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WinterSoldier.com is dedicated to the American veterans of the Vietnam War, who served with courage and honor.

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Read the book: To Set the Record Straight
The inside story of how Swift Boat veterans, POWs and the New Media defeated John Kerry.

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January 30, 2008:
FrontPage Magazine: To Set The Record Straight

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Quotes of Note

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I would like to talk on behalf of all those veterans and say that several months ago in Detroit we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged, and many very highly decorated, veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia. These were not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit - the emotions in the room and the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.

They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

We call this investigation the Winter Soldier Investigation.

-- John Kerry, testifying before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, April 22, 1971

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The exact sources of that assertion should be tracked down. Kerry also ought to be asked who, exactly, told him any such thing, and what it was, exactly, that they said they did in Vietnam. Statutes of limitation now protect these individuals from prosecution for any such admissions. Or did Senator Kerry merely hear allegations of that sort as hearsay bandied about by members of antiwar groups (much of which has since been discredited)? To me, this assertion sounds exactly like the disinformation line that the Soviets were sowing worldwide throughout the Vietnam era. KGB priority number one at that time was to damage American power, judgment, and credibility. One of its favorite tools was the fabrication of such evidence as photographs and "news reports" about invented American war atrocities. These tales were purveyed in KGB-operated magazines that would then flack them to reputable news organizations. Often enough, they would be picked up. News organizations are notoriously sloppy about verifying their sources. All in all, it was amazingly easy for Soviet-bloc spy organizations to fake many such reports and spread them around the free world.

As a spy chief and a general in the former Soviet satellite of Romania, I produced the very same vitriol Kerry repeated to the U.S. Congress almost word for word and planted it in leftist movements throughout Europe. KGB chairman Yuri Andropov managed our anti-Vietnam War operation. He often bragged about having damaged the U.S. foreign-policy consensus, poisoned domestic debate in the U.S., and built a credibility gap between America and European public opinion through our disinformation operations. Vietnam was, he once told me, "our most significant success."

-- Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking intelligence officer ever to defect from the Soviet bloc, in the National Review, February 26, 2004

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Mr. Kerry, you said at one time or another that you think our policies in Vietnam are tantamount to genocide and that the responsibility lies at all chains of command over there. Do you consider that you personally as a Naval officer committed atrocities in Vietnam or crimes punishable by law in this country?

-- Crosby Noyes, Washington Evening Star

There are all kinds of atrocities, and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used 50 calibre machine guns, which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search and destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare, all of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this is ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down. And I believe that the men who designed these, the men who designed the free fire zone, the men who ordered us, the men who signed off the air raid strike areas, I think these men, by the letter of the law, the same letter of the law that tried Lieutenant Calley, are war criminals.

-- John Kerry, on NBC's "Meet the Press" April 18, 1971

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I'm the daughter of Lt. Col. Roger "Black Bart" Bartholomew, a First Air Cavalry rocket artillery helicopter pilot who was killed in Vietnam on Thanksgiving day 1968 when I was 8 years old.

...

It was bad enough to hear our dads criticized by those who hated the military, but to hear vets allege rampant war crimes and call their fellow soldiers evil before all the world really twisted the knife. And Kerry led the way, proud in the company of Jane Fonda and others we believed had caused the deaths of good men. This group's testimony tarnished honorable actions. After taking the oath to preserve and protect, they grandstanded, trashing service awards in a show of defiance that diminished each sacrifice. Their stories dominated while the stories of thousands of honorable vets went untold.

-- Laura Bartholomew Armstrong

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We were sent to Vietnam to kill Communism. But we found instead that we were killing women and children.

-- John Kerry, in "The New Soldier"

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As its dominant tactic in their battle against the war, the antiwar movement successfully demonized Vietnam veterans by calling a series of "tribunals" or hearings into war crimes. But... they were packed with pretenders and liars.

-- B.G. Burkett, in "Stolen Valor"

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I have been to Paris. I have talked with both delegations at the peace talks, that is to say the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government and of all eight of Madam Binh's points it has been stated time and time again, and was stated by Senator Vance Hartke when he returned from Paris, and it has been stated by many other officials of this Government, if the United States were to set a date for withdrawal the prisoners of war would be returned.

