Roger L. Simon

I didn't believe John Kerry...

…when he testified in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971, although I certainly didn’t say so at the time, not to anybody, not even to friends and family. I didn’t want to do anything to undermine the antiwar causa, even though I sensed the Winter Soldiers were exaggerating their claims of atrocities more than a little bit. You just didn’t want to criticize. It was not done in what I considered to be polite society. So in order not to have a guilty conscience or to have my mindset disrupted, I didn’t listen to what Kerry said very closely, lumping it together with general (and positive) antiwar propaganda and filtering out the allegations of ears being cut off and the like. I heard them, but I didn’t hear them, if you know what I mean.

Tonight I and I suspect many others will get a second chance to review that testimony on CSPAN. I am not looking forward to it and regard the experience as an obligation. And, yes, I’ve already read it. I have the sensation that Kerry is imploding, at least for now, and I get no pleasure from it. I can’t understand why the Democratic Party didn’t see this coming. Their “paid political consultants” (talk about strange occupations) should all resign and do something useful for humanity, like taking care of cancer patients.

The old me also would have branded people like John O’Neill a reactionary. (I didn’t use the word “pig.” Even then it made my stomach crawl.) But evidently O’Neill aquits himself pretty well in the Washington Post. Kerry, on the other hand, is not answering many questions. What could he really say?

At the risk of repeating myself, I’d like to emphasize that I’m not really angry at John Kerry. He was a child of his times, like we all are. He just never grew out of it. I’m angry at the Democratic Party for running him for President. (And for those who are still asking that banal question — will I support him if he’s elected? Of course, I will. And I’ll hope like Hell I was wrong in everything I said. We’re at a point in history where none of us could do otherwise.)