In April of 1971, John Kerry gave a speech before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations about war crimes that other soldiers serving in Vietnam allegedly committed. That testimony is the focus of a new Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad that claims Kerry "dishonored his country and more importantly the people he served with." We play the ad alongside Kerry's testimony, and then we open the phone lines to get listeners' reactions.
Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.
(00:00:00) From Minnesota Public Radio Peru fanelli in a 7 to nothing vote the Brooklyn Park City Council approved a resolution yesterday asking head of the County Commissioners to leave decisions about smoking bans to City officials the resolution passed with little discussion and did not take a position for or against smoking bans ahead of the County Board committee will discuss a countywide smoking ban proposal today. If approved the ban could take effect March 31st, Minneapolis and Bloomington already have passed smoking bans that will take effect in March supporters of independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Hope an appearance by Nader in North Dakota this afternoon will help them attract more volunteers. Mater will visit North Dakota State University native state campaign. Spokesman. Tom on zagar's says supporters need about four thousand signatures by September 3rd to get Nader's name on the ballot Across. The Nation Democrats have filed legal challenges to Nader's efforts to gain access to stay ballots frustrating his supporters and draining his resources, but in North Dakota on Zager says neither supporters are Turd we believe that this should be a open race. We'd like to see Ralph Nader in the presidential debates. If we can have a debate then we certainly have an opportunity to go all the way to the White House later already has met requirements to appear on ballots in a handful of States. Mater will also speak in Sioux Falls South Dakota tonight parts of yellow medicine County are ringing out this morning. The town of Porter is reported nearly 8 inches of rain can be reported over four inches of rain while Marshall reported only four tenths of an inch of rain water across several roads for a brief time in the county last night highs across Minnesota today from the middle 60s in the Northeast lower 80s in the south west under partly to mostly cloudy skies right now in the Twin Cities. It's mostly cloudy 71 degrees. I'm peripherally, Minnesota Public Radio. All right. Thanks Perry. It's six minutes past 11:00. Hey, good morning. Welcome to midday on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Gary eichten a relatively inexpensive TV ad campaign has at least for the time being turn the presidential campaign upside down a group calling itself. Swift boat Veterans for truth has been running ads directly attacking John Kerry's record as a decorated Vietnam War veteran. They claim that Kerry has lied about his War record most independent analysis of the claims and counter plot claims support carry, but the ad campaign has had an impact polls show that carries post-convention surge as apparently slowed and his support among veterans is dropped sharply. Now the ante carry Swift Boat Group has opened a second line of attack. They say that carries activities after he left Vietnam unfairly tarred Vietnam Vets as war criminals. They say they're especially upset with carries 1971 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Here is a new ad that the Swift Boat Group is airing (00:03:05) they and personally raped cut off ears cut off heads the accusations that John Kerry made against the veterans who served in Vietnam was just devastating randomly shot at civilians and it hurt me more than any physical wounds. I had cut off limbs blown up bodies that was part of the torture was to sign a statement that you have committed war crimes razed Villages and fashion reminiscent of Gingers con John Kerry gave the enemy for free what I and many of my comrades in North Vietnam the prison camps Torture to avoid saying it demoralized us crimes committed on a day-to-day basis. He betrayed us in the past. How could we be loyal to him now ravaged Countryside South Vietnam dishonor his country and what more poorly the people he served with. He just sold them out Swift boat Veterans for truth is responsible for the content of this (00:04:02) advertisement. The Kerry campaign has issued a statement in response to this latest ad saying quote. This is another ad from a front group funded by bushes allies. That is trying to smear John Kerry's military service their newest ad takes John Kerry's testimony out of context editing what he said to distort the facts. Well during this our midday, we're going to give you a chance to hear what Carrie actually said and make your own judgment. Then we'll be opening the phone lines to discuss this Swift boat debate. We're interested in what you make of all of these claims and counterclaims, but first, here's a recording of John Kerry's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April of 1971 now to set the stage carry at the time was a prominent member of a group called Vietnam veterans against the war the committee was considering legislation which called for the cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam by the end of the year. The Senate hearing room was packed some 200 veterans were gathered outside the room and network TV cameras were rolling. (00:05:09) I would like to say for the record that and also for the men behind me who are also wearing the uniform and their medals that my sitting up here is really symbolic. I'm not here as John Kerry. I'm here as one member of the group of 1,000 which is a small representation of the very much larger group of veterans in this country. And we're it possible for all of them to sit at this table. They would be here and have the same kind of testimony. I would simply like to speak. In very general terms. I apologize that my statement is General because I received notification yesterday. You would hear me and I'm afraid because of the injunction. I was up most of the night and haven't had a great deal of chance to prepare. I would like to talk representing all those veterans and say that several months ago in Detroit. We had an investigation which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans. Testified war crimes committed in Southeast. Asia