Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

I am trying to make up my mind about Senator Kerry. The following is the
first two paragraphs from his statement to the Senate in 1971. (Supposed to
be true - I read it on the internet so it must be true)

"Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement by John Kerry to the Senate
Committee of Foreign Relations
April 23, 1971
I would like to talk on behalf of 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. These were 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 and the feelings of the men who
were reliving their experiences in Vietnam. They relived the absolute horror
of what this country, in a sense, made them do."

"They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut
off heads, taped 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 Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs
for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside 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

Hullinger - I was in Vietnam when Kerry made this statement. I never saw
any atrocity, and would not have let one happen where I was. I spent 1.5
years as a Marine Lieutenant in Vietnam. I did see a lot of American
teenagers with guns who were nervous and trigger happy. You had to make
sure they did not do something stupid or wrong.

It is pretty clear to me that most of the second paragraph of the Kerry
statement is BS. I have met numerous guys (usually in bars) who go into
detailed war stories about their horrific time in Vietnam, the ears they cut
off, the pain, etc. Every story has been a lie. They usually claim to be Marines or
Green Berets or both. You ask them what unit they served in,
and they respond with some number that did not exist, or was an Army unit
when they are claiming to be a Marine. Ask them where they served, and you
are likely to hear a place where Marines never served, or they served all
over the country, or they blanked out where they served because of the trauma.
They usually do not know what year they served, or it was after we had pulled out.

We were trained that we were trying to win the hearts and minds of the
Vietnamese people. You had to treat them fairly - screw over them and they
would screw you. We went to great efforts not to hurt civilians. All kinds
of controls on air strikes and arty. All kinds of training that you were not
the Nazi's.

Now terrible things did happen. Throw 500,000 teenagers into a war, give
them rifles and lots of things to blow up, stir in confusion, hate, drugs,
and discontent, and you will get mistakes and atrocities. We know about My
Lai, where an Americal outfit killed numerous civilians. And there was a
Marine 5 man unit that murdered 16 civilians. Terrible thing. But this was
an aberration, not policy.

But you can't blame the American public for believing all these stories
about atrocities were true when you read such drivel from men who should
know better. And of course numerous ridiculous movies have reinforced these

I will keep an open mind about Kerry. He is more liberal than I am, Bush is
more conservative. Both guys are pretty capable individuals. Both patrician, rich,
went to Yale, silver spoon type of guys, but both have worked and achieved
when they could have spent their lives in idleness. Kerry served bravely in
Vietnam, Bush risked his life flying the F 102 Widowmaker, a dangerous airplane
built for the government by the low bid contractor, and maintained by part time
guys. Kerry has served well in the Senate, Bush as Governor and President,

In the end, we will hire one of them to run the country for the next four
years. And the republic will most likely survive and thrive during those
four years.

Craig Harlan Hullinger AICP
17255 S. 66th Ct
Tinley Park, IL 60477-3105
708 532 8991


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