During the Vietnam War, veteran John Kerry testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that an investigation, conducted by Kerry and his group, Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), revealed that American soldiers committed war crimes and atrocities in Vietnam. The investigation was called Winter Soldier.
Now that Kerry wants to be President, some of his former colleagues, quite understandably, resent his allegations and his consorting with the North Vietnamese–as he did in Paris. Although this may be a shock to many liberals, American military policy in Vietnam was not to commit war crimes and atrocities.
Some try to defend Kerry’s Senate testimony (for text, see humanevents.com) by claiming he was not trying to indict all Vietnam veterans as war criminals. Yet, only a couple of weeks prior to Kerry’s appearance, Oregon Sen. Mark Hatfield (R.) made a speech during a Senate session in which he referred to Kerry’s investigation. Hatfield said, “There has recently been brought to my attention testimony relating to the policy and conduct of American forces in Indochina which has grave and very serious implications.”
This was a direct reference to Kerry’s auto-da-fĂ?Ć? Â©. One can only wonder if there were some coordination between Hatfield, Kerry, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
The statement by Hatfield refutes the idea that Kerry was not referring to all the soldiers. Indeed, the very purpose of Winter Soldier was to impugn the integrity of, and to demoralize, American soldiers. It is a standard ploy to demonize enemy soldiers. This is routine propaganda–which is exactly what the Winter Soldier confab was.
Our soldiers were not the baby-killers that the anti-war protesters said they were. Our military did not kill three million Vietnamese as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews recently claimed.
Kerry wants to be President, the elected official primarily responsible for conducting the foreign policy of the United States. However, he allies himself with those who still believe–as Kerry did then–the same Vietnamese Communist cant designed to influence American public opinion against American soldiers.
Kerry slandered his colleagues as war criminals merely as a pretext for withdrawing troops from Vietnam. He was pandering to the people who said the “domino theory” was not valid. These are the same people who said the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese were nationalists–not murderous Communist tyrants.
What they said was false then and it is false now.
If anyone would like to know if the Vietnam War was a noble cause, if anyone wants to know if Americans committed war crimes, then ask those affected most by the war–Vietnamese civilians.
Simply put, if you want to learn if the domino theory was true–ask the dominoes.
A few weeks ago, I did just that. I met with a group of Vietnamese refugees–past and present. Some were among the 1980s “Boat People,” who fled the horror of Communist Vietnam on rafts, boats, and pieces of driftwood, risking their lives in the process. Others were more recent arrivals. All fled the purported utopia Vietnam was supposed to become according to Kerry and his anti-war colleagues.
These people can attest to who is telling the truth–John Kerry and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, or John O’Neill, B.G. Burkett, author of Stolen Valor, Carlton Sherwood, former Pulitzer journalist and producer of the documentary Stolen Honor, and the Vietnam Veterans for Truth. These people will tell you who was telling the truth.
Quyen V. Ngo currently works for a local college. He was a boat person rescued by an American merchant ship after three nights at sea. Fifty-nine years old, Quyen was a schoolteacher in Vietnam and a Captain in the South Vietnamese army (ARVN).
He was born in Nam Dimh near Haiphong before the country was partitioned. Before the partitioning, his parents emigrated in 1953 to South Vietnam to escape the Communists.
When I asked him if he thought the war was worth it, Ngo said that American troops did not have to stay as long as they did. The Vietnamese people just wanted to be trained and supplied. They would do the rest. However, the Americans were trying to protect the people from the Communists and that was a good thing.
I asked him if the Communists committed genocide after they obtained power. He said the Communists killed many people. Those who were not killed were placed in re-education camps. There they worked 12 hours a day and had little food.
Ngo never witnessed any atrocities by American soldiers, neither did he hear of any American atrocities. He said he did not believe a thing Kerry said about American troops, systematically committing war crimes. He thinks Kerry fabricated this.
He felt sorry for those who opposed the war because they did not see the truth about the war and the Communists. As far as he is concerned, they betrayed the American and Vietnamese soldiers. Testimony like Kerry’s, Ngo believes, resulted in encouraging the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong Communists to kill more Vietnamese and American soldiers.
Hoang-Phuong Vo is a 20-year-old immigrant from Vietnam. She is a student majoring in Pharmaceutical Science.
Vo said she came to America 10 years ago. She said that during her youth in Vietnam, she was shown propaganda movies of American soldiers, murdering, raping, and mutilating Vietnamese. They were also portrayed burning and pillaging villages.
Her father, also a teacher, had been in the Vietnamese Army and spent seven years in prison. Her parents met while fleeing Vietnam.
Thuoc Nguyen, 68, was also an ARVN soldier. Captured in June 1975 by the Communists he was imprisoned until October 1984. His crime was that he was an ARVN soldier.
Currently, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has cited several examples of atrocities by Vietnam’s Communist rulers. One such was the Easter week massacre. Montagnards, protesting the lack of religious freedom, were killed. According to HRW “. . . sources in the Central Highlands confirm . . . hundreds of demonstrators were wounded and many were killed by security forces . . . .”
Can you imagine if Kerry and the other Vietnam Veterans Against the War would have received such treatment during their famed Operation Dewey Canyon? Would Kerry have been able to conduct an “investigation” in North Vietnam?
Of course not, yet Kerry stated during his testimony that all political groups would be represented in a Communist Vietnam.
Kerry proved that he was incapable of guiding American foreign policy then, he has been incapable during his tenure in the Senate–and he is incapable now.
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter