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Old 08-27-2004, 03:23 AM   #16
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Senator PELL: Finally, in connection with Lieutenant Calley, which is a very emotional issue in this country, I was struck by your passing reference to that incident.

Wouldn't you agree with me though that what he did in herding old men, women and children into a trench and then shooting them was a little bit beyond the perimeter of even what has been going on in this war and that that action should be discouraged. There are other actions not that extreme that have gone on and have been permitted. If we had not taken action or cognizance of it, it would have been even worse. It would have indicated we encouraged this kind of action.

Mr. KERRY:My feeling, Senator, on Lieutenant Calley is what he did quite obviously was a horrible, horrible, horrible thing and I have no bone to pick with the fact that he was prosecuted. But I think that in this question you have to separate guilt from responsibility, and I think clearly the responsibility for what has happened there lies elsewhere.

I think it lies with the men who designed free fire zones. I think it lies with the men who encourage body counts...

Now, I think if you are going to try Lieutenant Calley then you must at the same time, if this country is going to demand respect for the law, you must at the same time try all those other people who have responsibility, and any aversion that we may have to the verdict as veterans is not to say that Calley should be freed, not to say that he is innocent, but to say that you can't just take him alone, and that would be my response to that...

The fact that 18 other people indicted for the very same crime were freed and the fact among those were generals and colonels. I mean this simply is not justice. That is all. It is just not justice.
Quote:
Mr. KERRY: Well, my feeling is that if you are talking about the ideal structure of this country as it is written down in the Constitution, then you or I would not differ at all. Yes, that is an ideal structure.

What has developed in this country, however, at this point is something quite different and that does require some fundamental changes.

I do agree with you that what happened in Vietnam was not the product of evil men seeking evil goals. It was misguided principles and judgments and other things.

However, at some point you have to stop playing the game. At some point you have to say, "All right we did make a mistake." At some point the basic human values have to come back into this system and at this moment we are so built up within it by these outside structures, other interests, for instance, government by vested power which, in fact, you and I really know it is. When a minority body comes down here to Washington with a bill, those bodies which have the funds and the ability to lobby are those which generally get it passed. If you wanted to pass a health care medical bill, which we have finally perhaps gotten to this year, we may, but in past years the AMA has been able to come down here and squash them. The American Legion has successfully prevented people like Vietnam Veterans against the War from getting their programs through the Veterans' Administration. Those bodies in existence have tremendous power.

There is one other body that has tremendous power in this country, which is a favorite topic of Vice President Agnew and I would take some agreement with him. That would be the fourth estate. The press. I think the very reason that we veterans are here today is the result partially of our inability to get our story out through the legitimate channels.

That is to say, for instance, I held a press conference here in Washington, D.C., some weeks ago with General Shoup, with General Hester, with the mother of a prisoner of war, the wife of a man who was killed, the mother of a soldier who was killed, and with a bilateral amputee, all representing the so-called silent majority, the silent so-called majority which the President used to perpetuate the war, and because it was a press conference and an antiwar conference and people simply exposing ideas we had no electronic media there.

I called the media afterward and asked them why and the answer was, from one of the networks, it doesn't have to be identified, "because, sir, news business is really partly entertainment business visually, you see, and a press conference like that is not visual."

Of course, we don't have the position of power to get our ideas out. I said, "If I take some crippled veterans down to the White House and we chain ourselves to the gates, will we get coverage?" "Oh, yes, we will cover that."

So you are reduced to a situation where the only way you can get your ideas out is to stage events, because had we not staged the events, with all due respect, Senator, and I really appreciate the fact that I am here obviously, and I know you are committed to this, but with all due respect I probably wouldn't be sitting at this table. You see this is the problem.

It goes beyond that. We really have a constitutional crisis in this country right now. The Constitution under test, and we are failing. We are failing clearly because the power of the executive has become exorbitant, because Congress has not wanted to exercise its own power, and so that is going to require some very fundamental changes.
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Fundamentally you said that the people can bamboozle their constituents; they can fool them. Of course, that is quite true of any system of a representative nature. The solution to that is to inform the electorate itself to the extent that they recognize a fraud or a phony when they have one. This is not easy to do, but it is fundamental in a democracy. If you believe in a democratic system, the electorate who elect the representatives have to have sufficient capacity for discrimination. They have to be able to tell the difference between a phony, someone who simply puts pieces in the record, and someone who actually does something, so that they can recognize it in an election, if they are interested.

