The Vietnam War and Modern Memory

Culture Watch

Mr. Briley is Assistant Headmaster, Sandia Preparatory School.

A 2005 documentary film still seeking wider theatrical release demonstrates the continuing relevance of how we remember the Vietnam War. Sir! Nor Sir! by filmmaker David Zeiger chronicles the resistance within the military of soldiers who became convinced that the course of action taken by the United States in Vietnam was morally wrong. These soldiers of conscience published underground newspapers, frequented coffee shops where the military was subject to criticism and satire, questioned their superior officers, and in more extreme cases refused to obey orders, preferring time in the stockade to serving in Vietnam.

Admittedly there are many differences between the Vietnam era and the contemporary conflict in Iraq. The social milieu of the 1960s fostered a climate of protest absent from the contemporary scene. Some might also argue that Vietnam never attacked America. But, of course, neither did Saddam Hussein. Only the U. S. invasion made Iraq a battlefield in the war on terror. In addition, many of those serving in Vietnam were reluctant draftees. A return to conscription would likely return us to the days of resistance and mass protest in the street. Still one wonders how long the National Guard and their families, struggling to survive financially, will be able to bear the burden of the Iraq War. The brutality of the Iraqi conflict for both the Iraqis and American troops is evident in the allegations regarding massacre in Hadetha which raises the specter of My Lai and Vietnam.

These are memories and connections which many supporters of the Iraq War want to remain dormant. Public opinion polls indicate that the American public has lost faith in the administration’s cause for the war, and not even the celebrated killing of Abu Musab a-Zarqawi can restore the nation’s support for the war effort. Yet, democracy be damned appears to be the response of the Washington political establishment. The Bush administration continues to argue that we must stay the course in Iraq and it would be premature to discuss timetables for withdrawal. A timid Congress debates the war for a few days before endorsing the conflict. The Congressional refrain is that disengagement from the war in Iraq would constitute a failure to support the troops and those who sacrificed their lives would have died in vain. This perspective draws its lifeblood from the mythology that the Vietnam War was lost on the home front by an antiwar movement which failed the soldiers.

In this national mythology the war was lost through the treason of individuals such as Jane Fonda and hippies who spat upon the brave returning warriors. The right-wing political message is that to question the Iraq War is equivalent to the dissent of the Vietnam era which undermined our troops. Accordingly, to engage in the constitutional right of dissent becomes tantamount to treason.

But as David Zeiger reminds us in Sir! No Sir!, this reading of the Vietnam War ignores the reality of protest during the 1960s. Rather than the antiwar movement standing in opposition to soldiers, many Vietnam veterans were active in questioning the war and American foreign policy. This memory was, of course, resurrected by the presidential candidacy of John Kerry, who was decorated for his service in Vietnam. Kerry also played an important role in the formation of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War as well as the Winter Soldier testimony which documented how the Vietnam War led to atrocities committed against the Vietnamese people and contributed to the degradation of American soldiers. These are memories of the Vietnam conflict which the political right sought to suppress with the infamous Swift Boat campaign attacking Kerry’s military record.

The image of war protesters spitting upon returning soldiers is also employed to discredit critics of the Iraq War. The message is that this time we must not fail the troops. In his book The Spitting Image, professor Jerry Lembecke argues that the spat-upon returning soldier is essentially an urban myth perpetuated by American popular culture. Lembecke was unable to document any such incidents to support this conventional wisdom surrounding how returning Vietnam veterans were received. The spitting image, however, is enunciated in such influential Hollywood films as the Rambo series featuring Sylvester Stallone.

Sir! No Sir! also forces viewers to reconsider one of the political right’s favorite images of the Vietnam War: Jane Fonda as “Hanoi Jane” fraternizing with the enemy and betraying the troops. On the other hand, Fonda’s antiwar spoof of the Bob Hope U.S.O. shows, entitled Free the Army in its most benign nomenclature and featuring such Hollywood celebrities as Donald Sutherland and Peter Boyle, drew thousands of soldiers to concerts at off-base venues during the Vietnam War. This image of Jane Fonda has been virtually erased from public memory in an orchestrated effort to drive a wedge between the troops and antiwar movement. In fact, Fonda got much closer to the front lines and military during the Vietnam War than such architects of the Iraq War as Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and even George W. Bush. Rather than discussing the contested image of Fonda, perhaps the real memory from the Vietnam era we should be focusing upon is how these men avoided service.

Thousands of Americans and millions of Vietnamese perished in the Vietnam War, yet today Donald Rumsfeld visits Vietnam and proposes military cooperation to counter Chinese expansionism. In the 1980s, Rumsfeld visited Iraq and embraced Saddam Hussein who was then an American ally against Iranian expansionism. Sometimes it seems the enemy in Orwellian fashion shift from Eurasia to Eastasia. George Orwell was right, the one who controls the present controls the past. The memory of the Vietnam War is manipulated to limit dissent and foster support for another questionable war—this time in Iraq. David Zeiger’s Sir! No Sir! is a useful antidote to our selective memory and deserves a wider audience.

Related Links

  • R. J. Del Vecchio: Vietnam War Myths ... Response to Ron Briley

  • John Prados: The Winter Soldier Investigation Was Never Discredited

  • Interview with Richard Moser: Was Kerry Right About Vietnam Atrocities?

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    More Comments:

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    won't prove your prefabricated Karl Rove regurgitated garbage, Steve. For the umpteenth time here on HNN your pathologically one-sided propagandizing insincts have outstripped your knowledge of English, the U.S. Constitution, and American history.

    If there is no such thing as a "tied election"

    1) why do English dictionaries contain the phrase "runoff election"?

    2) why does the U.S. Constitution, article 2, section 1 contain the phrase "if no person have a majority"?

    3) how was the president chosen in 1800, 1824, and 1876 (hint: there was no "winner" on the first round)?

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Accurate: “ 'Not receiving a majority' is not the same as 'a tie'.”

    Not accurate: "in every Presidential election there is winner and a loser."

    In the 2000 election no presidential candidate received a clear undisputed majority in of electoral college. The vote was not a tie, but election did not produce a winner and a loser. The margin of victory in the key (well if we can't call it "tie-breaking", how about "non-majority resolving") state
    was far less (5,000 votes I think you said) than the margin of error (tens or hundreds of thousands). Of course both sides committed fraud and trickery just as in Cook County, Illinois in 1960, but Democrats who ran Cook County then dominated the voting fraud just as the Republicans running Florida in 2000 had the upper hand in vote manipulation there on that occasion.

    The election itself was a toss-up. (Hope you like that phrase better than tie). The coin was tossed the Supreme Court. It landed on its edge, and a 5-4 decision called it for Bush. There was no clear winner in the election itself, only a clear loser: the USA.

    Steve, if you would put 1/10 of the energy you expend in nitpicking into paying attention to the deteriorating quality of political leadership across America and in both political parties, you might actually contribute to our historical understanding of how we ended up gnashing our teeth over two utter losers like Frat Boy and Bore.

    Happy Fourth of July, but not I fear to the founding fathers who are surely not resting peacefully.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Steve, the nitpicking I referred to was your tedious objection to my initially calling the 2000 presidential contest a tie. Technically it was not a tie, you are right there. But the larger point, which I made several posts ago already, is that the 2000 presidential election was neither a clear cut win for Gore or Bush (despite your Rovian doublespeak BS about Bush having "won" Florida) nor was fraud the decisive factor (which I pointed out in my first post and before you pretending that you were making that claim in contradiction to me). I have advanced and advance absolutely no "conspiracy theory," so you can stick that crap back where it came from. But I do take exception to your pathological inability to avoid constantly spouting the sort of unhistorical one-sided propaganda (Republicans always good, always right, Democrats always bad, always wrong) which makes you and this website such a disgrace to any sensible discussion of history. Go ahead now and celebrate the 4th of July, if you have any idea what it stands for.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    The U.S. was massively involved in Vietnam for over decade under both Democratic and Republican administrations with billions of tax dollars at their disposal. Had there been any easy route to victory, ala Patton in Normandy, somebody in the American military and political power structure would have stumbled upon on it.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    The fraud in Florida was massive and scandalous. It was not decisive to the outcome for the reasons I already pointed out above. Of far greater statistical importance than disenfranchisement or other trickery were the tens of millions of people who willingly failed to vote. Unless one tries to ridiculously assume that the preferences of those tens of millions exactly, or very nearly exactly mirrored those who DID vote, then the outcome of the election would have been altered -and to a greater extent than the effect of fraud- had they, or many of them, voted.

    Any normal mentally competent person in a civilized discourse acknowledges freely without wasting scores of lines in dozens of asinine nitpicking posts that both political parties in America have manifold committed manifolds sins, errors, and outrages. This pissing match is not among such civilized discourses.

    This whole issue matters because our democracy is toast if millions of people, like our Karl Rove robot here, think it is merely about winning and losing and never conceding a single mistake, like some kind of neanderthal sports match.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    It is a gross exageration to say that the presidential election in 2000 was "stolen."

    The election was a tie.

