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May 27, 2006

Comments

kim

Keith really is quite mad with the need to justify the Winter Soldier testimonies. Maybe it's the three million Cambodians. You know how beautiful they were, Keith?
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kim

Do you know how gentle they were, Keith? How innocent?
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PeterUK

declares PUK, Robert Kruch served less than two months in combat before getting the shit blown out of him--why, that doesn't compare at all to those modest and long-serving British heroes of WWII.

Yes Kuch two months John Kerry for four,hardly Audie Murphy,who served for three years, either of them.

KeithNolan

Sara, why do you imagine that I don't have respect for the career military man you describe?

Stop projecting. I'm about as pro-veteran and pro-military as a civilian can get.

I just don't throw that respect aside when the veteran in question goes off in an unpopular political direction.

So some (not all) of the Winter Soldiers looked like hippies and smoked dope. So what? A lot of true-blue, mom-and-apple-pie, love-it-or-leave-it veterans who kept their hair short and supported the president wasted their lives inside a bottle. Again: so what?

What does any of this have to do with your frauds-and-liars meme? If combat service is not to be judged at face value but on the kind of life the soldier lived after he came home from the war, well, that's just plain nuts.

Incidentally, your additional smear about the Winter Soldiers having been bullies, misfits, and individuals inclined to a life of crime is pure hogwash. Again, you don't know the men about whom you speak. The Winter Soldiers into whom I've done some research are actually remembered by their combat buddies as excellent soldiers and Marines.

Sara, I know you have a lot of anger in your heart, but I'd suggest you stop projecting that anger on individuals you do not know.

KN

PeterUK

"The Winter Soldiers into whom I've done some research are actually remembered by their combat buddies as excellent soldiers and Marines."

So they respected their comrades by publicly traducing every last one of them as "rapist,murderers and torturers".
Somehow 130 of them became the arbiters of 2,709,965 their fellow citizen soldiers.
Nice Balance.

KeithNolan

Kim, I don't have the slightest idea what you are talking about. What do the Khmer Rouge have to do with this?

Let's get some basic facts straight here:

1.) after the 1968 Tet Offensive, the American public basically gave up on the Vietnam War. The leadership of the ARVN was too incompetent, the leaders in Saigon too corrupt. The military skills of the VC and NVA were too sharp. To have prevailed under such conditions would have required an expenditure of American lives and capital that the public was not willing to invest. Thus Richard Nixon won the presidency that year with the promise of a secret plan toend the war in Vietnam.

2.) President Nixon began pulling U.S. combat units out of South Vietnam as of 1969.

3.) By 1971 (when the VVAW hosted the Winter Soliders Investigation and John Kerry spoke to the Senate), there were very few U.S. combat units left in Vietnam.

4.) In 1972, the last U.S. infantry unit had departed South Vietnam. The ground war was turned over to the ARVN at that point to win or lose.

5.) The ARVN lost.

6.) Meanwhile, after 1975, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia began butchering their people. The U.S. Army and Marine Corps did not fight the Khmer Rouge. The American war was fought against the VC and the NVA. When U.S. units crossed the border into Cambodia during the Summer of '70, it was to clean out VC/NVA positions along the frontier.

7.) After 1975, the Khmer Rouge invaded South Vietnam. The communist Vietnamese army repelled this invasion, then drove into Cambodia and toppled the Khmer Rouge regime.

So what the bloody hell do the Khmer Rouge have to do with the Winter Soldier Investigation? The U.S. did not pull out of Southeast Asia because of the VVAW.

I really don't get your point at all.

KN

Sara (The Squiggler)

Please, don't get a discussion started about the use of marijuana and heroin among U.S. military personnel during, say, 1969-72.

You seem to be under some misconception that I spent the sixties and seventies on a desert island somewhere. I was a young twenty-something and most of my unmarried and student friends were particpating in sit-ins and love-ins. And I certainly saw plenty of ex-military drunk or drugged and living on the street. Afterall, I lived for 22 years in a military town. But, I only know of one proven case of an ACTIVE DUTY sailor going to Captain's mast for an illegal substance in any command my husband was involved with. But hey, why stop at pot or heroin, there was LSD, peyote, crystal, coke, shrooms and a host of other concoctions. And frankly, in the Navy, more discipline problems grew out of the change in policy that allowed women to serve aboard ships. Not that they didn't do a good job, but pregnancy became a very real command and discipline problem. And no matter how you cut it, the number one substance problem is alcohol. It was then and it still is now, whether a military base or a college campus. The 18-30 group drink to feel macho or to let off steam, loosen up, and party, party, party. After 30 or so, they either grow up and get serious or the drinking becomes habitual and eventually you end up with a disillusioned and bitter individual.

And, just as an aside, I'm an active and vocal supporter of the decriminalization of marijuana and I make no bones about it.

KeithNolan

Sara, I don't get you at all. Your big slam to me is to go "pack a bowl." Now you say that you are for the decriminalization of marijuana. Good for you--but what was your original point then?

And please no more talk about me hating career military personnel like your husband.

And, really, no more rabbit trails. My only interest is the validity of the Winter Soldier Investigation, not your personal experiences during the wild and whacky 1970s.

KN

PeterUK

You forgot the ultimate betrayal Nolan "The truth about Vietnam that revisionist historians conveniently forget," Laird wrote in the November/ December 2005 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, "is that the United States had not lost when we withdrew in 1973. In fact, we grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory two years later when Congress cut off the funding for South Vietnam that had allowed it to continue to fight on its own."

kim

OK, I'll go over it again, Keith. If we had persisted in fighting the Stalinists, instead of caving to the nationalists, many Vietnamese and millions of Cambodians would still be living, and part of the loss of our will was the interpretations of the 'exaggerations' of your precious Winter Soldiers. You're an apologist for a political movement that doomed millions of innocents to a holocaust. Do a little self examination and you may find the roots of your obsession.
==============================

Sara (The Squiggler)

Sara, I don't get you at all. Your big slam to me is to go "pack a bowl." Now you say that you are for the decriminalization of marijuana. Good for you--but what was your original point then?

The point was kick back, get relaxed, whatever turns you on. Nothing more than that.

I just had my 61st birthday and my two kids and many of their friends told me that day that I was still the "coolest Mom" in America and even gave me a tee shirt to prove it. And you know what? They are right! So there. LOL. I am not some right-wing prude, I'm a libertarian pragmatist.

Cecil Turner

According to the Right, they were a pack of frauds and liars, and you say the burden is on them to prove their status as veterans the things they saw in Vietnam.

Crap. You can grab a few anecdotals, puff 'em up a bit, and by selection bias try to prove it was typical. I'm quite certain at least some of the WS bubbas were telling unvarnished truth. Some undoubtedly lied. That's really not the issue. The burden is on those who say it was day to day at all levels of command. And again, we're back to Mr Kerry (and Lane, Hubbard, et al).

If I dislike anyone (hate is far too strong a word), it is those who smear combat veterans . . . or in that noxious piece of yellow journalism called UNFIT FOR COMMAND.

Heh. I love self-parody.

And I was quite surprised, to be honest, given Cecil Turner's seemingly-authoratative comments about free-fire zones that he was actually speaking about ROEs of the post-Vietnam military. Quite irrelevant, I fear.

More crap. That stuff hasn't changed in decades (and yes, we still all read Clausewitz). Besides, who do you think taught me about ROEs and fire support measures? (That's right, Vietnam vets . . . to a man, absolutely livid about Kerry, Fonda, and fellow travelers.) Further, unless I misread you earlier, your knowledge of matters military is entirely second-hand, no? If so, arguments from authority are more than a bit ridiculous.

KeithNolan

To Cecil Turner: yes, all my observations about Vietnam are second hand, as are yours.

We don't really have anything to argue about, though you seem to want to brawl: I never said what the Winter Soldiers described was "typical," as you state. I said that the kind of shit they described does indeed happen in war, and the Right shouldn't hoot down veterans for the crime of being willing to speak about such incidents in public.

Still, alone among the angry ones here, you are willing to admit that "some of the WS bubbas were telling unvarnished truth."

That was my only point. None other. Though I wonder why you would refer to legitamite combat veterans as "bubbas."

Is Hugh Thompson a "bubba" for being one of those who blew the whistle on My Lai?

How about Ron Ridenhouer? How about the S3 of the 1/7 Marines who made sure that the 1970 Son Thang massacre was not covered up, as was the inclination of his battalion commander?

"Bubbas" all?

Oh, one other point: if you actually sit down and read the Winter Soldier testimony, you'll notice that comparatively little of it deals with over-the-top war crimes. I believe only a handful of the guys actually talk about outright massacres of non-combatants (and, as noted, one of those stories was subsequently confirmed by the CID).

Most of the others just talk about how they and their comrades dehumanized the Vietnamese as "gooks," "dinks," and "slopes," how poor morale was in certain units, how body counts were faked, etc., etc., etc.

Again, this is the kind of talk you can hear from many, many Vietnam Veterans, not just your hated Winter Soldiers.

You know, push come to shove, Cecil Turner, I don't really know what your beef is with the Winter Soldiers. It wasn't your war, and you even agree that some of those guys were telling the truth. If you really dug deep into the subject, you might realize that most of those guys were telling the truth.

Keith Nolan

KeithNolan

To Kim: the U.S. did not persist in fighting in South Vietnam because our allies were too weak, our enemy too willing to absorb casualties, and the American people unwilling (after 1968) to expend more lives and treasure in what looked like an endless war of attrition.

Had the ARVN been better led and possessed half the fighting spirit of the VC and NVA, the communist flag would never have gone up over Saigon. Same-same in Cambodia.

To blame the VVAW for the butchery that followed in Cambodia after 1975 is one hell of a leap of logic. Better to blame the Mothers of America who (after 1968) were unwilling to feed their sons into the Vietnam War. Every politician understood this. Why do you think Nixon started pulling out the troops in 1969?

Come to think of it, shouldn't you really be angry at President Nixon? You sure give that rag-tag organization known as the VVAW a lot of credit for shaping U.S. foreign policy.

KN

Sara (The Squiggler)

Cecil Turner, I don't really know what your beef is with the Winter Soldiers. It wasn't your war,

See this shows your total lack of understanding of anything we've tried to say to you in this entire discussion.

It wasn't until Ronald Reagan was elected President that it began to be respectable again to wear the uniform of the United States of America. The damage these guys did lasted long past the end of the Vietnam War and it affected anyone who wore the uniform and their families. Things were especially bad during the Carter years. And Hollywood didn't help much either.

This whole discussion is much more than about war vets. It is about ALL vets. You think anyone made a distinction between my brother-in-law, who was drafted and spent the combat years assigned to a listening post in Germany, and my husband who spent 15 mo. + 9 mo in Nam? Or my husband's other brother who was also drafted and was inducted into the Army 3 days before the fall of Saigon ... do you think when he left boot camp in his spiffy new uniform that anyone made the distinction?

Sara (The Squiggler)

Correction ... I don't think my younger brother-in-law was drafted. I think he was given a choice by a judge, either join the Army or go to jail. He had some DUI problem or something. But, you would have approved, he was definitely a long-haired hippie the day he reported for duty. Strangely though, the Army was a positive influence for him just as the Navy was for his older brother.

Cecil Turner

yes, all my observations about Vietnam are second hand, as are yours.

However, my knowledge of warfare, fire support coordination measures, and weapons employment (including things like night firefights) are first-hand. I'm probably a tougher crowd.

I never said what the Winter Soldiers described was "typical," as you state.

Kerry did. Either defend his summary of their testimony, or admit it was false.

That was my only point. None other.

Oh, so you're willing to admit some of them were unmitigated liars? Then we'll be getting somewhere.

Though I wonder why you would refer to legitamite combat veterans as "bubbas."

That's because you're so unfamiliar with military slang as to think it's derogatory. It's not:

Bubbas:
Fellow squadron members; anyone who flies the same aircraft as you do.
(Since generalized to something akin to "dudes" . . . which some folks find offensive.)

"Bubbas" all?

Dude, think you can hit that one a little harder? Or more cluelessly?

I don't really know what your beef is with the Winter Soldiers. It wasn't your war, and you even agree that some of those guys were telling the truth.

It was yours? Yet again, my beef is with the aggregate, not your insistence on trying to limit the subject to uncheckable individual assertions. (And yes, I realize Kerry mischaracterized even the testimony he purported to represent.) And at least I have some basis for an opinion . . . contrasted with your smearing of the SwiftVets.

KeithNolan

To Cecil Turner: I really don't have much to say in response. I've already noted that I don't think the Winter Soldiers' testimony represented the typical conduct of U.S. troops in Vietnam. I've already noted that I think Kerry was too angry, too strident, and too lacking in context when he gave his 1971 speech to the Senate. You seem so angry, however, and seem to enjoy telling people that they are full of "crap," that you don't seem to realize that I have from the beginning agreed with much of your commentary.

