Kerry's 'War Crimes' Testimony Will Be a Factor

While Republican Party officials labored at last week’s convention to steer clear of the controversy over Kerry’s Vietnam War record sparked by television ads sponsored by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, there seemed to be a consensus among Republicans attending the convention that Kerry’s 1971 anti-war testimony in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was an important issue that will really hurt him this November. This was the testimony in which Kerry accused U.S. military personnel in Vietnam of committing war crimes on a “day-to-day basis.” (The entire testimony can be viewed here.) “It’s an issue when you repeatedly tell something that clearly was not true,” said Rep. Darrel Issa (R.-Calif.). “For me, as someone who served during that period of time, it’s very difficult when you have somebody with medals and ribbons, telling those kinds of falsehoods about our soldiers in combat.” “He slandered two million American soldiers who served in Vietnam,” said Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly. “He said they all committed war crimes. He insulted and offended every one of them.” “I actually believe that’s the only issue, as far as this Vietnam stuff goes,” Utah GOP Chairman Joe Cannon said of the testimony. “I believe that overwhelms everything else. I don’t really care how he got his Purple Hearts.” “He’s trying to have it both ways now just like he did then,” said Cannon. “He went to Vietnam, then he comes back and trashes Vietnam. But now, being a warrior is cool, so he’s a warrior. He put it at issue.” “He wore fatigues and he wore his medals and he showed up,” said Rep. Bill Thomas (R.-Calif.) of Kerry’s Senate testimony. “Ask him if he thinks it was worthwhile and positive in his political future–including being elected senator from Massachusetts.”