not isolated incidents, but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with a full awareness of officers at all levels of command. It's impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit the emotions in the room. The feelings of the men who are reliving their experiences in Vietnam, but they did they relive the absolute horror of what this country in a sense made them do. They told the stories of times that they had personally raped cut off ears cut off heads tape 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 Gingers con 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. We called this investigation the Winter Soldier investigation. The term Winter Soldier is a play on words of Thomas Paine's in 1776 when he spoke of the Some Sunshine Patriot and summertime soldiers who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough, We have come here to Washington of come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now, we could come back to this country and we could be quiet we could hold our silence. We could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country the fact that the crimes threatening not Reds not Redcoats, but the crimes which were committing or what threatened it and we have to speak out. I would like to talk to you a little bit about what the result is of the feelings these men carry with them after coming back to from Vietnam. The country doesn't know it yet, but it's created a monster. A monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade and violence and who are given the chance to die for the biggest nothing in history. Men who have returned with the sense of anger and a sense of betrayal which no one has yet grasped as a veteran and one who feels this anger. I'd like to talk about it. We're angry because we feel we have been used in the worst fashion by the administration of this country in 1970 at Westpoint Vice President. Agnew said some glamorize the criminal Misfits of society while our best men died in Asian rice paddies to preserve the freedoms, which those Misfits abuse and this was used as a rallying point for our effort in Vietnam. But for us his boys in Asia from the country was supposed to support his statement is a terrible Distortion from which we can only draw a very deep sense of revulsion and hence the anger of some of the men who are here in Washington today. It's a distortion because we in no way considered ourselves the best men of this country because those he calls Misfits was standing up for us in a way that nobody else in this country dared to because so many who have died would have returned to this country to join the Misfits in their efforts to ask for an immediate withdrawal from South Vietnam because so many of those best men have returned as quadriplegics and amputees and they live forgotten and Veteran's Administrations hospitals in this country, which fly the flag, which so many have chosen as their own personal symbol. And we cannot consider ourselves America's Best Men when we were ashamed of and hated what we were called on to do in Southeast Asia in our opinion and from our experience. There is nothing in South Vietnam. Nothing which could happen that rears realistically threatens the United States of America and to attempt to justify the loss of one American Life in Vietnam Cambodia Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of Freedom, which those Misfits supposedly abused is to ask the height of criminal hypocrisy and it's that kind of hypocrisy which we feel is torn this country apart. We are probably much more Angry than that and I don't want to go into the foreign policy aspects because I'm outclassed here. I know that all of you have talked about every possible every possible alternative to getting out of yet Nam. We understand that we know that you've considered the seriousness of the aspects to the utmost level and I'm not going to try and deal on that. But I want to relate to you the feeling which many of the men 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 found that Not only was it a civil war an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their Liberation from any Colonial influence whatsoever. But also we found that the Vietnamese when we had enthusiastically molded after our own image were hard put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from we found that most people didn't even know the difference between communism and democracy. They only wanted to work in rice paddies. Without helicopters strafing them and bombs with Napalm burning their Villages and tearing their country apart. They wanted everything to do with the war particularly with this foreign presence of the United States of America to leave them alone in peace and they practiced the art of Survival by siding with whichever military force was present at a particular time be it Viet Cong North Vietnamese or American we found also that all too often American men were dying in those rice patties for Ward of support from their allies. We saw firsthand how money is from American taxes was used for a corrupt dictatorial regime. We saw that many people in this country had a one-sided idea of who was kept free by our flag is blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties. 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 rationalize destroying villages in order to save them. We saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted very coolly am Eli and refused to give up the image of American soldiers that handout chocolate bars and chewing gum. We learned the meaning of free-fire zones, shoot anything that moves and we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of orientals. We watch the United States falsification of body counts. In fact, the glorification of body counts. We listened while month after month. We were told the back of the enemy was about to break 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 where we fighting in a European theater or let us say a non third world people theater. And so we watched while men charged up hills because a general said that he'll has to be taken and after losing one platoon or two platoons, they marched away to leave the hill for the reoccupation of the North Vietnamese because because we watched Pride allow the most unimportant of battles to be blown into extravaganzas because we couldn't lose and we couldn't Retreat and because it didn't matter how many American bodies were lost to prove that