    A certain amount of fraud and trickery of the sort widely practiced by the Republican crooks runnning Florida in 2000 occurs in every national election, and probably always will (with or without deliberately fraudulent voting machines). It only matters to the outcome when the outcome is close.

    It is, however, more than an exaggeration, it is a rotten and idiotic lie to pretend to claim, or a sign of brainwashed ignorance to actually believe, that Cheney and Bush won a clear and fair victory in 2000.

    The 2000 presidential
    WAS A TIE. NOBODY won !!
    (And deservedly so since neither of the two leading clowns in contention then, or their treasonous running mates, was fit to lick the floor under the chair once occupied by Washington and Lincoln).

    The choice of president in 2000 was made by the Supreme Court.

    Kindly allow that fact to penetrate to whatever brain cells remain after the triple digit decibel levels detonated on this page.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Thanks for the ringing endorsement, Patrick.

    I also agree with most of your posts, especially when you give the fake conservative hot air balloons circling HNN like scavenging vultures a well-deserved taste of their own heat, (pardon the metaphorical cocktail) so I wouldn't mind if you only agreed with me 88% of the time instead of 99%. But, this point about the elections is a serious matter for the future of our democracy (unlike what Kerry did or did not do in the great naval wars of the 1960s), so I do invite you to pick some other issue to stand like a stone wall upon.

    I do agree, and said already, that massive (& probably criminal) fraud was committed by the Harris, Jeb and gang of vote-rigging megahypocrites in Florida in 2000, but do the math, please. You may have a little problem with decimal point placement (100-99.9 = .1 not .001), but try doing the percentages on your popular vote figures (while kindly noting that -even if most of the U.S. press corps in 2000 could not tell the U.S. Constitution from the works of Immanuel Kant- U.S. presidents are chosen by electoral votes, not popular votes):

    Gore beat Bush in the popular vote count by a measly one half of one percent!

    One of the all time most popular U.S. Senators, who ran for president as the sitting VP of an administration that presided over one of the all time longest economic booms in American history, could not manage to pull more than a nose ahead of easily the most incompetent sick joke of a Republican candidate since Warren Ginbrain Harding ! No wonder VP Bore, like sitting VP Tricky Dick in 1960, conceded in shame (despite the incidence of fraud exceeding the microscopic margin of victory in Maimi-Dade (or Cook county) ) at his utter failure to achieve what ought to have been a landslide win.

    Actually, I have to agree with one of your rebuttals and retract one of my earlier remarks. The presidential election in 2000 was not a tie, after all. The popular winner, preferred by millions more Americans than voted for Frat Boy or for Wooden Bore, was the perennial favorite Tulazi Ordum Tovote. There was only a tie for second place.

    If the former Vice Head Cowboy, nominated to be Head Cowboy, cannot stop 29.8% of his cattle from following a mad cow stampeding them over a cliff or another 40% from lying down to die in the sand, barely a stone's throw from the regularly scheduled next waterhole, and thus rides into the stockyard with only 30.2% of the original livestock count, we would not say that the herd was "stolen" would we?

    See: www/2002/cb02-31.html">http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2002/cb02-31.html

    P.S. Speaking of "butt ugly", I have little doubt that a suave gentleman such as yourself can readily obtain a more scenic accompaniment for dinner.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    for the voter turnout rate:


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    it should be just the part after the >

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

    Or a canary as you already have the bird cage liner in your copy of 'Unfit for Command'. Give me your address and I'll mail you a $30.00 donation for the cause.

    John F. Kerry fought with distinction in Vietnam and was wounded three times.

    George W. Bush whereabouts unknown. There were more confirmed sightings of Bigfoot during the Vietnam Era than 'W' in uniform.

    John F. Kerry was the highly respected commander of a PCF-44 and PCF-94 as documented by each and every crewman who served under his combat command.

    Richard B. Cheney had other priorities, five deferments, a spine of jelly and a heart that the Tin Man refused.

    John F. Kerry was awarded three... count 'em... (3) Purple Hearts, the Silver Star and the Bronze Star all with honor.

    Karl Rove milked three deferments, dropped out of college and was dishonorable in failing to report his eligibility status to the Selective Service Board as required by law. Where were the real Dean Wormer's in this country during the 1960's?

    What patriotic teacher or school board in their right mind/ worth a lick of salt would introduce a hit piece/ rubbish like 'Unfit for Command' into their classroom? We're looking to raise model citizens within our school systems not liars/ cowards/ cheap shot skanks.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

    More unsubstantiated bullshit and lies from the retarded right.

    Fred, you need to lay off the talk radio or your head will turn to mush.

    If volunteers are so gung-ho different than draftees explain why 8000 service personnel are AWOL from Iraqnam? Or is it Vietraq? They look and smell so much alike. Check the bottom of your shoes. Maybe, we can get Lt. Ehren Watada to comment on your ridiculous talking point.

    If LBJ screwed the pooch so badly why didn't Richard M. Nixon, the distinguished WWII Navy Veteran and card shark singlehandedly win the Vietnam War? He had five full years to get the job done. If only he could have stayed sober long enough to see Vietnam on a map maybe, he wouldn't have dropped all those bombs inadvertently on Laos and Cambodia.

    Although, I am an uber-fan of America's finest ever made automobile the Studebaker, have you priced Edsel's at an antique car show lately?


    Explain exactly, if anything that Rumsfeld has gotten right? Just one thing/example that's all it will take. No need to rush as HNN changes topics each/every Sunday.

    Bonus points if you can show "ice underwear man" Rumsfeld to be superior in any way/ shape or from to say George C. Marshall. Again, take your time. The sky ain't falling Henny Penny.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

    Dear Mr. Moore,

    A few thanks are in order both for your devoted/ dedicated military service to this country and for participating in this thread. Please accept my sincerest apologies if my post was construed or gave impression that I am not appreciative to you or your dear friend/compatriot Mr. Kelley who unselfishly gave of himself so that I may come here and freely rant/rave my nonsense. The efforts of men like you have kept this nation free for 230 years and we all should be truly grateful.

    On a personal note, I did not vote for John Kerry and am not a supporter of his views especially, as presented at the Fulbright Hearings 4/22/71 nor did I ever vote for WJ Clinton namely, because of his draft dodging proclivity. However, like you, I firmly believe that civilians are free to hold office and command our military without a personal/direct service history but, I will question those who besmirch the service records of others who served especially, with distinction while, they did not. So yes, you are correct in that I am a hypocrite for I did not serve and GW Bush did. My criticism is not only unfounded but, uncalled for as you rightly assert.

    Yet, I believe that it was not only unfair but, underhanded for Bush supporters/ paid operatives to crawl out of the wood work like roaches to attack a fellow brother in arms. In that case, I am thankful not to have served especially, with the likes of anyone for whom I do not have complete/thorough trust or would think of as a turncoat. I firmly believe this was a hatchet job and railroading of a man who bravely did his duty for God and country. Please do not take this in a wrong manner for I, in no way am making a reference to you, your beliefs or your cause. This is just the way/ what I feel as a man and a very prideful one at that.

    You present some very compelling/solid evidence but, for each of your citations against Kerry there is an equal one in favor for him such as Admiral Zumwalt, James Rassmann and the crewmen who served under him and their account is good enough for me. I have had bosses at work over the years who were not worth a damn so being one's commander does not make theirs the word of a christ. If Kerry's commanders including Lt. George Elliott had any issues then why wait (35) years. The medals awarded should have been questioned at that time but, were not. This isn't popcorn being passed around for any serviceman to grab a handful. These medals are earned and come with a very dear price. The convenience/opportunistic nature/ ill timing and sources scrounged up are highly suspect/ questionable/ dubious and for a man such as I, gutless/ cowardly in both format and presentation.


    We are learning now that some SBVT's were, to put it mildly mistaken.


    The smearing of any serviceman, as you rightly pointed out is wrong. I will refrain in future from doing so. Thank you for your time and response and I wish you all the best now and in future.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

    This summarizes the NYT article albeit, with a heavy left lean, for those who despise the Times and would pass on entering name/password.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    * Tony Snow when questioned as to the WH opinion on the casualty rate reaching 2,500 (Note the asterisk use as I know how much you like them).

    Your second post is much better than the initial offering. Why can't you be like this all the time instead of FT SuperRightie. I forgot you have no love for Milhouse Nixon and Stimson was Secretary of Defense but, Marshall was the real club house manager. Yes, Rummy canned the Crusader but, pushed the F-22, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and what appears to be an 'Edsel' the Stryker. He worked hard to integrate technology into the battlefield/realtime. His lean/ mean/ lightning response/ full coordination of air-sea-land approach is what leading defense analysts have been recommending for the past few years as major theater conflict potential has given way to policing actions/ single precision strike capability. Also, his push to arm space/ missile shield implementation although, highly questionable is leading advances/ cutting edge/ preparing our national defenses for the next fifty years.

