The New Soldier — then and now

Joshua Sharf of the excellent View from a Height site has obtained a copy of The New Soldier. This is the coffee table anti(Vietnam)war book that reprints John Kerry’s 1971 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and that Kerry has turned into a collector’s item by refusing to authorize republication. We wrote about the book previously in “The New Soldier against Kerry.”
Joshua recounts his efforts to obtain a copy of the book here, posts his transcription of Kerry’s afterword here, and posts some period photos as an accompaniment here.
Regarding Kerry’s afterword to the book, Joshua writes: “If you make it to the end, note how tired you are just reading it, and think about the suspension of mental activity necessary to transcribe it.” Here’s a sample of the afterword:

We will not quickly join those who march on Veterans’ Day waving small flags, calling to memory those thousands who died for the “greater glory of the United States.” We will not accept the rhetoric. We will not readily join the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars – in fact, we will find it hard to join anything at all and when we do, we will demand relevancy such as other organizations have recently been unable to provide. We will not take solace from the creation of monuments or the naming of parks after a select few of the thousands of dead Americans and Vietnamese. We will not uphold traditions which decorously memorialize that which was base and grim.
It is from these things that the New Soldier is asking America to turn. We are asking America to turn from false glory, hollow victory, fabricated foreign threats, fear which threatens us as a nation, shallow pride which feeds off fear, and mostly from the promises which have proven so deceiving these past ten years…
By discussing crimes committed in war, the New Soldier is trying to break through the callowness and end the neglect. Regardless of whether crimes have been committed in other wars or even by the other side in this one, America must understand how our paticipation in Vietnam and the methods and motives used by American fighting men are part of a continuing national moral standard. As New Soldiers we are seeking to elevate that standard as well as to demonstrate when it has been part of a significant illusion. Individuals are trying, by denying themselves the luxury of forgetting about their acts, to spare other the agony of having to commit them at some time in the future.


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