point. And so they were hamburger Hills and caissons and he'll 880 ones and Firebase sixes and so many others and now we're told that the men who fought there must watch quietly. Well American lives are lost so that we can exercise the incredible arrogance of Vietnam. Izing the Vietnamese. each day each making a very significant statement and don't let him proceed each day to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Vietnam. Someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn't have to admit something that the entire world already knows so that we can't say that we've made a mistake someone has to die. So that President Nixon won't be and these are his words the first president to lose a war. We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? But we're trying to do that and we're doing it with thousands of rationalizations. And if you read carefully the president's last speech to the people of this country. You can see that he says and says clearly but the issue gentlemen, the issue is communism and the question is whether or not we believe that country to the communist or whether or not we will try to give it a hope to be a free people. But the point is they're not a free people now under us they're not a free people and we cannot fight communism all over the world and I think we should have learned that Lesson by now. But the problem of veterans goes beyond this personal problem because you think about a poster in this country with a picture of Uncle Sam and the picture says I want you and a young man comes out of high school and says, that's fine. I'm going to serve my country and he goes to Vietnam and he shoots and he kills he does his job or maybe he doesn't kill maybe he just goes and he comes back and when he gets back to this country he finds that he isn't really wanted because the largest unemployment figure in the country it varies depending on who you get it from the Veterans Administration 15% various other sources 22% of the largest figure of unemployed in this country are veterans of this war and of those veterans 33 percent of the unemployed of black That means one out of every 10 of the nation's unemployed is a veteran of Vietnam the hospitals across the country won't or can't meet their demands. It's not a question of not trying they haven't got the Appropriations. A man recently died after he had a tracheotomy in California not because of the operation but because there wasn't enough Personnel to clean the mucus out of his tube and he suffocated to death. Another young man just died in a New York VA hospital the other day A friend of mine was lying in a bed to dreads away and tried to help him, but he couldn't they rang a bell and there was no one there to service that man. And so he died of convulsions. 57% I understand 57% of all those entering VA hospitals talk about suicide some 27% of tried and they try because they come back to this country and they have to face what they did in Vietnam and then they come back and find the indifference of a country that doesn't really care that doesn't really care. The suddenly were faced with a very sickening situation in this country because there's no moral indignation. And if there is it's comes from people who are almost exhausted by their past indignities, and I know that many of them are sitting in front of me the country seems to have lied lean down and accepted something as serious as Laos just as we calmly trudged off the loss of seven hundred thousand lives in Pakistan the so-called greatest disaster of all times. We are here as veterans to say that we think we are in the midst of the greatest disaster of all times now because they are still dying over there and not just Americans Vietnamese. And we are rationalizing leaving that country so that those people can go on killing each other for years to come. Americans seem to have accepted the idea that the war is winding down at least four Americans and they have also allowed the bodies which were once used by a president for statistics to prove that we were winning this war to be used as evidence against a man who followed orders and interpreted those orders. No differently than hundreds of other men in South Vietnam. We veterans can only look with amazement on the fact that this country has not been able to see that. There's absolutely no difference between a ground troop and a helicopter crew and yet people have accepted a differentiation fed them by the administration. No ground troops are in Laos. So it's all right to kill Oceans by remote control, but believe me the helicopter Crews filled the same body bags and they wreak the same kind of damage on the Vietnamese and lotion Countryside as anyone else and the president is talking about allowing that to go on for many years to come and one can only ask if we will really be satisfied when the troops March into Hanoi. We are asking here in Washington. For some action action from the Congress of the United States of America which has the power to raise and maintain armies and which by the Constitution also has the power to declare war. We've come here not to the president because we believe that this body can be responsive to the will of the people and we believe that the will of the people says that we should be out of Viet Nam now we're here in Washington also to say that the problem of this war is not just a question of war and diplomacy. It's part and parcel of everything that we are trying as human beings to communicate to people in this country the question of racism, which is rampant in the military. And so many other questions also the use of weapons the hypocrisy in our taking Umbridge in the in the in the Geneva conventions and using that as justification for a continuation of this war when we argue more guilty than any other body of violations of those Geneva conventions in the use of free-fire zones harassment interdiction, fire search-and-destroy missions, the bombings the torture of prisoners the killing of prisoners accepted policy by many units in South Vietnam. That's what we're trying to say. It's part and parcel of everything. An American Indian friend of mine who lives on the Indian nation of Alcatraz put it to me very succinctly. He told me how is 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'm doing to these people the very same thing that was done to my people and he stopped. And that's what we're trying to say that we think this thing has to end. We're also