Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
August 21, 2004
POLITICS: Not The Last To Be Tortured With Kerry's Speeches
"They used Senator Fulbright a great deal," McCain wrote - a reference to Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony that U.S. soldiers were committing war crimes in Vietnam as a matter of course.
He said Kerry political ally Sen. Ted Kennedy was "quoted again and again" by his jailers at the Hanoi Hilton.
"Clark Clifford was another [North Vietnamese] favorite," McCain told U.S. News, "right after he had been Secretary of Defense under President Johnson."
"When Ramsey Clark came over [my jailers] thought that was a great coup for their cause," he recalled. Months earlier, Sen. Kerry had appeared with Clark at the April 1971 Washington, D.C., anti-war protest that showcased his testimony before the Fulbright Committee.
"All through this period," McCain told U.S. News, his captors were "bombarding us with anti-war quotes from people in high places back in Washington. This was the most effective propaganda they had to use against us."
Sometimes, in war, soldiers - even in the best of armies - commit horrible atrocities; such is human nature and the opportunity war affords for the exercise of its most brutal impulses. And nobody really disputes that some American soldiers committed such atrocities in Vietnam, probably - given the nature of the war - with greater frequency than other wars.
But Kerry has sold himself - and won the hearts of some veterans - on the theory that service in Vietnam was, whatever the merits of the war itself, no different than any other service; that American soldiers who served there did so with the same honor, and deserve the same recognition, as veterans of other wars. I have no quarrel with that argument, which seems quite right to me; but hardly anybody did more at the time to argue the contrary position - that American soldiers had acted barbarously as a matter of course - than Kerry. No wonder his words (while he was still a member of the Navy Reserve) were such effective propaganda for the enemy.