UPI reports that “U.S. prisoners of war and their families…are launching a Web site and documentary that will likely further fuel election campaign rancor”:
The Web site, “Stolenhonor.com” could be online as early as Thursday night or Friday and will feature comments and statements about Kerry, the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, by former inmates of North Vietnam’s infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison complex, Ken Cordier said.
Among those appearing are Medal of Honor recipients Col. Leo Thorsness and Col. Bud Day, people Cordier called the “stars” of the Hanoi Hilton.
“This is going to be the POW story,” he said. “They are going to be telling about the documentary … and will tell the story about how John Kerry betrayed the POWs, his fellow Vietnam veterans and the country.”
Kerry, following four months service in Vietnam commanding river patrol boats in the Mekong Delta, became a prominent anti-war activist and participated in the so-called Winter Soldier investigation, in which men claiming to have seen service in Vietnam told tales of participating regularly in atrocities. Kerry repeated the unsubstantiated claims in testimony in 1971 before a Senate committee as a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, which was staging demonstrations in Washington.
“They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country,” Kerry said.
In a later television interview, Kerry said: “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 caliber 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.”
While the Swift Boat Vets have already proven that Kerry has distorted and invented several aspects of his four months in Vietnam, most people understand that (to borrow James Taranto’s phrase), while the guy was no Eisenhower, he did serve his country (even while filming–and recreating–his battles for posterity).
This isn’t Bill Clinton’s shadowy Whitewater dealings and other murkiness from his salad days as an Arkansas governor. Then-Naval lieutenant Kerry led a remarkably well documented–and even audio and videotaped life in the early 1970s. Didn’t he think this material would surface if he chose to run for the presidency? And if so, why did he choose to run so much on his four months in Vietnam, and only spend 26 seconds(!) on his 20 years in the Senate in his acceptance speech at the DNC?
What’s equally as interesting is that Kerry appears to have learned little from his pro-VC days in the 1970s.