The only disagreement is this, it seems: you think that some of the Winter Soldiers were for real, but suspect that most were not; whereas I know that certain of the Winter Soldiers were absolutely for real, and suspect (based on much reading and many conversations over the last twenty-five years with thousands of Vietnam Veterans)that most of the others were for real, too.

And there it stands. Nothing we say from this point on will convince the other of anything. I've tried to marshall sources who, like you, were Marines to buttress my argument, from General Shoup (holder of the Medal of Honor) and Mike McCusker (holder of the Navy Cross and Silver Star) who actively supported the VVAW in 1971, to individuals like LtCol Solis and LtCol Utter (who have written on the exact same subject about which the Winter Soldiers spoke, though I suspect the latter would hate John Kerry), to Bud Day (who does indeed hate John Kerry) and fellow WWII Marine William Manchester (who said that the same kind of incidents took place in the Pacific), to James Webb, who detests John Kerry and the VVAW, but who nevertheless never stooped to calling them frauds and liars. (Like me, like you, Webb contended that their testimony represented the worst of U.S. military conduct, not the norm.)

If you won't listen to your fellow Marines on the subject, you certainly are not going to listen to a civilian like me.

Nevertheless, a couple small points:

1.) I find it hard to believe that you were using "bubba" in a brotherly way when referring to the Winter Soldiers. It's obvious that you detest those guys. Suddenly, you're using affectionate terms?

2.) I don't believe I've smeared the SwiftVets, as you state. I certainly respect their combat service. However, as Doug Reese has pointed out on this thread (and Bob Somersby did at dailyhowler.com, and Bill Rood did in the Chicago Tribune, etc., etc., etc.), their leader, John O'Neill, is not above twisting stories around to put John Kerry in a bad light. C'mon, now, UNFIT FOR COMMAND was not an objective history, it was a hatchet job done for political purposes. UNFIT FOR COMMAND is not your idea of solid, well-done history, is it?

3.) Most of the anti-VVAW/anti-Winter Soldier work was done for the SwiftVets by Scott Swett and Jerome Corsi (co-author of UNFIT FOR COMMAND). Neither men are veterans. There are creatures of the political fever swamps, truly loathsome people, in my humble estimation. (Go do some research into Corsi's latest crusade; it'll blow your mind the stuff he believes.) And, more importantly, though Swett and Corsi have written widely about the Winter Soldier Investigation, I don't believe they have spoken with a single Winter Soldier (save Steve Pitkin, whose story Swett had to change when Swett's original version was published and immediately challenged), nor have they dug into any unit records, nor conducted interviews with others who were involved in the indicents described at the Winter Soldier Investigation.

4.) Yes, as you say, I am trying to "limit the subject to uncheckable [sic] individual assertions."

Isn't that how one gets to the bottom of a subject? You limit the focus, you dig up as much information as you can, etc., etc. I'm not here to support John Kerry. It simply sticks in my craw that folks who are not Vietnam Veterans feel comfortable smearing the Winter Soldiers as liars and frauds. So I come on here and say, not so fast; I then cite my reasons for believing the Winter Soldiers, and try to provide as much information as possible about sources. I also spent two years (2004-06) digging into some of those supposedly "uncheckable" assertions, and discover that in one case the CID already proved the assertion (and it was one of the worst), and that in other cases, old unit records, old diaries, old photo albums, and the memories of now-old veterans confirm the "individual assertions" of the Winter Soldiers.

Cecil Turner, I really and truly do not understand what you are angry about. You were not on the ground in Vietnam with any of the Winter Soldiers. You did not see what they saw. You have apparently not done any specific research into the subject. You have not spoken to other witnesses of the acts described at the Winter Soldier Investigation. Of the books cited previously, you note that you have only read A RUMOR OF WAR. (And then you brought up FIELDS OF FIRE, which is indeed a great, great book, but which includes reference to one of the sickest war crimes I've heard about: the sexual molestation of a wounded Vietnamese adolescent by a U.S. Marine. The author, James Webb, made no claim that this was a typical incident. I don't even know if this incident really took place since Webb turned his real experiences into a novel. But, good Lord, there's a story straight out the Winter Soldier Investigation right in the middle of a book you recommend--and you still distrust the Winter Soldiers? Does not compute.)

So, for pete's sake, why are you so hot under the collar about a handful of combat veterans who felt compelled to go public about some of the things they saw in Vietnam? And what are you so mad at me for simply saying that the lynch mob here is stringing up some innocent fellows?

Finally, let me say (as if it matters to you) that I have nothing but respect for your combat service as a Marine. Don't know if you were in Grenada, Kuwait, or Iraq; in any event, you were under fire, unlike almost everyone else at this thread, myself included.

I might say, however, that Grenada, Kuwait, and Iraq were not the same as Vietnam. Unlike the Marines in Vietnam, you as a post-Vietnam Marine were not asked to burn down villages; you were not subtly encouraged to pad body counts; and because you were not operating in an environment studded with mines and boobytraps which killed and maimed your comrades day after day, week after week, month after month, and peopled with villagers who were probably aiding the guerrillas, you were not tempted to beat civilians for information, and shoot prisoners after finally getting your hands on one of those worthless "gooks" who had been sniping and planting boobytraps and otherwise nickle and diming your unit to death until you thought you were going to lose your mind.

Had you gone through that kind of war, maybe you'd have a bit more sympathy for those ex-grunts who showed up at the Winter Soldier Investigation.

If you want to simply write all of this of as more "crap," that is your right. I have no real argument with you. I just don't understand your argument with your fellow combat veterans who spoke out as Winter Soldiers.

You seem motivated by pride of service, professional loyalty, and political inclination, not any great knowledge of the Vietnam War.

Keith Nolan

Where's The Beef?

>> Keith Nolan: "What does any of this have to do with your frauds-and-liars meme? If combat service is not to be judged at face value but on the kind of life the soldier lived after he came home from the war, well, that's just plain nuts."

Mr. Nolan,

One's stateside war record does indeed count for much. It is not "nuts" to expect that honorable men behave with honor -- expecially toward their brothers in arms.

What criteria of truthfullness do you hold a person who alleges war crimes before the Senate and while wearing his combat decorations?

Likewise, what standard do you hold a person who supplied stories that were presented by another someone else on his behalf -- before the entire country and world?

Apply the same question to the behavior of those who'd you now claim were misrepresented by Kerry.

Basically, if the Winter Soldiers were represented by Kerry in 1971 -- they are also directly responsible to ensure that their stories were represented without "exageration"?

Of the handful of men you have researched, which have publicly corrected Kerry's testimony? What errors did they bring to the nation's attention? They've had decades to set the record straight on that Fulbright testimony of 1971.

Where's The Beef?

>> Keith Nolan: "Defending the integrity of the Winter Soldiers has nothing to do with justifying the much more widespread atrocities of the Khmer Rouge or the NVA (as Kim seems to think, though I think we should be clear that the Khmer Rouge were in a class all by themselves in terms of madness and murder. The NVA and VC didn't come close.)"

--

Kerry made the comparison and claimed that the US military was far worse that the enemy. He also made the ridiculously clueless prediction that only a few thousand in South Vietnam would face recriminations. And in the same breath he claim that his fellow comarades-in-arms were committing 200,000 murders -- *murders* -- per year.

You have not been specific about what was "exageration" in Kerry's testimony (and following Q & A) based on the Winter Soldiers. By my count, Kerry managed to pack-in more than 30 war crimes in his description of what was going on throughout the US military in South Vietnam.

Also, Vietnamization was successful. Especially in the Mekong Delta. You seem far too ready to besmirch the fight that the South Vietnamese forces gave both during our long withdraw and during their valiant stand-off against the invading communitst of North Vietnam prior to the collapse (that was assured by the US Congress' abandonment of the South Vietnamese people). Or maybe I've misread you and you would be kind enough to clarify by explaining how the Winter Soldiers got it right and military historians got it wrong.

JM Hanes

Keith Nolan:

"Nicely placed dig?" I think I've made my opinion of Mr. Kerry pretty clear! I find it quite remarkable, and perhaps even political, that you reserve your outrage for those who associate the Winter Soldiers with the fraudulence that riddled their organization while giving a virtual pass to the politicos who proved so willing to use and abuse them for their own purposes at the time. As you yourself point out, even the vets themselves questioned Kerry's motives.

Perhaps you might have more success in rehabilitating their reputations if you were less selective about distributing blame. Clearly, Nixon had a vested interest in the tarnishing, but I'm afraid your comment that "bozos like Hubbard and Lane muddied the waters" doesn't even begin to qualify as a substantive acknowledgment of any kind. Quite the opposite, you consistently trivialize the inconvenient, and central, role such folks played in the Winter Soldier saga.

The anti-war left had its own interests vested in portraying the Winter Soldiers' tales as policy driven atrocities, and one can almost presume that those who committed such crimes might certainly prefer to frame them that way. You can say "I don't think Kerry's speech, however, made you guys look "amoral war criminals," but indeed, the movement was so successful at capitalizing on the Winter Soldiers & MyLai that a whole generation of returning soldiers were treated like scum. You can discount and deny all you like, but there was a cause and effect relationship in that, reagardless of whether their stories were true or false. They were the centerpiece of an agenda driven political movement to which they will forever be inextricably tied.

You show up here demanding respect be paid to the Winter Soldiers because -- you assert -- they did, in fact, commit the war crimes they claimed to have perpetrated. I'm sorry, but that's just too twisted for me! At the same time you decline to address the pain a suffering that was almost universally visited on more honorable men and their families as a result -- because it strikes you as "unproductive."

BTW, I had quite a laugh over: "The evidence is clear that he served honorably in Vietnam (at a time when most of his rich-boy peers were hiding under their beds, or drinking in the O Club with the Texas Air Guard)." I hate to break it to you, but signing up for the Navy was precisely what all those rich-boy peers were doing -- if they couldn't wrangle a deferment for, say, studying in France -- when it looked like they might get drafted and end up in Nam as grunts.

Since you haven't been shy about asking about other people's credentials, I'm sure you won't object if I ask how old you are.

Cecil Turner

I really don't have much to say in response.

Now that, considering the rest, is truly funny.

I think Kerry was too angry, too strident, and too lacking in context

Try "lying," "dishonest," or "misrepresenting," and we'll be onto something.

I find it hard to believe that you were using "bubba" in a brotherly way when referring to the Winter Soldiers.

You don't know what the f*** you're talking about. (And I find it hard to believe it's the only subject on which that's true.) You pulled one of my words out of context, made a big deal of it, and were perfectly, 180 degrees wrong. (And hmmmmm, how does that apply to the current discussion of selectively digging through testimony and weaving a false narrative?)

I don't believe I've smeared the SwiftVets, as you state. I certainly respect their combat service.

I don't believe I've smeared Kerry or the Winter Soldiers, either. Pointing out inconsistencies in stories is apparently okay, by your lights.

I'm not here to support John Kerry. It simply sticks in my craw that folks who are not Vietnam Veterans feel comfortable smearing the Winter Soldiers as liars and frauds.

Yet you, non-veteran of any stripe, feel comfortable smearing the SwiftVets as liars and frauds? (And for a non-supporter of John Kerry, you spend an awful lot of time supporting John Kerry.)

Cecil Turner, I really and truly do not understand what you are angry about.

I love lefty argument, and this is truly an archetype. In case you hadn't noticed, the American people, led by veterans, roundly rejected your boy's worldview. You're the one who's angry about it, and this is yet one more silly attempt to pretend your opponent's argument is somehow less legitimate than your own.

So, for pete's sake, why are you so hot under the collar about a handful of combat veterans who felt compelled to go public about some of the things they saw in Vietnam?

I'm not. In fact I think they had a duty to speak out. And I even liked the book. (Oh, you weren't talking about Unfit for Command? Sorry, my bad.)

Had you gone through that kind of war, maybe you'd have a bit more sympathy for those ex-grunts who showed up at the Winter Soldier Investigation.

Again, we have a rather silly proposition that your non-experience trumps my non-Vietnam-specific experience. (And I believe the only time I relied on that in arguments above is to evaluate contentions such as those about ROE and night firefights.) Maybe if you'd interviewed a more representative sample of veterans, you'd have more sympathy for the Swifties. But then again, maybe not, eh?

KeithNolan

Hey there, JM Hanes: this discussion is really too convuluted for me. It's reaching the how-man-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin stage. Too much projection. Too much assumption. Too many rabbit trails. Too much anger. And, dare I say it, too many experts who know one side of the story by heart, and stick their fingers in their ears when they hear another side.

In short: too much of a freakin' headache. Good bye and good luck!

Before returning to the real world (where everyone's veins do not throb like earthworms at their temples, and insults do not roll so easily from the tongue), I'll just remind you of how tail-chasing this whole dialogue has become. Bear with me.