Now if they are apathetic, as you say they are apathetic, and don't care, then democracy cannot work if they continue to be apathetic and don't care who represents them. This comes back to a fundamental question of education through all different resources, not only the formal education but the use of the media and other means to educate them. Our Founding Fathers recognized that you couldn't have a democracy without an informed electorate. It comes back to the informing of the electorate; doesn't it? That is not a structural deficiency in our system. You are dealing now with the deficiencies of human nature, the failure of their education and their capacity for discrimination in the selection of their representatives.
Next the words of Senator J. W. Fulbright:

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The CHAIRMAN: I agree with that. I can assure you that this committee and, certainly, I are going to do everything we can. That is what these hearings are about. It is just by coincidence you came to Washington in the very midst of them. We only opened these hearings on Tuesday of this week. I personally believe that the great majority of all the people of this country are in accord with your desire, and certainly mine, to get the war over at the earliest possible moment. All we are concerned with at the moment is the best procedure to bring that about, the procedure to persuade the President to take the steps that will bring that about. I for one have more hope now than I had at any time in the last 6 years because of several things you have mentioned, I think there is a very good chance that it will be brought about in the reasonably near future.

I think you and your associates have contributed a great deal in the actions you have taken. As I said in the beginning, the fact that you have shown both great conviction and patience about this matter and at the same time conducted yourself in the most commendable manner has bcen the most effective demonstration, if I may use that word. Although you have demonstrated in the sense that has become disapproved of in some circles, I think you have demonstrated in the most proper way and the most effective way to bring about the results that you wish and I believe you have made a great contribution.
Quote:
Senator SYMINGTON: There have been many reports of widespread use of drugs by U.S. servicemen in Vietnam. I might add I was in Europe last week and the growth of that problem was confirmed on direct questioning of people in the military. How serious is the problem and to what do you attribute it?

Mr. KERRY: The problem is extremely serious. It is serious in very many different ways. I believe two Congressmen today broke a story. I can't remember their names. There were 35,000 or some men, heroin addicts that were back.

The problem exists for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the emptiness. It is the only way to get through it. A lot of guys, 60, 80 percent stay stoned 24 hours a day just to get through the Vietnam -

Senator SYMINGTON: You say 60 to 80 percent.

Mr. KERRY: Sixty to 80 percent is the figure used that try sornething, let's say, at one point. Of that I couldn't give you a figure of habitual smokers, let's say, of pot, and I certainly couldn't begin to say how many are hard drug addicts, but I do know that the problem for the returning veteran is, acute, because we have, let's say, a veteran picks up a $12 habit in Saigon. He comes back to this country and the moment he steps off an airplane that same habit costs him some $90 to support. With the state of the economy, he can't get a job. He doesn't earn money. He turns criminal or just finds his normal sources and in a sense drops out.

The alienation of the war, the emptiness of back and forth, all combined adds to this. There is no real drug rehabilitation program. I know the VA hospital in New York City has 20 beds allocated for drug addicts; 168 men are on the waiting list, and I really don't know what a drug addict does on the waiting list.

And just recently the same hospital gave three wards to New York University for research purposes.

It is very, very widespread. It is a very serious problem. I think that this Congress should undertake to investigate the sources, because I hcard many implications of Madam Ky and others being involved in the traffic and I think there are some very serious things here at stake.

Senator SYMINGTON: In the press there was a woman reporter. I think her name was Emerson. In any case she stated she bought drugs six or nine times openly, heroin, in a 15-mile walk from Saigon. The article had a picture of a child with a parasol and a parrot. She said this child was one of the people from whom she had bought, herself, these drugs; and that the cost of the heroin was from $3 to $6.

If we are over there, in effect, protecting the Thieu-Ky government, why is it that this type and character of sale of drugs to anybody, including our own servicemen, can't be controlled?

Mr. KERRY: It is not controllable in this country, Why should it be controllable in that country?

Senator SYMINGTON: It isn't quite that open in this country; do you think?

Mr. KERRY: It depends on where you are. [Applause.]
Wrapping up ...

Quote:
Senator JAVITS: Senator Case was kind enough to express my view. I wish to associate myself with the statement Senator Symington made when I was here as to your credentials. That is what we always think about with a witness and your credentials couIdn't be higher.

The moral and morale issues you have raised will have to be finally acted upon by the committee. I think it always fires us to a deeper sense of emergency and dedication when we hear from a young man like yourself in what we know to be the reflection of the attitude of so many others who have served in a way which the American people so clearly understand. It is not as effective unless you have those credentials. The kind you have.

