Sailors Say Kerry Unfit to be CinC

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AAAintheBeltway, May 3, 2004.

  1. Kerry's Vietnam service and later protest history continue to dog his campaign:

    "Kerry 'Unfit to be Commander-in-Chief', Say Former Military Colleagues
    By Marc Morano Senior Staff Writer
    May 03, 2004

    ( - Hundreds of former commanders and military colleagues of presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry are set to declare in a signed letter that he is "unfit to be commander-in-chief." They will do so at a press conference in Washington on Tuesday.

    "What is going to happen on Tuesday is an event that is really historical in dimension," John O'Neill, a Vietnam veteran who served in the Navy as a PCF (Patrol Craft Fast) boat commander, told . The event, which is expected to draw about 25 of the letter-signers, is being organized by a newly formed group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

    "We have 19 of 23 officers who served with [Kerry]. We have every commanding officer he ever had in Vietnam. They all signed a letter that says he is unfit to be commander-in-chief," O'Neill said.

    O'Neill, currently a Houston, Texas, based attorney, is no stranger to Kerry. O'Neill served in the same naval unit as Kerry and commanded Kerry's swift boat after Kerry returned to the United States. Kerry's command of the PCF boat lasted four months and ended shortly after he received his third Purple Heart. According to naval regulations at the time, any soldier who received three Purple Hearts could request a transfer out of the combat zone.

    Kerry and O'Neill engaged in a nationally televised debate in 1971 on The Dick Cavett Show over Kerry's allegations that many Vietnam soldiers had routinely engaged in atrocities such as raping and cutting off ears and heads of Vietnamese soldiers and citizens. Kerry was the then spokesman for the anti-war group Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

    "We are going to be presenting a letter that deals with Kerry's unfitness to be commander and chief that has been signed by hundreds of swift boat sailors, including most of those who served with Kerry," O'Neill explained.

    "The ranks of the people signing [the letter] range from admiral down to seaman, and they run across the entire spectrum of politics, specialties, and political feelings about the Vietnam War," he added.

    Among those scheduled to attend the event at the National Press Club and declare Kerry unfit for the role of commander-in-chief are retired Naval Rear Admiral Roy Hoffman, who was the commander of the Navy Coastal Surveillance Force, which included the swift boats on which Kerry served.

    Also scheduled to be present at the event is Kerry's former commanding officer, Lt. Commander Grant Hibbard. Hibbard recently questioned whether Kerry deserved the first of his three Purple Hearts that he received in Vietnam. Hibbard doubted both the severity of the wound and whether it resulted from enemy fire.

    "I've had thorns from a rose that were worse" than Kerry's wound for which he received a Purple Heart, Hibbard told the Boston Globe in April.

    Organizers are confident that Tuesday's event and the letter with hundreds of signatures will educate people about Kerry.

    "It is one of the largest outpourings of concern about him being commander-in-chief that anybody could have in a presidential campaign and it is by the people who know him best," O'Neill said.

    'Unfit Commander-in-Chief'

    Swift Boat Veterans For Truth maintains that Kerry's fellow Vietnam veterans are almost uniform in their disdain for his military service and anti-war protests.

    "Not only a majority of the people who served with him feel that way, but a vast and overwhelming majority," O'Neill said. He added that more than "ninety percent of the people contacted by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth responded to the request to sign their name, with only 12 declining to sign.

    "Comrades who actually served with him, almost all of them, are opposed to him, and believe he would be an unfit commander in chief and intend to bring the truth of his actual record to the attention of the American people," O'Neill said.

    O'Neill hopes the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth can reveal to the American people what he sees as Kerry's flawed character.

    "In the military, loyalty between commanders and the troops serving them is a two-way street. We have here a guy (Kerry) that with all of us in the field [in Vietnam] -- actually fighting the North Vietnamese -- came home and then falsely accused all of us of war crimes at a time when the people in uniform couldn't even respond," O'Neill said.

    "And he did that knowing that was a lie," he added.