The central themes of this thread were that John Kerry was a cowardly and incompetent joke of a Naval officer who was busy gaming the system for unearned awards when not merrily shooting up sampans and otherwise murdering civilians; and that Kerry's cohorts in the VVAW, most particularly, the Winter Soldiers, were a pack of frauds and liars wearing fatigues from the local army-surplus store--certainly not decorated and wounded combat veterans of the Vietnam War.

Doug Reese popped in to say that he was actually in the firefight in which Kerry earned the Silver Star, that the action in question was a success, and that no one who was there has ever questioned the Silver Star pinned on the chest of Lt (jg) John F. Kerry, USNR.

Douge Reese was hooted down by the mob here. (Which is only fair, I guess, since the knowledge this crowd has gleaned from that bible of objective reporting, UNFIT FOR COMMAND, certainly trumps that of an eyewitness and a decorated combat veteran of Vietnam.)

I popped in to say, gee whiz, I've been talking with Vietnam Veterans for twenty-five years, have reviewed most of the literature on the subject, have dug into the details of the stories told by the Winter Soldiers, and have published a fair number of books about the U.S. infantryman of the Vietnam War.... and based on all that, I can tell you that your frauds-and-liars meme is in error in regard to the Winter Soldier Investigation.

The result: more hooting. (Which, again, is only fair because by trying to humanize the Winter Soldiers as individuals who served their country in combat, and whose only crime was to speak publicly about what they'd seen, takes all the fun out of throwing darts at the fetish objects you'd prefer them to be.)

Okay, I said my piece. I presented my evidence. I tried to answer specific questions. I even answered yours, JM Hanes, if I recall, to wit: though the individual Winter Soldiers were not lying, I think John Kerry's summation of their testimony (while accurate in of itself) was so angry, strident, and lacking in context that it gave a false impression about typical U.S. military conduct in Vietnam. (Incidentally, I'm not signing on to the SwiftVet theory, which you repeat, to the effect that Kerry's speech was somehow single-handidly responsible for the anti-Vet mood of the late-1960s and early-1970s. There were too many other and much more vivid sources which fed that mood from TV news footage of villages being burned and prisoners beaten, to the LIFE Magazine spread about My Lai [go dig it up one of these days: it still sickens], to the endless court-room testimony about the My Lai-My Khe Massacres, etc., etc., etc.)

I don't think there's anything left to say at this juncture. We live in different worlds, and the gap will not be bridged with logic because there is simply too much sub-surface passion involved here: too many people are screaming at these Winter Soldiers for things that have nothing to do with the actual veracity of the testimony from those Winter Soldiers.

In addition, your side keeps moving the goalposts. The original charge was that the Winter Soldiers were a pack of frauds and liars. When I offered a bit of credible evidence that this was not so, what suddenly mattered was that they were few in number.... or that they had long hair and looked just awful.... or that they were merely "undisciplined conscripts" who didn't (in the case of Robert Kruch) have the good grace to do more than a couple months in the field before getting blown half to shit by an enemy mortar round.... or that they exercised bad judgment in speaking at an event organized by the Left (as if they could predict the political direction the VVAW would go in some months down the road).....or that they were war criminals (which ain't so in most cases: while a few confessed to personal acts of brutality, most spoke more generally about the policy of burning hootches, the pressure to pad body counts, poor morale, the prevailing attitude that the Vietnamese were subhuman, etc.)..... or that by speaking up, they fed the growing anti-vet mood in the country (yes, we really all should play deaf, dumb, and blind in the name of patriotism).... or.... or .... or....

I'm not interested playing Charlie Brown to your Lucy anymore. You guys were originally quite smug in your conviction that the Winter Soldiers were frauds and liars. You don't sound so convinced anymore. So, as noted, you move the goalposts.....

Doug Reese said his piece. I said my piece. If there is anything left to say, just ask, and I'll try to answer. But no more beating my head against the wall for me. You folks don't really address my points. You just get mad and jump on to the next thing stuck in your craw. If you don't believe me about what went on in Vietnam (because, as I noted from the very beginning, I was not there), then go pick up a copy of A RUMOR OF WAR, TIGER FORCE, THE MILITARY HALF, BRENNAN'S WAR, THE OFFERING, SON THANG, TRIAL BY FIRE, and FOUR HOURS IN MY LAI.

After you've invested some time in reading those books, maybe we can talk again, if interested (and if you're still unconvinced that maybe, just maybe, the stuff described at the Winter Soldier Investigation could have happened in Vietnam).

Oh, speaking of red herrings: so, notes JM Hanes, John Kerry wasn't hot to trot about going to Vietnam, and originally tried to go study in France. So what? And I mean that: so freakin' what? When push came to shove, Kerry did sea duty off the coast of Vietnam, then VOLUNTEERED for either Swift Boat or PBR duty with the Brown-Water Navy. During that duty, he was twice decorated for valor, wounded (superficially) three times, and awarded glowing fitness reports for his leadership and aggressive conduct under fire ("recognized leader among his peers" and all that). Simply put, Kerry did not have to serve in combat in Vietnam. But he went and he put his ass on the line out there in IV Corps, Republic of Vietnam. Which is a lot more than most of his rich-kid peers did, whatever spin you want to put on the subject. By the way, if Kerry makes you sick because he tried to get a deferment before sucking up his gut and doing his duty, what do you think of the likes of George W and Cheney?

Finally, I'll answer JM Hane's burning question: I'm 42.

See ya later,
Keith Nolan

Bob

Well it looks like this thread is never going away... good! After reading Bryan's wonderful stories about his uncle, I thought that maybe his post would finally put a cap on things. Thank you Bryan, and the best to you and your Uncle. Please thank him for me.

However Mr. Nolan just doesn't seem to get it. There's too much of his droning to wade through, but I did find this bit a wee interesting.

"I disagree. I've seen the two documentaries made about the Winter Soldier Investigation. The guys who were speaking reminded me in attitude and language of the thousands of Vietnam Veterans I've spoken with over the years. Even more persuasive than their demeanor in proving that they were really veterans: the photographs of themselves in Vietnam."

Well hold on now, we could of saved two days of posting if you had only told us earlier you had watched 2 documentaries and looked at photos. Damn that's all the proof I would need to slander ALL the soldiers of Vietnam. /s Oh right you talked to thousands of Vets too... let me know when their statements are in the record books for all to view and vet.

So this is what you base your opinion on - 2 documentaries? Give me a freak'n break. That's like claiming that since the movies Fahren-hype 9/11 and the Inconsistent Truth are documentaries, that they should be taken as fact and never be questioned. Like most documentaries, they have an agenda, and if it fits your cause then you embrace it... same with photo's and interviews and other here-say. It situations like this, we need FACTS... Form SF-180 would be a start.

But that's just a distraction. The real problem I have with you Nolan, is not that you believe this non-sense, but that just based on "second hand" information, you'll defend Winter Soldiers, which to most was a hack job at best.

I don't recall anyone being prosecuted for war crimes based on any testimony given by WS members. Can you give us one? and even if you could show a few cases, how do you square with Kerry's claim of 200K per year. You don't believe that number as well, do you?

But let's get back to what this thread is all about, and remember that it was Kerry once again, who has dragged this up. Kerry and the likes of you want to add so called new facts to his SS medal story, and use these in order to discredit the Swifties. You have taken it further by calling the Swifties liars, based once again only on second hand information. Yeah I know Doug Reese was down river, blah, blah, blah... Point being, is that you find it perfectly alright for you and your ilk to call the Swifties liars, but get all "pissy" when it's hurled back your way. Your biggest problem is the man (I use the term loosely)you are trying to defend... he simply has no credibility on anything he says...END OF DISCUSSION!

As I've said before, and I'm sure like others, I find this thread quite entertaining. Of course it's not the subject matter, since that has had a profound impact on all of us. But it's fun watching the way lefties like you debate issues. Sara has a wonderful thread on her web blog about Alinsky's Rules of Radicals. Now I wouldn't call you a radical, but I must say I see many similarities in your postings. I believe Sara has even pointed this out.

Bottom line is this. It looks like your not going to make any new converts to your way of thinking. In fact if anything you and your friends eecee and Doug, have given me more information than I've ever needed to despise Kerry and his ilk.

Furthermore I promise you this. In 2004 I sent the Swifties $100, which is the only money I've ever sent to a cause in my life. But if Kerry runs again - which I pray he does, I'll send the Swifties $1,000 in a heart beat.

Please tell your buddy Kerry to keep up the good fight... we're having a good laugh watching his contortions! There is nothing more satisfying then watching a liar get buried in his own lies.

KeithNolan

To Cecil Turner: you have a habit of pulling much of what I say out of context, ignoring central issues for snark (let's argue some more about your use of "bubba" as an affectionate form of greeting betwen you and the Winter Soldiers, shall we), and putting words in my mouth. I never said, and would never say, that my non-service trumps your combat-service: what I said was that you seem to be judging the Winter Soldiers based on your service in the post-Vietnam Marine Corps--and that had you fought in Vietnam, you might just be more sympathetic to them.

Please consider that what you might have been taught about free-fire zones in a classroom at Quantico or Camp Lejeune (or even put into practice in Grenada, Kuwait, or Iraq) might not have been the way things were done in the free-fire zones, say, west of Hill 29 in Quang Tin Province, RVN, in 1968-69.

I'm just saying.

And now I'm going to bow out for awhile because, as noted above, you guys keep moving the goalposts. Unless, that is, that you want to repeat that the Winter Soldiers were all frauds and liars--and then throw some evidence down on the table.

KN

Bob

Keith,

Here's a goal post even Charlie Brown can kick one through....

Do you believe that Kerry should sign and make public his Form 180?

It's up... it's up it's...... well?

Now I'm going to move the posts a little closer. If he does sign it and make it public, and there are discrepancies in the facts will you condemn him for playing with the facts?

There's 5 seconds on the clock... can you kick it?

Oh and not to be disparaging but at 42 your to young to know what Vietnam was like. Read all you want, it'll never replace living it, no matter what your involvement was.

Cecil Turner

In addition, your side keeps moving the goalposts. The original charge was that the Winter Soldiers were a pack of frauds and liars.

I think it was that the VVAW were frauds and liars, and that Kerry's testimony at the SCFR was misleading and false. But that's probably close enough.

When push came to shove, Kerry did . . .

About one-third of what the guy who wrote Unfit for Command (and the couple hundred of folks who backed him up) did. And dude, seriously, if you think those are glowing FitRep statements, you ought to do some research on FitReps. And, yet again, for a guy who isn't defending Kerry . . .

let's argue some more about your use of "bubba" as an affectionate form of greeting betwen you and the Winter Soldiers, shall we

If you want to look like a dumbass, go ahead. I'm tolerably amused.

what I said was that you seem to be judging . . .

You suck at mind-reading.

Please consider that what you might have been taught about free-fire zones in a classroom at Quantico or Camp Lejeune . . .

Please consider that you know considerably less about free-fire zones [sic]. And that misapplication by individuals of a well-worn fire support principle does not qualify as evidence of command intent to have subordinates commit war crimes.

Sara (The Squiggler)

Hey Keith ... John Kerry wasn't in the Infantry. He was a lowly Lieutenant Junior Grade in the Navy. He wasn't slogging through the jungle on patrol, he was on a boat in the river. Not that the waterways of the Mekong Delta weren't dangerous, but it wasn't a Hill29.

If you don't take anything else away, take this ... the damage done to Veterans of all services and who served anywhere in the world, whether combat or not, were villified and ostracized and it went on for many years after the hostilities in Vietnam were over. You are still advancing that hateful attitude today right here in this thread. It is not a good thing that you don't get it.

KeithNolan

To Cecil Turner: here's a quote from General Colin Powell's biography regarding ROEs during his 1968-69 tour with the Americal Division: "I recall a phrase we used in the field, MAM, for military-age male. If a helo spotted a peasant in black pajamas who looked remotely suspicious, a possible MAM, the pilot would circle and fire in front of him. If he moved, his movement was judged evidence of hostile intent, and the next burst was not in front, but at him."

General Powell is basically talking here about shooting unarmed peasants for the crime of walking across their paddy fields, then "moving" when a helicopter bears in and starts shooting "in front of [them]."

It was that kind of war in some parts of Vietnam at certain times.... but, surely, that's not the way the rules of war were taught to you when you were in the USMC? I don't think so, which is why I keep asking you to consider that your experiences in the post-Vietnam Marine Corps might not align perfectly with those who came of age before you and went to Vietnam. (I can tell you that my dad's stories of the pre-Vietnam Marine Corps don't sound anything like those from those USMC Vietnam Veterans I know.)

Oh, regarding FitReps, the only way to know if Kerry's were filled with what you imply were meaningless puffery would be for his peers to make public their own FitReps signed by Elliott and Hoffman (or whoever, I don't remember who signed those things) and compare and contrast. This request was made of the SwiftVets at the time. They refused.

