Friday, August 13, 2004


My friend Stevie is back with her daughters from the mountains and is safely ensconsed in her library over in Tavares. One of her neighbors, a vet, shared a letter with her that she sends on for the blog. ---

An open letter to Senator John F. Kerry: My wife had rotator cuff surgery earlier this year and the recovery is terribly painful. Then she developed staph-epi infection, and they had to cut the same scar open and operate on her again. Just thinking about the pain and anxiety of facing that painful surgery a second time in the same scar makes me cringe. That experience, however pales in comparison to what I am going through right now in my heart. The old hurts are surfacing and the feelings of betrayal by fellow citizens, and their leader stirring them up, are breaking my heart again. I am being cut in the same scar. How did we who served in Vietnam suddenly become cold blooded killers, torturers and rapists of the like of the Nazi SS or the Taliban? Most of us were American soldiers who grew up idolizing John Wayne, Roy Rogers and all the other heroes. That was why we volunteered. But for political expediency, you, John Kerry, have rewritten history again. After spending only four months in the country of Vietnam, you testified before Congress in 1971 in these exact words about incidents you supposedly witnessed or heard about from other vets: "They personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals, turned up the power, cut off limbs, blowed up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam." I was a green beret officer who volunteered for duty in Vietnam and fought in the thick of it in 1968 and 1969 on a Special Forces A-team on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, just for starters. We were the elite. We saw the most action. Everybody in the world knows that. But we did not just kill people. We built a church, a school, treated illnesses, passed out soap, food and clothing and had fun and loving interaction with the indigenous people of Vietnam, just like our boys did in Normandy, Baghdad, Saigon and everywhere American soldiers ever served. We all gave away our candy bars and rations to kids; our hearts to oppressed people all over the globe. My children and grandchildren could read your words, and think those horrendous things about me, Mr. Kerry. You are a bold-faced unprincipled liar and a disgrace. You have dishonored me and all my fellow Vietnam veterans. Sure, there were a couple of bad-apples, but I saw none and I saw it all. And if I did, as an army officer, it was my obligation to stop it, or at the very least, report it. Why is there not a single record anywhere of you ever reporting any incidents like this or having the perpetrators arrested? The answer is simple. You are a liar. Your medals and mine are not a free pass for lifetime, Senator Kerry, to bypass charactar, integrity, and morality. I earn my green beret over and over, daily, in all aspects of my life. Eight National Guard green berets, and other National Guard soldiers have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and you totally dishonored their widows and families by lumping National Guard service in with being a draft-dodger, conscientious objector, and deserter, just so you can try to sabotage the patriotism of our President, who proudly served as an Air National Guard jet pilot. I have a son earning his green beret at Fort Bragg right now and his wife serves honorably in the Air National Guard (just as did our President) and I am as proud of her as I am of my own son. I volunteered for Vietnam and have no problem whatsoever with President Bush being our Commander-In-Chief. In fact, I am proud of him as our leader. Senator Kerry, you personally derailed the Vietnam Human Rights Bill, HR2883 in 2001 after it passed the House by a 411 to 1 vote and thousands of pro-American Montagnard tribes people in Vietnam died since then who could otherwise have been saved. Earlier, as Chair of the Senate Select Committee on MIA/Pow Affairs, you personally quashed the efforts of any and all veterans to report sightings of living POW's, when you held those reins in Congress. You have fought tooth and nail to push for the United States to normalize relations with Vietnam for years. Why, Mr. Kerry? Simple, your first cousin, C. Steward Forbes, CEO of Colliers, International recently signed a contract with Hanoi that is worth billions of dollars for Colliers International to become the exclusive real estate representative for the country of Vietnam. "Hanoi John" now that it works for you, you beat your chest about your Vietnam service. But to me, you are a phony, opportunistic hypocrite. You are one of those politicians that is like a fertilizer machine, all that's coming out is horse manure and you are spreading it everywhere. Medals do not make a man. Morals do. Don Bendell - Cannon City, Colorado......


Welcome home Stephanie. Thanks for sharing.