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The Democratic Party wants very badly to defeat President George W. Bush in November. They are desirous of replacing him with a president they think can better guide America on issues like abortion, taxes, the economy, and of course the war on terrorism.
In John Kerry, the Democrats think they have the man to unseat Bush and move this nation to the ideological left, where they want it to head. Now whether or not Senator Kerry can beat Bush in the general election remains to be seen, but (the) record of Kerry on the most important issue of this election, defense and national security, is already very plain to see.
Yes the Democratic Party has offered up the military record and Vietnam medals won by Kerry in service to America over and over again. Yes they have painted him again and again as the most stalwart of military heroes. The truth of his record in the military has been built up by the Democrats of 2004, but what do Kerry’s war time colleagues have to say of his service during and after his tour in Vietnam?
On Tuesday, May 4th, hundreds of those former military colleagues held a press conference to sign a petition declaring John Kerry unfit to be America’s commander in chief. Now this is quite a departure from what the Democrats have said about Kerry isn’t it?
“What is going to happen on Tuesday is an event that really is historical in dimension.” John O’Neill, a Vietnam veteran and a former Navy PCF (Patrol Fast Craft) boat commander said of the signing.
The event was organized by a new group calling themselves Swift Boat Veterans For Truth. According to O’Neill, the group has signatures from 19 of 23 officers who served with Kerry, as well as every commanding officer Kerry had in Vietnam. And all of those signers are declaring their feelings that Kerry is unfit for the job of commander in chief.
Apparently John Kerry was not too pleased to see his former comrades express their views on his hero status which he and his party has bestowed upon him. At the press conference, held at the National Press Club, O’Neill announced that Kerry had phoned the founder of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, former Rear Admiral Roy Hoffman and pleaded with him not to go public with the groups distaste at Kerry possibly being commander in chief. The effort fell on deaf ears however, and for 90 minutes veteran after veteran, described why they feel Kerry betrayed his fellow troops by alleging that American troops committed war crimes in Vietnam. The group also is demanding Kerry authorize the Department of Defense to release all his military records.
Admiral Hoffman said this of Kerry and his opposition to his candidacy. “ I signed this letter because I do not believe John Kerry is fit to be commander in chief of the armed forces of the United States. This is not a political issue. It is a matter of his judgment, truthfulness, reliability, loyalty, and trust-all absolute tenets of command.”
Other veterans who served with Kerry offered their opinions on his character as well. Steve Gardner said of Kerry, “I watched him put his crew in jeopardy. Charles Plumely described Kerry as “self-absorbed, requiring constant supervision.”. Barnard Wollf questioned one of Kerry’s Purple Hearts saying “ He needs to clarify that first purple heart.”
Speaking on that same Purple Heart, Grant Hibbard, who was Kerry’s commander when he received his first Purple Heart had this to say. “ I received the report on the mission; there had been no enemy fire.” Hibbard also noted that Kerry received no medical treatment for the wound which would result in the awarding of the Purple Heart.
The why’s and wherefores of Kerry medals, however is not the main thrust or target of the groups opposition to Kerry though. In the letter signed by these veterans their real aim is clearly defined. “It is our collective judgment that, upon your return from Vietnam, you grossly and knowingly distorted the conduct of the American soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen of that war (including a betrayal of many of us, without regard for the danger your actions caused us.) Further, we believe that you have withheld and/or distorted material facts as to your own conduct in this war.”
Now before anyone accuses these veterans of focusing entirely on Kerry’s military service let me remind them of this. Kerry has focused his entire campaign largely on that same record. Kerry has defined his campaign and indeed himself, by his military service and record.
The letter from these veterans has a stirring ending that every American should read and re-read very carefully before voting this November. “Senator Kerry, we were there. We know the truth. We have been silent long enough. The stakes are too great, not only for America in general but, most important, for those who have followed us into service in Iraq and Afghanistan. We call upon you to provide a full, accurate accounting of your conduct in Vietnam.”
So next time we hear Kerry crowing about his hero status let us pause and reflect upon why so many who have fist-hand knowledge of his service in Vietnam are so vehemently opposed to his becoming Commander in Chief.