Better yet, Elliot and Hoffman (or whoever) could have stepped forward and explained why Kerry's FitReps should not be taken at face value. They're the ones who wrote them. They didn't do this, either. (There were long threads on this subject at swiftvets.com during Campaign 2004, but the only people with any real information, that is, Kerry's superiors, never participated in that dialogue.)

You know, I don't understand the U.S. Navy. I mean, they got this clown of an officer named John Kerry, and instead of court-martialling his cowardly, incompetent, baby-killing ass, they stack him with medals, write FitReps about what a fine regular officer he would make, and turn him into an admiral's aide. Puzzling, to say the least.

Keith Nolan

KeithNolan

One final thought before I check out for awhile: I don't enjoy arguing with veterans like Cecil Turner. I have spent my entire adult life publishing mostly positive stories about the heroism of the U.S. infantry soldier in Vietnam.

Maybe you guys should go read HOUSE TO HOUSE or RIPCORD or OPERATION BUFFALO or THE MAGNIFICENT BASTARDS before jumping to the conclusion that I'm anti-military or, hell, even a liberal. I ain't.

I'm not even in agreement with the political philosophy of the VVAW. So why am I here? To repeat: because I have enough respect for combat veterans to bristle when even those who joined an unpopular group like the VVAW are smeared by know-nothings as frauds and liars. They weren't. And whatever I might think about the politics of the VVAW, the Silver Stars and Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts and CIBs and CARs that many of their members had earned in service to this country mean a lot more to me then debates between the Left and Right.

Whether you will ever admit it or not, you guys (and O'Neill, Corsi, Swett, and Burkett) took the low road in regard to the Winter Soldiers. You could have argued that they did not represent the bulk of veterans. You could have argued that they described the worst of U.S. military conduct, not the norm.

Instead, you argued that they were frauds, liars, losers, and (even if really veterans) nothing more than "undisciplined conscripts."

You guys crossed the line.

In trying to defend these veterans from the wrath of those with a political agenda, I've had to haul out some terrible shit about what happened in Vietnam. I don't like doing so. I'd rather celebrate the good--but by slapping whitewash over the ugly side of the Vietnam War, you guys have boxed me into the bad position of reminding people about Cam Ne, My Lai, My Khe, Son Thang, Task Force Barker, the Tiger Force, etc., etc., etc.

I remain amazed that those who profess respect for combat service feel they have the right to spit on the combat service of those whose hair is too long or whose politics they disagree with.

Keith Nolan

Bob

Hey Charlie Brown.

For somebody who accuses others of avoiding direct questions, how about a response. Or did I rush you by only giving you 5 seconds?

Luci

Cecil Turner

It was that kind of war in some parts of Vietnam at certain times.... but, surely, that's not the way the rules of war were taught to you when you were in the USMC

Not sure what your point is, but if you reasonably believe the target to be a combatant, it's righteous . . . and judgments are necessarily subjective. The "unarmed peasant," "crime," and other unknowables are obviously inapt, and betray your own bias.

Oh, regarding FitReps, the only way to know if Kerry's were filled with what you imply were meaningless puffery would be for his peers to make public their own FitReps signed by Elliott and Hoffman . . .

Again you betray ignorance of the basics. I've written hundreds of FitReps, and the key phrases (with minimal variations in verbiage per the author's style) didn't change much over the course of more than two decades. Specific superlatives are what count (and are ridiculously overused). Kerry's are middle-of-the-roaders (decidedly not "glowing" . . . nor are they adverse). And no, I don't need to read those of his compatriots to be able to figure that out, nor would promotion boards normally have time (or the inclination) to compare them.

You know, I don't understand the U.S. Navy.

That, at least, is obvious. (Okay, cheap shot.) However, I think it's at least part of the problem: as much as you imply my knowledge is academic, yours suffers from the same problem in spades. And lacking referents, you supply inappropriate ones from unrelated experience and draw incorrect conclusions. FitReps are a good case in point, as is the concept of a free fire zone. Those things have a specific purpose, which if you understood better, you'd be able to evaluate more coherently. And again, the specific issue is whether Kerry's WSI testimony drew an accurate picture, not any particular individual's. Possibly you agree it didn't, and if not, we can agree to disagree.

KeithNolan

Bob, I didn't answer because I thought your post of O4:21 was, uh, stupid and dishonest, and I just didn't want to get involved with you. Sorry.

As to your follow-up post about Kerry signing a SF180, I didn't answer because I never followed that particular bit of controversy. I don't really know much about it. As far as I know, Kerry made available all his relevant paperwork (award citations, fitness reports, etc.), and all the relevant spot reports and after-action reports and such were subsequently dug up in the National Archives.

Hell, I even thought that he did sign a SF180, and certain reporters were allowed to go through his personnel file. Isn't that where it was revealed that his grades in college weren't all that impressive?

Anyway, I've never really understood this controversy. Given that Kerry's citations and fitreps are available, along with the spot reports and after-action reports of the operations he was involved with, what is there really left to find? Maybe he's hiding a report about being treated for VD or something. Who knows? Who cares?

I find it hard to believe that there's some old scrap of paper that has been hidden about the events of December 1968-March 1969.

You've got the citations, the fitreps, the spot reports, the after-action reports, and (as I understand it) some reporters have even seen the medical reports and so on and so forth after Kerry signed the SF180 (right?). What more do you want?

Like I said, I haven't been following this. I'm not that interested in John Kerry. He's a big boy, and can fight his own battles.

I only dropped in here to speak up for the validity of the Winter Soldiers.

Bye,
KN

Cecil Turner

Anyway, I've never really understood this controversy.

Well, then, you're missing most of the discussion, since things like the SS engagement (where the only significant disagreement appears to be whether the award was appropriate to the actions . . . which is subjective on more than one level) are decidedly second-tier. If Kerry in fact end-ran the proper approval chain for his first PH, and then subsequently used that award as part of his justification for an early rotation . . . well, I think the problem is obvious.

I find it hard to believe that there's some old scrap of paper that has been hidden about the events of December 1968-March 1969.

Are you suggesting Mr Kerry has unrelated unflattering stuff in his record? Seems a bit hard to credit, and he's gotta have some reason for refusing to make it public, eh?

PeterUK

Sara,
It is vital to their narrative that those who testified at Winter Soldier were and are seen as heroes, that 0.0048% of personnel who served in Vietnam are the arbiters of the conduct of the rest.
The left has constantly used the meme they served,they were injured/decorated..they can not be questioned.

boris

what is there really left to find?

What Kerry is hiding.

That his record in toto reveals more than the bits and pieces he and his supporters have patched together.

Apparently there are elements supporters believe are "irrelevant to the discussion" which critics would use agains him.

Like how much his public record is actually a self serving patchwork construct at odds with the reality.

KeithNolan

To Cecil Turner: well, yes, you know more about FitReps than I (I've said over and over and over that I'm not a veteran), and for the sake of this argument, I will certainly accept your judgment that Kerry received middle-of-the-road FitReps: neither glowing, nor averse.

But doesn't that leave begging the basic question: according to UNFIT FOR COMMAND, Kerry was a disaster (a coward who fled the scene of battle, an incompetent, a sadist who burnt down hootches and slaughtered livestock without orders, and a war criminal machine-gunned sampans full of civilians); so why did he get middle-of-the-road FitRep?

Whaddya gotta do in the U.S. Navy to get an negative FitRep?

And why, if the charges of burning hootches and slaughtering livestock without orders, and killing civilians, were true, why did Kerry's superiors not bring him up on charges?

I think that's all I'll say on the subject of John Kerry. I made the mistake of answering Bob about SF180s, and getting tangled in a debate about FitReps.

As noted, I don't really know much about either subject.

That isn't why I popped in here. I feel qualified to talk about the Winter Soldier Investigation and even how free-fire zones in Vietnam meant different things to different units.

I don't feel qualified to talk about FitReps and SF180s.

You know, I don't know a single veteran whose combat service could withstand the kind of proctologist exam that Kerry's has been subjected to. His every order, maneuver, and decision under fire has been Monday Morning Quarterbacked to death (and when guys like Bill Rood and Doug Reese and all but one former member of Kerry's crew stand up to support Kerry, they are hooted down or ignored). His wounds have essentially been measured to make sure they were long enough, deep enough, and bled enough (Purple Heart Band-Aids, indeed). The fact that he did serve has been dismissed because, hey, he originally thought about getting a deferment. (I know a former platoon leader/company commander who tried every legal way possible to avoid active duty; once on active duty, he did everything he could to avoid the combat arms; one stuck in the combat arms, he earned the DSC, Silver Star, and Purple Heart. Does this service somehow not count because he originally did his best to avoid the war?)

Cecil Turner, you're a combat veteran: what do you think of that lady wearing Purple Heart Band Aids at the GOP Convention?

What do you think of PUK dismissing as an "undisciplined conscript" a draftee citizen-soldiers who got blowed half to shit on some miserable hill in the Hiep Duc Valley of Quang Tin Province, RVN, in August of '69?

I mean, I know you think I'm a pendantic and pompous jerk--but what do you think about your compadres and what they have to say about those who you call your "bubbas."

Keith Nolan

Bob

"Bob, I didn't answer because I thought your post of O4:21 was, uh, stupid and dishonest, and I just didn't want to get involved with you. Sorry.

As to your follow-up post about Kerry signing a SF180, I didn't answer because I never followed that particular bit of controversy. I don't really know much about it. As far as I know, Kerry made available all his relevant paperwork (award citations, fitness reports, etc.), and all the relevant spot reports and after-action reports and such were subsequently dug up in the National Archives."


Thank you for proving my point!

You can't talk about one without talking about other. Kerry defined the Winter Soldiers and his involvement was the only reason the congressional hearing ever happened. If they were looking for credibility, then they should have picked a better leader...

So if anyone here is avoiding questions, it's you my friend.

So say goodbye again, but this time really mean it!

boris

what do you think of that lady wearing Purple Heart Band Aids at the GOP Convention?

Mocking Kerry evokes your sanctimony?

Still don't get that aspect of the non-religous non judgemental left. The copious sanctimony they can summon on a whim.

Bob

"You know, I don't know a single veteran whose combat service could withstand the kind of proctologist exam that Kerry's has been subjected to. His every order, maneuver, and decision under fire has been Monday Morning Quarterbacked to death (and when guys like Bill Rood and Doug Reese and all but one former member of Kerry's crew stand up to support Kerry, they are hooted down or ignored)."

Again thank you....

Why ? I'll tell you why, because KERRY has used it to prop up his Political career... that's why! Read the title of this thread for God's sake. Kerry wants to discuss this AGAIN, but with only what he considers to relevant information. You can't have it both ways.

KeithNolan

To Cecil Turner: regarding Kerry's first Purple Heart, I've read enough about the Brown-Water Navy to know that they were VERY liberal about awarding Purple Hearts--to include awarding them to guys who caught bits of shrapnel from their own M79 rounds, whether in actual contact or not, as Kerry apparently did that night in the Boston whaler. (Though we will never know for sure what happened that night: he might just as easily have been hit by a fragment of a bullet from the M60 gunner on board, who was also blazing away. In fact, didn't one of the men on that Boston whaler say that Kerry was stung in the arm while bending over to get a weapon, meaning that the fragment came from a source other than Kerry's M79?)

It's fairly clear, given this liberal awards system (sailors got Purple Hearts for bumps, bruises, burning their hands while changing .50 barrels, catching fiberglass splinters when their boats took enemy fire, etc.), that Kerry was awarded Purple Hearts by the same rules that any other Brown-Water sailor received Purple Hearts.

One can argue that Kerry should have ignored the option of going home after three Purple Hearts (believe me, he wasn't the only one to take advantage of that regulation), but that is a different argument entirely from whether Kerry rated his Purple Hearts.

I thought a lot of this stuff about Kerry's combat service had already been put to bed by Doug Reese, Bill Rood, Jim Rassman, all but one of the crewmen on Kerry's Swift Boat (not to mention political commentators like Bob Somersby of dailyhowler.com, whose dissection of UNFIT FOR COMMAND might be of interest to you).

I'm leery to talk too much more about John Kerry. I'm not a big fan of his (it's funny that you assume I'm a liberal), and there are others much more qualified on the subject: like Doug Reese, who you apparently hooted right off this thread.

Keith Nolan

KeithNolan

Okay, Bob, goodbye again. But is it really fun to have a thread where you all agree with each other?

KN

Bob

"One can argue that Kerry should have ignored the option of going home after three Purple Hearts (believe me, he wasn't the only one to take advantage of that regulation), but that is a different argument entirely from whether Kerry rated his Purple Hearts."

