(Talon News) — A conservative activist group has created a website that features excerpts from a book written by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) in 1971 when he was a leader in the Vietnam antiwar movement. The Free Republic Network (FRN) has posted photographs and transcripts of Kerry’s testimony before Congress on the site, www.wintersoldier.com.
The cover of the book “The New Soldier” is displayed on the site which shows members of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) imitating the famous photograph of U.S. Marines raising the American flag on Iwo Jima. In this pose, the American flag is carried upside-down, a symbol of disrespect according to the rules of flag etiquette.
The name of the site comes from the Winter Soldier Investigation, an event staged in Detroit by VVAW that was intended to expose atrocities committed by American troops in Vietnam, but doubts about the claims made and the military history of those making the charges undermined its credibility. Scott Swett, a Director of FRN told Talon News his reason for creating the site was to “bring to light that the Winter Soldier Investigation was a fraud and a show trial that was financed by Jane Fonda and the other members of the hard left.”
Swett declined to comment on Kerry’s military service beyond saying, “To the best of my knowledge he served honorably.”
The website talks about Kerry’s much-publicized act of defiance where the future senator gained national attention for throwing his medals over a fence in front of the U.S. Capitol. Years later he admitted that he threw someone else’s medals during the protest march after a reporter spotted Kerry’s medals in his Senate office.
The website also tells how the apparently “spontaneous” speech Kerry delivered that day was actually written by a speechwriter for Robert Kennedy named Adam Walinsky.
John Kerry and the VVAW signed the “People’s Peace Treaty” in 1971 and sent a delegation to Hanoi. The document was a summary of the North Vietnamese bargaining points, including the key concession that the United States must agree to withdraw all troops before any negotiations could take place for the return of American prisoners.
A portion of the book is devoted to Kerry’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during which he said of his fellow soldiers, “They told the stories [that] at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan.”
Five days before his testimony before the Senate, Kerry appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” where he said, “There are all kinds of atrocities, and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used 50 caliber machine guns… I took part in search and destroy missions, in the burning of villages.”
Last week, Kerry was asked about reports that he had accused “American troops of war crimes,” during his testimony by CNN anchor Judy Woodruff. The Massachusetts senator denied the statements that were recorded by the Congressional Record as well as his own book.
“No, I was accusing American leaders of abandoning the troops,” Kerry said. “And if you read what I said, it is very clearly an indictment of leadership.”
Jane Fonda appeared on CNN two weeks ago to explain that she and Kerry might not have even “shaken hands” at a Valley Forge, PA rally where the two were photographed together. But flyers distributed by VVAW for the Operation RAW (Rapid American Withdrawal) list Kerry and Fonda as speakers as well as sponsors.
Kerry recently charged that discussion of his war record and his antiwar past was equal to questioning his patriotism. Yet the Democratic Party has continued to blast President Bush about his service in the Texas Air National Guard, from which he was honorably discharged. DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe said that the Bush may have been AWOL, a statement he has refused to retract.
On Sunday, Kerry sent a letter to President Bush saying, “As you well know, Vietnam was a very difficult and painful period in our nation’s history, and the struggle for our veterans continues. So, it has been hard to believe that you would choose to reopen these wounds for your personal political gain. But, that is what you have chosen to do.”
But it is Kerry who campaigns with his “band of brothers” and has established his image with the media as “John Kerry, war hero,” while the Bush campaign has been focusing on the senator’s voting record on defense and intelligence issues.