The only other thing I would like to add is this:

I hope you will understand me and I think you will agree with me. Your testimony about what you know and what you see, how you feel and how your colleagues feel, is entitled to the highest standing and priority. When it comes to the bits and pieces of information, you know, like you heard that Madam Ky is associated with the sale of narcotics or some other guy got a good meal, I hope you will understand as Senators and evaluators of testimony we have to take that in the context of many other things, but I couldnt think of anybody whose testimony I would rather have and act on from the point of view of what this is doing to our young men we are sending over there, how they feel about it, what the impact is on the conscience of a country, what the impact is on even the future of the military services from the point of view of the men who served, than your own.

Thank you very much.

Mr. KERRY. Thank you, Senator. [Applause.]
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Old 08-27-2004, 07:49 AM   #17
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Originally posted by STING2
Please, do not talk about childern being burned to death in Vietnam as if that was the first war that happened. Its frustrating when people essentially make Vietnam out to be the first dirty war where civilians suffered and died. Virtually every terrible act you could mention happened at some point in France in the Summer of 1944. 20,000 French Civilians were killed during the Normandy invasion. I doubt you will find as high loss from any single operation or battle in Vietnam for civilians.
Just because it happened in one war does not mean you have to let it happen in other wars.
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Old 08-28-2004, 12:31 PM   #18
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Originally posted by ThatGuy
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Next the words of Senator J. W. Fulbright:





Wrapping up ...

The real substance of John Kerry's testimony is provided in the qoutes below.

"not isolated incidents, but crimes committed on a day to day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command"

"They relived the absolute horror of what this country has, in a sense, made them do."

"razed villiages in a fashion reminicient of Genghis Khan"

"We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country; we could be quiet; we could hold are silence; we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because what threatens this country, the fact that the crimes threaten it, not reds and not redcoats, but the crimes which we are committing threaten it, that we have to seak out."

"The country doesn't know it yet, but it has created a monster, a monster in the forms of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence, and who are given the chance to die for the biggest nothing in history; men who have returned with a sense of anger and a sense of betrayal which no one has yet grasped."

"In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam, nothing which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos, by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocricy, and it is the kind of hypocricy which we feel has torn this country apart."

"we are probably angriest about all we were told about Vietnam and about the mystical war against communism."

"We fought using weapons against those people which I do not believe this country would dream of using were we fighting in the European theater or let us say non-third world people theater,"

"the hypocrisy in our taking umbrage in the Geneva Conventions and using that as a justification for the continuation of this war when we are more guilty than any other body of violations of those Geneva Conventions"

"But all they have done and all they can do by this denial is to make more clear than ever our own determination to undertake one last mission, to search out and destroy the last vestige of this barbaric war,"

"So what I am saying is yes, there will be some recrimination but far, far less than the 200,000 a year who are murdered by the United Sates of America,"

"Yes sir. I think we have a very definite obligation to make extensive reparations to the people of Indochina."

"It is my opinion that the United States is still reacting in very much the 1945 mood and postwar cold-war period when we reacted to the forces which were at work in World War II and came out of it with this paranoia about the Russians and how the world was going to be divided up between the super powers, and the foreign policy of John Foster Dulles which was responsible for the creation of the SEATO treaty, which was, in fact, a direct reaction to this so called Communist monolith. And I think we are reacting under Cold War precepts which are no longer applicable."

"Why do we have to, therefore, consider and keep considering threats?"

"but right now, we are reacting with paronoia to this question of peace and the people taking over the world."

"I think it is bogus, totally artificial. THERE IS NO THREAT. The Communist are not about to take over our McDonald hamburger stands."

" A lot of Guys, 60%, 80% stay stoned 24 hours a day just to get through the Vietnam"
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Old 08-28-2004, 12:33 PM   #19
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Originally posted by Popmartijn


Just because it happened in one war does not mean you have to let it happen in other wars.
No other country in the world has spent more money in perfecting military technologies that save civilian lives than the United States. No other country in history has spent more money defending democracy and a stable and prosperous global economy than the United States.
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Old 08-28-2004, 12:48 PM   #20
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I agree entirely with STING2 on this one, Kerry betrayed his "band of brothers" accusing them of comiting war crimes that they didn't commit. Although I wouldn't really think that the quotes sting has posted will make much of a difference here, the myth's of Vietnam were shaped by men like John Kerry and they are the true ghost of Vietnam, his quotes just reinforce the same picture of that war that many have been indoctrinated into, the war in Indochina was a very broad engagement with many different levels and broader strategic decisions, it is unfortunate that to most it is understood from watching Apocalypse Now, Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July.