Maybe.... maybe not. I'd be interested in just how many left Vietnam using the 3 PH and your out clause. From what I hear it was very rare indeed, but maybe I'm wrong. And if so, I would then love to see the time frame in which these so called "others" got theirs in. I'm sure Kerry gets the "medal" for doing it faster then anybody else. That one he actually may deserve!

boris

already been put to bed

The so called "discrediting" of the Swifts apparantly didn't take.

For example ... the Rassman rescue incident ...

The "discrediting" consists of several crew claiming there was enemy fire after the mine went off. But at least one of the Swifts claim that as well (others disagree). Yet the Swifts account of the incident stands up to scrutiny far better than Kerry's in all other regards. Certainly the damaged boat would not have been repaired for towing under heavy enemy fire.

How does this qualify as "discrediting" ???

Wishful thinking on the part of Kerry backers.

Bob

"Okay, Bob, goodbye again. But is it really fun to have a thread where you all agree with each other?"

Sorry Keith I was just responding to your saying good bye 2 or 3 times. I wasn't encouraging you to leave I was just reminding you that your were bailing.

I've said it a few time I enjoy the debate here, and would miss it if it stopped. So I guess it worked... Welcome back... but stop calling me stupid. That's reserved for my wife.

Cecil Turner

And why, if the charges of burning hootches and slaughtering livestock without orders, and killing civilians, were true, why did Kerry's superiors not bring him up on charges?

It's been a while since I read it, but I don't remember those as being the primary contentions in the book (more along the lines of his own discipline was nothing to write home about). And again, killing a civilian is not necessarily a war crime, nor is exceeding orders necessarily grounds for punishment. In any event, a young officer in a combat zone is measured on several (somtimes inconsistent) criteria, and he obviously did fairly well on some. Further, though a decoration like a Silver Star is often used primarily to encourage others, the recipient, once decorated, achieves something of a privileged status (e.g., it makes the commander look like a buffoon if the recipient is subsequently court-martialed).

I feel qualified to talk about the Winter Soldier Investigation and even how free-fire zones in Vietnam meant different things to different units.

I don't think you are, at least on the latter. If you can tell me the one real requirement for a free-fire area (and why), I might change my mind.

Cecil Turner, you're a combat veteran: what do you think of that lady wearing Purple Heart Band Aids at the GOP Convention?

I didn't like it, though I think vets in general and combat vets in particular tend to be less stressed about awards, having seen the sausage-making in action. (And as I've said more than once, the severity isn't really the issue, so it was self-defeating.) But I'd also like to see the paperwork on that first PH. If it's as Hibbard described, Kerry has a real problem there.

I mean, I know you think I'm a pendantic and pompous jerk--but what do you think about your compadres and what they have to say about those who you call your "bubbas."

Actually, I've decided you're surprisingly ignorant about common military issues for a writer of such. And I'm still tolerably amused over the whole "bubba" thing . . . though mostly because of how long it's taking you to twig to the obvious implication.

I've read enough about the Brown-Water Navy to know that they were VERY liberal about awarding Purple Hearts--

I think that's absolutely true. Which is why the real issue is the procedure followed, not the award itself (which I think shouldn't have been awarded, based on what I can piece together from the statements, but would readily accept if the commander decided otherwise).

KeithNolan

Thanks for your cheerful reply, Bob, but, you know, I just don't think I can contribute anything at this point.

Cecil Turner is right: when we start dipping into things like the nuances of FitReps, and how free-fire zones were taught at Quantico after Vietnam, or what it was like to be in a night firefight in Grenada, Kuwait, or Iraq (wherever Turner was, I don't know), well, I'm in way over my head.

Same-same SF180s. Like I said, I thought Kerry HAD signed such a form, and a number of reporters had combed through his personnel file. (Had they found a bombshell, I think they would have murdered each other for that scoop. I know you guys think the MSM is liberal--what they really are is competitive.)

I'll leave the details of Kerry's service to Doug Reese, should he return. And eecee seems to know much more than I about SF180s and such. (Didn't eecee discuss this issue further up this thread?)

I came here to discuss the Winter Soldier Investigation, nothing more, nothing less. I remain appalled that you guys have such contempt for combat veterans who you could just as easily applaud as earnest patriots for coming forward to describe the brutalities they saw in Vietnam.

It served a political purpose to pretend that Kerry had used the testimony of fake veterans when addressing the Senate in 1971. Thus, those combat veterans were smeared as frauds and liars.

Like I said, this crossed a line that should not have been crossed.

Al Hubbard might have been a fraud, but he was revealed as one on the spot. One fraud does not discredit an entire organization. If Al Hubbard's big mouth discredits the VVAW, then what is the meaning of Ron Kovic and Bobby Muller's wheelchairs?

I just don't get it, guys. Robert Kruch got drafted, swallowed his misgivings, humped a ruck and an M16, and nearly got blown away by incoming mortar fire. Ron Kovic was on his second tour as a Marine scout sergeant when shot through the spine. Bobby Muller was leading an assault up a hill when also shot through the spine. James Henry was, according to his comrades, a great medic and on of the bravest men in his unit. John Musgrave had been wounded twice before while a Marine on the DMZ before he took an RPD burst through his lungs. Barry Romo pinned on OCS lieutenant bars at age nineteen, and was leading a rifle platoon in Vietnam at twenty; his tour ended a few months early when he escorted home the body of his nephew, also a combat infantryman in Vietnam.

I could go on and on. These are the guys who joined the VVAW. Some of them testified at the Winter Soldier Investigation. Some did not.

How you can mock such men so easily because their hair was long in 1971, or because they turned against the war, or because they told the truth about what they saw, is utterly beyond me.

Keith Nolan

KeithNolan

To Cecil Turner: yes, "surprisingly ignorant" I might be, but, you know, it ain't for lack of sincerity.

Do me a favor, if you would.

Go to amazon.com

Look up OPERATION BUFFALO

Read a few of the reviews from readers, including the one from the CO of K/3/9 Marines.

And that's about all I want to say in my defense. Like I said, I don't like arguing with veterans.

Bye, for real,
KN

Bob

Keith, what your not getting is the "context" by which the Winter Soldiers have been dragged into this.

I have no issues with Robert Kruch, Ron Kovic, Bobby Muller, James Henry, John Musgrave, and any of the other WS Soldiers that may be telling their story. My question to them would be this. What do they think about the claims that Kerry made during the hearing. Have any of them testified that what Kerry said was true... such as the 200,000 murders, etc.. The wrath that's been brought upon them, has been done purely by Kerry's lies. They should be more angry at him then any of us... if that's even possible.

Where are they now? What do they say? I know you don't like what Kerry has done, but unless these men stand up again and tell their stories along with refute the lies that Kerry spoke of in that hearing, then their stories live and die on his record for not telling the truth.

JM Hanes

Keith

You're right, this conversation probably is too convoluted for you to handle on your own, and I can appreciate the difficulty of trying to track and respond to so many different individuals. I'll give you props for sticking with it, but maybe after awhile everyone blends together. Perhaps that's why you seem to have conflated my own remarks with those of others.

I have not contended "that Kerry's speech was somehow single-handidly responsible for the anti-Vet mood of the late-1960s and early-1970s." Indeed, I've been emphasizing the totality of the movement in which Kerry & the Winter Soldiers played a prominent part. I have not expressed an opinion on the veracity of WS testimonies; they are the stuff of tragedy either way, and I don't believe anyone here has denied that atrocities occurred.

Frankly, I thought my comment on Kerry looking for a deferment rather nicely paralled your own flip remark about GWB. Talk about getting hot under the collar! I didn't say I found it sickening, I simply pointed out that it was a pretty typical pattern among Kerry's peers, if not his personal friends. I was in college myself (just outside of Boston, in fact), from '67 to '71, so you can consider that a first hand observation. I must admit, I find it more than a little ironic that you refer to "rich kid peers".....in a complaint about spin!

Thanks for answering my "burning question," though. If you were older, I would have to regard your reluctance to acknowledge the depth of the damage done to returning VietNam vets as a form of wilfull blindness. The treatment they received is almost inconceivable today, but until you factor those terrible wounds into your equation, you cannot accurately assess the persistant animosity which you, quite wrongly IMO, seem to view as almost entirely political in nature.

I also don't see my "side", as you put it, moving goalposts; I see everyone making slightly diffferent points from what are very different, individual, perspectives. My participation here is certainly not an endorsement of anyone's comments but my own.

boris

I don't like arguing with veterans

That's where the argument is.

Kerry: "We were all war criminals and I was a hero!"

Vets: "No we weren't and no you weren't!"

Kerry: "Liars! You're all liars! How dare you lie about me a decorated vet!"

Vets: "Hey you there in the glass houses! You started it!"

boris

BTW 65-68 enlisted at 17.

KeithNolan

Many thanks for the latest comments. I mean that. And you are right, JM Hanes: I really can't keep up with all the comments/questions coming from you guys. It's like being in the middle of five or six kids on an unfriendly playground: one pushes you in the back; when you turn to face that person, you get pushed in the back by the person you just turned away from. Not fun!

You are right about something else: I don't even know who I'm talking to half the time. All of your comments/questions kind of blur together in my head.

To Cecil Turner: I'm not sure how my defense of the validity of the Winter Soldier Investigation has come to hinge on my expertise in free-fire zones and the coordination of supporting arms, but I'm never going to be able to provide a description on the subject with enough technical specificity to satisfy you. Good Lord, you took classes in the stuff and put it into practice as a career Marine.

Bear in mind that my books are mostly personal stories of individual grunts, and small-unit operations. I don't usually write in detail about fire-support coordination and ROEs and such: when I do, I usually just quote those officers with whom I've spoken, then have them review the rough draft for accuracy before it goes to print.

If you wish, I can tell you some horrible stories about free-fire zones in Vietnam, but I don't think that's what you're looking for.

By the way, I'm glad that the attitude towards the Winter Soldiers and those young ex-grunts in the VVAW seems to have softened a bit.

That's the only thing I was hoping to achieve by coming here.

Keith Nolan

Cecil Turner

Cecil Turner is right: when we start dipping into things like the nuances of FitReps, and how free-fire zones were taught at Quantico after Vietnam, or what it was like to be in a night firefight in Grenada, Kuwait, or Iraq (wherever Turner was, I don't know), well, I'm in way over my head.

The point is, rather, that you obviously don't get the purpose behind each of those things. A free-fire area, for example, merely means no friendlies are present (and hence no further coordination is necessary: a unit is "free" to fire without checking with higher headquarters). A FitRep is a tool for officer (and non-commmissioned officer) selection, to be read by perfect strangers, and hence must be standardized, at least to some degree, in order to be effective. (And there are an endless variations of "breakout" codes used in them . . . something any mid-grade officer knows without conscious thought.) But when I read your characterization of some of those things, I just have to scratch my head.

Robert Kruch got drafted, swallowed his misgivings, humped a ruck and an M16, and nearly got blown away by incoming mortar fire.

There were over half a million men in Vietnam at its peak. Every one of them has a story, and no two are the same. Again, the individual stories are not the issue, but the aggregate. As far as I'm concerned, the only Winter Soldier testimony that mattered was the one by John Kerry. There was no attempt at an actual "investigation"; it was a purposeful attempt to tell a story, and he was the mouthpiece. (And yes, some were undoubtedly frauds, and some liars--just as there were war crimes in Vietnam--big numbers ork like that.) But it's the narrative that's offensive.

If you wish, I can tell you some horrible stories about free-fire zones in Vietnam, but I don't think that's what you're looking for.

I can tell horrible stories about misdirected fire as well. And yes, individuals dick up the actual practice (in those, and many other things) constantly. It doesn't take the onus off the individuals and their leaders for proper training and execution, but there are lots of competing priorities in war zones, and things tend to slip. Except in certain rare cases, those are called "mistakes."

PeterUK

Well our slippery hippy ahs returned to this,
"What do you think of PUK dismissing as an "undisciplined conscript" a draftee citizen-soldiers who got blowed half to shit on some miserable hill in the Hiep Duc Valley of Quang Tin Province, RVN, in August of"

I thought he might
Audie Murphy served for three years
as i said earlier,rather makes Kerry's four months and Kruch's two look a little weedy.

Just to give some perspective,the battle for Okinawa began on April 1st 1945 and did not officially end until July 2 the same year.
It was a vicious bloody battle it is quite certain that the privations endured matched and exceeded anything Nolan's two heroes endured.
There was one big difference,unlike Vietnam the warriors came back to a heroe's welcome,what changed things,Winter Soldier did.

PeterUK

Nolan does more comebacks than Frank Sinatra.

maryrose

Keith:
If you come back and at any time talk to Doug Reece please tell him to tell Kerry that this campaign of his to redeem himself at the expense of the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth is a loser.

