Apparently the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth have hit a nerve. The Kerry campaign has sprung into action as Kerry's support from veterans has fallen in recent weeks. He has even enlisted the assistance of former Senator Max Cleland in stopping the Swiftvet ads (poor Cleland has become nothing more than a pathetic mascot for the Democratic party).
The debate over Kerry's medals and whether he deserved them are a moot point, in my opinion. Medal Inflation has been going on for years. The sad truth is that an officer will often receive a higher award for the same deed as an enlsited person. This is nothing new, and there is no end in sight (this is less likely when the chain of command is populated by high quality officers). This debate clouds the real issue at work here.
The real issue at here is Kerry's conduct after he returned from Vietnam. When he returned, Kerry turned on his fellow veterans, calling them war criminals. In 1971, he told the following story to the Washington Star newspaper:
"We established an American presence in most cases by showing the flag and firing at sampans and villages along the banks. Those were our instructions, but they seemed so out of line that we finally began to go ashore, against our orders, and investigate the villages that were supposed to be our targets. We discovered we were butchering a lot of innocent people, and morale became so low among the officers on those 'swift boats' that we were called back to Saigon for special instructions from Gen. Abrams. He told us we were doing the right thing. He said our efforts would help win the war in the long run. That's when I realized I could never remain silent about the realities of the war in Vietnam."
Following his "Winter Soldier Investigation", he told the following story to Congress in 1971:
They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, tape wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.
These statements made life harder for his fellow veterans, giving the antiwar crowd an excuse for their mistreatment of returning veterans. Even worse, the propaganda victory that Kerry gave to the North Vietnamese and Vietcong undoubtedly encouraged them to fight harder, costing more military and civilian lives.
Whether the Swiftvets' allegations are true or not, John Kerry has already shown America he is unfit for command. If he was telling the truth in 1971, and I don't believe that he was, he is a war criminal. If he was lying, he is a traitor. Either way, he is hardly Commander-in-Chief material.