Roger Simon isn’t going to let any facts get in his way:
Not surprisingly, the new ad from the Swift Boat Veterans gets to the heart of the controversy and takes us back to the days of Vietnam in ways that I never dreamed would happen in 2004. These veterans are furious with Kerry for implying, essentially, that they were all William Calleys. I am really conflicted about the war itself, but I certainly don’t blame the veterans for feeling this way. Some of them evidently had declined to say the very things Kerry did, although they were tortured by the North Vietnamese to do so. Kerry’s words in the ad are extremely harsh. Now I wonder… even more than I previously did… why the Senator chose to base his campaign on his Vietnam service. Why would he want to do that, other than the obvious innoculation against Bush’s anti-terror record? (There are other ways to handle that.) It seems particularly odd for a man who once compared American servicemen to Genghis Khan to call attention to this. The only explanation I can offer is he is wrestling with private demons and has secret wishes only his analyst could know.
Not shown on the ad is Kerry’s preface to those comments, in which he said he is reporting what others said at a conference of Vietnam veterans in Detroit. Instead, a member of the Swift Boat group refers to the statements as “the accusations that John Kerry made against the veterans who served in Vietnam.”
A Swift Boat member says, referring to captives in Vietnam, “That was part of the torture, was to sign a statement that you had committed war crimes” and says Kerry “betrayed us” by his comments upon his return.
Another says Kerry “gave the enemy for free what I, and many of my comrades in North Vietnam, in the prison camps, took torture to avoid saying. It demoralized us.”
An official transcript of Kerry’s testimony shows he was referring to the meeting in Detroit, part of what was called the Winter Soldier investigation. He told the Senate committee that at that meeting “many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia” and relived the “absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.”
“They told the stories 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, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.”
It never ceases to amaze me how low a person will go to beg a link from the professor or James Taranto. I’m sure Simon will again recall for us how he protested the war and for civil rights and yadda yadda yadda when he was a younger man. And maybe he even thinks he had some personal part in ending the war. But just like it took Nixon to go to China, maybe it took a decorated war hero to speak before Congress on all that was wrong in Viet Nam to nudge them away from support of the great folly that it was. And maybe the two POW’s should consider the fact that it was people like Kerry who helped bring about a quicker end to the war and that maybe, just maybe, he may have saved their lives.
I always thought that Roger Simon was better than this. Then again, maybe he has some personal demons and secret wishes dating back to the sixties he should take up with his analyst. He could start with his unsatisfied emotional needs requiring attention from others.
Then work down the list….