Kerrey in Vietnam
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Editor, The Konformist
Bob Anderson <top_view@...>
Kerrey SEALs Dispute Slanderous, False Account of Viet Deaths
-- Unit was responding to fire
One Gerhard Klann, who has severely maligned Bob Kerrey publicly by
claiming Kerrey ordered his Vietnam SEAL squad to deliberately and
cold-bloodedly execute defenseless civilians at point-blank range 32
years ago, is clearly assisting and fronting for other hidden
parties/interests (and their covert agendas); such as any who might
to completely assassinate Kerrey politically regarding any further
attempts to run for President.
Does the Bush International Crime Empire seems a likely suspect? Hell
We'll say it again: get OFF Bob Kerrey's back, people!
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Members of Kerrey's SEAL team rebut report on Vietnam deaths
April 29, 2001
Web posted at: 11:38 AM EDT (1538 GMT)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Former
U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey Friday met with
five other members of the Navy SEAL
unit to discuss in detail their attack
on a village in Vietnam 32 years ago
that cost at least 13 unarmed civilians
their lives, the Washington Post
Preempting publication of the incident in the New York Times Magazine
and on CBS News' "60 Minutes II," Kerrey had issued a statement on
Thursday, saying that he could not justify, militarily or morally, the
1969 encounter in the Mekong Delta between his troops and Vietnamese
But Kerrey has insisted his troops were returning fire in the
version of events supported by all but one of the other Navy SEALS on
his team in a statement issued after their meeting on Friday,
to the Post.
In their unanimous statement, the six men denied rounding up women and
children and shooting them at point-blank range, a charge leveled by
seventh member of their team, Gerhard Klann, in an article in Sunday's
New York Times Magazine.
Kerrey told the Post in an interview on Saturday that six of the seven
members of his SEAL unit met at his New York home for about five hours
on Friday evening to discuss what they remember about the attack.
"At the village we received fire and we returned fire," the six men
in their joint statement.
"One of the men in our squad remembers that we rounded up women and
children and shot them at point-blank range in order to cover our
extraction. That simply is not true. We know there was an enemy
in this village. We know this meeting had been secured by armed
We took fire from these forces and we returned fire. Knowing our
presence had been compromised and that our lives were endangered we
withdrew while continuing to fire," the statement continued.
Kerrey, a 25-year-old lieutenant at the time, was awarded the Bronze
Star for his role in the incident, which occurred in an isolated
hamlet called Thanh Phong in Vietnam's eastern Mekong Delta on Feb.
The Nebraska Democrat retired from Congress in January and now heads
York's New School University. He had considered a run for the
in 2000, but decided against it.
Kerrey has said his Navy SEAL squad was in a high-risk, free-fire zone
where they believed a military meeting was taking place and where
were no civilians. He said his unit was returning fire when the
civilians were killed.
But the seventh Navy SEAL told the New York Times Magazine that Kerrey
ordered the women and children killed for fear they would alert enemy
soldiers. Klann was not invited to the Friday night meeting.
The Times article carries both men's versions of events, as well as
of a Vietnamese woman in the village.
Klann was quoted in the Times article as saying the Kerrey commandos
slaughtered the villagers so the SEAL team could escape. "Our chances
would have been slim to none to get out alive," the Times quotes Klann
But Kerrey told the Post: "No one else in the squad has that memory.
did not round up women and children and execute them."
He added that the village was controlled by the Viet Cong, and during
the war, "gender and age distinctions were not always reliable
indicators of who was a threat to your life."
The Times Magazine article also quotes Klann as saying that as the
neared the village, it encountered an isolated house in which Kerrey
helped Klann kill an old man. "Kerrey put his knee on the man's
the article quotes Klann as saying, "as Klann drew his knife across
In their statement the six SEAL team members acknowledged
methods to keep our presence from being detected" at an enemy outpost,
according to the Post. But the paper said Kerrey twice denied playing
role in killing the old man.