    However, as to your many more attributes/claim to fame or rating the Donald as the bestest ever the jury is still out. Iraq isn't put to bed quite yet and his mistakes have been clearly visible/evident. Underestimating the Iraqi insurgency, WMD's north/south/east/west or wherever it is he knowingly knows they are, ill equipping our troops/armor/bullets/food/medical attention, not heeding advise of commanders, failing to follow-up immediately in the aftermath to the fall of Baghdad/ looting/ secure the country, guard ammo dumps & seal the borders/ disbandment of the Iraq Army/ mismanagement of the reconstruction/ inability to manage/account for costs, failing to have an occupation plan or exit plan or any other sort of plan short of winging it and unfortunately, Abu Ghraib, Fallujha, Gitmo plus countless other questionable actions. His inability to generate confidence/ enthusiasm within the fading Coalition of the Willing is not the trait of a deft manager and his poor handling of the press/ propaganda war has been anything but spectacular.

    As for the AWOL troops the last official figure out of DOD was on 5/16/2005 at 5,133 missing from duty. 2,376 Army- 1,410 Navy- 1, 297 Marines- 50 USAF. The GI Rights hot line has moved up only slightly from 30,000 to 36,000 calls per year. For 2006 the 8000 AWOL figure may be high but, it is unfortunately, doable.

    The Tucker is a great machine (51) built (4) in existence with SN #7 for sale at $300k




    For a little less money here's the ultimate machine.


    Take care Fred...

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Tell us Govt. Mule what does your own DD 214 line 26 read? Comparable to Kerry's three Purple Hearts or more in profile with 'not even close'? Surely, if it was the equal of JFK's we would have been subject to hear about it repeated enough times to make even the most casual of HNN readers' head explode or at the very least bleed profusely from the ears.

    What does your DD 214 line 27 read? With little effort one can easily imagine... Repeated head trauma from falling face first off your bar stool to the floor, numerous broken teeth from being punched out every Friday night for continually opening your yap and various venereal diseases acquired along the way in either Pingpong, Dingdong, Billagong or wherever God forsaken third world hell hole the USG shipped you off to upon the unfortunate natives unwillingly forced to play your unwelcoming host.

    Whether I am a civilian or served, you on the best day of your sorry life, couldn't carry my jock strap.

    Semper Fi that Bub!

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    You're alright. I would've never imagined you reading some of the material presented in your posts but, all-in-all you are somewhat balanced and more than fair. Counterpunch/ Kurt Nimmo! Is the end of the world upon us?

    The volunteer nature of the US Armed Services surely has impacted/limited the desertion rate numbers. The Administration avoids the 'D' word like their own actual military service as Cheney once again denied the implementation of a draft last week at the Washington Press Corp luncheon. The volunteer status aids this effort as Reserves and Guard can be pressed into service and regulars forced into three and four rotations. The military fears nothing more than the American mom. A draft would certainly mobilize the nations mothers to put a stop to the party. Mr. Bush has avoided Cindy Sheehan like a rainy day in New Orleans.

    I totally disagree with Rumsfeld's fly paper strategy. Iraq should have been locked down/ secured immediately. Three years after the fall of Baghdad and the country is more uncontrolled by the day. The Zarqawi death, while an important victory, has not quelled the violence. The two young soldiers murdered by extremist thugs and the kidnap of the four Russians as ample proof.

    The WMD's recently found is of little consolation and not something to lose 2524 of our bravest over and the low/ drawn out casualty rate is only because we are not fighting China or Russia or N. Korea for that matter in massive ground movement warfare. This is a totally different kind of war being one of attrition, policing, hit-run by/ against a low-tech albeit determined enemy who's greatest advantage is that of being on home field turf. The object is to win a war and do so quickly not stand around play shooting gallery hide-n-seek. Your very valid point/criticism of Marshall redirecting fire power/support away from Iwo is classic and contradicts everything that I have read in recommending maximum/concentrated/sustained force.

    The Sunni dominated Iraqi Army left intact/ in charge going on a killing spree is pure conjecture. Since the US refused to put boots on the ground these troops could have been useful in security roles/ border protection.

    Passing the buck away from Rumsfeld on Abu Ghraib/ Fallujha/ Gitmo isn't very Trumanesque and just one more example as to why many American's are disenchanted with an Administration that promised accountability but has shirked responsibility at every turn. From 'good job Brownie' to 'leave all children behind' their words are at volume '10' and actions set on '0'.

    Who's in charge at CIA anyway and do they still even exist? The CIA is neutered/ineffective/out of the loop as Cheney bullied/kicked/disparaged and spat upon them to the point that they are nothing more than glorified Bond girls, if that.

    I may have been a bit in haste to pre-judge the F's 22/35 and Stryker. They are fairly advanced/ fill needed niche roles and the USG wastes/throws money at far worse expenditures...

    F-22 Goes Vert... Very NIce... When I lived at the gates of Seymour Johnson AFB F-15E's would do pull-ups. Quite a sight!




    The F-35 is very hush/hush and video is limited.



    Stryker Patrol... God Keep Them Safe & Bring 'Em Home Soon...


    And adaptable...


    Yes, I am with you... keep it in the center of the road. Limited government that encourages free enterprise yet, protect/ provides a reasonable safety net for the weakest among us is best.

    I bet your Porsche is a beauty. The 911's are primo, rare and fast as greased lightning. I drive a Jeep to work and an MX-5 now for play although, a Stude, Hudson or big Packard are most desirable and we're always on the lookout.

    Have a good night.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Pathetic... get a clue...

    So is degrading civilians who through our efforts regardless, of our enormous tax burden/defense budget... buying God damn boot strings to ship to Iraq because our pigs at $lop Administration/Congress/Corporate greed merchants treat our troops like IED fodder. They're lucky to even get a crappie medal as a token of Bush's esteem for the price of their lives.

    But, this is the man you backed/stole the WH for while smearing a brother... thanks for all your efforts.

    I have to go to work but, I'll be back...

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

    Mr. Moore,

    My friends call me Patrick but, it's Mr. Ebbitt to you.

    Your inability to understand my last post just proves how oblivious/ detached and unaware you truly are. Pity. I have written many hostile/ mean/ derogatory/ idiotic and senseless words on the pages of this blog but, what I believe and have to say to you regarding the SBVT and affiliated groups would set your PC ablaze and have me banned from this site.

    Regardless of the sacrifices made by you and yours the words despicable, conniving, underhanded, backstabbing and bald face liar is mild in comparison to what I truly believe and if you were really an involved veteran you would be well/fully aware of the current fund drives all across this country that donate everything from deodorant to toothpaste to Dr. Scholl's insoles to flycatchers to VCR/CD's and boot laces... yes, you read correctly, GOD DAMN BOOT LACES... that we collect to send to our troops in Iraq because the man you so desperately sold-out your empty soul to place in the White House could care two shakes less about them. He got his and the military/ defense industry is getting theirs but, there is not enough dollars to go around make sure our troops have proper footgear let alone protective body armor.

    Just exactly why do you think the flag draped coffins arrive at Dover in the dead of night. Are you even less embarrassed of our dead than the President? Are you even less angst ridden, concerned or suffer from even a smidgen of guilt over the deplorable treatment of our veterans by this Administration? Your lies, as are now being clearly exposed and coming to daylight for anyone with eyes to see, placed these goons in office. It was bad enough when they stole the 2000 election you made sure to help them steal the 2004 election as well. And you have the nerve to call yourself a proud American? Pshaw!

    When's the last time you had your $10,000 picture taken with George W. Bush? Would he even know you or care if you did?

    When's the last time you went face to face with John Kerry with your indisputable truths to question him man to man, call him out, accuse him of being a lying/coward?

    Finally, you write, "Do his purple hearts mean anything other than his willingness to grab medals for what normal people would consider scratches?." No, I don't Gomer but, you read this here article about a fellow who will never see any medals and then you tell me how meaningless they are?


    When your dead wisdom and leadership is the least of one's worries.

    Thanks to your deal from the bottom of the deck efforts this is what has been wrought upon our nation.

    Thanks for nothing.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

    never have and never will...

    But, in our collective quest to seek that balance in finding truth that we posters at HNN always strive for let none of us be overwhelmed by those motivated by reasons other than that truth...


    There are two sides to every coin.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

    Mr. Moore,

    I am not your 'dear' unless, of course, you are not a true Republican and are a closet case for same sex marriage.

    I see you didn't answer the 'go up and tell it to Kerry's face' question.

    Figures, like most Republicans gutless weasels and an acolyte of Thurlow and O'Neill who have too much shame to do the same.

    Nor, did you address any other point and the evidence in Kerry's favor dwarfs anything you can present here. Lies are transparent and yours are a dirty/broken pane of glass.

    Only behind ones back and like a pack of plague laced rats do you and yours operate. A disgrace to those currently in uniform and an enemy to a free and just America.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Hey, how goes it? So what your telling me is that the 2000 Presidential Election was fair & square, on the up & up, clean as a whistle and without any discrepancy whatsoever all because that paragon of honest journalism CNN said so?


    No refuting that the 2004 Presidential Election was rigged/ stolen?

