We have received another eloquent message on the subject of Kerry and the war, this one from Dave Schmidt. Schmidt is a former colleague of Kerry’s in Vietnam Veterans Against the War. He prefaces his message to us with the statement that he has “avoided this [subject] for a long time because I thought John would self-destruct (he still may), but he is, in my opinion of course, a man without a true moral center who would endanger our country for his own ambition.” Schmidt writes:
As a Viet Vet (USAF 460th TAC Recon Wing, 16th and 12th TAC Recon Squadrons July 4, 1967 to Feb 12, 1968, home base Tan Son Nhut), I have been interested in the postings on John Kerry’s service. The more so because I was in VVAW with Kerry for 1971 and 1972.
At that time VVAW had three groups under the overall umbrella; those hardcore radicals that were anti-America, those vets disgusted with the lack of will to win the war and instead saw our political leadership in both parties willing to sacrifice good lives seeking stalemate and a face saving exit, and finally a small group of politically ambitious ticket punchers. John was a founding member of the last group. He was more palatable to the media than the hard core radicals and yet, was not considered a “leader” by anyone within the organization. We all recognized John for what he was; someone who had calculated that he could go farther in politics as a liberal, anti-war vet, and who used the organization to further that ambition.
With the years and maturity I have come to recognize that VVAW was not a good vehicle for those of us who wanted the sacrifices by our buddies to lead to victory and safety for the people of South Viet Nam, so I guess I’m now a “neocon.” Whatever. John was, and is, an empty shirt blown up with his own sense of self-importance (as my mother-in-law used to say “he thinks who he is!”) with no substance and no thought but for his own advantage.
However misguided the radicals in the organization were, and they truly were, they honestly believed in their position and arrived at it through conscience. John arrived at his through calculation and artifice. He is not worthy of any vet’s support – no matter how they feel about the war.