John Judge on Kerry
Wed, 2 May 2001
Thomas, Kenneth F. <kennthomas@...>
The breaking of the story by Kerry is causing a massive spin rush by
mainline media. They are acting outraged that anyone asked him
questions about keeping his medal, or investigating war crimes in
Vietnam. They have stepped up with the usual cant about "old men
guns in their clothes" to completely justify anything Kerry and his
did, when even he realizes and admits it was wrong. "Don't worry about
it buddy, they were just Gooks anyhow, and you were doing your sacred
duty!" I wonder if anyone has compared all this to the recent flaps in
German towns when anti-fascists have uncovered old war crimes, or even
in France when the collaborationist issues were raised? Kerry is
obviously putting his own spin on a story of slaughter that was about
break anyway and forced his hand. But, the good thing is that if it
only come from his men it would have been ignored, when he fessed up,
opened the floodgates, at least potentially, for others to come
The deathly silence around these crimes, imposed in large part by
non-veterans and the Pentagon dominated media, has taken an awful toll
on veterans and citizens alike over these decades. These were not
isolated incidents, this was a policy and a genodical war. I recall a
book that drew entirely on published press reports of the war, that
compiled war crimes committed by the US, section by section from the
international code. It should be Kissinger and the war planners
answering these questions, not a second lieutenant. But the press
to forgive Kerry, even to the point of exonerating him for any excess,
and the rest of us in the process, of course. They also want to put a
lid on it. We should be working to keep the discourse alive, to invite
veterans to speak finally about the horror they were part of, and to
make America face its unassessed crimes of genocide, ecocide and
ethnocide in Vietnam and since. This is the only way that veterans and
Vietnamese can possibly heal, that the country can get past the walls
denial after all these years, and that there can be any hope to stop
continuation of such crimes in the future. Timothy McVeigh knew the
irony of his use of "collateral damage" in relation to the deaths of
children in the McMurtaugh building in the Oklahoma City bombing, it
the sanitized term that the Army that trained him uses to denote
civilian deaths that result from ostensibly military operations. We
no less callous. I still recall the Chaplain during the Gulf War who
counseled an objector "Don't worry, son, the people you will be
are not Christians". The Pentagon and the reactionaries still want the
only moral issue around war to be whether a person submits and takes
part in their "duty", certainly not the nature of the war or the
that goes on. Our current military weapons and anti-personnell killing
capacities make the Nazi Hohenzollern machine look like a rubber band
affair, we have escalated genocide to a techno-art now. And yet the
ghosts of Vietnam still linger, haunting us because we will not face
them, and even Kerry admits he still sees their faces, because
take the dead with them, a dirty little secret the Pentagon would
not let out. The fellow veterans closed ranks around Kerry, protecting
themselves from the condemnation that rests on all their shoulders,
that really belongs elsewhere. John Kerry was an early leader in
Veterans against the War, though he was kicked out soon for his
politics by the other veterans. Coming Home to War by Nicosa is a
recently released study about the GI and veteran resistance, and VVAW
specifically. David Harris, the famous draft resister who was once
married to Joan Baez, did a book a few years back called Our War, and
was arguing that the discussion remained unfinished between veterans,
non-veterans and resisters, and he called for forums then. And another
book, Desertion in the Time of Vietnam, tells the personal tale of a
who went to Canada and his friends who were killed and shattered by
war. If we are ever to have any hope of healing the moral cancer
created, it has to be faced now, and Kerry has given us a crack in the
door if we take it. We live in a country where some still hate
dodger" more than a war criminal. I keep thinking of Nazi Germany, I
Wed, 2 May 2001
THE HORROR THAT WILL NEVER GO AWAY
DAVID H. HACKWORTH
Ex-Sen. Bob Kerrey's admission about a 1969 Vietnam atrocity might
generated a media feeding frenzy, but it's not news to me.