    No defending the Truth/ Justice/ American Way as lyingly trumped up by the Swift Boat Veteran's paToot?

    No outing of John Kerry as a lying, no good, un-American, Senate Floor bean spilling coward?

    No claims as to how swimmingly/ peachy keen things are for us in Iraq?

    No beliefs/proof presented that our troops and veterans have been riding in first class staterooms upon the gravy train instead of the undercarriage?

    All-in-all then I didn't do too badly if that's your only complaint.

    And Mr. Moore said, "it must be frustrating to you when nobody responds to your lame attempts to shift the discussion from Kerry's Vietnam-era behavior to todays fantasized grievances you hold so dear."

    Well you responded, so my frustrations just drifted away like a gentle breeze.

    Peter has a post a bit further down. Drop on by so you can read my answer to Election 2000... you know... kill two birds with one stone.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Hello. I buy into 99.9% of the writings you post but, this is the .001% that in no way will I order a subscription to. If a tie is like kissing your sister make mine Kate Harris circa 1999 and this election was everything but. If the 2000 Presidential Election was a suit it would be so irregular that not even the Men's Wear House's George Zimmer could give it away free.

    The 2000 Election, like the 2004 Election that succeeded it, was stolen outright by the most organized/ criminal/ deceitful gang of cutthroats the Board of Elections have ever been overrun by, popular vote aside, Gore 50,999,897 Bush 50,456,002 Nader 2,882,955.

    The 2001 CNN story is full of holes as we now have learned that Florida Republican dirty tricks included recreated absentee ballots, vote tampering of absentee ballots (throwing them out in the trash), tampering with military absentee ballots (throwing them out in the trash... how low can you go TAKING AWAY SOLDIERS' RIGHT TO VOTE,,, only Republicans because they love our troops soooooo much!!!), purging voters rolls, tagging legitimate registered voters by name to convicted felons by name for disqualification, limiting polling access/ closing polls/ voter intimidation particularly in black districts and the players... Jeb Bush is who's brother, Kate Harris is who's whatever, the Supremes are in debt to whom... Believe it or not Tennessee's vote fixing was worse than Florida.


    Rove is a political genius, to this point there is no question. The greatest strategist of our lifetime. He swindled the media and the American people to deliver his boy into the Oval Office and repeated the trick in 2004. The lessons learned at the knee of Lee Atwater paid off in spades. SAY ANYTHING and make the other guy waste exorbitant amounts of energy, time and money denying it. Who cares if it's a lie? Something will stick but, most important slow 'em down, get the spin machine moving, play up the negatives and an uneducated/ignorant/rumor obsessed public will initiate the chatter.

    This thread has the pleasure to entertain a very special/distinguished guest. The Swift Boat Veterans paToot's very own PR Representative, a Mr. Joseph Gerbils. I believe that's his name, who answers no direct questions and spits out the same rehearsed lines no matter how disproved/fabricated verbatim as if Karl Rove's hand was up his backside like a Jim Hanson muppet. Smear Kerry with mud, have paid/political operatives do the dirty work, make some stick, deflect all questions with non-answers/ blame and win the 2004 vote. Mix liberally with fear, homophobia, religious zealotry and vote rigging for good measure, shake, garnish and pour out a winning cocktail.

    If 2000 was a tie it's incest with Kate tonight.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

    Some of us don't trust many of you...


    I fully support our military and the use of it just not stupidly.

    Steve Broce - 7/6/2006

    Pete, hope you had a good Independence Day

    Steve Broce - 7/3/2006

    Hey, buddy, hope you have a good ID.

    Don't feel too smug, though. Just because I passed up the oppurtunity to disagree with every point doesn't mean I agree with all of them :)

    Take care and have a good 4th.

    Steve Broce - 7/3/2006

    Pete, you have moments of lucidity. Your latest missive is not one of them.

    -“Steve, the nitpicking I referred to was your tedious objection to my initially calling the 2000 presidential contest a tie.”

    Some tedious objection. I devoted three short sentences, out of a 60+ line post, to pointing out that the vote wasn’t a tie. You responded with a post that was devoted in its entirety to objecting to one of those sentences (“there are no ties.”). Now that was tedium.

    I ‘m not going to go through the whole “clear-cut victory” thing with you again. The argument pivots on a subjective determination of what “clear-cut” is. I believe that the Florida ballot project established that Bush’s victory was “clear-cut”, though razor thin. You don’t. Who cares? The fact is that Bush is in the White House and has been for over 5 years. Whining about his victory not being “clear-cut” is frankly the sort of irrelevant nonsense that I don’t have time for.

    --“The election was a tie.”-Pete Clarke, 6/30/06

    --“I do agree, and said already, that massive (& probably criminal) fraud was committed by the Harris, Jeb and gang of vote-rigging megahypocrites in Florida in 2000,”-Pete Clarke, 7/1/06

    --“nor was fraud the decisive factor (which I pointed out in my first post and before you pretending that you were making that claim in contradiction to me).”-Pete Clarke, 7/3/06

    Look, Pete, you argue that the Florida election was a tie. You argue that “massive (& probably criminal) fraud” occurred in the Florida election. Then you claim that fraud was not a decisive factor. Huh?

    Not to put too fine point on it, but if the election was a “tie”, where a few votes would have changed the outcome, and massive fraud occurred, how could fraud NOT be a decisive factor? You want to argue the case both ways. You claim “massive fraud” occurred in Florida, but then hide behind a logically absurd “but it wasn’t decisive” argument when your proof of the fraud is demanded.
    This is why I insist that you “put up or shut up” (rhetorically speaking), about the massive fraud that you claim occurred in Florida.

    As for your charge that I am “constantly spouting the sort of unhistorical one-sided propaganda (Republicans always good, always right, Democrats always bad, always wrong)”, I can only say that observation is about as well documented as the rest of your post.

    Steve Broce - 7/2/2006

    “In the 2000 election no presidential candidate received a clear undisputed majority in of electoral college.”

    In an election this close, no contest would be “undisputed”, and “undisputed” is not a standard by which the victory can be awarded. In politics, in particular, few things are “undisputed”.

    The fact that the victory WAS within what you call the “margin of error” , is what makes the Florida ballot project so interesting and relevant. To wit, a neutral press, using an objective standard, reviewed every vote and determined that under any likely recount scenario, Bush, albeit by a paper thin margin, won the vote in Florida. You can use metaphors like “toss-up” and “coin toss” if you like, and in the political sense, you would be right. The country, politically speaking, was split down the middle. However, vote totals do matter, and a victory, even by one vote, is an electoral victory.

    But here’s the real point, Pete. There is little evidence that what occurred in Florida in 2000 was anything other than the usual routine bungling that occurs whenever 105 million Americans all have to get together and do something over a 12 hour period. The problems that occurred in Florida occurred in every other state and at a much more frequent interval in a number of those other states. The only reason that we still talk about Florida is because the vote was so close, not because the situation was significantly different from most other states.

    You claim that “massive (& probably criminal) fraud was committed by the Harris, Jeb and gang of vote-rigging megahypocrites in Florida in 2000” and that I’m “nit-picking”
    for demanding proof before I sign on to your conspiracy theory. Perhaps, but I’m funny like that. I require some level of evidence for a belief before I adopt that belief. I’ve invited you to support your allegation of “massive (& probably criminal) fraud” with some evidence. You’ve stoutly resisted. When you can provide some convincing evidence, I’ll consider it. Until then, I guess I’ll continue to pick nits.

    Steve Broce - 7/2/2006

    Have a happy Independence Day

    Steve Broce - 7/2/2006

    Pete, even someone with your obvious limited intellectual abilities should know that:

    1.”runoff” election refers to an election to decide between two candidates who have previously run in an election where no one in the field of candidates received a clear majority of votes, NOT between two candidates who previously “tied”. The term “runoff election” has nothing to do with “ties”.

    2. Not having a “majority” has nothing to do with having a “tie”. See “runoff election”, which I have defined for you above.

    3. The elections you cited:

    1800. Did result in a “tie” in the Electoral votes. It also resulted in the 12th amendment, which changed the system to prevent a tie in the Electoral College. As I said-there are no ties. (anymore)

    1824. No candidate received a majority of electoral votes. As I have patiently explained, “no candidate receiving a majority of votes” is not “the candidates tied”. See “run off election “above.

    1876. Involved a bitter dispute over Electoral votes, but no “tie”.

    Such a simple concept: “Not receiving a majority” is not the same “a tie”

    Steve Broce - 7/2/2006

    was evidence, you guys might have an argument. But it isn’t and you don’t

    -“..tampering with military absentee ballots (throwing them out in the trash... ho low can you go TAKING AWAY SOLDIERS' RIGHT TO VOTE,,, only Republicans because they love our troops soooooo much!!!)”

    Ahh, Patrick, classic political projection. You know, that curious psychological phenomenon of assigning your own motives and actions to your opponent. Projection.

    Veteran’s groups know that it was the Democrats that sought to disqualify military absentee ballots, not Republicans. They remember that it was Democrat lawyer, Mark Herron that wrote the 5 page how-to memo for Democratic Party activists to use as a guide for challenging military absentee ballots.