I think this negates very clearly the argument of the President that we have to maintain a presence in Vietnam, to use as a negotiating block for the return of those prisoners. The setting of a date will accomplish that.

-- John Kerry, testifying before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, April 22, 1971

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Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

-- U.S. Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 45, Section 953: Private correspondence with foreign governments

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I would think that if you understood what communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that we would someday become communist.

The peace proposal of the Viet Cong is the only honorable, just, possible way to achieve peace in Vietnam.

-- Jane Fonda, speaking at Michigan State University during a fund-raising tour for AWOL GI's, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and the Black Panther Party, November 22, 1970

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My Lai was not an isolated incident but rather a way of life for many of our military.

-- Jane Fonda, speaking at VVAW's "Operation RAW" in Valley Forge, PA, September 7, 1970

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Despite the "public relations" risk attendant on torturing [American] prisoners, the primary purpose for torturing them, especially in the North, was to obtain written and taped statements for use in the Communists' crucially important international propaganda war against the United States...

-- Henry Mark Holzer and Erika Holzer, from "Aid and Comfort, Jane Fonda in North Vietnam"

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By Friday morning when we returned our medals, it was becoming an emotional thing. We discussed for a long time how we were going to return our medals... whether we'd drop them into shitcans filled with blood... or carry them up to Congress in body bags. Finally we decided the best way to show our contempt was by throwing them over the fence they'd put up in front of the Capitol steps.

-- Rusty Sachs, VVAW, in "The New Soldier"

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May 3, 1971: Some twenty Vietnam Veterans Against the War and several supporters, tossed bags of cow manure on the steps of the Mall Entrance of the Pentagon, then offered to clean up the mess in return for a chance to talk to one of the Assistant Secretaries of Defense. Their offer was rejected and some twenty-eight were arrested. All were charged with disorderly conduct.

-- from a District of Columbia government report detailing demonstrations in the District during 1971

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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.

-- John Kerry, in "The New Soldier"

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Two years later, [1984] he ran for the U.S. Senate - dusting off his veteran's credentials by standing in front of the black Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington to shoot a TV campaign ad, defying regulations that the memorial not be used for political purposes. The ad "was filmed illegally against the wishes of the National Park Service," according to the Boston Globe. Kerry authorized its broadcast anyway.

-- J. Michael Waller, Insight Magazine, March 5, 2004

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There is a GI movement in this country now as well as over there, and soon these people, these men, who are prescribing wars for these young men to fight are going to find out they are going to have to find some other men to fight them because are going to change prescriptions. They are going to have to change doctors, because we are not going to fight for them. That is what they are going to realize.

-- John Kerry, testifying before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, April 22, 1971

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No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

-- United States Constitution, 14th Amendment, Section 3

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The Viet Cong didn't think they had to win the war on the battlefield, because thanks to these protestors they were going to win it on the streets of San Francisco and Washington.

-- Paul Galanti, P.O.W. from 1966-1973

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Then I was sent on to advanced genocide training down at Fort Polk, Louisiana. And this is where I got, you know, this is where I started to hate, hate anything that wasn't exactly like me. Anything that wasn't a fighting machine. Gooks.

-- Jim Weber, VVAW, in "The New Soldier"

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John Kerry's assault on this country did not rise fullblown in his mind, like Venus from the Cypriot Sea. It is the crystallization of an assault upon America which has been fostered over the years by an intellectual class given over to self-doubt and self-hatred, driven by a cultural disgust with the uses to which so many people put their freedom. The assault on the military, the many and subtle vibrations of which you feel as keenly as James Baldwin knows the inflections of racism, is an assault on the proposition that what we have, in America, is truly worth defending.

-- William F. Buckley, Jr., commencement address at West Point, June 8, 1971

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Vietnam Veterans Against the War Anti-Imperialist is part of a network of anti-imperialist veterans who are proud of our resistance to U.S. aggression around the world. In the 1970s, to be a Vietnam veteran was to be against the war. That proud legacy must be carried forward into the new millennium. As veterans, we have been to the edge and seen the viciousness of Amerikkka unmasked.