here to ask. We are here to ask and we're here to ask them at Lee. Where are the leaders of our country? Where is the leadership? We're here to ask where a McNamara bashed out Bundy gilpatrick and so many others. Where are they now that we the men whom they sent off to war have returned. These are commanders who have deserted their troops and there is no more serious crime in the law of war. The Army says they never leave their wounded. The Marines say they never leave even they're dead. These men have left all the casualties and retreated behind a Pious Shield of public rectitude. They've left the real stuff of their reputations. Play Ching behind them in the sun in this country. And finally, this Administration has done us the ultimate dishonor. They have attempted to disown us. And the sacrifices We Made for This country in their blindness and fear. They have tried to deny that we have veterans so that we served in nam. We do not need their testimony our own scars and stumps of limbs are witness enough for others and for ourselves. We wish that a merciful god could wipe away our own memories of that service as easily as this Administration has wiped their Memories of Us. But all that they have done and all that they can do by this denial is to make more clear than ever our own determination to undertake one last mission to search out and destroy the Last Vestige of this barbaric War to pacify our own Hearts to conquer the hate and fear that have driven this country these last ten years and more and more. And so when 30 years from now our brothers go down the street without a leg without an arm or a face and small boys ask why we will be able to save Vietnam and not mean a desert not a filthy obscene memory but mean instead the place where America finally turned and where soldiers like US helped it in the tourney. Thank you. (00:24:51) That was John Kerry testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April of 1971. Again, carries Chief accusers these days the ship Swift boat Veterans for truth group says that testimony essentially smeared all Vietnam Vets as war criminals and made life much harder for American pows being held by the North Vietnamese. Kerry says in retrospect some of his language was over the top but the Kerry campaign says the Swift Boat Group takes carries testimony out of context editing what he said to distort the facts and President Bush said again yesterday that quote Senator Kerry served admirably and ought to be proud of his record. As we said at the beginning of the hour this debate over carries war and anti-war record has certainly come to dominate news coverage of the presidential campaign. And for the rest of this hour were interested in what you make of this ongoing debate has this debate changed your thinking about the candidates is this debate over what happened 30 years ago relevant are those Swift boat ads different from other ads being run this year. We invite you to give us a call here at 6512276 Thousand. That's our Twin City area number six five. One two, two seven six thousand. Our toll free number is 1-800-218-4243 our website Minnesota Public Radio dot org and click on send a question will get to your calls and comments here in just a moment right after we take a short break programming is supported by Ecolab dedicated to improving cleaning and sanitation standards for lead. Hospitality Healthcare and food processing customers worldwide on the web at Ecolab.com (00:26:41) first, the fair has a rich tradition of politics. It's the Minnesota tradition are with Pronto pup politicians aren't as popular as part of the Minnesota Public Radio at the State Fair our live broadcast start (00:26:53) the first day of the fair with Gary eichten and his guests climatologists Mark ceiling stop by our booth any time to say hi or to pick up a unique Minnesota Public Radio gift. There's something different happening every day. (00:27:04) Find out what at Minnesota Public Radio dot-org. (00:27:09) Time now for the latest news headlines. Here's Perry finale Perry Gary. Some of the charges are apparently going to be dropped against one of the army reservist accused of abusing the Iraqi detainees a lawyer for chip Frederick says he is agreed to plead guilty to the rest of the charges. He did not enter a plea when he went before a military judge today in Mannheim Germany for a pre-trial hearing his lawyer says Frederick will plead guilty to some charges against him a new Pentagon report spreads the blame for abuse of Iraqi prisoners up the chain of command a source says the investigation Falls defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and top military officials for issuing confusing policies on the acceptable methods of interrogating Iraqi Prisoners. The man who served as Osama Bin Laden chauffeur has been officially charged at a pre-trial hearing at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba his lawyers say he was poorly paid as a worker for been logged before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but the military says he was Bin Laden's body guard and delivered weapons to Al Qaeda operatives in Regional news Democratic presidential. Candidate John Kerry is due back in Minnesota on Thursday for the first time since the July 4th holiday weekend. Carrie will hold what's being billed as a town hall meeting Thursday morning at Anoka Hennepin Technical College. The topic of the Forum will be the increasing cost of Health Care President. Bush's campaign. Three times in Minnesota. Former Minnesota Governor. Jesse Ventura joined The Fray Over the war in Iraq today. Mathura says now that he's a civilian he can speak out and to resolve the current use of the National Guard is wrong emphasizing. He is an independent Ventura said the National Guard was designed to protect the Homeland not fight overseas Ventura is serving as an Advisory Board member for a new group called operation truth and supporters of a constitutional amendment Banning gay marriage in Minnesota are calling for a special legislative session to vote on the measure last session the house-passed bill at that would ask voters to change the state constitution to define marriage as a civil contract between a man and a woman the Senate didn't take up the bill the group Minnesota for marriage says Senate dfl others have made excuses not to vote on the Governor Tim pawlenty has said a special session appears unlikely Gary that's a news update from the Minnesota Public