A debt of honor

The Boston Globe weighs the merits of John Kerry’s attack on the behavior of the American military in Vietnam upon his release from active duty in 1970: “Kerry stand on abuses gets backlash.”
The best thing about the story is its headline; the story itself allocates far too much merit to the substance of the outrageous, defamatory charges Kerry leveled against the American soldiers serving in Vietnam.
Mackubin Thomas Owens is a former Marine platoon leader who served in Vietnam from 1968-1969. He is now a teacher and scholar at the Naval War College who has devoted himself to shedding light on the important issue raised by Kerry’s antiwar behavior. In January, for example, NRO published his “Vetting the vet record,” a detailed assessment of the evolution and merit of Kerry’s charges.
In February National Review published a cover story by Owens on the subject. The story does not appear to be available online but is summarized in “Kerry’s other Vietnam record.” The May 3 issue of National Review carries Owens’s most recent discussion of the subject: “They charge war crimes.” Unfortunately, only the first few paragraphs of the article are available online.
The truth of the matter is that upon his return from Vietnam, John Kerry broadly defamed the men serving in Vietnam. Those who survived, like Owens, have eloquently exposed the falsity of Kerry’s charges. Perhaps more importantly, they answered the questions raised by their own loved ones about Kerry’s charges.
The outrage that fuels the animus of Kerry’s former officers, among others who served and who know the falsity of his charges, is the inability of the thousands who died in service to speak on their own behalf and vindicate their honor to their wives and children. John Kerry owes them an accounting, and the truth.
UPDATE: Military historian and Vietnam vet John B. Dwyer adds another dimension to the story in his post on the American Thinker site: “Call sign: Boston Strangler.” (Courtesy of Thomas Lifson and Malcolm Smordin.)

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