More Lies and the Truth about Senator Kerry!
But those who actually served alongside Senator Kerry and knew him best support him. There are many who hate Senator John Kerry for being the one to bring the bad news of Vietnam to the American people. But to besmirch his reputation because of his political views stinks.
John Kerry didn't choose to fight hard against those who would rather smear than talk issues. Just visit Snopes.com and read about the Urban Legend of the Swift Boat Veterans and the truth which is something quite different.
It is explained:
"John Kerry's service in Vietnam as an officer in command of a Swift boat and his subsequent activities as an anti-war protester have engendered a good deal of controversy, especially among those who also served in Vietnam. Many Vietnam veterans were angered by Kerry's anti-war stance after he returned to the U.S., viewing his anti-war activities — particularly his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971 — as unfairly and undeservedly smearing the reputations of all who served in Vietnam.Politics should not be used to smear the reputation of an American veteran who was decorated several times in Vietnam.
That said, the piece quoted above, in which a variety of veterans offer their views of John Kerry, isn't really something that can evaluated as "true" or "false." It's true that the men named do exist, that they served in Vietnam, and that they made the statements attributed to them, but the substance of most of these quotes is an expression of opinion, not something objectively classifiable as right or wrong.
The important point to note here is that this piece presents only one side of the story:
* Although the men quoted above are often identified as "John Kerry's shipmates," only one of them, Steven Gardner, actually served under Lt. Kerry's command on a Swift boat. The other men who served under Kerry's command continue to speak positively of him:
"In 1969, I was Sen. Kerry's gun mate atop of the Swift boat in Vietnam. And I just wanted to let everyone know that, contrary to all the rumors that you might hear from the other side, Sen. Kerry's blood is red, not blue. I know, I've seen it.
"If it weren't for Sen. John Kerry, on the 28th of February 1969, the day he won the Silver Star . . . you and I would not be having this conversation. My name would be on a long, black wall in Washington, D.C. I saw this man save my life."3
— Fred Short
"I can still see him now, standing in the doorway of the pilothouse, firing his M-16, shouting orders through the smoke and chaos . . . Even wounded, or confronting sights no man should ever have to see, he never lost his cool.
I had to sit on my hands [after a firefight], I was shaking so hard . . . He went to every man on that boat and put his arm around them and asked them how they're doing. I've never had an officer do that before or since. That's the mettle of the man, John Kerry."3
— David Alston
"What I saw back then [in Vietnam] was a guy with genuine caring and leadership ability who was aggressive when he had to be. What I see now is a guy who's not afraid to tackle tough issues. And he knows what the consequences are of putting people's kids in harm's way."2
— James Wasser
* Many of Kerry's Vietnam commanders and fellow officers also continue to speak positively of him:
Navy records, fitness reports by Kerry's commanders and scores of interviews with Swift boat officers and crewmen depict a model officer who fought aggressively in river ambushes and won the respect of many of his crewmates and commanders, even as his doubts about the war grew.
"I don't like what he said after the war," said Adrian Lonsdale, who commanded Kerry for three months in 1969. "But he was a good naval officer."2
"I don't know what conclusions you can draw about someone's ability to lead from their combat experience, but John's service was commendable," said James J. Galvin, a former Swift boat officer . . . "He played by the same rules we all did."1
* How well all of these men knew John Kerry is questionable, and discrepancies between how some of them described Kerry thirty-five years ago and how they describe him today suggest that their opinions are largely based upon political differences rather than objective assessments of Kerry's military record. For example, Rear Admiral Roy Hoffman is quoted above, yet the Los Angeles Times reported:
. . . Hoffman and Kerry had few direct dealings in Vietnam. A Los Angeles Times examination of Navy archives found that Hoffman praised Kerry's performance in cabled messages after several river skirmishes.1"
But it does and it continues to be used to try to destroy an American who served his nation bravely and was decorated appropriately in Vietnam.
But there will always be people like that. People who climb out from under rocks and from spider holes, to say something nasty about someone else to advance their own political views. Damaged goods? Senator Kerry now unable to be elected? I think not.
Senator Kerry is tougher than that. He has waded through the mud of Southeast Asia, and he can handle the mud in America! Let us work to discuss issues, and not engage in the filth that has become the American political method. We may not choose to agree about policy, but let us base our political decisions on sound reasoning and not smears and innuendos.
Keep on Coming John! I have got your back.