Radio Newsroom. All right. Thanks Barry. It's about 27 minutes now before 12. This is midday on Minnesota Public Radio over the noon hour. Today. We're going to continue our political coverage here on Minnesota public radio coverage of the presidential campaign yesterday. We heard from political consultant Dick Morris. Today. We're going to hear from another political commentator. Jim Hightower will be on the air over the noon hour always entertaining. Let's put it that way. So we'll have Jim Hightower over the noon hour this hour the rest of this hour though. We hope to hear from you. We are talking about the ongoing debate in this country over those Swift boat ads Senator. John Kerry's War record is anti-war activities in the rest really had a profound impact on the presidential campaign carry himself today accused the Tens of what he called fear and smear negative tactics. He said quote they have obviously decided that some people will believe anything no matter how fictional or how far-fetched if they just repeat it often enough, but we're interested in your thoughts on how this debate is playing out your general reactions to the debate. What do you think the debate is relative to the campaign this year 30 years after the Vietnam War ended should it be relevant to this campaign also interested in whether or not you think these Swift boat ads that have caused so much controversy differ in some qualitative way from other attack ads that are being run this year. Let me give you the number again. We have a full Bank of callers. So wait a couple of minutes of some of the power lines clear and then we'd like to get you on the air six five. One two, two seven six thousand or one eight hundred two, four two two eight two eight or again. You can use our online service go to our website, Minnesota Public Radio dot org and Gon send a question Larry your first go ahead Place. Hi. I'm a Vietnam veteran and I actually worked with the other Senator Kerry Bob Kerry who has since announced how he saw a atrocities in Vietnam. I was part of the Vietnam veterans against the War. I went there naively just like I suppose John Kerry did just like a lot of people did there were really two groups of people who went to Vietnam the naive ones and the people who had to go and everybody who didn't go got out of it like Dick Cheney did with exemptions and and whatnot. So that was the most fantastic speech I've ever heard John Kerry certainly got nothing to apologize for him. And you notice that none of the Swift boat veterans are denying the atrocities. They're all just claiming to be smeared by it. You know, it's this is this is just more nonsense and that's my comment. Hey, let me ask you this Larry. Do you think that the the Swift Boat Group? Has been sharply criticized by the carry folks for running these ads. Do you think though that they mature they differ in any substantial way from all the other attack ads that have been run during this presidential campaign on both sides? No, I don't, you know, I mean in people who say like bushes saying, you know, we had to take this off. It's just because they want to escape the heat, you know carries perfectly capable of dealing with this kind of attack the American public's perfectly capable of it and it's the reason why naive people like myself went to Vietnam to fight for this kind of thing and it's perhaps unfortunate but it's part of the political discourse and it's what we need to do. All right. Thanks Larry. Yeah, but let's move on to another caller with some comments on this ongoing debate over these Swift mode adds Dwight your thoughts Place. Yeah. Thank you and the US Army veteran of the Vietnam era. I was not in country, but I was around at that time. I guess the main thing I want to do is thank you and Minnesota Public Radio for running this speech because I believe you have really cleared up but the problem is that was a magnificent speech. I felt so honored as a veteran by what he was saying so honored but what about Elliot? So close is so clearly pointed out to me the Distortion that these Swift boat guys are involved in but Dwight during the speech during his comments to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. For example, Senator Kerry at the time. He wasn't Senator John Kerry said that that the nation had created a monster suggesting that perhaps all these Vietnam vets were going to go loony. I don't think he was saying that we were all going to go loony. I think he was saying is that we had, you know, a million 1/2 young men of America that were completely disillusioned with our government and had lost faith that we were being told the truth and that is a monster and it Is with us today, I think is what's behind us with both thing. You know, I mean, I feel for these Swift boat guys on the stuff they're trying to do but you know, I think you've got the wrong person. It's not John Kerry. These guys are still angry about what was done to them. They still can't believe they were taken advantage of and they're striking out at anything and everything they feel so Dishonored by what happened to them. I think if they actually heard what John Kerry just said in that speech they feel differently. I know I do thanks to I appreciate the call. Welcome. We're talking this our about the Swift boat ad campaign and how it has affected the presidential campaign this year interested in your thoughts reactions. Again, all of our phone lines are busy, but do try as here in a couple minutes so we can get you on six five. One two, two seven six thousand or 1-800-222-8477 online service go to our website, Minnesota Public Radio dot org and click on Send a question. Joanne send in a online comment saying that she's tired of hearing about this issue and asks can't we move on to real issues and David from Richfield sends in an online comment saying the John Kerry I heard in that hearing is the one I want to vote for. I am saddened to hear carry try to distance himself from his heroic. Testimony Steve. You're up next. Go ahead, please. Yeah, I mean you're a vet. Also. I'm also white year the member and I have to tell you he was right. I have enough friends that I took care of when they came back and that sort of thing that what he said is absolutely correct and I am so sick and tired of the Swift boat people, you know, the I agree with your last caller. I think that that many cases that they are upset over what was done to them not by They provide this Comber