Sunday, August 29, 2004

It's 1971, Stupid

I mentioned earlier that Kerry's April 22, 1971 testimony was worth reading in its entirety. If you haven't gotten to it, do it now. Some excerpts which haven't been highlighted yet:

. . . I want to relate to you the feeling that many of the men who have returned to this country express because we are probably angriest about all that we were told about Vietnam and about the mystical war against communism. . . .


We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs as well as by search and destroy missions, as well as by Viet Cong terrorism, and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on the Viet Cong.


We fought using weapons against "Oriental human beings," with quotation marks around that. We fought using weapons against those people which I do not believe this country would dream of using were we fighting in the European theater or let us say a non-Third-World-people theater . . .


. . . the point is they are not a free people now under us. They are not a free people, and we cannot fight communism all over the world, and I think we should have learned that lesson by now.


An American Indian friend of mine who lives in the Indian Nation at Alcatraz put it to me very succinctly. He told me how as a boy on an Indian reservation he had watched television and he used to cheer the cowboys when they came in and shot the Indians, and then suddenly one day he stopped in Vietnam and he said, "My God, I am doing to these people the very same thing that was done to my people."

It's truly an amazine document. If I was John Kerry, I'd much rather debate whether or not I earned my Purple Hearts than whether or not I meant what I said in 1971.

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