Bush arguably has committed the greatest strategic blunder in modern memory. To put it bluntly, he attacked the wrong target. While he boasts of removing Saddam Hussein from power, he did far more than that. He decapitated the government of a country that was not directly threatening the United States and, in so doing, bogged down a huge percentage of our military in a region that never has known peace. Our military is being forced to trade away its maneuverability in the wider war against terrorism while being placed on the defensive in a single country that never will fully accept its presence. There is no historical precedent for taking such action when our country was not being directly threatened. The reckless course that Bush and his advisers have set will affect the economic and military energy of our nation for decades. It is only the tactical competence of our military that, to this point, has protected him from the harsh judgment that he deserves. At the same time, those around Bush, many of whom came of age during Vietnam and almost none of whom served, have attempted to assassinate the character and insult the patriotism of anyone who disagrees with them. Some have impugned the culture, history and integrity of entire nations, particularly in Europe, that have been our country's great friends for generations and, in some cases, for centuries. Bush has yet to fire a single person responsible for this strategy. Nor has he reined in those who have made irresponsible comments while claiming to represent his administration. One only can conclude that he agrees with both their methods and their message. Most seriously, Bush has yet to explain the exact circumstances under which American military forces will be withdrawn from Iraq.But how do you really feel? As for Webb's venom towards Kerry, more specifically towards this testimony that Kerry gave. Webb describes it this way:
Kerry's own comments were filled with hyperbolic exaggerations that sought to make egregious acts seem commonplace. During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in 1971, he testified that fellow veterans had routinely "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." With those words, he defamed a generation of honorable men. No matter how he spins it today, at a minimum, he owes them a full and complete apology.There is no need to spin Kerry's comments since what Kerry testified was that his fellow veterans had themselves confessed to committing such horrible acts.
I would like to talk on behalf of all those veterans and say that several months ago in Detroit we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged, and many very highly decorated, veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia. These were not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit - the emotions in the room and the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do. They told 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 Ghengis 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.Webb can spin Kerry's comments however he likes, but as this series in the Toledo Blade painstakingly details, US soldiers did unspeakable things to the Vietnamese during that war.
The other witness, Mr. Causey, 56, who served as a medic with Tiger Force in 1967, said he’s prepared to talk about the platoon’s attacks on villagers. "What I can clearly say is that we went into that valley and we killed every male over 16 years old - without question," he said. "I only saw one [enemy] gun the whole time. It wasn’t about killing enemy soldiers. This was about killing villagers. It went on and on. By the end, I had just had it. I was just sick of it."Kerry's testimony has been disparaged since it was delivered by people that want to sweep the uncomfortable truths about Vietnam under the rug and it will become a larger issue as the campaign heats up over the summer and into the fall.
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