not by the government in power at that time. I like to point out that people, you know getting back to an earlier issue of metals is a he didn't award these to himself somebody gave them to it. In this case. It was the Navy and you know, now you have a comment by a senator goal that apparently his wound wasn't bad enough. I'd point out that Senator Dole got a Purple Heart in the second world war for throwing a grenade having a bounce off a tree and then blew up and wounded himself and they know that is just as honorable as what John Kerry said, you know wound was it doesn't matter how he got it. He was there he did get fired on and he did get wounded and they're all the rest of the Superfluous. Let me ask you this Steve. Do you think that this debate over John Kerry's War record and now it's kind of morphing into his anti-war activities. Is that relevant to the presidential campaign this year? Only in the sense that it showed a man of character back then and it shows a man of character. Now II do think that he should come out more strongly. I thought you should have come out a lot sooner and said this is all a bunch of hogwash and come on say it. I mean I had to totally agree with them if he wants to be of people want to put his service on the Block and debate about it and bring it on. Let's do it. Let's talk about it. I think there's a lot of people in this country that are just fed up with the Vietnam. They don't know how to put it away. They don't know how to put the memories and what they did away and I think they need to start working on that. All right. Thank you Steve appreciate problem. Let's move on to another caller Rick's on the line from Bloomington wreck ahead, please. Well I served in the same unit as Senator Kerry. I was not there when he was there. I'd left shortly before but I was a skipper on a swift boat and I can tell you that what is being said about Senator Kerry are lies and that the only people that knew What happened at that time were the guys that were on that platform with them and they have all testified to what happened? I think it's a perfect example of how people can put a spin on something that takes a person who is heroic and who the United States Navy does not give out three purple hearts a bronze star and a silver star by mistake and it's a travesty to those of us who were might have received those metals to be told that hey, these are just a series of mistakes. These guys are the two callers before me I could just say all men they are it was tough for all of us and it's hard to believe that these guys are going back and distorting the truth of a individual like Senator Kerry. Yes wreck before you run here on mid-morning this morning. One of the guests said that he had been at a veteran's Convention of some sort. And mostly populated by folks like yourself would served on these boats in the Mekong Delta and they had to a man were upset at carry wouldn't vote for him in a million years. What do you suppose accounts for the difference in reaction between the way you think about this and apparently the way those guys think about this? Well, I think they're still trying to justify perhaps their service and I think in many cases some of these people who represent themselves as as Swift boat guys were at other bases may be a lot more peaceful basis or were not specifically in combat in Sonnen Dock and some of the rivers that we were in that had the same experiences. So I think the two veterans that talked earlier were absolutely correct. Some people just can't put it away or else you're not willing to face the truth when I came home. I heard carry talk and I was angry at Carrie, but I'll tell you and looking back on it. He was absolutely We write everything you said was absolutely true and it was a tragedy for all of us and we're we've all moved on and then far as I'm concerned. I'd like to see him take that whole block a history and omitted from our country because I'm tired of hearing about it and I don't need to relive it. Okay. Thanks for your call Rick you bet. Let's move on to a caller from Hutchinson Crisco had Place good morning morning. My comment has to do with just a freedom of speech issue something that concerns me quite a bit with the Swift boat controversy, Senator Kerry when he was speaking before the Congress showed the power freedom of speech by being able to speak up against something that he felt was wrong. Now. Apparently these other soldiers who were present at the time of these incidents have decided because of the importance of the presidential To speak up and my concern is when a campaign such as the Kerry campaign. Yes, the president of the United States United States to ask a group of citizens to shut up to not speak about something that they feel concerned about. I feel like that is is a misplacement of that that freedom that we have to speak up about issues that are important to a particular individual the that freedom that we hold so so dear and I would like these people to either to stand or fall on what they're saying and then the truth will come out but they asked the president the United States to ask them to be quiet about it. I don't think is right. Do you think there's anything qualitatively different between these Swift boat ads that have generated so much controversy criticism praise and so on any difference between Those ads and all the other negative ads that have been run during the presidential campaign. Well, the way that I see it is that these are a group of individuals that have a very personal personal history regarding Senator Kerry and this particular incident and they feel as though it's their duty to speak up at that's how I'm reading it and that would be different to me as a voter from the the negative ads that we all see playing in every election cycle at that tend to turn us off as the electorate the negative, you know type of ads that you see that that basically takes someone's record and try to distort it instead of just historically put it out there for everybody to see I would rather much rather see the president and John Kerry engaging in constructive debate about what they want to do with the country, but I certainly don't think that that in terms of a group of people wanting to speak up that you should ask them to be quiet. Okay. Thanks very (00:43:12) Aw, (00:43:12) Chris. You're welcome. We had an online comment from Mark in Minneapolis. Who asks why he says correct? Bob Dole's injury that was