WHAT JOHN KERRY DID TO ME
There’s an old saying: “What goes around, comes around.” Simply put, what one does to others eventually comes back to haunt them. It is normally used in a negative context. In these last few weeks before the election of 2004, John Kerry is beginning to reap the rewards of the above statement.
Besides the various groups that have come forward to condemn him, there is another group that the media ignores as much as it can. It is the group of “guys like me,” Vietnam vets who have been forced to live our lives under the stigma of negativism, hate, and total disrespect normally reserved for enemies of the country. It is the guys like me that, from the very day we returned from Southeast Asia, have had to launch into the rest of our lives and drive on, trying as much as possible to suffer the slings and arrows of the communist-backed anti-war crowd and the continuing aftermath of all they have done. Kerry was a leader in this movement.
For each and every one of us who survived Vietnam, where we simply did our jobs and tried to serve our country with honor, it has been a continuing battle ever since to live through the atmosphere of condemnation and accusations cast upon us by such as John Kerry, Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden and their gang of communist misfits.
It is rather late for Kerry to step forward, render a salute and announce “reporting for duty.” Kerry now is trying to use his Vietnam service as a political springboard, and the sad thing is that there are many people who think this automatically qualifies him as a hero. The problem lies with us veterans who know the truth. Four months in Vietnam does not qualify one to tout a great deal of combat experience. In fact, four months in the infantry barely qualified one to stand watch alone or take point on a patrol. Kerry, using the “Three Heart Rule” wherein one could be transferred out of the combat zone after three Purple Hearts were awarded, found a way to leave the country as soon as possible, leaving his crew and shipmates behind. The Swiftboat Veterans for Truth have already addressed this issue and the lack of evidence clouding the issuance of the medals themselves.
I am more concerned with what he did after he came home. It is in those days and weeks and months that he stabbed me and every other Vietnam vet in the back and twisted the knife whose blade was forged on the anvil of deceit and beaten with a hammer of lies. Then he left the knife in our backs where it remains to this day. It is the same knife that is still in the backs of our children who are serving today, a legacy directly traceable to the anti-military movement of the 60s.
I was a young Marine grunt in 1965-66. I landed with the famous 9th Marine Regiment at Da Nang in July of 1965, and served as an automatic rifleman in an infantry company until February 1966, when I then became a sniper—a job I didn’t really want at the time, but Marines do not question orders. I finished my “tour” with a medevac flight back to “the world” at the end of May of 1966 and spent six months in the hospital in San Diego recovering from wounds. It was here that I saw a daily infusion of real heroes, guys who were missing limbs, suffered grievous and paralyzing wounds, and barely hung onto life while fighting tropical diseases we didn’t even have names for. My own wounds consisted of a punji stake in my right calf, shrapnel wounds in both legs, coupled with amoebic dysentery and ulcerative colitis and malaria. No one there had received Purple Hearts for scratches, nor did they want any.
We were the generation of baby boomers that grew up after World War II on a diet of gung ho patriotic “John Wayne” movies, who used to dress up in our dad’s old uniforms and medals and play “army.” We saw the Victory at Sea series showing the ticker tape parades and brass bands and smiling and waving crowds that our parents experienced in 1945. But now it was different. There were no bands, no parades, no ticker tape, and no smiling, cheering crowds. It was like you were in the jungle or rice paddies one day, then home a couple of days later where no one seemed to know there was a war going on or at least didn’t seem to care. Still, we were glad to be home and did the best we could to get on with our lives. We could live without bands and parades and heroes welcomes…
Then along comes John Kerry.
I remember when I first heard of Vietnam Veterans Against the War and wondered who in the heck these morons and cowards were. Obviously they must be draftees, dope smoking hippies from San Franciso that got drafted and sent to Vietnam, whining and complaining all the way there and back. So who wants to listen to them?
Evidently Congress did.
John F. Kerry, wearing a green utility shirt with a couple of rows of ribbons, sporting long hair, managed to worm his way before Congress where he could feather his political nest with the lies and false examples of things that either never happened, or were so rare as to be footnotes in history and not worthy of national attention. He accused those of us who had been there, and those who were still there, of atrocities, murder, torture, wholesale slaughter, and war crimes so heinous it reminded one of the sacking of Rome or the Nazis assault on Warsaw. He used terms like “free fire zones” and “armor piercing bullets” and “search and destroy missions” like they were the equivalent of Auschwitz and the Bataan Death March. In actual fact, the only people in designated free fire zones were the enemy. Everyone else knew better than to be there as we warned the population with leaflet drops, patrols with interpreters, and other means. Search and Destroy missions—later renamed Search and Clear missions--are typical counter-guerrilla warfare tactics and are being used today in Iraq. Mentioning armor piercing bullets means nothing as no one wore armor, and any bullet pierces human flesh. The recipient couldn’t care less about whether it was armor piercing, tracer or full metal jacket ammunition. He was still hit, and he was taken out of action.
To add insult to injury, Kerry fueled a huge anti-war movement, threw a handful of ribbons over a fence in a photo-op gesture, and then travels to Paris to meet with ranking officials of the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong! All of this while our POWs are being tortured and murdered in North Vietnamese prisons.
So, Mr. Kerry, to sum it up, I won’t forgive you. And I won’t vote for you. Besides what you did to the POWs, and to the other Vietnam vets, and to Congress, and to the American people, you personally attacked and hurt me and my family, and what you did has altered my life and forced me to continue fighting the battle of Vietnam for over three decades, just trying to get the truth out.
Lieutenant (jg) Kerry, it’s a little late to now “report for duty.” Your war record is coming back to haunt you.
What goes around, comes around.
© 2004 Craig Roberts -
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Craig Roberts has lived a life many people only dream about. He is an internationally published author of over a dozen books, has written hundred of magazine and newspaper articles, appeared in several shows on The History Channel, written for Time-Life books, hosted a radio talk show and appeared on scores of radio talk shows. He is a US Marine Vietnam combat veteran, where he served in a line company and as a Marine sniper--hence his extensive writing on marksmanship, sniping, weapons and the 2nd Amendment.
He is also a career police officer, having retired in 1996 with over 26 years of service with the Tulsa Police Department, where he served in patrol division, undercover assignments, SWAT (Special Operations), and as a police helicopter pilot with the Air Support Unit for 14 years. He has had a dual career, while serving as a police officer he continued his military career in the reserves where he completed 30 years total service in 1999 as an infantry and intelligence officer.
He retired at the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve. Craig is a highly decorated combat veteran, and holds four medals from the police department including the Tulsa Police Department's second highest award, the Medal of Valor. Craig is the author of The Medusa File: Crimes and Coverups of the US Government, Kill Zone: A Sniper Looks at Dealey Plaza, and One Shot--One Kill: America's Combat Snipers among others.
To add insult to injury, Kerry fueled a huge anti-war movement, threw a handful of ribbons over a fence in a photo-op gesture, and then travels to Paris to meet with ranking officials of the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong!