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I begin this missive with an embrazo, as we call it here in Texas, for your service to our country, as a warrior, as a prisoner of war and as a United States Senator. You have served far better and endured far more in the service of America than most men will ever do. For that, this old sergeant salutes you.
That said, as a Vietnam ground combat veteran, I must take issue with you on the situation of John Kerry and the Swift Boat Veterans. You have labeled these men ?dishonest and dishonorable,? and that, Sir, is nothing more than your opinion based on no direct knowledge of the events they dispute. For you to so condemn these men publicly, without any firsthand knowledge of John Kerry?s performance in their midst and under their professional observation, is unfair to them and all veterans who share their view that John Kerry is unfit to command. Who was best qualified to evaluate you as a naval aviator, those senior officers who flew with you or the enlisted men who serviced your aircraft? Who had the experience, training and knowledge to make a professional military judgment of your performance in the air, the trained naval aviators on your wing or the enlisted flight crew back on the carrier? Certainly the enlisted men were vital in performing the mission but observing and rating your performance was not their role.
It is my understanding that you originally shared our animosity towards John Kerry, but during your senatorial service, you came to know him more personally and chose to forgive him for his labeling you a war criminal. That you are able to forgive a man even though he had denounced you and your fellow aviators as you languished in North Vietnamese prisons, with your captors using his testimony to try to break your will, is truly commendable. I admire you for your ability to turn the other cheek. However, I must point out that your forgiveness of John Kerry is purely personal and imposes not one iota of obligation to forgive him on those of us who still consider him contemptible.
You carry no mandate to speak for us. Your personal feelings are yours and yours alone; but, emphatically, you do not speak for us. You spoke up to defend your friend and your friend has turned your words into talking points. It is truly reprehensible how the Kerry campaign and the mainstream media are hiding so cynically behind your condemnation of the Swiftvets, using your statement as an excuse to dismiss their claims as baseless, smear politics. Honestly, Senator, did you really intend to provide this kind of cover for those who are so desperate to prevent the truth from coming out?
With all do respect, since you weren?t there to observe John Kerry first hand as were these Swiftvets, may I humbly suggest that the honorable thing for you to do, is to stay out of this fight and allow them and us to have our voice. Moreover, there is one thing you could do to level the playing field: acknowledge that you have no true knowledge of events the Swiftvets describe and that your immediate condemnation of these men was premature. Call on the mainstream media to investigate all parties fairly and determine whose version of events is true. I understand John Kerry is your friend, but that places him neither beyond accountability nor above the truth. You have a unique ability at this moment in America?s history to make a difference. You have long been a dutiful warrior and servant of the people.
Please, do your duty now.
2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
I would request that all who agree with the sentiments expressed here copy this letter and send it to:
I'm not a veteran, so I guess I don't have the moral standing to comment to McCain, but it certainly seems to me that 1) the SBVFT are as much veterans as McCain and Kerry are and entitled to just as much respect; and 2) the 527s who started all this skirting the campaign finance laws were left-leaning, anti-Bush groups like MoveOn.org and ACT. The Republicans asked the FEC to stop then, and it refused. Would Sen. McCain argue that private groups who have the same status remain silent in the face of such overwhelming spending by Democrats and an activist press bent on defeating Bush?
Kerry has resorted to crying "foul!" and making allegations without proof. Why doesn't he just release the evidence, if he has any?
It seems to me that the Navy handed out medals in Vietnam like candy, without much investigation. Most of them were earned many times over, but some, like going to pull out one of your men who had fallen in the river, seem to set a pretty low threshold of heroism. It would seem to be rather a dereliction of duty not to have gone and pulled Rassman out.Posted by AST at August 25, 2004 10:49 PM
McCain has received a copy from me.Posted by BaconZombie at August 26, 2004 03:54 AM
many if not all of the swift boat vets for bush also were not observing directly kerry's service and have signed affidavits based on other people's comments. did you write a letter to them, too?Posted by Hyppo Critte at August 26, 2004 01:29 PM
So what, many of the men who testified with kerry, who claimed they committed atrocities in SEA, were not even Veterans. They had no military service and had in fact never left the United States. Imagine that.
Jennifer Martinez sendsPosted by Jennifer Martinez at August 27, 2004 11:07 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(4) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)