referenced earlier in the program. Mark says that former Senator Dole was injured with a Nazi machine gun fire. I think the controversy I'm not an expert on this and I don't pretend to be but I think the the controversy in that case has to do with the fact that Senator Dole was injured wounded more than once I think that's what that's all about. Bob your next. Go ahead please this. Is he talking to me. Yes. I think this is the first known instance of Senator Kerry or John Kerry changing his mind in the public Arena and it turned to me it would Question is did. He have a can honest change of mind or an honest rethinking of the issues or should have you thought deeper and not volunteered for Vietnam in the first place. Is it possible in your mind Bob that he went to Vietnam because he was asked well essentially asked to buy his country when he got there he what he saw he didn't like. Oh, yes, absolutely. But he did volunteer that he said that himself in should he have looked more closely at the issues. I was not in Vietnam. I don't know, you know personally what happened there. I was against the war but I wasn't a rabbit War protester, but and I would have gone had I been called but I certainly didn't want to and I was aware of the time what was happening there. So did he have an honest change of mind or should you look deeper into the issues? That's the question to leadership. So you think it is relevant this whole it debate is relevant to today's presidential campaign. Just that part of it. I think it's but I think it is detracting from the other deeper issues in the campaign. Yes. Thanks for your call Monkey. But let's move on to another caller. Terry is on the line from Minneapolis Terry. Go ahead Place. Yeah. I thought that the carrier remarks before the Foreign Relations Committee were eloquent at the time. I think that the eloquent speaks well down through these many years. I believe that what mr. McCain has said Should inform each and every person thinks that this is just another piece of the usual politics. He stated very eloquently couple of weeks ago what the President should do president president fundamentally still has not done that and he also said something as a sidebar to those remarks that got a lot of play was that they did this to me in the primary for years ago. Why should they be surprised and the attwater doc Karl Rove? What he does? They never directly connected Willie Horton to the campaign in 88 and I see it as the same type of campaign tactic. It's something to avoid talking about the Dismal record of the administration that's trying to be elected for the first time. Thank you very much. Before you run there Terry. The j4 Minneapolis has an online comment that I would like you to comment on. He says many pro carry callers say that we should put Vietnam behind us. But Jay notes. It's he says it's difficult when Kerry has built his entire campaign on for months in Vietnam. Do you think that carries War record is anti-war record is relevant to this year's presidential campaign. Those are two entirely different subjects what the what the people have been doing with the money from Texas. And remember these Swift boat. People didn't raise the money for these commercials. This is a rich friend in Texas of the Bush Administration if you want to talk about the man's record, My family is maybe going back several generations and I'll stand by what the earlier caller said that the man has two metals and they weren't given out lightly and that was kind of what McCain said now if a person wants to talk about his reaction to what he saw there and what was done I wasn't there to see what he song but I have to admit that I'm going to take his words and the words of Vietnam veterans who served together as being basically truthful on what they say. Now when you you talk about that versus somebody who did not serve with. Mr. Carey on the same Swift boat at the same time. That isn't isn't remotely the same thing. I agree with you that it's all right to talk about Vietnam. That's fine his service there. That's fine, but that's not Necessarily what this is about and I can still see that Willie Horton revolving door to this day. All right. Well, thanks Teri. Thank you. Appreciate the call. Let's move on to another caller Marines on the line. Go ahead and Marine. Hi Gary. Hi. First of all, I would just like to say thank you to the various Vietnam veterans who've called in today and to all veterans who have served our country, you know, obviously many of them have mixed feelings about things they did there but just the fact that they would go and put their life on the line and I just thank them for that. But the comment I wanted to make about the two ads or I was very very surprised that the first ad had any effect whatsoever apparently has had a negative effect among veterans in terms of their support for John Kerry. The reason I was surprised was it just seems so transparent one guy after another gets up and said John Kerry lied. He lied he lied but there were absolutely no specifics in the ad about what he supposedly lied about and I just found that very transparent in the fact that you would get up and say something as inflammatory is it He lied and not back it up with something to me just showed pure politics and ver made it very suspicious the second and I'm so thankful that you guys played the whole tape today seems very clear that when he when John Kerry testified the little squibs they put in about the atrocities that supposedly happened. There. They make it sound in the ad like he's saying either he saw it or everybody did it that's what they're trying to leave the impression that he's tired everybody, but he was very specific that he had been at a meeting and Michigan or somewhere like somewhere like that were Vietnam veterans had come and talked about what they had seen and that he was summarizing what other people had seen and said they'd seen if anyone wants to say that we go to war and nothing bad ever happens and no atrocities ever happened. They should just kind of look at the news and I will grab and things do happen. That doesn't mean everybody did it but you put people in that situation where their their lives are on the line and they're traipsing through Villages and they don't really know exactly what they're there for. They're scared to death and they're a bunch of 20 year old kids and somebody is going to do bad things and some people are going to justify who