1994, McCain co-sponsored a bipartisan bill to lift the trade embargo against Vietnam, believing it was time for our country to heal the rift and move on.  His efforts were undermined by the families of several MIA soldiers who were still clinging to the belief, despite all evidence to the contrary, that these men were still alive and inexplicably being held by the Vietnamese government. 

 

> As a Senator you voted against the 1991 Gulf War,

>and have repeatedly voted against funds to supply our troops with the best

>equipment, and against money to improve our intelligence capability

 

Kerry has supported over $200 billion in intelligence funding over the past seven years.  And the only time Kerry voted to cut certain weapons programs was in 1990, and those cuts were proposed by then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, who wanted to "streamline" the military.  Now our blatantly hypocritical vice-president is attacking Kerry for having given Cheney specifically what he had asked for.  It's pathetic.

 

>I find

>this particularly ironic since as a Presidential candidate you are highly

>critical of our pre-war intelligence in Iraq. However, you did vote to

>authorize the President to go to war, but have since proceeded to do

>everything you can to undermine the efforts of our government and our troops

>to win.

 

This is ridiculous.  Kerry was the lead sponsor of an amendment that would have COMPLETELY FUNDED the Iraq war effort and all of the necessary weaponry by rescinding the tax cuts for the wealthy, and Bush threatened to VETO it!  So instead, we're hemorrhaging money at the rate of a BILLION DOLLARS PER WEEK, with NO plan on how we're going to pay for all of this, when it will stop, and how in Heaven's name we're ever going to bring the budget back into balance.  Never in the history of this country have taxes been cut during wartime!  It's absolutely the most irresponsible action any government could possibly take.  Whatever happened to shared sacrifice?  This growing deficit will be a drag on the economy for decades, and my grandchildren will still be looking for ways to pay off this monster of a debt.

 

>Is this what our fighting men and women can expect of you if you

>are their Commander in Chief? Will you gladly send them to war, only to then

>aid the enemy by undermining the morale of our troops and cutting off the

>weapons they need to win?

 

Er, have you bothered to take a look at what our CURRENT Commander-In-Chief has done?  The Iraq spending bill that the White House asked for didn't even include body armor for the troops.  The Congress had to add that provision on its own.  Then Bush went ahead and sent more men into combat without providing them the armor they were supposed to have.  Many soldiers paid for the armor out of their own money.  Despite open-ended funding from Congress, Bush and the Pentagon can't keep the soldiers adequately supplied with weapons and equipment.  Yet money keeps flowing freely to the private contractors in Iraq, like Halliburton and Bechtel.

 

Meanwhile, Bush has cut veteran's benefits and he has proposed cutting "danger" pay for soldiers.  Kerry's proposed "Military Families' Bill Of Rights" would ensure that these sorts of things will NEVER happen again.

 

> Our country is at war Senator, and as has been

>the case in every war since the American Revolution, a member of my family

>is serving their country during the war. Now you want me to trust you to

>lead my sons in this fight. > Sorry Senator, but when I compare your record

>to those who have fought and died for this nation, and are currently

>fighting and dying, the answer is not just no, but Hell No !

 

Huh?  If you're going to "compare [Kerry's] record to those who have fought...for this nation," you don't have to look very hard... Kerry DID fight for the nation!  In fact, while an Ensign in the Navy, he specifically requested assignment in Vietnam and served with honor.  Bush, on the other hand, magically moved to the top of a waiting list to get into the Texas Air National Guard, where he was GUARANTEED to remain stateside, and then he didn't even bother to finish out his six-year commitment.

 

> Sincerely, >

>Michael Connelly February 14, 2004 Dallas, Texas >   > Forward this to

>EVERYONE you know--we can NOT afford to > have this man as the President of

>the United States!!

 

Quite frankly, I don't see how we can afford to keep the current President for four more years.  The damage to the economy, the deficit, the military, and the standing of the US in the world would be beyond any hope of repair.