When John Kerry shipped out of Vietnam, John O’Neill took over the command of Swift Boat PCF-94. They crossed paths back home when O’Neill challenged Kerry’s defamation of the American men serving in Vietnam on the Dick Cavett Show in 1971. Today the Wall Street Journal features O’Neill’s declaration that Kerry is “Unfit for office.” O’Neill first responds to Kerry’s antiwar slander and libel of the men then who had served and were serving in Vietnam:
Neither I, nor any man I served with, ever committed any atrocity or war crime in Vietnam. The opposite was the truth. Rather than use excessive force, we suffered casualty after casualty because we chose to refrain from firing rather than risk injuring civilians. More than once, I saw friends die in areas we entered with loudspeakers rather than guns. John Kerry’s accusations then and now were an injustice that struck at the soul of anyone who served there.
During my 1971 televised debate with John Kerry, I accused him of lying. I urged him to come forth with affidavits from the soldiers who had claimed to have committed or witnessed atrocities. To date no such affidavits have been filed. Recently, Sen. Kerry has attempted to reframe his comments as youthful or “over the top.” Yet always there has been a calculated coolness to the way he has sought to destroy the record of our honorable service in the interest of promoting his political ambitions of the moment.
John Kennedy’s book, “Profiles in Courage,” and Dwight Eisenhower’s “Crusade in Europe” inspired generations. Not so John Kerry, who has suppressed his book, “The New Soldier,” prohibiting its reprinting. There is a clear reason for this. The book repeats John Kerry’s insults to the American military, beginning with its front-cover image of the American flag being carried upside down by a band of bearded renegades in uniform–a clear slap at the brave Marines in their combat gear who raised our flag at Iwo Jima. Allow me the reprint rights to your book, Sen. Kerry, and I will make sure copies of “The New Soldier” are available in bookstores throughout America.
“The New Soldier” has become a collector’s item. You can tell this book by its cover; it reprises Kerry’s outrageous 1971 Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony. (Mackubin Thomas Owens provides a useful overview of Kerry’s dishonorable 1971 acitivities in “Vetting the vet record.”)
Vietnam was a long time ago. Why does it matter today? Since the days of the Roman Empire, the concept of military loyalty up and down the chain of command has been indispensable. The commander’s loyalty to the troops is the price a commander pays for the loyalty of the troops in return. How can a man be commander in chief who for over 30 years has accused his “Band of Brothers,” as well as himself, of being war criminals? On a practical basis, John Kerry’s breach of loyalty is a prescription of disaster for our armed forces.
John Kerry’s recent admissions caused me to realize that I was most likely in Vietnam dodging enemy rockets on the very day he met in Paris with Madame Binh, the representative of the Viet Cong to the Paris Peace Conference. John Kerry returned to the U.S. to become a national spokesperson for the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, a radical fringe of the antiwar movement, an organization set upon propagating the myth of war crimes through demonstrably false assertions. Who was the last American POW to die languishing in a North Vietnamese prison forced to listen to the recorded voice of John Kerry disgracing their service by his dishonest testimony before the Senate?
Since 1971, I have refused many offers from John Kerry’s political opponents to speak out against him. My reluctance to become involved once again in politics is outweighed now by my profound conviction that John Kerry is simply not fit to be America’s commander in chief. Nobody has recruited me to come forward. My decision is the inevitable result of my own personal beliefs and life experience.
Today, America is engaged in a new war, against the militant Islamist terrorists who attacked us on our own soil. Reasonable people may differ about how best to proceed, but I’m sure of one thing–John Kerry is the wrong man to put in charge.
The Journal pointedly identifies O’Neill as having served in Coastal Division 11 in 1969-70, winning two Bronze Stars and additional decorations for his service in Vietnam.