WASHINGTON — A veteran who testified to John Kerry (search) about atrocities he committed in the Vietnam War (search) is now claiming that the Democratic presidential candidate coerced him to tell tales.
Steven Pitkin, an Army combat veteran, told FOX News that Kerry coached him and others to say they had witnessed war crimes, even after Pitkin told Kerry that he had not.
"Before they started the camera, they told me, 'We need you to speak about the atrocities that happened over there.' The whole company line that I initially came out and said, I was coached to say that over and over again," Pitkin said.
Kerry's former brother-in-law, David Thorne, attended that Winter Soldier investigation, in which more than 100 Vietnam veterans told anti-war activists that they had either committed or witnessed unspeakable war crimes. Thorne flatly denied Pitkin's charges.
"Kerry never forced anyone to testify to war crimes in any way. [Kerry] went to Winter Soldier to listen to what they had to say and to investigate for himself," Thorne said.
Kerry collected the testimony ahead of his appearance during a 1971 hearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on widespread atrocities against Vietnamese civilians. He has said the graphic testimony he gave was merely a repetition of testimony combat veterans told him.
Remember when former Senator Bob Kerrey said that Bill Clinton was an "unusually good liar - unusually good"? Well, surely by now Democrats realize that John Kerry is an unusually bad candidate – unusually bad. Just consider:
Kerry's never said why he should be president, other than to fulfill a lifelong dream. He inappropriately boasts of his war heroism, when experience tells us that authentic heroes rarely brag about their heroism.
The Swift Boat Veterans have deeply discredited numerous parts of his Vietnam record, but Kerry hasn't even attempted a factual rebuttal to any of the charges. He has been forced to admit – despite testifying that the memory was "seared, seared in me" – that he wasn't in Cambodia on Christmas 1968 at the orders of Richard Nixon, who wasn't yet president.
He's had to virtually admit that no hostile fire accompanied his first Purple Heart incident, meaning he didn't deserve that award.
He has personally attacked President Bush's National Guard service and V.P. Cheney's "five deferments" and contrasted it with his volunteering for two tours of duty in Vietnam. But he hasn't answered John O'Neill's charge that his first tour was 100 miles off the shore of Vietnam and he didn't volunteer for service until he was about to be drafted.
Besides, who in their right mind would believe that Kerry would volunteer to risk his life in a war he adamantly opposed?
He either perjured himself in his antiwar testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in admitting to committing atrocities or he actually committed those atrocities, which is worse. POWs have said their communist captors used his slander of our troops against them.
He was present at a meeting of the VVAW where assassinations of public officials were discussed. Whether or not he voted against them or left the meeting, he has never explained why he associated with such a group of sadistic thugs.
He admitted to being in Paris and having "talked with both delegations at the peace talks, that is to say the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government." Under whose authority? For what possibly legitimate purpose?
He castigates President Bush – preposterously – for having no plan to win the peace in Iraq. But he's never explained how he would be qualified to plan for any peace, given his disastrous predictions of no bloodbath or refugee problem upon U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam.
He was rated the most liberal senator in 2003 by the nonpartisan National Journal. And that doesn't even begin to tell the story of his egregiously anti-defense and anti-intelligence record for his entire 20 years in the Senate.
He has failed to denounce Michael Moore's deceits, but he demands that President Bush denounce the Swiftees' truths.
He insists that Iraq isn't part of the War on Terror yet claims that we've lost 1,000 people in the War on Terror.
He hasn't explained how his Silver Star citation was signed by Navy Secretary John Lehman years after the fact when Lehman denies signing it. He also hasn't explained how a "combat V" was affixed to the citation when such designations never accompany a Silver Star. Where's Dan Rather?
He refuses to release all his military and medical records and hides behind his biographer Brinkley, who contradicts him, saying Kerry alone possesses authority over his records.
He brutalized V.P. Cheney for saying America would be safer under Bush-Cheney but in the next breath said he would make America safer.
He swears he voted for the Iraq war resolution because President Bush promised he'd attack only as a last resort. Since there were no such conditions in the resolution and no one else corroborates his claim, are we to assume that Bush gave Kerry these assurances confidentially based on their close friendship?
He says he won't delegate our national security to other nations but never stops complaining, essentially, about President Bush's failure to delegate our national security to other nations.
He claimed that foreign leaders prefer him for president. What was he doing talking to them, under whose authority and about what?
He has been ducking the press for over a month after excoriating President Bush for hiding from the press. He won't answer "hypotheticals" about what he'd do on fundamental issues as president.
He says he has a plan to withdraw troops, but when pressed admits he won't know enough about the conditions on the ground until he's president.
He admitted that life begins at conception, but is pro-abortion anyway.
He has made incredibly destructive and bogus claims about GOP plans to disenfranchise a million black voters.
He has said President Bush isn't being tough on North Korea when before, Democrats were mortified at his "reckless" saber-rattling against that nation.