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Key Points

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o In his April 1971 speech to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, John Kerry claimed that war crimes committed by the American military against Vietnamese civilians were "not isolated incidents, but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis..." War crimes in Vietnam were actually quite rare.

o Kerry claimed that war crimes were being committed "with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." In fact, military personnel were warned that "if you disobey the rules of engagement, you can be tried and punished." War crimes were never a matter of policy, and were prosecuted when discovered.

o Kerry charged that the war in Vietnam was a racist war, that "blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties." Research published in B.G. Burkett's book "Stolen Valor" and other sources shows that casualty rates for black and white soldiers during Vietnam closely matched the proportion of America's overall population represented by each race.

o Kerry claimed that Vietnam was "ravaged equally by American bombs and search-and-destroy missions as well as by Viet Cong terrorism..." Later in his remarks, Kerry responded to a question about what might happen to the South Vietnamese after our withdrawal with "So what I am saying is that yes, there will be some recrimination but far, far less than the 200,000 a year who are murdered by the United States of America..." Yet according to historian Guenter Lewy in "America in Vietnam," "...the number of civilians killed deliberately by the VC is appallingly high. No counterpart to this death toll caused by communist terror tactics exists on the allied side."

o Asked for a recommendation about possible courses of action for Congress to pursue, Kerry stated that he had talked with representatives from Hanoi and from the PRG (Viet Cong) at the Paris peace talks, and mentioned his support for "Madam Binh's points." Madam Nguyen Thi Binh was at that time the Foreign Minister for the PRG. These meetings took place in the spring of 1970, before Kerry ever joined the VVAW.

o Kerry was a leader, fund-raiser, and spokesman for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), an organization that staged mock mass murders of civilians to dramatize American atrocities, and handed out flyers that read "if you had been Vietnamese" American infantrymen might have "burned your house" or "raped your wife and daughter" and "American soldiers do these things every day to the Vietnamese simply because they are 'Gooks.'"

o Kerry's used "testimony" from the VVAW's "Winter Soldier Investigation" as the basis for his war crimes charges, although none of the witnesses there were willing to sign depositions affirming their claims. Later investigators were unable to confirm any of the reported atrocities, and in fact discovered that a number of the witnesses had never been in Vietnam, had never been in combat, or were imposters who had assumed the identity of real veterans.

o The deception extended to the VVAW leadership. Executive secretary Al Hubbard claimed to have been an Air Force captain wounded piloting a transport over Da Nang in 1966. Hubbard was actually a staff sergeant who was never assigned to Vietnam.

o The Winter Soldier Investigation was financed by pro-Hanoi radicals such as Jane Fonda and Mark Lane, who hoped to undermine American support for the war by framing American soldiers as mass murderers. At the same time, the North Vietnamese military was torturing American prisoners of war to make them confess to identical crimes. At least one former POW has stated that Kerry's testimony was used by North Vietnam to demoralize American prisoners during interrogations.

o John Kerry has denied any association with Jane Fonda, but he attended the 1970 VVAW leadership meeting that chose Fonda and Executive Secretary Al Hubbard to do a national speaking tour to raise money for the VVAW and launch new chapters. Fonda was also the primary source of funds for the Winter Soldier Investigation, where Kerry was a moderator.

o The VVAW signed the People's Peace Treaty during Kerry's tenure -- the VVAW even sent a delegation to Hanoi. The document was a laundry list of North Vietnamese bargaining points, including the key concession that the United States must agree to withdraw all troops before any negotiations could take place for the return of American prisoners.

o The VVAW was at the heart of the propaganda effort that so effectively smeared American servicemen in Vietnam as murderous, drug-addled psychotics that returning veterans were cursed and spat upon in the streets. In fact, as shown in B.G. Burkett's book "Stolen Valor," Vietnam veterans are more psychologically stable and successful than their civilian counterparts.

o The VVAW was a radical and potentially violent organization that formally considered assassinating prominent supporters of the war. As reported in the New York Sun by Thomas Lipscomb, during a November 1971 meeting in Kansas City the VVAW leadership and chapter coordinators voted down a plan to murder several U.S. Senators, including John Tower, John Stennis, and Strom Thurmond. Two VVAW members who were present, Randy Barnes and Terry Du-Bose, place John Kerry at that meeting, as do the meeting minutes and FBI records. Kerry claims to have resigned from the VVAW at the meeting or shortly thereafter, but there is no evidence that he ever informed authorities about the conspiracy. Kerry continued to publicly represent the VVAW until at least April of 1972.

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