are higher up in the line that it's necessary for to accomplish the goal Marine. Do you think the Swift bought ads are qualitatively different than the many other negative ads that have been run on both sides during this presidential campaign, you know part of my problem is I've seen so much more about these Swift boat ads than any other thing that I would call a negative ad. I found them empty factually. I often have a problem Gary with the idea of quote-unquote negative ads main part of the job of a campaign it to say why they would do better and what another campaign has done wrong and our another Administration has done or would do wrong and I don't find that to be in itself objectionable. What I find objectionable is when there aren't facts to back it up on the first amendment issue. I did want to say one thing Kerry has a First Amendment right to say to Bush, you know, you either back this up or don't you agree with this? Are not because they're standing in here arguing. You should be president because of these lies do you back that up or do you not and it's just too easy for it's actually Bush that has refused for a long time to acknowledge the specifics address the specifics and instead has said, oh I just want all of these ads off the air which is kind of convenient. He's the one who actually saying the 527 shouldn't have right to talk. Of course, they should question is do people look at it critically and look for actual facts. Thanks Marina. Thank you. Let's get a comment on the air here from Tori Tori. Go ahead please morning Gary. I'd like to start out by pointing out. Well first thank you for playing the entirety of the testimonies. First time I've ever heard it rather than chopped up soundbite style. I think one of the biggest problems with this debate is that so few people a were in Vietnam and be obviously a smaller fraction actually saw what John Kerry did those four months. So there's not much factual stuff we can discuss what we can discuss is the testimony. Versus military Doctrine what he testifies to is that they committed these Geneva conventions violations and I basement what I'm about to say on the fact that I'm a combat veteran of operation Iraqi freedom and I instruct not only use but instructed Rules of Engagement law of armed conflict Geneva Convention type information. I was instructor in those topics when you list free-fire zones interdiction missions search-and-destroy missions. Well, if those are Jeannie are violations of the Geneva conventions and I am I also am a war criminal if you look up the Army manuals on for the definitions of those different terms, those are not violations of the law of armed conflict. They all sound horrible and I certainly wouldn't want one of my living room but they're simply not violations of the law of armed conflict a free-fire zone is basically just a Fire Control measure. It doesn't mean that you can kill everyone in the area doesn't mean you can burn down villages. It just it has to do with the coordination. Between different firing agencies and it doesn't it would not Shock me to think it's the one swift boat captain was confused about those topics. It would disappoint me to know that someone was going to go before the Senate and testify to those things without getting his story straight. And like I said, we don't know what what John Kerry did in Vietnam, but we can look to the testimony and it raises some serious questions. Why would someone testify to that not knowing the full story? Thanks for your call Tori. All right. Appreciate it. We are unfortunately getting to the end of the line here and I want to urge you. We've got a full Bank of callers and so on I want to urge you if you have a computer to continue this conversation online because we'd like to get your comments on this. Obviously. This is a topic of substantial and to some degree passionate debate in this country. I'd like to get your comments and discussion online go to our website if you What plays Minnesota Public Radio dot org and there's a your voice section there and add your comments to this again. The basic questions that were interested in is your general reaction to this debate over John Kerry's war and anti-war record whether you think this is debate is relevant to the presidential campaign this year. Should it be relevant do these Swift boat ads that have caused so much controversy do they differ qualitatively from other ads that are being run this year. There's lots of Grist for the mill and we would like you to add your comments again. Our website web address is Minnesota Public Radio dot org and thanks to all of you who called inner tried to call in or send in your questions online during this hour will be repeating this program at 9:00 tonight. By the way, second chance to hear that Senate testimony now quick reminder while we have a second this Thursday, we make our state fair day. You first day of the State Fair Mark Seeley Will Be Our Guests along with county attorney's Klobuchar and Gartner always a great program and we hope you can join us at the fair celebrate the grand opening of the new spco center with Minnesota Public (00:55:25) Radio join us on Friday September 10th for a full day of (00:55:29) performances and live broadcasts from the new headquarters of the Saint Paul chamber orchestra will start at 7 a.m. With Arts culture and classical music from (00:55:39) spco musicians (00:55:40) the shows run all day long and they're free but reservations are (00:55:44) required find out how to get your seat when you visit Minnesota Public Radio (00:55:48) dot org and click on events. Your to 91.1 Candor wfm Minneapolis and st. Paul. We have a cloudy Sky 71 degrees currently in the Twin Cities The Weather Service says there is a good chance for some showers and thundershowers the rest of this afternoon with a high temperature 75 to 80 degrees tonight again, a 40% chance for some showers and thundershowers overnight low around 65 degrees tomorrow again, some more rain is possible partly cloudy 40% chance for showers and thundershowers and relatively warm weather back in the area high temperature again tomorrow 80 degrees. If you're looking ahead a couple of days the extended forecast on Thursday calls for a thunderstorm with a high temperature near 85 and then on Friday again thunderstorms are possible with a high near 80. Those headlines are next and then right after the news we're going to hear from political commentator Jim Hightower.