Sara (The Squiggler)

Somewhere upthread and several days ago (an amazing fact in itself for a blog thread) I posted some of the Fitrep canned language that was standard and that anyone who knows about Fitreps understands. Here is a repeat following. Keith, career officers, at least, live and die by the Fitrep as it is the primary tool used by Selection Boards for promotion and an officer passed over twice doesn't get to stay in the service. Someone with 10 or more years in does not want to get passed over and have his service time cut before retirement eligibility. For the short timer, like Kerry and thousands of others who never intended to make the military a career, a decent but not outstanding Fitrep probably was just fine with them.

An Introduction to Navy Fitness Reports

Navy officer fitness reports ("FITREPs") are of vital importance. Selection boards use them to promote the officer. Assignment officers use them to “sell” the officer into his or her next assignment. Only truly outstanding officers get the best jobs (or “billets”). Officers with adverse or spotty records are unsalable for anything but the most backwater assignments.

To read and understand FITREPs correctly, there are several crucial things to understand.

Dings and RAPs

First and foremost, a FITREP is a relative picture. You are not reading absolutes. If an officer is graded, say, as “outstanding,” it is meaningful only if he is ranked ahead of his contemporaries and the rest of the FITREP contains no glaring negatives.

Second, what matters most are marks or grades above and especially below the norm. Marks below the norm may fall under a very positive word (e.g., “excellent”) and appear positive to the casual reader, but no matter: any mark to the right of the norm is a strong, clear sign to both promotion boards and assignment officers (e.g., “detailers”) that there is a performance shortfall. A mark to the right is a “ding.” You don’t want a ding in your FITREP.

Third, what is not said in the narrative section is just as important as what is said. The truly superlative officer should be “RAPped,” meaning "Recommended for accelerated promotion." If Block 21 says only "Recommended for promotion" this is faint praise. It means that the officer should be considered for promotion along with the rest of his year group (all those commissioned in a given fiscal year constitute a “year group”). In the context of other marks and remarks, a “Recommended for promotion” mark means that the officer may just be average, called a “pack player.”

NOTE: An officer “Not Recommended for Promotion” is an officer in deep trouble. In a combat zone, failure to recommend for promotion may be indicative of problems in conduct, not just performance.

Key: Would His Commander Want Him to Command?

Fourth, if the officer is an Unrestricted Line Officer, he or she is in line for operational command (of a ship, an aviation squadron, etc.). Thus, one the most important marks on a FITREP for a line officer is “desirability for command,” referred to in the shorthand of selection boards and detailers as “command.” Thus, for a seagoing officer, a “ding in command” is big trouble. Likewise with the skill of “seamanship and ship handling”: a ship-driver “dinged in ship handling” is in big trouble.

As a footnote, line officers must win qualification as a Officer of the Deck for formation steaming [“OOD(F)”] that officer who stands watch on the bridge and is responsible for ship movement (and, frankly, everything that happens on that ship) while “formation steaming” or steaming in company with other ships. Officers must first qualify as OOD while in port [OOD(P) and subsequently for independent steaming [OOD(I)]. The quicker the climb to OOD(F) the better.

Also, Unrestricted Line Officers aboard ships (now called “Surface Warfare Officers”) must strive to be recommended for Navy Destroyer School which prepares the junior officer for his pivotal tour as a Lieutenant or Lieutenant (j.g.) -- a department head tour aboard a destroyer. A recommendation in a FITREP for Destroyer School is meaningful, however, if and only if the officer has qualified as OOD(F). The CO must qualify the officer as OOD for in-formation steaming; otherwise a Destroyer School recommendation is empty.

Thus, for the junior officer aboard ship, the number one performance goal is: qualify as OOD(F) and get recommended for Destroyer School. The unwritten rule is, don’t leave your first ship without the OOD(F) qualification.

Language and Other Signals

Fifth, FITREP language tends to be positive for officers who perform at a reasonably satisfactory level. That way, the FITREP tends to be a motivational tool to keep the officer on the right performance track. Thus, when COs feel the need to convey a signal to selection boards and detailers about performance that is lackluster, they will use code words. “Potential” is one of the key negative code words. Genuinely excellent officers should be performing; if they merely demonstrate “potential,” even “great potential,” this is read as a clear signal from the Commanding Officer that they are not performing.

Another signal is “trend of performance.” Unless it’s a “first report,” all good officers should be marked as “improving,” never “consistent” and certainly not “declining.”

Still another signal, particularly for line officers, is the broad categories of content in the narrative. A line officer’s FITREP should be glowing in praise of his or her ship handling and leadership abilities. Selection boards want to know how this officer performs on the bridge, not in some significantly less important collateral duty (e.g., public affairs officer). A CO who emphasizes performance in collateral duties is signaling that there is something lacking on the bridge.

Sixth, there can be no gaps. There must be one continuous thread of fitness reports in an officer’s jacket.

Seventh, it’s the operational tours that count. As long as the officer passes the school and stays out trouble, FITREPs from school commands don’t matter much.

Eighth, selection boards and detailers will examine the way the Commanding Officer grades his or her officers. Some of their considerations:

o They are looking for “good break-outs,” reports that clearly identify top-performers (called “water-walkers”) and distinguish them from “pack-plus” officers (above average performers) or “pack” officers (average). When a CO writes a “gift” FITREP (ranks everyone as top performers), boards and detailers tend to discount such “easy graders” and will look to a subsequent report for a clearer performance picture from another CO.

o Glowing, end-of-tour FITREPs are often viewed as “swan song” FITREPs (the officer is usually ranked 1 of 1) and don’t matter nearly as much as in-tour FITREPs when the officer is ranked with his or her peers. (Of course, if an officer is smacked in an end-of-tour report, you can be assured that boards sit up and pay close attention.)

Sara (The Squiggler)

FitReps can have input from more than one source as they are being compiled. For instance, my husband was a Warrant Officer who was Repair Officer, actually by the time I'm talking about he was a CWO3 Hull Tech and the ship's Repair Officer, meaning he ran the shop and was in charge of the maintenance of the ship, including things like plumbing, carpentry, electrical, firefighting, etc. and when on a tender, in charge of the repair of many ships of the battle group. Fitreps for Junior Officers or those attempting to qualify OOD were usually under his supervision and he would write up their technical performance (think of it as the blue collar side middle manager or supervisor). For command recommendations, that part usually fell to someone of Lt. Commander, Commander, or Captain rank and usually was left to the Excecutive Officer (the white collar side or upper management), but anyone between the actual supervising officer and the Command's top officer could or might have input. The idea was to give an overall picture and to avoid personal situations that might reflect themselves in a less than glowing Fitrep not due to an officer's performance but some personal matter. Once the FITREP is written, the officer is given a chance to read it and sign it before it goes into his permanent record. My husband hated writing Fitreps and would really struggle with them. I've seen him agonize on how to write something up that to me sounded very good and he'd say, "yeah if I want to give the guy the kiss of death." The easiest way to think of it is if you were using a scale of 1 to 10, think of the word "excellent" as being the middle ground of five, but then add in that this is where everyone would start so excellent means as good as the average officer, nothing outstanding, nothing derogatory, excellent means does his duty, but nothing more, and nothing less. In the Navy, excellent is required, but it doesn't get you promoted.

KeithNolan

To Cecil Turner: that's it, you simply wanted me to say that a free-fire zone meant that there weren't other friendly units in the area?

I thought you wanted some highly technical discussion about the coordination of fire support, which I am not equipped to make.

One other thing before I bug out: I don't think you could be more wrong when you write that "the individual stories [from the Winter Soldier Investigation] are not the issue, but the aggregate."

The individual always matters, and these particular individuals were smeared here (and by O'Neill, Corsi, Burkett, Swett, not to mention Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, and Sean Hannity) as a pack of frauds and liars.

No one was arguing about the "aggregate" during Campaign 2004 or at the beginning of this thread. The argument was that the entire Winter Soldier Investigation was nothing but horseshit: a pack of fake veterans telling lies about a war in which they had never fought.

That's what brought me here. Specific veterans were being smeared so as to score political points against John Kerry.

Now the argument has shifted to, well, maybe the individual stories were true, but they left a false overall impression when all strung together as Kerry did during his speech to the Senate. Fine. If that had been the original argument, you'd have never heard boo from me. I happen to agree with that point.

I'd say that Bob and JM Haynes seemed to have mellowed a bit about those individual Winter Soldiers. You still seem hard as nails about the subject. I know Robert Kruch is just one of 2.5 million Vietnam Veterans with a story to tell, as you say.

That's the whole point, isn't it? Why shouldn't he be able to tell his story without having the Nixon Administration (and now folks like O'Neill, Corsi, Burkett, etc.) jump out of the bushes to call him a liar and a fraud who didn't almost die on some worthless little hill out in the middle of nowhere in August of '69?

By the way, Robert Kruch never said he was Audie Murphy. He just said he was there. It was you guys who said he wasn't.

KN

boris

The argument was that the entire Winter Soldier Investigation was nothing but horseshit: a pack of fake veterans telling lies about a war in which they had never fought.

How many fake veterans does it take, how much communist agenda does it take to discredit the WSI?

More than enough.

The question isn't if some vets or stories were true, once the fakes and agenda's exposed it's no longer relevant. Sometimes BJ tells the truth, sometimes he tells lies. Since you never know when, nobody can believe ANYTHING he says. Same here.

Sara (The Squiggler)

It is nothing but all about the aggregate, Keith. It is the aggregate that did the damage to ALL vets, and continues to this day.

KeithNolan

Boris: please, God, no, don't start the whole circle over again by returning to the frauds-and-liars meme regarding the Winter Soldier Investigation.

No one has ever named a single fraud who gave testimony at the WSI.

They simply can't be written off as frauds.

If you want to believe they were frauds and liars, you are welcome to your opinion. I just wish you would name the frauds, and explain what they were lying about.

Ah, never mind. I'm going to go pack a bowl and forget about this.

Keith Nolan

Where's The Beef?

Keith Nolan, you came here to defend the Winter Soldiers "investigation" and have said that their unauthenticated stories sounded like other stories that have been authenticated. You said that they had photos of themselves in South Vietnam. And on that basis you say they were not proven to be frauds and liars.

In my response, was to ask you about the specific accusations made by Kerry in his Fulbright testimony in 1971. He showcased the stories of the Winter Soldiers.

You said, he exagerated; I asked, please be specific and tell us, compared with the Winter Soldiers accounts, what the exagerations were. I also asked for you state the standard by which an exageration crosses the line and is a falsehood told.

Please respond to that question.

I also asked by what criteria you'd expect the country to hold anyone -- anyone -- who told of war crimes. In particular, what of someone who had seen action and claimed to have seen witnessed war crimes? Or someone who tells his story and let's another person or organization represent that account of crimes?

Do you believe that the Winter Soldiers have a duty to their country, and a responsiblity to their comrades -- particularly those who perished -- to correct the "exagerations" of that much flouted testimony made by Kerry on their behalf?

If no, we can discuss further the standards of duty and honor to which you'd expect the country to hold an accuser of war crimes.

If yes, please explain how you can not see how the Winter Soldiers continue to play a very significant part in fraud and lies perpetuated by the leaders of the organization, and by their bullhorn (Kerry), in 1971 and subsequently.

Nail that aspect of the controversy and you might have contributed more than a wasted pixels in this long and potentially unproductive discussion.

Where's The Beef?

Keith Nolan,

You came here to defend the Winter Soldiers "investigation" and have said that their unauthenticated stories sounded like other stories that have been authenticated. You said that they had photos of themselves in South Vietnam. And on *that* basis you say they were not proven to be frauds and liars.

My response was to ask you about the specific accusations made by Kerry in his Fulbright testimony in 1971. He showcased the stories of the Winter Soldiers.

You said, he exagerated; I asked you to please be specific and tell us, compared with the Winter Soldiers accounts, what the exagerations were. I also asked for you to state the standard by which an exageration crosses the line and becomes a falsehood told.

Please respond to that question.

I also asked by what criteria you'd expect the country to hold anyone -- anyone -- who told of war crimes.

In particular, what of someone who had seen action and claimed to have witnessed war crimes -- firsthand? Or someone who tells his horrific story and let's another person or organization represent that account as war crimes on a scale surpassing the dirty war persecuted by the invading enemy.

Do you believe that the Winter Soldiers have a duty to their country, and a responsiblity to their comrades -- particularly those who perished -- to correct the "exagerations" of that much flouted testimony made by Kerry on their behalf?

If no, we can discuss further the standards of duty and honor to which you'd expect the country to hold an accuser of war crimes.

If yes, please explain how you can not see how the Winter Soldiers continue to play a very significant part in fraud and lies perpetuated by the leaders of the organization, and by their bullhorn (Kerry), in 1971 and subsequently.

Do the Winter Soldiers not feel besmirched by the "exagerations" -- or do they feel vindicated by Kerry's testimony? He charged them all with genocide.

Nail that aspect of the controversy and you might have contributed more than a wasted pixels in this long and potentially unproductive discussion.