    The veterans also remember that it was the Republicans that went to court to ensure that their votes were counted


    -“A certain amount of fraud and trickery of the sort widely practiced by the Republican crooks running Florida in 2000...”

    Actually, Pete, the trickery was practiced by Democrats in Florida, where the chief law enforcement officer was none other than Bob Butterworth, the AG for the State of Florida. You know, the same Bob Butterworth who was the Florida state chairman for Gore’s re-election.

    -“It is, however, more than an exaggeration, it is a rotten and idiotic lie to pretend to claim, or a sign of brainwashed ignorance to actually believe, that Cheney and Bush won a clear and fair victory in 2000.”

    Pete, in every Presidential election there is winner and a loser. There are no “ties”. In this case, Bush got more votes than Gore in Florida. A tiny, infinitesimal fraction more, but more, none the less.

    The Florida ballot project proved that even if the limited, highly skewed recount had proceeded as Gore’s lawyers wished it to, the outcome would have favored Bush. You see, Pete, for all Gore’s gibberish about “counting all the votes”, what his minions tried to do was force a recount of only four heavily Democrat counties. The ballot project shows that Gore’s gambit would have failed.

    Elsewhere, you have pointed out that Gore won the US popular vote. Interesting, but irrelevant. As you know, there is no national popular vote for the Presidency. There are fifty separate state elections. It’s all about Electoral votes and Bush got more.

    -‘I do agree, and said already, that massive (& probably criminal) fraud was committed by the Harris, Jeb and gang of vote-rigging megahypocrites in Florida in 2000,’

    I can’t say I’m surprised, Pete. You have a track record of believing things for which there is no evidence. This is yet another urban legend—the conspiracy to disenfranchise the Democratic voters of Florida. But I’ll humor you. What are the three most convincing pieces of evidence, in your mind, that establishes “massive (& probably criminal) fraud was committed by the Harris, Jeb and gang of vote-rigging megahypocrites”?

    And while you’re at it, humor me by posting your explanation of why Bob Butterworth, who as I’ve already noted was the Democratic Attorney General of the State of Florida AND Gore’s Florida re-election committee chair, would have let the “massive fraud” slide.

    There was a conspiracy in Florida. It was a conspiracy of incompetence and its conspirators were Democrat party members in the main. The real problem in Florida was that hundreds of thousands of voters either voted for more than one Presidential candidate or they voted for no Presidential candidate. They “spoiled “ their ballot. Of the 25 counties in Florida with the highest spoilage rates, 24 were controlled by Democrat party Supervisors of Election. The other one had no party affiliation.

    Some have argued that much of the spoiled ballot problem was due to voting technology. But elected Democratic Party officials decided on the type of machinery used, including the optical scanning system in Gadsden County, the state's only majority-black county and the one with the highest spoilage rate. Some of the problems, such as the “butterfly ballot” were products of good intentions gone wrong and were carried out by officials affiliated with the Democrat party.

    The fact of the matter is that voters spoil ballots about 2-3 per cent of the time nationally. The rate in Florida in 2000 was 3%. The rate in Florida in 1996 was 2.5%. In Chicago alone, in 2000, 125,000 votes were “spoiled” compared to 175,000 for the entire state of Florida.


    The reason these problems, which existed in every state, were front and center in Florida is because the results were so close. And I suppose, because of the erroneous (or deliberate, if you choose) premature calling of the Florida for Gore by the media. I guess we will never know how many voters in the heavily Republican panhandle didn’t bother to vote because of that fiasco.

    James Spence - 7/1/2006

    The CNN source given by Broce on 2000 elections is a poor one. The study quoted that was done on the vote recount had some limitations, which they list. Limitations that would make a difference in a vote count. There also was no specific study done on voter disenfranchisements, another significant source of lost votes. True theft and deception occurred in the next election.

    Maybe the finest modern day example of election fraud occurred in Ohio in 2004 headed up by a one Mr. Blackwell, Ohio's secretary of state and co-chair of President Bush's re-election committee. There are a plethora of sources to back this up but remain obscure stories most people wouldn’t bother to read accepting instead the winning party’s explanation. In 2008, given the success of 2004, fraudulent practices may become bolder.

    Hopefully in the future there will be an accurate version of what happened.

    James Spence - 7/1/2006

    Mr. Moore,

    Agreed, “Kerry was a glory hound in 'Nam” to the extent most politicians are busy wanting to get elected, but your statement that “Kerry was acting on behalf of the enemy” goes too far - if the only evidence you’ve cited was in your post. If there were real evidence Kerry would have been history long ago. And then again, “history” is usually more fantastic than fiction and most of what we need to know will never be known, so assumptions are made as in this case.

    By “getting Kerry” I mean the wasted energy expended putting websites up because you hate somebody, usually under the pretense of getting at the truth. They say it’s bad for the heart and shortens your life.

    Do they actually believe they are making the world a better place by doing this? For the rich maybe. Here are only a few and multiply that by about 7,000 at least to illustrate what I’m talking about. Dems do it too of course. I’d never have the time to reference more than a fraction of them:











    John Moore - 6/30/2006


    First, Bush did not avoid service. He spent more time on active duty than a draftee. Furthermore, much of that time involved flying a very dangerous aircraft. Furthermore, it was hardly the aristocrats who dodged the draft - it was a significant percentage of everyone. While I did serve, none of my friends did (one tried and failed the physical) - and they were hardly American aristocracy.

    Furthermore, a demographic breakdown of the troops in Vietnam shows an extremely good correlation with the demographics of the country as a whole.

    It is true that for much of the war, national policy used the draft to "channel" people into education and careers that were thought to be beneficial to the country. This was an elitist policy that unfortunately culminated in the takeover of the academy by the left - as being a graduate student was a way to stay in the not-to-be-drafted channel.

    The anti-war protests were strong during the period of channeling, destroying your thesis, with 1968 one of the most notable years, well before the draft lottery gave it a more egalitarian flavor.

    "the moral wrong that was Vietnam suddenly became apparent" is an absurd reading of events. Draft avoidance appears to have been the main goal of most participants in anti-war movement - hardly a noble recognition of some amoral war. This is demonstrated by the correlation of the status and size of the draft with the anti-war movement, and the virtual vanishing of the movement when the threat of serving in Vietnam was removed - a number of years before the war ended.

    As to the morality of the war, just ask any Vietnam refugee. When a conquest (of the South by the North) leads to at least 1,000,000 refugees taking extreme risks (such as boat people), the morality of preventing that conquest seems relatively obvious. How many refugees have ever fled TO a communist dictatorship?

    Certainly realpolitik (the Kennan doctrine) was the primary cause of US involvement, but a side effect of victory would have been a relatively mild authoritarian state rather than a totalitarian dictatorship, "re-education camps" that killed tens of thousands, and masses of refugees. South Korea is a good example of this phenomenon - complete with the eventual trend of non-communist authoritarian states towards democracy.

    John Moore - 6/30/2006

    Pat, dear,

    You appear to be getting desperate to expend your bile in so much ad hominem.

    But it must be frustrating to you when nobody responds to your lame attempts to shift the discussion from Kerry's Vietnam-era behavior to todays fantasized grievances you hold so dear.

    Sad case.

    Jason Blake Keuter - 6/30/2006

    The same way most affluent Americans did and now do : fulfill their aristocratic birthright and go to college and let all those people who don't go to college out of high school to do all the dirty work of fighting wars...which was the arrangement that was in place during most of the Vietnam War, until Johnson moved to make service more consistent with America's egalitarian heritage and asked his social superiors from Berkeley and Columbia to fight too - at which point the moral wrong that was Vietnam suddenly became quite apparent.

    Jason Blake Keuter - 6/30/2006

    the memory of vietnam is "orchestrated" and "manipulated"..the "public memory" is fed images that justify further expansion, etc, etc, etc.....

    get this straight: Orwell wrote about totalitarian dictatorships and considered democracies like the United States where no one actually has the power to manipulate public opinion on the scale described herein the only hope. Were these Vietnam myths so effective, then one might justly wonder why so many Americans are presently against the war Iraq? Perhaps it is the mythology of the left that has a grip on the public imagination (quagmires, unseemly U.S. motivations, etc) The problem with admitting as much would entail acknowledgement of the fundamentally pluralistic, open and democratic nature of American society, which means the government governs, indeed, with the consent of the people.

    Not that the people are always right. I wonder, how is it in the lead up to the war, the American public is duped into supporting the war, but now that the American public is against it, they are enlightened? If the media is the lapdog of expansionism in the first instance, then isn't it the lapdog of the appeasing professoriat and their lapdog graduate and undergraduate underlings in the next? Admit that the free press is providing information and imagery that is turning the public against the war. Whether the press is doing a good job covering the war is immaterial for the time being: its influence on fickle public opinion testifies to the absence of "orchestration". Or, would the author absurdly contend that mass protesting, radical agitators have once again brought enlightenment depite all of the structural obstacles to substantive democracy? Is it the zeta-males at the Nation magazine that have heroically turned the tide?

