The Vietnam War Summit was held at the LBJ Presidential Library here in Austin, Texas, from April 26-28, 2016.
The website indicated there were a wide variety of 61 noted participants including Former United States Secretary of State and former National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger; Medal of Honor Recipients U.S. Army (Ret.) Bruce Crandall and Senator Bob Kerrey; University of Texas System Chancellor and Former Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, Admiral (U.S. Navy, ret.) William McRaven; and a bevy of other veterans including former POWs, distinguished journalists including Dan Rather and Peter Arnett; and the two Johnson daughters, Luci Baines Johnson and Lynda Johnson Robb.
As reported in the Austin American-Statesman “Secretary of State John Kerry, who returned from naval service in Vietnam to become an outspoken critic of the war, will speak Wednesday night.”
John Kerry? Really? The event organizers of this conference thought that our current Secretary of State would be an appropriate attendee for this conference?
Why? This doesn’t even begin to describe Kerry’s actions after he returned from Vietnam.
John Forbes Kerry (JFK), returned from Vietnam after a short four and a half month tour (Nov 1968 – Apr 1969) with the Navy during which he somehow was “awarded” three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star with “V device” (indicating “valor”) and a Silver Star. Navy regulations allowed him to return home after receiving three Purple Hearts – so he did. After doing so, he quickly became involved with the anti-war movement and a became a member of Vietnam Veterans against the War (VVAW).
Barely a year later in June, 1970, avid war-protestor Kerry met with leaders of both communist delegations to the Paris Peace Talks and planned to meet with them again in August, 1971.
On April 22, 1971, Kerry testified before the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations, known as the Fulbright Hearings, disparaging the soldiers in Vietnam by accusing them of unspeakable war crimes. However, he provided no names to substantiate his claims.
On the following day, while mingling with other anti-war and peace activists, he claimed he threw nine of his medals over a fence near the U. S. Capitol. In a taped interview obtained by ABC News, dated Nov. 6, 1971, Kerry said, “I gave back, I can’t remember, six, seven, eight, nine medals.”
When running for president in 2004, Kerry said about throwing his medals, “I’m not doing this for any violent reasons, but for peace and justice, and to try and make this country wake up once and for all.”
Because of his actions, Kerry eventually became known as “Hanoi” John.
There are other reports about John Kerry that need to be mentioned.
Regarding Kerry’s testimony to the Committee, there was no evidence that any of the “war crimes” he claimed took place had ever happened. Investigators found that the sources of those stories had either never been in the military at all, were in the military but had never been in Vietnam, or had not been anywhere near where they said they had been in Vietnam.”
Paul Galanti, a prisoner of war from January 1966 to February 1973, reported that “John Kerry gave the enemy for free what I and many of my comrades in North Vietnam, in the prison camps, took torture to avoid saying. … It demoralized us.”
Gerry Collins, commenting on Richard Botkin’s article entitled Vietnam: The Battle for Historical Truth, said, “They (the North Vietnamese) had a “Fifth Column” of traitors like Jane Fonda, both of the Clintons, John Kerry, and the rest of the 60’s era peacenik “useful idiots” doing the NVA’s bidding on American college campuses and the media.”
Indeed, Ion Mihai Pacepa, claimed, “As a spy chief and a general in the former Soviet satellite of Romania, I produced the very same vitriol Kerry repeated to the U.S. Congress almost word for word and planted it in leftist movements throughout Europe.”
And we have this headline: John Kerry and the VVAW: Hanoi’s American Puppets?
Mike Benge was a civilian POW held by the North Vietnamese Army from 1968 until 1973 during which “he spent 27 months in solitary confinement, one year in a “black box,” and one year in a cage in Cambodia.” He accused Kerry “of shredding key papers documenting “live sightings of POWs in Vietnam and Laos” during the POW/MIA hearings. According to Benge, Kerry attempted to shred all copies to prevent leaks and future declassification of the materials.
Absolutely none of these reports indicate any good reason John Kerry should have been invited to the summit.
While at the Vietnam War Summit, Kerry, said in a keynote address, “When I testified against the war in Vietnam for the Senate, I spoke of the determination of veterans to undertake one last mission, so that in 30 years when our brothers went down the street without a leg or an arm and people asked, ‘Why?’, we’d be able to say, ‘Vietnam,… not mean a bitter memory.”
Well, John, most Vietnam Veterans have long memories, most of which are not bitter. Many of us continue to do our best to live our daily lives while coping with long-lasting effects from our service there.
In 2013, it was reported that suicide rates of Vietnam Veterans were the “highest of any particular group.”
Others are suffering or dying from their exposure to Agent Orange. The Veterans Administration (VA) is lacking in their research of other medical ailments that are most likely induced by Agent Orange for which veterans are not receiving benefits. And to make matters worse, there is the extreme possibility that the children of Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange are being born with birth defects. And it appears that the VA is not conducting the research needed to prove the connectionl.
Well, John, most of us Vietnam Veterans remember you as being the #2 biggest anti-Vietnam Was protestor after “Hanoi Jane” Fonda. And our memories are indeed long.
So, please do us a favor: go do your secretary thing and not speak anymore about us or the war in which we nonorably served!
There are two final notes:
One, when John Kerry ran for the U.S. Senate in 1984, he revealed in an interview with ABC News that he still had all of his medals.
And two, just about every veteran can tell you the exact number of the medals and ribbons they had received from their service to our country and tell you the name of each one!