Where's The Beef?

Sorry for the doublepost.

The second is what I had intended.

PeterUK

"Robert Kruch never said he was Audie Murphy. He just said he was there. It was you guys who said he wasn't."
He said a damn sight more than that Nolan....less than two months,you can't see, can you Nolan that to be declared a "rapist,murderer and torturer" by a rookie of less than two months might irk some?

PeterUK

BTW eecee has been busted as a sock puppet.

Sara (The Squiggler)

BTW eecee has been busted as a sock puppet.

What does this mean?

KeithNolan

Okay, WTB, for what it's worth, here goes: regarding the "unauthenticated" stories told at the Winter Soldier Investigation:

1.) I have a CID report in my desk over here that authenticates one of the worst stories told at the Winter Soldier Investigation.

2.) I've dug into the unit records and spoken with non-WSI veterans of several of the units described at the Winter Soldier Investigation, and thereby authenticated those particular stories.

3.) Some of the stories were authenticated at the time, i.e., a veteran said that guys in his units collected ears, then showed a Polaroid of a grunt holding a knife against the head of a dead VC who (guess what) had a missing ear.

4.) Some of the other horror stories told at the Winter Soldier Investigation, though as of yet unauthenticated (I've only just begun digging into the CID archives), sound eerily similiar to incidents described at court-martials, described by the media at the time, and described in numerous memoirs written by Vietnam Veterans. (Again, go read A RUMOR OF WAR, THE OFFERING, THE MILITARY HALF, TIGER FORCE, BRENNAN'S WAR, SON THANG, FOUR HOURS IN MY LAI, etc. Please. Then get back with me.)

5.) About a quarter of the Winter Soldiers were willing to sit down with the CID and NIS and name names, units, dates, locations, etc.

6.) A lot of the Winter Soldiers did not tell horror stories. Instead, they talked about inadequate combat training, poor morale, malingering, the smoking or marijuana, the policy of burning villages, the padding of body counts, the dehumanization of the Vietnamese as "gooks," "dinks," and "slopes," etc., etc., etc. This is all fairly standard stuff to anyone familiar with the history of the Vietnam War. Doesn't really need individual authenticating.

And there you have it, that's why I believe them; all that, plus their photos of themselves in Vietnam, their typical veteran demeanor, language, and sincerity that comes through in the two documentaries about the Winter Soldier Investigation.

Incidentally, has anyone here actually seen the faces and listened to the voices of these men you call frauds and liars?

Regarding Kerry's testimony to the Senate, I did not say he exaggerated the particulars. The list of war crimes he mentioned (cutting off ears, shooting prisoners, rapes, burning down hootches, wiring up prisoners to field phones, etc.) all happened. I believe all were specifically mentioned at the Winter Soldier Investigation. He might have borrowed some of stuff from the then-ongoing court-martial of Lieutenant Rusty Calley.

Again, I did not say that he lied or exaggerated regarding the kinds of brutalities he described.

The exaggeration comes into play in stringing all of this stuff together in one long drumroll of endless horror. By giving so strident and angry a speech, Kerry distorted the record not by making stuff up, but by dropping all context, all shades of gray, and not giving credit where credit was due: namely, those well-led units that did not get involved with the kind of brutalities described at the Winter Soldier Investigation.

I don't know that the Winter Soldiers feel the need to demand any corrections from John Kerry. The handful I've spoken to generally supported Kerry in Campaign 2004.

And most would disagree with what I am saying here: they believed that their units were not involved in isolated incidents, but committed brutalities like burning down villages and dropping H&I over populated areas as part of a policy to destroy the rural fabric of South Vietnam in order to dry up the sea in which the guerrillas swam. (And, you know, maybe they've got a point: some very hard tactics indeed were deployed during General Westmoreland's tenure as ground commander in South Vietnam.)

To return to how the Winter Soldiers feel today, I have not personally spoken with enough to give you a fair answer. A few supported Kerry for President, as noted. One said he didn't like discussing the Winter Soldier Investigation (though he eventually did, at length) because he'd always felt like a "rat" for talking about some of the things his combat buddies did in a public forum. (One ex-VVAW Marine, though not a Winter Soldier, told a newspaper reporter that he was disappointed that the Kerry of 2004 was so mealy-mouthed compared to the strong and purposeful Kerry he remembered from 1971. He said Kerry should stand firm by what he said to the Senate and not back down for the sake of getting votes from Middle America.)

In sum: I don't think Kerry, the WSI, or the VVAW really "lied" about much of anything. When it came to the issue of war crimes, they only presented one angle of a very tricky and hot-button subject. I guess that's their "lie."

I might add that invoking the brutalities of the VC might not be as productive an argument as you would imagine. When it came to murdering non-combatants, the VC were head and shoulders above the U.S. Army and Marine Corps (My Lai-My Khe excepted), but the VC treated non-combatants very much like our allies: the ARVN and the ROKs (who were probably the roughest characters in South Vietnam).

You might be surprised to learn that the U.S. Marine Corps documented during Tet-68 a big ROK massacre of villagers in I Corps, RVN. The documentation was sent to General Westmoreland in Saigon, and was returned some months thereafter without comment. This story is told in the official USMC history of the Vietnam War--and, come to think of it, it kind of supports the Winter Soldier position that higher authorities, if not ordering atrocities, were not loathe to turn a blind eye to them. (Which is exactly what happened at My Lai-My Khe, by and by.)

You might also be surprised to learn that ROK veterans of the Vietnam War held their own version of the Winter Soldier Investigation two or three years ago in Seoul. (Incidentally, a left-wing newspaper which printed their testimony was attacked and vandalized by right-wing ROK veterans. At least the arguing about this subject in the U.S. doesn't involve broken windows and arson!)

When it comes to genocide, I don't think the Winter Soldiers were accusing their fellow grunts of being murdering sadists: I think they were saying that the common soldier had been used in a war machine which destroyed villages, drove people off their ancestral land, used defoliants to render crops lifeless, bombed populated areas, and generally because of all this firepower, produced millions of casualties among the very civilians of South Vietnam the U.S. was supposed to be fighting to protect.

I certainly don't think this fits the bill for genocide. I think it does fit the bill, however, for one screwed-up war.

Some other thoughts: the whole anti-vet/baby-killer stuff from the most radical and unthinking members of the Left really started when D/1/9 Marines burned down Cam Ne in 1965 while CBS-TV filmed the craziness. As more and more villages were burned, and more and more civilians were killed (almost always accidentally as "collateral damage") by U.S. firepower, the screaming got more shrill--and then it absolutely exploded when the story of the My Lai-My Khe Massacres broke in 1969. (Again, go check out the LIFE Magazine spread about My Lai. It will drop your guts down around your knees.)

When John Kerry and the Winter Soldiers came along in 1971, they were very late to the party. And though they made a big splash among reporters, academics, college students, and politicians, they really went almost unnoticed in Middle America.

I know for a fact that VVAW alumni felt like they accomplished NOTHING. They felt like no one had listened to a word they said. And at the end of the day, they had simply been dismissed as a pack of frauds and liars, and the war went on.

I think the SwiftVets (and you guys) give the VVAW and the WSI way too much credit for the baby-killer slur. Captain Medina and Lieutenant Calley had already pounded that image home in 1969. Protesters used to carry placards on which were pasted photos of the dead babies of My Lai, not John Kerry sitting in his fatigues and ribbons.

You know, during the twenty-three years I'd spoken with Vietnam Veterans before Campaign 2004, not a single one (except those who had actually been in the VVAW) ever brought up the name of John Kerry. Jane Fonda they hated. The protestors and the draft dodgers, too, at least some of them. But John Kerry? I doubt they knew who he was until Campaign 2004.

I ramble. Not sure if I'm getting at the heart of what you are asking.

Keith Nolan

KeithNolan

Hey, PUK, bug off: Robert Kruch never said a goddamn word about rape and torture. He did say that his battalion commander encouraged his company commander to shoot prisoners as a way to pad the body count--and when I tracked down his company commander, he confirmed that story. The battalion commander in question was a madman who eventually got himself and a lot of his men killed by doing some very stupid things.

You know not of what you speak. Not at all.

KN

PeterUK

Sara,

eecee is reading for fun even held conversations with herself.

Sue

He said Kerry should stand firm by what he said to the Senate and not back down for the sake of getting votes from Middle America

And there you have it Mr. Nolan. The reason no one respects John Kerry.

KeithNolan

Fair enough, Sue. Though I might respect Kerry's combat service, I do NOT respect Kerry the politician.

You know, I'm really not a part of Team Kerry. (But for the sake of full disclosure, will tell you that I voted Democratic for the first time in my life in 2004, such was my disgust at the SwiftVet smears--and my disgust, too, with a certain empty suit known as George W.)

No need to respond. I'm just here for the Winter Soldier stuff.

KN

Sue

That's okay. I don't care who you voted for or why. A lot of my close family and friends voted for Kerry, but it was an ABB vote. They didn't like Kerry either. ::grin::

Sara (The Squiggler)

So Keith, you were willing to denigrate an entirely new generation of Vets in 2004? How sweet!

PeterUK

Nolan,you still don't get it do you,a rookie of less than two months became part of an anti-war organisation which was lead by a fraud ,Al Hubbard,which was funded by communist organisations.These organisations had ties to the Soviet Union which was fighting a proxy war with your country.
The aims of VVAW were almost identical to that of the communist North Vietnamese.
Kruch gave his support to the testimony of John F Kerry which helped damn his former comrades even unto this day.
You do remember that Kerry was the spokesman for them all,do you not?
That Kerry said that these atrocities were carried out as a matter of course,by implication all Vietnam Veterans are guilty?
You obviously can not see the irony of you giving Kruch a pass because he "was there" and therefore beyond reproach,but the Swiftboats,who were also there are not.
Funny standards you have.

Sue

I don't think Kerry has any core values. He is a say anything, do anything type person...whatever it takes to advance his own goals. I might not agree with everything Bush does (and I don't) but I will give him this much. You pretty much know what he stands for. There is an old saying that someone was wise enough to put into a country song...you have to stand for something or you'll fall for anything. That is how I see Kerry. He stands for nothing and falls for anything popular at the moment. That isn't a leader. And that is why I could never support him. It never had anything to do with his medals, for me anyway. He served, he got them, let him have them. What I objected to was his running on medals he pretended to throw over a fence at a time when it was popular to do so. Lucky for him he was able to pull them out and use them when the opportunity presented itself. Or maybe not so lucky. People have long memories, or so it seems to me anyway. ::grin::

PeterUK

Sue,
That is it,isn't it,Kerry branded Vietnam a war of atrocities,then had the unmitigated gall to flaunt his service as a virtue.Odd in a man who had help ensure that no Vietnam Veteran could raise their heads again.

Sara (The Squiggler)

Keith, please, listen ... 130 men, some who were combat vets, some not, some who may have truthfully detailed behavior unbecoming, some who when push came to shove disappeared back to the rat holes they crawled out of, as opposed to over 2 million brave men and women. Those 130 or so, led by Lt. John Kerry, were very vocal, they got the media and Hollywood on their side, they went to the college campuses and got lots of pampered and silly know-nothing college kids (I was one at the time so I speak from experience) to demonstrate ... just like Code Pink does today. There was a draft, few were joining up willingly, so it was an easy group to brainwash and their agenda was, "no don't make me go," and yet here you are today still arguing that those 130 or so should be taken at face value and you even promote the gross insult of saying these dishonorable guys should be celebrated and honored.

Over 2 million vets were tarred with their brush, probably over 10 million were damaged if you count the families caught in the crossfire. The security of the United States was put at risk for well over a decade because of the decrease in military funding that was an outgrowth of the VN demonstrations. Thousands more died in VN because the war was prolonged as a result of the demonstrators, contrary to what they believed then and you still believe now. And our POWs were subjected to the worst kind of torture as a direct result of their testimony and the subsequent demonstrations. How can you not get it? How can you be so cold and unfeeling?

boris

I don't know that the Winter Soldiers feel the need to demand any corrections from John Kerry. The handful I've spoken to generally supported Kerry in Campaign 2004.

Count me among the vets from that time who call Kerry and the Winter Soldiers fakes and frauds. Who call the Swifts the true whistleblowers on the whole Nam Scam. The ascendency of the anti Nam vet travesty is over and the lies behind the agenda have been exposed. If the other side doesn't like the taste of their own bitter pills, they can KMA.

Sara (The Squiggler)

It is called quite simply and honestly "giving aid and comfort to our enemies." That's what John Kerry did and he did it for his own political gain. That is what Jack Murtha and his minions are doing today. Both use their own service as cover, but the result is the same ... "AID AND COMFORT TO THE ENEMY!" Short, simple and to the point. Dishonorable.