    The underlying nonsense of this post rests in the paradigm that ignores human agency in history -unless, again, it is the David v. Capitalist Goliath wimps of Z magazine - in that case, there's no shortage of hagiographic tracts gathering dust in the Radical History journals inhabiting the least frequented sections of our nation's state-subsidized university libraries. Regarding Vietnam, it is simply a case of the Vietnamese wanting self-determination and the Herculean US being impotent to stop it. This is a transmuted Marxist myth that says military strategy, public opinon and enemy propaganda and fifth columns and esprit de corps pplay no role indetermining the outcome of wars - it is all a question of the "march of history". The galling truth for the professoriat and their ilk is that the US military has learned many strategical lessons, is learning many strategical lessons and is becoming more and more successful eliminating, weakening and demoralizing its enemy in Iraq. Just as was the case in Vietnam, the force of radical Islam know that their best hope rests in turning Western opinion - as they can't win on the battlefield.

    The plodding course of greater and greater success by the military simply lacks the kind of sensationalist potential as blown up Shia mosques - that the anti-war forces, in true Orwellian fashion (or, more aptly, true Hitlerian "big lie" fashion) blame on the US.

    Or has the gullible public simply been momentarily enlightened because orchestrating elites have had a change of heart because they see in the anti-war forces the dire potential of the unfication of the mobilized masses against their unjust rule? Quick, let's get some helicopters and let Noam Chomsky books reign down on every hovel in immiserated capitalist America and seize this historical opportunity to once and for all bring the dupes to their senses!

    Steve Broce - 6/30/2006

    “It was bad enough when they stole the 2000 election…”

    Not this..again! Patrick, did the scab fall off an old wound?

    Let’s put this myth to bed, at long last. A consortium of media outlets recounted ALL of the 2000 Florida ballots and found—are you ready?—Bush got more votes under every likely recount scenario—including the recount that Gore went to court to try to force.


    As you can see, Patrick, Bush won the election in Florida and hence was properly declared the winner in the 2000 election.

    Can we now stop this “Bush stole the 2000 election” stuff?

    Steve Broce - 6/30/2006

    “It was bad enough when they stole the 2000 election…”

    Not this..again! Patrick, did the scab fall off an old wound?

    Let’s put this myth to bed, at long last. A consortium of media outlets recounted ALL of the 2000 Florida ballots and found—are you ready?—Bush got more votes under every likely recount scenario—including the recount that Gore went to court to try to force.


    As you can see, Patrick, Bush won the election in Florida and hence was properly declared the winner in the 2000 election.

    Can we now stop this “Bush stole the 2000 election” stuff?

    John Moore - 6/29/2006

    Ebbitt... I am happy to be thanked for our efforts in getting out the truth about John Kerry and his nefarious activities. We had a nice celebration - Vietnam Veterans for Truth and Swift Boat and POW Vets - on the day Kerry was not inaugurated. We called it an "uninaugural party" and celebrated at the National Press Club on Jan 20, 2001.

    Other than that, I haven't a clue what you are talking about in your last post.

    John Moore - 6/29/2006

    Actually, at this point there is very little work being expended to "get Kerry." The work was in 2004, when it could do some good.

    The over-riding issue for veterans was Kerry's post-war behavior - something pretty much glossed over by the main stream media. That Kerry was a glory hound in 'Nam proved a useful way to get the story out, but the real anger of Vietnam vets was not about that. We considered Kerry a traitor or close to it for his 1971 Senate "testimony" and other activities, and that spurred our organizing efforts.

    However, your equation of the too does not sit well. Kerry was acting on behalf of the enemy, to the point of meeting with them and conveying their demands, along with greatly furthering their war aims of demoralizing the US public via outrageous propaganda.

    Bush, on the other hand, was doing no worse than being a somewhat irresponsible young man - partying too much or whatever - something which he has discussed and regrets. As for his "AWOL"'ness or whatever, that was typical of reserve and guard flying units - I got out of my reserve obligations by simply stating that I was a full time student with two jobs (which was true).

    Today, I know of no effort to "get Kerry" although some energy is being expended on Murtha (check out http://bootmurtha.com/ ).

    James Spence - 6/29/2006

    This bickering over their medals is ridiculous. Both of these men come from the same place, where the air is rarefied and privileged. Bush only took a little less of a risk then Kerry at the time (many Republicans and Dems took the easy way out - so what), Bush disappeared for a while, Kerry had political aspirations even before he went to Vietnam, and a great dramatic script afterwards - these are men full of flaws like all of us - it is debatable who is the better man - only God can judge that - there are so many other issues more important now.

    There is an incredible amount of energy being expended to get Kerry. Too bad some of that energy could not be also put to use toward individuals in their own respective political parties. Both sides cleaning the slate and being honest for a change. I’m speaking of both the Right and Left monitoring themselves - they both are full of hypocrites using every issue that comes along for leverage, posting website to inflame, demonize, instead of coming together as a nation.

    The press has one standard when criticizing these things for Republicans and another for Democrats but and when it comes to expounding over the moral background - they seem more lenient with Republicans - remember Mr. Let Our Family Represent Your Family Gingrich, caught in an affair with a 33-year-old congressional aide while leading the impeachment against Clinton.? Talk about hypocrisy. It works on both sides of the aisle and frankly I don’t like any of these elite who run our country. They are all in one shape or form on the take and swim in the same sort of privileges generals and their club buddies have in South America.

    By the way. Every vet has an entry in line 27 (the remarks section - at least mine does) that usually contains info like blood group, entry exam scores, and specialty code number - maybe Kerry thought those were his medals (kidding).

    John Moore - 6/29/2006

    Ebbitt, that is pathetic.

    Is getting wounded three times in a few months a sign of wisdom and leadership? If so, please explicate.

    This business of comparing medals is pathetic and unrelated to qualifications for leadership.

    Do you really believe that winning medals, even honestly unlike JK, gives one some supreme wisdom>

    Was Kerry wounded saving the lives of other soldiers? No. Was he wounded in daring combat operations? No. Do his purple hearts mean anything other than his willingness to grab medals for what normal people would consider scratches? No.

    John Moore - 6/29/2006

    Since when as "academic" been equivalent to "honest" in this discipline? When articles such as this one are published in what is apparently considered an academic journal, it is clear that at least some of academia is as far from "honest" as it could possibly be. Or maybe it is just terribly honest in its terribly mistaken and unfactual beliefs.

    This article could have been written by any satirist who understands the leftist romanticism about the Vietnam War. It is beneath pathetic.

    John Moore - 6/29/2006

    Let's not forget that AWOL is something as trivial as somebody late for morning muster - it is not, as is implied here, equivalent to desertion.

    John Moore - 6/29/2006

    Just a point...

    Nixon won the battle in Vietnam, leaving a country which could defend itself as long as it had US Airpower available for emergencies - specifically mass multi-divisional assaults from the North.

    Once Westmoreland was out and Abrams in, the strategy changed from attrition (a dumb idea when a democracy is up against an enemy willing to sacrifice entire generations to gain power) to pacify and hold. It worked, with 95% of RVN controlled by the government.

    But Nixon lost the bigger war - the psy-war, because the left in the US was so eager to cut and run. Only after Congress, run by Democrats and facing a badly damaged presidency (due to Watergate), cut off promised aid and outlawed the emergency air umbrella was the North able to successfully invade the South and win.

    This war has similarities. The left is so eager to trash Bush that they do anything to force our defeat. They happily spread our secrets across the world, as demonstrated repeatedly by the New York Times. They grossly exaggerate the occasional misbehaviors of our troops (e.g. Abu Ghraib), handing great propaganda victories to the enemy, They call for a date certain pullout of Iraq, a sure victory for the varous enemies there.

    The war against Islamofascism is complex, long term and has a major component of psychologicalo warfare. The left, as usual blind to any dangers while imagining great dangers from the Republican president, is happily helping the Islamofascists along.

    Just like they (especially Kerry) did in the Vietnam war.

    Frederick Thomas - 6/28/2006

    As this wonderful book, supported by all who knew him in Vietnam, Kerry was the author of all his citations for medals.

    His three, count em three, purple hearts were written up by him, and were simply scratches, two apparently self inflicted, a third a tiny schrapnel scratch which did not even bleed, which occurred when he first an M-79 grenade at a villager's boat which was too close.

    The medics who treated him testify as much. His "raid" into Cambodia never took place, but he surely murdered a wounded VC by shooting him in the head. He fled the scene of a bad ambush, in terror, although the boats which stayed were destroyed with many wounded Americans in the water. He wrote himself up for a silver star for this cowardly act, falsely stating that he stayed.

    He wrote himself up for the purple hearts so he could take advantage of a little known navy policy that three wounds meant a trip home. He applied as soon as he got his third scratch, and spent less than three months in Vietnam, most of that in training.

    A hero? He is a man utterly without honor, a fraud and a coward, dispised by his comrades.

