August 26, 2004

POWs: John Kerry's Anti-War Rhetoric Used to Justify Torture

patriotism-no-questions.jpgA new documentary is coming out. Needless to say, buy your tickets early. Some of the clips show what are clearly political judgments by Vietnam Veterans--that the anti-war movement had prolonged the war needlessly, that John Kerry was only in Vietnam four months and thereby could not claim war hero status, or that John Kerry's voting record is anti-military. However, the most striking clip was from a POW who claimed his interrogator used John Kerry's testimony as justification for not giving the prisoners the rights accorded to POWs under the Geneva Conventions.

UPDATE: Via Glenn Reynolds I learn that Kerry's 1971 Testimony Before Senate Foreign Relations Committee will be on C-Span. If it is already 8:05 PM EST when you read this, you can click here to view the video over the internet. His own words will condemn him.

Here is a transcript of a clip found at the Stolen Honor website.

James Warner, POW

After we had talked for quite sometime the interrogator showed me a transcript of testimony that my mother had given at something called the winter soldier hearings...which I had no idea what these were. I read her testimony, and it wasn't damning, but then I saw some of the other stuff that had gone on at this winter soldier hearing and I wondered how did somebody get my mother persuaded to come, uh, appear at something like this.

And then shortly thereafter he [his interrogator showed] showed my some statements from John Kerry. He said that John Kerry had helped to organize the winter soldier hearings because he was so motivated because he had been an American officer served in the US Navy...and...then he started reading some of the statements that John Kerry made.

I'm sorry I can't quote them, but essentially he accused all of us in Vietnam of being criminals. That everything we had done was criminal. Therefore, of course, the North Vietnamese had told us from the time they got their hands on us that we were criminals, we're not covered by the Geneva Conventions, so it was ok for them to do whatever they wanted to us.

And they told us that they were going to put us on trial, and some of us would be executed....

The interrogator went through all of these statements from John Kerry. And he starts pounding on the table, "Well see here is this Naval officer, he [John Kerry] admits that you are a criminal and that you deserve punishment."

Well, look they told us this was a camp for punishment. We're in solitary confinement. The last time I had been tortured was, started on the 5th of May and lasted until the 2nd of September, in '69. And after it ended they kept me in this box until November the 10th. I was in the box from June the 1st to November the 10th.

When a guy starts pounding a table and you can spot this in them when they start...the voice starts to rise, their face gets red, that's usually a sign that something bad is about to happen. So it made me very uneasy as this interrogator is pounding on the table, looking at me, saying, "These words [John Kerry's] prove that you deserve punishment." I didn't know what was gonna come next and I was, for the rest of the time we were in that camp, I was very ill at ease.....

Here's a Naval Officer who comes home and leaves active duty and reports seeing events that he clearly did not see. And reports participating in actions that he clearly did not participate in. And he says them in criticism, not just of the government of the United States, but of the men he left behind when he came home. And of us who were being held prisoner in North Vietnam, he was criticizing us. He was saying we had done these things, and he was saying things that he knew to be false. And knew would harm us, that means he abandoned his comrades. He burned up his broth-...his band of brother’s membership card when he did that.

An overview of the film, from the Stolen Honor website:

But, perhaps, more than any living group of combat veterans, it was the America ’s POWs who suffered most, forced to endure the immediate consequences of Kerry’s treacherous falsehoods. In 1971, some 700 of these men were reported as captured or missing in action, most presumed held prisoner by the North Vietnamese Communists in such places as the notorious Hanoi Hilton. Already subjected to years of torture, solitary confinement and unspeakable psychological and physical abuse, their lives were literally hanging by a thread when Kerry issued his damning testimony. In mere moments, Kerry had willingly given the Vietnamese Communists what they had spent years of torture and blood-letting to drag out of their American hostages, an unqualified “confession” they were all war criminals.
Hat tip: Kevin Aylward

In the Bullpen, Bill at INDC, and Florida Cracker also on the case

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:16 PM | Comments |