And as for civilian casualites, 15,000 civilians killed to liberate 20 million - knowing full well that inaction would cost 100,000 lives in the recent Iraq war. The emotional pleas for "peace" defy logic and if listened to would claim the lives of many more innocent people. Peace of the grave is not an option, we have seen the damage caused by inaction - Rwanda anybody? - the POTUS must be a man prepared to make the tough decisions, stick by them and lead a good team of smart people and not be wrapped up in their own ego. I do not think that Kerry can do any of these.
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Old 08-28-2004, 02:31 PM   #21
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So since the two of you know none of these war crimes happened without doubt, how did the myth occur? Do you believe Kerry and others who've talked about these things occuring made it all up out of boredom?
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Old 08-28-2004, 08:36 PM   #22
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
So since the two of you know none of these war crimes happened without doubt, how did the myth occur? Do you believe Kerry and others who've talked about these things occuring made it all up out of boredom?
No one ever said that NO crimes ever occured. Crimes have occured in virtually every war that has happened. But John Kerry's testimony is simply inaccurate because it asserts things on a level that is simply false. His statements made accusations that were simply false or very inaccurate and obviously offensive and disgusting.

I honestly do not know what would make anti-war protestors throw human waste at US soldiers in airports returning from Vietnam, but that became a regular occurance in the early 1970s, and John Kerry's activities and testimony are in a small way responsible for these disgusting acts.
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Old 08-28-2004, 09:40 PM   #23
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I honestly do not know what would make anti-war protestors throw human waste at US soldiers in airports returning from Vietnam, but that became a regular occurance in the early 1970s,


John Kerry's activities and testimony are in a small way responsible for these disgusting acts.

This is one of the weakest things you have ever written.
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Old 08-28-2004, 09:47 PM   #24
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I disagree, the concept of the vets being "baby killers" who decapitate people and slice off ears is matched in Kerrys testimony, the Swift Boat Vets refute this and are still bitter about the lasting damage Kerry did to them. I find it supremely strange that some embrace Kerrys own decorated war record but will ignore the records of those that question him, he is a politician he should be held to the highest scrutiny.
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Old 08-28-2004, 09:50 PM   #25
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Originally posted by STING2


No one ever said that NO crimes ever occured. Crimes have occured in virtually every war that has happened. But John Kerry's testimony is simply inaccurate because it asserts things on a level that is simply false.
So your problem is, that in your eyes he exagerated the problem?
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Old 08-28-2004, 10:08 PM   #26
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He recanted his testimony later in life, he admitted that he didn't actually see the widespread abuses that he claimed and that he didn't actually commit the same abuse himself, now he made these claims without evidence, only his word as an officer and a gentleman, and it has been proven false. If he was telling the truth then he is a self-admitted War Criminal, if he is lying then he stabbed those he served with in the back after returning home and becoming an active participant in the anti-war movement.
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Old 08-28-2004, 10:51 PM   #27
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http://hnn.us/articles/3552.html

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On May 6, 2001 Tim Russert interviewed Senator John Kerry on Meet the Press. In the course of the interview, Mr. Russert asked the senator about his views on Vietnam.

MR. RUSSERT: You mentioned you're a military guy. There's been a lot of discussion about Bob Kerrey, your former Democratic colleague in the Senate, about his talking about his anguish about what happened in Vietnam . You were on this program 30 years ago as a leader of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. And we went back and have an audiotape of that and some still photos. And your comments are particularly timely in this overall discussion of Bob Kerrey. And I'd like for you to listen to those with our audience and then try to put that war into some context:

(Audiotape, April 18, 1971):

MR. CROSBY NOYES (Washington Evening Star): Mr. Kerry, you said at one time or another that you think our policies in Vietnam are tantamount to genocide and that the responsibility lies at all chains of command over there. Do you consider that you personally as a Naval officer committed atrocities in Vietnam or crimes punishable by law in this country?

SEN. KERRY: There are all kinds of atrocities, and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used 50 calibre machine guns, which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search and destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare, all of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this is ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down. And I believe that the men who designed these, the men who designed the free fire zone, the men who ordered us, the men who signed off the air raid strike areas, I think these men, by the letter of the law, the same letter of the law that tried Lieutenant Calley, are war criminals.

(End audiotape)

MR. RUSSERT: Thirty years later, you stand by that?

SEN. KERRY: I don't stand by the genocide. I think those were the words of an angry young man. We did not try to do that. But I do stand by the description--I don't even believe there is a purpose served in the word "war criminal." I really don't. But I stand by the rest of what happened over there, Tim.