    Frederick Thomas - 6/28/2006

    "Rummy...pushed the F-22, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and what appears to be an 'Edsel' the Stryker"

    There is some question as to whether the Stryker should exist, or the HummVee, or a third vehicle. The Stryker is a much uparmored HummVee specifically for urban warfare conditions. It can withstand most RPG fire and IEDs, which is very important, and really move out when needed. According to my favorite reporter on site, Michael Yon, it works really well. Take a look:


    As regards the fighters, the F-15 and Harrier "Jump Jet" were outdated in view of their vulnerability to their MIG and Sukhoi counterparts. This looks like a straight replacement project. I like the fuel economy, stealth attributes, electronics and payload advantages of the replacement fighters, plus they keep a lot of US workers employed!

    By the way, you may be shocked to know that I dislike the righties almost as much as the lefties. The righties go for big government and the lefties for enormous government, which puts them both in my doghouse, though the lesser of two evils is the R's.

    I do particularly dislike the left's tendency to blindly accept crappy talking point propaganda lines from George Soros without bothering to check their reasonableness or veracity, or his. Plus there is something disagreeable about having a twice felon former commie billionaire plutocrat controlling a major US political party.

    My concept of ideal government is Jefferson's: that governs best which governs least. We will not get that from either US party.

    Frederick Thomas - 6/28/2006

    You do much better when you lead with the head, which is pretty much what you said about me, so thanks. Before we start hot-tubbing together, however, a few issues remain:



    In all Viet Nam, there were 1,500,000 AWOLs, 209,000 charged draft dodgers, and 360,000 draft dodgers not charged. This is not even in the same universe as 5,000 AWOLs in Iraq, assuming that is correct. Consider 130,000 in-country, with 6-month combat rotations, that gives an AWOL base of over a million. Only 5,000 have gone AWOL? Half of one percent? Have you ever analysed AWOLs from college courses, WW II, etc? And if we looked at reasons, you would get many more "needed to get laid" than "against the war."

    Re: Rummy and Monday morning quarterbacking.

    "Underestimating the...insurgency"

    Perhaps, but given that there had been no such US experience since the Moros, it's forgivable. I absolutely love the fact that these killers came from all over the mideast so we can conveniently splat 'em all in one place. Wasn't it great to see Zarqari's dead mug, that thug who bragged he planned to take his organization into the US?

    WMD's: strategic intel was not Rummy's job, but I note that over 500 155 mm sarin and mustard gas shells have been found in Iraq, 10 of which (sarin placed at all points of egress at rush hour) under the right weather conditions could depopulate Manhattan. Rummy obviously believed it, since US troops wore CBR suits in that heat during the first two weeks of the campaign.

    To me the question is, which dictator received the rest? I'd say they were split between Syria and Iran. Remember that Saddam sent his MIGs to Iran during GW I, to prevent their being lost? Of course he did the same thing with his other military assets.

    "ill equipping our troops:" Before accusing Rummy of this consider what happened under George Marshall to the troops in the invasion of North Africa. Poorly equipped and trained? You bet. While North Africa was later fixed, the losses were substantial enough to make 2500 look like a rounding error. Remember Kassarine Pass? The dead were several times 2500 in just 15 minutes. And take it from me, these guys had the very best equipment available anywhere in the world, in almost every case-much better than we had in Viet Nam.

    And what about George Marshall pulling battleship support from Iwo Jima just before the Marine landings, so those ships could be used in a splashy propaganda attack on the Japanese coast, leading to many tens of thousands of unnecessary US Marine casualties? Bad planning is a part of all wars, but is at a bare minimum in Iraq, in my understanding.

    "disbandment of the Iraq Army" I would normally agree with you on this, but consider that that Army was entirely Sunni, and would have simply continued to kill and oppress the majority if left in power. I do not believe there was really much choice.

    "Abu Ghraib, Fallujha, Gitmo" I am not sure Rumsfelt was all that responsible for Abu Ghraib, nor was that unfortunate young couple who took the fall. There are reports that the choreographed "mistreatment" came from Israeli "contractors" and CIA interrogators who had been permitted to improperly influence the army command. According to Amnesty, those same techniques are in daily use in Israel, and whoever implemented them in Iraq should be flayed.


    As far as Gitmo, I like what they are doing. Those prisoners are ununiformed fighters and being treated well, considering that the Geneva Accords permit their being shot as spys.

    Finally, re: cars. Thanks for the links. Enjoyed them very much. My favorite personal plaything is a rare grass-green 78 Porsche 911 SC which I bought for 10,000 and put about 35,000 into to rebuild body, transmission, suspension, engine, and much else. The grass green color was registered for racing in late 77 but immediately withdrawn-it had been already registered by Bentley in 1919, and some lawyer had screwed up. Only a few of that color were sold.

    "The Frog" won an award last year when the judges realized that it had 200,000 on the clock and still looked (almost) new. It gets driven to work every day, and provides much pleasure to owner, relatives and friends, and to the gabby world of car shows, which can sometimes be a lot of fun.

    John Moore - 6/28/2006

    Kerry released a lot of his records, but some he held back. The fact that he allowed the Boston Globe (and his website) to state that he received an Honorable Discharge in 1970 (when he should have received his discharge in 1972) is telling. Suspicious is the documentation that he received it in 1978. There is no record of him re-upping in 1972 for another six years. The only explanation that has been suggested for this discrepancy is that his 1972 discharge was less than honorable, but the Carter Amnesty caused it to be re-issued, as honorable, in 1978. This is consistent with Pentagon practice during that amnesty, but I have seen no documented proof of it; nor have I seen any evidence of any alternative explanation.

    I have my DD214. No decorations for valor and no wounds, but I don't make the claims Kerry did.

    The best reference site on John Kerry is http://www.wintersoldier.com/ - I recommend it to anyone intersted in sorting out the truth in this matter - with the caveat that the site is run by a conservative (and acquaintance of mine). However, all information on it that is factual, to the best of my knowledge (including articles I have written - one of which exonerates Kerry of a particular accusation).

    John Moore - 6/28/2006

    Thank you for your well stated reply.

    One of my most important points is that the Swift Boat veterans were in no way Bush operatives. I don't know where you get the idea, but not only were they not, by my experience and by common sense they could not have been - do you really believe that every single commanding officer of Kerry in Vietnam almost 40 years ago is today a Bush operative?). Furthermore, it would have been illegal under McCain-Feingold for them to have been.

    Please believe me when I say that the SBVT people were citizens who organized against one of their own, whom they had long disapproved of.

    You mention Zumwalt as an authority. Zumwalt despised Kerry, which did not stop him from pinning a medal on him. Zumwalt's surviving son represented the legendary admiral at the SBVT press conference, to present Zumwalt's opinion of Kerry, and it was not favorable.

    The reason they "came out of the woodwork" is that they only discovered Kerry's medals in 2004! Even though some of these people commanded Kerry, he did not put in the medal paperwork until they had left Vietnam. Hence they were shocked and angered to find out about them.

    From the standpoint of the SBVT, Kerry was the turncoat. He was the one who claimed the glory, even though he served only 4 months in Vietnam and was never seriously wounded. He was the one who returned to the US to viciously slander his comrades in arms, and all who served in Vietnam.

    Consider the following before designating the SBVT members as Bush operatives:

    1) They could not do so legally

    2) The likelihood that this large number of veterans from a small combat operation (well over 200) were Bush operatives is microscopic.

    3) The stated goal of some was to defeat Kerry in order to let the Democrats have an honorable candidate - hardly the view of a "Bush operative."

    4) Almost every one of these people served in Vietnam longer than Kerry. Not only did all of his commanders (and there were plenty) condemn him, but so did almost all of his fellow Swift Boat commanders (as is shown in the page I referenced). This is not a case of a bad boss or two, this is a case of total unanimity.

    When you accuse these combat veterans of crawling out from under a rock to slander a decorated veteran, you yourself are engaging in a slander. Included in their number are many more highly decorated, and some POWs who were injured by Kerry's post-service actions.

    You will not find the balance that you imply in "for each against... one for" - in fact, for each one for you will find, on average, about 10 against. And as I said, although you cite Zumwalt, he was not a fan of John Kerry.

    Whether John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam is best left to those who served with him, and the vast majority of those give a thumbs down. I can only use their judgement. To attempt to deligitimatize them as "Bush operatives" is simply wrong - it disregards the facts and shows a weakness of argument. Unless proof can be shown of this alleged illegality, it should be withdrawn.

    As for Kerry's actions after the war, they are well documented, and constitute, in my opinion and that of Admiral, POW and Senator Jeremiah Denton, actual treason.

    That Kerry in 2004 lied about his post-Vietnam record, and allowed the media to further those lies (such as the Boston Globes erroneous report that Kerry received an early honorable discharge in 1970) is also true and easy to show.

    Bill Heuisler - 6/28/2006

    Mr. Moore,
    First, thanks for your service. Most Americans appreciate the sacrifice.