Nine years ago at Newsweek, I got a call from a man who claimed he
"former SEAL" and whispered last week's headline news. But after some
and shoveling, editor Maynard Parker and I walked away. Years later,
Newsweek reporter, Gregory Vistica, came up with the same story, and
We never ran with my story because:
* The allegation couldn't be backed up. Participants had conflicting
common among warriors even immediately after a fight and especially
later. No big surprise. Most eyewitnesses to a traumatic experience --
battle-related or civilian -- remember it differently.
* The whisperer couldn't explain why, since military law was on his
didn't stop the massacre. You know, "Lt. Kerrey, cease/desist or I'll
you." Or why he didn't immediately report the "war crime" per Navy
why he then sat on it for so many years.
Another reason was based on my almost five years in Vietnam, where,
that shameful war, there were thousands of such atrocities. My
battalion's first big "kill" in 1965 was a night ambush at An Khe that
destroyed a tribal family who hadn't gotten the word about the
draftee unit I skippered in 1969 -- as I've recently discovered while
interviews for a new book -- had at least a dozen such horrors. Most
reported at the time as "enemy killed." Thirty-two years later, the
participants say: It was the easy way out; we couldn't handle the
command was constantly pushing the body-count figure.
Everywhere our young men fought in Vietnam, where there were
was carnage. Especially in the Mekong Delta -- where Kerrey's
hunting and being hunted by an armed enemy who was everywhere.
Most of us have heard of William Calley's My Lai massacre, where
noncombatants were cut down in a bloodbath led by a madman. But ask
who fought in the Delta, where 35 percent of Vietnam's population
civilians got caught in the middle of the cross fire -- and the
answer has to
Few innocents were killed on purpose. But it was a war with no front,
of the enemy in the Delta wore uniforms or fought by the rules of
many women, children and old men were "freedom fighters" not unlike
during our War of Independence.
My division in the Delta, the 9th, reported killing more than 20,000
Cong in 1968 and 1969, yet less than 2,000 weapons were found on
dead. How much of the "body count" consisted of civilians?
John Paul Vann told me in April 1969 when he was in charge of
the Delta that "at least 30 percent were noncombatants" and that he'd
to President Nixon about having the 9th immediately pulled out of the
A month later, the division got its marching orders.
Gen. Julian Ewell, who commanded the 9th, never ordered his soldiers
civilians. Nor did I. Nor, in my judgment, did Bob Kerrey. Nor did
the scared young men -- lying out in the mud night after night
sound was an enemy who'd soon take their lives -- purposely kill
The Vietnam War was a 25-year running sore in which more than 5
Southeast Asians died, nearly half a million Americans bled and
others still bear the pain and the shame and the scars.
This week, Vistica finally presents his sensational story of events
in print, followed by Dan Rather on television. But neither was on
neither has been a combat grunt. Vistica never served; Rather did
have a go
at becoming a Marine but never completed boot camp. As far as I'm
neither is qualified to pass judgment on soldiers or sailors.
Matter of fact, neither of these frequent military bashers is fit to
Kerrey's one jungle boot -- the other having been left behind in
his foot in it while he bravely answered his country's call.
(c) 2001 David H. Hackworth
Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.
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--2-- HACK NOTES
Busy times. The Navy recon plane...defending Bob Kerrey...and for
matter as an extension all of those brave, young men who fought in
who thirty odd years later are still being called "baby killers."
And there's the final polish of the new book HOPELESS TO HARDCORE
ironically takes place only a few miles from where Kerrey's beat up
occurred and during the same period. Incidentally, we have how heard
over 200 guys from the Hardcore and their supporting units -- Black
and the Boomerangs, etc. If any of you served with those units in
please contact Deborah at admin@... (or
and schedule an interview. You've probably got another month to get
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keep the como short and sweet and understand I get over 500 emails a
Soldiers For The Truth is blistering the Pentagon and the
fat cats who are self-serving top brass. Please keep the
coming to Zimm and crew. They're doing a wonderful job. Zimm still
out of his living room and we've got to get him into an office with
help. This takes money. So reach into your pockets and send him
He translates your dough into bullets and then whacks the targets
want shot down. Just don't bitch, pitch in and help make the change.
Keep five yards,
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