I mean, you know, we--it was--I mean, we've got to put this war in its right perspective and time helps us do that. I believe very deeply that it was a noble effort to begin with. I signed up. I volunteered. I wanted to go over there and I wanted to win. It was a noble effort to try to make a country democratic; to try to carry our principles and values to another part of the world. But we misjudged history. We misjudged our own country. We misjudged our strategy. And we fell into a dark place. All of us. And I think we learned that over time. And I hope the contribution that some of us made as veterans was to come back and help people understand that.

I think our soldiers served as nobly, on the whole, as in any war, and people need to understand that. There were great sacrifices, great contributions. And they came back to a country that didn't thank the veteran, that didn't--I mean, everything that the veteran gained in the ensuing years, Agent Orange recognition, post-Vietnam stress syndrome recognition, the extension of the G.I. Bill, you know, improvement of the V.A. hospitals, all came from Vietnam veterans themselves fighting for it. Indeed, even the memorial in Washington came from that.

MR. RUSSERT: By your own comments, Bob Kerrey was not alone in doing the things that he did.

SEN. KERRY: Oh, of course, not. And not only that, we, the government of our country, ran an assassination program. I mean, Bill Colby has acknowledged it. We had the Phoenix Program, where they actually went into villages to eliminate the civilian infrastructure of the Vietcong. Now, you couldn't tell the difference in many cases who they were. And countless veterans testified 30 years ago to that reality. And I think--look, there's no excusing shooting children in cold blood, or women, and killing them in cold blood. There isn't, under any circumstances. But we're not asking, you know, nor is Bob Kerrey saying, "Excuse us for what we did." We're asking people to try to understand the context and forgiveness. And I think the nation needs to understand what the nation put its young in a position to do, and move on and take those lessons and apply them to the future.

MR. RUSSERT: The folks who oversaw the war, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, you do not now 30 years later consider them war criminals?

SEN. KERRY: No, I think we did things that were tantamount that certainly violated the laws of war, but I think it was the natural consequence of the Cold War itself. People made decisions based on their perceptions of the world at that time. They were in error. They were judgments of error. But I think no purpose is served now by going down that road. I think, you know, the rhetoric of youth and of anger can be redeemed by the acts that we put in place after time to try to move us beyond that. And I think there are great lessons to learn from it. But we would serve no purpose with that now. But we have to be honest about the mistakes we made. We don't have legitimacy in the world, Tim, if we go to other countries, in Bosnia or China or anywhere else, and not say, "You know, we made some terrible mistakes."

And that honesty, that lack of a sense of honesty is part of what is driving people's anger toward the United States today. That's why we have the vote in the U.N. That's why people--our allies, too--are disturbed by this defense posture. You can't abrogate the ABM treaty and move forward on your own to build this defense in a way that threatens the perceptions of security people have. And if you build a defense system, Tim, that can do what they say at the outside, which is change mutual assured destruction, you have invited a potential adversary to build, build, build, to find a way around it. The lesson of the Cold War is, you do not make this planet safer by moving unilaterally into a place of new weapons. Every single advance in weaponry through the Cold War was matched by one side or the other, and that's why we put the ABM treaty in place, and that's why we need to proceed very cautiously and very thoughtfully.
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Old 08-29-2004, 05:28 AM   #28
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3609312.stm

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John Kerry with Swift Boat crew members
Recent TV ads alleged John Kerry lied about his Vietnam service
US President George W Bush has said his rival in the presidential race, John Kerry, was the "more heroic" for having put himself "in harm's way" in Vietnam.

Asked by US TV network NBC if he felt Mr Kerry and he "served on the same level of heroism", Mr Bush replied, "No, I don't."
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Old 08-29-2004, 01:21 PM   #29
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Time Magazine interview with Laura Bush:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ar...689398,00.html

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TIME
Critics throw out so many charges against the President. Is there any one that you found the most unfair?

BUSH
I think they're all very unfair. [Laughter.] I really do.

TIME
Do you think these swift-boat ads are unfair to John Kerry?

BUSH
Do I think they're unfair? Not really.
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Old 08-29-2004, 03:07 PM   #30
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I didn't know there was a Vietnam myth

I agree that crimes have occured in every war
it just took us a while as human beings to evolve to a stage where we are able to admit afterwards that (partly due to the circumstances of the war at hand) we crossed a line and did things we shouldn't have done

I've read all the Kerry quotes Sting posted and except for the crimes being committed on a "day to day basis" there isn't that much there I have a problem believing based on Vietnam documentaries etc I have seen

I wouldn't have used the same words as Kerry by all means (far too dramatised for my personal liking) but I'm not exactly sure why they would be regarded as "inaccurate, offensive and simply digusting"
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