    Second, for the information of the two pogues exhibiting such ignorance about wars and heroes, there's a paper vets possess called a DD214. Line 26 on the DD214 lists all decorations awarded and line 27 lists all wounds received. Neither Kerry nor Murtha will release their DD214s. Each member of the Swift Boat group who came out against Kerry has a public war record and most have been decorated for valor. Their DD214s are public record and their decorations/wounds are real.

    Semper Fi, John Moore, even some of us on this HNN website have entries on lines 26 and 27. The others? They just wish they had.
    Bill Heuisler

    Frederick Thomas - 6/27/2006

    Be careful now. You could be like your buddy Stalin and blow an artery (the left cranial, of course.)

    You got a little too enthusistic to merit a response on most of your points, but some of them seemed serious:

    Rumsfelt, Successes:

    First, he insisted that duplicate systems such as the unfortunately named Crusader SP howitzer be tried against competitor systems such as fully automated MLRS, then he funded the ones which worked best, the latter in this case. This is called common sense, and it ain't common in SecDef land, viz. MacNamara.

    Second: Rumsfeldt insisted upon light and highly mobile ground forces augmented by lots of attack helicopters and aircraft as a force multiplier. This prevented the enemy from staging the set battle in which they might have done much better.

    Whoops! That's two, and you only wanted one. But there are so many.

    By the way, Marshall was Chair of the Joint Chiefs, then SecState, NEVER SecWar as you wrongly believe. That was Stimson.

    Regarding Nixon, remember as an Eisenhower Republican he was almost as left as LBJ, and bought all the defeatist bullcrap inherited from Truman. It would be natural for him to follow bad policy with more. The proper course was clear to every PFC in a foxhole: hit the bastards where they are weak and bring them down. Nixon was very good at finding and persecuting commies in the HUAC, of course, for which we are grateful.

    Regarding the Edsel: hope you enjoyed the bit of trivia about the grill design-bet you did not know that. But as to market failures, have you ever priced a Tucker?

    "8000 AWOLs." Better hit google again. The only place you will find anything like that number is whacko leftie blogs, which aren't exactly objective. The highest of these says 5000, but gives no source, naturally, cause there is none. Let your common sense be your guide on this kind of point, not your ideology. Volunteer means "willing, not forced."

    John Moore - 6/27/2006

    No, the details count. Since I posted a very large amount of detail - so much that I had to put it on my web site, perhaps you would care to address that rather than the attention getting title, written that way because the allowed title is so short.

    However, one should not completely discount personal experience - especially the experience of large numbers of people - when analyzing history. What I read in this article was left wing romanticism rather that had little semblance to actual history.

    One would hope that the article these comments are attached to is not considered to be in any way academic. The polemical nature and the very low accuracy of the article should make anyone in academia ashamed.

    John Richard Clark - 6/27/2006

    Dear Mr. Moore,

    The comment "I was there" is not a trump card in an academic debate over the issue of public memory and a specific historical event.

    John Moore - 6/27/2006

    I just noticed the irony - John Kelley wsa flying not far from the author's place of employment in New Mexico when he died in the line of duty.

    John Moore - 6/27/2006

    Sigh. So this site cuts things off and doesn't allow previews.

    My full comment is at http://www.tinyvital.com/miscblog/archives/000924.html .

    John Moore - 6/27/2006

    The crewman who served with John Kerry the longest was his machine gunner. He claimed that Kerry was guilty of one atrocity and was against Kerry during the campaign. Don't believe this "highly respected" nonsense.

    And for Kerry's "wounds" - he didn't spend ONE day in a hospital. He actively sought purple hearts (something most soldiers would be ashamed to do).

    Those in the best position to judge Kerry's performance were not the sailors on his boat, but his fellow commanders - because contrary to appearances, Swift Boats fought in small flotillas, and it was the commanders who had the situational awareness, while the sailors were too busy manning the weapons to know the overall situaiton. It was the commanders who fought together, worked together, ate together and bunked together. And Kerry's fellow commanders, with a couple of rare exceptions, denounced him. Go to the web site ( http://horse.he.net/~swiftpow/index.php ) and click on the photo to see which of his fellow commanders were for him and which against!

    As to your "chickenhawk" arguments, they simply show your biases. If you want to talk about Kerry, talk about Kerry. That you have the compulsion to criticize others is pathetic. Also, it is simply faulty logic to hold lack of combat credentials as disqualification for civilian office - including commander in chief or secdef (although Rummy was a carrier fighter pilot). In your pro-Kerry fervor, you may have forgotten that in this country, the civilians are in charge.

    But I will answer one of your comments. My best friend did exactly what Bush is so criticized for - he joined the National Guard and flew a fighter plane. And it cost him his life. John Kelley's name isn't on any wall, but he is just as dead as any Vietnam combat vet. Every time I hear Bush criticized, I know that in your ignorance and vile you are dishonoring my dead friend. Now what did YOU do to earn this privilege?

    This Bush chickenhawk stuff is simply nonsense - he spent more time on active duty than any draftee. He flew a very dangerous aircraft (one jet engine with no low altitude ejection capability) and he flew plenty of documented hours in it.

    I was also an aviator, and am a Vietnam Veteran. I have plenthy of respect for George Bush's service. If you've ever worn the flight suit and carried the helmet, you know. If you haven't, then why are you flapping your jaws.

    Oh, and I lost 13 squadron mates - while they were on duty in California - to a plane crash. And they, too, are dead, and their names are not on any monuments or walls. And they too were brave and had more cojones than the protesters.

    Finally, don't you find it a bit odd that the left is busy touting the combat creds of someone, when the left usually does its best to attack soldiers, like they did so much during the Nam?

    Where was the left when George Bush 31 was running against draft dodger Clinton? eh? GB 31 was the youngest aviator in the Navy, was shot down twice and received medals for bravery, and was the only pilot I know of to have been depth charged three times! But you guys showed your selective attention by not giving him any credit at all for those achievements.

    In other words, I smell hypocrisy, and it reeks!

    John Moore - 6/27/2006

    It is hard to know where to begin when addressing the many fallacies in this article.

    First, I should comment that I am a Vietnam Veteran and I also attended some of the peace rallies. In 2004, as a result of hearing, for the first time, John Kerry’s 1971 Senate "testimony," I became an activist and worked at a national level against Kerry. In that capacity I came to know some of the Swift Boat activists including John O’Neill, although I worked in a parallel organization, Vietnam Vets for the Truth.

    For much more information on Kerry and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, see

    Jon Martens - 6/27/2006

    The problem with a more "academic" (read: honest) look at Vietnam is the emotion involved. Strong feelings on both sides of the political spectrum will never be satisfied.

    Much as the early histories of the Civil War are marred by the emotions involved in the conflict, so are Vietnam histories. It will be a bit longer before people are even willing take a more objective and accurate look at the conflict.

    But to be fair, the "yuppie" point of view is every bit as important to the larger picture as the story through the eyes of the roughly 75% of those soldiers who served in Vietnam who volunteered for it. (a little known fact; most draftees never left the US or were sent to Korea or Europe)

    Nancy REYES - 6/26/2006

    Right now, the history of VietNam was is told thru the eyes of aging Yuppies whose "glory days" included protesting Viet nam. In this history, the war war terrible, the communists were freedom fighters, the atrocities in Hue and numerous villages by the communists were ignored, and they gave peace a chance.
    Ah, but someday the children of Vietnamese refugees and the children of those who live now in VietNam will rewrite the history of the war.
    And they might see things differently.

    Frederick Thomas - 6/26/2006

    ...and wishful thinking.

    Two things distinguish Vietnam war draftees from Iraq war volunteers, and that's one of them. Volunteers have a low rate of protest generally, and are usually committed to what they volunteer for.

    The second is that in 1964 the average age in the US reached its lowest point in this century. Kids simply behaved then commensurate with their average age, ie as spoiled drugged out brats. This group today wants dearly to believe they were right, and not cowardly and unpatriotic, ergo this book.

    I recall however, that I saw zero anti-war proselitizing of the sort described here in Vietnam, or for that matter at army bases in the US or Germany during that period.

    Admittedly LBJ, another worthless leftie, screwed up badly in both concept and in execution of his war, compared to Bush.

    A slashing armored assault a'la Baghdad, to take Hanoi and its murdering commie bosses all at once, could have ended that mess in a month, but such logical military thinking was simply beyond old Lyndon. Instead, we gave the enemy every advantage, guaranteeing a long and painful war, typical Dem strategy.

    And MacNamara should have stuck with building Edsels, a car to appeal to women because its grill looked like a vulva. What marketing! Compared to the superb war management of Rumsfelt, undoubtedly the very best man to ever hold his job, Mac was simply a weepy leftie loser.

    I predict a long ride to the bottom of the book sales charts for "Sir, no Sir!" a remark that surely was never made in any military context.

    Lawrence Brooks Hughes - 6/26/2006

    I haven't seen anything "infamous" about the swift boat veterans' successful attack on John F. Kerry's military record. As a teacher you should get a copy of "Unfit for Command," by John E. O'Neill and Jerome R. Corsi, and absorb the convincing case it presents.