    'Real John Kerry'

    B. G. Burkett, author of the book Stolen Valor and a military researcher, believes that Tuesday's event will not be dismissed easily by Kerry's campaign as a "partisan" attack.

    "There are probably just as many Democrats amongst sailors who sailed swift boats as there are Republicans. What Kerry fails to realize is this has nothing to do with politics -- this has to with Vietnam Veterans who served, who have a beef with John Kerry's service, both during and after the war," Burkett told

    "The American people do not know John Kerry and hopefully the swift boat crews and other Vietnam veterans will make sure that the American public knows the real John Kerry," he added.

    Jim Loftus of Kerry's press office referred questions about Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's event on Tuesday to spokesman David Wade. Wade did not return's requests for comment."
  2. OUCH! :eek:


  3. Bush doesn't have to worry, we can't find anyone who actually served with him in the Guard to say he is fit or unfit to serve as commander in chief.

  4. Magna

    Magna Administrator

    This is not to defend Kerry as I've had my doubts about him for years, but I'm curious what qualified Bush to be Commander-In-Chief of our mighty armed forces? His National Guard duty? All the many questions about whether he was AWOL for one year of that duty? It's a strange standard to apply to Kerry, since it was never applied to Bush. Oh well, national politics at its finest.

  5. Hold on a second.

    When republicans brought up Clinton's lack of military service in 1992, Kerry defended Clinton. I don't remember the exact quote, but Kerry specifically went out of his way to say that he didn't think military service should be an issue in a presidential campaign. Something about "we have all served in many ways," or something to that effect.

    In this campaign, Kerry has been beating the drum for his military service nonstop. In the primaries, he used the word 'Vietnam' about as frequently as normal people use prepositions. And he did an about face in terms of whether military service "matters," because he thought it would benefit him this time around.

    Kerry made his military service an issue by grandstanding on it. If he hadn't made reference to Vietnam at every chance he got, then he wouldn't have to defend his quality of service. But he did, and so he does.

    To poison the well by questioning Bush's military experience is irrelevant. Bush didn't try to make an issue of it. Anyone who thinks Bush is not fit to be president because he didn't have combat action is hypocritical if they gave Clinton a pass, or if they failed to apply the same standard of judgment to every other presidential candidate.

    The value of military experience in itself is an open question without the context of how it has shaped the person behind it. A vietnam vet could arguably be an extreme warmonger or a devout peacenik, either of which would be bad in the whitehouse.

    This is a mess of Kerry's own making. He wouldn't shut up about his Vietnam experience, and so now he's getting what he deserves. He didn't have to falsely portray himself as a war hero, but he chose to. Do you really think the vets would be doing this if they hadn't felt Kerry was exploiting them by presenting himself as something he's not?
  6. Sure they would. They are.

    It's probably because of what he presented himself as, A Vietnam vet against the war.

    How is it that his combat experience makes him unfit to be CIC when he was awarded 3 purple hearts and a silver star? That would mean the military awards incompetence or their award system is riddled with fakery. If that's the case, then the military and veterans are not fit to judge him fit or not fit for the military's top spot.

  7. I think its time that the "CinC" label gets dropped because the world is more of an economic battleground rather than physical one. Buffet for President ??

    Maybe the soldiers in Iraq writing letters to Michael Moore should have a greater say about who is fit and who is not rather than a bunch of the guys who like to play in the water.
  8. There remains a divided sentiment about the Vietnam war among veterans and others.

    Many are still very pro Vietnam war, and continue to look upon Kerry as a "traitor" for his stand against it.

    This is no more evident when they try to lump him in with Jane Fonda.

    In a time of war, the issue of CIC is very important to many, so Kerry is making his case about how Bush has bungled the war, and Bush is making the case about how Kerry didn't properly support a bungled war.

  9. Ohh, that's pretty bad if 90% of the people who worked with you don't want you to be president...

    Kerry is one ugly politician.
  10. They tried to find 90% of the people Bush "worked" with when he was in the guard, but they couldn't find anyone who worked with him.

    #10     May 3, 2004