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Bill Shatzer July 19th 04 05:57 AM

"Billy Preston" ) writes:
"Bill Shatzer" wrote

Kerry's views may have been mistaken - though, in retrospect, it
seems he was more correct than not about the war - but I see no
indication that they were anything other than honestly held beliefs.

He didn't even write the "baby killer" speech before Congress.

The phrase "baby killer" nor any approximation there of was not
used in his senate testimony. The text is available on line and
that can be readily confirmed.


Kerry obtained most of his "evidence" of supposed atrocities from
the Winter Soldier project which collected the testimony of a number
of veterans. It later turned out that many of the incidents testified
to were exaggerated or could not be confirmed. In some cases, it turned
out that the veterans had not even been in Vietnam.

OTOH, some of the testimony was essentially accurate.

If Kerry was guilty of any thing, it was being overly naive and trusting.
Perhaps the stories related during the Winter Soldier project should have
be subject to greater scepticism and better investigation and cross-

But, I can understand why that did not occur. VVAW had limited resources
for conducting any investigation and it seems unlikely the US military
would have cooperated with any information request from them in any event.
And, I would think, there would have been an inherent bias to -believe-
the word of fellow veterans - both because the basic bias of folks who
have served is to -want- to believe our "comrades in arms" and because
their stories conformed to Kerry's "mind-set" about the war.

Perhaps he was overly credulous but then that is not an uncommon vice
of the young. I find it difficult to find anything more sinister than
that in his activities and testimony.


"Cave ab homine unius libri"

Fred the Red Shirt July 19th 04 06:30 AM

Ed Rasimus wrote in message . ..

I'm sorry, Art, but that is not the truth. The designation of free
fire zones is not a violation of the Geneva Convention. It is an
acknowledgement of a division between friendly and enemy territory. It
is not, as insinuated, an area of authorized total destruction and
wanton killing.

What Ketty learned through his experience and what his fellow soldiers
had told him that in practive free fire zones were treated by many
(and I'm sure not by all) as areas of authorized total destruction and
wanton killing. The paperwork on file at the Pentagon might not have
said that.

Harrassment and interdiction fire is not, in any way,
contrary to the Geneva Convention. The whole purpose of military fire
is to harrass the enemy and interdict is supply.

In many specific areas of eh Geneva conventions, and as a general
rule there is a prohibition of tactics that endanger civilians
without military necessity or which endageer civiains disprotionately
to the military necessity (my paraphrasal). As an example I
specifically recall that it is prohibited to target dams if breaching
the damse
would cause excessive civilian casualties. The COnventions are v
ague on the issue of how much would be 'excessive' or

Clearly that decision would be made by the party conducting the trial,
if any.

It is clear to me that Kerry was sayign that harrassment and
fire was routinely used in Vietnam in a manner that subjected the
civilians to risk that was disporportionate to military necessity.
An example might be the (possible) reconnaisance by fire incident
in which Kerry wounded himself.

There is no prohibition by the Geneva Convention of the employment of
.50 cal automatic weapons. Nothing at all. There is nothing in
international law which prohibits the use of .50 cal against
personnel. Nothing.

Over in sci.mil a while ago a fellow who said he was a vegteran of
the Swedish army (don;t know if he was as they say, 'on the net
no one knows you're a dog and that doesn;t jsut apply to
who said in his basic training he was taught to not fire their
heavy machine gun (equivalent to .50 cal) ar individual personell.
He was taught that to do so was a violation of the Geneva Conventions,
that the heavy machine gun was to be used against equipment only.
The only support anyone found for that argument was a general
agains weapons that cause excessive suffering. It was pointed out
shooting a man with .50 caliber does not cause excessive suffering,
it reduces his suffering because he is more likely to be killed
than if he is shot with a smaller caliber. I tend to agree but the
point is that in some countries, one presumes those without combat
experience in living memory, the use of a .5o caliber machine gun
against peiople is considered to be a war crime.

Search and destroy is a viable tactic. It means you search for the
enemy. You might have called it "patrol" in WW II. If you find the
enemy, you engage him and you destroy the enemy and any war material.
That's not prohibited by the Geneva Convention.

That also depends on what is being searched for and destroyed. If
memeory serves me correctly, there was a program of 'resettlement'
in VIetnam in which villiagers were rounded up and moved to
ostensibly safer parts of the country and their homes were destroyed
to deny the support of that civilian infrastructure to the enemy.
That program was a clear violation of the Geneva conventions, the
excuse being that it was supposedly condoned by the South Vietnamese
government and the GCs do not prohibit nations from abusing their
own people. One wonders if the the government of South Vietnam was
coercved into accepting that program.

And, certainly the authorization of "air raid strike areas" is not
prohibited by the Geneva Convention.

Again, it depends on what is reasonably expected to be in the target
area in addition to the enemy. The cornerstone of Kerry's arguments,
if I understand them correctly, is that the war itself was inflicting
more suffering on the Vietnamese people that he would expect to be
inflicted on them if 'their side' lost the war. The idiology of
one's government means little to a subsistance former.

