Dear Senator Kerry,
Thus far, your presidential campaign has been focused solely on attacking President Bush and touting you Vietnam War record from over 30 years ago. Though you have stated reasons why voters should not re-elect President Bush, you have not given the American people ample reason to vote for you. Further, there are many inconsistencies and unanswered allegations in your own record. Herein is an opportunity for you to respond.
You have inserted Vietnam into the campaign as a central issue. However, in the 1992 presidential election, when Bill Clinton was accused of dodging the Vietnam draft, you said, “I am saddened by the fact that Vietnam has yet again been inserted into the campaign. ... The race for the White House should be about leadership, and leadership requires that one help heal the wounds of Vietnam, not reopen them."
You now seek to "reopen" these wounds. Please explain how you reconcile your current tactic of using the Vietnam War to your own political advantage with your contradictory statements of Feb. 27, 1992.
While we deeply appreciate your service to our nation, there are many lingering questions regarding your conduct after the war. In the early 1970s, you participated in Jane Fonda's "Winter Soldier Investigation," and you also testified before Congress. In this testimony, you accused your fellow soldiers of committing unspeakable atrocities.
Later, it was determined that many of these charges you leveled against your fellow soldiers were distorted or outright false. Please explain why Vietnam veterans should support your candidacy after you have publicly defamed them and falsely accused them of serious crimes.
As chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA in the early 1990s, you lobbied zealously for normalized relations with Vietnam. As a result, your cousin, C. Stewart Forbes, was able to broker a billion-dollar deal between Hanoi and Colliers International, a large company based in your home state of Massachusetts. Is this merely an odd coincidence?
Further, there is credible evidence that your committee suppressed evidence – including live sightings – that there were indeed American prisoners still in Vietnam. If introduced, this evidence might have prevented the normalized relations you sought – normalized relations that were paramount to sealing the Colliers deal. Some investigators have charged that you threatened, if the suppressed evidence ever leaked out, that they would “"wish [they'd] never been born." Please answer these charges.
You have asserted that it is relevant to this campaign that President Bush allegedly missed a physical while he served in the National Guard decades ago – you and the DNC have described him as being AWOL, though he made up his missed time and was honorably discharged. The implication is that neglect of official duty is relevant to this campaign.
If this is the case, then it is, by implication, relevant that your attendance record in the 108th Congress was a dismal 36 percent. In other words, you have failed to execute your duties to your constituents as their senator 64 percent of the time in the last Congress.
Please explain why it is relevant that President Bush allegedly missed some time while serving his country in the National Guard decades ago, but it is not relevant that you have failed to represent your own constituents almost two-thirds of the time last session – i.e., that you were "AWOL" from the Senate.
As you may be aware, 2 USC § 39 mandates that "The Secretary of the Senate ... shall deduct from the [salary] of each Member ... the amount of his salary for each day that he has been absent from the Senate ... unless such Member ... assigns as the reason for such absence the sickness of himself or of some member of his family." Please explain why you feel you are exempt from this federal law.
Finally, please explain your ever-changing explanation of your vote on the resolution that authorized President Bush to use force in Iraq. On Oct. 10, 2002, you voted "aye" to H.J. Res. 114 (Senate vote #237). The explicit purpose of the bill was to "authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq."
There is no ambiguity in the text of this bill. Unless you did not understand the plain language of the text, please explain your claim that you only authorized "the threat" of force, subject to the permission of the U.N.