Monday, August 23, 2004

What John Kerry Did Say In Front Of Congress, 1971

Since the Swift Boat Veterans claim to be so concerned with truth, I thought it would be worthwhile to juxtapose the script of their latest ad, called "Sellout", in which they quote Kerry's testimony in front of The Senate in 1971, with an actual transcript of what he did say that day.

First the ad:

John Kerry: “They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads. . .”

Joe Ponder: “The accusations that John Kerry made against the veterans who served in Vietnam was just devastating.”

John Kerry: “. . . randomly shot at civilians. . .”

Joe Ponder: “It hurt me more than any physical wounds I had.”

John Kerry: “. . . cut off limbs, blown up bodies. . .”

Ken Cordier: “That was part of the torture, was, uh, to sign a statement that you had committed war crimes.”

John Kerry: “. . . razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan. . .”

Paul Gallanti: “John Kerry gave the enemy for free what I, and many of my, uh, comrades in North Vietnam, in the prison camps, uh, took torture to avoid saying. It demoralized us.”

John Kerry: “. . . crimes committed on a day to day basis. . . ”

Ken Cordier: “He betrayed us in the past, how could we be loyal to him now?”

John Kerry: “. . . ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam.”

Paul Gallanti: “He dishonored his country, and, uh, more, more importantly the people he served with. He just sold them out.”

Next his testimony:

I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.

It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit, the emotions in the room, the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam, but they did. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.

They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, tape wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

We could come back to this country; we could be quiet; we could hold our silence; we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country, the fact that the crimes threaten it, not reds, and not redcoats but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out.

I wouldn't claim to call into question how this testimony made the Swift Boat veterans feel. It does appear that the attacks on Kerry are rooted in genuine resentment due to his anti-war activism. But once again, the Swift Boat Liars don't seem to be able to make their point without resorting to advertising trickery. While seeing the full testimony may not mollify those that are moved by the ad, it at least gives proper context to the statements contained within it.


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