And, the comparison of all of us who fought in the war to Lt. Calley
is despicable.

I missed that comparison. I'll go back and look for it now.
Meanwhile, would you object to being compared to Hugh Thompson?



Fred the Red Shirt July 19th 04 06:33 AM

(BUFDRVR) wrote in message ...
ArtKramr wrote:

Based on his testimony befiore congress he may be the most honest man ever to
run for public office.

You're a sad, sad man. Ed points out several bold faced lies Kerry told and you
still ignore it.

Uh, he said most honest, not completely honest.

With most politicians it is easy to tell when they are lying.
You can see their lips move.



Fred the Red Shirt July 19th 04 06:40 AM

(B2431) wrote in message ...

I was in the Army in Viet Nam and saw nohing approaching the level of approval
kerry says the chains of command presented. Did U.S. servicemen commit war
crimes without being charged? Yes. Did I see it? No. Did it occur in my AO?
Probably not. These things get around. Most of the servicemen in Viet Nam knew
something had happened in My Lai before charges were filed. They just didn't
know the specifics.

Thank you.

The fact remains kerry accused us of all being involved with or have knowledge
of war crimes.

I disagree. That is a gross distortion of the facts, just like the
way neocons used Sherman's words form a protion of one of his letters
to 'prove' that he had confessed to war crimes.

... If what he said was true he had an obligation to take it public. He
not ONCE said the majority of vets served honourably.

Perhaps someone should point that out to him and het him to address that.

Somehow I don't think it would satisfy you if he did, even if he had
done so back then.

What Kerry said was clearly figurative speech, just like when I say
we Americans are responsible for the wrongdoing that America does
anywhere in the world today?

Did I just stab you in the back?



Fred the Red Shirt July 19th 04 06:50 AM

ojunk (Steve Mellenthin) wrote in message ...
I was hoping you would have the common deceny not to remind me of it. I've
spent 60 years trying to forget it.

Arthur Kramer

Fact of life in war. I am not sure anyone could or should forget that, even
when one relate ones experiences with putting bombs on target, dodging enemy
fighters, and flying through flak. There is always another side to war besides
the glory and I think we all should keep that in balance.

"War is at best barbarism... it's glory is all moonshine. It is only those
who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the
wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is
hell" -- William Techumseh Sherman

Having never fired a shot I trust and respect those who did.



Jack July 19th 04 06:56 AM

Fred the Red Shirt wrote:

...would you object to being compared to Hugh Thompson?

Trying to assume that mantle is what Kerry was doing with the VVAW.


Fred the Red Shirt July 19th 04 07:06 AM

ojunk (Steve Mellenthin) wrote in message ...

Speaking out against a war takes courage but doing so in a way that encourages
the enemy, raises the level of danger to the men still in the line of fire, and
denigrates the service record of those who have served is not an act of
courage, it is an act of self serving political gratuity.

Absent the speeches made by Kerry and others like him how much longer
would American forces have remained in Vietnam? How many more would
have died, been wounded or captured. How many more Vietnamese would
have died? How much longer would the POWs have had to wait for

The current government of Vietnam has estimated that we killed 1.4
million of their soldiers. That does not include wounded soldiers
or civilians killed or wounded. The United Staes won every militarily
significant battle of the Vietnam war. And still the communists
did not give up. Kerry realized that the war in Vietnam could not
be won by military means. It could only have been prolonged.

We do not know the answers to the questions I posed above because
men like Kerry did speak out. We did pull out in 1973 and the
surviving POWs did come home. It has been argued that live POWS
were held back by the Vietnamese and others as hostages or slaves
but really, would fewer have been withheld had we remained in the
war longer?

What good would Kerry have done by remaining silent, or by echoing
the lies of his government?



Fred the Red Shirt July 19th 04 07:09 AM

ojunk (Steve Mellenthin) wrote in message ...
Steve Mellenthin ) writes:

Certainly not by hanging out with peple who allow themselves to be photgraphed
sitting in a piece of AAA that was probably used agaist our forces within 12

I am quite sure you know that the hanging out was done after Kerry had left VVAW.



Fred the Red Shirt July 19th 04 07:12 AM

Jack wrote in message ...

A presidential candidate is only as good as the people who support him.

Good grief! I hope that's not true.

From what I've seen of the people who are rabid supporters of either of
the major candidates, this year's vote is going to be a difficult choice
for folks who are just trying to avoid the greater evil.

Reminds me of a bumper sticker:

"Cthulu for President! The cadidate for voters who are tired
of choosing the leser of two evils."



Jack July 19th 04 07:14 AM

Fred the Red Shirt wrote:

What good would Kerry have done by remaining silent, or by echoing
the lies of his government?

Kerry was hardly a Canary in a coal mine by that time, but just another
silver spoon sucker with political ambitions looking for a bandwagon to
ride, with no regard for those he defamed.


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