-- from the VVAWAI web site

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Normally to side with the enemy in wartime is considered an act of treason. But if was one of the many bizarre features of the Vietnam War that Americans were able to side with the enemy with complete impunity. Demonstrators marched under Vietcong flags, organnizations urged soldiers to throw down their arms and desert, and Americans even visited North Vietnam and made broadcasts from there endorsing enemy propaganda -- all without being subjected to any legal penalty or even much public censure. On the contrary, in the intellectual community the people who did these things were often treated as heroes and even patriots, while those who criticized them were excoriated and ridiculed.

-- Norman Podhoretz, "Why We Were in Vietnam"

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[Vietnam Veterans Against the War] was a group of thoughtful people, moderate people who wanted to end the war.

-- Michael Meehan, Senior Advisor to John Kerry Campaign, on CNN, April 20, 2004

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My plan was that, on the last day we would go into the [congressional] offices we would schedule the most hardcore hawks for last -- and we would shoot them all.

-- VVAW leader Scott Camil, in the University of Florida Oral History Archive, October 20, 1992

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We established an American presence in most cases by showing the flag and firing at sampans and villages along the banks. Those were our instructions, but they seemed so out of line that we finally began to go ashore, against our orders, and investigate the villages that were supposed to be our targets. We discovered we were butchering a lot of innocent people, and morale became so low among the officers on those 'swift boats' that we were called back to Saigon for special instructions from Gen. Abrams. He told us we were doing the right thing. He said our efforts would help win the war in the long run. That's when I realized I could never remain silent about the realities of the war in Vietnam.

-- John Kerry in the Washington Star, June 6, 1971

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I served with these guys. I went on missions with them, and these men served honorably. Up and down the chain of command there was no acquiescence to atrocities. It was not condoned, it did not happen, and it was not reported to me verbally or in writing by any of these men including Lt.(jg) Kerry.

-- Captain George Elliott, USN (retired)

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In my specific, personal experience in both coastal and river patrols over a 12-month period, I never once saw or heard anything remotely resembling the atrocities described by Senator Kerry. If I had, it would have been my obligation to report them in writing to a higher authority, and I would certainly have done that. If Senator Kerry actually witnessed or participated in these atrocities or, as he described them, "war crimes," he was obligated to report them. That he did not until later when it suited his political purposes strikes me as opportunism of the worst kind. That he would malign my service and that of his fellow sailors with no regard for the truth makes him totally unqualified to serve as Commander-in-Chief.

-- Jeffrey Wainscott

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I do not believe John Kerry is fit to be Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the United States. This is not a political issue. It is a matter of his judgment, truthfulness, reliability, loyalty and trust -- all absolute tenets of command. His biography, "Tour of Duty," by Douglas Brinkley, is replete with gross exaggerations, distortions of fact, contradictions and slanderous lies. His contempt for the military and authority is evident by even a most casual review of this biography. He arrived in-country with a strong anti-Vietnam War bias and a self-serving determination to build a foundation for his political future. He was aggressive, but vain and prone to impulsive judgment, often with disregard for specific tactical assignments. He was a "loose cannon." In an abbreviated tour of four months and 12 days, and with his specious medals secure, Lt.(jg) Kerry bugged out and began his infamous betrayal of all United States forces in the Vietnam War. That included our soldiers, our marines, our sailors, our coast guardsmen, our airmen, and our POWs. His leadership within the so-called Vietnam Veterans Against the War and testimony before Congress in 1971 charging us with unspeakable atrocities remain an undocumented but nevertheless meticulous stain on the men and women who honorably stayed the course. Senator Kerry is not fit for command.

-- Rear Admiral Roy Hoffman, USN (retired)

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Losing a war is a state of mind.

-- Tom Hayden, co-founder, Students for a Democratic Society, after attending the Winter Soldier Investigation.

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The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were Treated and Appreciated by their nation.

-- George Washington

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Audio Clips:

o John Kerry testifies about American "war crimes" in Vietnam -- April 22, 1971 (1:32)

o John Kerry admits to committing atrocities in Vietnam -- April 18, 1971 (0:31)