PeterUK

Sara,
"The security of the United States was put at risk for well over a decade"
Longer Vietnam begate 9/11,osama bin Laden had the US tagged as the "Weak Horse",much of that epithet sprang directly from the debacle of Vietnam.

PeterUK

The opening statement of William Crandell.

"But we intend to tell more. We intend to tell who it was that gave us those orders; that created that policy; that set that standard of war bordering on full and final genocide. We intend to demonstrate that My Lai was no unusual occurrence, other than, perhaps, the number of victims killed all in one place, all at one time, all by one platoon of us. We intend to show that the policies of Americal Division which inevitably resulted in My Lai were the policies of other Army and Marine Divisions as well. We intend to show that war crimes in Vietnam did not start in March 1968, or in the village of Son My or with one Lt. William Calley. We intend to indict those really responsible for My Lai, for Vietnam, for attempted genocide.

Just one brief excerpt from Winter Soldier One cannot be more explicit than that.Attempted Genocide.

Time for a Winter Soldier Invetigation Enquiry.

Sara (The Squiggler)

Yes, Peter you are right, although my mind was more on when Reagan was elected and what he did to bring back some of the luster to defense and the military after the debacle of Jimmy Carter.

We should remember too that while Kerry was cavorting with his Winter Soldiers, Bill Clinton was demonstrating on foreign soil against his country, both in England and in the Soviet Union. He was also writing letters trying to avoid the draft and making statements like, "I despise the military." All we have to do is look to what he did as president. How he cut and ran leaving our guys sitting ducks in Somalia (Black Hawk Down) or how he let bin Laden off the hook, or how he barely gave a moment's notice to the bombing of the Cole or that his very first big move as president was the "gays in the military" issue ... something designed to make the military look bad and to again say there is no reason to have "esprit" and "honor" and "duty." What you have is a bunch of geeky wimps who are so intimidated when they get into the presence of real heroes their only escape is to somehow denigrate and personally attack the individuals in order to buck up their own cowardly and wimpy mindset.

It is no accident that some of the same characters are now turning up behind the scenes as anti-war activists and CIA leakers.

PeterUK

Sara,
Though there are a number of seditionists,the main danger comes not fro agitators but those who cannot see that their little portion of civic nihilism in aggregation with others, can eventually bring any nation down,Just as a small stream can eventually erode a mountain.

What I have read here is a world view,unsurprisingly, centred on America,Vietnam is still an open wound to your country,one which I might add,some seem keen to keep picking at.For some it is a political tool,others,the defining moment of their lives,others a source of income,many a source of shame,but to the world outside Vietnam does not hold the same significance.

One thing stands out to the rest of the world, it was seen as America's vulnerability,the anti-war/anti Americans,portray it as a defeat,as it was in political terms, eager to place the Vietnam matrix onto Iraq.The ever willing media and Loyal Opposition aiding and abetting this bizarre perception.

If Winter Soldier taught your enemies anything,it taught them that the battlefield on which to defeat America was on its own soil...and here we are once again, watching your nation oblige them.

Sara (The Squiggler)

Peter, yes absolutely. And we have the proof of it in the al-Queda letter captured in Iraq which says, "help we're losing," "the only ones who think we are winning are the US media." [Paraphrased]

State of Insurgency

Cecil Turner

The argument was that the entire Winter Soldier Investigation was nothing but horseshit.

Works for me. A few anecdotals doesn't change that. And if I have to choose between them and the Swifties (and apparently I do), it's not a hard choice. Cheers.

JM Hanes

Keith

"I'd say that Bob and JM Haynes seemed to have mellowed a bit about those individual Winter Soldiers."

Actually my position has remained quite consistent from start to finish; perhaps you're finally beginning to understand what I've been saying.

"Again, go check out the LIFE Magazine spread about My Lai. It will drop your guts down around your knees."

You just don't seem to realize that most of the folks you're talking to here saw it when it came out. We lived the era that you're now struggling to reconstruct from a painfully limited set of data.

"Some of the other horror stories told at the Winter Soldier Investigation, though as of yet unauthenticated....sound eerily similiar to incidents described at court-martials, described by the media at the time, and described in numerous memoirs written by Vietnam Veterans."

If you intend to battle on, you might want to reformulate this observation. I could have sworn you were about to admit that the Winter Soldiers could have picked up the stories they told from pretty much anywhere.

Where's The Beef?

Keith Nolan, when does an exageration become a falsehood?

You say that the Winter Soldiers you know, and which you have defended here, agree with Kerry's testimony of 1971.

Thank you making the effor to respond to my questions.

Given the platform you have here, perhaps you would be willing to go through the 30-plus types of war crimes that Kerry described in the name of the Winter Soldiers. With each category we can discuss specifics that convince you that there is no fraud and lies involved.

To begin: Kerry said there were 200,000 murders per year. That would implicate hundreds of thousands of murderers and enablers and a huge cover-up of mass murder. This is clearly Kerry's representation of the stories of the men you have defended here. What say you on that particular type of war crime?

Bob

Keith,

Like JM Hanes, I have not softened my position on the Winter Soldiers. Yes I admitted that the people you claim to respect may in fact be telling the truth, but that was based on your word, and not my full understanding of their individual stories. I know your here to defend the WS and not Kerry, but unfortunately like in life, things are rarely that easy or simple. This is one of life's more complex stories, that raise too many questions, but deserves a simple answer. The Winter Soldiers thought that by grouping together they spoke as one. They also decided to let Kerry be their mouthpiece. These decisions were theirs, and they rode these decisions into the newspapers and minds of America and our enemies then and now. This is in the History books this way. So now you come along and you want to parse out certain stories or individuals to give them the honor they may or may not deserve. That's another story. The fact that a good deal of what the Winter Soldiers represented, was based on lies and exaggerations, will always be how it'll be remembered. Your not going to easily change that.

If you truly care about these soldiers you so stridently defend, you'd convince them that the only way to remove themselves from this (in your mind) unfair smear, is to denounce what is now known as the Winter Soldiers.

Also based on this quote from you:

"Fair enough, Sue. Though I might respect Kerry's combat service, I do NOT respect Kerry the politician."

You need to rethink your "respect" for Kerry's combat service... or at least have a great more scepticism about his version of the stories. I think if you did, you would realize that the Kerry "combat service" was as much a fraud as the Kerry Political service. This poor soul was raised thinking he was destine to become the President. Unfortunately for him, he had nobody coaching him on what made a great leader. A great leader needs to look outward in order to lead, but for Kerry it's always been and always will be only about him.

By dragging this old story back up, once again Kerry's only goal in life is what's good for him and not any of those soldiers he "used" back in 1972 to further his own ambitions. You should join the rest of us and condemn this POS for ever trampling on the reputations of over 2 million soldiers, their families, and those of us who witnessed his disgraceful attempt at glory.

Say enough already, and stop blaming us who refuse to let him get away with doing it again.

I think your next book ( I believe you said you wrote books )should expose Kerry and his fraudulent behavior... but that may not be too much of a challenge, nor expose anything new to the public.

PeterUK

" WinterSoldier.com has posted complete files received from the FBI through a Freedom of Information request on the Vietnam Veterans Against the War / Winter Soldier Organization (VVAW/WSO) which totaled to over 21,000 pages. I found two documents of particular interest, “A Position Paper: The Political Statement of the National Collective on the Future of VVAW/WSO” dated August, 1974, and the “National Office Report of the 13th VVAW/WSO National Steering Committee Meeting, August 8-12, 1973”. Since Presidential candidate John Kerry was a leader and national spokesman for the VVAW/WSO it is important for us to know what this organization’s ideological positions (and thus John Kerry’s) were.

The “Position Paper” is a 53 page Communist organizing and propaganda manual. Its title alone tells us a lot of the people who made up the VVAW, as it was compiled by their “National Collective” a purely Communist term. There are numerous references to “destroying US imperialism” both abroad and at home. “US imperialism” refers to our efforts to stop totalitarianism abroad. At home it refers to capitalism and the private property system. Throughout the paper are Marxist references to the “imperialist class”(1), to “getting out agitational propaganda in any way possible”(2), in an effort to “attack imperialism at its weakest points”(3).

It goes on with “We continue to maintain regular communications with our Indochinese comrades in North and South Vietnam and in Cambodia”(4) We “have strengthened our ties with representatives of the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea.”(5) “Over all our relationship with the Communist Party, USA has not been what it should.”(6) They complain about the CP, USA as “pimping off the rising veterans’ movement.”(7) The VVAW had no problem working directly with the Communist Party. They just didn’t like the CP, USA claiming credit for things it didn’t do.(8) The paper denounces any effort at becoming a “narrow reformist movement,”(9) but rather was adamant about staying a “militant” one.(10) “We need strong, militant regional leadership that will be the vanguard force in leading the fight for our demands."

Read it all as the saying goes

PeterUK

Even more interesting:-
"Regarding GIs and the military, “we would like to see the whole military machine turned back on its operators. If the military were crippled by the working class which makes up the backbone of the military, it would be a giant stride forward in the overall struggle to end imperialism.”(13

This is why the argument has been narrowed down to the bona fides of those who testified,why VVAW screened them from all the frauds running the organisation...to prevent an examination of the basic precepts of VVAW, which was fundamentaly a tool of your enemies.

Bob

Oh Peter stop posting all these facts... don't you know this is suppose to be an "emotional" argument. /s

Keep this up and you'll cause another "sock puppet" to appear!

PeterUK

OK Bob,how about a picture Spot the Fraud Competition
First Prize a Keith Nolan Book,
Second Prize,All Keith Nolan's Books.

Bob

Pete, you could have at least had a picture of Al Gore in there, just so it would have the appearance of a real "competition".

Next thing you'll be advocating is giving everyone who signs up for Little League a trophy just for showing up. Something about helping their self esteem. /s

PeterUK

Sorry Bob,
Nobody else turned up,the books are yours.

RLS

Keith Nolan,

I was able to read most of your comments - I did skip the last few (?), but I wanted to put my 2 cents in. I am a VietNam combat veteran, USMC, Sgt (E-5), Charlie Co, 3rd Recon Bn, operating out of Quang Tri (68-69). I cannot impugn one iota of WS testimony as I haven't read it and, in all probability, I wasn't in any of the areas of operation described. What I can do is state with certainity that I never witnessed any atrocities or even heard of such.

What I am concerned about is your "circular reasoning" concerning the WS testimony. There were approx 3 million military personnel who served in VN during the war, there were approx 150 who testified at WS. If I am correct, your reasoning is that...war is hell....bad things happen in war....some people go over the edge and commit atrocities...as has happened in WWI, WWII, Korea, etc., ergo when someone alledges such atrocites occurred in VN, it must be so.

I agree that atrocities may occur in times of war (Lt. Calley) but not that they inevitibly must occur. Do I think that some did in VN? I do. You can't have that many personnel over the period of time that entails the war and not have some go over the edge.

Where I differ with you is where the burden of proof should come from. When one makes such allegations as those in WS, they should be able (required) to provide proof of those allegations. Being in country at the time and having photos showing one in country is not proof of atrocities committed.

So I take your reasoning as thus: Bad things happened in prior wars, thus it is reasonable to presume that bad things happened in VN, some (isolated) bad things have been proven to have happened in VN, 150 self proclaimed Viet Vets have testified to bad things in VN, so every one of them should be believed as being a fact, since no one has disproven any of these stories (I don't know that for a fact) they must be true.

I differ with you because I think it is the obligation of those making the allegations to provide factual data to support those allegations. That only approximately 30 of those 150 would (supposedly) cooperate with Army CID and NCIS, as far as I am concerned, give conditional credence to those 30. I would be interested in knowing what happened to those 30 investigations.

That some "organizers" of the WS event and VVAW have been proven to be untruthful certainly commands one to look at the totality of the depositions with a skeptical eye.

There is no statute of limitations on the crime of murder. If these "isolated" incidents occurred, they should be prosecuted, and those that have information or evidence of said crimes are aiding and abetting by withholding that evidence.

That all Viet vets were tarred by Kerry's wide brush in his Senate testimony still sticks in my craw.

I thought with Kerry's defeat in 2004 that all of this was behind us. I guess not.

clarice

Well said, RLS.
There seems to be a growing --unstated but clear-- suggestion from the media that in war crime allegations against US troops, the normal rules of evidence and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty are inapplicable. Phooey to that.

Bob

I won... that was easy

I just checked out Nolan's books over at Amazon, to see what I'm getting, and I'm not sure if I should be happy or sad.

Apparently Keith is quite well known for writing "History" and what would appear to be exclusively on Vietnam. So it leaves me with this simple question. How can someone write about so many battles and the heroes that fought courageously, and yet still be able to accept JF Kerry and the Winter Soldiers slandering of these same men. We all agree with RLS above that some atrocities would have had to happened, but never to the degree claimed by Kerry.

I just don't get it... so I'll pass on those books. Thanks anyway Pete.

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Wilson/Plame